PC Update

Those Nasty Pop Up Ads

Jim Cerny, Help Desk Host, The Saratoga Users Group

You’re going along just fine, enjoying a fun game on your device, you don’t know how it happened or maybe you touched the screen just a teeny bit out of place, and BAM, there is a pop-up add or window!  It overlays part of your screen and now you are playing a new game you didn’t download called “try to get rid of this ad!”

I guess it is pretty standard now that all “free” games on your device come with ads, so here are some tips on how to get rid of them and get back to your game or app.


Naturally, no one way will always work, they are always trying to fool you!


Simple notice box – a short message in a small box that, thankfully, has a small “X” you can touch to get rid of it. It may be an important notice, however, so read it in case you have a problem. Usually, these notices appear in the middle of your screen or the lower right corner “notification area” on your Windows computer.


Larger ad – behold a company catalog page offering clothes or shoes or whatever. Look carefully – where is that “X”?  Is it missing?  Well, it could be hidden out of sight. Try touching the upper right corner (and if that doesn’t work, try EVERY corner) to see if an “X” appears. If so, you “win”, now you can touch the “X” and get rid of the ad.


Touch screen ads to swipe away – Ok, some ads do NOT have an “X”, these people are getting more clever every year!  Try putting your finger on the ad and “swiping” the ad (up, down, left, or right) to get it off your screen. I had a nasty one the other day which appeared on the far left on my iPad and the only way I could get rid of it was to swipe it all the way to the RIGHT to get it off.


An unwelcome web page – Somehow you must have touched on something to open up (or “go to”) a web page. Yes, they can do this to you without you opening up your web browser. Good luck finding an “X” on this one. On a touch screen, try swiping up and hope the window goes up and off your screen. Otherwise, hit your “home” button twice (on your device) or swipe HALFway up on your iPhone from the bottom to get all your open apps. Find the one you want to delete and swipe it up to get rid of it. It is a very good idea to do this often on your device to delete all your apps that are remaining open and perhaps slowing up your response on your device.


Timed ads – These, at least, are almost expected. An ad appears (if they are nice they will warn you first) and these ads are “timed” to run for several seconds or a minute. Look for a moving blue bar at the bottom of the ad to see it countdown the clock. Sometimes no bar or timer appears. Sometimes it is hidden in the corner and when you touch on it only then will it show you the time remaining. As far as I know, there is nothing you can do with a timed ad other than wait until the time runs out – even then you will still have to look for an “X” or something to touch to get rid of it.


Your anti-virus software app on your Windows computer may already have an ad blocker as part of it, so look and see what options are already available for you. Apple products do not have anti-virus apps as they are already part of the iOS (operating system).


Ad blockers. Now having said all that, there are many ad “blockers” and “removers” that are available on the internet. Some are “free” (with pop-up ads of their own!). I would be a little careful here – it would be best to ask someone who is already using the blocker tool before you download it and start using it. Will it work on your device?  Will it work on multiple devices?  Will it block all ads?  Will it work only with your browser (i.e. Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Safari, Firefox, etc.)?  Nothing is perfect and those company marketing people are working hard to get you to see their ads. Always look up any ad blocker, or any app for that matter, on Google and read what others have experienced. Pretty soon ads will be popping up on our car screens. Imagine driving along and having an auto insurance ad popping up over your speedometer!  Well, I suppose that is a bit better than driving through a billboard!

Reproduced with permission from the August 2020 edition of STUG Monitor.


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