How to uninstall macLauncher

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

How to remove macLauncher from Mac computers

What is macLauncher?

macLauncher belongs to a family of adware infections called AdLoad. Adware feeds users with various online advertisements, however, macLauncher promotes a fake search engine and might also operate as an information tracking tool. Typically, users download and install adware inadvertently, and 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 including, for example, pop-ups, banners, surveys, and coupons. These ads often open dubious websites. In some cases, they cause download/installation of PUAs by executing certain scripts. In any case, it is not safe to click these ads. Note that, as well as operating as adware, macLauncher is a browser hijacker: this PUA promotes a fake search engine. Typically, browser hijackers modify browser settings (such as the address of the default search engine, homepage, and new tab). Fake search engines often generate misleading results and users might arrive at dubious or even malicious pages. Therefore, these search engines should never be used to search the web. Furthermore, it is possible that macLauncher will collect various user-system information. These apps target browsing data IP addresses, entered search queries, addresses of visited pages, geolocations, and so on, however, some PUAs also gather personal, confidential information. Furthermore, the developers sell the data to third parties who misuse it in other ways. Note that the data might be received by cyber criminals. As mentioned, macLauncher is distributed though a fake Adobe Flash Player installer. These installers do not update or install Adobe Flash Player and are used to distribute unwanted applications. In some cases, they cause installation of malware including ransomware, Trojans, or other malicious software. Therefore, it is never safe to use fake updaters or 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.
Malware Removal (Mac)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your Mac with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
▼ Download Combo Cleaner for Mac
To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. Limited three days free trial available.

More examples of apps similar to macLauncher include SmartToolboxSearch, MajorChannelSearch and SkilledDeskSearch. Most adware-type applications display ads and gather data. They deliver no real value and can be the reason behind various problems. For example, users might experience problems relating to browsing safety, privacy or even become victims of identity theft. Therefore, never download or install adware. If macLauncher or other apps of this type are already installed, remove them immediately.

How did macLauncher install on my computer?

This particular app is distributed through an installer disguised as an Adobe Flash Player installer, however, this is not the only way that unwanted software is downloaded and installed. PUAs are often distributed using a deceptive marketing method called "bundling" - this is used trick people into downloading and installing unwanted apps together with other, regular software. Generally, unwanted apps are included into the download/installation set-ups of other programs as "additional offers", which can be found in "Custom", "Advanced" and similar settings. Many users fail to check these settings when they download and install programs. Leaving them unchanged, can allow PUAs to be downloaded and installed with software that was downloaded or installed willingly. Download and installation of PUAs can also be caused by clicking deceptive advertisements 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 (torrent clients, eMule), unofficial websites, freeware download pages, etc., can be used to distribute unwanted, malicious apps. Settings of the download and installation set-ups ("Advanced", "Custom") often mention offers to download and install additional, unwanted apps. Dismiss these offers before completing any downloads or installations. It is not safe to click advertisements that appear on dubious websites, since they can open untrusted pages or cause download/installation of unwanted applications. It is possible that these ads might also appear on legitimate pages. Remove any suspicious, unwanted plug-ins, add-ons or extensions installed on the browser 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 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 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. To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. Limited three days free trial available.

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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