Removing Adware From Your Mac

If you have adware on your Mac, it is fairly easy to remove. In fact, Apple provides a handy page with clear steps at http://support.apple.com/en-us/HT203987. In this episode, follow along as I go through the steps to check my Mac for adware.

Video Transcript
Hi, this is Gary with MacMost.com. If you have a problem with adware on your Mac in this episode let's go through Apple steps for getting rid of adware.

So Apple has this great page right here and I'll include a link to it at this post at MacMost.com. It walks you through getting rid of the most common ways that you can have ads injected into your Safari browsing experience.

One of the simplest ways I've talked about recently in an entire episode. Basically you get rid of it by holding down the shift key when you start Safari so that it starts fresh without showing you pop-up windows that may be left over from your last browsing session.

But there is more serious things talked about here. So let's go through them. I'll just walk you through basically the steps that are available on this page here.

So the first things you need to do, and it is a good idea to do this every once in a while anyway, is to check your Safari extensions. Safari has a way for you to install extensions that add functionality. So if you go Safari, not Safari Extensions because it will take you to a gallery where you can add new ones, but Preferences and then click on Extensions it will list all the extensions you have.

Apple provides this list right here of ones that it considers harmful. So look for any of these. But in general you should know what all the extensions do here in Safari. If you don't know what it is you should type its name into Goggle and do a search for it maybe to refresh your memory of why you have it. It would be typical for a normal user maybe to have no extensions. So if you see a bunch here or something that you don't know what it is you should definitely research them.

Uninstalling them is pretty easy. Select the extension, this is a developer extension here so I don't want to uninstall it, but if I were to click uninstall here it would just get rid of it like that. Then it clears it out.

So make sure you know what all these are and check these every once in a while and know that some of them, like these here, will actually show you ads on websites that have nothing to do with the website and are being injected by these extensions.

The next thing you want to do is to check in your Systems folder to see if any adware has been installed. It may be that you installed an app a while ago and didn't know that in addition to installing itself it also installed some adware. There are a lot of different ways that a trojan can be used to install adware on your Mac.

So you want to check in the System folder. What I have done is I have copied this location on my drive here as it suggests. I'm going to switch to the Finder. The steps are right here but I'll show you what they look like. Go to Folder, I'm going to paste in that location, and hit Go.

So good news is that this folder can't be found. It means I don't have this particular problem. If I look there is a list of all the different ones here. There is some in the System folder, some in the Library folder, some even in an Applications folder. If you go and just copy each one of these, I'll do this one here and I'll switch over to the Finder again, and you can see the shortcut is Shift Command G, paste it in, there you go, and it can't be found.

Once I get through all of these I know that I don't have any of these apps installed that will inject adds.

Okay, so up you're going to want to Open Activity Monitor. Do Command space and search for it and there it is. Now according to the instructions here I want to go to CPU and Sort by Process name and then I can easily, using the alphabetical listing, search for these two things here. I'm not going to find either one of them on my machine so it is easy to see I don't have them. Then I don't need to worry about it.

If I did find them then what I would do is I would want to Quit the Activity Monitor and then remove this file here. That will stop those from launching when I restart. Then Restart my Mac and then use that same sequence there to go to these different files here and remove them completely. Then Restart again, remove this one. Restart again. That will get rid of any of those very troublesome pieces of adware.

So it is pretty clear here. You just follow all the steps to do it. It gives you some more suggestions to remove other adware files here. You can just go through all of these and then it just continues on with all sorts of other suggestions.

Once you have removed all of these items and restarted your Mac any of these threats to your Mac should be gone. From that point on just make sure you are very careful about where you install software from, some place you trust, and you won't get any of these back.

Keep in mind, of course, you don't need to do any of this if you're not experiencing any problems. If you don't see any unwanted ads or strange things happening in Safari then you should be in the clear although it probably is a good idea to check your extensions and look for these and then maybe every once in a while check for some of these just to make sure you are perfectly in the clear.

Comments: 24 Responses to “Removing Adware From Your Mac”

    Divine
    8/31/15 @ 10:51 am

    Adware Medic?

      8/31/15 @ 10:54 am

      What about it? I don’t recommend any third-party “cleaners” or the like. At best, it will just do what Apple recommends. At worst it will do less, or even worse do things that aren’t necessary that may affect your Mac in other ways.

        Divine
        8/31/15 @ 4:10 pm

        Glad to hear. Doing it the way mentioned in the video will only take 2 hours. With Adwaremedic it takes 15 seconds. You pick.

          8/31/15 @ 5:04 pm

          It shouldn’t take anywhere near 2 hours to follow Apple’s instructions.

    Cornerstar31
    9/3/15 @ 11:06 am

    Also install extensions like WOT(Web of Trust) and Adguard to prevent you from visiting harmful sites, and block Ads, they will also block the very annoying YouTube and Facebook ads. Don’t use Google, Bing or Yahoo as your search engine. Because those companies do anything to harm your privacy. Use duckduckgo instead. Another good alternative to Facebook is Ello.
    There’s also a nice free program called Onyx, it’s a very good program to clean your Mac. Way better then the Mackeeper scam

      9/3/15 @ 11:51 am

      Interesting suggestions. I don’t agree with some. You can use Google without privacy concerns if you set it right and understand Google’s transparency. Facebook alternatives aren’t any good unless all of your friends are there as well.
      And most of all, I don’t suggest that anyone use ad blockers. Why? If you do, then sites like MacMost will be gone soon. Seriously. If a site has too many ads for you, then don’t visit it.

