Mobile phones are the most-used electronic device in the world. You depend on it to communicate, keep track of your spending, pay your bills, and take care of your online shopping. If your phone gets a virus, it could impact your daily tasks and compromise your personal and financial information. Still, there are steps you can take to solve this problem. When smartphones get a virus, they usually exhibit some telltale signs that can help you gauge the situation.

Here are some ways to tell if your phone has a virus, as well as steps on how to block and remove them on Android and Apple devices.

How Do I Know My Phone Has a Virus?

If your phone does have a virus, you’ll notice some changes in its behavior. A typical sign is the sudden existence of poor performance issues. Your phone might slow down when you try to open its browser or another app. Other times, you’ll notice some apps behaving suspiciously. Worst, you may get more ads, especially ads that aren’t relevant to your usual browsing behavior or history.
Changes to your device’s performance and behavior are indicative of a virus. Take a look at your texting history to get started. If you see texts you’ve never sent or numbers you don’t recognize, they could be from a virus. Next, check your data usage. If it’s increased with no apparent reasons, a virus could be to blame.

Some viruses make phones run apps behind the scenes, which increases data use and consume more battery. Other viruses may infect your installed programs, so you may experience frequent crashes and lags.

How do I know if I Have a Virus on my iPhone?

You may have heard claims that iPhones don’t get viruses. Iphone viruses are rare, but they still exist. If you jailbroke your iPhone, it can get a virus as easily as any other smartphone. But if you have a licensed iPhone, some of the possible gateways are your default browser, Bluetooth connectivity, and public Wi-Fi networks. The tell-tale signs we’ve mentioned above concerning battery performance, data usage, and app behavior can tell you if your phone does have a virus.

How Do I Know if I Have a Virus on My Android?

Android devices are more vulnerable to viruses—rooted or not—since the OS allows access to third-party apps not available in the Play Store. External apps available on websites and other platforms are not always safe; some may contain malicious codes and files.

Rooted Android phones are more vulnerable to viruses. Rooting is the equivalent of jailbreaking in Android. If an Android device gets infected, you’ll mostly see random ads and applications on your phone that you’ve never seen before. In some cases, you may also notice a decrease in the device’s battery and overall performance.

How Do Phones Get Viruses?

Phones get viruses the same way computers get viruses. Clicking on a suspicious link or attachment from unknown sources is a common way phones get infected . These attachments can be present in text messages, social media messages, or emails. Visiting a malicious website or downloading unlicensed applications could also be sources of viruses.

Regardless of the source, these tell-tale signs can tell if your phone does have a virus.

Types of Viruses Phones Can Get

Phones can get a wide variety of viruses. Viruses on personal devices could delete your data, increase your phone bill, attempt to make unauthorized purchases, or gather private information and use it for malicious purposes —such as blackmailing or identity theft. Most attacks on your phone come from emails , malicious websites and ads, and unsecured public connection. Some types of viruses your phone could get include:

  • Malware: The umbrella term for all types of malicious programs that take over your phone and steals your data or performs unscrupulous actions
  • Adware: It creates ads that collect data or cause damage
  • Ransomware: It locks one or more parts of your phone, often precious memories or personal data until you follow the demands of the hacker, which typically includes paying a ransom.
  • Spyware: This virus monitors your internet activity and steals your data, such as passwords and financial information.
  • Trojan: This virus attaches itself to a legitimate app and interferes with your phone’s operations . Trojan viruses can take control of your device or corrupt data.

Do You Need to Run a Virus Scan?

It’s a good idea to run a virus scan regularly with the help of reliable antivirus solutions. Running a virus scan on phones is easy, and it doesn’t take long. These processes can detect obvious and hidden malicious programs or codes. If you’ve noticed that your phone is slow, crashes, or shows any of the other signs that it’s infected, a virus scan can help you find the problems.

What a Virus Scan Does on Your Phone?

