Q: My Samsung Galaxy S7 phone and Samsung tablet computer are both being inundated with pop-up browser ads. Touching an arrow on the corner of some ads takes me to AdChoices, and then to a Facebook page where I can select the type of ads I’m interested in seeing. There is no way to choose not to receive ads.

Where are these advertisements coming from, and how can I get rid of them?

Lynn Maier-Belair, Blaine

 

A: You can use special browser software to reduce the number of ads you see.

This does have a downside. Some websites take a bit longer to download to your browser when ad-blocking software is used. And, because websites make money from advertising, the ones you use can be economically hurt if enough consumers block their advertisements.

To discourage ad blocking, advertisers try to tailor their ads to the interests of the consumers. AdChoices is the industry name for these personalized ads (see tinyurl.com/jzacvaf).

How do advertisers know what your preferences are? Websites you have previously visited have tracked your browsing habits by attaching bits of tracking code, called cookies, to your browser. Social media websites have compiled the personal information you shared with your friends. Advertisers then bought this information. While the advertisers won’t allow you to opt out of receiving ads, you can specify which ones you prefer, or say you have no preference.

One way to limit advertising is to make changes to the Web browsers that run on Android, the Google operating system used by your phone and tablet. For Google Chrome, see tinyurl.com/m8wdl3c to delete cookies or tinyurl.com/kwtjxqh to block pop-up ads. For Mozilla Firefox, see tinyurl.com/kr7mg3g to delete cookies or tinyurl.com/pw7v3hp to block intrusive ads.

You can find Android ad-blocking apps by searching the Google Play Store (tinyurl.com/ko87mff). One program, the Adblock Browser, blocks ads to the degree you want. Another, the Ghostery Privacy Browser, itemizes the “tracking software” on websites and lets you decide which to block.

 

Q: I misplaced my Samsung Galaxy S6 phone about two weeks ago, so the battery is now dead. My only clue is that records from a cellphone tower in Walker, La., confirm that I last used it there. I’m desperate to find the phone because it contains irreplaceable photos and all of my contacts. Is there anything I can do?

Sonya Gordon, Baton Rouge

 

A: Unless you backed up your phone’s contents, you are out of luck.

There are normally two ways to deal with the potential loss of a Samsung Galaxy S6 phone:

Familiarize yourself with Samsung’s “Android Device Manager” or its “Find My Mobile” services, which will call the phone and make it ring, even if the sound is turned off (see tinyurl.com/kg2davj). But those services can’t be used now that your phone is no longer charged. Alternatively, back up the phone’s contents to your computer or to Samsung’s online service (see tinyurl.com/nxjhbbu), so that you can restore the data to a new phone.

 

E-mail tech questions to steve.j.alexander@gmail.com. Include name, city and telephone number.