You might not have heard many cases of iPhones getting infected by viruses or malware, but they do happen. Usually, there are a couple of reasons why it happens but it’s not your direct fault. Malware hackers are getting smarter by the day and they keep looking for new ways to infect your phones with viruses and malware.
A common way people get viruses on their phones is by clicking on unknown links, installing weird apps, etc. Another way hackers deliver viruses on your iPhone is through iMessage.
The message will ask you to urgently click on a link to resolve some issue or claim a prize. But, when you do so, your phone might get compromised by malware.
If you think your iPhone might have a virus, this article will help you get rid of it. We’ll also give you some ways to keep your iPhone safe from viruses and malware attacks. This article also has the answer to the question “Can iPhones get viruses?”
Do iPhones Rarely Get Virus?
Yes, iPhone viruses are extremely rare because Apple is good at securing the iOS ecosystem. Apple works diligently to keep the viruses away and even if some threats do occur, the overall volume of threats is quite low. Moreover, if they detect an issue like sketchy texts or strange API calls, they communicate it to the developer for further investigation.
Moreover, the messages sent via the iMessage get automatically encrypted. When you download some new app on your device, the App Store initiates some security checks which is why you need to log in before downloading something. iPhone is quite secure when compared to other phone brands.
However, there are still some vulnerabilities and you should take the requisite precautions to keep your phone safe.
What Can Viruses Do To Your Phone?
- A virus on your phone can bring forth unexpected charges by sending unexpected spam or premium messages. It can also spike your internet data usage besides subscribing to unauthorized or premium apps without your knowledge
- Send you spammy ads that generate revenue for the phone attacker.
- Install rootkits in your phone and that provides a “backdoor” for the hackers to access your phone
- Record your phone calls and send that information back to the hackers
- Send personal information, contacts, email, etc. to the hackers. Moreover, the malware or virus can also send your GPS location, photos, email, etc. They can also get their hands on your banking details through your phone
- The malware can get your login credentials and your passwords too
- Control your phone via rooting
- Infect your phone with ransomware that locks you out of your phone data
Different Kinds Of Viruses That Affect Your iPhone
Malware can infect your iPhone, Mac computers, iPads, and all other electronic devices. These can enter your phone from suspicious and infected sites, mails, and/or third-party apps. If you have installed malware somehow, it can lead to various kinds of issues like locking your apps, tracking your iPhone, or monitoring your phone usage.
Some malware might go to the extent of using your camera and GPS to gain information. The worst part is that you might not even realize that the malware is present there.
Phishing is yet another kind of cyber threat that involves sending someone fraudulent emails, texts, or online messages to access your personal information. These messages can often look very authentic as if they are from a reputable firm. But, you might be asked to enter your passwords, bank details, or other sensitive information.
When cyber attackers get their hands on your information, they might misuse it for dangerous activities such as identity theft.
This is a kind of malware that has the capability of harming your system or hiding important data from you. Once you get ransomware in your system, the cyber attacker will pressurize you into paying them some money to get your data back.
How To Know If My iPhone Has A Virus Infection?
Scroll through the list below and check if your phone has any of the following to make sure if your iPhone has a virus infection or not. If your iPhone shows any of the following symptoms, then, look into the cybersecurity protection of the Apple device you are using.
You Have Jailbroken your Phone
In case your device has been jailbroken, most probably it was to install a third-party app from somewhere other than the App Store. There is a high probability of getting malicious software, especially one called worm in your iPhone if you jailbreak it.
If you notice some odd behavior on your iPhone like apps redirecting you to sketchy websites. In this case, follow the given steps to protect your phone:
Step 1. Delete Suspicious Apps From Your Phone
you need to delete all suspicious apps on your phone. And if the issues started after downloading a certain app, uninstall it to check if the situation improves.
Step 2. Restore An Earlier Backup
If everything fails, restore your phone to factory settings.
You Have New Apps That You Didn’t Install
If you see a new app on your phone that you don’t remember installing, that is a sign of a virus infection. Uninstall that app and restore your phone to factory settings.
You Keep Getting Pop-Ups
If you have been getting a huge number of invasive pop-ups recently, that could be an indication of a malware infection. Ads follow us everywhere on the internet due to third-party cookies. And some sites, especially the spammy ones, do have a lot of pop-ups. But, if you are getting pop-ups out of nowhere and all the time, then, your phone is in trouble.
