Persistent ads and pop-ups is a common situation for many Android users today. In this short tutorial, we’ll show you how to deal with this problem on your Galaxy Note9. Be sure to do our suggestions provided below to easily get rid of pop-ups or viruses on your device. Technically, pop-ups or ads are not viruses or malware but they’re usually a product of the former. Malicious developers usually employ tactics that mimics the ways in deploying malware in smartphones so for simplicity’s sake, we loosely use pop-ups, persistent ads, and viruses in this post to mean similar things.
How to stop and remove pop-ups on Galaxy Note9
There is no clear cut way of dealing with pop-ups. If you’re getting a lot of them most of the time, it’s high time to do something about it. Here are the steps that you can try to deal with ads and pop-ups.
If your Note9 has been bombarding you with pop-ups whenever you use any app, or if the device has become virtually unusable due to ads that randomly shows up, the best troubleshooting step that you can do first is factory reset. As the name suggests, the software will be reverted to their factory defaults in order to remove the source or origins of pop-ups. Persistent random ads is a sign that your phone may had already been taken over by a malicious app or virus so it’s a good idea to clean it up first. With factory reset, everything except the factory state software will be removed from the device. Since a lot of viruses and pop-ups are caused by bad apps, wiping the phone is an excellent idea in fixing the problem.
Factory reset will delete all personal data such as photos, videos, documents, contacts, and messages so be sure to back them up ahead of time. If you are a newbie to Android or to Samsung Galaxy devices, you can use the official Samsung Smart Switch to back up your files.
Once you’ve taken care of your data, you can then perform the following steps to factory reset your device:
- Delete your Google account from the device. You must do this to avoid encountering problems later on due to Factory Reset Protection.
- Turn off the device. This is important. If you can’t turn it off, you’ll never be able to boot to Recovery Mode. If you are not able to shut the device off regularly via the Power button, wait until the phone’s battery is drained. Then, charge the phone for 30 minutes before booting to Recovery Mode.
- Press and hold the Volume Up key and the Bixby key, then press and hold the Power key.
- When the green Android logo displays, release all keys (‘Installing system update’ will show for about 30 – 60 seconds before showing the Android system recovery menu options).
- Press the Volume down key several times to highlight ‘wipe data / factory reset’.
- Press Power button to select.
- Press the Volume down key until ‘Yes — delete all user data’ is highlighted.
- Press Power button to select and start the master reset.
- When the master reset is complete, ‘Reboot system now’ is highlighted.
- Press the Power key to restart the device.
- Set up the device again.
Once you’re done preparing the phone after the reset, check for the problem before installing any app. Use the phone for a few minutes to see if there are no pop-ups anymore (there should be no pop-ups at this stage). Remember, most sources of ads or pop-ups are apps (usually third party ones). This means that if pop-ups return after you’ve installed your apps, one of them is the culprit.
Disable Pop-ups under Chrome
If you’re only getting pop-ups when using a web browser like Google Chrome, that means that you may have visited booby-trapped sites. There are a number of ways hackers can compromise an Android device and one of them is by allowing a user to visit a website that then runs a code to take over the browser. Once this happens, the browser’s security is then weakened or disabled, allowing it to show ads or pop-ups whenever you use it.
If pop-ups seem to appear when you’re browsing the web using Chrome, which is the default browser in most Android devices, you can troubleshoot it by disabling an option under the app’s Settings menu. Here’s how:
- Open Google Chrome app.
- Tap on More Settings icon at the upper right (three dots).
- Tap Settings.
- Tap Site settings.
- Select Pop-ups.
- Disable Pop-ups by moving the switch to the right.
Other third party browsers offer more robust protection against popups. Try them if Google Chrome can’t seem to control the pop-ups. Good examples of alternate browsers are Mozilla Firefox and Samsung Internet browser.
