Removing Persistent Alarming Safari Pop-Up Windows

If you find yourself stuck on a web page in Safari that is claiming that you are infected with a virus or that your computer needs to be scanned, it is a scam. But sometimes you can find that these pop-up warnings are hard to get rid of. Even if you quit and restart Safari, they reappear. It is easy to restart Safari without returning to the same page that starts the cycle all over again. You can also get help from Apple if you are infected with a more serious problem.

Video Transcript
Hi, this is Gary with MacMost.com. On this episode let's take a look at what you can do when you've got this persistent, nagging pop-up window appearing in Safari that won't go away even after you quit and restart Safari.

So I occasionally get emails about a situation like this. You're browsing the web in Safari and you hit an alert like this. Now you are smart enough to know that this is just a scam. There is no way they know anything about your computer. It is just a simple script on the webpage that any web developer can create that just gives you this false information here.

But you don't want to hit that OK button because you don't know what's behind it. In this case it is probably nothing. Usually it is just more scam information trying to convince you to download something. But it could actually be something harmful or just more tricks and you just don't want to go there. So what do you do.

You go and you quit Safari because you can't close the window here. This dialogue box here is only one way out and you can't get to Safari behind it. So no problem. You quit. The only problem with that is that when you relaunch Safari it is going to reopen that page automatically and there you are again. It looks like you're stuck.

But you are not stuck at all. All you need to do is quit Safari. By the way if for some reason this is clever enough to actually prevent you from quitting you can always Force Quit with Command Option Escape and you can select Safari and force quit. But it is not necessary in this case. I can just gracefully quit like that.

I'm going to relaunch Safari now, just as before but I'm going to hold the Shift key down. What the shift key does is it does not open the previously opened window. So it starts Safari all fresh. So you can see that the window is gone now. It is not going back to that page and I don't have anything to worry about. I just continue to move one.

Now that page is still there in my history so I can bring it back up easily. I should note that there are various ways you can run into this. One is that you clicked on a link to a site that actually is a scam.

Another one is that the site is actually real but the server that the site is on has been infected. This is nothing that can hurt you. This is something that somebody broke into their server because they had a weak password or something and they installed something that looked like this on there. So people think they are going to a legitimate site, and it was previously a legitimate site, but now they have added a code that brings this up. This will be very effective because you can go to this site all the time, say it is a newspaper site or something, and you kind of learned to trust that site. Then finally they are showing you this message. Now you think uh oh this site I trust is now telling me this. But it is just a matter of that site having a security issue and the result being that everybody is seeing this message. Everybody is seeing this message, not just you, and it is just a scam and hopefully the site will fix it.

So these types of sites are not really viruses or adware of any kind. They are just little tricks, visual tricks.

However if you are infected with real adware, maybe you installed some software without realizing that it also put adware on your computer. Apple does have a handy page for removing that. So if you have a more serious situation than what I just outlined, then you want to go to this URL here and Apple has all the information you need. You don't have to purchase anything. You don't have to install anything and you want to be careful not to. There is a lot of scam software out there that pretends to fix your computer but actually makes things worse.

This page here will walk you through any steps you need to get rid of any type of adware. I'll address these steps in a future video a little more but if you need it now here's where to get it right from Apple.

Comments: 23 Responses to “Removing Persistent Alarming Safari Pop-Up Windows”

    Jimmy
    7/29/15 @ 6:18 pm

    Thanks for this very useful but if advice

    Ken
    7/30/15 @ 8:16 am

    Gary – Great advice. Wanted to jot down, SUPPORT.APPLE.COM.203987 for future reference. Video frame goes by to fast. Took several replays to get. Maybe u can come up with a solution? Keep up the good work!

    SUPPORT.APPLE.COM.203987

    203987

    203987

    203987

    Enuff?

    203987

    JoeAllen
    7/30/15 @ 10:00 am

    Thanks. Does this also happen with Chrome and other browsers or is it peculiar to Safari?

      7/30/15 @ 10:01 am

      It could happen with any browser. The solution would be different. You basically need to find a way to restart the browser without reopening the previous windows.

