Have you ever heard someone claim that iPhones can’t get viruses? This is a dangerous misconception. Can iPhones get viruses? Even though iPhones are less susceptible to viruses than computers, they do still get them sometimes.
Viruses and malware are words you’ll mostly hear when you’re talking about a PC, not iPhones. iOS is the gold standard of smartphone operating systems and is seen as the perfect OS with the perfect antivirus mechanism in the tech world. However, it’s not always the case.
Here in this article, you’ll find everything you need to know about preventing, detecting, and removing malware from your iPhone.
Can iPhones get viruses?
The short answer to this question…Yes! Phones and tablets like the iPhone or iPad can indeed get infected with viruses and malware. Just as PCs can become infected, so can your smartphone or tablet.
The longer answer to can iPhones get viruses is that you probably won’t encounter much of a problem. But it’s always best to be on the lookout for signs of virus and malware infections. If you do suspect that your phone or tablet has become infected with a virus, there are steps you can take to remedy the situation.
What’s the difference between malware and viruses on an iPhone?
Malware and viruses are both malicious computer programs. However, they do not share the same characteristics. The differences between a malware and a virus can be subtle, but understanding the difference can help you avoid infections.
A virus is a program that can infect other files and replicate itself. It can also modify software with its own code after it has invaded. iPhones don’t typically get viruses but they can be infected by other malware.
A malware is any piece of software that can infect a computer, usually with the intent of stealing data or otherwise compromising your iPhone’s security. Some common malware includes Trojan horse, spyware apps, adware, and viruses.
Different ways for virus or malware to infiltrate your iPhone
There are many ways for viruses or malware to infiltrate your iPhone. It could be from an app that you download from the internet because your iPhone is jailbroken, a website that you visit on mobile Safari (the default browser for iPhones), or even from a phishing link included in spam email. The only way to stay safe is to protect yourself in advance.
Here are some of the ways viruses or malware can infiltrate your iPhone:
Through malicious apps
When you download an app to your mobile device, you’re taking on some risk. After all, the app developer could include malware or other harmful content in the software.
The good news is that Apple and Google, which run the two largest app stores, have sophisticated review processes to prevent malware from getting onto their platforms. However, it’s still possible for malicious apps to appear on those stores and in search results.
A malicious app can steal data stored on your device or allow someone else to take control of your device — or even gain access to information on other devices connected to your Wi-Fi network. Malware can also be used as an avenue for phishing attacks, where a scammer tries to get you to provide them with sensitive information like passwords or credit card numbers.
Operating system vulnerabilities
If your operating system is old and you’ve not installed the latest updates, it’s possible that the operating system has some vulnerabilities.
Cybercriminals are always on the lookout for such gaps and target users that have outdated versions of the operating system. They can take advantage of the vulnerabilities and install a type of malware on your iPhone. That’s why it’s advised to keep your operating system up-to-date.
If you have an iPhone, you probably have heard of a “jailbreak.” It’s the process by which users remove restrictions on iPhones and enable a range of features that Apple would prefer to keep locked up.
When you jailbreak your iPhone to install third-party apps, you disable your iPhone’s security features in fact. And, this is how hackers get you to install their malicious software onto your handset.
There are some good reasons why you might want to jailbreak your phone. For example, if you’re traveling abroad and you want to use an international calling service that’s not supported by your mobile network, jailbreaking can get it working. You can install third-party apps on your iPhone that aren’t available on the App Store. But when you do so, there’s a high risk for virus or malware infiltration.
If you aren’t sure what you’re doing and you don’t fully understand what jailbreaking will do, leave it well alone.
If you are among the hundreds of millions of iPhone users, you might get a fake email that tells you there is a virus on your iPhone. It may also tell you to open an attachment to get rid of it.
Trying to open the attachment could infect your phone with the virus. Never open any attachments from suspicious emails. These attachments can contain viruses, spyware or other malware that can give cybercriminals access to your iPhone and all its data.
Unsecured Wi-Fi connections
The iPhone is arguably the most secure smartphone on the market, but this doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways for malicious third-parties to get ahold of your data. One way to do this is by infecting your iPhone through non-secure wifi connections you encounter throughout your day.
Tapping into unsecured networks can hurt your iPhone in a number of ways. It could allow someone to read the data that goes back and forth from your smartphone, or compromise your device’s security by installing malware.
