How to Remove Spam Ads in Your Android Notification Bar

This guide will take you through the steps to easily determine which Apps are sending spam and ads to your Android Notification window, and how to remove them.

Some Android Apps use “Ad Services” that can alter your phone or tablet in ways you may not have wanted. One such alteration is the constant sending of messages (ads) to your Notification Bar. Other apps can and will add shortcuts to your Home Screens without ‘warning’ you. Others can change your default browser home page, collect data about your location, phone information and much more. To determine which Apps are using these “services” (so that you can delete them, or at least understand what they’re doing) – keep reading.

  1. As illustrated in the screenshot below, you can see that there are a number of “notifications” that are not “system” related even though they’re designed to look as such.
  2. When you ‘pull down’ your Notification Bar, you’ll see a series of “notifications” that are actually nothing more than ads. Some of which can be not child-friendly (to the point where I had to blur the screenshot below because the image was so inappropriate). They can also have very deceptive text or descriptions to try and make them look legitimate when they are absolutely not.
  3. Tapping these fake notifications can take you to a web page (usually very spam oriented), prompt you to install an App from the Google Play market (see image below) or another annoying action.
  4. Another annoying trait of these Apps is that they can add shortcuts to your Home Screens that also try (sometimes) to look like actual system applications (“Search”, “App Store” etc).
  5. Yet another unwanted trait is that some Apps can add bookmarks to your browser without telling you, or change your default home page. In the example image below, you can see that one app changed my home page from Google to another search site that tries to mimic Google.
  6. Now let’s figure out which Apps are responsible for these ads/spam. On your Android device launch Google Play and search for the App titled Mobile Security Lookout (or install it via this link). Once installed, launch it from your Applications section.
  7. Click the large START SCAN button.
  8. Ad Network Detector will now scan all of the Apps installed on your Android device. This process doesn’t take very long, but the time will vary based on the number of Apps you have installed.
  9. Once the scan has completed you’ll be presented with a list of the results. The results are organized by what each App “does”. Using the image below as an example, you’ll see that I had 3 Apps installed that are able to Display ads in Android notification bar, 2 Apps that can Modify default browser home page or bookmarks etc.
  10. Tap the arrow next to one of the App behavior items. From the sub-menu you’ll see a list (if you have Apps using more than one type of ad network) of different ad networks – and how many of your Apps are using that service. In the example below, I’ll use LeadBolt.
  11. From here you’ll be presented with a great screen that provides you with all the info you need to decide what you want to do next. The first items listed are the “guilty” Apps – the ones that are (in this case) displaying ads in the Notification Bar. The Behavior section explains exactly what these Apps do. The Privacy section explains what the ad network (in this case LeadBolt) is collecting.
  12. Now that you know which Apps are responsible for those annoying ads in your Notification Bar, you can decide if you like them enough to put up with the ads. In my case, I do not. The solution – uninstall those Apps. In my case the two guilty Apps were “Love Tester” and “Idiot Test” (judging by the names it should come as no surprise that they spam your Notification Bar). You can uninstall the App(s) directly from within Ad Network Detector by clicking the “cog” icon next to the App name.
  13. This will take you to the uninstall screen for that specific App.
  14. Repeat this process until you’ve uninstalled all of the Apps that you’re willing to part with – there may be some that are so useful to you that you’re willing to put up with their notifications. If that’s the case, you may want to research Apps that accomplish the same thing but don’t spam your phone/device.
  15. Finally – an ad-free Notification Bar! :)

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8 thoughts on “How to Remove Spam Ads in Your Android Notification Bar”

  1. I was getting so desperate with all of this spam I even thought of ditching the phone and getting another Lumia but this program really did the trick, and worked really easily and fast. Thanks for great article, you REALLY made my day.

  2. This was such a timely article! My husband and I were discussing those pesky ads just yesterday. The Lookout app looks great, but I tried it about 7 times and each time it did a force close before the scan was complete. I found an alternate app to use called TrustGo Ad Detector. It found 17 troublesome apps on my Xoom! Thanks for the serendipitous tip!

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