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How to get rid of spam notifications and malicious ads on your Android phone or tablet

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Ads are an inevitable facet of modern life, but luckily most of the ads we are subjected to on a daily basis are subject to certain rules. Unfortunately, anyone who owns a mobile phone knows that some malicious ads always find a way around these rules, but there are ways to lessen the threat of malicious apps and websites delivering content to us that they are not. supposed to do.

If you have encountered full screen pop-up ads or spam notifications on your Android phone, we should be able to help you get rid of it. We’ll show you how to identify the source of malicious ads or spam so that you can uninstall misbehaving apps. And if the notifications are coming from your web browser, we can help you too.

Full screen ads

Some malicious apps display full screen ads even if another app is open. Fortunately, it’s incredibly easy to find out where they came from. Whenever they appear, just open the Recents / Multitasking view (the screen that shows all running apps) and you’ll see which app is at the top of the queue and plays the ad to you.

The real name or icon of the app is supposed to appear at the top, but some apps change this to make it harder to tell where the ad is coming from. All you gotta do is press and hold the app name or icon and select “App Info” from the menu, which will take you to the info screen of the app that sends these announcements. You can uninstall the app from there and it won’t bother you anymore.

Notification announcements

Push notifications containing advertisements are quite common, but luckily they’re generally easy to remove. On any phone running Android 5.0 Lollipop or higher, just long press the notification to see which app it is from. Most of the time, the name of the app is already visible at the top of the alert, but some apps hide this detail.

You will probably want to uninstall the offending app, and you can do so by tapping on the settings cog and then the app icon to access the “App Info” screen. From there, you can completely uninstall it from your phone. If you want to keep it, you can choose to just hide notifications instead. The “Notifications” screen will allow you to deactivate all the alerts of the application or only those of the offending channel (category). In the example below, I can turn off all Slack notifications or scroll down to turn off individual notification channels.

Long press notifications to see more information and options.

You can then turn off notifications or uninstall the app.

The screens above are pretty much the same on Android 11 and 12. Depending on your version of Android, there may be an information button instead of a settings cog (which will take you to the options of the application), a button that says ‘Block all notifications,’ or a simple toggle.

Samsung notification announcements

If you have a Samsung phone, you might have seen company ads in your notification bar (even for the device you’re currently using). One example was in August 2019, when the company sent out several alerts on the all-new Note10.

As if it wasn’t enough to receive annoying alerts from your own phone maker, some of them can’t be turned off by holding down the notification bar – Samsung makes you find each of the toggles in its apps that s ‘turn off notification announcements. Here’s how to find them.

Samsung Pay

  1. Open Samsung Pay on your phone
  2. Open the side menu and tap “Settings”
  3. Under “General”, turn off “Marketing and promotions”.

Bixby

  1. Open Bixby on your phone
  2. Press the menu button at the top right and select “Settings”
  3. Under “General”, turn off “Marketing notifications”.

Samsung push service

Another culprit is called Samsung Push Service, but luckily this can be disabled in the usual way:

  1. Open ‘Settings’ then ‘Applications’
  2. Search for “Samsung Push Service”
  3. Tap on “Notifications”
  4. Disable “Marketing”.

While setting up your Samsung device, there may also be a toggle to disable ads on the operating system. In Europe, disabling this option appears to prevent ad serving (potentially in order to be GDPR compliant). In other areas your mileage may vary.

Notification ads from a web browser

If you receive a notification ad from a web browser, it’s probably not the browser itself sending it – it’s a website you’ve granted access to notifications at some point in time. . You might have done it accidentally, or you might not have noticed until the site started sending more and more alerts. Whatever the reason, you can easily mute notifications from specific sites.

Google chrome

If you see an unwanted notification from Chrome, tap “Site settings”, then “Notifications”. From there you can deactivate the notification channel for the site sending the alert.

You can also long-press the notification and then tap “Turn off notifications” at the bottom left. You can deactivate the site notification channel on the next screen (see below).

On older versions of Android, you may get a simple Block / Allow pop-up instead.

You can also turn off a site’s notifications at any time from Chrome settings. Open Chrome, tap the menu button at the top right (three dots), select “Site settings”, then tap “Notifications”.

There you will see all the websites that have already sent notifications to your phone. To block alerts from a site, select it in the list and press “Notifications”.

Samsung Internet Browser

Samsung’s web browser handles notifications almost exactly like Chrome. When a site sends you an alert, you can press the “Site settings” button and you will be taken directly to the site settings page for all sites. The one who sent you the notification will be in the Authorized list, and from there you can deactivate it.

You can access this same menu through the settings in the app – just head to Settings> Sites & downloads> Notifications> tap the three-dot menu ⋮> Allow or block sites.

Firefox

Firefox does not support Android notification channels and does not have a general list of all sites to which you have granted notification permissions. As a result, blocking notifications from a specific site is done a little differently since there is no “Site Settings” button.

When you receive a notification, the site it came from is visible at the top. You have to go to this site in Firefox and tap the lock icon in the address bar next to the URL …

Then press the “Authorized” button next to Notification and it will become ‘Blocked’ …

It’s a bit more convoluted, but at least the result is the same and you will no longer receive spam notifications from the site in question.

Hopefully, this guide will have helped you find and get rid of annoying ads and notifications on your Android phone or tablet. If a harmful app was to blame, it’s worth heading to the Google Play Store and giving it a 1 star rating and / or flagging it so others can be alerted to its sneaky ways.

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