Some application (malware? adware?) is creating garbage icons on my Android desktop. How to know the application who does this?

I heard each application is a Linux user on android. Is it possible to see icon file owner ID then?

My device is Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Android is 3.2


Icons are different. Some of them mimic existing icons, other are entitled with question marks.

I can delete them, but they appearing again.

I need to have general way to know icon creator.

  • possible duplicate of Is this red star icon malware? How to get rid of it?
    – Chahk
    Nov 17, 2012 at 19:49
  • 1
    What do the icons look like, are they all the same or different? DO they appear on your home screen, or on the notification bar, or in the apps list?
    – GAThrawn
    Nov 18, 2012 at 2:18
  • 1
    It is not duplicate: This question is asking about icons on desktop, not notification bar..
    – iOS
    Nov 18, 2012 at 8:03
  • 2
    A screen shot would go a long way to helping us help you.
    – ale
    Dec 18, 2012 at 14:07

3 Answers 3


What are these icons:

Mysterious icons on your start screen or ads clogging your notification bar is a way developers have to monetize their software.

Usually the majority of these ads come from mobile marketing firms that work with app developers for some way to make money from their smartphone software.

There's an extensive article covering this subject at TechHive:

Sneaky Mobile Ads Invade Android Phones

What can you do:

You can use an app to scan and identify possible installed apps that are causing this on your device:

  • AirPush Detector

    This is a simple Android application which detects other installed applications which appear to use known notification ad frameworks and offers the user the ability to easily uninstall them.

    If your device is running Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean" or higher, you don't need this app anymore! You can just press and hold on notifications and your device will tell you who is generating them.

    AirPush Detector Screenshot

  • Addons Detector

    Addons Detector detects addons used by your installed applications. It has all the tools to find push notification ads and icon ads.

    If you are looking for the app that uses AirPush or other push notifications, you can easily find the app and uninstall.
    Besides push notifications, using this app is a great way to see what advertising agencies apps use, and what tools they have integrated.

    Addons Detector Screenshot

Not satisfied with the above apps:

Many more can be found with a search for AirPush at Google Play Store.


I had the same problem. The easy way to do it is to remove all those icons. After this, check for default page on Internet navigator, sometime changed to some google like site. Go to settings -> applications and look for any application you installed without Google Play. Delete every suspicious application.

I think you will be done with this. :)

  • there are some apps that help...
    – ce4
    Nov 17, 2012 at 22:12
  • 1
    @ce4 Oh, I did not looked at those apps. I like handmade job :) But thanks for the link, can be helpful.
    – Cubox
    Nov 17, 2012 at 23:35

The generic answer is that 'you should install an app that scans OTHER apps for modules that display ad Notifications and install apps that you didn't ask for'. I had this problem and I solved it by downloading such a program and scanning all my apps. Sure enough, something I had installed recently was loaded with modules that do these things.

If I am allowed to say the name of the program I used, it was called 'Addons Detector'

  • Is it possible Addon Detector seems successful because it detects things it places itself?
    – wbogacz
    Apr 17, 2013 at 22:37
  • It is "possible" however I consider it unlikely given 1) I uninstalled the trashy apps that Addons Detector found ad software in and I kept Addons Detector on my device. The notifications/icons stopped and did not return 2) Addons Detector had a very high rating on Google Play and the apps that I removed had low ratings and negative comments about advertising notifications and icons. If you have any information that suggests Addons Detector is a fake and does the opposite of what it says it does, this would be the place to provide it. Apr 18, 2013 at 2:20

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