Increased Data Usage
Check if there has been a sudden spike in your phone’s data usage that cannot be explained by your usual iPhone usage. An unusual rise in your cellular data usage indicates the presence of malware.
There are many causes why your iPhone is overheating. One such cause is a faulty battery but sometimes your iPhone might be overheating due to the presence of a virus.
Battery Draining Faster
If you have power-hungry apps or some wear and tear due to your phone’s age, that could cause irregular battery consumption. There is a slim chance, though, that your iPhone has malware at play in the background and you don’t know it.
How To Remove A Virus Or Malware From Your iPhone/iPad?
Now that we have gone through the reasons behind a virus infection on your iPhone, let’s quickly jump into the different ways to get rid of it.
- Restart Your Phone
- Delete Suspicious Apps
- Clear Out Your Browsing History And Data
- Restore Your Phone To A Previous Backup
- Reset Your iPhone
- Using iPhone’s Security Features
- Apple Support
Method #1. Restart Your Phone
If you already have the latest version of iOS on your phone, you could try restarting your iPhone. This is a cliched fix method as it fixes most of the problems. Try restarting your phone and then, check out a couple of apps to ensure if the issue has been solved.
Usually, malware and virus infections run on your phone while your phone is working. So, shutting off the phone will prohibit the virus from executing its operations. This simple measure will often save you from unnecessary stress.
Note: Make sure that you shut down your iPhone. Don’t try keeping it in Airplane Mode, that won’t work.
Method #2. Delete Suspicious Apps
Sometimes, getting a virus off your iPhone is quite simple. You just have to delete an app. So, go through the app list of your phone and if any app looks suspicious that you don’t recall downloading or don’t even use, take note.
Apps come with associated files and so, deleting a certain strange unknown app will remove all the files imported while installing the app in question. Simply, press and hold the app icon and tap on the “Remove App” option that shows up.
We would recommend going to “Battery” and there you can find all the apps installed in your device along with the amount of battery they consume. Malicious apps usually consume a lot of battery and are responsible for draining your battery faster. If you find an app that has mysteriously consumed a lot of power and don’t remember installing it, inspect it better because it might be malware.
Method #3. Clear Out Your Browsing History And Data
If your phone is not acting normally after being restarted, then, you can try clearing up your phone’s browser history and other data. As Safari is the stock browser of iOS, you need to know how to delete your browser history via Safari. If you use Chrome or some other browser, the procedure will be quite similar.
Step 1. Go to the Settings app of your iPhone.
Step 2. Tap on Safari
Step 3. Tap on the Clear History and Website Data option
Step 4. Tap on Clear History and Data. Doing this will get rid of all malware (if any is present) on your phone.
Or else, if you don’t want to clear all the data, scroll down and go to Advanced > Website Data
Method #4. Restore Your Phone To A Previous Backup
Using your iCloud’s backup function can help you restore your phone to a previous point when the malware hadn’t infected your iPhone.
Step 1. Go to the Settings and tap on General
Step 2. Scroll down to the bottom of the list and select the Reset option.
Step 3. Tap on Erase All Content and Settings
Step 4. If you want to perform a last-minute backup, select the Backup Then Erase option. If not, then, select the Erase Now option. Next, follow the prompts and all the confirmations.
Step 5. Enter your password when asked to and go through a series of prompts and confirmations to finish the procedure.
Step 6. A pop-up window will show up, select on the Restore from iCloud Backup option. Next, choose which one of your iCloud backups you want to use.
Method #5. Reset Your iPhone
A factory reset will delete all the apps, data, and settings of your iPhone. It will then install the latest iOS version and make your phone as if it were new. Try this method as a last resort if all other methods fail.
So, first of all, remove your iPhone device from the Find My iPhone, if it is enrolled there. Follow the steps given below to know how to do so:
Step 1. Go to the Settings app on the iPhone
Step 2. Next, pick your name banner from the top of the screen
Step 3. Now, tap on “Find My”
Step 4. Tap on “Find My iPhone” and toggle its settings off
Now, given below are the steps you need to follow to reset your phone:
Step 1. Open Settings on your iPhone
Step 2. Tap on “General”
Step 3. Tap on “Reset”
Step 4. Tap on “Erase All Content and Settings”
Step 5. Enter your iPhone password when you are asked for it and tap on “Erase.”
