How to uninstall macLauncher?

Also Known As: Ads by macLauncher
Type: Mac Virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Medium

How to remove macLauncher from Mac?

What is macLauncher?

macLauncher belongs to the family of adware called AdLoad. Adware is a type of software that is designed to feed users with a variety of online advertisements. However, macLauncher is designed to promote some fake search engine and it is possible that it may operate as information tracking tool. Typically, users download and install adware inadvertently (unintentionally), therefore, apps of this type are categorized as potentially unwanted applications (PUAs). Research shows that macLauncher can be installed through a fake Adobe Flash Player installer.

macLauncher adware

Installed adware can serve advertisements in various forms, for example, pop-ups, banners, surveys, coupons. Quite often those ads are designed to open questionable websites. In some cases they cause downloads, installations of PUAs by executing certain scripts. Either way, it is not safe to click them. macLauncher operates not only as adware but also as a browser hijacker: this PUA is designed to promote some fake search engine. Typically, browser hijackers do that by modifying browser's settings (such as address of a default search engine, homepage and new tab. Fake search engines can be designed to generate misleading results, their users may end up on questionable or even malicious pages. Therefore, such search engines should never be used as tools to browser the web. Furthermore, it is possible that macLauncher is designed to collect various information. It is common that apps of this type target browsing data: IP addresses, entered search queries, addresses of visited pages, geolocations, and so on. However, there are PUAs that gather personal, confidential information as well. As if it were not enough, their developers tend to sell collected data to third parties who misuse it in other ways. It is worthwhile to mention that user's data may fall into hands of cyber criminals. As mentioned in the introduction, macLauncher is distributed though a fake Adobe Flash Player installer. Such installers do not update and/or install Adobe Flash Player, they can be (and are) used to distribute unwanted applications. In some cases they are designed to cause installation of some malware like ransomware, Trojan, or other malicious software. Therefore, it is never safe to use fake updaters and installers.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by macLauncher
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:Downloader-C [Adw]), BitDefender (MAC.OSX.Downloader.A), ESET-NOD32 (OSX/TrojanDownloader.Adload.C), Kaspersky (Not-a-virus:HEUR:Downloader.OSX.Macnist.a), Full List (VirusTotal)
Symptoms Your Mac becomes slower than normal, you see unwanted pop-up ads, you are redirected to dubious websites.
Distribution methods Deceptive pop-up ads, free software installers (bundling), fake Flash Player installers, torrent file downloads.
Damage Internet browser tracking (potential privacy issues), display of unwanted ads, redirects to dubious websites, loss of private information.
Removal

To eliminate malware infections our security researchers recommend scanning your Mac with Combo Cleaner.
▼ Download Combo Cleaner for Mac
Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Combo Cleaner.

More examples of apps like macLauncher are SmartToolboxSearch, MajorChannelSearch and SkilledDeskSearch. Most adware-type applications are designed to display various ads and quite often they gather various data as well. In other words, most applications of this type do not deliver any value and can be the reason behind various problems. For example, users may experience problems related to browsing safety, privacy, or even become victims of identity theft. Therefore, it is not safe to download and install adware. If macLauncher or any other app of this type is already installed, then it should be uninstalled as soon as possible.

How did macLauncher install on my computer?

This particular app is distributed through an installer which is disguised as Adobe Flash Player installer. However, it is not the only way to unintentionally download and/or install unwanted software. Very often PUAs are distributed by using a deceptive marketing method called "bundling", it is used trick users into downloading and/or installing unwanted apps alongside with other, wanted software. As a rule, unwanted apps are included in download and/or installation setups of other programs as additional offers that can be found in their "Custom", "Advanced" and similar settings. Not all users check those settings when they download and install programs. By leaving them unchanged they often unknowingly allow for PUAs to be downloaded and/or installed together with software that was downloaded and/or installed willingly. Sometimes downloads, installations of PUAs can be caused by clicking deceptive advertisements that are designed execute certain scripts.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

All programs and files should be downloaded from official pages and through direct links. Third party downloaders (and installers), Peer-to-Peer networks (like torrent clients, eMule), unofficial websites, freeware download pages, etc., can be used to distribute unwanted, in some cases malicious apps. Also, settings of download and installation setups (like "Advanced", "Custom") often mention offers to download and/or install additional, unwanted apps. Such offers should be declined on time (before completing downloads and installations). Furthermore, it is not safe to click advertisements that appear on questionable websites because they can open untrustworthy pages or cause downloads and/or installations of unwanted applications. It is possible that such ads may appear on legitimate pages too. If there are any suspicious, unwanted plug-ins, add-ons or extensions installed on a browser, then they should be removed from it immediately. The same should be applied to software of this kind that is installed on the operating system. If your computer is already infected with macLauncher, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

Files related to the macLauncher adware that need to be removed:

  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.macLauncher/macLauncher
  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.macLauncherDaemon/macLauncher
  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.macLauncher.plist
  • ~/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.macLauncherDaemon.plist

IMPORTANT NOTE! Rogue setups/apps that promote the macLauncher adware are designed to create a new device profile. Therefore, before taking any further removal steps, perform these actions:
1) Click the "Preferences" icon in the menu bar and select "Profiles"

Remove rogue profiles designed to promote macLauncher (Step 1)

2) Select the "macLauncher" profile and delete it.

Remove rogue profiles designed to promote macLauncher (Step 2)

3) Perform a full system scan with Combo Cleaner anti-virus suite.

