Cell phones are no longer just for texting, calling, or setting alarms. More often than not, these powerful compact devices are used for much more important stuff and transactions such as online banking, virtual meetings, file uploading/downloading, appointment setting, digital learning, and so much more. Hence, you can’t even start to imagine the hassle and inconvenience of abruptly losing all your valuable data due to malware compromise or the frustration that comes from losing your mobile phone.
There’s no denying that smartphones serve us many valuable purposes. Unfortunately, the popularity of such devices is also the exact reason why hackers often target these. Even those malicious software that has been used to compromise computers or penetrate networks have been enhanced to work on cell phones as well. Hence, these mobile devices with robust collections of essential files and confidential data aren’t exempt from cyber attacks. The good thing is that there are various ways on how to get rid of adware on phones. So should you wish to learn how to protect yourself better and secure your device, read on as we’ll be sharing with you today some efficient ways on how to remove adware on Androids and iPhones, as well as some precautionary measures you can take.
What Is Adware?
Advertisement Software or more commonly known as Adware, is a type of software that, as its name implies, bypasses certain device settings to pop up or flash advertisements on the screen. For at least once within the period you’re using a cell phone, you’ve surely encountered these unsolicited ads. Before you panic, though, and start researching for ways to remove adware from Android phones or iOS devices, let’s first go into detail about what adware is.
Adware isn’t entirely like any other regular malware that’s specifically meant for malicious purposes. In fact, while adware could surely be downright irritating, such programs mean no harm in most instances. Users take advantage of such software for the sole purpose of advertising a product, a service, or an event. Nevertheless, adware bypasses certain device settings, and one should not be too complacent. It could expose your mobile phone to more serious cyber threats such as Man in the Middle (MITM) attacks or malware hacking.
Bear in mind that most adware is harmful in one way or another. There are the so-called advertisement viruses wherein regular ads are embedded with infected links or buttons that, when clicked, would automatically install malicious programs and instantly compromise your device. Adware hackers smartly and creatively mask malicious software such as ransomware, spyware, and viruses with adware, making a supposedly regular pop-up advertisement harmful.
Some adware could also be harmful because it contains suggestive or illicit content. Some examples are the random flashes of pornographic video clips and ads about alcohol and cigars.
The pretty much wholesome advertisements you usually see while browsing through your favorite web search engines or social networking apps are basically categorized as harmless adware. While yes, there’s still the possibility of exposing your device and data to certain vulnerabilities, the rule of thumb is provided that the developer or creator doesn’t consciously intend to harm or exploit the adware is considered harmless and legal.
Then again, harmless adware that abuses sponsorships by popping up too frequently and bombarding cyber users could bring annoyance or a different level of harm.
The Difference Between Adware and Malware
Before we go into detail about how to get rid of adware on cell phones, let’s further discuss the difference between adware and malware, which are, understandably, often interchangeable.
While malware can be adware, not all adware is malware.
Malware or malicious software is the broad term referring to all types of malicious software. On the other hand, adware or advertisement software could be a type of malware. However, as we’ve already discussed, not all adware is malicious or harmful. Again, the legal side of adware is when software developers utilize it for the sole purpose of promoting specific products, services, or events, as well as convincing customers to willingly download certain apps, usually in exchange for unpaid subscriptions or other freebies.
Malware, in general, is harmful. A software or a program is considered malware if it’s specifically designed to destruct, compromise, or exploit. Once there’s an intention to elicit some form of damage to a device, server, or network, it’s safe to assume that such software is a malicious one. In most cases, such programs are designed to gather valuable information which can be used to the hacker’s advantage.
Malware is an encompassing technical term for every parasitic software. It comes in various forms, and the malicious codes can be spread in multiple ways. Here are some examples of malware that could penetrate your device, system, or a network via an email attachment, phishing SMS text message, fake software installation update, infected ad pop-up, website rerouting, or compromised USB flash drive.
- Fileless Malware
- Logic Bomb
- MMS Malware
How Do I Know My Phone Has Adware?
