Remove Unwanted Ads, Pop-ups & Redirects from Android (Guide)

If your Android phone is constantly being redirected to suspicious sites or your browser homepage and search engine have been changed without your consent, then it is possible that you have a malicious app installed …

If your Android phone is constantly being redirected to suspicious sites or your browser homepage and search engine have been changed without your consent, then it is possible that you have a malicious app installed on your smartphone. This guide teaches you how to remove malicious apps from your Android phone by following easy step-by-step instructions.

Image: Malicious apps in Google Play Store
Image: Malicious apps in Google Play Store

Can Android phone get infected with malware?

Adware, browser hijackers, and other malicious apps are these days able to infect your Android phone. When a malicious app is installed on your phone, unwanted advertisements will pop up or your browser homepage and the search engine will be modified without your consent.

Here are a few typical signs that you have adware installed on your phone:

  • 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 apps might get installed without your knowledge.

When an Android phone is infected with malware, you may notice poor device performance, a battery that drains much quickly, unexplained data usage, or apps that unexpectedly crash. You should keep in mind that some of these symptoms can just mean your device is simply overloaded with junk.

How did my phone get infected with malware?

Malicious apps such as adware or browser hijacker are installed by the users, whether that is knowingly or not. The key thing to remember about malware on Android is that you have to actually install the malicious app. Malware writers will use increasingly clever techniques to try and trick you into doing just that.

As malware writers try to earn money for their bad deeds, they continually look for new ways to get their malicious software installed on your phone. The best recommendation is still to think twice before installing untrusted software or clicking on strange-looking links.

When downloading apps it’s recommended that you only do so from a legitimate app store such as the Google Play Store, Samsung Store, or another major manufacturer. It goes without saying that you should not install software that you don’t trust.

To remove malicious apps and check your phone for other malware, please use the free malware removal guide below.

Remove Unwanted Ads, Pop-ups and Redirects from Android (Guide)

This malware removal guide may appear overwhelming due to the number of steps and numerous programs that are being used. We have only written it this way to provide clear, detailed, and easy-to-understand instructions that anyone can use to remove malware for free.
Please perform all the steps in the correct order. If you have any questions or doubts at any point, stop and ask for our assistance.

To remove unwanted ads, pop-ups and redirects from your phone, follow these steps:

STEP 1: Remove malicious device admin apps from your phone

In this first step, we will check the phone to see if there are any malicious apps with administrator privileges installed on your phone.

The administrator privileges are used by apps to perform legitimate tasks such as device management or for antivirus apps to do a remote wipe. Unfortunately, these elevated privileges are also being used by malicious apps to prevent victims from removing the malicious app from the phone.

  1. Open the “Settings” menu.

    Tap on the “Settings” app from your phone menu or home screen.
    Settings app in Android

  2. Go to “Device admin apps”.

    When the “Settings” menu opens, if you’re using a newer version of Android or a Samsung phone, tap on “Biometrics and Security“, then tap on “Other Security Settings” and then on “Device admin apps“.

    However, because there are phones with different versions of Android the “Device admins apps” settings may be in a different menu, so below we’ve listed other common ways to reach the “Device admin apps” options:

    • Security > Device admin apps
    • Security & privacy > Device admin apps
    • Security > Device Administrators
    • Lock Screen and Security > Other Security Settings > Phone Administrators.

    If you’re having trouble finding the “Device admin apps” settings, you can use your phone’s built-in search function to search through the Settings.

    Tap on Biometrics and Security > Other Security Settings > Device admin apps - Android

  3. Disable administrator privileges for the malicious app.

    Once you’ve accessed the list of device admin apps, disable admin rights by tapping the option to the right of the app. This will remove the checkmark or toggle the button to the off position. Now you can delete the app normally as seen in the below step. On some phones, you can tap the app right there in the admin apps list and then use the Uninstall app link to remove it immediately.

    Disable admin rights for the malicious app - Android
    If there is no malicious app with administrator privileges on your phone, then you can continue with the next step from this guide.


STEP 2: Uninstall the malicious apps from your Android phone

In this second step, we will check if any malicious apps are installed on your phone. Sometimes browser hijackers or adware apps can have usable Uninstall entries that can be used to remove these apps.

