What device could be considered an extension of your life? Your smartphone. It stores the most sensitive and vital information, from personal conversations to your daily whereabouts and bank account details. So, when its performance starts to slow down, or you receive strange messages, suspicions may arise – is my iPhone hacked?
Here’s the truth: bugs or spammy texts don’t necessarily point to the hackers’ attack. However, the coincidence of two or more suspicious signs should raise eyebrows. We’re not trying to scare you, but being aware of possible threats early on could protect your data.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a detailed guide to ensure you don’t overlook anything essential. We’ll help you identify whether abnormal performance is related to malware, explain what software hackers might have installed on your phone, and give you tips on removing it.
6 Signs: How to Know if Your iPhone Is Hacked
While there’s no one-button solution on how to tell if your iPhone is hacked, you can identify malicious activity on your device by looking out for the following signs:
Malware Scan Detects Threats
Some malware scanners can irritate iPhone users with frequent notifications about potential threats, falsely recognizing data usage by your default apps as a virus or spyware. So, how to know if your iPhone is hacked?
If you have recently downloaded files or apps from untrustworthy sources (it happens to the best of us), open malware alerts immediately. Then, follow the on-screen instructions and try to uninstall whatever you’ve downloaded.
Short Battery Life
Battery drainage is common on iOS devices, especially older ones. Usually, this is due to apps that consume a lot of RAM or reduced battery capacity. You can quickly check Battery Usage on Settings to spot these underlying issues.
However, if your battery capacity is above 70%, and none of the installed apps are taking up too many resources, the presence of malicious software is a likely cause.
High Mobile Data Usage
As mobile Internet comes at a cost, many people avoid purchasing large data plans. Moreover, some iOS users even set up limits on Internet consumption. If such strict measures don’t help, your suspicious “Is my iPhone hacked?” could be true. Malicious software constantly often sends data in the background to the external severer.
For a double-check, go to your Settings > Mobile Data and scroll down to a Current Period. If the number is much higher than expected, there’s definitely something going on.
Naturally, spyware isn’t the kind of app with bright icons labeled “Dangerous.” Quite the opposite, it has a plain, if not invisible, logo and doesn’t show up on your main screen. Therefore, you must carefully scroll through your app list to detect applications you haven’t installed.
In some cases, spyware looks like the default software, making it hard to recognize. So, how to check if your iPhone is hacked in Settings? We suggest paying attention to any “duplicates”.
Apple has implemented strict security measures to prevent the installation of apps from sources other than the official App Store. However, hackers can bypass them by jailbreaking iOS devices. This process unlocks your iPhone, enabling it to run unverified software.
Even though jailbreaking a device seems like a sophisticated hacking technique, it has some flaws. For example, you can spot third-party apps like Cydia or Icy on your task manager.
Notifications & Messages
Smartphone users get lots of notifications daily, especially if they’re using many social media platforms, email accounts, and baking services. If you’re wondering how to know if your iPhone is hacked, pay attention to the verification alerts.
If you receive notifications without any prior activities, such as logging attempts, it’s a clear sign that somebody has accessed your device and is trying to steal the data.
Can iPhones Get Hacked Remotely? 4 Ways You Should Know
Many iOS users shake their heads at the question, “Сan iPhones get hacked?” One of the main reasons people believe that iOS devices are immune to hacking is a persuasive marketing campaign. Developers claim that each iOS update comes with security patches that are impossible to crack.
The reality, however, paints a different picture. While iPhones do have robust security features compared to other smartphones, they’re not invincible. We’ve outlined several ways malicious actors can use to get access to your device.
Spy apps, once designed for legitimate purposes like parental control or employee monitoring, have become common tools for hackers. They don’t require complex coding skills, making it easy for anyone to install them remotely on iOS devices via iCloud credentials.
Outside of quick installation, spy apps are difficult to spot. So, if you’re wondering how to check if your iPhone is hacked in settings, you won’t likely find them there. To give you a more detailed overview, we’ve handpicked some of the most popular apps that allow remote access to iOS devices.
|SMS and call logs
Chats on instant messengers and social media
Photos & videos
GPS locations-Live screenshots
|iOS 6.0 +
|iOS 7.0 +
|Social media chats, posts and friend lists
Login credentials, passwords
|iOS 6.0 +
Internet search history
Live GPS locations
|iOS 9.0 +
|Chats on default messengers & WhatsApp
Calendars & notes
Tech giants like Apple have come a long way in integrating security systems into their devices and, in most cases, they work effectively. However, they aren’t powerful enough to block phishing links designed to steal your credentials or other data.
Unfortunately, there’s no surefire way how to tell if your iPhone is hacked via a phishing attack. You only realize it when dealing with the consequences. When you open a malicious link, a pop-up window asks you to log into your iCloud. It looks exactly like the original one, so you enter a password, unaware that hackers record the credentials on their end.
