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block notification ads androidHave you ever seen an advertisement in Android’s notification area? Some apps abuse their notification permissions How App Permissions Work & Why You Should Care [Android] How App Permissions Work & Why You Should Care [Android] Android forces apps to declare the permissions they require when they install them. You can protect your privacy, security, and cell phone bill by paying attention to permissions when installing apps – although many users... Read More to display advertisements when you aren’t even using them. The good news is that you can determine which apps are showing the annoying ads and block them from appearing.

Google is starting to crack down on apps that abuse notifications, but many apps still use them. The apps use Airpush or similar advertising frameworks to push ads to your device, making the app developers money with spammy ads while constantly distracting you.

Determine Which App Is Showing Notifications

It may not always be obvious which app is showing notifications. The icon next to the notification may help – for example, in the screenshot 6 Ways To Take Screenshots On Android 6 Ways To Take Screenshots On Android No matter which Android device you have, you can take a screenshot without rooting your device. But rooting your device offers you some neat tricks -- even if you're using Android 4.0. You can take... Read More below, the icon is the same as the icon for the MySettings app installed on my device, so it’s clear that MySettings is the culprit.

block notification ads android

However, the icon may not always clue you in. If you need help determining which app is behaving badly, there are a number of apps you can try:

  • AirPush Detector: Detects apps that use known notification ad systems, including Airpush and similar ad networks..
  • Lookout Ad Network Detector: Scans your phone for common ad networks and categorizes them – for example, you can see which apps can display ads in the notification bar.

These two apps may not detect every advertising network out there. If you still can’t pin down the offending application, try the following app instead:

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  • Addons Detector: Enable the Notification Monitor in this app and it will monitor the notifications that appear on your device, telling you which app displayed them.

Android 4.1+

Google added a feature that allows you to block notifications from any app in Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean Evolution of Android: From 1.0 to Jelly Bean [Geek History Lessons] Evolution of Android: From 1.0 to Jelly Bean [Geek History Lessons] Read More ). Once you know which app is abusing its notification permissions, you can change the app’s permissions from the app’s info screen.

To do so, open Android’s Settings screen, tap Apps to view a list of installed apps, and then tap the name of the app that’s showing notification ads. Uncheck the Show notifications checkbox next to the Uninstall button and the app won’t be able to display ads anymore.

block notification bar android

Android 4.0 or Older

If you’re using Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich 15 Android Ice Cream Sandwich Tips You Should Already Know 15 Android Ice Cream Sandwich Tips You Should Already Know Not all too long ago, Google released the next great upgrade to the Android mobile operating system, version 4.o codenamed "Ice Cream Sandwich", or ICS for short. While in the meantime Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean"... Read More ) or an older version of Android, you can’t block an app from displaying notifications out-of-the-box.

However, you do have some options. Many push-advertising networks have an opt-out feature, although they don’t make it easy to find. For example, if the app that’s displaying ads is using Airpush, you can use the Airpush opt-out page to download an opt-out app or manually opt out. Note that Airpush isn’t the only push-advertising network, so the app displaying ads may be using another network – if you can determine the name of the network, you may be able to find an opt-out page for it.

block notification ads android

Of course, you can also uninstall the badly behaving app and find a better app – check out our list of the best Android applications for some great alternatives.

If you’ve rooted your smartphone or tablet How To Root Your Android Phone With SuperOneClick How To Root Your Android Phone With SuperOneClick Read More , you can change an app’s permissions – Airblocker is an app that will block Airpush ads, but it only works on rooted devices. While we generally don’t encourage blocking ads AdBlock, NoScript & Ghostery - The Trifecta Of Evil AdBlock, NoScript & Ghostery - The Trifecta Of Evil Over the past few months, I've been contacted by a good number of readers who have had problems downloading our guides, or why they can't see the login buttons or comments not loading; and in... Read More , we have to draw a line somewhere – blocking Airpush ads is no different than using a pop-up blocker. Both Airpush notification area ads and pop-ups are abusive and should not be rewarded.

Have you ever had to deal with notification area ads on Android? Is there a particularly bad app you’ve come across? Leave a comment and share your experience!

  1. Svetislav Videnovic
    October 6, 2016 at 7:34 am

    Hi, I purchased an Android Tablet on Ebay. Airpush service was built in the system (into Owl Play app, according to the Ad detecting app), so factory reset didn't help.
    I tried different apsp to get rid of it but nothing worked.
    There is an opt-out feature from the developer, either as a downloaded app or online (with the device's IMEI) but again none of these worked.
    I blocked the Owl Play app, I disabled all notifications but still I am bombarded with the ads.
    The seller offered half price refund. I accepted but I regret now because this pushing made my tablet useless. I tried many times but I got sick of closing all those annoying adds.
    I wander how is this legal at all?

  2. Peter
    January 9, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    On 4.1 you can longclick a notification and then open the app details window.

  3. Davyboy
    December 28, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    Thanks a lot for this guide, I had a few lite versions of games that were giving me annoying ads in the notifications bar but not anymore. :-)

  4. DalSan Mack
    September 26, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    I'm not using Jelly Bean, but tried all other apps and opt-out options. I get them occasionally, but not often. When I use Adfree, I hardly see any notification ads. When I revert host files back, I see them a couple times a day. For the most part, if you don't need the offending app, uninstall it. Helps better than trying to block the ads.

    • Chris Hoffman
      September 29, 2012 at 12:23 pm

      Yeah, I agree. The problem is that it can be hard to track down which app is offending.

  5. Chris
    September 26, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    Airblocker is another great one. If you have a rooted phone (like I do) then it will block the ads that way you don't have to uninstall them. If you don't have a rooted phone then it will at least tell you what app is causing the notifications so you can remove the app and stop the annoying ads!!

    • Chris
      September 26, 2012 at 6:46 pm

      And of course right after I post this I realize that they mentioned airblocker at the end. Oh well. lol.

      • Chris Hoffman
        September 29, 2012 at 12:22 pm

        I'm on top of it! :D

  6. Joel Lee
    September 26, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Whoa, this is awesome. I hate those notification-cluttering ads with a special kind of hatred. Thanks a lot for this.

    • Chris Hoffman
      September 29, 2012 at 12:23 pm

      They're the pop-up ads of the new millennium. At least more notifications don't appear when you dismiss one!

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