Android Security

Got Popup Ads on Android? How to Spot and Remove Them

Christian Cawley Updated 29-11-2019

Ads keep popping up on my phone. My Android device just suggested I buy a brand-new Audi, displaying a full-screen popup advertisement to persuade me.


As someone who prefers to keep all manner of promotional materials, social networks, and malware off his phone, this came as something of a surprise.

One of my apps is serving ads. But which one is the malware? Here’s how to stop popup ads on Android.

Ads on Android: The Good Old Days

There was a time when ads on Android were big news. Remember Notification Area ads? They caused a bit of a storm when it became apparent that promotional messages would soon start appearing across the top of your phone’s display, with AirPush and SlingLabs just two of the companies making it possible for ads to appear there.

To combat this, opting out was the best solution, although you might have preferred to follow our solution to dealing with these Notification Area incursions How to Block Popup Ads on Android Seeing annoying popups on your phone? Here's how to stop popup ads on your Android phone browser, apps, and notification shade. Read More .

With Notification Area ads (which can still impact users on older devices), it is straightforward to identify the app responsible thanks to its icon appearing next to the ad in Android 4.1 and later.


Note that the screenshots in this article feature standard, non-adware serving apps.

How Do You Stop Popup Ads on Android?

Discovered your phone is displaying an unnecessary volume of ads, whether in an app or on the home screen? It’s time to act.

The first thing you should do is close all your apps. Use the usual method of tapping the Recents button and swiping each app to the side to discard (or using the Clear All button if your version of Android supports it).

You might also opt to restart your phone, which may be quicker.


Next, check the apps you’ve installed lately, around the time that the popups first appeared. This might take some doing if you regularly install new apps and games.

When you spot likely offenders, head to Google Play and check the reviews of the app. Do any relate to surprise ads? If so, delete that app. But don’t stop there! Check all the apps you have recently installed.

Ways to Spot Which App Is Serving Popup Ads

In the course of my work for MakeUseOf, I install apps that I wouldn’t normally use. I’m more discerning than most; however, there is every chance that you’re using apps that are displaying ads that you’re putting up with, perhaps because you play a free game.

This is fair enough, if the ads appear in the game.


Normal ads on Android games

But what if the ads are popping up on the home screen with no warning? Putting it plainly, this is adware, a form of malware, and something that can take some work to trace.

As the Implementation Policies for the AdMob program state:

“Ads should not be placed in a location that covers up or hides any area that users have interest in viewing during typical interaction. Ads should not be placed in areas where users will randomly click or place their fingers on the screen.”

Furthermore, Google does not look kindly on apps and games that spam the user with ads:


“Apps where interstitial ads are placed after every user action, including but not limited to clicks, swipes, etc.”

You have two options for spotting popup ads.

1. Check Popup Ad Notifications

Recent versions of Android have made it easier to find out what is running on your device and what permissions the app uses. When you spot a notification for an app that you didn’t realize was active, that’s a good time to long-press the notification and tap the i button.

This will take you into the app’s permissions screen, where you can toggle what access it has to your phone’s hardware and features (such as contacts or the mobile network). Further options can be found via Menu > All permissions.

From here, you’ll find full details for the app, which should reveal any associations; alternatively, you might find that the app isn’t quite what you thought it was.

2. Check the Currently Open Apps

As well as the notification area, you can check your open apps to see which one is serving the popups.

When the popup ad appears, hit the Overview button (to the right of the Home button). As the open apps are shuffled into a “deck”, long-press the icon in the top-left corner of the popup ad.

This will result in the i button appearing in the top-right corner of the card. Again, tap this to access the app permissions.

Can’t Find the Offending App?

Perhaps the best option for anyone planning to use their phone or tablet without having to factory reset is to employ an anti-adware tool, a utility designed to detect ad-serving malware.

Ad Detect Plugin is probably the best place to start, a free app that will detect connections to ad networks from within your apps. You will probably already know that some of the results display in-app ads. What you’re looking for is anything that displays an ad on your home screen.

With this app, you can tap the information button to see what sort of ads are being displayed. From here, it’s simple to act from within the app to remove the offending software.

Download: Ad Detect Plugin

If you’re not already using a full mobile security app on your phone, then this is the best solution for dealing with the ads. Options here include ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus and Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.

