Malware on Your iPhone: What You Need to Know

Malware is always a serious issue, even on an iPhone. You need to know how to protect yourself and your device.

Dusan Vasic Image
Updated:

July 07,2022

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Getting malware on an iPhone is a very real possibility, and something that’s becoming increasingly common. While Apple's iPhone is generally considered much less susceptible to malware than Android phones, it's still important to be aware of the risks and take steps to protect your device.

How Can Malware Affect Your iPhone?

Malware is software designed to damage or disable computers, smartphones, and other electronic devices. The most common types of malware include viruses, spyware, and adware. And if you think you’re safe from getting a virus on your iPhone, we regret to inform you that time is long past. iPhone infections occurring without user knowledge aren’t uncommon anymore, and they will affect device performance and jeopardize sensitive data.

Malware can be difficult to remove, and it can often cause irreparable damage to the infected device. For this reason, it's essential to take steps to prevent it from reaching your Apple smartphone in the first place, and the first step is to regularly check for malware on your iPhone.

Why Are iPhone Viruses so Uncommon?

One of Apple users' most frequently asked questions is, "Can iPhones get viruses?" The simple answer is yes, but there's a little more to it: Unlike Windows computers or Android phones, iPhones are much more difficult to infect.

iPhone viruses are exceedingly rare for several reasons. First and foremost, iOS is a closed operating system, which means that apps need to be vetted by Apple before they can be made available on the App Store. For an app to be approved, it must meet a strict set of security criteria. As a result, malicious software is scarce on the App Store, and even if you do accidentally download a questionable app, it's unlikely to do significant damage.

In addition, iOS devices are designed to be resistant to tampering and intrusion. For example, each iPhone app runs in an isolated container, preventing it from accessing other apps' data. Even if a malicious application managed to find its way to an iPhone, its reach would be minimal. Finally, Apple’s iOS security updates patch up any discovered vulnerabilities and further improve OS safety.

However, your iOS device isn't entirely immune to malware, although many iPhone users still think that. There have been a number of high-profile malware attacks in recent years that have successfully targeted iPhone users. As the operating system continues to grow in popularity, we will likely see even more such attacks in the future.

Common Reasons for iPhone Malware on Your Device

There are a few different ways malware can end up on your iPhone, so here are a few to keep in mind when you check your iPhone for viruses:

1. Jailbroken Device

One of the most common ways for malware to compromise an iPhone is through a process called "jailbreaking" - a method of bypassing the security restrictions placed on iOS devices by Apple. Jailbreaking is usually employed by the phone’s owner to install customizations and unauthorized apps, but it also leaves the device open to attack.

2. Malicious Unfamiliar Apps

Another common way malware finds its way onto iPhones is through malicious apps. These are apps that have been designed to harm the device or steal personal information. Malicious applications can be disguised as legitimate ones, making them difficult to spot.

3. Phishing Scams

Phishing scams are another avenue attackers use to infect iPhones. In a phishing scam, the attacker will send an email or text message that appears to be from a trusted source, such as Apple or your bank. The message will usually contain a link that leads to a fake website designed to trick you into giving away your personal information.

How To Check for Malware on an iPhone

There are a few telltale signs of malware on an iPhone: First, check for any unusual or unexpected behavior. If your phone starts acting strangely, it may signify that something is wrong. Here are just some of the things to look out for:

  • Unexpected pop-up ads
  • Apps crashing or freezing
  • Battery drains quickly
  • Strange text messages or emails
  • Slow performance

Unfortunately, malware can also have other serious consequences that will reflect on your phone bill.

Mobile Data Usage

If you don't have performance issues, check how much data you spend monthly. Malware-infected apps often use your data connection in the background without you even realizing it. This can quickly eat up your data allowance, and if you have a limited data plan, it could end up costing you a lot of money.

iPhone Malware Removal Software

If you notice any of these things, it's a good idea to check for viruses on your iPhone by scanning it with an anti-malware app. Any protective software worth its salt will be able to tell you if there’s something wrong with your phone.

Malware Detected on iPhone - What Next?

The best way to protect your iPhone from malware is to be careful about what you install on it. Only download apps from trusted sources, be cautious about clicking on links in emails and text messages, even if they appear to be from a trusted source, and keep your iOS up to date with the latest security patches. Finally, making regular iCloud backups is excellent for keeping essential files stored safely and isolated if your iPhone gets infected.

Keeping your iPhone safe from malware and other security threats is important. However, we suggest you download an antivirus application for extra protection, as it can also help you remove viruses from your iPhone if some manage to get through. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

If you already suspect your iPhone is infected with a virus, read our guide on how to remove it with minimum data loss.

FAQ
Can an iPhone be infected with malware?

Yes, but not as often as Android devices. Malicious and dangerous software is incredibly rare on the App Store, and even if you do accidentally download a questionable app (which can happen when you jailbreak your device), it's unlikely to do significant damage.

Apple also frequently updates iOS with patches for any security vulnerabilities that may have emerged.

Can I scan my iPhone for malware?

Yes, there are a number of different options available for scanning your iPhone for malicious software. Some antivirus apps have this functionality built in, while others offer it as a paid addon.

How do I get rid of malware on my iPhone?

Malware on an iPhone can be particularly tricky to get rid of once it has set in, and it typically targets vulnerabilities and jailbroken devices. Furthermore, it's constantly evolving, and cybercriminals are starting to pay particular attention to Apple's products as they are getting increasingly popular.

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