    Squafdonoboles
    7/30/15 @ 11:04 am

    If the pop-up shows up in your history, can’t it be deleted from there?

      7/30/15 @ 11:07 am

      Yes, but if this is happening to you, you can’t get to your history because the alert is preventing you from interacting with Safari’s menu.

    Shirley
    7/30/15 @ 11:24 am

    What about using: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.app?

      7/30/15 @ 11:26 am

      I do not recommend it. I don’t recommend any of the anti-malware apps out there now. Some do more harm than good, others simply create a false sense of security. I’ve written about this a lot in the past, including an ebook that I pretty much give away ($3). http://macmost.com/the-practical-guide-to-mac-security

    Davis Newman
    7/30/15 @ 1:31 pm

    Great video. I’ve added a bookmark to this page in my “Apple” bookmarks folder. I can reach the bookmark from my other mac, iPad or iPhone. I like to open support pages on a different machine so I can follow instructions step by step.
    Thanks, Keep up the great work.

    Jeff Widen
    7/31/15 @ 6:10 am

    This happened to me and in my fearful state I ended up paying for and downloading a program called MacKeeper. I should have called Apple before I did it.
    Anyhow, I’d like to know if this is a legitimate site. If not what must I do now to get rid of it. Any thoughts?

      7/31/15 @ 6:16 am

      If what is a legitimate site? Or do you mean if MacKeeper is legitimate software? MacKeeper may be “legitimate” but you don’t need it. Search for “uninstall mackeeper” to learn how to uninstall it.

    Linda DesGroseilliers
    8/3/15 @ 7:57 am

    Great advice, Gary! This one’s a keeper.

    Linda DesGroseilliers
    8/3/15 @ 7:58 am

    Great advice, Gary; this one’s a keeper.

    jasper robinson
    8/4/15 @ 3:28 am

    Any tips on removing ad injections from Safari on an iOS device please? I have only managed to remove it by going to Safari on a second device (which could be iOS or Mac OS) and using the Show All Tabs button to view the pages are open on all my Safari browsers. From there I can close the bad page. Is there a neater way to do this?

      8/4/15 @ 5:37 am

      See my comment below (7/30/15 at 10:06 pm)

    M. Wilkins
    8/5/15 @ 10:24 am

    I was stuck once, couldn’t do anything with Safari because it was hijacked by a “warning” popup that looked like it was from Apple – nothing worked. Only solution was to delete a couple of files that had been deposited, the last one being lastsession.plist in Library/Safari. I did call the number, but when they wanted $600 to “remove problem”, I hung up. My son helped me, and I am older and wiser!

    Markus
    8/11/15 @ 11:40 am

    There seems to be a new one out that won’t even go away when attempting to restart Safari and holding down Shift. This site even includes a synthesized voice announcement that sounds really ominous and it seems to be opening multiple tabs of itself in quick succession. Above you say to force-quit Safari and then “go to Settings.” Settings…where? Thanks for any help. Right now I’m unable to use Safari because of this.

      8/11/15 @ 11:46 am

      That is in reference to the question about Safari on iOS. For Mac, just holding down Shift will reopen Safari without the previous windows. If you are still getting pop-up windows then it is probably not the issue being discussed here (a maliciously coded web site). It is probably something you unknowingly installed that is doing it — like a Safari extension or a actual real trojan. You may need to visit the Genius Bar for firsthand help.

    Chris
    8/25/15 @ 11:01 am

    I’m curious as to why the pop-up script is still permissible in Safari?

    The ability for a web developer to utilize a simple script, completely overriding any functionality in Safari, and forcing the user to see and interact with a dialog is really poor practice. Obviously by the developer, but more-so by Apple for not prohibiting this type of behavior. Do you agree?

      8/25/15 @ 11:06 am

      I can think of a lot of legitimate uses for such a thing. There are standards bodies that determine browser functionality and Apple is a part of those. They can decide to remove this and other functions that can possibly be used for evil, but if they do that in every case then there won’t be much functionality left on the web.

Comments Closed.