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 How to stop pop up ads on Android

How to stop pop up ads on Android

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We’ve certainly come a long way since mobile phones were a huge and hardly accessible innovation in the field of technology – so much so, in fact, that chances are that if you’re reading this article, you’ve been a mobile phone user for at least a couple of years.

This, of course, means that you know just how annoying it can be to be using your phone while trying to quickly look up certain information and being subjected to one pop up ad after another. Worst of all, pop up ads on Android devices tend to be even worse than the ones on say, computers or laptops – simply due to the fact that you’re working with a handheld device that already has limited space to show everything. Once this limited space gets plagued by a pop-up ad, it is really hard to see and tap on anything else, further rubbing salt on the wound.

With the mobile phone market share being populated in large part by Android users, we thought we’d take a look at how you can stop pop up ads on Android devices in order to get a better (and less frustrating) user experience.

Now, there are multiple reasons as to why you might be seeing pop up ads, and there are also multiple ways you can go about preventing this frustrating occurrence. Let’s first briefly go through a couple of reasons why you might be seeing pop up ads on your Android device.

Why are pop up ads appearing on your Android device?

You might be wondering just why you’re seeing so many pop-up ads while using your Android device. There are a couple of reasons for this – and while some are less frustrating than others, the result is equally frustrating for the user. Here’s a small list of some of the main reasons pop up ads are appearing on your Android device:

  1. You’re using certain free software; in order to make a profit from software that is free to download and use, the developers place ads on it
  2. You’re visiting a website that specifically uses pop up ads for advertising certain products (as pop-up ads tend to have a large return on investment)
  3. Your Android device has a virus or malware on it / your browsing is hijacked and redirected

Now that we know the main reasons why pop-up ads are appearing on Android devices, we can look into ways of preventing this. Let’s dive right into it!

Stopping pop up ads on Android devices that use Google Chrome as the browser

Google wouldn’t be the tech giant it is if it allowed itself to slip out of the loop. They’re thankfully well aware of the existence of the annoying pop-up ads, and as such they do indeed offer their users a way to prevent pop up ads on Android devices as a built-in tool of their browser, Google Chrome.

In order to prevent pop up ads using Google Chrome’s built-in tool, follow the steps below:

  • Open the Google Chrome app on your Android device
  • Tap on the Site Settings button located just to the right of the address bar
  • Tap on Permissions, and then Pop-ups and redirects
  • Turn off Pop-ups and redirects

Once you’ve done this, Google Chrome will thankfully go ahead and prevent pesky pop-up ads for you. As a couple of bonus tips, if you’re tired of seeing pop up ads on your computer and you use Google Chrome as your browser there as well, you can use the same option to prevent them. Also, if you wish to block pop up ads on your Android device but still wish to see them on a specific website, you can accomplish this through the Chrome browser settings. To do this, follow the steps below:

  • Open the Chrome app on your Android device
  • Go to a page where pop ups are currently blocked
  • Tap the Always show button at the bottom

Do note that this way of blocking pop ups might not block a 100% of all pop ups, it will block the pop ups that are tagged as ones that users might not find useful by Google’s algorithm.

Stopping pop up ads on Android devices that use Mozilla Firefox as the browser

The Firefox browser is certainly a great choice if you value your privacy – the Mozilla team is always putting in great effort when it comes to this field. If you are using this browser on your Android device and you wish to block pop ups, I’m happy to say there’s a way to accomplish this, and you don’t need to download any additional software either.

In order to stop pop up ads on your Android device using Mozilla Firefox, follow the steps below:

  1. Type about:config in the address bar
  2. Type “dom.disable_open_during_load” (without the quotation marks) into the search field
  • Once you’ve searched for this option, it should appear below the search field; make sure to set it to false
  • If you wish to enable pop ups again at a later point, simply search for this option again and set it to true

And just like that, the annoying pop-up ads should now be gone!

Stopping pop up ads on Android devices that use Opera as the browser

Made by Norway’s own Telenor company, this browser made huge waves back when it appeared on the market. Nowadays it appears to be mentioned less in browser discussions, next to Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox which dominate the market, but it certainly does have a respectable user base. If you happen to be one of the Opera users on Android, you’ll be glad to know that there’s a way for you to block pop ups in the browser itself.

In order to prevent pop up ads from appearing in the Opera browser on your Android device, follow the steps below:

  1. Open the Opera browser on your Android device
  2. Tap on the hamburger menu button in the bottom-right corner, and then tap on the gear icon in the middle
  3. Scroll down and find the Block pop-ups option located under the sub-head Content
  4. Turn the toggle on to block pop ups, or turn it off to allow them

After you’ve followed the steps above, you should no longer be seeing those annoying pop ups in the Opera browser.

Stopping ads on Android devices completely

And now for something a bit different, we’ll be looking into a way to prevent ads from appearing on your Android devices completely. Do note that this way will not only block pop up ads, it will block ads from appearing completely – so if this is something you’d like to do, read on!

Using Adblock

Adblock is a free piece of software designed from the ground up with the intention of locking ads on web pages. It also has a fantastic feature of allowing so-called ‘Acceptable Ads’, in case you wish to support certain content creators. The Adblock Plus app can be downloaded from the link below:

https://adblockplus.org/android-install

The layout of this browser is similar to Google Chrome, so users of that browser should feel at home with this one. It is implemented as a standalone browser rather than an add-on for Android devices due to the fact that Google Chrome does not support add-ons on mobile devices.

Using Blokada

Another free piece of software is Blokada. The app is free of charge for use, does not drain your battery life, blocks ads and trackers, works with all browsers, and is supported by a large community owing to the fact that it is open-source. The app does not even require rooting or jailbreaking your Android device and it also works on iOS devices.

You can download it by visiting the link below:

https://blokada.org/index.html

Stopping ads on infected Android devices

Last, but certainly not least, is the case where pop up ads appear on your Android device as a result of infection. You can usually tell that this is the case by looking at some of the following signs:

  • Pop up ads and new tabs keep opening and they don’t want to go away
  • Your homepage keeps changing without your permission
  • The pop ups alert you about a virus or device infection

In order to resolve this issue, you’ll want to get rid of unwanted apps and malware. Let’s go through the process of doing this.

Follow these steps in order to safely get rid of unwanted software:

  • Press and hold the power button on your Android device
  • On the screen, touch and hold Power off
  • Your device will then start in safe mode; you should see ‘Safe Mode’ on the bottom of your screen
  • Go ahead and remove recently installed apps one by one until you find the culprit

In order to turn on additional protection on your device, you can follow the steps below:

  • Open the Google Play Store app
  • Tap on the Menu button, and then tap Play Protect
  • Turn on Scan device for security threats

You can also look into downloading an anti-virus or anti-malware app, such as Malwarebytes, on your device. This will help with making sure that your device stays safe.

Make sure to only download apps from trusted sources in order to prevent this from happening in the first place!

And with that, we’ve covered all the various ways you can use in order to prevent annoying pop-up ads from appearing on your Android device.

Editors’ Recommendation

Marom

Marom

Marom is a senior writer at WIRED specialising on information security, digital privacy, and hacking. A former technology correspondent for Slate, she was also a staff writer for Future Tense, a publication and project of Slate, the New America Foundation, and ASU. Additionally her work has appeared in Gizmodo, Fast Company, IEEE Spectrum, and Popular Mechanics. She is a New Yorker who calls the city home.
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