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How to Stop Spam Notifications on your Cell Phone

Updated on February 9, 2013

Have you ever gotten a strange notification icon on the notification tray of your cell phone? And when you open up the notification and tap on it, your phone's browser takes you to a webpage advertising something. This is a spam notification also known as "Push Notification Ads".

Many people are angry and annoyed. Your phone's notification area is not a place for ads. It is for you to receive important notifications from your phone such as missed calls, voice mails, text messages, and other updates. Receiving one spam notification would not be so bad. But the problem is they come again and again. The best thing to do is to opt out of these spam notification as soon as possible.

Often after tapping on the notification, the notification disappears from your notification tray. Hopefully prior to tapping on the notification, you saw on the notification text a web address where you can opt-out of these spam notifications.

Opting Out of Spam Notifications

When you go to the optout address shown in the notification, you may see two methods available to you to opt out. One method is to have you download an "Opt-out App" onto your phone.

For some, having to install yet another app on your phone may not sound appealing -- especially when it was installing some random app that caused these spam notifications to appear in the first place.

Another opt-out method that is often provided is the "manual opt-out method" where you have to enter your phone's IMEI into the site. The IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) is a 15 digit number that uniquely identifies your phone and can be found usually in the "About Phone" settings of your phone. For example, on Android phones, you can find it under "Menu -> Settings -> About Phone -> Phone Identity".

However, do you really want to give the advertisers your phone's IMEI number? If it was a reputable advertiser, then they would probably the honor your opt out requests and would use your IMEI for the sole purpose of opting out. However, sometime it is difficult to tell whether the spam advertisement came from a reputable advertiser or not.

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Better Way to Stop Spam Notifications

But there is a third method to opt out of these spam notifications. That is to uninstall the application that had started the spam notifications in the first place. This is the method that I would recommend.

If you've installed only one application recently, then it is pretty easy to figure out which application is causing it. But if you've installed a whole bunch of applications within the same time period, then it may be difficult to determine which of the application is causing the spam notifications.

in such cases, you can install the "Addons Detector" app by "denper" for Android apps. The app will help you determine which application on your phone is using "push notifications". After downloading and installing, it will provide you with a "list of apps with potential add-ons". Clicking on each of the item in that list will give you a detail account of the app's permissions on your phone. You can filter that lists by showing apps with "push notifications". Now you can see which app is causing the push notification advertisement on your phone. Simply uninstall the application and your spam notification should stop. Furthermore, if you don't like the idea of having another application on your phone, you can then uninstall "Addons Detector" after you have completed using it.

Hope that helps in getting rid of spam notifications from your phone.


Article written in December 2011 and is only opinion at time of writing.


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