Download: ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus | Malwarebytes Anti-Malware

Ad Network Detectors

You should also consider using an ad network detector. These apps are designed to detect connections between your phone and known ad networks and block them. This should put an end to popup advertisements on your phone.

Several strong options are available, but we believe you should take a look at AppBrain Ad Detector and Lookout Security & Antivirus (previously Ad Network Detector). Addons Detector, meanwhile, gives you the information to investigate what ads are being displayed by which apps, as well as where they are served from. This might not be particularly useful, but it’s certainly worth being aware that the information is available.

Download: AppBrain Ad Detector | Lookout Security & AntivirusAddons Detector

Deleting Ad-Serving Apps

For the best results, you should uninstall the app to get rid of the Android popup ads for good.

This is usually straightforward; just open Settings > Applications and long-tap the app. Select Uninstall to remove it.

Alternatively, tab Uninstall in the app info screen, or from the home screen or app drawer, long-tap and select Uninstall.

However, you might prefer a more extreme solution. The first would be to restore a backup of your phone What Is A Nandroid Backup and How Exactly Does It Work? You need that backup at the ready. Read More taken before the evil ad-serving malware was installed.

Alternatively, you can initiate a factory restore Dealing with System Problems in Android: Safe Mode, Factory Reset & Restoring Backups If you've run into a problem on your Android phone or tablet, this method just might help you save it. Read More to remove all apps and data from your phone, wiping it and starting from scratch. This might be the preferred option for most, especially if you’re particularly concerned by the ads that are being served.

Have You Had Adware on Android?

Popup ads on your Android How to Block Popup Ads on Android Seeing annoying popups on your phone? Here's how to stop popup ads on your Android phone browser, apps, and notification shade. Read More device are annoying.

They use your data allowance (though you may decide to only use Wi-Fi 8 Useful Tips to Reduce Mobile Data Usage and Save Money Want to get the most out of your mobile data plan? These apps and tricks can help you squeeze out every last megabyte. Read More ) and get in the way when you’re trying to use your phone.

Put simply, popup adware on Android is malware and you shouldn’t stand for it. If it’s just the latest of many problems with your phone and its apps, consider installing a custom Android ROM How to Find and Install a Custom ROM for Your Android Device Android is super customizable, but to fully take advantage of that, you need to flash a custom ROM. Here's how to do that. Read More .

Related topics: Android, Anti-Malware, Smartphone Security.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Akaumei
    January 18, 2020 at 3:36 pm

    Luckily for me, I had just downloaded a few new apps right before this began happening, so it was easy to find the culprit. Ended up being a photo collage maker I downloaded. Thank you so much for this article!

  2. Jimmie Durrance
    January 11, 2020 at 4:04 am

    Purchased used android Alcatel cell phone infected with some type of adware redirect to websites very annoying popups ads or no longer functioning or blocked websites some listed unsafe slow cell phone to a crawl , caused the battery to drain faster tried online suggestions for adware removal none worked in my case tried several security products of all i tried only Bitdefender free/gratis version was able to detect the adware plus remove it safely in seconds after the first scan. Please note I don't receive funds or any form of compensation from Bitdefender or affiliated with them in any way . Hope it helps others.

  3. Glen Muthoka
    November 24, 2019 at 11:00 pm

    For all of you who are saying that it doesn't work, you can try using Kaspersky. I used it on my phone and it detected 2 adware apps that were hidden. I hope this helps.

  4. Graham
    November 15, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    Gumtree start displaying Google ads at the bottom of the screen, so I reverted to an older version that didn't display ads.
    The problem is that the ads still keep appearing.
    It's almost as if there's an independent process displaying them according to a database of app names.

  5. Jamiesama
    November 3, 2019 at 5:40 pm

    You should include the application that requires that plugin in your article. You have confused a lot of people.

  6. Jerry
    July 24, 2019 at 4:42 pm

    Jeeeeze man JUST GET TO THE POINT. So much fluff in your instructions/novel.

  7. Tanika
    June 24, 2019 at 10:14 am

    This DoD not work, I deleted all my apps and the ads are still appearing

    Do u have any more advice

  8. Ken Berger
    April 13, 2019 at 5:39 pm

    my moto z play android got some ad app that kept popping up on my phone home screen and elsewhere. i found the culprit - it was some photo editor app. i found it using Popup Ad Detector.

