How to Block Pop-up Windows in Your Web Browser

browser pop-up blockers
Getty Images (Paulo Buchinho #91806013)

As is the case with most mediums including television and radio, viewing or listening to advertisements is sometimes unavoidable when browsing the Web. This holds especially true when you're visiting websites that provide content or services free of charge. Nothing worthwhile can be totally free, so encountering ads is part of the trade-off.

While ads on the Web are a necessary part of life, some tend to be downright intrusive.

One brand of online advertising that falls into this category for most users is the pop-up, a new window that can really get in the way of your browsing experience. In addition to these windows being an annoyance they can also pose security concerns, as some third-party pop-ups may lead to dangerous destinations or contain malicious code within the ad itself.

Keeping all of this is in mind, most modern browser vendors provide an integrated pop-up blocker which allows you to stifle some or all of these potential distractions from opening. Although the overall concept is similar across the board, each browser handles pop-up control differently. In this article we show you how to manage pop-up windows in your favorite browser.

Google Chrome

Chrome OS, Linux, Mac OS X, macOS Sierra, and Windows

  1. Type the following command into Chrome's address bar (also known as the Omnibox): chrome://settings/content and hit the Enter key.
  1. Chrome's Content settings interface should now be displayed, overlaying your main browser window. Scroll down until you locate the section labeled Pop-ups, containing the following two options accompanied by radio buttons.
    Allow all sites to show pop-ups: Permits any website to display pop-ups within Chrome
    Do not allow any site to show pop-ups: The default selection, prevents all pop-up windows from being displayed.
  1. Also found in the Pop-ups section is a button labeled Manage exceptions. Clicking on this button displays specific domains where you've chosen to allow or block pop-ups within Chrome. All settings within this interface override the radio buttons described above. To remove an item from the exceptions list, click on the 'X' found to the far right in its respective row. To change the behavior for a particular domain from allow to block or vice versa, make the appropriate selection from the accompanying drop-down menu. You can also manually add a new domain to the list by entering its address syntax in the Hostname Pattern column.
  2. Once you are satisfied with your pop-up blocker settings, click on the Done button to return to the main browser interface.

Android and iOS (iPad, iPhone, iPod touch)

  1. Select Chrome's main menu button, represented by three vertically-placed dots and located in the upper right-hand corner of the browser window.
  2. When the drop-down menu appears, tap on Settings.
  3. Chrome's Settings interface should now be visible. Select the Content Settings option on iOS or the Site settings option on Android, both found in the Advanced section.
  4. iOS UsersThe first option in this section, labeled Block Pop-ups, controls whether or not the pop-up blocker is enabled. Select this option. Another option labeled Block Pop-ups should appear, this time accompanied by a button. To toggle Chrome's pop-up blocker on and off, simply tap on this button. Select the Done link to return to your browsing session.
  1. Android Users: The Site settings screen should now be visible, listing over a dozen configurable site-specific options. Scroll down, if necessary, and select Pop-ups. The Pop-ups option will now be visible, accompanied by an On/Off button. Tap on this button to toggle Chrome's pop-up blocking functionality. Chrome for Android also allows you to modify pop-up blocking for individual sites. To do so, first select the All sites option on the Site settings screen. Next, choose the site that you wish to modify. Finally, repeat the steps above to enable or disable pop-ups for that specific website.

     

    Microsoft Edge (Windows only)

    1. Click on the main menu button, located in the upper right hand-corner and represented by three horizontally-aligned dots.
    2. When the drop-down menu appears, scroll down and click on Settings.
    3. Edge's Settings interface should now be visible, overlaying a portion of your main browser window.
    4. Scroll to the bottom and select the View advanced settings button.
    5. Towards the top of the Advanced settings screen is an option labeled Block pop-ups, accompanied by an On/Off button. Select this button to enable or disable pop-up blocking functionality in the Edge browser.

     

    Internet Explorer 11 (Windows only)

