There are four main ways that someone could remotely access your iPhone.
1. Installing spyware on your iPhone
Spyware is a type of malware used to illegally collect a victim’s personal data and track their activity.
It gives cybercriminals remote access to things like the victim’s location, call logs, text messages, and online activity. They can even see what the person is typing and listen to their calls.
There are three main ways for spyware to end up on your iPhone:
- The hacker gains physical access to your phone and installs malicious software.
- The hacker tricks you into downloading it yourself. This could be done by sending you a phishing email made to look like it comes from a trusted company. These scam emails often ask you to click on a link—when you do, it automatically downloads spyware without you knowing.
- You download a malicious app from the App Store. Cybercriminals upload some apps to the App Store so they can spy on you and steal your data. However, Apple has strict developer verification requirements, so this kind of attack is rare.
Signs that you have spyware on your iPhone
There are many signs that you may have spyware on your phone. Keep in mind that most of these signs could also be caused by other things, but if you notice several of these signs you should investigate further.
- Your phone is getting hot
- Someone knows details of your private conversations.
- The iPhone battery is running down fast
- Your phone takes longer than usual to shut down
- You discover an app called Cydia on your phone
- Unexplained higher than usual data usage
- You have unfamiliar apps on your phone
How to remove iPhone spyware
There are several ways to remove spyware from your phone. Perform these steps in order:
- Restart your device: Certain types of spyware require a constant connection to their source. Break this connection by restarting yours and they stop working. Easy!
- Update iOS: Spyware often targets vulnerabilities in out-of-date software. By updating iOS you will also likely stop the spyware from working.
- Find the app yourself: Go through your installed apps and folders and try to spot and delete any suspicious-looking apps.
- Use an anti-spyware app: Apps like Certo AntiSpy can be used to quickly and easily scan your device for malicious apps and remove them completely.
Fig 1: Certo AntiSpy detecting spyware on an iPhone
How to protect your iPhone from spyware
Protecting yourself from spyware is about awareness and proactivity:
- Use anti-spyware like Certo AntiSpy
- Avoid clicking suspicious links
- Avoid suspicious apps, i.e. ones that are slow, glitchy, or look outdated
- Always read reviews before downloading something from the Apple App Store