  1. Open the “Settings” menu.

    Tap on the “Settings” app from your phone menu or home screen.
    Settings app in Android

  2. Tap on “Apps”.

    When the “Settings” menu opens, tap on “Apps” (or “App Manager”) to see all the installed applications on your phone.
    Tap on Apps

  3. Find the malicious app.

    The “Apps” screen will be displayed with a list of all the applications that are installed on your phone. Scroll through the list until you find the malicious app. Look out for any suspicious app that could be behind all the drama – anything you don’t remember downloading or that doesn’t sound like a genuine program. Most often, cybercriminals hide malware inside the video or photo editing apps, weather apps, and camera apps.

    Here are some known malicious apps: ES File Explorer, Xender, Amber Weather Widget, GO Weather Forecast & Widgets, Kitty Play, Touchpal, Z Camera.

    Search trough the Apps list for the malicious app

  4. Uninstall the malicious app

    When you find a suspicious or malicious app, tap on it to uninstall it. This won’t start the app but will open up the app details screen. If the app is currently running press the “Force stop” button, then tap on “Uninstall”.
    Uninstall malicious app from Android

    A confirmation dialog should be displayed to confirm you want to uninstall the app, tap on “OK” to remove the malicious app from your phone.

    Confirm uninstall app from Android phone


STEP 3: Use Malwarebytes to remove adware and other malicious apps

In this third step, we will install Malwarebytes to scan your phone for malicious apps and files.

Malwarebytes for Android searches all files and apps quickly and effectively for malware or potentially unwanted programs such as screen lockers or adware, freeing your Android device from bloatware.

  1. Download Malwarebytes.

    You can download Malwarebytes by clicking the link below.

    MALWAREBYTES DOWNLOAD LINK
    (The above link open a Google Play Store from where you can download Malwarebytes)
  2. Install Malwarebytes on your phone

    In the Google Play Store, tap “Install” to install Malwarebytes on your device.

    Tap Install to install Malwarebytes for Android

    When the installation process has finished, tap “Open” to begin using Malwarebytes for Android. You can also open Malwarebytes by tapping on its icon in your phone menu or home screen.
    Malwarebytes for Android - Open App

  3. Follow the on-screen prompts to complete the setup process

    When the Malwarebytes will open, you will see the Malwarebytes Setup Wizard which will guide you through a series of permissions and other setup options.
    This is the first of two screens which explain the difference between the Premium and Free version. Swipe this screen to continue.
    Malwarebytes Setup Screen 1
    Tap on “Got it” to proceed to the next step.
    Malwarebytes Setup Screen 2
    Malwarebytes for Android will now ask for a set of permissions that are required to scan your device and protect it from malware. Tap on “Give permission” to continue.
    Malwarebytes Setup Screen 3
    Tap on “Allow” to give permission to Malwarebytes to access the files on your phone.
    Malwarebytes Setup Screen 4

  4. Update database and run a scan with Malwarebytes

    You will now be prompted to update the Malwarebytes database and run a full system scan.

    Malwarebytes fix issue

    Click on “Update database” to update the Malwarebytes definitions to the latest version, then click on “Run full scan” to perform a system scan.

    Update database and run Malwarebytes scan on phone

  5. Wait for the Malwarebytes scan to complete.

    Malwarebytes will now start scanning your phone 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.
    Malwarebytes scanning phone for malware

  6. Click on “Remove Selected”.

    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, tap on the “Remove Selected” button.
    Remove malicious apps from your phone

  7. Restart your phone.

    Malwarebytes will now remove all the malicious apps that it has found. To complete the malware removal process, Malwarebytes may ask you to restart your device.


STEP 4: Reset your browser settings to remove pop-ups and redirects

If your phone is still redirected to unwanted sites or you see pop-up ads, we will need to reset the web browser settings to their original defaults.

This step should be performed only if the issues have not been solved by the previous steps.

Resetting the browser settings to their default it’s an easy task on Windows or Mac computers; however, when it comes to Android, this can’t be done directly because it’s not an option built-in into the browser settings. Restoring the browser settings on Android can be done by clearing the application data. This will remove all the cookies, cache, and other site settings that may have been saved. So let’s see how we can restore your browser to its factory settings.