Turn off Marketing information in Settings
Samsung does not stop making money off your device after you paid for it. In fact, it can continue making deals with third party companies to allow them to send you offers with the help of the least known feature under Settings menu called Marketing information. This feature is disabled by default but if turn it on before without knowing what it does, it’s probably high time to turn if back off.
Keep in mind that Samsung does not intentionally make your Galaxy S9 vulnerable by enabling Marketing information. But since some unscrupulous developers may do whatever it takes to make money, they may resort to means that forces ad pop-ups on devices. Turning off Marketing information feature is a good idea in your situation.
Remove bad apps via Safe Mode
If nothing happens after doing the suggestions above, the next best thing to do is to check the possibility of a bad app. As mentioned previously, apps are one of the main sources of pop-ups or malware in Android devices. In your case, it’s highly possible that one of the installed applications is the reason since pop-ups return after a factory reset and only after reinstalling apps. Since there’s no direct way to know which of the apps is the cause of the problem, you need to confirm it first, and then follow it up with elimination method to narrow down the suspects.
To restart to safe mode:
- Turn the device off.
- Press and hold the Power key past the model name screen.
- When “SAMSUNG” appears on the screen, release the Power key.
- Immediately after releasing the Power key, press and hold the Volume down key.
- Continue to hold the Volume down key until the device finishes restarting.
- Safe mode will display in the bottom left corner of the screen.
- Release the Volume down key when you see Safe Mode.
- Observe the phone for some time to see if pop-ups return.
Safe mode suspends all downloaded apps. What that means is that all apps you added after the first setup will be blocked from running. So, if there are no pop-ups while your Note9 is running on safe mode, that’s a clear sign that one of an app problem. Keep in mind that some legit apps may use pop-ups infrequently to make money. However, if the pop-ups are totally absent on safe mode but returns once you restart the device to normal mode, that’s a clear indication of a bad app problem. Because safe mode won’t help you pinpoint the exact problem app, you’ll have to use elimination method to identify it. Here’s how:
- Restart to safe mode.
- Check for the problem.
- Observe the phone for some time.
- If there are no pop-ups, start uninstalling apps individually. We suggest that you begin with the most recent ones you added.
- After you uninstall one app, restart the phone to normal mode and check for the problem.
- If pop-ups return, repeat steps 1-5.
The above steps are the only way to know a problem app in this case. Make sure to do it methodically by following the steps in order to narrow down the suspect apps.
Use antivirus app
After wiping the phone and before you install your apps, we highly recommend that you add an antivirus app first. There are many good but free antivirus app that you get from the Play Store.
You can start with AVG AntiVirus or with any other ones.
When selecting an antivirus app, it’s important to choose a reputable one. There are many viruses and malware that disguise themselves like legit antivirus apps. Make sure to read reviews from other users and use only the one from known developers.
Adding one antivirus will help protect the system from known bad apps during installation but is adding more better? NO! Having more than one antivirus app on your system is not a good idea. It can cause severe performance issue and other problems. Pick one and stick with it. Or, simply uninstall the first one before replacing it.
Be responsible: filter what apps to install
You are the foremost defense of your device. If you don’t take this job properly, it’s only a matter of time before you encounter problems with your device. Apps, especially ones designed to steal personal information or compromise devices to force them to show ads or pop-ups are so designed so as to circumvent security being offered by Android and antivirus apps. This is why there’s a constant cat-and-mouse battle between good guys and hackers. If you are not careful with apps you add, one of them might be allow a trojan or malware into the system. In some cases, malicious developers may masquerade their apps as legit initially. Then, after some time, the app may request for an update in order that may change its nature and take over the device. Such types of apps are not always caught by antivirus apps so they may stay in the system without you knowing about their nefarious activities. While Google has strengthened its filtering system in Play Store, some bad apps still manage to get over the initial checks.
As an end user, you must exercise care in knowing an app to add. Stick to official apps and avoid those from unknown or suspect developers. If you badly need to install an app but you’re unsure about its source, do some research and read reviews about the product. A few Google searches may help prevent you from installing a bad application that might cause problems in the near future.