Now, your phone will start deleting your data and settings. Once your iPhone reboots, it’ll behave like a brand new phone.
Method #6. Using iPhone’s Security Features
There are several antivirus apps for iPhones. Mostly, they just copy all the features that your Apple phone already has in place. So, you can use the in-built security features of Apple instead. Follow the steps given below to know-how:
Step 1. Firstly, you should set a passcode for unlocking your iPhone.
Step 2. Navigate to Settings, followed by Face ID & Passcode, and then, click on Turn Passcode On.
Step 3. Turn on the setting that requires App Store to ask you for your password every time you download an app. For this, go to your iPhone Settings, followed by App Store, and then Password Settings.
Step 4. Ensure that the box next to Always Require is checked and the Require Password section should be turned ON for free app downloads as well.
Note: If your iPhone has Touch ID or Face ID enabled, you might not get this menu.
Step 5. Next, it is recommended that you turn on Find My iPhone so that you can unlock several more features that will help you secure your iPhone if it gets misplaced or stolen somehow. Go to Settings, then Your Name, Find My, and then, select Find My iPhone.
Method #7. Apple Support
If you’ve followed all the methods given above and your phone is still showing symptoms of virus infection, it’s time to contact Apple Support. In case your device was bought less than a year ago and you haven’t done anything as such to void the phone’s warranty such as jailbreaking, you’ll probably get free service. If you are an Apple Care or Apple Care Plus customer, in that case, the warranty of your iPhone gets extended.
How To Back Up Your Phone
Resetting the iPhone surely cures your phone’s strange behavior. However, it will also erase all data that you hadn’t backed up. In this case, you need to have a recent backup available. You can backup your iPhone device to a computer by following the guide given below:
If your Mac Device is running on macOS Catalina or a later version
For users who have updated their Mac computers to Catalina or a later version, your iPhone can be backed up using the Finder app. To do so, follow the steps given below:
Step 1. Connect your iPhone device to your Mac computer via a USB cable
Step 2. Open the Finder window from your Mac computer and then, click on your iPhone from the sidebar located under the Locations section.
Step 3. Click on General and then, click on Back up all of the data on your iPhone to this Mac option. You can also go for the Encrypt local backup option if you prefer that.
Step 4. Next, click on Back Up Now to initiate the backup procedure. Keep your iPhone device plugged into the computer till the process is finished.
If your Mac runs on Mojave or an earlier version,
Step 1. Plugin your iPhone into the Mac computer via your USB cord. If iTunes doesn’t open up automatically by detecting your iPhone, you need to manually open iTunes.
Step 2. Next, follow the onscreen instructions if your computer prompts you for a password or a prompt window comes up with the question – Trust This Computer.
Step 3. Look for your device and select it in the Finder window
Step 4. When the step to restore from a backup arrives, click on a backup of iTunes with the date before which the virus activity started.
Step 5. Click on Restore Backup and keep the phone connected to your Mac device via the USB cord till the procedure is finished.
How To Keep Your iPhone Safe From Viruses?
iPhone can get viruses but thankfully, Apple puts in a lot of effort to keep your phone secure. And since, prevention is better than cure, here are a couple of tips to help you keep viruses at bay from your iPhone.
Update The iPhone Software
Apple brings forward many versions of iOS regularly. These software updates are of utmost importance because they might contain new security fixes and seal potential cracks to keep your iPhone safe from malicious software.
Malware often relies on various vulnerabilities that an outdated version of iOS might have. Hence, updating your iOS is a must to bid goodbye to those security holes and keep malware infections at bay.
You can update your iPhone by following the steps given below:
Step 1. Navigate to the Settings of your iPhone
Step 2. Tap on General and then, on Software Update. This step will start checking for any new software updates.
Step 3. If a new Apple software update is actually available, tap on Download and Install to update your phone
Note: If you are using iPhone 12, iPhone X, or something else, you might require entering your PIN number or using the Touch ID/Face ID.
