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How to remove malware from an iPhone or iPad

Have you noticed your iPhone performance declining? Or maybe you’ve been exposed to annoying pop-up ads or random app glitches and crashes? All these signs can mean an iPhone virus warning.

You might think your iPhone is invincible against all kinds of viruses, given the general security of Apple products. But the truth is different, and it’s a bit bitter – both your iPhone and iPad can get a virus, a potentially unwanted app, and other types of malware. However, there is a cure – you can clean all viruses from your device.

In this article, we’ll go over how to remove viruses from an iPhone or iPad. Additionally, we will explain how to know if your phone is infected, and what actions you can take to protect your iPhone from threats in the future.

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How to get rid of a virus on your iPhone or iPad

The best and easiest way to remove malware from your iPhone is to use a quality antivirus for iOS devices. Our top pick for this is TotalAV, this antivirus provides excellent malware detection rates, device optimization tools, and has a very intuitive iOS app. In addition, the app will not only detect and remove the virus from your phone, but it will also ensure top-tier protection from future infections.

However, in addition to an antivirus, it’s good to do some cleaning up yourself to make sure that no cyber threats remain. To do that, follow the step-by-step guide below on how to get rid of a virus on your iPhone or iPad:

1. Restart your iPhone or iPad

The easiest wya to remove malware from your device is to restart your iPhone. To do that, press and hold the top power button until the power-off slider appears. Drag the slider to turn off your iPhone or iPad. Wait a couple of seconds, and then press the power button again until the Apple logo appears.

iPhone restart slide

If your phone doesn’t turn off or on, you’ll need to force restart it. The force restart method depends on your iPhone model, but for the 2nd generation and later phones, such as iPhone X and so on, and to force restart an iPad, follow these steps:

  1. Press and quickly release the volume up button.
  2. Press and quickly release the volume down button.
  3. Press and hold the side button. Release when the Apple logo appears.

2. Update your iPhone's iOS

By updating your iPhone’s operating system, you can both potentially remove malware from your device and prevent future virus threats. Here’s how to update your iPhone or iPad:

  1. Go to Settings. iphone settings
  2. Tap on General. iphone general settings tab
  3. Find and tap on Software Update. iphone software update tab
  4. Choose Download and Install. iphone download and install update tab

3. Delete suspicious apps from your iPhone

Any unfamiliar app on your device can appear because of spyware. Therefore, removing them can help you get rid of an iPhone virus.

If you find such an app, remove it by tapping and holding it, and then select Delete.

iphone delete suspicious app

4. Restore your iPhone or iPad from iCloud backup

If the steps above didn’t work, you can also restore your device from iCloud backup. Make sure to restore the backup from before your device got infected with malware, otherwise you will end up installing the virus again.

To restore your iPhone or iPad, follow the steps below:

  1. Go to Settings. iphone settings
  2. Tap on General. iphone general settings tab
  3. Find and choose Reset.
  4. Tap on Erase All Content and Settings. Be careful to not create a new iCloud backup. iphone erase all content and settings tab
  5. Select Erase iPhone. erase iphone tab
  6. When your device is finished erasing, choose to Restore from iCloud Backup. Plug your device in, and let it do the restoring.

5. Reset your device to factory settings

If all else fails, this is your final chance to get rid of the virus on your iPhone or iPad. Keep in mind that by resetting your device to factory settings, you will lose all information stored on your phone, including photos, videos, notes, apps, settings, etc.

To reset your iPhone or iPad to factory settings, you need to follow almost all the same steps as in the previous guide. Start with going to Settings > General > find Reset > tap on Erase all Content and Settings > and now select Erase iPhone.

Once the device is finished erasing and resetting, you’ll need to set it up manually from the very beginning.

6. Install an antivirus app

Getting reliable antivirus software, like our top-rated TotalAV, is one of the best ways to clean your iPhone from viruses or malware. This antivirus has real-time protection to catch all threats, as well as excellent malware detection rates, and other useful security features.

In addition, TotalAV has an ad blocker feature, which will enhance your protection online, preventing malicious pop-ups, trackers, and other malware threats from targetting your data and device.

How to tell if my iPhone has a virus?

