How to Block Popup Ads on Android

By | April 2, 2022

Popup Ads are quite frustrating on desktop, but worse on mobile devices with limited screen sizes. If you are fed up with popups ruining your phone experience, we will explain how to stop popup ads on Android.

Popup ads generally come in one of three forms:

  • When you surf the web
  • Full screen ads in app
  • Notification area ads

Let’s cover each of these in turn to help you beat Android pop-up ads.

How to Stop Android Popups in Your Browser

If the site you’re visiting is serving pop-up ads, you can turn it off or on with several methods.

Chrome’s Built-in Popup Blocker Options

Since Chrome is the default Android browser and you probably use it a lot, it makes sense to disable popups there first. A quick settings tweak will completely disable the popup. To find it, open Chrome and tap the three-dot Menu button. Select Settings, then navigate to Site settings.

In this menu, you’ll see a list of properties that affect how websites can interact with your device. Tap the Pop-up and redirect entry and make sure the slider is set to the off (grey) position. Chrome will prevent popups, as well as sites directing you to places you don’t want to go.

While you’re here, you may also want to tap on the Ads entry. Inside, make sure your slider is turned off as well. This allows Chrome to block annoying or misleading ads on known spam sites.

If this doesn’t solve your problem for some reason, another step you can take is to enable Chrome’s data saver mode. While its primary intent is to reduce the amount of mobile data you use to view websites, enabling it also removes some unnecessary elements from the page. To enable it, visit Menu > Settings > Data Saver and flip the slider.

Popups are not essential for viewing page content, of course. Enabling this setting may cause some websites to look weird, but you can decide if it’s worth the better experience.

Try Another Android Browser

If you can’t get rid of the popup in Chrome, you might consider using another browser. You’ll find plenty of options in the Play Store designed to block malicious popups and provide a hassle-free interface.

Check out some lightweight Android browsers built for performance. Many of them pack a feature similar to Chrome’s data saver which removes unnecessary elements like popups from the page.

If you’re still seeing popups after using these settings and trying a different browser, you may want to reconsider the sites you visited. Shady websites with explicit content or pirated material are often loaded with annoying ads that can still get around popup blockers.

How to Block Full Screen Popup Ads on Android

We’ve found a way to stop popups from appearing in your browser. But what about the ads that appear on your phone when you use other apps or just navigate around your home screen?

Popups in Certain Apps

If you see a popup when you use a certain game or app, the current app is most likely the cause. In that case, you have to decide if the app is still worth using regardless of the ads. Ads help developers make money from free apps, but you probably don’t want to install annoying popups.

To stop ad popping within an app, you can often purchase the pro or ad-free version of the app. You’ll usually find these as in-app purchases, although they are sometimes downloaded separately on Google Play. Unfortunately, not all developers offer this.

Apart from rooting your device, the only way to block popups inside apps is to stop using them. You can put your phone in airplane mode to stop ads in any app or game, but it won’t work if it requires internet access to play.
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Popup From Unknown Source

The popups that appear even when you use different apps are terrible. With this issue, half of the battle is figuring out what Android app is showing Popup.

To get started, if the popup is the latest development, review all the apps you recently installed. Maybe one of them is dangerous and causes a popup.

Some categories of apps, such as system cleaner, wallpaper collection, and flashlight, are often filled with ads and could be a problem for you. Check recent reviews for apps you are unsure of and see if other users have complained about Popups. Uninstall the problematic app and see if the popup persists.

If this doesn’t fix the problem, the next step is to check which apps have permission to appear on top of other apps. Visit Settings > Apps & notifications > Advanced > Access specific apps > Display on top of other apps. Here, you will see all the installed apps that you have given permission to appear even if you are not using them.

Check out the list here and see if anything looks suspicious. Some apps have valid reasons to take over others. For example, your SMS app might have a Quick Reply box, or you might use a password manager that populates another app. But if you see something here that shouldn’t have permission, tap it and set Allow display from other apps to Off.

This is why being careful about app permissions is so important. If you don’t give the app permission to do something malicious, it greatly reduces your risk.

Scan for Android Malware

If you are still having problems with popups after removing shady apps and removing permission to show over other apps, you should run a scan for infections. This is especially important if you have installed apps from outside Google Play. Downloading apps from dubious sources can easily cause problems.

You really don’t need an antivirus app installed on your phone permanently. But if you have reached this point and are still suffering from Popups, it is worth installing just to run a scan. Malwarebytes for Android is a reputable choice; give it a download and run a scan to check for infection. You don’t have to pay for premium services.

If Malwarebytes doesn’t find anything, try our guide to removing Android malware. If those suggestions fail to stop the popup, your best course of action is probably a factory reset. You’ve removed the potentially problematic app, checked the permissions, and tried the anti-malware scanner.

How to Stop Popups in Notification Shade

Even though they don’t technically appear, notification ads are still a problem and just as annoying. If you see a spam notification popping up in your notification area, a quick flip of a switch can turn it off for good. These instructions will vary slightly depending on the version of Android you are using.

Pull down from the top of your screen to open your notification area and long press on the notification in question. You should see the name of the application that is responsible for it. Tap the i icon in the circle to bring up that app’s info.

On any recent version of Android, you can also visit Settings > Apps & notifications > See all X apps and tap on the app name to open that setting.

Once there, tap on the Notifications entry to change that app’s notification settings. On Android Oreo and later, you may be able to turn off certain types of notifications. On each version of Android, you can turn off all notifications for an app by turning off the slider.

If you don’t want to hide every notification from an app, but don’t have full options in Settings, you’ll need to go into app specific settings. Look for the gear icon or the three-dot menu with the Settings entry. The Notifications header may have an option to disable some types of notifications but not others.

For example, to disable the annoying IMDb app trailer notifications, you have to tap on the person icon in the top right corner, then tap on the three-dot menu followed by Settings. Select Notification Settings, and you can disable trailer ads.

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