Have you noticed your iPhone battery draining faster than usual? Or strange new apps appearing out of nowhere? Unfortunately, these could be signs your device has been infected with malware. Malicious software is more common on iPhones than you may think.
The good news is that with the right steps, you can remove malware from your iPhone and get it working smoothly again. In this guide, I‘ll walk you through exactly how to clean malware off your iPhone, plus provide tips to keep it from sneaking back in.
How Can Malware Get on My iPhone?
Before we dig into removal, it helps to understand how malware winds up on iPhones in the first place. Malware is software designed to infect and damage devices. Here are some common ways it finds its way onto iPhones:
- Clickng suspicious links in emails, messages or websites. This can install malware directly.
- Downloading infected apps from untrustworthy app stores instead of the official App Store.
- Opening infected files or documents sent over email or text.
- Connecting to public WiFi networks that have been compromised by hackers.
- Visiting phishing sites that pretend to be legit to steal your data.
In 2019 alone, Kaspersky detected over 8 million malware installations on iOS devices. It‘s not just Android users at risk! Even on the locked-down iOS platform, malware still poses a threat.
Signs Your iPhone Has Malware
How can you tell if your iPhone‘s been compromised by malware? Watch for these warning signs:
- Battery draining much faster than usual
- Slow performance and laggy response times
- Random crashing or freezing of apps
- Unexpected pop-up ads appearing
- Websites re-directing you without clicking links
- Higher than normal cellular data usage
- Unknown or unusual apps installed on your phone
If you notice any of these issues, it‘s very possible malware has infected your iPhone. The only way to know for sure is to thoroughly inspect your device.
How to Remove Malware from an iPhone
If you suspect your iPhone‘s been hit with malware, here are the steps to eradicate it:
Step 1: Restart Your iPhone
Start by powering your iPhone off and back on. A simple restart can stop any suspicious processes that may be running.
To restart, press and hold the Side button and either Volume button until the slider appears to power off. After 30 seconds, press and hold the Side button again until you see the Apple logo.
Step 2: Check for Unfamiliar Apps
Next, inspect your home screen for any apps you don‘t remember downloading. Malware often disguises itself as legitimate apps.
Check under folders too. Anything look out of the ordinary? Delete right away.
Step 3: Clear Browser History and Data
Since clicking infected links is a top source of malware, clearing your browser history can wipe out malicious software lurking there.
In Safari, go to Settings > Safari and choose "Clear History and Website Data". In Chrome, tap History > Clear Browsing Data.
Step 4: Restore Your iPhone from a Backup
Restoring from an uninfected iCloud or iTunes backup is the most thorough way to wipe malware.
First, check your backups under Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud > Manage Storage > Backups. Pick a backup created before the issues started.
Then, reset your iPhone under Settings > General > Reset. Choose "Erase All Content and Settings".
Finally, restore your chosen backup when prompted during setup. This will completely clean your phone.
Step 5: Install Antivirus Software
Your last step is to add antivirus software like McAfee or Norton to actively protect against future malware.
Antivirus apps run constant background scans to catch malware before it can infect your device. They also block dangerous websites and links.
How to Keep Malware Off Your iPhone
Removing malware when your iPhone‘s already infected can be a headache. Here are some easy tips to avoid it getting on your phone in the first place:
- Only download apps from the official App Store. Avoid third-party app stores.
- Don‘t open random links, files or documents from unknown sources.
- Always update your iPhone to the latest iOS version promptly.
- Use a VPN when connecting to public Wi-Fi to encrypt your activity.
- Turn on two-factor authentication for your Apple ID for account security.
- Backup your iPhone regularly in case you need to restore it.
- Consider investing in antivirus software for preventative protection.
The Bottom Line
While iPhones have robust security, they‘re still vulnerable to malware infections. If your iPhone is acting up, don‘t ignore it – take steps to inspect your device and remove any lurking malware. Clearing your browser, restoring backups and installing antivirus software can help return your phone to normal.
Stay vigilant about app downloads, link clicking and updating your software to keep malicious software from hijacking your iPhone in the first place. Don‘t let malware slow down your iPhone!