  9. Dave t
    August 21, 2018 at 5:24 pm

    I Switcher off the Samsung maintanace app. Forced stop. Stopped the adds starting up every 10 mins or more often. Problem solved. It has got into the app and starts up each time the app routine starts.

  10. Zachary Landucci
    August 20, 2018 at 12:57 am

    I keep getting an ad popup from, and I've checked absolutely everywhere to make sure I haven't gotten a new app anywhere that could be transmitting it. I'm about at wit's end and ready to reset my phone.

    • Dave t
      August 21, 2018 at 5:25 pm

      Samsung Maintinance....force stop. Cured the annoying adds starting every few minutes s. Cured my issue.

  11. Nicole Wolfe
    August 7, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    Something called "today's special" is popping up ads on my home screen throughout the day. I cannot figure out which app is causing this. I've uninstalled all recent apps that were downloaded but to no avail. I'm getting frustrated. I even downloaded the malware app suggested above but it didn't find it. It's literally driving me crazy and I really don't want to do a factory reset.

  12. VSH_678©
    July 12, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    The best and easiest way to fix this is its a new malware!! which can be easily removed by following these steps:
    Step 1: Go to settings
    Step 2: Go to apps
    Step 3: find the app which has no name!! (just blank)
    Step 4: Uninstall it. And thats it!!! you will not have any ads anymore
    It was my pleasure if it worked out for you!!!

  13. Jesse
    June 9, 2018 at 4:06 am

    Thank you for this. It was very helpful. My son tends to install whatever apps strike his fancy on my phone so I wasn't sure which app was causing the full screen pop up adds that appear even when I'm on a call or texting. The culprit app was iMovie. I paid to remove the ads and watermark and initially it seemed to work but then ads for the Wish app started to randomly pop up. I thought my son installed another app but, alas, it was still iMovie. Double thumbs down to the iMovie app developers. Double thumbs up to this post. I have bookmarked this page just in case I encounter more problematic apps.

  14. asma
    June 6, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    On my j7, I suffered for a week of these pos up ads, and without installing an application and without option of developers I solved the problem, it's very simple I just clicked on recent button, and in the frame of this pop up ads it shows me the logo of the app that causes it.

  15. Richard
    April 23, 2018 at 1:30 am

    ESET removed the offending Android MobiDash malware/pop-ups immediately!
    Thank you for taking the time to create this incredibly helpful and results-oriented article!

  16. Dorie
    April 15, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    Why is the first name of my ex on the pop up advert of a bank which comes up on my start screen consistently?

  17. Karl Peters
    April 1, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    I just read and followed some of the advice written in this article. I had the problem of ads popping up on the home screen or in the middle of texting. It wasn't easy to find advice about this particular problem - it was always about pop us when in Chrome or something else. I installed Anti-Adware (Keerby) and it flagged 3 apps - Instragram, Twitter, and FLV player. I deleted those 3 and am running live protection from Anti-Adware. I hope this is resolved..... Thank you in advance as I am feeling confident!!!

  18. Ian French
    March 25, 2018 at 11:24 pm

    The ironic thing is that upon opening this article, I was stopped from learning about how to get rid of annoying pop up adverts, because this website noticed I was using an adblocker, and blanked out the rest of the article.

    • moinul
      March 28, 2019 at 5:35 am

      beggars can't be choosers.

  19. Damien
    March 20, 2018 at 7:58 am

    Hello. I was looking for a voice recorder. I found Appliqato Automatic Call Recorder. I installed it and it was fine. It was also installed to a friends phone and tested. But soon after all these ads started appearing and was taking over the phone. It got so bad it was taken to a shop. The app was uninstalled. It's been fine since. How can this be? Fine on my phone and full of malware on another? I suggested installing a virus checker. But after what happened I didn't need to be told what I can do with my self and my suggestions. Lol I could tell as soon as it all went bad me and the app become the sole blame infecting the phone. I even ran AVG, Bitdefender and Malwarebytes on my phone. Doing a full scan. Nothing. I'm at a loss.???