After performing these actions, you can proceed with further removal steps for this adware.

Instant automatic Mac malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of Mac malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
▼ DOWNLOAD Combo Cleaner for Mac By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Combo Cleaner.

Quick menu:

Video showing how to remove adware and browser hijackers from a Mac computer:

macLauncher adware removal:

Remove macLauncher-related potentially unwanted applications from your "Applications" folder:

mac browser hijacker removal from applications folder

Click the Finder icon. In the Finder window, select "Applications". In the applications folder, look for "MPlayerX","NicePlayer", or other suspicious applications and drag them to the Trash. After removing the potentially unwanted application(s) that cause online ads, scan your Mac for any remaining unwanted components.

Remove ads by maclauncher related files and folders:

Finder go to folder command

Click the Finder icon, from the menu bar. Choose Go, and click Go to Folder...

step1Check for adware-generated files in the /Library/LaunchAgents folder:

removing adware from launch agents folder step 1

In the Go to Folder... bar, type: /Library/LaunchAgents

removing adware from launch agents folder step 2
In the “LaunchAgents” folder, look for any recently-added suspicious files and move them to the Trash. Examples of files generated by adware - “installmac.AppRemoval.plist”, “myppes.download.plist”, “mykotlerino.ltvbit.plist”, “kuklorest.update.plist”, etc. Adware commonly installs several files with the same string.

step2Check for adware generated files in the /Library/Application Support folder:

removing adware from application support folder step 1

In the Go to Folder... bar, type: /Library/Application Support

removing adware from application support folder step 2
In the “Application Support” folder, look for any recently-added suspicious folders. For example, “MplayerX” or “NicePlayer”, and move these folders to the Trash.

step3Check for adware-generated files in the ~/Library/LaunchAgents folder:

removing adware from ~launch agents folder step 1


In the Go to Folder bar, type: ~/Library/LaunchAgents

removing adware from ~launch agents folder step 2

In the “LaunchAgents” folder, look for any recently-added suspicious files and move them to the Trash. Examples of files generated by adware - “installmac.AppRemoval.plist”, “myppes.download.plist”, “mykotlerino.ltvbit.plist”, “kuklorest.update.plist”, etc. Adware commonly installs several files with the same string.

step4Check for adware-generated files in the /Library/LaunchDaemons folder:

removing adware from launch daemons folder step 1
In the Go to Folder... bar, type: /Library/LaunchDaemons

removing adware from launch daemons folder step 2
In the “LaunchDaemons” folder, look for recently-added suspicious files. For example “com.aoudad.net-preferences.plist”, “com.myppes.net-preferences.plist”, "com.kuklorest.net-preferences.plist”, “com.avickUpd.plist”, etc., and move them to the Trash.

step 5 Scan your Mac with Combo Cleaner:

If you have followed all the steps in the correct order you Mac should be clean of infections. To be sure your system is not infected run a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus. Download it HERE. After downloading the file double click combocleaner.dmg installer, in the opened window drag and drop Combo Cleaner icon on top of the Applications icon. Now open your launchpad and click on the Combo Cleaner icon. Wait until Combo Cleaner updates it's virus definition database and click "Start Combo Scan" button.

scan-with-combo-cleaner-1

Combo Cleaner will scan your Mac for malware infections. If the antivirus scan displays "no threats found" - this means that you can continue with the removal guide, otherwise it's recommended to remove any found infections before continuing.

scan-with-combo-cleaner-2

After removing files and folders generated by the adware, continue to remove rogue extensions from your Internet browsers.

Ads by macLauncher removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by maclauncher related Safari extensions:

safari browser preferences

Open Safari browser, from the menu bar, select "Safari" and click "Preferences...".

safari extensions window

In the preferences window, select "Extensions" and look for any recently-installed suspicious extensions. When located, click the "Uninstall" button next to it/them. Note that you can safely uninstall all extensions from your Safari browser - none are crucial for normal browser operation.

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Safari.

firefox browser iconRemove malicious plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:

Remove ads by maclauncher related Mozilla Firefox add-ons:

accessing mozilla firefox add-ons

Open your Mozilla Firefox browser. At the top right corner of the screen, click the "Open Menu" (three horizontal lines) button. From the opened menu, choose "Add-ons".

removing malicious add-ons from mozilla firefox

Choose the "Extensions" tab and look for any recently-installed suspicious add-ons. When located, click the "Remove" button next to it/them. Note that you can safely uninstall all extensions from your Mozilla Firefox browser - none are crucial for normal browser operation.

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Mozilla Firefox.

chrome-browser-iconRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Remove ads by maclauncher related Google Chrome add-ons:

removing malicious google chrome extensions step 1

Open Google Chrome and click the "Chrome menu" (three horizontal lines) button located in the top-right corner of the browser window. From the drop-down menu, choose "More Tools" and select "Extensions".

removing malicious Google Chrome extensions step 2

In the "Extensions" window, look for any recently-installed suspicious add-ons. When located, click the "Trash" button next to it/them. Note that you can safely uninstall all extensions from your Google Chrome browser - none are crucial for normal browser operation.

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Google Chrome.

About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Removal Instructions in other languages
Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
Ads by macLauncher QR code
A QR code (Quick Response Code) is a machine-readable code which stores URLs and other information. This code can be read using a camera on a smartphone or a tablet. Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of Ads by macLauncher on your mobile device.
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Platform: macOS

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