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

In this guide, we’ll show you how to remove spyware from iPhone, and we’ll cover how to increase your iOS security.

Spyware can be extremely damaging as it allows cybercriminals to access your personal information, logins, and banking details. If you believe your phone has spyware installed, you need to act now. Here’s how to remove spyware from iPhone.

How to Check for Spyware on iPhone

Spyware is a specific 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.

Since spyware typically disguises itself as a legitimate app, it’s often more difficult to tell if your device is infected than when dealing with other viruses and malware.

There are a few tell-tale signs that your device might be infected with spyware, though. The most common ones include:

  • High data usage — If you experience a sudden surge in data usage, it may be because spyware is transmitting your data to a hacker’s device.
  • Poor battery life — Since spyware constantly works in the background, monitoring everything you do, it will cause your battery to drain a lot 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 notice your phone taking 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 the normal working of phone apps, you may notice some unusual behavior, like apps automatically launching without your input, crashing, or not responding correctly.
  • Background noise during calls — Some spyware can record your phone calls, in which case you’ll notice unusual background noises during conversations. If this happens, it’s best to avoid disclosing sensitive information until you check your device.

There are also other strange behaviors that may indicate the presence of unwanted malicious programs, such as text messages being automatically sent to your contacts, unauthorized charges to your credit card, aggressive ads and pop-ups, browser extensions appearing that you didn’t install, and automatic browser redirects.

These are typically signs of malware, adware, and viruses, all of which are harmful but function slightly differently to spyware.

That said, 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.

6 Steps to 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:

Step 1 – 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 make sure you have the latest version of the operating system installed on your device.

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

Updating Your iOS Operating System

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

After the installation, your iPhone will restart.

Step 2 – 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 and identify any potentially suspicious apps. Tap on them and hold for a few seconds, then tap Remove App.

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

How to Delete an App on iPhone

Note that spyware for the 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.

Step 3 – Check for and Remove Malicious Profiles

Sometimes, spyware can create new profiles in order 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 the iOS, the settings are labeled VPN & Device Management.

iPhone Profile and Device Management

If you see another profile apart from your own, tap on it and select Remove Profile. This will prevent spyware from tampering with your device.

Step 4 – 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.

iPhone Clear Website History and Data

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

Step 5 – Factory Reset

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

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

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

iPhone Factory Reset

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

Step 6 – Install an Antivirus

Even if you manage to manually remove an iPhone spy app from your device, there’s no guarantee your device won’t get infected again in the future.

That’s why we recommend installing antivirus software on your iPhone. An antivirus can detect and remove existing spyware, malware, ransomware, and viruses. It also offers real-time protection against cyber threats, online scams, and phishing attacks and safeguards your privacy on the internet.

Find a trusted antivirus in the App Store and download it to your device. We recommend TotalAV due to its superb malware detection rates and ease of use.

Once the antivirus software is installed, open it and run a System Scan. The antivirus will check everything on your iPhone and remove any malicious software and potentially harmful apps.

TotalAV Virus Scan iPhone

If the antivirus detects any suspicious apps, it will suggest next steps, which usually involve completely removing the problematic app.

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 a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service on your device to prevent malicious individuals from tampering with your iPhone in the future.

Additional Steps to Take for Enhanced iOS Security

How to Remove Spyware from iPhone

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.

Here are the steps you can take to make sure your iPhone is protected against cyber threats:

  • Install an antivirus with a built-in VPN — If you’re worried your device is infected, you should install an antivirus with a VPN. This combo will detect and remove malware, protect you from future threats, and safeguard your privacy.
  • Get a password manager — This is an additional security layer that makes it much more difficult for hackers to get your login credentials. Everything in the password vault is encrypted, so even if your device gets infected, hackers won’t be able to access your accounts.
  • 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 didn’t go through these checks.
  • Don’t click on buttons, ads, or links on shady websites — 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 or even to delete 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.

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Conclusion – How to Remove Spyware from iPhone

iPhone spyware is tricky 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 everything on your phone – including texts, emails, notes, files, folders, and chat logs on social apps.

While some spyware can be manually removed using the methods we outlined in this guide, there are some malicious programs that are far more difficult to remove.

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

Removing Spyware for iPhone FAQs

How do you remove Pegasus spyware from an iPhone?

How do I completely remove spyware?

How do I find hidden spyware?

What are spy apps disguised as on iPhone?

Does resetting the phone remove spyware?

References

  1. Mobile malware (Applied Cryptography Group, Stanford University)
  2. Information Technology Laboratory National Vulnerability Database (NIST)
  3. App security overview (Apple Platform Security)
  4. How To Avoid a Government Impersonator Scam (FTC Consumer Advice)

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Aleksandar Stevanovic

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…