A Guide to Remove Malware From Your iPhone

Malicious software, or “malware,” refers to any program designed to infect and disrupt computer systems and networks. The risks associated with a malware infection can range from poor device performance to stolen data. 

However, thanks to their closed ecosystem, built-in security features, and strict policies on third-party apps, Apple devices tend to be less prone to malware infections compared to their Android counterparts. But it’s important to note that they’re not completely without vulnerabilities 

Several iPhone viruses could infect your smartphone and affect its functionality, especially if you jailbreak your iPhone (that is, opening your iOS to wider features, apps, and themes).  

This article covers how you can detect malware infections and how to remove viruses from your device so you can get back to enjoying the digital world. 

How does malware affect iPhones?

Malware can affect your iPhone in a variety of ways. Here are a few telltale signs that your iPhone might have an unwelcome visitor.  

  • Your iPhone’s battery life is shorter than usual. 
  • Pop-up ads frequently appear. 
  • Apps crash for no apparent reason. 
  • Unfamiliar apps are installed on your iPhone. 
  • You notice high data usage. 
  • The operating system is noticeably slow. 
  • Your iPhone is overheating. 

How to check your iPhone for malware

If you notice any of the signs above, it’s a good idea to check for malware. Here are some steps you can take. 

  1. Look for unfamiliar apps. If you’re anything like the average smartphone user, you’ve probably downloaded dozens (if not hundreds) of apps. The sheer number of programs on your iPhone makes it easy for malicious apps to hide in plain sight and remain undetected for a long time. Take some time to swipe through all of your apps and closely inspect any that you don’t remember downloading or installing. 
  2. Check your data usage. Heavy data usage can be a sign of a malware infection, which is why you should keep an eye on it if you suspect a virus is in your system. To do so, go to Settings > Mobile Data and check if your data usage is higher than usual. 
  3. Check power consumption. Some types of malware run in the background and consume a significant amount of power without you noticing. To make sure that no such apps are installed on your phone, head over to Settings > Battery and select a period of your choice. Uninstall any unfamiliar apps that stand out. 
  4. Keep an eye on pop-up ads. Running into pop-up ads is inevitable when browsing the internet. However, your phone might be infected with adware if you’re getting them at an alarming frequency. 
  5. Scan your phone using antivirus software. As helpful as these steps are, running a complete scan using antivirus software is one of the most effective ways to detect malware. If you don’t have one installed already, consider using McAfee Mobile Security. This comprehensive security solution provides full-scale protection that includes a safe browsing feature to protect your digital life, Wi-Fi privacy, and a VPN for a more secure internet connection. Highly effective scans detect malicious apps and unwanted visitors before they enter your digital space. 

How to remove malware from your iPhone

If you’ve confirmed malware on your iPhone, don’t worry. There’s still time to protect yourself and your data. Below is an action plan you can follow to remove malware from your device. 

Update your iOS (if applicable)

In many cases, hackers exploit outdated versions of iOS to launch malware attacks. If you don’t have the latest version of your operating system, it’s a good idea to update iOS to close this potential vulnerability. Just follow these steps: 

  1. Go to Settings. 
  2. Click on General. 
  3. Click on Software Update. 
  4. Follow the instructions to update your iPhone. 

Restart your device

It might sound simple, but restarting your device can fix certain issues. The system will restart on its own when updating the iOS. If you already have the latest version, restart your iPhone now. 

Clear your iPhone browsing history and data

If updating the iOS and restarting your device didn’t fix the issue, try clearing your phone’s browsing history and data. If you’re using Safari, follow these steps: 

  1. Go to Settings. 
  2. Click on Clear History and Website Data 
  3. Click on Clear History and Data 

Keep in mind that the process is similar for Google Chrome and most other popular web browsers. 

Remove any suspicious apps

Malicious software, such as spyware and ransomware, often end up on phones by masquerading as legitimate apps. To err on the side of caution, delete any apps that you don’t remember downloading or installing. 

Restore your iPhone

The option to restore to a previous backup is one of the most valuable features found on the iPhone and iPad. Essentially, this allows you to restore your device to an iCloud backup made before the malware infection 

Here’s how: 

  1. Go to Settings. 
  2. Click on General. 
  3. Click on Transfer or Reset iPhone. 
  4. Choose Erase All Content and Settings. 
  5. Choose Restore from iCloud Backup. 

Factory reset your iPhone

If none of the steps above solves the problem, a factory reset might be the next order of business. Restoring your phone to factory settings will reset it to its out-of-factory configuration, deleting all of your apps, content, and settings in the process and replacing them with original software only. 

To factory reset your iPhone, follow these steps: 

  1. Go to Settings. 
  2. Click on General.  
  3. Click on Transfer or Reset iPhone 
  4. Choose Erase All Content and Settings. 
  5. Choose Set Up as New iPhone. 

How to keep your iPhone safe from malware

The best way to protect your iOS device is to avoid malware in the first place. Follow these security measures to safeguard your device: 

  • Don’t click on suspicious links. 
  • Don’t install apps that Apple doesn’t recognize. 
  • Only download apps from the App Store. 
  • Don’t jailbreak your iPhone, as this will remove most Apple security features. 
  • Enable automatic updates for iOS and iTunes to stay in line with Apple’s security updates and bug fixes. 
  • Keep frequent data backups. 
  • Avoid engaging with suspicious text messages on iMessage, as hackers use them to spread phishing scams. 

Secure your iPhone with McAfee Mobile Security 

If you have an iPhone and are like most other people, you probably use your device for almost everything you do online. And while it’s amazing to have the internet in the palm of your hands, it’s also important to be aware of online threats like malware, which can put your digital life at risk. 

The good news is that McAfee has your back with our award-winning and full-scale mobile security app. McAfee Mobile Security provides full protection against various types of malware targeting the Apple ecosystem. With safe browsing features, a secure VPN, and antivirus software, McAfee Security for iOS delivers protection against emerging threats, so you can continue to use your iPhone with peace of mind. 

Download the McAfee Security app today and get all-in-one protection. 

Try McAfee Mobile Security

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