How to scan an iPhone for viruses or malware?
It turns out that iPhones are very secure — as long as you don’t jailbreak them. Apple takes security seriously, and the iPhone is designed to do its best to keep you safe from attacks. In fact, there are only a few ways an iPhone can get a virus.
If you’re suspecting a malware or virus on your iPhone, you might consider the following methods to seek confirmation. If your phone has one or more of the following troubles, it’s likely that your iPhone is infected with some sort of malware or virus.
Your iPhone is jailbroken
If you have a jailbroken iPhone and it’s showing strange behavior, there’s a high possibility that your iPhone is infected with a virus or malware.
In addition to the usual apps, you might have a number of what you would call unrecognized apps on your iPhone. These are the apps that were downloaded on your iPhone either by someone else or by you. You might have downloaded an app that looked handy to you but it was disguised by malware or virus.
Apps you’ve never heard of or haven’t downloaded yourself could be collecting data from your phone and sending it to servers owned by advertising companies.
If you see unrecognized apps on your iPhone, it’s a sign that your iPhone has malware or viruses. The first thing you should be doing right now is to delete these apps and change your account passwords.
You’re seeing annoying pop-ups repeatedly
If you have jailbroken your iPhone and happen to see the pop-up message shown below, please note that this is a piece of malware designed to scare you into installing a “fix” for the supposed problem.
This can be a potentially harmful situation and you should take immediate action. Your iPhone should be fine again after you remove the malware from it.
The pop-up may appear with a message that your iPhone has been infected with a virus and that you must call a toll-free number to speak with Apple technical support or something else that could lead to harmful results.
Spike in cellular data usage
The malicious apps work by disguising themselves as legitimate software while they harvest and leak data, like contacts and text messages. But there are a few indicators that can clue you into whether your iPhone has been hacked or infected with a virus. One of the indicators is a spike in cellular data usage — something that is not normally attributed to a single app or function.
The researchers also advise looking for strange shortcuts on your home screen or unusually large app icons. You can also check for unusual network activity in your device settings.
If you see a spike in cellular data usage on your iPhone, it’s a sign that your device has a virus or some sort of malware.
Your iPhone is overheating
Can iPhones get viruses? Sure they can, and when they do, overheating is a common symptom. Malware and viruses, once they have infected your iPhone, will run in the background of your device and continually use its resources. This is why your iPhone heats up and also slows down, because the program is consuming its processor and memory all the time.
An iPhone that is overheating its battery is either a sign of a virus or the battery itself is bad. The first step you should do if it is overheating, is to reboot the device. If it continues to overheat, you may want to take it to Apple’s service center to see what might be wrong with the device.
Your iPhone’s battery is draining faster
A simple way to check for malware on your iPhone is to run a quick battery test. The idea is that if your iPhone’s battery drains faster, it’s a sign of malware.
The malware could be using your iPhone’s resources and keeping the screen on more often than it should be. To test this, count how long it takes for your iPhone’s battery to drain from 100% to 20%. If it’s significantly different from what you’d expect, there may be suspicious activities going on behind the scenes.
If your battery is draining faster but there’s no sure sign of malware or virus, you should consider changing your phone charger and cable. Syncwire offers high-quality charger and cable for your iPhone.
How to remove any viruses on your iPhone
If your iPhone is freezing, slowing down or even crashing, it can be frustrating. And then you may have found that there are annoying pop-ups every time you click something. This makes the situation even worse! If this is happening on your device, it’s time to take the following actions.
Delete suspicious looking apps
One of the ways viruses and malware infect iPhones is through apps. Your iPhone might have apps that weren’t downloaded or installed by you. These apps are often the reason why your iPhone is being slow and unresponsive. If you see suspicious apps on your iPhone, be quick to remove them from your phone.
To delete an app, double tap on the “home” button and hold down the icon of the app until all the apps jiggle. Then tap the cross sign on the top right of the screen to delete suspicious looking apps.
Clear browser history and website data
If you’re having issues with your iPhone and suspect the presence of malware or virus, you can do a clean-up of browser history and website data. This simple tip is easy to complete and doesn’t require much time. It will help remove any virus/malware that has taken over your phone’s memory. You can easily access this setting within Safari:
- Go to “Settings” on your iPhone
- Scroll down and tap “Safari”
- Tap “Clear History and Website Data”
- Tap “Clear History and Data”
You can also open the “Advanced” settings to get rid of “Website Data”.