ChromeFirefoxOperaBraveSamsung Internet BrowserUC BrowserMicrosoft Edge

Remove adware and pop-up ads from Google Chrome

To reset the Chrome browser to its default settings, follow the below steps:

  1. Open the “Settings” menu.

    Tap on the “Settings” app from your phone menu or home screen.
    Settings app in Android

  2. Tap on “Apps”.

    When the “Settings” menu opens, tap on “Apps” (or “App Manager”) to see all the installed applications on your phone.
    Tap on Apps

  3. Find and tap on Chrome.

    The “Apps” screen will be displayed with a list of all the apps installed on your phone. Scroll through the list until you find the Chrome app, then tap ot it to open the apps details.
    Tap on Chrome

  4. Tap “Storage”.

    When the Chrome’s app info menu is displayed, tap on “Storage“.
    Tap on Storage

  5. Tap “Manage Space”.

    Under the storage settings, you will get two options — Manage Space and Clear Cache. Tap on “Manage Space“.
    Tap on Manage Storage

  6. Tap “Clear all data”.

    Tap “Clear all data” to delete all Chrome’s data including accounts, bookmarks and your settings in order to reset the default settings.
    Tap on Clear All Data

  7. Confirm by tapping “Ok”.

    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, tap “Ok“.
    Tap Ok to restore default settings

Remove adware and pop-up ads from Firefox browser

To reset the Firefox browser to its default settings, follow the below steps:

  1. Open the “Settings” menu.

    Tap on the “Settings” app from your phone menu or home screen.
    Settings app in Android

  2. Tap on “Apps”.

    When the “Settings” menu opens, tap on “Apps” (or “App Manager”) to see all the installed applications on your phone.
    Tap on Apps

  3. Find and tap on Firefox.

    The “Apps” screen will be displayed with a list of all the apps installed on your phone. Scroll through the list until you find the Firefox app, then tap ot it to open the apps details.
    Search trough the Apps list for the malicious app

  4. Tap “Storage”.

    When the Firefox’s app info menu is displayed, tap on “Storage“.
    Firefox - Tap on Storage

  5. Tap “Manage Space”.

    Under the storage settings, you will get two options — Manage Space and Clear Cache. Tap on “Manage Space“.
    Firefox - Tap on Manage Storage

  6. Tap “Clear all data”.

    Tap “Clear all data” to delete all Firefox’s data including accounts, bookmarks and your settings in order to reset the default settings.
    Firefox - Tap on Clear All Data

  7. Confirm by tapping “Ok”.

    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, tap “Ok“.

Remove adware and pop-up ads from Opera browser

To reset the Opera browser to its default settings, follow the below steps:

  1. Open the “Settings” menu.

    Tap on the “Settings” app from your phone menu or home screen.
    Settings app in Android

  2. Tap on “Apps”.

    When the “Settings” menu opens, tap on “Apps” (or “App Manager”) to see all the installed applications on your phone.
    Tap on Apps

  3. Find and tap on Opera.

    The “Apps” screen will be displayed with a list of all the apps installed on your phone. Scroll through the list until you find the Opera app, then tap ot it to open the apps details.
    Search trough the Apps list for the malicious app

  4. Tap “Storage”.

    When the Opera’s app info menu is displayed, tap on “Storage“.
    Opera - Tap on Storage

  5. Tap “Manage Space”.

    Under the storage settings, you will get two options — Manage Space and Clear Cache. Tap on “Manage Space“.
    Opera - Tap on Manage Storage

  6. Tap “Clear all data”.

    Tap “Clear all data” to delete all Opera’s data including accounts, bookmarks and your settings in order to reset the default settings.
    Opera - Tap on Clear All Data

  7. Confirm by tapping “Ok”.

    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, tap “Ok“.

Remove adware and pop-up ads from Brave browser

To reset the Brave browser to its default settings, follow the below steps:

  1. Open the “Settings” menu.

    Tap on the “Settings” app from your phone menu or home screen.
    Settings app in Android

  2. Tap on “Apps”.

    When the “Settings” menu opens, tap on “Apps” (or “App Manager”) to see all the installed applications on your phone.
    Tap on Apps

  3. Find and tap on Brave.

    The “Apps” screen will be displayed with a list of all the apps installed on your phone. Scroll through the list until you find the Brave app, then tap ot it to open the apps details.
    Search trough the Apps list for the malicious app

  4. Tap “Storage”.

    When the Brave’s app info menu is displayed, tap on “Storage“.
    Brave - Tap on Storage

  5. Tap “Manage Space”.

    Under the storage settings, you will get two options — Manage Space and Clear Cache. Tap on “Manage Space“.
    Brave - Tap on Manage Storage

  6. Tap “Clear all data”.

    Tap “Clear all data” to delete all Brave’s data including accounts, bookmarks, and your settings in order to reset the default settings.
    Brave - Tap on Clear All Data

  7. Confirm by tapping “Ok”.

    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, tap “Ok“.

