Find what app is causing popups, NOT in notification bar

  • I am getting these popups regularly. They do not appear in the notification center so I can't find out what app is causing them. The only app I can think of that I have installed recently, I have already deleted and they still appear. I am using the Nexus 4 Android 4.2.2. None of the ad detector apps have found anything.

    How can I determine what is causing this?

    Here is a screenshot of an ad, and a screenshot of my task manager immediately after. I am not sure if the app would have to be running to show the ad:

    The ad The task manager

    Have you run a few *different* anti-virus scans? Might find something. Also are you rooted?

    I am rooted. I've tried about a half dozen scanners.

    I would look to see if something unrecognized has set itself up as a Device Administrator, disable, and then remove.

  • If these popups are appearing in front of other apps, look through your installed apps to find any with the "draw over other apps" permission. Most apps don't have that permission, so this should help to narrow down which one might be the culprit.

    And how exactly should people do that? Look through installed apps? Where?

    In Settings, under Apps. Tap on an app to open its details, and there's a section that shows what permissions it has. There are also third-party apps that'll scan all your installed apps and group them by permissions so you don't have to check each one individually. And Android 6 (Marshmallow) has an advanced section specifically for controlling which apps can draw over others — tap the gear icon at the top of the screen in the apps list.

    Thank you. Looking for "draw over other apps" really narrowed things down! Nothing else I tried was nearly as helpful!

  • If such an advert shows up in my device my approaches would be the following ones. Also, at least a day of yours would be killed in doing so but it would reap good results.

    Use Firewall

    1. Install a firewall and restrict everything from connecting to Internet. See Closing internet access for some apps and choose a firewall app.
    2. Allow one user app in the firewall to connect to Internet. Use that app and see if the ads popup. If negative, then do it for another app.
    3. A firewall should be keeping a log of which app is trying to connect to Internet, so that should help as well.

    Monitor network connections

    When that popup shows up, see which apps are connected to Internet. Use an app like OS Monitor. Its Connection tab shows all the connected or apps waiting for connection (listening) on a port.

    You can use this approach with a firewall. Restrict all those apps which you saw being connected to Internet at the time the ads popup, allow one of the app and use it, and observe if any ads shows up. Similarly, do it for other apps.

    This should help in pin-pointing the source. Otherwise, ad blockers are always a choice to use and forget what's causing those popups.

    Kill-all approach

    Either manually or using an app or task manager, kill all the user apps running. Launch one of them, use it and see if the ads popup. Do the same for other user apps. Not a very good approach but nevertheless, it may lead you to source.

    `adb shell dumpsys activity` or `adb shell dumpsys window` may also help.

  • Try using an ad-block app like AdAway or AdBlock Plus . Most of these apps will show which ads were blocked and from where they originated. You can also check this link to know in detail about how to block ads in android

    a) what is the google play store link? b) it says "It’s available for all major desktop browsers" . What if an ad comes up but not while i'm browsing?

  • I had the same problem with my sony aqua and i found a very simple way to find the app that causing the ad all you have to do is when the ad pops up on your screen just hit the recent apps button and you will see what app is causing the ad.. For me it was Bluetooth app sender and i uninstalled it and the ad is gone

    Great! This worked as expected. Thanks for a nice tip. The DYI Emoji application on my fiancee's phone was causing ads pops any time she had use phone with internet and they were like 3 ads in 5 sec all the time and we were driving crazy she from ads pop ups and me from Internet Data bill. Hope there is a way to sue app creator for using my data on spam ads. I try to find out thanks. ;(

  • I had the same issue. Found a few suggestions on the Internet, like Trustgo ad detector and air push detector. Installed the trustgo app and it found the problem app in in a second. May be this info might be useful for others facing the same issue

    It might be useful if you [edit] your question and link to the apps you're recommending.

  • I recently bought a Galaxy S7 Edge. Was getting ADs for Mobile Strike over and over, with sound even when the volume was off. Very frustration. Tried Ad blocker and Malware Bytes. All excellent apps. Nothing worked. Couldn't find the responsible app. Finally had to do a hard reset. That worked.

  • Had the same problem. Pop up ads even in the middle of playing a game, or just sitting there. I went into setting, and looked at each app. There was an section that says how many megs was used in the last 3 hours. I uninstalled the ones that showed activity in the last 3 hours, no more pop ups! Hope this helps!

    Most times, this is caused by malware and uninstalling is not an option.

  • I had exacly the same ads you are showing in your screenshot, also apps called Insane Stars and Alarm Clock constantly installing, i looked into services and found and app called 'Tasks' being the culpit. If you dont have a service called Tasks, try to open multitasking while the popup is showing, it will show you the name of the app.

  • Found my apps to be related to skype. Uninstalled and no more pop ups. One of their permissions was to run over other apps thus the pop ups.

  • Download a terminal application for Android and run the following command:


    The "ps" command will list all the running processes / apps. Inside there you can see and analyze if a "weird" app is running behind and shows those ads.

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Content dated before 6/26/2020 9:53 AM