How do I stop Google ads on my Mac?

gkb993

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I am running Mac OS Catalina 10.15.7, Safari 15.6.1

In Safari preferences Privacy I have blocked all cookies. If I look at Manage Website Data it is always populated. If I remove all the entries within no time it is repopulated with a bunch of entries, many related to Google.

I do not use Chrome, I do not search with Google and I do not use facebook yet most of the sites I visit I see google ads.

I do have a google account but do not log in with my Mac other than to try and remove the ad settings then log out.

Please help me to stop Google on my Mac. What is populating these entries to allow Google to keep showing me ads. Example of Google entries below but do I there there are many other non Google entries. How do I stop this on my Mac please.

>Links removed<
 

pigoo3

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You can try ad blockers or use different browsers...such as Firefox, Brave, or Opera.

Nick
 
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gkb993

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Hi Nick, thanks for the post. Sorry, I should have mentioned in my first post that I have tried several ad blockers.

I really want to get to the bottom of this. Could there be some malware hidden deep enough that is not discovered by scans that is doing this. I have even seen the situation where I remove everything in Manage Website Data, wait a couple of minutes with no activity to see them come back.
 
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Google is the #1 purveyor of ads on the Internet. You get Google ads any time you visit a site that has them. Google pays for advertising to run, so a lot of sites allow Google ads. As Nick said, you can get an ad blocker, or change browser to one that has ad blocking, but there is no native setting on macOS to block Google ads.

Welcome to the forum, by the way. Sorry we don't have better news for you.
 

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Hi Nick, thanks for the post. Sorry, I should have mentioned in my first post that I have tried several ad blockers.
I removed all the links that were in your original post (8-10 links)...for member safety...and out of an abundance of caution. When a new member includes so many links in their first post...it's also a red-flag of possible spam or worse.

Many of links you listed are simply common URL's for sites that provide ad's to millions of websites...or provide ad functionality to webpages to help display the ad's themselves. You may have found some of this information using the Chrome "Developer" tool.

Maybe you can post some screenshots of what you're seeing...and then we can determine if what you're seeing is normal...or non-normal.

Thanks,

Nick
 
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gkb993

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I have attached a screenshot from the Safari Preferences - Privacy - Manage Website Data which shows some of the links .

It is worth noting a couple of things. I have been in IT for over 30 years and am very familiar with desktop environments. Also this is a relatively new event. Several months ago I signed up to Facebook so I could access the local Marketplace to sell a motorbike. I was active on Facebook for about a month and haven't been back to Facebook since.

Call it a coincidence if you will, but Google wasn't a problem until then.

Yes, Google is the #1 purveyor of ads on the Internet but that doesn't mean by default they have the right to impose their will on me.

2022-12-02 at 9.55 am.jpeg
 
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It sounds to me like maybe you are running an app of some kind that is leading to these caches to be present despite your Safari preferences. If you are concerned about malware, do a scan with VirusBarrier and/or DetectX Swift. Also maybe run a scan with EtreCheck to see if it turns up any issues. At the least, it will tell you what's loading up on startup. I assume you have rebooted to see if the problem goes away? And lastly, perhaps a run of Onyx' full suite of cleaning tools will solve the problem. Can't hurt to try it.
 
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Welcome to the 21st century. Google is the number one collector of data on folks on the internet, followed by FB (Meta). And if you visit any site that uses Google for ads, or Google's tools to track traffic to that site, or monitor traffic in any way, you get that stuff in your browser. Apple lets you see, and if you want, delete, what is stored, but it will immediately reappear as soon as you dip your toe back in the Internet. Most of it is sort-of innocuous, like a news site keeping track of what you have already read, or this site for that same reason. Some is not so innocuous, gathering as much personal information about you as it can to sell. Go to a website for used cars? You'll start getting more and more ads for cars, and if you share your email on a site, you will get email spam about cars, too.

If you delete the stuff, as you can, then when you return to a site you have been before, it will be as if you have never been there before and you will have to do whatever setup was required on your first visit.

In Safari, you can try "New Private Window" and have some anonymity, and ad blockers can sometimes cut down on the cruft, but the Google stuff is ubiquitous.
 
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gkb993

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I suspect too that there is something populating my Mac with Google links, ads and cookies, not to mention Facebook and Amazon. I do periodically run Onyx have have done to several times since this issue first took my notice. I'll have a go at those scanners you mention and see if anything appears.

Thanks for the ideas.
 
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I'll have a go at those scanners you mention and see if anything appears.

There is very little malware for the Macintosh. And all of what exists is known, and folks know exactly what each example does. I can categorically tell you that what you are seeing is not due to malware. (Unless you regard an entire Web browser that is highly insecure to be "malware". I sort of regard Google's Chrome that way.)

Macintosh users often prefer to use Apple apps, thinking that Apple must know best how to write apps for their own platform. So, for a Web browser, most prefer Safari. However, Apple's free apps have just about never been about being "the best", they are about being decent enough for most users. So, some folks will be upset by my saying this, but Safari not only isn't the best Web browser, but, especially with respect to security, it's fallen WAY behind some of the other offerings available.