Like any other unwanted or unpermitted software, there are several tell-tale signs that your phone has been penetrated or infected by adware. Here are some of those.
An Avalanche of Unsolicited Ad Pop-ups
If random ads are flashing on your phone screen even if you aren’t connected to the internet is a clear confirmation of your How to know I have adware on my android/iPhone worry. And usually, the endless streams of pop-ups contain adult or pornographic content and cannot be easily closed out.
Automatic Rerouting of Web Pages
Suppose you’re often rerouted to a different site or unrelated web page while browsing the internet or accessing a mobile app. In that case, you might want to start browsing your device and find adware for Android/iOS.
Frequent System Crashes and Device Latencies
Adware could take up a massive chunk of your internal device space, resu
lting in slowing down your processor. Delayed command response times, frequent system crashes, slow launching of apps, program freezing – all these forms of latencies could mean your phone’s infiltrated with spyware.
Oddly Slow Internet Speed
Due to the massive amounts of advertisements that are simultaneously flashed and the continuous virtual transmission of data, adware could cause a significant reduction in your device’s internet connection speed.
Shorter Battery Life
Mobile apps, especially large ones, can naturally use a chunk of your phone’s battery life. However, if the battery is oddly draining way too quickly, it could be a good sign that your device is infected with adware. This is because adware would require a continuous supply of energy to perform as programmed continuously.
Slower Reboot Time
If you suspect there’s adware in your mobile phone, try turning it off or re
starting it. If the process takes too long or if the backlight remains lit for a few seconds after turning off, adware is, indeed, more likely to be present within your device.
Uninitiated Browser Page Changes
Adware is capable of changing your web browser’s default or current settings. Should there be any changes that you didn’t initiate yourself, it’s best to watch out for the possibility of adware hacking.
How To Get Rid of Adware From Your Phone
Harmful or not, you would most likely prefer getting rid of adware on Android or iOS devices you own. This is specifically true if you’re storing many valuable files or managing confidential data within your smartphone. The good news is that in the same way there are various means of adware penetration, there are several methods on how to find adware and eradicate them.
So, if you’re wondering, How do I get rid of adware on my Android phone? Or How to get adware off my phone iOS? Here’s how.
Adware Removal Tool
Install any trusted and reliable adware removal tool. Depending on the app you avail of, you could set an automatic detection of adware or manually run a search whenever you wish to. Be sure, however, to be extremely careful in selecting an anti-adware program. Of course, you wouldn’t want to end up further compromising your phone or your data.
Adware is usually designed to work with specific operating systems only like any other software. Hence, upgrading or downgrading your OS should do the trick. If the adware’s incompatible, it will stop functioning as programmed.
If you’re experiencing continuous ad pop-ups when accessing certain apps, you might want to consider updating to a premium version or upgrading to a paid subscription. Note that free versions of mobile apps can offer their services or products without any charges because they earn their income from advertisements.
Uninstall Mobile App
If, for some reason, you can’t or don’t want to upgrade to a paid ad-free version of the app, then it’s best to uninstall the application altogether. If possible, you could use alternative free apps that also cater to advertisements but not to the point that you’re being bombarded.
Clear Cookies and Cache
If you’re experiencing frequent flashes of ads while accessing certain websites or using open-source web search engines, consider clearing your cookies and cache. In most cases, web pages capture and store data that adware developers or marketers will use to initiate more targeted and more effective advertising.
Revert Web Browser Settings
Customizing browser settings such as applying online wallpapers or adding browser extensions could expose your web browser, hence your device, to certain virtual threats. Try removing web bookmarks or browser extensions you don’t actually utilize, or you might want to revert everything to the default settings.
If all else fails, you might want to reset your mobile phone back to its default settings. By performing a factory reset, all changed settings, customized/bypassed accesses, and installed third-party programs will be reverted, including any adware present in your device.
Remove Adware Manually
Yes, you’re right when you think that adware on my phone could corrupt my files or exploit my data. However, before you turn on panic mode, remember that many adware virus remover apps are available in the market. Plus, aside from the aforementioned steps on how to get rid of adware Android/iOS, you can manually get rid of such software.
