How to Detect Spyware on an iPhone

Olivia Roberts

By Olivia Roberts


Last year Apple released two security reports highlighting vulnerabilities that could potentially allow hackers to gain complete control of iOS devices. Although the company then released security updates to fix the issues, many Apple users have concerns about the safety and security of their phones and their personal data.

And it’s not just expert computer technicians who could hack your iPhone. Nowadays, just about anyone can do it. All they need is access to cheap software and the ability to follow a few simple instructions, and they could gain access to your personal messages and photos, your financial details, and even steal your identity.

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Is Someone Watching Everything You Do on Your iPhone?

When someone hacks your iPhone using spyware, they can potentially gain access to all of your personal information.

This includes emails, text messages, browsing history, photos, online account data (passwords and usernames, etc.), GPS location, and other personal information. In addition, most iOS spyware can even listen in on your phone calls.

Essentially, hackers can access anything that’s stored on your iPhone.

How Easy Is It for Hackers to Spy on Your iPhone?

Contrary to what most people think, anyone can be a hacker with the right tools.

The bad news is that the spyware you need to hack an iPhone is extremely cheap to purchase; hackers can get access from as little as $30 per month.

Hacking is no longer reserved for experts. These days, anyone who can use an iPhone is capable of installing data-stealing spyware. All they need is physical access to your phone for a few minutes to download spying software onto your device.

Who Could Install Spyware on Your iPhone?

A hacker could be anyone. They might be a jealous spouse or a nosy employer, or even a complete stranger such as a professional hacker, stalker, or fraudster. It’s really impossible to tell— especially since spyware is so readily available and easy to use.

Most people, however, are far more likely to be hacked by someone they know, with one survey suggesting that 50% of Americans had accessed their partner’s phone without their knowledge.

It’s also worth noting that if you have access to valuable data or are a high-profile individual then you may be more at risk of being hacked by a professional.

Why Would Someone Hack Your iPhone?

There are many reasons someone might decide to hack you. However, the most common reasons are to collect information about an aspect of your personal life or for monetary gain.

Here are a few examples detailing why someone would install spyware on your iPhone and how they could abuse your private data:

1. Cyberstalking. Cyberstalking is the most common use of spyware apps, and it is often carried out by someone close to you. Some examples of cyberstalking are:

  • Accessing private text messages for use in divorce proceedings
  • Monitoring of GPS location by a jealous spouse
  • Unauthorized full device monitoring by employers

2. Identity Theft. Once they have access to your personal information, a hacker could steal your identity. They might use your details to open new bank accounts, take out loans, or worse. This has the potential to completely ruin your life and leave you with a mountain of debt that you didn’t create — or at the very least, cause a huge amount of stress and waste a lot of time.

3. Stealing money. If a hacker manages to steal information related to your finances, it’s common for them to purchase items online using your information, request money from your contacts, or extract money from your bank accounts.

4. Selling your data. Hackers can make fast money by collecting data from multiple victims and then selling the information to others. Full ID packages can sell for anywhere up to $100 each, and hackers will usually sell this data in huge batches.

5. Blackmail. Hackers could use the data they’ve stolen to blackmail you. This tactic usually involves them threatening to share your personal photos, videos, or text messages with your contacts, unless you send the hacker money.

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How to Detect iPhone Spyware

There are a few indicators that your iPhone could have been compromised, such as a fast-draining battery or the device being hot to the touch.

But these signs are far from foolproof, especially since batteries degrade with age and devices might be hotter to touch when running resource-heavy apps (e.g. Games or streaming).

With iPhone spyware now doing an even better job at avoiding detection, you need dedicated anti-spyware software like Certo AntiSpy to do the hard work for you.

Use it to perform a deep scan of your iPhone, discover whether someone has installed spyware and get help removing any threats for good. Here’s why it’s perfect for keeping your iPhone secure:

  • Uncover spyware, suspicious apps, keyloggers, and more.
  • Unique technology means Certo AntiSpy can find threats that other apps cannot.
  • Award-winning and trusted by over 100,000 users to secure their devices.

Watch the video below to see how Certo AntiSpy can scan your iPhone or iPad for spyware in just a few minutes.