  20. rhonda sellers
    December 28, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    OMG..Had this same problem..kept coming up on any screen..No antivirus or malware app could solve it..tried all suggested....culprit..Note 8 music player! Have had the app for months..must have hit something by mistake!

  21. Emma in Oxford UK
    December 16, 2017 at 12:19 am

    I don't normally post comments online but this guide really helped me so I thought I should pay it back in some way!
    The offending app in my case was Video Player for Android: I want to caution others as I downloaded this app from the Google Play Store where it is still available and has been downloaded 10 million times! I had used it without any issues for well over a year but noticed that full screen ads started appearing about three or four months ago (September 2017) which could have been the result of an update. It's a pity as the player itself worked really well but the ads are very annoying, drain the battery and make the phone very difficult to use. They appear even when the app is closed - while browsing the internet or checking emails. They even appear when the phone is locked.
    I discovered this by using your tactic of closing all apps and waiting to see which one appeared with the ad: this app is incredibly sneaky as it didn't show its name. It was only after checking the recent activity for each app that I discovered it was Video Player as this was the only app that had been active since the last full battery charge! It was not the one I would have suspected but since uninstalling it, I haven't had any further problems. Hope this helps somebody.

    • Jon
      December 28, 2017 at 5:08 pm

      Same here. Took forever to find Video Player was the culprit.

    • anonymous
      January 1, 2018 at 4:40 am

      You hit the nail on the is google that is at fault. Android which should be called AdDroid allows all sorts of malware/pop ups.. theyre getting paid. The worst is the open gateway 'chargetomobile' AKA 'payforit' in the UK (cramming) which can bill mobilephone users even if the user didnt subscribe to their bogus services. The fraudsters with front businesses even having paid Ads on youtube & well known news websites. The networks get paid so they dont do anything to help the enduser. In fact the network displays end user details like a tag.. handset info,network info, user info (so third parties can bill endusers) etc. Unfortunately even if an enduser pays for a known brand AntiVirus the AV companys do not block these type of things. We are living in a BS driven society.

  22. Mel
    December 15, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    Got Security Elite added to my phone by a Vodafone tech after Blueborne attack and SIM change. Over the last 2 weeks full screen ads VISIBLY directly associated with this app have taken over my phone - when I open my phone, with notifications (including my customized 'message' tone), and during each scan using the app. Totally invasive and unwarranted.

  23. moses
    August 30, 2017 at 11:00 am

    Thank you.... very very very helpful. my fone is free

  24. Bluevampy74
    August 25, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    I experienced sex/porn ads on my start screen as soon as I unlocked it..i have very little on it, just Netflix and a couple of games. Nothing sinister, and I'd had everything for a while, so I couldn't understand where it came from..turns out it was "find my phone" that was the issue..teied almost every adblocker and malware app until I found "malwarebytes for android". It detected what it was straight away and now im free of the naked women with their legs open!! ???

  25. Ess Dub
    July 12, 2017 at 5:10 am

    I have ads popping up in my messaging service (message+), browser (chrome). I've used Mobile Security by ESET, Malware Bytes, and 360 Security, and all present a clean report when I initiate a full scan. i've disabled or deleted anything that seems strange, although I'm pretty careful about what I download.

    I don't know what to do.

    What am I missing? Thanks for your help.


    • JMBLD
      September 24, 2017 at 1:44 pm

      I found that pop up ads were coming from Video Player from Android by Android Multimedia Sevices. It was not detected by the scans I ran because it's not considered malware, but an app that contains ads.

      First thing in the morning after I had fully charged and not used my phone since the night before, I received a pop up ad from the home screen. I opened Application Manager and opened the application info on each app I suspected and checked the Battery and Memory usage. The Video Player showed both Battery and Memory usage. Apps that are not the culprit will show Battery usage as 'None since last fully charged', and Memory will show as 'No memory used in last 3 hours' as a general rule for apps that you would have to 'kick off' and have not since full charge or within the past few hours.