Once it’s cleared, restart your iPhone. After restarting your iPhone, you should be able to feel the difference.
Reset with factory settings
If you are convinced that your iPhone has malware or virus, the best you can do is to reset with factory settings. In this process, you can reset your iPhone with factory settings and restore the data from iCloud or local backup you created.
Before you proceed with this step, make sure to create a backup of your data. Your phone might have a lot of data and it can take a long time to create its backup. But, you can use Syncwire Lightning Cable to speed up the process as the cable enables faster sync and charging with high wattage power.
Follow the below steps to reset your iPhone with factory settings.
- Open the Settings app on your phone.
- Find and open the General by scrolling down the menu.
- Tap Reset at the bottom.
- Tap Erase All Content and Settings.
After selecting the last option, you’ll be asked if you’d like to restore your iPhone from iCloud or backup. Always choose the backup that was created before the virus or malware.
Tips to protect your iPhone from malware or viruses
Here are some tips on how to protect your iPhone from malware and viruses:
Don’t jailbreak your iPhone
Jailbreaking your iPhone means you will no longer get iOS updates from apple. While this may sound good for the sake of customization, it is not: Apple releases security updates for their devices every month which fix bugs and patch security vulnerabilities. If you are not installing these updates on your device, you are exposing yourself to threats like malware and hackers.
The only reason to jailbreak an iPhone is to install an app store alternative or other third-party applications. But there is no such thing as a free lunch: those apps come with risks and potential unwanted side effects.
Keep your iPhone stock and updated with the latest patches.
Use a VPN
You can protect your iPhone from all kinds of attacks, but one of the most effective methods is a Virtual Private Network (VPN). VPNs basically create a private channel between your iPhone and a secure server.
The benefit to you is that it makes it much harder for hackers and malware to access any information on your phone. When you’re using a VPN, any personal data that’s transmitted back and forth isn’t visible to third parties.
This includes personal information like credit card numbers, personal photos or even your location.
Download apps from Apple App Store only
Apple’s App Store is more secure than other app stores. The company does a good job of vetting the developers and their apps before they are allowed on the store. Apple also has strict rules about what kind of apps can be sold on the App Store.
You don’t have to worry about downloading apps from Apple’s App Store. You’ll find plenty of tools that will make your life easier, as well as cool games and other fun things to try out with your iPhone or iPad.
You might be tempted if you see an app that looks really cool that isn’t in the App Store, but you shouldn’t do it! You can’t download apps from App Store alternatives unless your iPhone is jailbroken.
Update your apps and iOS regularly
We all do it: download an app or game on our iPhones and iPads, then promptly ignore it. But not updating your apps and iOS is a huge security risk.
If you’re worried about the time it takes to update each app, relax. You can set your iPhone or iPad to automatically update overnight or when you’re connected to Wi-Fi (rather than over a cellular connection). To change this setting, go to your iOS device’s settings and tap “iTunes & App Store.” Then turn on the “Updates” option.
You should also update your iOS whenever Apple releases new versions with security patches and other fixes. Make sure you have the latest version of iOS.
Your employees might be using iPhones or other Apple products provided by your company. This makes your company’s data at risk of getting stolen.
It’s important to educate your employees about the dangers of malware and viruses. Malicious software is designed to be sneaky, so it’s not always obvious that a device is infected. You can use training as an opportunity to reinforce other common-sense security precautions such as using strong passwords and avoiding risky behaviors like clicking on links from unknown sources.
Introduce mobile device policies
When you implement mobile device policies, you can prevent employees from downloading malicious software and viruses on their iPhones and Mac computers. You can also control access to certain websites and make sure they are using the company iPhones and Mac computers for work only, which helps protect your business against any potential legal issues.
Predict, Prevent, and Protect!
We hope you got the answer to can iPhones get viruses and are now aware of how to remove any viruses on iPhone.
We think it’s important that people understand that their iPhones—and everything else, for that matter—are vulnerable to attacks. If you’re not up to speed on your phone security, we recommend checking out the ways mentioned above to learn how to detect and remove viruses and malware from your iPhone. And make sure you update your apps when prompted, so you don’t have to deal with malware or viruses in the future.