About pop-up ads and windows in Safari

Find out how to block pop-up windows and handle persistent ads on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Mac.

Pop-ups can be ads, notices, offers or alerts that open in your current browser window, in a new window or in another tab. Some pop-ups are third-party ads that use phishing tactics – such as warnings or prizes – to trick you into believing they’re from Apple or another trusted company, so you’ll share personal or financial information. Or they may claim to offer free downloads, software updates or plug-ins to try to trick you into installing unwanted software.  

Unless you’re confident of an ad’s legitimacy, you should avoid interacting with pop-ups or web pages that seem to take over your screen. Here are some additional tips that may help you manage pop-ups and other unwanted interruptions.

Check and update your software

Always make sure you've installed the latest software updates for all of your Apple products. Many software releases have important security updates and may include improvements that help to control pop-ups.

The safest place to download apps for your Mac is the App Store. If you need third-party software for your Mac and it isn’t available in the App Store, get it directly from the developer or another reliable source, rather than through an ad or link.

Check Safari settings and security preferences

Make sure Safari security settings are turned on, particularly Block Pop-ups – for pop-up windows – and the Fraudulent Website Warning.

On your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, go to Settings > Safari and turn on Block Pop-ups and Fraudulent Website Warning.

On your Mac, you can find these options in Safari > Preferences. The Websites tab includes options to block some or all pop-up windows, and you can turn on fraudulent site warnings in the Security tab.

Pop-ups and ads in Safari

If you see an annoying pop-up ad in Safari, you can go to the Search field and enter a new URL or search term to browse to a new site. If you can’t see the Search field on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, tap the top of the screen to make it appear.

Some pop-ups and ads have fake buttons that resemble the close button, so take care if you're trying to close a pop-up or ad. If you're unsure, avoid interacting with the pop-up or ad and close the Safari window or tab.

On your Mac, you can also update your settings to prevent windows from opening again after you've closed Safari, or just press and hold the Shift key when you open Safari.

If you may have installed adware or other unwanted software on your Mac

If you see pop-ups on your Mac that just won’t go away, you may have inadvertently downloaded and installed adware (advertising-supported software) or other unwanted software. Certain third-party download sites may include programs that you don’t want with the software that you install.

If you think you may have malware or adware on your Mac, update to the latest version of macOS. If your Mac is already running the latest version, restart it. macOS includes a built-in tool that removes known malware when you restart your Mac.

Check your Applications folder to see if you have any apps that you don't expect to be there and uninstall them. You can also check the Extensions tab in Safari preferences to check whether you've installed any unnecessary extensions that you'd prefer to turn off. If you continue to see advertising or other unwanted programs on your Mac, contact Apple.

Information about products not manufactured by Apple, or independent websites not controlled or tested by Apple, is provided without recommendation or endorsement. Apple assumes no responsibility with regard to the selection, performance or use of third-party websites or products. Apple makes no representations regarding third-party website accuracy or reliability. Contact the vendor for additional information.

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