Both Google AND to some extent Apple are spying on everything that you do when using Safari. See:

https://spreadprivacy.com/what-does-google-know-about-me/

Apple does very little to stop this. Other browsers do just about everything that they can to stop it.

The Web browser that currently offers the best default (i.e. with standard settings) security is:

Brave (free)
https://brave.com

Have a look at this respected site that follows computer security:

https://restoreprivacy.com/browser/secure/

or

https://arstechnica.com/information...cy-settings-the-lowest-of-all-major-browsers/

You don't have to believe me, or even the above Web sites. You can test how secure any Web browser is with these free tools:

Cover Your Tracks
https://www.eff.org/pages/cover-your-tracks

Browser Audit
https://browseraudit.com

Personally, I've switched to Brave and I LOVE IT! It blocks ads without the need for any extensions. It's FAST! It is highly customizable. It has better compatibility with odd Web sites than Safari. It's just a joy to use.
 
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gkb993

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Hi Randy and thank you so much for the information you posted, I think I can see the light at the end of the the tunnel and it's not the Google Express!!

I looked at Brave some time ago as an alternative, I always like to have at least two operational browsers because as you know some sites can be problematic.

I'll have another look at Brave and report back here in a couple of days what I think.
 

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I have the same as Randy above and let me say that although not impossible it's very hard to completely remove all Google files, apps and services.
Doing a search for "google" using Find any File (an excellent tool to have incidentally) I get the below result but it's no wonder when you consider I still use Google Translate, Google Authenticator, Google Maps, Google Calendar, Google Contacts and my primary email address is my name@gmail.com.

However as Randy suggests above you can filter out much of the tracking and ads simply by using a browser like Brave (which I'm using now), Vivaldi or even the current version of Firefox.
You don't have to opt into Brave's BAT rewards system (make sure you read up on it before you do) unless you're interested in the concept. Also available on iOS/iPadOS
Vivaldi also has solid ad blocking and anti tracking options built in but some of its great, unique features take a little learning. There is sadly, no iOS version.
Then there's Firefox and despite being one of the "big four" now has customisable preset ad blocking and anti tracking options.

I prefer Brave because I can have it on all my devices, it's easy to set up it's controls and settings are intuitive and i have seen a Google ad since I started using it.
 
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Ya know, looking at those screen caps, and I'm not sure that you have an issue with cookies. Everything is labeled as caches, which is just one type of website data. I don't think blocking all cookies has any effect on caches, or databases and "local storage", which are the other types of website data that I see here on my own Mac. I also don't think Facebook has anything to do with what you are seeing. So a little background on my setup here. I use a cookie manager named Cookie (of course!) that I have set to automatically delete all cookies except some sites that I have whitelisted so I don't have to log in every time I return to them. It will also remove other items like caches, favicons, and more. So in my case, I do have caches from non-favorites removed courtesy of this app, not courtesy of Safari's settings. Now what Cookie does NOT remove are databases or "local storage", and I was surprised to see some that are present. They are all from sites I have visited in the past, and a few I've purchased something or another on, but many of these I haven't been to in months. I have no idea what's in these "databases".

Additionally, I don't think the presence of those Google items has anything to do with Facebook. FB is one of those sites I have whitelisted in Cookie and while Google-specific items are not whitelisted, I do not get any Google-related cookies and caches when I open up Facebook (I just checked) and Cookie would have only deleted them after closing Safari, if any were generated. Even with my ad blocker disabled, I don't get Google anythings with FB open and refreshed.
 

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Since the Brave browser has been mentioned a bunch in this thread...here's a snippet from the Wikipedia article for Brave regarding privacy:

"Comparison with other browsers:

A February 2020 research report published by the School of Computer Science and Statistics at Trinity College Dublin tested six browsers and deemed Brave to be the most private of them, in terms of phoning home: "In the first (most private) group lies Brave, in the second Chrome, Firefox and Safari, and in the third (least private) group lie Edge and Yandex."[105]
"

Nick
 
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gkb993

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Thanks to all who took an interest in this topic and posted some good ideas. Brave is looking like a replacement to Safari, no problems with ads so far.
 

Rod


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It's also worth giving some thought to your search engine too. I use DuckDuck Go which also blocks trackers. Yes, you will get a different range of results and yes, it is doubling up but if you're using Yahoo, Google or Bing you will be getting targeted results.
 
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gkb993

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Well it's been a week or so since ditching Safari and going with Brave. Pity there was no way to export and import my credentials from various sites from Safari to Brave, things like username and passwords, no matter, it's all done now.

I was getting so annoyed with unsolicited advertising (Google) I was actively researching alternate OS's to load on my Mac doing away with the Mac OS and Google. Thankfully it didn't come to that.

I have been using DuckDuck Go for a number of years and am happy with it.

The change from Safari to Brave has been nothing less than remarkable and I would recommend the change to anyone like me who just wants to be left alone and not consistently bombarded by unwanted advertising.

Thank you to all who helped on this journey.
 

Rod


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You know theres something to be said for starting afresh, like a clean instal of macOS. When i first moved to Brave I only ended up with about 20 bookmarks, no doubt there are a few more now but many of the bookmarks I still have on Safari and there are over a hundred are redundant or no longer useful.

Anyway, glad to hear you are happy with Brave.
 

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