    1. Click on the gear icon, also known as the Action menu, located in the upper right-hand corner of IE11's main window.
    2. When the drop-down menu appears, click on Internet options.
    3. The Internet options dialog should now be visible, overlaying your browser window. Click on the Privacy tab.
    4. IE11's privacy-related settings should now be shown. Within the Pop-up Blocker section is an option labeled Turn on Pop-up Blocker, accompanied by a checkbox and enabled by default. To toggle the pop-up blocker off and on, add or remove the check mark from this box by clicking on it once.
    5. Click on the Settings button, also found in this section.
    6. IE11's Pop-up Blocker Settings interface should open in a new window. Towards the top is an edit field labeled Address of website to allow. If you'd like to permit a specific website's pop-ups to open within IE11, enter its address here and click on the Add button.
    7. Directly below this field is the Allowed sites section, listing all sites where pop-up windows are allowed even while the blocker is activated. You can remove one or all of these exceptions by using the corresponding buttons found to the right of the list.
    8. The next section found in the Pop-up Blocker Settings window controls what alerts, if any, IE11 displays each time a pop-up is blocked. The following settings, each accompanied by a checkbox, are enabled by default and can be disabled by removing their respective check marks: Play a sound when a pop-up is blocked, Show Notification bar when a pop-up is blocked.
    9. Located under these options is a drop-down menu labeled Blocking level which dictates the stringency of IE11's pop-up blocker. The available settings are as follows.
      High: Blocks all pop-ups; can be overridden by using the CTRL+ALT keyboard shortcut
      Medium: The default setting, instructs IE11 to block most pop-up windows
      Low: Allows only pop-ups from websites deemed to be secure

     

    Apple Safari

    OS X and macOS Sierra

    1. Click on Safari in the browser menu, located at the top of your screen.
    2. When the drop-down menu appears, select Preferences.
    3. Safari's Preferences interface should now be displayed, overlaying your main browser window. Click on the Security tab.
    4. Found in the Web content section of Safari's Security preferences is an option labeled Block pop-up windows, accompanied by a checkbox. To toggle this functionality on and off, place or remove a check mark in the box by clicking on it once.

    iOS (iPad, iPhone, iPod touch)

    1. Tap on the Settings icon, typically found on your device's Home Screen.
    2. The iOS Settings interface should now be visible. Scroll down, if necessary, and select the Safari option.
    3. Safari's settings should now be displayed. Locate the General section, which contains an option labeled Block Pop-ups. Accompanied by an On/Off button, this setting allows you to enable or disable Safari's integrated pop-up blocker. When the button is green, all pop-ups will be blocked. When it is white, Safari for iOS will permit sites to push pop-up windows to your device.

     

    Opera

    Linux, Mac OS X, macOS Sierra, and Windows

    1. Type the following text into the browser's address bar and hit the Enter or Return key: opera://settings.
    2. Opera's Settings interface should now be displayed within the current tab. Click on Websites, located in the left menu pane.
    3. Scroll down until you see the section labeled Pop-ups, containing two options each accompanied by a radio button. They are as follows.
      Allow all sites to show pop-ups: Permits all pop-up windows to be displayed by Opera
      Do not allow any site to show pop-ups: The default and recommended setting, stifles any pop-up windows that attempt to open within the Opera browser
    4. Located below these options is the Manage exceptions button, which displays a list of individual domains from where you've chosen to specifically allow or block pop-up windows. These exceptions override the two settings mentioned above. Select the 'X' found to the far right of a particular domain to remove it from the list. Select either Allow or Block from a domain's drop-down menu to specify its pop-up blocker behavior. To add a new domain to the exceptions list, type its address into the field provided in the Hostname Pattern column.
    5. Select the Done button to return to Opera's main browser window.

     

    Opera Mini (iOS)

    1. Tap on the Opera menu button, a red or white 'O' typically located at the bottom of your browser window or directly next to the address bar.
    2. When the pop-out menu appears, select the Settings option.
    3. Opera Mini's Settings interface should now be displayed. Found within the Advanced section is an option labeled Block Pop-ups, accompanied by an On/Off button. Tap on this button to toggle the browser's integrated pop-up blocker on and off.

     

    Mozilla Firefox

    Linux, Mac OS X, macOS Sierra, and Windows

    1. Type the following text into the address bar and hit Enter: about:preferences#content
    2. Firefox's Content preferences should now be displayed within the active tab. Found within the Pop-ups section is an option labeled Block pop-up windows, accompanied by a checkbox and enabled by default. This setting controls whether or not Firefox's integrated pop-up blocker is active. To enable or disable it at any time, click on the checkbox once to add or remove the check mark.
    3. Also located in this section is the Exceptions button which loads the Allowed Sites: Pop-ups window, where you can instruct Firefox to allow pop-up windows on specific websites. These exceptions override the pop-up blocker itself. Click on the Save Changes button once you are satisfied with your pop-up whitelist.

    iOS (iPad, iPhone, iPod touch)

    1. Tap on Firefox's menu button, represented by three horizontal lines and located at the bottom of your browser window or alongside the address bar.
    2. When the pop-out menu appears select the Settings icon. You may have to swipe left in order to locate this option.
    3. Firefox's Settings interface should now be visible. The Block Pop-up Windows option, located in the General section, dictates whether or not the integrated pop-up blocker is enabled. Tap on the accompanying On/Off button to toggle Firefox's blocking functionality.