A virus scanner looks for known malware and pieces of code that are similar to known malware. If the scanner finds a dangerous piece of code, it will notify you and ask for your permission to delete an existing program. In some cases, it might give you the option to replace the dangerous app or program with a legitimate one directly from the manufacturer. This reminder can help you find the best course of action to take.

How Do I Scan My Phone for Malware?

Some malware and symptoms are invisible to the naked eye, so you need a reliable malware scanner on your phone to detect them. Some devices have a built-in scanner that can perform basic actions. But if you don’t have one or you need a more powerful scanner, you can download a licensed mobile security app.

Using the antivirus app, you can execute manual or regularly schedule scans for your entire device or specific applications. You can also either choose between regular and deep scans, depending on the performance and behavior of your phone.

How to Run a Virus Scan on an Android Phone

To run a virus scan on your Android phone, you’ll need to download a mobile security software app . Most phones don’t come with one installed. Android is an open-source platform, so there are many options for virus scanners, including McAfee Mobile Security.

Once you download the virus scanner, you can run it manually or by schedule. The process usually takes a few minutes to check your files and programs. If there’s any virus or malware, it will immediately notify you.

How to Run a Virus Scan on Your iPhone

If you have an iPhone, it’s not easy to run a scan to see if your phone has a virus. That’s because iOS is a closed platform; it uses a system that totally controls the brand’s hardware and software. Apple has many built-in security features, including a licensed and exclusive App Store that only carries licensed and safe applications. Even so, your iPhone can still get infected by a virus, especially if you have an older iPhone not running in Apple’s latest software update. However, you can get mobile security software to protect the personal data on your phone. These apps are available in the App Store, and they’ll protect your entire device, as well as applications, media content, and personal information.

How Often to Run a Virus Scan on Your Phone

You should run a virus scan on your phone at the first sign of a problem. If your phone is slow for a couple of hours or there’s a new app that you can’t recall downloading, scan your phone. You should also run a scan if you see any unauthorized access to your personal accounts and banking information, such as unconfirmed purchases using your credit cards or online posts you didn’t make.

Always have your antivirus apps to run regular scans on your phone at a convenient time, such as midnight when you’re usually asleep.

How to Protect Your Phone From Viruses

Virus scanners are an essential tool for protecting your phone. But there are several other precautions you can also do to protect your phone from viruses. When you download an app, beware of what permissions it wants. If an app asks for permission to access your camera or microphone, check the privacy protocols and terms and conditions of the app before you give your permission.

Beware of phishing scams , a type of cybercrime where criminals impersonate people or legitimate organizations to send messages with malicious links. If you get texts that seems suspicious—such as ones that ask you to verify your password or confirm your delivery address , don’t click the link.

Any email, ad, or text with bad grammar, misspelled words, or a claim that’s too good to be true may contain malicious content. As such, beware of friend requests, private social media messages, and texts from people you don’t know.

Tips for Keeping Your Phone Safe and Determining If It Has a Virus

  • Follow basic internet safety rules, such as keeping your personal information safe, using strong passwords, and checking websites’ reliability.
  • Recognize the signs of a risky website<
  • Avoid clicking on email and SMS links from people you don’t know<
  • Only download licensed apps<
  • Keep your device and phone’s software up-to-date<
  • Don’t leave your phone unattended in public places<
  • Avoid clicking random ads from suspicious sites<
  • Avoid accepting friend requests and direct messages from strangers<
  • Stay informed about the newest security threats<
  • Use two-factor authentication<
  • Avoid saving passwords on physical or digital storages (e.g., notepads, wallets). Use a reliable password manager instead.<
  • Download a comprehensive security tool for your phone

Stay secure

You rely on your smartphone to stay in touch and conduct regular activities, such as banking and messaging. As such, it’s important to keep it safe against viruses that can impede your activities and damage your device.

If you think there’s a virus on your phone or it’s not responding and behaving like it usually does, identifying the signs and running a virus scan are crucial steps to take. With these tips, you now know how to increase the security walls of your smartphone and lower the risk of getting a virus.