Summary: Adware stands for advertising-supported malware. It will keep popping out ads through browser and even reveal your private information. The post tells you the signs of adware and how to get rid of adware on Mac.

Although Mac OS is a relatively safe system, it might be harassed by malicious ads. For example, ads keep popping up when you are browsing a website; your computer slows down and shuts down suddenly.

The annoying phenomenon called adware (advertising-supported malware). It means unwanted software throw advertisements up on your screen.

Adware virus is considered as PUP (potentially unwanted program), a program that is installed without permission from you. Its purpose is to make a profit from the advertisements.

Adware Graphics

It is necessary to know how to get rid of adware on Mac because its manufacturer can collect your data like browsing history, search queries and web page visited through adware and sale them to advertisers.

Signs that your Mac has adware

Typically, there are two types of adware.

First, adware from a downloaded program.

Sometimes adware is included in the free download software. These free software use adware to generate revenue. It does not have malicious content but you will be bombarded with ads.

Second, on-site adware.

When you browse an infected website and it will install adware without your permission. On-site adware is not coming from the site, but the adware that is installed on your computer.

Then how do you know if you have adware on your device? Here are some signs:

  1. - Your browser becomes abnormal. For instance, it keeps crashing, it is very slow, or the homepage has changed without permission.

  2. - Your web pages have some problems. For example, the web pages that you often visit are different or website links redirect you to another page.

  3. - Advertisements keep showing up.

  4. - Unwanted apps are installed and new toolbars, plugins or extensions appear without your permission, which makes data usage soar.

How to Remove Adware on Mac

If you are vexed and have no idea about how to get rid of adware, here are five tips to remove adware from Mac on Safari, Chrome, and Firefox.

1. Block pop-ups in your browsers

Both Chrome and Safari have pop-ups blocker.

In Safari, go to Preferences > Security > Block pop-out windows.

Block Popout Setting

In Chrome, click the menu in the upper-right corner. Go to Settings > Advanced. Under Privacy, click Content Settings. Choose Do not allow any site to show pop-ups under the pop-ups section. Or turn on the Blocked button.

Chrome Block Popout

In Firefox, go to Settings > Privacy Protections and click Standard. Look for Permissions > check the Block pop-up windows.

Firefox Block Popout

2. Check homepage settings

If the adware changes your homepage without your permission, change it back.

In Safari, go to Preferences> General. In the Homepage field, make sure it has the site you want to start up with or it is empty. Click Search and make sure the default search engine has the one you want.

Safari Homepage

In Chrome, go to Settings > On startup > Open a specific page or set of pages. Set your homepage whatever you want to make sure your browser does not open to adware sites.

Chrome On Startup

In Firefox, go to Privacy Protection and click Standard. Click Home on the left side and set the homepage and new page windows. Make sure it is your custom website.

Firefox New Page

3. Disable suspicious extensions

Extensions allow little programs to enrich your browsing experience. But adware may hide in your extensions. Check you've installed all the things you want and disable the suspicious extensions.

In Safari, go to Preferences > Extensions and click the extension you want to uninstall on the left.

Safari Disable Extension

In Chrome, go to Settings > Extensions and turn off the button of any extension you don't recognize. Or just click Remove to delete it completely. Check the uninstall button to delete the suspicious extension.

Remove Chrome Extensions

In Firefox, go to Privacy Protection and click standard, choose Extensions & Themes on the left side. If you find any useless extensions, disable or remove it.

Firefox Extensions

4. Remove applications that might be adware

Here is a list of apps that you should pay attention to:

  1. - Amazon Shopping Assistant by Spigot Inc.

  2. - Cinema-Plus Pro or variations such as Cinema + HD, Cinema + Plus.

  3. - Ebay Shopping Assistant by Spigot Inc.

  4. - FlashMall

  5. - Searchme by Spigot, Inc

  6. - Slick Savings by Spigot Inc.

  7. - Shopy Mate

You can manually find the unwanted adware and remove it from your Mac. Or you can use an app uninstaller, FonePaw MacMaster, which can scan out all applications on your Mac for you to remove. You can review the scanned result and completely remove the adware and its related data. (Read: How to Completely Uninstall Application on Mac)

5. Find and remove adware from Mac

Lastly, you need to root out specific adware that may have been installed alongside legitimate Mac software.

First, quit Safari, Chrome or Firefox, then check your system for adware files.

In the Finder, go to Go menu > Go to Folder. Paste one of the lines below into the resulting Go to Folder field. 

  1. -  /System/Library/Frameworks/v.framework 

  2. - /Library/PrivilegedHelperTools/Jack 

  3. - /Library/InputManagers/CTLoader/ 

  4. - /Library/Application Support/Conduit/ 

  5. - ~/Library/Internet Plug-Ins/ConduitNPAPIPlugin.plugin 

  6. - ~/Library/Internet Plug-Ins/TroviNPAPIPlugin.plugin 

  7. - /Applications/ 

  8. - /Applications/ 

  9. - /Applications/ 

If there is no result, then your Mac is free of the specific adware files. If you see anything, just drag it to the trash. Then restart your Mac and empty the trash.

Empty Trash

Also, you will need to check the Activity Monitor.

Open Activity Monitor and find the suspect applications like Genio and InstallMac. Then click Force Quit and drag the apps to the Trash.

Finally, restart your Mac and empty the Trash.

In all, adware is not a virus but still but it is annoying. You might be bothered by constant banners, in-text ads, and pop-ups when you open the browser windows. Even worse, it may expose your privacy. Thus, it is important to clean the adware on your Mac and protect your personal information.