If you are on the internet, which you, of course, are if you’re reading this article, you would come across plenty of ads on a day to day basis. Most of them, however, are non-obtrusive and do not hinder your experience. But what if these ads took over your entire screen and completely blocked whatever you are doing? Sadly, there indeed are apps that you install unknowingly or through third-party sources that run in the background and display full-screen ads on top of whatever activity is going on your phone. And that’s particularly true when it comes to Android phones.
What is the cause for full-screen pop-up ads?
Adware like these are invasive and due to the nature of the app displaying them, seldom would a user be able to tell what’s causing this issue. The reason behind this is that you probably installed a new app and like most of us do, you probably agreed to grant all the permissions the app asked for in haste, one of them being the permission to draw over other apps. What this essentially means is that the spammy app can now run in the background and display ads on top of any app that you may be using on your phone.
If you are not plagued by this issue yet, it’s a reminder to check and read all the permissions an app is asking for before hitting “allow”. If you think that an app is asking for permissions unrelated to the functionality of that app, make sure you deny it. For example, a gallery app asking for permission to read your SMS messages or call history is a red flag. However, if you are already a victim of this kind of adware, there are some quick fixes which mainly involves detecting the app that’s causing the issue and uninstalling it.
How to get rid of full-screen ads on Android
There are a few ways in which you can detect which app is causing this issue. If one doesn’t lead you to the right app, you can try all of them till you figure out the right app to uninstall.
Method 1: Checking permissions of recently installed apps
If you have started seeing ads on top of other apps only recently, chances are that a new app you just installed is causing this issue. If you know the last 2-3 apps that you installed, head over to Settings > Apps and select the app which you last installed. Scroll down till you find an option that says “Draw over other apps” or “Display over other apps” or even “Appear on top” on some phones depending on the UI. If this option is turned on/enabled, disable it, or we would even suggest uninstalling it and finding a better alternative. If this does not fix the issue, try the same with the subsequent recently installed apps until you find the culprit.
Method 2: Checking the list of apps with permission to display over other apps
This is a way to find out what apps have permission to display or draw over other apps. If you find an app in this list that shouldn’t be asking for this permission, you can disable it or uninstall the app itself. Head over to Settings > Apps > Special Access (on some phones you will find it in the three-dot menu within the apps section) > Display/Draw over other apps or Appear on Top (the wordings vary based on your phone but the functionality is the same). Over here, check the apps that have this permission and if you find something out of place, make sure you uninstall the app.
Method 3: Checking the most recently used app through Settings
Most phones, especially ones using a stock Android like skin have the option to display the most recently used app in the Settings menu. Using this, you can figure out the app that caused ads to pop-up on your phone. To view this, head over to Settings > Apps/Apps and Notifications (depending on the UI) and you will see “Recently opened apps” under which the top-most app should be the one causing this issue.
Method 4: Checking the most recently used app using Play Store
This is a nice way of figuring out which was the app that was last opened/used on your phone, which will help you detect the culprit. Wait for the ad to show up on the screen. Then, head back home and launch the Google Play Store. Then go to the Menu > My apps and games > Installed > Sort by > Last used. This should show you your list of apps with the last used app on top. Most likely, this is the app that is causing the ads to pop-up and you should uninstall it right away.
These were a few ways to try and figure out the app causing the problem of pop-up ads. If one doesn’t help, try all the steps and you are bound to find the culprit. The best way to dodge such situations next time is to be aware of the permissions an app is requesting before blindly hitting “allow”. There are plenty of malicious apps on the Play Store too and on third-party platforms, so make sure you verify the integrity of the app before installing it, especially if you are downloading an APK file from an unknown source. Prevention is always better than cure!