Adware, browser hijackers and unwanted apps are these days able to infected the Apple macOS operating system. This type of infections are designed specifically to make money. They generate web traffic, collects sales leads for other dubious sites, and will display advertisements and sponsored links within your web browser.
Adware is unwanted software designed to throw advertisements up on your screen, most often within a web browser. These adware apps are often bundled with other free software that you download off of the Internet. Unfortunately, some free downloads do not adequately disclose that other software will also be installed and you may find that you have installed adware without your knowledge.
Once an adware program is installed on your device, whenever you will browse the Internet, unwanted advertisements will pop-up on your screen. These ads are aimed to promote the installation of additional questionable content including web browser toolbars, optimization utilities and other products, all so the adware publisher can generate pay-per-click revenue.
Here are a few typical signs that you have adware on your Mac:
- Advertisements appear in places they shouldn’t be.
- Your web browser’s homepage has mysteriously changed without your permission.
- Web pages that you typically visit are not displaying properly.
- Website links redirect to sites different from what you expected.
- Browser popups appear which recommend fake updates or other software.
- Other unwanted programs might get installed without your knowledge.
Always opt for the custom installation and deselect anything that is not familiar, especially optional software that you never wanted to download and install in the first place. It goes without saying that you should not install software that you don’t trust.
This guide was written to help macOS users remove adware and browser hijackers from their devices, if your just looking for a way to block or remove advertisements from the sites you visit, then you can use a free browser extension like Adblock.
Remove Adware, Pop-up Ads, or Malware from Mac (macOS Guide)
Please perform all the steps in the correct order. If you have any questions or doubt at any point, STOP and ask for our assistance.
To remove Adware, Pop-up Ads, or Malware from Mac, follow these steps:
- STEP 1: Remove the malicious apps from Mac
- STEP 2: Uninstall malicious extensions from Safari, Chrome, or Firefox
- STEP 3: Use Malwarebytes for Mac to remove adware and browser hijackers
STEP 1: Remove the malicious apps from Mac
In this first step, we will try to identify and remove any malicious app that might be installed on your device.
Click the Finder application on your dock.
Click on “Applications”
In the Finder left pane, click on “Applications“.
Find and remove the malicious app.
The “Applications” screen will be displayed with a list of all the app installed on your device. Scroll through the list until you find the malicious app, right-click it, and then click “Move to Trash”.
Known malicious apps: WeKnow, MacSaver, MacVX (and variants like MacVaX), MacCaptain, MacPriceCut, SaveOnMac, Mac Global Deals or MacDeals, MacSter, MacXcoupon, Shop Brain (or variants like SShoP Braaiin), PalMall, MacShop, MacSmart, News Ticker Remover, Shopper Helper Pro, Photo Zoom, Best YouTube Downloader, ArcadeYum, Extended protection, Video download helper, FlashFree or GoldenBoy.
The malicious app may have a different name on your device.
Click “Empty Trash”
On the dock, right-click on the trash icon and select “Empty Trash”. Doing so deletes the Trash’s contents, including the program that you just sent to the Trash.
Some browser hijackers may create a new group policy for your device, before we proceed with the other steps we need to remove these unwanted changes.
- Go to System Preferences.
- Click Profiles.
- The list will include an item “AdminPrefs“. Select this and click the remove “–” button in the lower left corner.
Next, click the desktop to make sure you’re in the Finder, choose Go > Go to Folder, type in /Users/Shared/. In the Shared folder, delete the Slimi files and folders.
STEP 2: Uninstall the malicious extensions from Safari, Chrome, or Firefox
Go to Safari’s “Preferences”.
On the menu bar, click the “Safari” menu and select “Preferences”.
This will open a new window with your Safari preferences, opened to the “General” tab. Some browser hijackers may change your default homepage, so in the Homepage field make sure its a web page you want to use as your start-up page.
Next, click on the “Extensions” tab.
Find and uninstall the malicious extension.
The “Extensions” screen will be displayed with a list of all the extensions installed on Safari. Scroll through the list until you find the malicious extension, and then click on “Uninstall” to remove it. By default, there are no extensions installed on Safari.
Known malicious extensions: MacSaver, MacVX (and variants like MacVaX), MacCaptain, MacPriceCut, SaveOnMac, Mac Global Deals or MacDeals, MacSter, MacXcoupon, Shop Brain (or variants like SShoP Braaiin), PalMall, MacShop, MacSmart, News Ticker Remover, Shopper Helper Pro, Photo Zoom, Best YouTube Downloader, ArcadeYum, Extended protection, Video download helper, FlashFree or GoldenBoy.