Generally, you’ll probably be able to tell if your iPhone is infected or not. However, if you’re not completely sure, it’s always a good idea to check.

Below are the most common signs that your iPhone or iPad has a virus:

  • Overheating. Some malware is designed to use your device for mining cryptocurrency, clicking on ads, or performing other intensive tasks in the background. This causes overheating of your device, as it is being used non-stop.
  • Quick battery drain. Same as overheating, some malicious apps that are using your phone’s resources to do ugly things will drain the battery a lot more quickly than usual.
  • Extreme data usage. Some types of malware, such as spyware, use a lot of data to transfer information from your phone. In case of higher data usage than normal, it is likely that your iPhone or iPad has been infected.
  • Unfamiliar, suspicious apps. If you found an app that you don’t recognize, don’t remember installing, or don’t know what it’s for, it’s a clear indication that your phone has been infected with malware.
  • Crashing. While phones tend to crash from time to time, unusually frequent and unexpected crashes, especially of specific apps, might indicate that your phone has a virus.
  • Random ads, pop-ups, and redirects. These are usually the result of adware, or Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUA). They most commonly get installed through your browser or can be the result of a browser hijacking, such as Search Marquis on Mac. This symptom is quite rare on iOS, so if it happens, you will definitely know that your iPhone or iPad has adware.
  • Jailbroken device. Jailbreaking is removing Apple’s security software on your iPhone or iPad to install third-party applications. Such applications that were not approved by Apple as secure can contain malicious software.

How to check if iPhone has a virus?

If you suspect that your iPhone or iPad has a virus but aren’t completely sure, follow these steps below to check:

  1. Performa a virus scan with an antivirus, such as TotalAV. If the antivirus didn’t find any dangerous files or vulnerabilities, you can relax. Your phone is alright. TotalAV iPhone scan
  2. Check for the most common signs of a virus in your phone. Take a look at the signs of malware on your phone and see if any are true for your situation.
  3. Check for unfamiliar and suspicious apps. Look through your phone and downloads for any apps that you don’t recognize or apps that are using a little too much of your iPhone’s resources. If you find any, remove them and restart your phone.

Can iPhones get viruses?

Yes, iPhones can be infected by a virus or other threats, including spyware, adware, and other malicious apps. Even though iPhones and iPads have built-in security measures, they can still be targeted by various online malware threats.

Some simple ways to identify that your iPhone has been infected are if the performance has declined, you see random pop-up ads, or you find apps saved on your phone that you didn’t download yourself.

Other signs can be randomly crashing apps, rapidly draining phone batteries, and high mobile data use.

However, you can easily remove the virus from your iPhone using an antivirus like TotalAV. In addition, a robust antivirus will prevent future virus threats as well.

Protect your iPhone or iPad against viruses

Now that you’ve removed all viruses from your iOS device, it’s time to make sure it never happens again. Below are the steps I recommend taking to protect your iPhone or iPad against viruses:

  • Install antivirus software on your iPhone or iPad. We recommend TotalAV.
  • Only install apps from the App Store. Third-party apps that require jailbreaking your device always have a much higher risk of instilling your device with viruses.
  • Don’t jailbreak your device. Jailbreaking your device removes all default Apple security restrictions from your phone and makes it vulnerable to viruses and attacks.
  • Keep your iPhone or iPad updated. Regular or automatic software updates will ensure that your device has all the latest security patches and updates installed at all times.
  • Use a VPN for iPhone to protect yourself online. Some threats and viruses can come from the web while browsing. A quality VPN, such as NordVPN, will have a blocker for ads, and malicious websites, as well as redirects, and it will encrypt your internet traffic and protect your device from cyberattacks.

Final thoughts

iOS devices like iPhones and iPads are just as susceptible to viruses and all kinds of malware as any other devices. But if your device gets infected, there is no need to worry too much, because all the malicious apps can be removed from your iPhone. It may require resetting your phone to factory settings and restoring your iCloud backup.

You should also take all the necessary precautions to avoid malware infections in the future. The things you can do include using a trustworthy antivirus, such as TotalAV, updating your iPhone or iPad often, and avoiding jailbreaking your phone or installing third-party applications.


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