If your iPhone already has the latest iOS version, restart your device so that the malware gets deleted.
Stay Clear Of Links From Strangers
If you happen to receive emails, texts, or any kind of push notification from a stranger, do not click on it or open it. Also, never click on any links from messages that look spammy or are from unknown numbers.
These fishy links, messages, or files can potentially install malware on your iPhone. So, make sure that you delete such messages and emails.
Don’t Visit Unfamiliar Website
Malware can often enter your phone from spammy websites. If you use Safari to visit a website, simply loading that site can also infect your phone with malicious software. That is how you get a virus in your iPhone.
You can prevent this by only visiting the websites you are familiar with. And don’t click on any search results that directly open files. If you come across a website that asks you to download some files, don’t tap on anything. Simply, close the window.
Don’t Mess With iPhone’s Native Software
If you uninstall or mess around any part of your iPhone’s native software for being able to download apps not approved by Apple, you are in trouble. This is called jailbreaking and is employed by users to change the default settings of their iPhones.
Doing so will void your iPhone warranty and may give rise to other problems. So, avoid getting any close to jailbreaking or you might end up with a virus in your iPhone.
Back-Up Your iPhone
Backing up your iPhone will protect your data if you do happen to get a virus in your phone. So, make sure you save a backup of all your phone data to iCloud, iTunes, or Finder. This won’t protect you from getting viruses but you will not lose any personal information or settings of your iPhone.
If the virus infection is serious, then, the last resort will be to restore your iPhone from a backup point before the virus infection began.
Install Apps Carefully
You should also be very mindful of the apps that you install on your iPhone. If you develop apps by smaller or unreliable developers, they might be much more susceptible to viruses.
If you install apps from the App Store, please don’t attempt to jailbreak while you’re at it. Installing apps outside of the App Store will put your iPhone in harm’s way.
Moreover, you should also check out the reviews and developer bio of an app before installing it. If there are just a couple of reviews, the rating is not that high, or the reviews are bad, you might want to think twice before installing the respective app.
Restrict The App Permissions
Be very cautious about the level of permissions you allot to the apps on your device. This becomes even more important if the apps are trying to access certain data that is irrelevant to their functioning.
Don’t Use Public Wi-Fi
Cybercriminals would often exploit the vulnerabilities of public Wi-Fi networks for stealing information and spreading malware. Make sure you don’t use public Wi-Fi or at least attempt to protect your iPhone with a security app if you do use such networks.
Install a Security App
You should consider installing an iPhone security app for a secure experience while you connect to the internet. Such apps usually come with a VPN that blocks unwanted ads, guards your privacy, etc. Security apps like Clario also come with an anti-tracking feature for clean browsing.
Turn On Automatic Updates
As already mentioned, updated iOS is your biggest wall against malware. If you have automatic iOS updates turned on, then, your device will always use the latest version on iOS. In this case, you probably won’t have to deal with iPhone viruses again. Follow the steps given below to turn on automatic updates for your iOS device:
Step 1. Open the Settings app
Step 2. Keep scrolling till you find General
Step 3. Tap on Software Update
Step 4. Tap on Automatic Updates which should be turned ON by default.
Step 5. Toggle the settings to turn them ON. They should turn green when they are On.
Once you have made these changes, your iPhone will download and install the updates as and when they become available.
Virus infections and malware can never be a good thing and definitely not easy to deal with. We would recommend that you take all the preventive measures mentioned in the above article to keep viruses away. After all, nobody wants to reset their phone because you made the silly mistake of clicking a sketchy link in a strange text.
How Do I Know If There’s A Virus On My IPhone?
Some of the signs that indicate if your iPhone has a virus are: Your iPhone has apps you didn’t recognize earlier, you get pop-up ads, your data usage rises, etc. Moreover, your battery might get drained faster, the phone could overheat, and so on.
Can IPhones Get Viruses From Websites?
Yes, sketchy and malicious web pages can take advantage of vulnerabilities of your phone browser and load viruses into your device. iOS devices and iPhones are also vulnerable to such websites. So, you shouldn’t trust unknown or strange links and websites.
How Do I Clear A Virus From My IPhone?
You can try restarting your phone, clearing out the browser history, and deleting any suspicious apps. If all else fails, try resetting your iPhone.