How to Remove Adware From Your Mac

Get rid of those programs that hijack your Mac with pop-up ads or toolbars

What to Know

  • Go to Malwarebyte's website. Download and install the program on your Mac.
  • Open Malwarebytes and select Scan Now to generate a list of malware or a message that the Mac is free of malware.
  • If adware is found and quarantined, select Clear Quarantine to remove it from the Mac.

This article explains how to remove existing adware from your Mac using Malwarebytes. It also covers how to use a pop-up blocker to prevent new adware. Information in this article applies to Macs running macOS Catalina (10.15) through OS El Capitan (10.11).

How to Remove Adware From Mac Using Malwarebytes

Are you tired of random programs hijacking your Mac with unasked-for adware such as pop-up ads and toolbars? Good news: There's a way to remove adware from a Mac and prevent it from reaching your computer.

To get rid of the adware already on your Mac, you need an anti-malware tool such as Malwarebytes for Mac or some other antivirus software.

Malwarebytes offers a free version, but you have to run it manually to remove adware and malware. The paid version automatically blocks any type of malware trying to access your device.

  1. Launch your preferred browser. Go to Malwarebytes' site and click FREE DOWNLOAD.

    Malwarebytes for Mac website
  2. Once the download completes, click the Malwarebytes-Mac.pkg file in your Downloads folder to expand it.

  3. An Install Malwarebytes for Mac window opens. Click Continue to advance.

    Malwarebytes for Mac install dialog box
  4. Click Agree to agree with the license terms and Continue.

    Malwarebytes for Mac install dialog box
  5. Click Install. Enter the local administrator credentials and select Install Software to proceed.

    Malwarebytes for Mac install dialog box
  6. Click Close when the installation is complete.

    Malwarebytes for Mac installation complete
  7. Click Not Now when you are prompted to enable the premium (paid) version 14-day trial.

    Malwarebytes for Mac free trial offer

    If you enable the trial but don't purchase the premium version, the application continually prompts you to upgrade to the paid version whenever you launch it.

  8. Click Scan Now to begin scanning for malware.

    Malwarebytes for Mac with Scan Now selected
  9. When the scan completes, you'll see a list of found malware or a message stating your Mac is free of malware.

    Malwarebytes for Mac software.
  10. If any adware was found and quarantined, it is in the quarantined section. Click Clear Quarantine to remove any quarantined files.

    Malwarebytes for Mac quarantine list with Clear Quarantine button highlighted

Use a Pop-Up Blocker on Mac to Prevent More Adware

You can either block pop-up windows in your preferred browser or install the Adblock Plus browser extension.

These instructions apply to the Safari browser. However, one of the advantages of using Adblock Plus is it's also compatible with other browsers, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and Microsoft Edge.

  1. Launch Safari and navigate to the Adblock Plus website.

  2. Click Agree and Install for Safari. The Mac App Store launches automatically.

    Adblock Plus extension download screen with Agree and Install for Safari highlighted
  3. Click Get in the top right corner and then click Install. Enter your Apple ID credentials to allow the installation.

    Adblock Plus extension in Mac App Store with Get highlighted
  4. When the installation completes, click Open in the top right corner.

    Adblock Plus extension with Open highlighted
  5. An Adblock Plus window opens with instructions to enable the extension. Click Launch Safari Preferences near the bottom of the window.

    Adblock Plus extension with Launch Safari Preferences highlighted
  6. Click the extension check boxes to enable them and then close the extensions window.

    Mac Extensions preferences with ABP extensions checked
  7. Click Finish in the Adblock Plus window.

    Adblock Plus finish installation screen
  8. Close the Adblock Plus Settings window.

    Adblock Plus Settings.
  9. Refresh your Safari browser and see a new Adblock Plus icon next to the URL bar.


Enjoy a pop-up free experience in your browser.

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