How To Remove Adware From Mac OS

How To Remove Adware From Mac OS

What is Adware? Can Mac be infected with Adware? What should I do to remove adware?

Mac users have always been a misconception- that Mac cannot be infected with virus. However, it is just a myth as today Macs are very much vulnerable to viruses. Whether it is adware, browser hijackers, spyware, malware, Trojan or even ransomware.

Your Mac do need to a real-time protection to stay pro-active against threats.

What is Adware?

Adware are program designed to display intrusive advertisements on the browser. These software can install in various forms like fake web extensions, ad-driven search engines, malicious software, also known as potentially unwanted programs.

Adware can target both web browsers and computer systems. Its prime motive is to run in the background to load advertising contents while user is online. However, if your PC is severely infected, then you may also notice pop-ups on your screen.

How Adware gets installed?

Typically, user may install it unknowingly via various deceptive distribution tactics, known as bundling. Often we tend to download freeware from third-party sites, ads or redirect links. Such program comes bundled with additional programs that install along with it.

Mac users are mostly getting infected with adware or PUA via:

  • updating fake Adobe Flash Player,
  • fake Mac optimization tools,
  • pdf converters,
  • download managers and so on.

To avoid this, users should opt for custom/advanced installation option while going through set up wizard. This will skip the installation of unwanted programs on your device.

What Are The Types of Adware?

Adware installed via bundling are mostly considered as PUA. These programs mostly modifies various settings of the system like creates User Profile, add files to libraries, changes default settings of the browsers.

Adware Examples on Mac
Adware Examples on Mac

As mentioned above, adware are considered as programs that displays misleading ads, encourages fake downloads, causes automatic redirects and scams. So, based on these facts, here are the types of adware:

  • Adware that targets the web browsers:

    These install as fake extension, plug-ins, and search engines. Some of the examples are Chill-tab, Searchmine,, Gsearch, and so on. These program when installed attempts to take over the browser in order to inject ads within the websites user visits and search results. So, you may see your search queries redirected via unknown URLs, and then they return the result page. These are mostly loaded with sponsored links, irrelevant contents and in-text links and so on.


    There can be various consequences:

    • When you click on such links, then these ads can trick you into visiting unsafe websites.
    • Downloading fake programs more like of adware, spyware, crytojacking and browser hijackers.
    • Random pop-ups may appear on the pages you visit.
    • Sites asking to enable the web notification after which you see pop-up ads on your device screen.

  • Adware designed to trick and scam users:

This category of adware appears as redirect pages that shows scary warnings and alerts that “your mac is infected with (3) viruses, “Require Software Update” and many such. These warnings fake and only designed by scammers to trick users into installing fake optimization tools or anti-virus. Often sometimes you have seen these warnings promoting genuine tools.

Yes, these happens because the adware authors tends to earn the commission from the affiliates via deceptive means.  So, users should never install such programs.

How To Remove Adware From Mac

Manually removing an adware are a tough task. As you should know how the program is installed, its associated files and changes it has made to your system. The best and effective way is to use an adware removal tool that safety detects and remove it. A real-time security software will also help easily delete the file presences, launch agents, fake profiles and optimizing the system performance.
Why We Recommend ComboCleaner

Combo Cleaner is all-in-one security tool that is specifically designed for Mac users. It scan engines can easily detect adware, malware and other native malicious software that infects Mac. The software manages its threat database and updates hourly ensuring real-time protection against threats.

Top Features:
  • Scans for Adware that triggers pop-ups and ads so that you can have uninterrupted browsing;
  • Malware scanner to provide rigorous protection;
  • Free Disk Cleaner that cleans out clutter of junks, application logs, cache, unnecessary files, download folders and so on;
  • Duplicate file finder;
  • Privacy Scanner that scans the browsers for private data that can be traced by third-party, quick removal of browsing history, cookies, etc.
  • App Uninstaller

Apart from these, you get many more features that will never let you worry about your Mac again.

To completely remove adware from Mac, follow these steps  carefully: 

Remove Adware, PUA and other Malicious Software
Remove LaunchAgents and LaunchDaemons Associated With Adware
Uninstall Adware Related Extensions From Web browsers
Remove Adware Related Fake User Profiles

Remove Adware, PUA and other Malicious Software

  1. On the Finder window, click Go→ Applications;
    Apple Menu
  2. Look through the Application window to find and remove Adware or Malicious Software;
    Remove Adware Application From Mac
    Remove Adware Application From Mac
  3.  To remove adware, right-click on it and choose “Move To Trash”; (Some adware are: Adload, Advanced Mac Cleaner, Shlayer, Mac Cleanup Pro, CrossRider and so on).
  4. After removing, Click on the “Empty Trash” by right-click on the Trash icon on your dock.
    Empty Trash
    Empty Trash
  5. Restart your Mac to make changes into effect.

Remove LaunchAgents and LaunchDaemons Associated With Adware

Removing Launching Daemon and Agents associated with Adware is an important step. As these helps the program run in the background automatically. These works as agents specified to work for a specified user. 