  26. Richard Kropp
    May 24, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    Like some of the other posters, I've been suffering from random full screen pop up ads. They were so bad, I was considering a factory reset. I had spent hours trying different apps, antivirus, cleaners, etc. The advice here to install Mobile Security & Antivirus by ESET is spot on. Did a scan. Be sure to select "in depth". Only took a few minutes. It found 3 apps it considered threats. So I went to my phones app settings and selected each app. I tapped the delete cache and data buttons before uninstalling each one just to remove as many remnants as possible from each app - my phone is not rooted. I have had ZERO pop ups since then - when I was getting at least 1 an hour. ESET is legit and fixed my phone ads problem. You guys rock for recommending ESET. Ads are so annoying, I was even considering going back to a flipphone lol. despiration lmao. thanks!

    • Richard Kropp
      May 24, 2017 at 5:10 pm

      Also, should have given Christian Cawley a shout-out for writing about these problems and getting the conversation started toward finding some answers to combat this nasty stuff with. Thanks dude!

  27. Ma-ta suge pula
    May 21, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    Eset works! The best. Try it. Definitely won't regret it

  28. BLAD3
    February 16, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    hello everyone,
    i got the same viruse from an apk file i installed in a hurry but i searched everywhere in my phone there is no new apps installed and i kept getting the annoying adds everywhere,
    i tried the Kaspersky antivirus,the CCleaner and removed any suspicious apps from the app manager buy still nothing work.
    i downloaded the eset antivirus and it worked like a charm.
    so yeah for me eset was the key.

    • MizzM
      July 9, 2017 at 11:00 pm

      Tried eset. Couldn't find anyone. Got popup while it was scanning.

  29. Icdogg
    February 11, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    I think I finally am onto something tracking the full screen pop up ads that seem to occur randomly when I close or switch any application. Google introduced a page called "my activity" fairly recently. I suggest that you find this page, and look for any apps used that you did not recently open. I found an app opening every so often called "Mirror - No ads". I immediately removed it. No popup ads for the last few hours. Hopefully that did the trick.

    • Lesley Moravick
      February 15, 2017 at 10:45 pm

      Mine just started doing this about a week ago. I have no clue as to what to do. Did you in fact find the source?

  30. shannon
    January 15, 2017 at 3:44 am

    I'm getting apps downloaded randomly on my phone. I take them off right away but the same ones keep coming up on my home screen. I never open just remove them but they keep coming back. Any ideas?

    • Christian Cawley
      January 15, 2017 at 3:47 pm

      Hi Shannon. What apps are these?

      • Shannon
        January 17, 2017 at 10:17 pm

        It would mostly be internet explorer and 2048kg and farm land and the other one I forgot. I never open them as I don't know what they would do if I did.

  31. david
    December 24, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    Ads apear inthemiddle of myhome screen and in apps

  32. david
    December 24, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    Ad banners apear in the middle of myhome screen

  33. someguy
    October 21, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    I found a solution that actually works
    1- download Malwarebytes
    2- perform a full scan
    3- uninstall detected apps

    • Peerock
      April 18, 2017 at 9:38 am

      What version of Malwarebytes. I ask because I have it, it scans and always returns a clean bill of health, but I am still traumatised by the ad popups. For example, I will be in the middle of reading a message Whatsapp and on Goodle Maps and the adds pop up. The most annoying is the video. Plays sound in a room where you wish to browse in secret...!

  34. Devendra Singh Rawat
    October 7, 2016 at 6:58 am

    ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus

    Oh. it was Hiddak.AK Trojan on my android phone… that was causing full screen ad on home screen, whenever WiFi or Data connection was opened or whenever an new app was installed or uninstalled and installing new apps randomly without asking..

    ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus was able to detect it by using Deep Scanning option..

    It was hidden under the Service “ Android Communication Sync” .. watch out for this process in your phone

  35. Vicky
    September 26, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    I have ads popping at the touch of the screen button by the browser. The browser opens by it self as soon as the phone screen turns on. Also the other is the Android Download Manager. It always open by it self with an ad. Also when I go to update apps there are apps asking to update when they are not even installed. I was fooled by one of this and I installed a browser that I didn't even know about it when I pressed the installed all button. I uninstalled the two apps I think was the problem. Hard reseted the phone and the problem is back. I believe the malware is in the dowload manager. I go to download manager and press the clear data and the ads stops for a few days. Then they are back. And the annoying part is that if I don't pay attention when I click I would click the ads cause pops up so fast that in a second I'm reading unwanted advertisement. I contacted the place I bought the phone. They didn't answered me. I really like this phone. Is a Lenovo and it is my first time with an Android phone. I have used Windows phone for years and all my family kept telling me to get an android phone because is faster and I agree but I can't continue with this ad problem. To me is a bad experience that I would like to erase so I can give a fare review of my first time using an android phone. If anybody can help I would be deeply grateful.

