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Annoying adds on desktop, cannot get rid of TouchPal app

liker777

Newbie
Aug 2, 2017
15
4
Hi there

I have Android version 6.0.1, phone is Z988.
Recently, phone started to show annoying ads out of any app. I mean it shows it on a desktop, or in front of any other app. Seems to be these ads do not below to any installed apps.

I don't remember what app did I install last. But I tried to delete few less famous apps, and annoying ads are still in place.
I also tried to install few antiviruses and scan the phone. They found nothing...

That's how ads are looking:
1) Most often, like standard line on the top, like ads of some apps. It contains label of google add and text of link to follow. Please see pics in files attached to thread.
2) Less often, small circle in the left bottom corner of the screen. Circle contains some picture (flower, etc). Circle looks like Facebbok or Google Translate widget on a desktop, which you can move around desktop. When I click circle, nothing happens.
Btw, sometimes picture on a circle changes. Last time it was a man with a rope around his neck...
After that, I am sure that something is wrong.

Any thoughts what's happening? I don't want to change my large screen ZTE, since I really love it except of these ads...
 

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It's really unlikely to be malware (technically "virus" refers to a subclass of malware which so far does not exist for Android), unless you have been installing apps from unknown sources. If you have stuck to the Play Store it's unlikely (depends a bit on region, but unlikely anywhere). I really would check the last few apps you installed or updated before this started. If it doesn't happen in safe mode (when user-installed apps are disabled) that will confirm for sure that it's just one of your apps.

If you really can't track the source, the nuclear option is to factory reset then only restore your apps a few per day, so you can keep track of what is safe and what isn't.

You could try installing an app that lets you see what apps have what permissions, e.g. Addons Detector. Apps that can draw over other apps would be particularly suspect in this case.

Since your first thought was malware I'm surprised you haven't mentioned trying a security app, but you could give the phone a scan with something like MalwareBytes. Avoid anything from Cheetah Mobile (e.g. CM Security), as that company are a problem rather than a cure.
 
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Thanks a lot for that. I just did factory reset.
Cricket in US pre-installs on ETZ shity app called "TouchPal".
The good news is that I found the reason - it is TouchPal. It does absolutely nothing useful, but makes a lot of annoying adds. It should be something like "keyboard" app.
The bad news is:
- backup of apps does not work for me and I need to reinstall 40 apps again after factory reset.
- I cannot delete TouchPal, because I bought ETZ phone from Cricket and it is pre installed...
The only thing I can do is turn off all the settings of TouchPal. But as per experience above, after a while they become turned on again...

It's really unlikely to be malware (technically "virus" refers to a subclass of malware which so far does not exist for Android), unless you have been installing apps from unknown sources. If you have stuck to the Play Store it's unlikely (depends a bit on region, but unlikely anywhere). I really would check the last few apps you installed or updated before this started. If it doesn't happen in safe mode (when user-installed apps are disabled) that will confirm for sure that it's just one of your apps.

If you really can't track the source, the nuclear option is to factory reset then only restore your apps a few per day, so you can keep track of what is safe and what isn't.

You could try installing an app that lets you see what apps have what permissions, e.g. Addons Detector. Apps that can draw over other apps would be particularly suspect in this case.

Since your first thought was malware I'm surprised you haven't mentioned trying a security app, but you could give the phone a scan with something like MalwareBytes. Avoid anything from Cheetah Mobile (e.g. CM Security), as that company are a problem rather than a cure.
 
Upvote 0
Ah, sorry to have done a reset if Touchpal was the problem. That's a keyboard app, right? The commercial version includes ads, and there was a mess-up where an update introduced adds to HTC devices which had it pre-installed (which should not have happened).

Can you uninstall updates to Touchpal and then turn off automatic updates? If the original version didn't do this that should stop it happening. Or install another keyboard and disable Touchpal?
 
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Thank you, but if I turn off automatic updates, then other useful apps will not be automatically updated )

Ah, sorry to have done a reset if Touchpal was the problem. That's a keyboard app, right? The commercial version includes ads, and there was a mess-up where an update introduced adds to HTC devices which had it pre-installed (which should not have happened).

Can you uninstall updates to Touchpal and then turn off automatic updates? If the original version didn't do this that should stop it happening. Or install another keyboard and disable Touchpal?
 
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Yep, but before that I did not have a problems with any other app.
At my phone, there are 50+ apps installed. So it can be annoying responding to update of every of them.
I admit that I turn off automatic updates anyway, on the principle that any app may have an update that I regard as a downgrade so I don't want them updating without asking me first.
 
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Yep, I will install GBoard.
But funny thing is in settings -> apps -> touchpal, "disable" button is disabled :)
Even when I click "force stop", it starts running again in few seconds )

I have a lot more apps installed than you do. ;)

So can you just install a different keyboard and disable TouchPal? Disabling will stop it causing any problems (and also stop it updating).
 
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Sometimes disable is disabled. Usually it's for critical system apps, where this would really be a bad idea. But the manufacturer (or carrier) does sometimes do this for bloatware apps too: my (Samsung) tablet came with a lot of bloat that could not be disabled, though the last update removed that restriction from most of it.
 
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Yep, that sad...
I decrease karma of TouchPal developers by 5 points

Sometimes disable is disabled. Usually it's for critical system apps, where this would really be a bad idea. But the manufacturer (or carrier) does sometimes do this for bloatware apps too: my (Samsung) tablet came with a lot of bloat that could not be disabled, though the last update removed that restriction from most of it.
 
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Update: In TouchPal settings, I turned off everything I can. However, in 2 days annoying adds again start appearing!
In phone settings, it is impossible to disable TouchPal.
I have no choice better than root.
Will do that on weekend.
****ing, ****ing, ****ing, ****ing, ****ing, ****ing, ****ing, ****ing, ****ing, ****ing, ****ing, ****ing, ****ing, ****ing, ****ing, ****ing TOUCHPAL!!!!
 
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