Types of iPhone Spyware

1. Hidden spy apps

Hidden spy apps are the most commonly used type of iPhone spyware. These can be easily purchased for as little as $30.

They have the ability to be hidden on your iPhone and give a hacker access to huge chunks of personal data, including instant messages, emails, real-time location, photos, and more.

This type of spyware program requires the hacker to have physical access to the victim’s device for a few minutes to install it. Once installed, the hacker can then remotely monitor all activity from the infected device, and in some cases even turn on the microphone and cameras to listen in and watch remotely.

2. iCloud attack

An alternative method available to hackers who want to steal data from an iPhone is the iCloud attack. This is when a hacker targets the data synced from your phone and held in your iCloud account, as opposed to targeting your physical device.

This type of attack doesn’t require access to the device, but does require the hacker to have the victim’s Apple ID login details. And because it is carried out via the internet, it is almost impossible to detect.

Fortunately, it’s quite easy to protect against by enabling two-factor authentication with your Apple ID. This type of authentication requires two pieces of information to access your account, for example, your Apple password and a six digit code sent to one of your trusted devices, making it much more difficult for hackers to gain access.

3. Rogue enterprise apps

This type of hack relies on bypassing the App Store’s strict security measures by installing suspicious apps in a different way. It uses a method usually reserved for app developers and for larger corporations who need their own custom apps.

This method allows hackers to install malicious apps onto your phone that have not been approved by Apple.

Rogue enterprise apps are not completely invisible, but hackers often give these apps innocent-sounding names or hide them in a utilities folder so they go unnoticed.

These apps are not as powerful or intrusive as a hidden spy app, but they are compatible with a wider range of devices and often a preferred attack vector due to how easy they can be installed.

4. Misusing legitimate apps

Pre-installed apps such as ‘Find My’ and ‘Google Maps’ can be misused to share the victim’s location with a hacker. This requires the hacker to gain access to the victim’s device for a short time.

A hacker can also change the logged-in account for the device’s web browser in order to collect browsing data history and account login details.

As no malicious apps or code are installed, it’s quite easy for this type of attack to go unnoticed for months or even years, during which time the hacker has gained a wealth of information.

5. Zero-day exploits

Zero-day exploits are somewhat rare, but can be devastating to those who are affected.

They’re called zero-day because these exploits are yet to be discovered by security researchers and as such, no fix has yet been released for the apps or devices that are affected.

Zero-day attacks are usually created by hackers when they discover a weakness in operating systems or third-party apps.

Once this weakness has been exposed it’s immediately exploited, leaving developers scrambling to fix the problem as quickly as they can to minimize the risk to their user’s data.

If a zero-day attack is carried out on a popular app or device, it can affect millions of users. In some cases, more advanced exploits can even infect a device with malicious software completely remotely, without the hacker needing to touch the victim’s device.

Remove iPhone Spyware with Certo AntiSpy

If you’re concerned that someone may have installed spyware on your iPhone, run a quick scan with the award-winning Certo AntiSpy.

This industry-leading spyware detection tool finds threats and helps you to remove suspicious apps and spyware from your iPhone. You can also use it to run system checks and analyze your operating system, as well as review app permissions to identify potential vulnerabilities.

How to Protect Your iPhone Against Hackers

iPhone hacking is a real threat that can expose your personal data, messages, financial information, and more to hackers. Luckily there are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of phone hacking.

  • Regularly scan your device for spyware and malicious software with Certo AntiSpy, which can alert you to signs of hacking in just a few simple clicks.
  • Keep your iPhone updated with the latest iOS release. This helps to ensure that your device is protected against new bugs and vulnerabilities that are discovered.
  • Similar to the above, also ensure that you keep your installed apps up to date.
  • Use a strong passcode that would be difficult for anyone to guess. Use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special symbols, and don’t base your passcode on your birthday.
  • Only install apps from the official App Store. Apps installed from third party app stores can often contain malware.
  • Use two-factor authentication with your Apple ID. This account often contains data synced from your iPhone, so it’s important to protect this too.
  • Don’t click on links in emails or texts from contacts you don’t recognize. Also, be careful about the links you click while browsing the internet.