How To: There's an Easy Way to Stop Random Popup Ads on Android

There's an Easy Way to Stop Random Popup Ads on Android

"Why do I keep getting popups on my phone when I'm not even doing anything?" I see this question asked all the time. The answer? You have a shady app on your phone and it started showing full screen ads. But people either don't know this (so they don't know they just need to find and uninstall the problematic app), or if they do know it's a bad app, they don't know which app is causing it.

There are popups all over the web and ads in many free apps, but that's to be expected. It's the cost of using free services. But these ads are constrained to the app or website, and they only show up when you're actively using it — they shouldn't ever pop up when you're using a different app or not using your phone at all.

So that's not the type of ad we're dealing with here. The type of popup that appears even when you're not interacting with your phone is always caused by an adware app. Likely one that seemed to have legitimate functionality, and probably even an app you installed from Google Play. So it's not always easy to identify.

Note: If you're not seeing images in this article, it's likely your ad blocker. The headline contains the word "ads," and it's used in the images' file names, so some ad blockers will block the images just for containing that keyword. To view the images, whitelist this page in your ad blocker's settings.

Identifying & Removing the Adware

If it's been happening for a while and you've ignored it, you can't just uninstall the last app you installed. If it's just now starting to happen, it's either an app you installed recently or one that auto-updated recently.

Either way, there's a super simple way to find out which app it is. As soon as the next ad pops up, go to your home screen and open the Play Store app before opening any other app. Open the hamburger menu, go to My Apps, then head to the Installed tab.

It's sorted alphabetically by default, so tap the little sort button near the top-right and choose "Last Used." Ignore your launcher since it'll probably be first in the list (unless you suspect it might be your launcher), but tap the second app. Hit "Uninstall." You've now just identified the problem and solved it in one fell swoop!

If the option to uninstall the app is not available, it's either a preinstalled app (which wouldn't be the adware) or an app that somehow got Device Administrator privileges. These can still be uninstalled, but it takes a little more work. I've outlined that process in a previous guide.

Who needs a wand? Unlock your magical powers and transform yourself from a Muggle into a Wizard or Witch just by using your Android phone. See how:

Cover image and screenshots by Dallas Thomas/Gadget Hacks


Thank you so much for your advice on this issue. After weeks of an annoying ad constantly popping up, it's great to have my screen back!

If anyone has issues with your phone popping up ads download one app appwatch its Android based i believe iPhone has a version very easy to use and ots free turn it on and let it run in the background itself second you see a ad open app it will expose the problem app then delete it

"Last Used" option isn't there anymore. Is there a way around this?

Omg yes PLEASE, ANYONE? I've been trying EVERYTHING I possibly can to get this to stop and FINALLY thought I found the answer only to find, like you said, that option is no longer there!! I've totally blocked every single thing I can find in order to stop samsung internet from popping up ads in the middle of EVERYTHING I do on here, all to no avail. I finally got the ads to stop only after completely disabling Samsung Internet, but now instead of ads I get Samsung internet constantly popping up instead wanting me to sign back up! Please if anyone has another way, LET ME KNOW!

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