How to Remove Spyware From iPhone in 6 Steps – A 2024 Guide

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Has your iPhone been acting unusual lately? Has it been overheating or requiring more frequent charging? Maybe you’ve noticed a few unknown apps appear on your device. Chances are, your iPhone might have been infected with spyware.

Spyware can be extremely damaging as it allows cybercriminals to spy on you and even access your personal information, logins, and banking details. If you believe your phone has spyware installed, you need to act now.

In this guide, we’ll discuss how to recognize whether your iOS has been infected and show you how to remove spyware from your iPhone.

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How to Recognise a Spyware on iPhone

Spyware is a type of malicious software that hackers and cybercriminals can use to spy on your activity and steal sensitive information. It typically operates in the background, without the user’s knowledge, and secretly transmits data to another device.

Many spy apps require physical access to the device to be installed, but others allow your iPhone to be hacked using your iCloud Apple ID password. Because of this, it’s important to keep your login details safe and only allow individuals you trust to access the device.

If you suspect your iCloud has been hacked, you should change your Apple ID password immediately.

Since spyware on iPhones often disguises itself as a legitimate app, it can be more difficult to tell if your device is infected than when dealing with viruses, malware, and other unauthorized software.

In this guide, we’ll thoroughly cover how to get rid of spyware on iPhone, starting with how to detect spyware on iPhone. The bad news is that Apple iPhone spyware is getting worse, according to reports.

Common Signs of Spyware on iPhone and in Your Installed Apps

There are some tell-tale signs that your device may be infected with spyware. The most common warning signs that hint you might have malware installed include:

High data usagePoor battery lifeDecreased performanceOverheatingStrange app activityMysterious appsBackground noise during callsOther unusual behavior

High data usage

Look out for unusually high data usage. If you experience a sudden surge in data use, it may be because spyware is transmitting your data to a hacker’s device.

Poor battery life

Spyware constantly works in the background, monitoring everything you do. This will cause your battery to drain much faster than normal.

Decreased performance

Your phone has limited resources when it comes to CPU and RAM, so if spyware is hogging them, you’ll experience lagging. Your phone might take longer to respond when opening apps and performing common tasks.

Overheating

Constant usage of your phone’s resources may cause it to overheat. If you’re not using multiple apps all day long, then an unauthorized spyware program may be doing so without your knowledge.

Strange app activity

Since spyware interferes with phone apps’ normal functioning, you may notice unusual behavior, like apps automatically launching without your input, crashing, or not responding correctly.

Mysterious apps

If you find apps or browser extensions on your device that you didn’t install, it’s worth being suspicious – they could be disguised malware programs monitoring your system. Some simple research should confirm whether they’re part of your system or a potential threat.

Background noise during calls

Some spyware can record your phone calls, in which case you may notice unusual background noises during conversations. If this happens, it’s best to avoid disclosing sensitive information during calls until you check your device.

Other unusual behavior and signs of suspicious apps

There are also other strange behaviors that may indicate the presence of unwanted, malicious programs, such as:

  • Scammy text messages are automatically sent to your contacts,
  • Unauthorized charges to your credit card,
  • Aggressive ads and pop-ups on the browser or apps,
  • Automatic browser redirects.

    If you spot these signs, it can indicate an Apple iPhone spyware problem, which is the first step to finding spyware on an iPhone.

    The best way to check if your device is infected is to install antivirus software on your iPhone. This will not only help you with detection and spyware removal but will also protect you from future cyber threats and online scams.

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    6 Steps to Detect Spyware and Remove Spyware From iPhone Devices

    If you have reason to believe your device is infected with spyware, don’t panic. Refrain from using apps, making calls, browsing the web, or making online purchases with the device, and take the following steps to remove the malicious software from your iPhone:

    1. Install an Antivirus

      For the best spyware removal for iPhone, we recommend installing antivirus software on your device. An antivirus app can detect and remove existing spyware, malicious apps, ransomware, and viruses.

      It can also offer real-time protection against cyber threats, online scams, and phishing attacks and safeguard your privacy on the internet. Hence, an antivirus is essential for iPhone spyware detection.

      We recommend TotalAV due to its superb malware detection rates and ease of use. Alternatively, you can opt for either NordVPN Threat Protection, which includes one of the best VPNs on the market, or Norton, which offers a wide range of excellent security tools.

      Once you’ve signed up for the service, find it in the App Store and download it to your device. With the antivirus app installed, run a detailed System Scan.

      The antivirus will check everything on your iPhone and flag any malicious software and potentially harmful apps. This is also one way how to detect hidden spyware on iPhone devices.