Manual Adware Removal From iPhone
- Navigate to the Settings page.
- Go to the Safari page.
- Select the Clear History and Website Data option.
- Turn off your iPhone and turn it back on after a few minutes.
(If adware wasn’t removed, proceed with these options.)
- Restore device settings to an earlier mode (before the adware penetrated your device) – from an iCloud account or a computer backup.
- For a clean slate, tap on the Erase All Content and Settings button under the Reset option on the Settings page.
Manual Adware Removal From Android
- Turn off your Android phone.
- Press and hold the power button for a few seconds.
- Wait until the option to Activate Safe Mode or Reboot to Safe mode appears, and be sure to select it.
- Navigate to the Settings page.
- Go to the Security section.
- Locate the Device Administrator option and tap on the button to deactivate the adware’s access and reconfigure the settings.
- Go back to the Settings page and access the Apps section.
- Select App Manager, then locate Infected Apps.
- Click on the Uninstall/Force or Disable button.
Best Adware Remover Tools
Install an adware removal tool for a hassle-free and more efficient way to remove adware from iPads/iPhones or stop adware on Android devices. Such programs would be your best shot on how to delete adware on Android and iOS devices, as these are specifically meant for that – locating and eradicating adware.
However, you have to be careful when choosing which anti-adware app to use. Like most malicious apps, some adware in the market could be another masked malware waiting to be downloaded and activated. Be sure to do your research first and only install legitimate and reliable adware remover tools.
To give you a good start, here are 10 of the best apps we’ve come across with.
- AVAST Mobile Security – Capable of identifying adware before it even gets installed. Plus, it’s programmed to verify Wi-Fi connection and security religiously, as well as to detect any possible threats.
- AVG Antivirus Security – This anti-adware program provides top-tier online protection. It also showcases reliable data backup, efficient spam text blocking, and anti-theft features.
- Avira – Features a cloud-based malware scanner and offers an advanced adware detection tool. It’s programmed to regularly optimize phones and locate mobile apps requesting access to sensitive data.
- Bitdefender Mobile Security – With less impact on your battery life, this continuously detects and instantly reacts to threats such as adware. It also offers virtual private networks (VPN).
- BullGuard – Offers advanced and reliable adware detection features. Plus, it provides smart identity theft and online protections.
- Kaspersky Free Antivirus – This software can provide your mobile anti-theft protection using intelligent high-tech algorithms. It’s capable of preventing spyware monitoring attempts, blocking phishing sites, securing mobile apps, and more.
- Malwarebytes – This anti-malware app showcases a safe browsing experience and is available in numerous languages. It’s set to conduct app privacy audits automatically.
- McAfee – This premium software utilizes 256-bit encryption to store sensitive files. It’s capable of securing firewalls and providing comprehensive web protections.
- Norton 360 – Features high-level adware detection and removal capabilities. It can also backup files, filter suspicious content, and block hacking attempts.
- Safe Security – This software offers several anti-adware features, including privacy protection, junk file cleaning, malware scanning, and so much more.
How To Avoid Adware
Now that you’re privy to the different effective and efficient ways on how to remove adware from iPhones/Androids, you might also want to look into these precautionary measures that could significantly help you avoid adware infiltration.
- Never click on any unsolicited advertisement pop-up, no matter how enticing the offer is.
- Install and set to automatically run a trusted and reliable anti-adware program.
- Regularly update your phone OS and all installed mobile apps.
- Only install and keep the apps you need.
- Avoid downloading apps or clicking links from unknown sources.
- Beware of online users you don’t personally know requesting any personal information.
- Set strong passwords and enable two-factor authentication (2FA) or multiple-factor authentication (MFA) if possible.
- Only connect to private or secure networks.
- Be sure to review permission requests and only allow reasonable ones.
- Never root or jailbreak your mobile phone.
Related Post: Malware vs Spyware: What’s The Difference?