How to Scan Your iPhone for Viruses

Sophia Taylor

By Sophia Taylor


The term ‘virus’ is an old catch-all phrase for a cyberattack that affects any of our devices, from computers and tablets to the cell phones we carry around in our pocket. In our mind, viruses are built and executed by nameless, faceless ‘hackers’ sat in darkened rooms with reams of green code cascading down their screens. While textbook viruses tend to take over your device to cause harm or spread to other devices, the truth is they can come in many forms; malware, spyware and any other forms of cyberattack.

We know from our research that people are searching for answers in regards to iPhone viruses, and while Apple markets great security on all their devices, it is a common misconception for people to think that Apple tech is impervious to viruses and hacking. There are a number of threats that can affect iPhones including spyware, which is able to steal personal information via key logging technology, track your location and listen to your phone calls.

One of the easiest ways to protect your iPhone from viruses is to use protective software that is able to recognize when your device has been infected and protect you from malicious attacks. Tools such as Certo AntiSpy can check your device for viruses and other threats that could compromise your privacy. If you’re concerned about spyware or think someone has tampered with your iPhone, then Certo AntiSpy is able to run a scan to help you ascertain whether you have been targeted.

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In addition to using anti-virus software, there are a number of ways that you can manually check to see if your iPhone has been infected:

Look out for unusual phone behaviour

Is your battery running down quicker than normal? Do you have unexplained high data usage? Is your phone taking longer to shut down? These could all be signs that your iPhone has a virus. However, there could be other reasons for poor performance, such as a technical fault or legacy models, so it is not a concrete method of detection. iPhone users should keep an eye on how their technology is behaving though, and be suspicious of any sudden changes.

Is the ‘Cydia’ or ‘Sileo’ app installed on your device?

This app is placed on your device when it is jailbroken, which is a prerequisite for most iPhone viruses. If your iPhone has been jailbroken, then it is possible to hide the Cydia/Sileo icon from your home screen, which makes it very difficult to detect at a glance. Here are the steps to check if they are installed:

  1. First, check the iPhone’s home-screen (and app folders) for apps called “Cydia” and “Sileo”.
  2. Next, touch anywhere above the bottom group of icons (but not on an icon) and slide down. This will bring up the Search box, which will allow you to search for anything on the device.
  3. Then search for the following items: “Cydia”, “Sileo”, “checkra1n”, “unc0ver” or “SBSettings”. If these show up in the search results, then your device is likely Jailbroken.

Does your iPhone have a custom keyboard installed?

This is a method used by some iPhone viruses to record keystrokes, and could therefore be used to steal any data that you type into your phone such as your usernames and passwords. You can check whether this is the case by tapping Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboards. On a typical phone there should just be two keyboards, one for your usual language (e.g. “English (US)”) and one called “Emoji”. If there are any others and you do not recognize them then this could be a sign that your device has been compromised.

Are there any unknown Enterprise/Developer apps installed?

Developer apps were designed to help developers create and test their apps before they are published on the official App Store. However, if a hacker creates a malicious app in advance, all they need to do is get hold of the victim’s phone for a short period of time and load it onto the phone from their computer. Typically, they will then hide the app in an app folder like ‘Utilities’, so it will go unnoticed for as long as possible.

Similarly, the ability to create and use Enterprise apps was designed by Apple for use by companies and organizations to distribute apps internally amongst their teams without making them publicly available on the App Store. However, hackers have turned this feature into a way for them to trick unsuspecting users into installing their malicious apps.

Luckily, it’s pretty simple to check for this type of hack by doing the following:

  1. Go to the Settings app and tap ‘General’.
  2. Scroll down and tap on ‘Profiles & Device management’ *
  3. Any installed Enterprise/Developer profiles will be shown, check for any you don’t recognize.

* If you don’t see this option in the menu then that means you don’t have any profiles installed on your device and you are currently safe from this type of attack.

Check your location/microphone/camera permissions

Viruses will sometimes require these permissions in order to collect data from your iPhone. For example, in order to listen in to your phone calls they will need access to the microphone. Checking which apps on your phone have these permissions can be a good way to spot viruses. Certo AntiSpy is able to quickly tell you which apps have access to your location, camera or microphone as part of the virus scan. If you want to check it manually yourself, then we have provided a step by step guide below:

Location Access

Follow these steps to change which apps have access to your location. For each app, you can choose to allow access Always, While Using the App, or Never.

  1. Open Settings
  2. Tap Privacy
  3. Tap Location Services
  4. Select the required app to change its location settings
  5. Confirm the required setting

Microphone Access

Follow these steps to change which apps have access to your microphone. For each app, you can choose to allow or deny access to the microphone.

  1. Open Settings
  2. Tap Privacy
  3. Tap Microphone
  4. Tap any app to allow/deny microphone access

Camera Access

Follow these steps to change which apps have access to your camera. For each app, you can choose to allow or deny access to the camera.

  1. Open Settings
  2. Tap Privacy
  3. Tap Camera
  4. Tap any app to allow/deny camera access

While these manual checks will help you check and remove a potential virus, specialist software is still the most effective way to find and deal with potential threats. Software such as Certo AntiSpy is able to check for possible viruses in areas that you cannot get to as a normal user, giving you peace of mind that you are protected.

Uncover viruses with Certo AntiSpy

If you're concerned that someone may have infected your iPhone with a virus then run a quick scan with the award-winning Certo AntiSpy.

Our industry-leading spyware detection tool finds threats that are undetectable by more traditional security apps.