      If it detects any unknown or suspicious apps, it will suggest follow-up steps, which usually involve completely removing the problematic app. If you manage to manually remove an iPhone spy app from your device, you should remain vigilant by periodically running quick scans.

      TotalAV-Run-Scan

    2. Update Your Operating System

      Spyware programs often exploit iOS vulnerabilities. Apple is aware of this, so the company frequently releases software updates to address security concerns.

      That’s why you should always ensure your device has the latest operating system installed.

      To check this, open the Settings app on your phone. Under General, tap on Software Update.

      Tap Install Now and accept the terms and conditions to continue.

      After the installation, your iPhone will restart.

      <strong>Update Your Operating System</strong>
    3. Delete Unwanted Apps

      Once your software is updated, check for any unwanted, unusual, or suspicious apps. If you notice a new app on the phone that you don’t remember installing, it could be phone spyware that’s recording your device activity.

      Scroll through your home screen, identify any potentially suspicious apps, and remove them.

      A new window will appear, asking you to confirm your choice. Tap on Delete App to permanently remove it from your phone.

      Note that spyware for iPhone is often hidden, meaning it won’t have an app icon on your home screen to alert you to its presence.

      That’s why it’s also advisable to check for unwanted apps in Settings.

      Under General settings, tap on Usage and scroll through the list of apps. If you find a suspicious app you’re not using, tap on it and, after confirming it’s unwanted with a Google search, select Delete App to remove it.

      <strong>Delete Unwanted Apps</strong>
    4. Check for and Remove Malicious Profiles

      Sometimes, spyware apps can create new profiles to access the core functions of your system and spy on your data.

      To find and remove these, under General settings, tap on Profiles & Device Management. On newer versions of iOS, the settings are labeled VPN & Device Management.

      If you see another profile that you don’t recognize, tap on it and select Remove Profile. This will prevent spyware from tampering with your device.

      <strong>Check for and Remove Malicious Profiles</strong>
    5. Clear Browsing History

      While clearing your browsing history and cache won’t remove spyware, it will limit its ability to spy on what you do online.

      From Settings, tap on Safari and select Clear History and Website Data.

      Confirm your choice by tapping Clear History and Data on the new pop-up screen.

      <strong>Clear Browsing History</strong>
    6. Factory Reset

      If the problem persists, you can perform a factory reset to remove all apps and data from your device.

      This will get rid of the spyware, but it will also mean you’ll lose any files, photos, videos, and documents stored on your iPhone – so it’s an extreme step. Nevertheless, it’s the most comprehensive approach to deleting spyware on an iPhone.

      From the General settings, choose the Transfer or Reset iPhone option.

      Tap Erase All Content and Settings, and then tap Erase iPhone to proceed.

      This will revert the iPhone to the factory state, so you should be able to use it safely and without fear of your privacy being compromised.

      <strong>Factory Reset</strong>

    How to Remove Pegasus Spyware from iPhone

    Pegasus is a powerful commercial spyware tool that has been used by companies and governments to spy on individuals around the world.

    If you’re concerned that your device may have been infected with the Pegasus spyware product, you should thoroughly scan your device, ensure your OS, apps, and security software are up to date, and remove any anomalous apps and connections.

    It’s worth remembering that malicious actors may have access to the device, its camera, and its microphone, even if it appears to be inactive.

    You may find you have to reset your device to factory settings, but even this may not be successful. If you believe this is the case, you should seek support from a security services provider to ensure your accounts and devices aren’t compromised.

    Amnesty International has published an in-depth methodology for detecting Pegasus and has shared an open-source forensics tool that can assist you in establishing if you’ve been infected.

    How Does Spyware on iPhone Work?

    While different spyware apps may use different methods to gain access to your personal information and the data stored on your iPhone, they all work in a similar fashion.

    Typically, spyware works silently in the background and transmits the data from your phone to the individual who created it. It’s more subtle than other forms of malicious software as it doesn’t aim to corrupt your system, delete or alter files, or prevent you from using your device.

    On the contrary, the spyware’s main objective is to stay undetected and gain access to text messages, call logs, emails, accounts, credit card information, and other sensitive data.

    If you’re worried you have spyware on your phone, you should immediately take the actions we’ve outlined above and install an antivirus and one of the best VPNs on your device to prevent malicious individuals from tampering with your iPhone.

    Looking into how to clean your iPhone from spyware for free can be a dead end, though, as there aren’t many good options for scanning iPhones for spyware for free. Even the best free antivirus solutions generally lack the multi-layered security tools and protection needed to tackle the most pernicious spyware.

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    How Does Spyware Get on iPhone?

    There are several ways for your phone to become infected with spyware. For example, if you download an infected file or visit a site hosting malicious code, you could be infected with malware that can track your activity.