How can you distinguish a phishing attack from standard links when everything seems so convincing? Firstly, avoid syncing any third-party services to your iCloud, even if it’s the only way to access them.
Secondly, if your friend unexpectedly sends you a link that requires your credentials to get a discount or something similar, it’s a good chance that their account has been hacked or someone is impersonating them.
The issue on how to know if your iPhone is hacked becomes more challenging if you place the bug yourself. Although App Store has a rigorous verification process to filter out malware, hackers have found cracks to slip through.
One common method is to develop promising software you are excited to try. For example, you may find a fitness app that promises to generate AI-based routes based on your favorite locations and even shows nearby friends to form a running group. You give the app the necessary permissions, like access to your contacts and location tracking. But what happens next?
In a better-case scenario, you’ll receive targeted ads. In the worst case, the app fails to live up to its promises while recording your data in the background. You might eventually delete the app out of disappointment, but it might be too late: the hacker could already have enough data to access your iCloud, bank accounts, and more.
Brute Force Attack
Many users remain unaware of the vital rule of using unique and strong passwords, which often leads them to question, “Is my iPhone hacked?” If they only realized how little time it takes for a hacker to unlock all the accounts stored on their device, particularly using a brute force password attack.
A brute force attack is a straightforward hacking technique that involves the systematic checking of all possible passwords and pin codes until the right one is found. Its beauty (or terror) is that malicious actors don’t even need to guess your credentials manually. Automated software can generate and input possible passwords, even complex eight-character ones.
If you use a weak password, like a birthday or a number sequence, accessing your iPhone becomes much easier. In such cases, hackers execute a targeted attack, using only your personal information to generate credentials.
Is My Phone Hacked? 5 Easy Ways to Check
As you can see, it’s easy to mistake hacking attempts for device bugs and glitches. To put your mind at ease, we’ve compiled a list of must-do ways on how to check if your iPhone is hacked in Settings:
- Look at synced devices in your iCloud settings. If you notice any smartphones or PCs you don’t recall authorizing, someone has accessed your storage. To do so, go to Settings > Apple ID and scroll down to a list of synced devices.
- Pay attention to unknown files within iCloud Drive and On My Phone folders.
- Review your email history. Frequent confirmation emails indicate login attempts to your iCloud or other accounts. You may not find them in the General folder, so check both the Spam and Bin folders.
- Check for new icons in the App List to see if anyone has installed tracking apps without your knowledge. Duplicates or blank icons may be a sign of malicious activity.
- Download and run antivirus scanners. This is one of the most dependable ways to discover hidden malware.
4 Apps to Check if iPhone Is Hacked
Since the iOS system doesn’t have built-in malware scanners, you may think that a factory reset is the only way to get rid of viruses and spy apps. While wiping out the device is a tried-and-true method, it’s smarter to opt for new-generation apps to check if Phone is hacked. They selectively erase viruses and spy apps without data loss. Let’s explore some of the best options available.
#1 Norton 360
Norton 360 is an all-in-one antivirus solution for iPhones and iPads. Apart from scanning your device for malware, you can set up alerts on phishing messages, unsecured Wi-Fi networks and infected websites. What is more, Norton 360 also can alert you about data breaches involving your mobile numbers, emails, and more. The best part is that you can test out Norton 360 with a 7-day free trial.
If you want to test out a minimalistic solution before committing to Norton 360, McAfee is one of the best basic apps to check if iPhone is hacked. It offers a simple interface that enables you to scan the device for malicious software with a single tap. MacAfee also blocks suspicious websites and warns you about outdated software. Outside of the antivirus tool set, the app has anti-theft and backup features.
Among the top security apps ranked by App Store, Avast is the most powerful. Although its anti-phishing tools come with a premium subscription, you get all the necessary features to detect viruses and malware in the free version. You can check the device status on the main page to see whether it’s jailbroken and get alerts of suspicious activity.
If you own several iOS devices synced to the same Apple ID, the Bitfender antivirus app allows you to manage all of them simultaneously from the Central Platform. It covers malware scanners, network protection, built-in VPN, and other valuable features.
If you’re wondering how to tell if your iPhone is hacked, subtle clues like abnormal device performance and suspicious apps could indicate the presence of malicious software. However, in many cases, you can’t spot the most advanced spy apps as remain hidden from plain sight. Performing a factory reset is not the best solution — it’s easy to confuse system bugs with hacking attempts.
Therefore, if you want to confirm whether your phone has been hacked, run a system scan with a reliable antivirus app. Not only will it detect and erase any harmful programs, but it will also provide real-time protection against potential threats.