How to block ads and unwanted pop-ups on Mac

Apple always was one of the most serious players in the technology field, but when in late 2006 the company started its new line of laptops called MacBook, it quickly became one of the most popular devices among computer users and started an era of user-friendly operational systems. Nowadays, Macintosh, MacBook, or Ipad can be found almost in every house. Continuous development pleases users and really makes them hooked on Apple products. But just like owners of Windows, users of macOS struggle with ads and pop-ups. We will try to see if there is a difference in ways to get rid of them and take a deeper dive inside those solutions in this article.

Why are pop-up ads bad?

If we speak of pop-ups, the first association is usually an annoyance they cause by when, how often, or where they appear. Even though everyone understands that in the world we live in today advertisements are simply the way a company informs potential customers about its product or services, some ads are created with a darker purpose, and among actually slowing down the Internet connection speed, it can easily steal personal data, install malware and spying programs, overload a site with useful information, open age-inappropriate pages, promote harmful or illegal products or even trick users into data leakage, among many other things. We feel followed, stalked, overfilled with bad ads, and even if a small percentage of pop-ups is useful and well-targeted, it simply sinks in the sea of other ads, so they are hated by users altogether.

Can pop-up ads cause viruses?

Another big percentage of ads can be called dangerous, and despite the fact that Mac can be considered safer from viruses than Windows, it’s still not totally protected from adware and Trojans, especially when a script is designed by cybercriminals to steal data and passwords. It’s important to remember two things:

  1. Pop-ups are the way the majority of malware actually infects computers
  2. It works the same way on any OS.
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That is why it is not only desirable to get rid of ads and sudden pop-ups but also inevitable for your security online.

How can you block pop-ups on your Mac?

In Safari

Mac’s default browser Safari comes along with a great toolkit and allows safer web surfing that could be imagined from pre-installed software. It also has a beloved Read-only mode that cuts everything out, exempts information, but this will not really help with pages that include media. Newer the less, ads will always find their way inside your device without additional layers of either user protection measures or powerful (and trusted) add-ons and extensions.

To start with, manually customize the preferences of your Safari:

Go to Preferences and open the “Websites” tab,

then go to the “Content Blocker” section and switch it on.

For the future, on the same page switch on “When visiting other websites”.

If the issue persists, there is another solution at hand – content blockers. Those are designed to work together with Safari and detect-block ads before they appear. To talk precisely, for instance, a trusted AdLock extension for Safari would be a great help to stop ads using this ad blocker for Mac. You can use only the extension for Safari or download the full application that is compatible with M1 Apple Silicon.

If it comes about the extension, after having it downloaded directly from the provider or from AppStore, it works in just three clicks:

  1. Press Open settings;
  2. Tick boxes next to AdLock and AdLock Icon in Safari settings;
  3. Refresh browser and never expect to see ads!
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Editor’s note: AdLock says, “We’d like to inform your readers that we’re among the first software developers to ship the M1 supporting version of our adblocking solution for Apple’s brand new M1 Macs.”

In Google Chrome

If you are most familiar with the Google Chrome browser, there is no need to change to other browsers if ads continue to appear. Firstly, check if you use the latest version of Chrome because every other update is designed to eliminate the newest threats and known viruses. Do pop-ups still happen? Having done the update, you can also manage ads in the browser’s setup:

  1. Type “chrome://settings” in the address bar;
  2. Go to “Privacy and security”;
  3. Click on “Site settings”;
  4. Switch off “Pop-ups and redirects”.

In Mozilla Firefox

Same as in the solutions for other browsers above, before installing any add-ons and ad blockers, make sure your Firefox is up to date, as one of the main reasons this software insists on updates is to help users protect from cyber threats. To manually disable pop-ups in the Firefox browser, do as follows:

  1. Type “about:preferences” in the address bar;
  2. Go to “Privacy and Security”;
  3. Look for “Block pop-up windows” and check the box.

Check all extensions and delete adware extensions

Last but not least thing to do for your online safety is to examine your extensions and remove malware-related ones, because some tricky adware may be hidden into seemingly safe and approved downloads, attachments, or even images and videos! The process is more or less similar in different browsers and with this being done lots, if not all, issues with unwanted ads and annoying pop-ups will be solved. Here is how to do it:

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In Google Chrome:

In the address bar type “chrome://extensions” and read through the list. If you find an extension you did not install or can not recognize, click the button “Remove” next to it.

When you are sure you deleted everything suspicious, refresh Chrome’s settings by going to Chrome > Preferences > Advanced > Reset settings.

In Safari:

In the Preferences > Extensions tab check for ones you never use or did not recall downloading and turn them off. To make sure you cleaned everything, check the whole Applications folder on your device, and in case you see something unexpected – simply delete it.

In Mozilla Firefox:

In the Apple menu bar select “Tools”, then go to Add-ons. On the page that opens, in the left panel is the list of Extensions. Look through it and if you see anything you do not know the origin of, click “Remove”.

After the list is cleared from adware, reset Firefox. For this go to Help > Troubleshooting Information > Reset Firefox to its default state.

As we are becoming smarter and more technologically advanced with every other year of humanity, cyber awareness becomes as important as any other general knowledge. Users though do not need to dig into software documentation to make their OS protected, keep it working fast and make their online experience the most pleasant, as there are all of the advice available – just give it a minute to read!