Top

How to Remove Adware and Pop-Ups From Your Mac

What is Adware?

Adware is software that automatically displays or downloads advertising material (often unwanted) when a user is online. It's typically found within your web browser and it might be unknowingly bundled with other free software you download off the Internet, such as a fake Adobe Flash Player Installer, or other freeware. Once installed, it can modify the default homepage and search engine, and display ads or pop-ups on pages where they may have never appeared before.

Adware3.png

Users should be very cautious about the applications they agree to install and should never download files or software from untrusted sources.

 

Removing Adware and Pop-Ups From Your Mac

It can be difficult to get rid adware, so we've created this article to assist you in removing these unwanted pop-ups and advertisements on your Mac.  It's important to follow all of the instructions outlined below.  If you have any questions or concerns about completing these steps as listed, we recommend Contacting Intego Support for further assistance.

To completely remove adware and pop-ups from your Mac, follow these steps in order:

Scan Your Mac With VirusBarrier
Remove Malicious Software
Remove LaunchAgents and LaunchDaemons
Uninstall Adware Extensions


Scan Your Mac With VirusBarrier to Remove Adware and Pop-Ups

The best course of action if your Mac is infected with adware is to scan it with an antivirus solution to delete all malicious files from your device.  Intego's award-winning VirusBarrier software is the best solution available to protect your Mac from malware, viruses, ransomware and adware.  You can download and install VirusBarrier X9 as part of our Internet Security bundle from the link below:

Download and Install Internet Security X9 Including VirusBarrier 

After the download is complete, double-click the installer file which should appear in your Downloads folder by default.
(Note: It may be in another location if you have modified your browser settings)

Downloaded_File.png

Follow the on-screen instructions to properly install the software:

Installed.png

Once installation is complete, open VirusBarrier from the top-right corner of the menu bar using the Intego castle icon:

Open_VirusBarrier.png

Or, open a Finder window and locate VirusBarrier in your Applications > Intego folder:

Intego_Folder.png

Now, run a Full Scan:

manual_scan.png

VirusBarrier will automatically detect any adware or potentially unwanted programs (PUP) on your Mac. Once the scan is complete, use the options provided in the window to Quarantine, Repair, or Delete the infected files.

Detected.png

 

Remove Malicious Software

After scanning your Mac with VirusBarrier, you'll want to check for any remnants of the malicious applications which may be left behind.

Open a Finder window and navigate to Applications:

Applications.png


Find and Remove Adware or Malicious Software

Look through the list of Applications to locate the software to delete.  Once you have found the adware, right-click and select 'Move To Trash'.

Mac_Cleanup_Pro.png

A few examples of adware you might find include Mac Cleanup Pro, WeKnow, Shlayer, Spigot, SurfBuyer, MacSaver, ShopperHelper and CrossRider. (Note: This is not a complete list of all known adware, and the names of these malicious programs change constantly. The name of the application you need to remove on your Mac may differ from this list.)

Empty the Trash from your Dock to completely remove the application from your Mac, then restart your computer to complete the process.

Empty_Trash.png

 


Remove Unwanted LaunchAgents and LaunchDaemons

What Are LaunchAgents & LaunchDaemons?

A daemon is a program running in the background without requiring user input. A typical daemon might perform daily maintenance tasks or scan a device for malware. The main difference between the two is that an agent is run on behalf of the logged-in user, while a daemon runs on behalf of the root user or any user specified.

You will find LaunchAgents and LaunchDaemons installed on your Mac in the following locations:

  • /Library/LaunchAgents
  • /Library/LaunchDaemons 
  • /System/Library/LaunchAgents
  • /System/Library/LaunchDaemons 
  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents   (inside the home folder)

You should remove any unwanted files you may find in these locations.  Open a Finder window and select: Go > Go to Folder...:

Go_To_Folder.png

Now, enter one of the file paths listed above. It will look like this:

LaunchAgents.png

Next, delete any files you see here for adware or unwanted applications.

User_LaunchAgents.png

LaunchDaemons.png

With great power comes great responsibility!  Always be mindful of the files you are removing, since deleting anything by mistake may prevent software from working as expected.

Uninstall Adware Extensions From Your Web Browsers

In addition to scanning your Mac with VirusBarrier, you'll also want to check all of the web browsers you use to see if there are any extensions installed for adware.  There are plenty of browsers available for macOS, but we're going to cover the three most popular choices in this article: Safari, Chrome and Firefox.

Update the Homepage

Check the homepage in all of your web browsers and make sure it is set correctly.  If you do not recognize the homepage listed, change it to something else. 

Safari

Safari.png

Chrome

Chrome_Homepage.png

Firefox

Firefox.png

 

Delete Unwanted Extensions

Some adware will also install extensions in your web browser which allow them to display ads and pop-ups for potentially unwanted programs and services.  You'll want to remove these from your web browser if they exist by using the Uninstall or Remove command.

Safari
Location:  Safari > Preferences > Extensions

Safari_Extensions.png

Chrome
Location: Chrome > Window > Extensions

ChromeExt1.png

Firefox
Location: Firefox > Preferences > Extensions & Themes

FirefoxExt.png

Following all of these steps should help keep your Mac adware-free!

 

Contact Intego Support

Support.png

If you still have questions about adware or malware on your Mac and cannot find the answer in this article or our Knowledge Base, please contact our Support Team directly for assistance by completing a support ticket online here:

Contact Support

 

Have more questions? Submit a request

Comments