    Traditionally, many spyware products required the user to have physical access to the device so they could download the software. However, if a malicious actor has your iCloud login details, they can upload spyware remotely. Because of this, it’s extremely important to protect your credentials.

    Some advanced spyware products, such as Pegasus, can infect your system with a call or text without you even clicking on a file. Because of this, it’s important to remain mindful of signs of infection.

    Additional Steps to Take for Enhanced iOS Security After Removing Spyware for iPhone

    How to Remove Spyware from iPhone
    Removing spyware from your iPhone should be your top priority

    When it comes to enhancing the security of your iPhone, it all starts with your online habits. In addition to being careful about what websites you visit and what links you click, you should invest in security apps to compensate for the system’s vulnerabilities and protect your data and privacy.

    We’ve covered how to check an iPhone for spyware, but here are steps you can take to make sure your iPhone stays protected against cyber threats:

    VPNPassword ManagerSecure Your iCloudAlways Use the App StoreBeware Shady SitesWatch Out For PhishingWatch Permissions

    Install an Antivirus with a VPN

    If you’re worried your device is infected, you should install an antivirus and, ideally, one with a VPN. This combo will detect and remove suspicious apps and malware, protect you from future threats, and safeguard your privacy.

    Check out our complete guide for recommendations for the best antivirus with a VPN.

    Get a Password Manager

    The additional security layer provided by a password manager makes it much more difficult for hackers to get your login details. Everything in the password vault is encrypted, so even if your device is infected, hackers won’t be able to access your accounts immediately.

    Ensure Your iCloud Details are Secure

    In addition to using a password manager to protect your accounts, make sure to set up a strong password for your iCloud credentials and periodically update it.

    You might also want to look for a service with data breach monitoring tools, which will alert you if your details have been leaked online so you can change them.

    For more tips on protecting your device, see our guides to the best malware protection and the best antivirus software, according to Reddit.

    Never Download Apps Outside the App Store

    Every app on the App Store passes rigorous checks before it’s published. This is how Apple protects its users from malicious applications. You should never download suspicious apps from third-party sources since they haven’t gone through these checks.

    Don’t Click on Buttons, Ads, or Links on Shady Sites

    When browsing the web, avoid clicking on big, flashy buttons, ads that sound too good to be true, and links on dubious websites. You can always Google something if an ad promises a great deal and check it out from the advertiser’s official website.

    Never Open Suspicious Emails or Click on Attachments

    If you get an email from an unknown sender, it’s best not to open it. Many scammers impersonate institutions and attempt to trick people into sharing information.

    Check the sender’s address, and keep in mind that banks and online services will never ask you to share your username or password via email.

    Lock Down Your Apps

    Make sure to only give apps permissions that they really need, and be mindful of apps requesting deep device access.

    In addition, be very wary of jailbreaking your device, as this can leave the door wide open for malicious apps and spyware and is particularly important in business contexts. See our guide to the best antivirus software for business for more advice.

    Summary – How to Remove Spyware from iPhone

    iPhone spyware is tough to deal with as it often hides on your phone and operates without your knowledge. It’s also extremely dangerous because it gives cybercriminals complete access to your device – including texts, emails, notes, files, folders, and chat logs on social apps.

    It may even allow the hacker to use your camera and microphone, access your apps, and disable your device.

    In this guide, we’ve explored manual methods of detecting and removing spyware on iPhones, but some malicious programs are more difficult to remove.

    That’s why we recommend installing a reliable antivirus and a VPN to address an Apple spyware problem. This will help you detect and remove existing threats and protect you from spyware, malware, ransomware, keyloggers, and viruses in the future.

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    FAQs

    How do you remove Pegasus spyware from an iPhone?

    How do I completely remove spyware on Apple phone?

    How do I find hidden spyware?

    What are spy apps disguised as on iPhone?

    Does resetting an iPhone remove spyware?

    Can spyware be installed on an iPhone remotely?

    What is the best app to check for spyware on iOS and remove it?

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    Aleksandar Stevanovic
    Software Reviews Expert
    Aleksandar Stevanovic
    Software Reviews Expert

    Aleksandar Stevanovic spent 10 years honing his craft as a freelance content writer. He has a degree in Economics, and extensive experience in software, crypto, and cybersecurity industries. He covers a multitude of topics, writing factual and informative articles, helping individuals better understand the intricacies of the online world. Over the last two years, his research focus shifted more towards tech and software content, as evidenced by his publications on CEX.IO, Business2Community, and Techopedia. He believes in simplifying complex topics and bringing them closer to like-minded individuals. His work is as detail-oriented as it is creative, and is designed to…