How to uninstall the SearchStudio unwanted app

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

How to remove SearchStudio from Mac computers

What is SearchStudio?

SearchStudio is classified as adware and a browser hijacker: it displays advertisements and promotes the address of a fake search engine by modifying browser settings. In most cases, users download and install apps of this type inadvertently and, for this reason, they are categorized as potentially unwanted applications (PUAs). Research shows that many users install SearchStudio through a deceptive Adobe Flash Player installer. Note that adware-type apps and browser hijackers often track and record browsing related (and other) data.

SearchStudio adware

In most cases, software such as SearchStudio feeds users with banners, pop-ups, surveys, coupons and other intrusive ads that, if clicked, can open dubious websites. In some cases, the ads execute scripts designed to download and install other potentially unwanted apps. As mentioned, SearchStudio operates as adware, but also as a browser hijacker: it assigns browser settings such as the address of the default search engine, homepage, and new tab to the address of a fake search engine. These bogus search engines do not generate unique results, and can generate misleading information to promote dubious websites, etc. Typically, users can only undo the changes made by the browser hijacker (in this case SearchStudio) when the app is uninstalled. Furthermore, SearchStudio might gather browsing-related information. For example, addresses of visited web pages, entered search queries, geolocations, and IP addresses. Some of these apps can collect private, sensitive data. Furthermore, collected information could be sold to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) or misused to generate revenue in other ways.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by SearchStudio
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus.
Additional Information This application belongs to the Adload malware family.
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.
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Users who have apps such as SearchStudio installed on their browsers and/or operating systems might become victims of identity theft, experience issues relating to browsing safety, online privacy, and other problems. Therefore, never download or install and PUAs. Some examples of other apps classified as adware/browser hijackers are DiscoverResults, GlobalQuestSearch and InetWebSearch.

How did SearchStudio install on my computer?

SearchStudio is distributed through a fake Adobe Flash Player installer, which installs the rogue app rather than the official Flash Player. Note that these installers can also install malicious software such as, for example, Trojans, ransomware, and other malware. PUAs are commonly distributed through the set-ups of other programs by including them as 'additional offers'. Many users download and install programs without checking "Advanced", "Custom", "Manual" and other settings of set-ups, and declining unwanted offers - this allows PUAs to infiltrate with their required software. This distribution method is called "bundling". In some cases, users inadvertently download and install PUAs by clicking deceptive ads that execute certain scripts.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

Software should not be downloaded or installed through third party downloaders/installers, eMule, torrent clients or other Peer-to-Peer networks, from unofficial pages, etc. Use official websites and direct links. Check all "Custom", "Advanced" and other similar settings, and decline offers of PUAs before completing the process. Do not click intrusive ads that are displayed on dubious pages, since they can open bogus web pages or even cause unwanted downloads and installations. Remove any extensions, plug-ins, and add-ons installed on the browser, and programs of this kind installed on the computer. If your computer is already infected with SearchStudio, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

Files related to SearchStudio adware that need to be removed:

  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.SearchStudio/SearchStudio
  • ~/Library/Application Support/com.SearchStudioDaemon/SearchStudio
  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.SearchStudio.plist
  • ~/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.SearchStudioDaemon.plist

IMPORTANT NOTE! Rogue setups/apps that promote SearchStudio 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 SearchStudio (Step 1)

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

Remove rogue profiles designed to promote SearchStudio (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/browser hijacker.

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:

SearchStudio adware removal:

Remove SearchStudio-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 searchstudio 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 SearchStudio removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by searchstudio 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 searchstudio 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 searchstudio 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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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 SearchStudio 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 SearchStudio on your mobile device.
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