To Remove LaunchAgents and LaunchDaemon, follow the steps here: 

  1. Open Finder window and then select: Go → Go to Folder;
    Go To Folder Mac
    Go To Folder Mac
  2. Now, you need find any malicious agents within the following locations, and delete if find any;
    • /Library/LaunchAgents
    • /Library/LaunchDaemons
    • /System/Library/LaunchAgents
    • /System/Library/LaunchDaemons
    • ~/Library/LaunchAgents
  3. Enter the path to the “Go To Folder” and click “Go”;
    LaunchAgents Mac
    LaunchAgents Mac
  4. Now, check, if there is any adware related entries, if found delete them one-by-one.
    Remove Malicious Launch Agents and Daemons From Mac
    Remove Malicious Launch Agents and Daemons From Mac
Be careful while doing so, as if you delete any important entry, then the application associated with will not work properly. If you are not sure of this, then better to use Combocleaner to scan and remove them.

Uninstall Adware Related Extensions From Web browsers

Next, step is to find unwanted extension, fake search engine and revoke other settings that happens due to any Adware. So, most of the users use Safari, Chrome and Mozilla browsers on their Mac OS.

So, here we are going to explain all the three one-by-one.


Delete Unknown Extensions

Adware may install as extensions which triggers pop-up ads, homepage redirects and so on. So, it is important to find and remove adware extensions.

  • Click on Safari menu →Preferences → go to Extensions Tab;
    Safari Prefeneces
    Safari Preferences
  • Look for any unwanted extensions active on your Safari;
    Safari Uninstall Extension
    Safari Uninstall Extension
  • To remove extension from Safari, Select it and click on “Uninstall”.

Restore Your Homepage

Many time, adware in the form extensions promote fake search engine, so they set unknown URL as default homepage. So, if you don’t want them, then here is what to do to remove them:

  • Click on Safari menu →Preferences → go to General Tab;
  • Under the “Homepage” field, remove unknown URL like and enter address of your choice like “” as click “set as default”.
    Remove Unknown Homepage from Safari Mac
    Remove Unknown Homepage from Safari Mac

This should help fix your issue, but if not, then here is the guide explaining to reset Safari browser.

Google Chrome

Remove Extension

  • To open Extensions page on Chrome type chrome://extensions/ on your address bar;
  • Now, check for unknown extension active on the browser;
    Remove Unknown Extension From chrome
    Remove Unknown Extension From chrome
  • To remove Extension from Chrome, click on “Remove” beside it.

Restore Your Homepage

  • To access Homepage setting on Chrome type chrome://settings/appearance;
  • Here you see default homepage URL that opens every time you launch your browser. Remove it and type the new one you want.
    Remove Unknown Homepage URL From chrome
    Remove Unknown Homepage URL From chrome
  • Next, remove fake search engine, by typing chrome://settings/search
  • Under “Manage search engines”, click on the search engine you want to remove;
    Remove Fake Search Engine From chrome
    Remove Fake Search Engine From chrome
  • To remove Search engine from Chrome, click on the 3-vertical dots beside its name and click on “Remove from list”.

Here is the guide on how to Reset Chrome Browser on Mac and Windows.


Remove Extension

  • To open Extension menu, type about:addons on your Firefox address bar;
  • Choose “Extensions” from the left menu;
    Remove Extensions From Firefox
    Remove Extensions From Firefox
  • To remove extension from Firefox browser, click on “Remove” beside the extension name.

Restore Homepage

  • To access Homepage Setting on Firefox, type about:preferences#home on the address bar;
  • Under “New Windows and Tabs” field, enter your favorite URL to set as homepage and New tab.
    Remove Unknown Homepage From Firefox
    Remove Unknown Homepage From Firefox
  • To Remove search engine from Firefox about:preferences#search, under search shortcuts section, click on the URLs you want to remove;
  • Next click on the “Remove” button on the bottom.

To completely Reset Mozilla Firefox Browser on Safari and Windows click here.

Remove Adware Related Fake User Profiles

In Mac computers, User profiles acts as separate accounts for different users using the same computer. Users can create their individual profile to add applications of their in the Dock and desktop, set preferences for them and change settings accordingly. 

Often malicious programs creates Users and Groups to add program preferences, so you need to find and remove fake profiles. To do so, you must login to your Mac as administrative account. By deleting them the fake user will no more able to access them.

  • Choose Apple menu → System Preferences → Users & Groups.
    Open System preferences in Mac
    Open System preferences in Mac
  • On the Users & Groups window, if you see unknown profile, then click on it;
  • To Remove Fake User Profile, select it and click the Remove button (—) minus button in the bottom.
    Remove Fake User Profile In Mac
    Remove Fake User Profile In Mac
Note: If there is no user profile on your Mac, then you not see “User & groups” settings.
So, by following the above steps, you can free your Mac from adware.
It is important to clean your Mac computer after following the above steps. Thus, we recommend you to scan it with ComboCleaner.

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