Spyware is one of the most common ways to get hacked, and iPhones are often targeted because of their popularity and the access they provide to sensitive information. Keeping your iPhone safe from spyware requires constant diligence, but knowing how to detect and remove it can help you stay secure in an otherwise vulnerable situation. Read on to learn more about spyware on an iPhone and how to remove it before it’s too late!
What is spyware?
Spyware is any form of software that monitors your activity in order to glean information about you. Unfortunately, spyware—which can range from innocuous ads that pop up while you’re surfing online to invasive trojans that keep tabs on your location, contact lists, and more—isn’t uncommon these days. Even more disconcerting is how easy it is for someone with malicious intent to place spyware on your phone; anyone with a little know-how could get at your most sensitive data. Luckily, it’s not hard at all for you to check if your phone has spyware on it or even remove unwanted programs manually. I’ll break down exactly how below.
Why do you need to scan your phone?
The vast majority of mobile phones (and all smartphones) will have some sort of malware installed. This can include apps that silently track your location or banking information or ones that scan your personal data for sale to marketers. If you need evidence that these are problems, read up on apps like Carrier IQ and find out how companies like Apple and Google tried very hard to hide their existence from users. Spyware on an iPhone is by no means widespread, but its existence alone is a big reason why it’s important to regularly perform anti-malware scans of your phone’s software.
How do you know if your phone has spyware?
Many times, you’ll notice that your phone is running slowly. This is often a symptom of spyware. You might also see frequent ad pop-ups or messages saying that you need new apps or app updates when in reality, these aren’t from Apple. You may even see unauthorized charges show up on your credit card statement or other financial documents, which can be another indication of spyware problems. While checking your phone for any of these symptoms doesn’t guarantee it has spyware—sometimes slow phones are just slow phones—it is still a good idea to run a scan for malware to find out for sure.
What should you look for?
To be clear, most spyware apps aren’t bad; they’re often simply programs that run on your phone, have no ads or notifications, don’t take up space, and don’t really do anything other than report back about your usage. However, some people use spyware apps as a way to monitor their kids (which isn’t necessarily bad), their employees (which definitely is), or their partners (who needs lawyers?). The reason you should be concerned is because of how easy it is for spies to access your information with spyware on an iPhone. Fortunately, there are ways to detect if you have spyware on your phone as well as how to remove it when necessary.
How can you remove it from your phone?
You’ll need a good anti-virus or security app installed. These programs are great at detecting spyware on your phone and removing it, so be sure you have one installed before getting started. You can also contact customer service at your cellular carrier if you want to let them know that someone has gained access to your data; they may be able to provide suggestions or additional help. Once you know how to detect spyware on an iPhone, it’s up to you how much effort you want to put into removing it from your device. If someone else is spying on your data, it might make sense for privacy reasons alone to take steps towards removal.
Is there a safe place to download apps from?
Finding safe apps online can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of apps you can download from reputable, trustworthy sources. And whether you’re interested in news, shopping or games, there’s sure to be something for everyone—regardless of your taste or preferences. Here are a few places you can start: Search iTunes – You know you’ll find safe apps for iPhones here. Apps purchased through iTunes come directly from Apple itself, so there aren’t any concerns about having pirated copies floating around on third-party sites that may contain spyware, adware or viruses.
Open or reputable sites – While Apple’s iTunes is a safe place to find apps, there are also plenty of other trustworthy sites out there. Depending on your needs, there may be options that you can use as well. If you have kids who need their own smartphone, it might be easier for them to download educational games through a kid-friendly site instead of iTunes—which requires a credit card. Or if you’re looking for price comparisons, Google and Bing often list popular apps and prices.
Use caution with public Wi-Fi connections
Public Wi-Fi connections are convenient, but they’re also a security risk. Use your data connection whenever possible when accessing public Wi-Fi connections—your cellular network is usually more secure than open, public networks. That said, if you need to connect with free Wi-Fi, take precautions by using encrypted messaging apps like WhatsApp or Signal as well as browser extensions like HTTPS Everywhere (created by The Tor Project) for Chrome users. Don’t log into accounts like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter from unfamiliar networks either; chances are someone could be watching what you do online without your knowledge. This can make it easier for malware or cybercriminals (often referred to as shoulder surfers) to gain access to your personal information.
Keep your settings secure
As we all know, iPhones are susceptible to viruses because they rely heavily on third-party software. In order to maintain device security, it’s important that you set up a passcode for your phone. Once that’s done, make sure you go into Settings > General > Passcode Lock > and turn off Simple Passcode. This means you won’t be able to use a four-digit code; only a six-digit code will unlock your phone. Your passcode is what protects your information, so don’t skip over it!
There are programs out there that try to collect your browsing data, track your habits, log keystrokes, monitor social media interaction, record videos through your webcam and more. Since a cell phone is such a personal piece of technology, installing malicious software can be incredibly damaging to a user’s mental health and financial stability. Fortunately, identifying spyware on an iPhone isn’t hard at all—once you know what you’re looking for.
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