How to remove adware from Android phones

How to remove adware from Android devices

Advertisement-serving applications and good-apps-gone-bad are often found in the Google Play store by security researchers. It seems like security research teams publish reports about the discovery of new adware found in the Play store every day. As phones are approaching to be the dominant means for people to access the internet, cybercriminals are hunting for better ways to reach Android users and develop a revenue stream for themselves. Adware helps them the bad actors by forcing Android users to see, hear, watch, and click advertisements whether or not they’ve agreed to it beforehand or are even aware that it’s happening.

Also see: How to remove malware from Android phones

Signs your Android phone has adware

Adware serves various types of advertisements that can appear in different situations. If your phone is infected with adware it is possible to see pop-up ads while you’re using a legitimate application such as Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. You may also see pop-up ads on your phone’s home screen when no app is being used.

android adware

These are signs that your Android phone is infected with adware:

  • You notice advertisements
  • Your phone is slower
  • Apps take longer to launch
  • The battery drains faster
  • Your phone has unfamiliar apps
  • Unexplained data usage

How to check if your Android phone is infected with adware

A good way to check if your Android phone is infected with adware is to scan your phone with a credible security program. Before you install just any antivirus keep in mind that some mobile antivirus apps are malicious and some don’t do what they’re supposed to do. With that in mind, make sure to avoid mobile antivirus software that looks suspicious or that you are not familiar with. The wrong mobile Antivirus app may overlook vulnerabilities and provide you with a false sense of security.

Some of the best mobile security apps to check out are Norton and Malwarebytes.

How to remove adware from your Android phone

If you think there is adware on your Android phone, the first thing you should do is stop the adware from causing any further damage. Follow these steps to remove malware from your Android phone and reduce further complications caused by malware.

Step 1: Turn off your phone and restart in Safe mode

  1. Press and hold the power button until the power options appear.
  2. Tap Power off.
  3. Press and hold Power off until it changes to a green shield and says Safe mode.
  4. Tap Safe mode to restart your phone in Safe mode.

Step 2: Uninstall adware

If you think an app on your phone is adware delete it immediately. Removing the app may not completely remove the adware from your phone, but it may be helpful in getting rid of advertisements and stopping the app from obtaining your information. To uninstall adware from your phone, visit your phone’s settings and uninstall apps that may be serving you advertisements.

  • Did you recently install an app? It could be adware.
  • Is there an app on your phone that you have never heard of? Research it online, read reviews about it, visit the app’s page in the Google Play store and decide if you should remove it or not.
  • Some good apps become infected with adware and may serve you advertisements. Is there an app you’re familiar with that is using up a lot of data or acting strangely?

Android makes it easy to search through all the apps on your phone including ones that may be hiding. To view a list of all the apps on your phone go to Settings > Apps. If you click on an app in the list you can see how much mobile data and storage space the app is using. You can also uninstall the app or force it to stop. Furthermore, there are other options in this setting that can help you research if an app is adware or not.

Step 3: Install a mobile security app

A good mobile security app detects and removes adware that is already on your phone and even better security app prevents adware from getting onto your phone in the first place. However, some apps can do both by providing real-time protection and powerful scanning tools. Some of the best choices when it comes to mobile security are Norton and Malwarebytes.

Sean Doyle

Sean Doyle is a tech author and engineer with over 20 years of experience in cybersecurity, privacy, malware, Google Analytics, online marketing, and other topics. Sean's content has been featured in numerous publications.

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