    • Bloodbeast
      November 30, 2016 at 8:46 pm

      Same with me :(

    • Bloodbeast
      November 30, 2016 at 8:46 pm


    • Chris wang
      August 12, 2017 at 10:23 am

      Solved my problem of full screen popups every 15 to 30 seconds. Eset did the trick. I Uninstalled various recently installed apps that I thought might have invited these popups but to no avail. Downloaded avast, malwarebytea, airpush aware, anti adware and scanned the whole k3 android TV box. Still same. Till Eset. It detected a malware serving up ads, and dealt with it for good. Thanks very much for your help and appreciate it. Was going to do a factory reset.

  36. Lathe of Heaven
    September 18, 2016 at 4:26 am

    I already have AVAST and the same ads continue to appear frequently on my home screen.

    Just so you know... (as per your comment above)

  37. Lathe of Heaven
    September 18, 2016 at 4:24 am

    I already have AVAST and the same ads still appear on my home screen.

    Just so you know, as per your comment above about Adware (if you don't have AVAST you mentioned...)

  38. Jaime valdes
    September 6, 2016 at 9:36 pm

    I am getting sales ads when I use the native dialer or exDialer. The pop up after you hang up.
    I removed exDialer and issue continues with native.
    It's sales add for numerous products, nothing specific. This started about 1 mo. ago.
    I don't see any apps that I dont recognize

  39. Sebastian FS
    July 22, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    THANKS!!! Wow, you really saved my ass man. thanks

    • Christian Cawley
      July 22, 2016 at 9:03 pm

      Happy to help!

  40. BlazePlayz
    June 10, 2016 at 9:01 am

    Eset said I have AdDisplay.Timdeser.C but when I press remove threat it closes eset. Every time I turn on my kindle fire I get some stupid ad appear. Pls help!

    • Christian Cawley
      June 10, 2016 at 7:12 pm

      This isn't really the area for direct help, but would suggest launching your Fire in safe mode and then running Eset again.

    • Ariel carlos
      August 26, 2016 at 7:34 pm

      Kindle fire Normally have ads on its part of the device for Amazon you can have it removed call amazon customer service they will remove it for you with a fee.

  41. Akeno
    February 23, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    If you experience any ads and traced which app it is, consider using a VPN dedicated to blocking certain apps from using WiFi/mobile data. I like Opera Max, it's a bit of work to set up, and app updates don't get pushed to the rules within automatically (take a look at the rules every now and then), but when it's blocking an app to use data, it really does the job well. I paid for prime versions, but free apps can be ad-free this way.

  42. Krish
    January 30, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    With ES File Explorer, browse your **Downloaded Apps**. If you see any app that begins with System or is represented by the Android symbol, uninstall it. This was how I solved my problem. Using Android's Settings - 'System' -> 'Apps', I could see only an 'Uninstall updates' for the rogue app (it gave a warning that doing so will stop some system functions!). Hence I had to use ES to compltely uninstall it. Hope this helps someone.

    • Akeno
      February 23, 2016 at 6:47 pm

      ES on itself you should block from using any data. Even the paid version (which I have, I like the app on its own) connects to the Internet for the first 5 seconds you fire up the app. I couldn't trace where it's going to, but when you're not using FTP with this app, it's not necessary to give it any network access.

      • Christian Cawley
        February 23, 2016 at 6:56 pm

        I've just abandoned ES for this very reason, and would encourage other users to follow suit.

  43. mn
    January 25, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    Thanks for the tips....Had loads of popups and not downloaded apps! I have tried everything for many months including apps, settings and reset etc. I bought a Chinese smartphone with latest android operating system. The solution was to look at all the apps. Sitting amongst them was two play store apps. One had an official icon and the other had a folder. I deleted the folder one. Hey presto all ad free now! Looks like they hid ads app to generate revenue. Check out your APS very closely m

  44. Aneesh
    January 14, 2016 at 6:01 am

    There is another easy way:

    [Broken Link Removed]

    Step1: Wait for the add to appear on the home screen

    Step2: As soon as add comes, do not cancel it. Just use the other key so that this will be minimized. Now check the recent application button and you can see all recent application including the Google adds as a thumb view. If you carefully check the add you can see the name of the App just left the the Add.