The malicious extension may have a different name on your device. If you cannot find any malicious extension, you can proceed with the next step.
Google Chrome has an option that will reset itself to its default settings. Resetting your browser settings will reset the unwanted changes caused by installing other programs. However, your saved bookmarks and passwords will not be cleared or changed.
Open Chrome’s “Settings” menu.
Click on Chrome’s main menu button, represented by three horizontal lines. When the drop-down menu appears, select the option labeled “Settings“.
At the bottom, click “Advanced”.
Chrome’s “Settings” should now be displayed in a new tab or window, depending on your configuration. Next, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the “Advanced” link (as seen in the below example).
Under the section “Reset,” click “Reset”.
Chrome’s advanced settings should now be displayed. Scroll down until the “Reset and clean up” section is visible, as shown in the example below. Next, click on the “Reset settings to their original defaults” button.
Confirm by clicking “Reset”.
A confirmation dialog should now be displayed, detailing the components that will be restored to their default state should you continue on with the reset process. To complete the restoration process, click on the “Reset Settings” button.
After deleting all of the above files, restart the computer. Then re-download Chrome and reinstall. You will need to import any exported bookmarks or other data, and may need to reinstall any other Google apps that you use.
If you’re having problems with Firefox, resetting it can help. The reset feature fixes many issues by restoring Firefox to its factory default state while saving your essential information like bookmarks, passwords, web form auto-fill information, browsing history and open tabs.
Go to the “Help” menu.
Click on Firefox’s main menu button, represented by three horizontal lines. When the drop-down menu appears, select the option labeled “Help“.
Click “Troubleshooting Information”.
From the Help menu, click on “Troubleshooting Information“.If you’re unable to access the “Help” menu, type about:support in your address bar to bring up the Troubleshooting information page.
Click on “Refresh Firefox”
Click the “Refresh Firefox” button in the upper-right corner of the “Troubleshooting Information” page.
To continue, click on the “Refresh Firefox” button in the new confirmation window that opens.
Click on “Finish”.
Firefox will close itself and will revert to its default settings. When it’s done, a window will list the information that was imported. Click on the “Finish“.
STEP 3: Use Malwarebytes for Mac to remove adware and browser hijackers
Malwarebytes is one of the most popular and most used anti-malware apps, and for good reasons. It is able to destroy many types of malware that other software tends to miss, without costing you absolutely nothing. When it comes to cleaning up an infected device, Malwarebytes has always been free and we recommend it as an essential tool in the fight against malware.
The first time you install Malwarebytes, you’re given a free 30-days trial of the premium edition, which includes preventative tools like real-time scanning and specific protection from ransomware. After 30 days, it automatically reverts to the basic free version that will detect and clean up malware infections only when you run a scan.
You can download Malwarebytes by clicking the link below.MALWAREBYTES FOR MAC DOWNLOAD LINK
(The above link will open a new page from where you can download Malwarebytes for Mac)
Double-click on the Malwarebytes setup file.
When Malwarebytes has finished downloading, double-click on the Malwarebytes-Mac-3.x.y.zzz.pkg file to install Malwarebytes on your device. In most cases, downloaded files are saved to the Downloads folder.
Follow the on-screen prompts to install Malwarebytes.
When the Malwarebytes installation begins, you will see the Malwarebytes Setup Wizard which will guide you through the installation process. The setup wizard displays an introduction to Malwarebytes for Mac. Click on “Continue” to complete the installation process.
Next, click on “Install“.
Click on “Scan Now”.
Once installed, Malwarebytes will automatically start and update the antivirus database. To perform a system scan, click on the “Scan Now” button.
Wait for the Malwarebytes scan to complete.
Malwarebytes will now start scanning your Mac for adware and other malicious apps. This process can take a few minutes, so we suggest you do something else and periodically check on the status of the scan to see when it is finished.
Click on “Confirm”.
When the scan has completed, you will be presented with a screen showing the malware infections that Malwarebytes has detected. To remove the malicious apps that Malwarebytes has found, click on the “Confirm” button.
Malwarebytes will now remove all the malicious files that it has found. To complete the malware removal process, Malwarebytes may ask you to restart your device.
Your device should be clean, and you should not experience any browser redirects or see unwanted advertisements. If you are still experiencing problems while trying to remove adware or browser hijacker from your Mac, please ask for help in our Malware Removal Assistance for Mac forum.