How do you know you’ve got iPhone spyware on your phone? What are the necessary steps to take afterward? Many questions like these would go through your mind as you aim to know how to find spyware on iPhone devices and destroy them.
Indeed, software technology has evolved at such an explosive pace, and it’s hard to keep up anymore. Modern smartphones can perform millions of processes in a fraction of a minute, making life more convenient.
However, the implication of this development is that questionable software products are getting more sophisticated than helpful ones. Spyware is readily available now more than ever.
A recent study found out that over 23 Apple devices were hacked by the NSO spyware. With millions of iPhone users worldwide, this is a worrying development as these software can steal data from computers, alter their operations, or expose your identity to people you don’t know.
Although these cases are somewhat rare, the chances of your iPhone getting attacked by spyware aren’t entirely impossible. Why? There is dedicated iPhone spyware that takes advantage of vulnerabilities in iOS. Below, we’ll show you all you need to know about iPhone spyware detection and removal.
How to Detect Spyware on an iPhone?
The first step to tackling spyware on your iPhone is by identifying it. This process isn’t straightforward, as spyware packages are primarily undetected. Thankfully, they leave trails and clues of their activities, and you only have to identify them. Below are some of the most apparent tell-tale signs of spyware on an iPhone.
You Find the Cydia App
Typically, spyware has to use a container app to get into an iPhone. A container app allows people to install unofficial apps on their iPhones. This application acts as a “passthrough” and not necessarily the spy app itself.
Furthermore, the iPhone has to be jailbroken for the container app to get full access necessary for spyware operation. It’s crucial that you also check if the device isn’t jailbroken in a scenario where you didn’t initiate it.
Cydia is one of the most popular iPhone container apps and an easy pick for anyone who plans to install spyware on other people’s devices.
Therefore, Cydia plays a significant role in learning how to find spyware on the iPhone. There’s always a chance that someone who installed a spy application on your iPhone did it using the Cydia app.
You Constantly Get Weird SMS
Have you seen text messages on your iPhone that don’t make sense? There’s a good chance that you have spyware on your device. Typically, spy applications need to send encrypted commands to an iPhone for its full functions. They use SMS to request remote control and access from the target device.
Check for weirdly-worded, no-context texts received on your iPhone. Also, they could be in code-like languages. Generally, these messages come in periodically, so you should check for their frequency as well.
Your Battery Drains Inexplicably
One of the highlight features of an iPhone is battery management. iPhones monitor every task and process that takes up battery power and relay them to you accurately. Therefore, you might have cause to suspect that there’s spyware on your device if you experience unexplainable battery drain.
Although spyware doesn’t leave a physical trail on the target device, it uses radio and battery resources. Your iPhone may try to account for tasks (new and existing) using the battery at any given moment, and you’d begin to notice the discrepancy.
If you’ve not touched your iPhone’s settings or installed a new app recently, an unusual battery drain is a significant sign that your device already has spyware.
You Hear a Lot of Background Noises During Calls
On the surface, background noise during calls can be a result of a bad cellular connection. However, it can also be a sign that someone is secretly recording your calls.
You’d have to pay attention to scenarios where you hear background noises and how often it happens. This strategy could help you with iPhone spyware detection in the long run.
Absolute Ways to Remove Spyware From iPhone
Once you can identify that your iPhone has a spyware infection, it’s best to delete it immediately. Some of the absolute methods you can use to remove spy applications from your device are:
Remove Any Unknown App Immediately
You can start taking action against malicious apps by uninstalling them from your device upon discovery. Go to your home screen, tap, and hold on to any application you find.
Release your finger when the apps start jiggling. Locate the offending app and tap on the “X” mark in the top right corner.
Hold on to Your Smartphone More Securely
Most malicious applications claim to operate remotely. However, they still require physical access to the target device to get the necessary installations done. Thus, protecting your iPhone to thwart a spyware infection is non-negotiable.
It’ll be best not to leave your phone unguarded for prolonged periods. Also, try not to hand out your iPhone to people, and stay around if you’d like to make an exception. It’s essential to change pins and passwords regularly so that you’d be aware of people who try to use your phone.
Change Your Apple ID
If a malicious app exists on your iPhone, it likely has your Apple ID details. Changing your Apple ID allows you to minimize the damage done with the information.
To change the ID, do the following:
- Open the “Settings” app.
- Tap on your name at the top of the screen and scroll down to the “Password & Security” tab.
- Select the “Change Password” option and follow the on-screen prompts.
Update Your iOS Version
Malicious apps mostly need root access on the target iPhone to function correctly. Your iPhone protects against such activity with every software version update. If you think you’ve been a victim of spyware, it’s an excellent idea to update your iOS version right away.
The update would revert any jailbreak the spyware might have initiated on your phone. It would also protect the device from subsequent jailbreaks and offer an added security layer.
Factory Reset Your iPhone
This action is often regarded as a last resort in your fight against malicious software on your iPhone. It’s helpful when the spyware begins to modify your settings, files, and other aspects of the device.
However, it’s crucial that you backup your necessary data somewhere – iCloud preferably. That way, you can always restore when the reset is complete.
After the reset, the iPhone should return to its “new” state: no installed apps, no altered settings, and files. The malicious software would be gone after a complete factory reset.
How to Protect an iPhone From Spyware?
Once you can rid your iPhone of spyware, it’s vital to protect it from subsequent attacks. While it’s advisable to adhere to standard phone safety practices, you might also need some other security tools.
For starters, privacy software for iPhones acts as an excellent defense against malicious software. It detects and neutralizes offending applications before they pose a problem.
A privacy and antivirus package also scans entry points into your iPhone, such as SMS, call logs, and Wi-Fi. You’d get a notification when the application detects potential data breaches or spy elements within your phone.
Technology has afforded countless industries more efficiency and reach. Unfortunately, spyware and malicious software have leveraged that to become more devastating. These harmful applications can remotely collect various data forms, thereby undermining your privacy and security.
However, smartphone operating systems have made massive strides against spyware attacks, with iPhones significantly benefitting from this development.
Ironically, the more secure the platform becomes, the more money spyware manufacturers get from making it a center of attraction. iPhone spyware attacks can be just as damaging as they are on other platforms.
On a final note, it would be best if you stayed wary of malicious software attacks on your device. They exist even if they are far between. The points explained above could walk a user through iPhone spyware detection, removal, and prevention.