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TikTok ad after every phone call

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by Dogwood33, Jul 13, 2020.

  1. Dogwood33

    Dogwood33 Lurker
    Thread Starter

    I'm wondering if there's a known app associated with this TikTok ad, which pops up after I receive a call. It started happening about a month ago, out of the blue, I hadn't installed anything new around that time. There is also an additional screen that I have to tap now to answer the phone. A green circle (Answer) and red circle (Delete or Ignore), with circles or globes running up the left and right edges of the screen. Frustrating b/c that screen is not very responsive to my swipe so I'm always worried I'm going to miss the call.

    Even though I never agreed to install Tiktok I noticed it was installed last week. Immediately deleted it. I have very few apps installed. Most of them well known, trustworthy and/or ad free. As I look at the list now I wonder if someone recently changed their policy, maybe Spotify? Target? The other big apps I have are Twitter, Lyft, Pixels, Upwork, Instagram, Iheartradio, Ebay, Freelancer. I had Color flashlight installed, read somewhere else that might be the culprit so I deleted it but that wasn't it. Any help appreciated.

    Galaxy S8. Current carrier is Ting; originally it was AT&T. Version is 8.0.0. Not rooted.
    Thanks tiktokad.png

  2. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    Why assume it's one of the big apps? It could be any app. Likewise it doesn't have to be one you just installed, an update can add crap to an app, and this type of thing often only starts a week or two after it was installed/updated, to make it harder for you to identify the culprit. Don't expect policy changes to identify it.

    But if it's popping up on each call it's likely to be an app with the permission to read the phone status. That won't identify it unambiguously, since it's not an uncommon permission (e.g. media apps need to be able to do this so that they can pause when a call comes in), but it may narrow the field. The alternative would be an app that could detect when the in call UI activated (which is also possible, but I'd think is more work to code). That's assuming that it's not Samsung yourself, or your service provider, behind this (though as my daughter has an S8 I think I'd have heard if Samsung had started doing this generally, and your service provider is less likely if you are now using the phone on a different network since you won't be receiving updates from them, while I don't think Ting will be able to push system updates to an ATT handset).

    For what it's worth, I have 3 of the apps you list (Spotify, Instagram, Twitter) currently installed and have never seen anything like this.

    If you are certain that you didn't accidentally hit an install button while trying to get rid of this crap then you can also look for apps which have the permission to install other apps. Actually I'd do that anyway. But in my limited experience of phone ads some of them go out of their way to make it easy to click them and hard to dismiss, so it's quite possible that the area you touch to install it is not limited to just the button, and hence I'd not rule out your unintentionally having installed from the ad.

    Given that over in iOS land TikTok have been causing a privacy/security fuss I'd be very wary myself. They were caught reading the clipboard - which can contain any data copied in another app - a few months back, promised they would stop but didn't, then increased the frequency with which they access it. They claim they don't access the clipboard in Android, but since it's easier to do in Android and harder to spot, and they have been proven to lie, I'd regard an assurance from TikTok as being worth about as much as medical advice from Donald Trump.
    Dannydet and MrJavi like this.
  3. Dogwood33

    Dogwood33 Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Thanks, this is very informative. You're right, "big" has noting to do with it...
    I deleted a couple of apps yesterday which I never use, but just got a phone call and the issue is still there. Just deleted another 4, little- or never-used. I guess this is how I'm going to proceed, until I find the culprit, or discover that it's not an app.
    ocnbrze likes this.
  4. Dogwood33

    Dogwood33 Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Update. No luck with deleting apps. The ad changed, now it's an ad for Words with Friends 2. :( I think I'm going to post in the Ting forum.

  5. ocnbrze

    ocnbrze DON'T PANIC!!!!!!!!!

    i'd start from your most recent apps and work your way backward. also make sure you are clearing cache for the apps before you uninstall the app. cache can still linger on the phone and it could be where the adware is hinding.
  6. Dogwood33

    Dogwood33 Lurker
    Thread Starter

    i'd start from your most recent apps and work your way backward.

    Thanks, that's good advice. I've pretty much done that, still no luck. heading toward a factory reset. In a Samsung forum I read about "Wipe Cache Partition" which I did, but that didn't fix it.

    also make sure you are clearing cache for the apps before you uninstall the app.

    Some of them only give me the options of 'Force stop' and 'Uninstall'. Some, like Finance by Yahoo, have no uninstall option...
  7. Dogwood33

    Dogwood33 Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Factory reset solved the problem. I did the easy version, described as "from inside Android".

    Based on the reading I've done, probably gonna root the phone soon. Bloatware from AT&T and lack of control over apps is really annoying.

Galaxy S8 Forum

The Galaxy S8 release date was April 2017. Features and Specs include a 5.8" inch screen, 12MP camera, 4GB RAM, Exynos 8895 processor, and 3000mAh battery.

April 2017
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