How Do I Handle Adware Pop-ups and False Alerts on My Mac?

The fact that Macs are vulnerable to online threats is no longer a secret. Unfortunately, today more and more users happen to have their Mac machines infected with different kinds of malware and viruses.

Adware is one of the most annoying types of malware, as it deluges an OS X or MacOS with all sorts of pop-ups and notifications, making a normal work on a computer almost impossible.

Here’s what adware can cause to your Mac:

  • False alerts and notifications about system “threats” and your devices being “infected” with a virus;
  • Advertising windows and banners which partially or totally close the screen;
  • Frequently appearing browser popups obtruding software and fake updates;
  • Constant browser re-directs to other websites that you don’t intend to open;
  • New tabs and browser windows that won’t close;
  • Your search engine and homepage being changed without your permission;
  • Unwanted browser extensions and toolbars keep coming back even after you have disabled them;
  • Random text on the web pages you view being turned into hyperlinks to other sites.

If you notice one or a few of these processes repeatedly happening on your Mac, then most sure it has been infected with adware.

Mac adware example

Below you can see an example of a false alert notification appearing on the computers of some of the Apple users.

odin antivirus

As reported by a number of Mac users, a pop-up notification featuring a so-called fake “Odin antivirus” would appear on their screen whether they have an Internet browser opened or not. The pop-up window keeps showing up frequently, in different browsers, and won’t go until clicked on the tab “download and close.” When the users were trying to eliminate this malware, even such powerful antivirus as Malwarebytes couldn’t detect the “Odin antivirus” adware as malicious, due to it being a brand new type of malware.

If you happen to have a similar type of adware affecting the work of your Mac computer, keep reading to find out what you can do to eliminate it, and restore the normal work of your device. Follow our step-by-step guide to removing adware from your Mac until the problem is solved.

Uninstalling malware apps from your Mac manually

To begin with, you should try to find the potentially malicious app in the OS of your computer, remove it and all of its leftover files. To uninstall applications from your Mac manually you should:

  • Move an app’s icon to the Trash Bin.
  • Remove hidden files of Application Support. Use Finder to locate all files and folders containing an app’s name in their name.
  • Remove hidden files of Support from User Library.

This task can be not easily as the leftover and support files of an app may be located in different parts of an OS X or MacOS. Check the following folders and delete all of the files containing the app’s name in them: Application Support, Preferences, Preferences Pane, Launch Daemons, Launch Agents, Startup items.

  • Empty the Trash Bin and restart your Mac.
  • Delete app’s Extensions in your browser(s). Detailed instructions are given
  • You can use AppCleaner to help you delete the unwanted applications.

Here’s a list of the most common malware apps to look for on your computer: MacSaver, MacVX, SaveOnMac, MacPriceCut, MacXcoupon, MacSmart, PalMall, PhotoZoom, Extended protection, Flash Free, Video download helper, etc.

Remove unwanted browser extensions

Usually, adware installs a new toolbar(s) in your Internet browser, appoints a new homepage, and changes your default search engine to a third party search engine. We recommend removing all unknown extensions and reset browser and search engine settings.

Chrome browser

  1. Launch chrome.
  2. Click Chrome on the apple menu barю
  3. On the page Settings, go to the left-side pane Preferences. Next, do this:
  • Open Extensions: if you can see any unknown or suspicious extensions on the list, remove them by clicking the icon Trash.
  • Go to Settings; scroll the page down to open Show Advanced Settings tab. Click the pane Reset Browser Settings, to restore the default Chrome settings. Click Reset in the dialog box that opens.

Safari browser

  1. Launch Safari.
  2. Click Safari on the Apple menu bar, and do this:
  • Open Preferences. On the tab Extensions, look for any unknown or suspicious plugins. Remove them by clicking Uninstall.
  • Next, click Reset Safari. In the window that opens, restore the browser’s default settings. Check in all the boxes. Click Reset.

Firefox browser

  1. Launch Firefox.
  2. Do this on the Apple menu bar:
  • Open Tools and click Add-ons. In the left-side pane on the page of the Add-ons manager, click the tab Extensions. Click the button Remove, to delete any suspicious or unknown extensions from the list.
  • Click the pane Help and go to Troubleshooting Information. On this page, under the tab Reset Firefox to its Default State, click the button Reset Firefox.

Use third-party antivirus apps

If removing malicious applications from your Mac and cleaning your browser extensions list won’t help, you can use a trustworthy third-party antivirus app to help you out. App Store offers a wide range of reliable and powerful software that will solve the problem on your computer quickly and easily.

A few tips to avoid the risk of getting your Mac infected with adware:

  • Always check the software you are going to download on your computer. Choose only trusted apps from the App Store or a developer’s official site.
  • Before downloading, check through an app’s installer as often it may include optional installs or tend to set new extensions in your browser, change your homepage or default search engine, etc.
  • Make sure to opt for the custom installation, deselect/uncheck any unknown installs that were not your first choice.
  • Do not open suspicious or unknown links, pages, and
  • Protect your mac with a reliable anti-malware app. Make regular scans of your OS.
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