How to Get Rid of Pop-Ups on a Mac

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Pop-up advertisements can make Web browsing incredibly frustrating. They are pesky, obtrusive and can be hard to eradicate, but Mac users can take steps to keep the browsing experience pop-up free.

Getting Rid of Pop-Ups Through Safari Preferences

The first step to eliminating pop-ups in Safari is to enable the Block Pop-Up Windows option. On the menu bar in the upper-left corner of the desktop, select Safari and then Preferences. In the preferences window, select the Security tab and make sure that the Block Pop-Up Windows option is checked.


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Blocking pop-ups in Safari Preferences
Image Credit: Image courtesy of Apple

Before leaving the Safari Preferences window, select the Privacy tab and take a look at the Cookies and Website Data section. Cookies are tiny bits of information that follow you around as you browse the Web. It is possible that the pop-ups you are experiencing are the result of cookies, so selecting the Always Block option may prevent further pop-ups from appearing. You can also click the Remove All Website Data button to delete stored cookies and website data from Safari. Keep in mind that while this may eliminate pop-ups, it also logs you out of saved sites such as Facebook. Blocking cookies may cause certain website features, such as Amazon's suggested products engine, to work incorrectly.


Blocking cookies in Safari Preferences
Image Credit: Image courtesy of Apple

Pop-Ups Caused by Adware

If setting Safari Preferences did not solve your pop-up problem, you may have adware on your Mac. Adware is software that is designed to target the afflicted computer with advertisements. If your Mac is affected by adware, you may notice any of the following:


  • Ads appear in places within your browser that they should not.
  • Your home page has changed.
  • Website links do not take you where you intended to go.

Removing Adware From a Mac

If you think your Mac may harbor adware, use the AdwareMedic program to clean up your computer. AdwareMedic is donationware, meaning it is free to download, but you can choose to donate to the developer. AdwareMedic scans your Mac for known sources of adware. When it locates adware, the program provides you with the option to delete it. After opening the AdwareMedic program, click Scan for Adware to see a list populated with adware files that are discovered on your Mac. You can then click the Remove Selected Adware button, but you have the option to deselect any displayed files that you might want to keep. After deleting the adware, restart your computer and enjoy pop-up free browsing.



AdBlock is a free extension for both Safari and Google Chrome that prevents advertisements of all sorts from displaying in your browser. Click Safari in the toolbar and select Safari Extensions. Toward the middle of the following Web page, you should see the AdBlock extension. You can also search for it in the search bar. Click the Install Now link to install AdBlock.


AdBlock hides any advertisements on any Web page you visit. This prevents pop-ups and gives you a much cleaner browsing experience. If there is a certain site on which you want advertisements to appear, click on the AdBlock extension and select either Don't run on this page for a single Web page or Don't run on pages on this domain, which allows ads to be shown on any page within a particular website.