    Step3: Decide you want to keep that application and enjoy adds or Uninstall it. In my case the app was App lock

    • BlazePlayz
      June 10, 2016 at 9:06 am

      I tried this and it just doesn't say any name.

  45. Tracy
    November 23, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    I believe the AliExpress app caused ad pop-ups on my homescreen. I uninstalled it and all seems to be well so far.

  46. person
    May 1, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    Also, having experienced this myself, i find a solution is to check the data usage in your settings menu. See what apps that youre not using that are using data. Limit it to a time period when you know what apps youve used. Widgets and notifications and such will use some data so keep that in mind.

    • Christian Cawley
      May 3, 2015 at 3:10 pm

      Good suggestion Person, although limited to later versions of Android.

  47. Tracy
    April 30, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    Catherine, I have had the same problem! Avast hasn't turned up anything, nor has TrustGo's Ad Detector.

  48. Catherine
    April 30, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    I have started getting full-page pop-up ads on my home page or on top of various applications, just over the past few days. I also get banner ads at the top or bottom of different aps but I don't really mind that. It's the new pop-ups, some of which are clearly malware, that is annoying and worrying. I haven't downloaded any aps that recently, that might correlate with the new ads. I have used Wi-Fi at some public places, could that be the source of the problem? I also scanned my device with Avast yesterday and nothing came up. I will try AdWare and see if that helps. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  49. ck
    April 23, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    that's what's important -- screenshots (lab data) and not failure in the field

    you should spend more time polishing your shades so you don't clutter things up on the internet

    about which, if you think my post was a "rant", you are clearly submerged deeply in naivete and rookie-ness

    saying run the standard progs and delete suspect/all your apps then start over is unhelpful. places like makeuseof are for fixes not universally known for years, and what to do once those fixes have failed

    facts are facts and you're unaware of them

    • Christian Cawley
      April 27, 2015 at 6:39 pm

      So you think someone just comes along and posts a random article on MakeUseOf and it gets published? No, it doesn't work like that.

      If your comment, such as it was, was not a rant, then do tell me how it added to the conversation. From where I'm sitting, it was "air". We're all dying to know what your solution is to this problem, beyond the reset that you suggest (and I mentioned several times in the article, which was approved and edited by a section editor).

  50. ck
    April 20, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    I'm a fan of makeuseof. this article is garbage. so your insightful program is "see if you can find the culprit app the remove it"? thank god for that depth of expertise

    I have a persistent popup have tried lookout adware and malwarebytes ad they turn up nada

    apparently the only fix is reset and your article adds air to the topic

    • Christian Cawley
      April 23, 2015 at 4:40 pm

      The screenshots prove otherwise, but don't let facts get in the way of your ranting.

  51. shhhhhhhh
    March 1, 2015 at 6:20 am


  52. hfyigg
    January 12, 2015 at 11:22 pm

    Why on earth would you suggest a factory reset over trying Adware first?

  53. Sofia
    October 15, 2014 at 12:10 am

    Adtomatik is also an ad network. I've been using it for a year and the result couldn't be better. The best service. I totally recommend it.

  54. likefunbutnot
    October 14, 2014 at 12:01 am

    I've found Addons Detector quite helpful for showing which applications tie to which specific ad networks. I've never encountered an Android Virus, though I have seen programs that use non-Google advertising services that do include pop-over ads. Addons Detector is very helpful for identifying which applications might have brought an uninvited guest.

    For the most part, I think Android security applications do more harm than good. They waste battery power and relatively few users have habits that will lend themselves to the sorts of security threats they're supposedly being guarded from. They might be more helpful for someone with a device that primary gets apps from outside the Google or Amazon app stores or for a person that just installs software with absolutely no consideration, but those things describe a tiny fraction of the Android userbase.

  55. Hildy J
    October 13, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    Lookout's free Ad Network Detector, in addition to showing you the ad networks your apps connect to, will show you which apps can display ads as notifications as well as other more insidious things. It's an on demand scanner but it's quick to run.