Remove adware and pop-up ads from Samsung Internet Browser

To reset the Samsung Internet Browser to its default settings, follow the below steps:

  1. Open the “Settings” menu.

    Tap on the “Settings” app from your phone menu or home screen.
    Settings app in Android

  2. Tap on “Apps”.

    When the “Settings” menu opens, tap on “Apps” (or “App Manager”) to see all the installed applications on your phone.
    Tap on Apps

  3. Find and tap on Samsung Internet Browser.

    The “Apps” screen will be displayed with a list of all the apps installed on your phone. Scroll through the list until you find the Samsung Internet Browser app, then tap ot it to open the apps details.
    Search trough the Apps list for the malicious app

  4. Tap “Storage”.

    When the Samsung Internet Browser’s app info menu is displayed, tap on “Storage“.
    Samsung Internet Browser - Tap on Storage

  5. Tap “Manage Space”.

    Under the storage settings, you will get two options — Manage Space and Clear Cache. Tap on “Manage Space“.
    Samsung Internet Browser - Tap on Manage Storage

  6. Tap “Clear all data”.

    Tap “Clear all data” to delete all Samsung Internet Browser’s data including accounts, bookmarks, and your settings in order to reset the default settings.
    Samsung Internet Browser - Tap on Clear All Data

  7. Confirm by tapping “Ok”.

    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, tap “Ok“.

Remove adware and pop-up ads from UC Browser

To reset the UC Browser to its default settings, follow the below steps:

  1. Open the “Settings” menu.

    Tap on the “Settings” app from your phone menu or home screen.
    Settings app in Android

  2. Tap on “Apps”.

    When the “Settings” menu opens, tap on “Apps” (or “App Manager”) to see all the installed applications on your phone.
    Tap on Apps

  3. Find and tap on UC Browser.

    The “Apps” screen will be displayed with a list of all the apps installed on your phone. Scroll through the list until you find the UC Browser app, then tap ot it to open the apps details.
    Search trough the Apps list for the malicious app

  4. Tap “Storage”.

    When the UC Browser’s app info menu is displayed, tap on “Storage“.
    UC Browser - Tap on Storage

  5. Tap “Manage Space”.

    Under the storage settings, you will get two options — Manage Space and Clear Cache. Tap on “Manage Space“.
    UC Browser - Tap on Manage Storage

  6. Tap “Clear all data”.

    Tap “Clear all data” to delete all UC Browser’s data including accounts, bookmarks, and your settings in order to reset the default settings.
    UC Browser - Tap on Clear All Data

  7. Confirm by tapping “Ok”.

    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, tap “Ok“.

Remove adware and pop-up ads from Microsoft Edge

To reset the Microsoft Edge browser to its default settings, follow the below steps:

  1. Open the “Settings” menu.

    Tap on the “Settings” app from your phone menu or home screen.
    Settings app in Android

  2. Tap on “Apps”.

    When the “Settings” menu opens, tap on “Apps” (or “App Manager”) to see all the installed applications on your phone.
    Tap on Apps

  3. Find and tap on Microsoft Edge.

    The “Apps” screen will be displayed with a list of all the apps installed on your phone. Scroll through the list until you find the Microsoft Edge app, then tap ot it to open the apps details.
    Search trough the Apps list for the malicious app

  4. Tap “Storage”.

    When the Microsoft Edge’s app info menu is displayed, tap on “Storage“.
    Microsoft Edge - Tap on Storage

  5. Tap “Manage Space”.

    Under the storage settings, you will get two options — Manage Space and Clear Cache. Tap on “Manage Space“.
    Microsoft Edge - Tap on Manage Storage

  6. Tap “Clear all data”.

    Tap “Clear all data” to delete all Microsoft Edge’s data including accounts, bookmarks, and your settings in order to reset the default settings.
    Microsoft Edge - Tap on Clear All Data

  7. Confirm by tapping “Ok”.

    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, tap “Ok“.

Your computer should now be free of malicious apps. If your current antivirus allowed a malicious app on your phone, you may want to consider purchasing the full-featured version of Malwarebytes to protect against these types of threats in the future.
If you are still having problems with your computer after completing these instructions, then please follow one of the steps: