How to remove the Ask Search toolbar from a Mac?

Not everyone wants Ask.com as their default search engine. In this article, here is how you can move the search toolbar from your Mac.

What is the Ask Search toolbar?

Unlike numerous other programs and applications we've reviewed, this is not malware or adware. It comes from Ask, and therefore is a legitimate application. You don't need to remove it if you prefer using Ask to search the web. You also don't need to remove it if you want to keep the toolbar. That isn't the only way to access and use Ask, but it is more convenient for some people and therefore the advice in this article is not for everyone.

Microsoft has classified the toolbar as malware, although that might be as much for commercial reasons as about protecting the web browser user-experience. It is also because a number of browser hijackers - for reasons unknown to Ask - redirect people to Ask as a default search engine, and some, not all, install the Ask toolbar.

However, that still doesn't make the toolbar a virus, or even a problem on the same level as adware. It does serve adverts, as does almost every product connected to search engines. The main potential problem with the Ask toolbar is that sometimes there is a risk that those distributing it may have access to some of the browser data as Ask.

One of the main distribution channels seems to be through Oracle’s Java. When downloading or updating this, you might be asked to “Install the Ask Toolbar and make Ask my default search provider.” The checkbox is checked by default, making it unfair and in some countries illegal, especially if you are in a hurry and didn't notice the default option.

Another distribution channel is vPlay, a media player, which also asks if you want to download the Ask toolbar and make Ask your default search engine. In both cases, and others, you don't need to consent to this, which means most people who do change a search engine to Ask either want to make this change or made it in error.

For those who don't want Ask in a toolbar or as a default browser option, here is how to remove the browser extension.

How to remove the Ask toolbar?

It can be removed manually or with a little help, such as using an app like CleanMyMac X.

Here is how it can be removed manually:

#1: Open your browser(s) and reset your default search engine to the one you prefer (e.g. Google, Yahoo, Bing).

#2: Remove it as an add-on or browser extension. Here is how you can do that in the most popular browsers (Safari, Firefox and Chrome):

1. Delete the Ask toolbar in Safari

  1. Go to Safari > Preferences.
  2. Click on Extensions.
  3. Pick the Extension that you don't recognize to delete.
  4. Click Uninstall.
  5. Confirm that you want to Uninstall the extension.

2. Delete the Ask toolbar in Chrome

  1. Open Chrome.
  2. Go to the Menu in your browser.
  3. Click on More Tools > Extensions.
  4. Pick the Extension that you don't recognize to delete.
  5. Click Remove.
  6. Confirm that you want to Remove the extension.

3. Delete the Ask toolbar in Firefox

  1. Open Firefox.
  2. Go to the Menu in your browser.
  3. Click on the Add-ons manager tab.
  4. Select the Extension you want to remove.
  5. Click Remove.
  6. Confirm that you want to delete it.

#3: Locate the following file in Applications and the Library: 

/Library/Application Support/Sponsors.framework

Take that to the Trash and empty it. With those changes made, your default browser should be restored and you won’t be directed to Ask as a search option anymore.

If you don't want to do this manually and you want to check if there are any other programs or actual viruses lurking around your Mac, use CleanMyMac X.

Remove the Ask Search with CleanMyMac X

CleanMyMac X is an all-in-one tool for complete Mac care. It has dozen of tools to clear out junk files and unneeded apps, speed up the system, and protect it from malware.

To scan your Mac for all types of malware, including adware, spyware, worms, and viruses, do the following:

  1. Download CleanMyMac X (free trial available).
  2. Launch the app.
  3. Choose Malware Removal tab on the left.
  4. Click Scan.
  5. Click Remove.

That's it! In just a few clicks, you can easily find any malicious files or apps and neutralize them. 

Once you've checked your system for malware threats, try out other optimization tools in CleanMyMac X. Go to the Maintenance tab to quickly optimize your Mac's performance or see what's taking your disk space in the Space Lens module. CleanMyMac X will quickly bring your Mac back into shape and make it as good as new.

CleanMyMac X
CleanMyMac X

Your Mac. As good as new.