    SR
    9/3/15 @ 11:09 am

    I agree with Divine. It might not take 2 hours but watching this I found myself thinking “Here we go again, a long list of steps to take . . . ” One runs into this continuously and constantly — all the things you have to do before you can actually get to work doing what you want.

    So it would in fact be more helpful for MacMost to review the utility programs rather than simply going through the steps that are clearly in the help doc.

    And if the utilities don’t make the grade let us know!

      9/3/15 @ 11:49 am

      These steps are only needed if you have the problem. Most users will never need to worry about it.
      As for which utilities to do this don’t make the grade: ALL of them. I don’t recommend using any such one. Just follow my three rules and in case you don’t find out about those rules until it is too late, then this information here is available to help you get back on track.
      See http://macmost.com/virus-and-malware
      And http://macmost.com/the-practical-guide-to-mac-security

        Gary
        9/14/15 @ 11:04 am

        How can say “All of them” are bad when other reviewers have spoken highly of them? I agree with the other posters that software like AdwareMedic, which is free BTW, can be useful. And getting back to your comment about software being bad why don’t you give specifics? Why don’t you review them? i understand your a mac fanboy but some objectivity about macs would be appreciated. thank you for your vids they are useful even if I disagree with you.

          9/14/15 @ 11:15 am

          I don’t do reviews. I do how-to videos. The reason I’m not interested in doing reviews is that it takes too much time to properly review a product. The time will never justify the income on a site like this one.
          I will feature products that I happen to use and can recommend, and warn about ones I believe to have a down side. But doing actual product reviews is not practical.
          None of these kinds of “cleaner” products make the grade because none of them are necessary. I never said they were “bad” — just not something you need nor something I can recommend. I’ve seen them cause problems, and even if they don’t they create a false sense of security.
          As for objectivity, those who look at MacMost regularly know I often don’t like Apple products if I think they are poorly done or have some other issue. Examples: Apple Watch, iWeb, early iPhones being AT&T-only, and so on.

            Gary
            9/15/15 @ 11:06 pm

            My apologies I didn’t mean to offend you. Your vids are spot on. I just took issue with your comments about ad removal apps

    Patrick Mc Namee
    9/3/15 @ 12:12 pm

    Gary, Great stuff as usual, please keep it up.

    Steve K
    9/3/15 @ 12:47 pm

    Would following the Apple list you showed us be a candidate for something like an Automator or Applescript sequence or some sort of python routine? Just curious. I’m not really a programmer but I bet somebody is!

    Thanks and keep up the great work. Always very helpful!

      9/3/15 @ 12:50 pm

      Security issues would probably prevent that. You don’t want scripts that can get into your system and library folders and do things to them.

    Robyn
    9/3/15 @ 1:24 pm

    Great tutorial Gary

    Joseph
    9/3/15 @ 3:42 pm

    Gary thanks you for all the tips. I find them helpful and informative. I learn something about my Mac with each tutorial. Why would you want to buy some app and run it when you can learn to do it yourself?

    See
    9/3/15 @ 4:21 pm

    Hi Gary,
    I went through the list on the apple page and found some files that I am not sure whether to eliminate. On the web, it seems some people are concerned about them, but it is not clear. My computer has been running badly recently, so I am troubleshooting.
    Here are the extensions:
    com.google.keystone.agent.plist
    com.google.keystone.daemon.plist
    and /Library/Google/GoogleSoftwareUpdate/TicketStore/Keystone.ticketstore.
    Are these suspicious files, and should they be removed?
    Thanks

      9/3/15 @ 4:24 pm

      A quick search tells me that these are just used by Google Chrome for updates. What is your concern with them? They don’t seem to be anything to do with adware or malware.

        See
        9/7/15 @ 8:53 am

        Hi Gary,
        For one thing, I don’t have Google Chrome installed on my computer, and I never have. But also, this software updater seeks to update every ten minutes, which is excessive and uses resources that potentially slows my older mac. Thirdly, it updates without asking for permission. Considering all this, why would I want to have it? Thanks for your reply.

          9/7/15 @ 1:03 pm

          It is fine if you don’t want to have it. But labeling it as dangerous or adware isn’t the same thing. I doubt you’ll see any change in performance by just getting rid of Google software update, so I would keep looking if you are having trouble.

            See
            9/8/15 @ 5:14 am

            Thank you Gary, I appreciate your reply. I questioned this because it fit the protocol that apple listed above, in terms of file names to remove, but wanted to be sure.

    Simon
    9/10/15 @ 7:18 am

    Is your book on Mac Security:

    http://macmost.com/the-practical-guide-to-mac-security

    available on Amazon UK ?

    Simon
    9/10/15 @ 2:51 pm

    Ah brilliant. Thanks :)

Comments Closed.