How to tell if your phone is tapped

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When you think of cell phone tapping, it’s likely you imagine some government entity listening in on your calls.

While you’re not wrong, phone tapping has evolved into much more.

A large part of phone tapping is accessing phone calls, but these days it also includes tracking your:

  • Text messages.
  • Instant messaging app messages like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.
  • Online browsing activity.
  • Emails.
  • Photos and videos.
  • Your GPS location.

Hackers use sophisticated tools like modern spyware to gain access to your data. This means you are more vulnerable to having your device tapped than ever before.

Now that you know all this, you may wonder how to tell if your phone is tapped and what you can do about a tapped phone. Let’s dig in.

Think your phone is tapped?

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Is my phone being tapped?

The first thing that might tip you off that your phone is being tapped is unusual activity on your device.

Often, if a phone is tapped, there will be physical signs that you have been hacked, such as your phone heating up more than usual. You may also notice strange activity on your device.

Here are nine signs to look out for if you think your phone is being tapped.

1. Your phone’s battery drains faster than usual

If your phone is being tapped, it will have to work harder than usual. It will be running far more tasks than it generally would. As a result, your battery power may not last as long as it typically does.

When a hacker is stealing sensitive data from your phone, they may be tracking your GPS location and recording your phone calls. This means that your cell phone’s processors must do more to cope with the added activity.

This will affect how long your battery can stay charged. So if you notice that your battery is suddenly dying faster than normal, this could be a sign that your phone is being tapped.

2. Your phone is getting hot

As we mentioned before, if your cell phone has been tapped, it may experience increased strain due to the additional activity. This can cause your phone to become physically warm to the touch.

When a phone has to perform the extra tasks and processes that tapping involves, its physical components can heat up.

If your phone is becoming unusually warm, it may indicate that you have been tapped. However, keep in mind that your cell phone will naturally get hotter in warmer months or when running resource-heavy apps, such as games.

3. Your mobile data usage increases

When a fraudster is stealing all your data, a lot of information gets sent between your cell phone and their server, phone, or computer.

This constant transfer of information can cause your data usage to increase, as the transfer uses your mobile data unless you’re on a Wi-Fi connection.

If you notice that the phone bill for your cellular data plan is higher than usual or that your data usage has increased, it is possible that your phone is tapped.

4. You hear unusual background noise on calls

Typically, if your phone is tapped this means a hacker has installed spy software on your device to track everything you do and steal your phone’s data.

One way to tell if a hacker has installed spyware and your calls are being listened to or recorded is if you hear distorted noises during the call.

If you do notice strange sounds, it’s best to end the phone call immediately and take steps to remove any malicious apps, such as using one of our award-winning tools to detect and destroy spy software.

5. Your phone takes a long time to shut down

When your phone shuts down, it has to end all the tasks that are currently in progress. If your data is being sent to a hacker, there will likely be several additional tasks running.

Data that is being sent from your device to a hacker may take a long time to finish and would extend the time needed for your phone to shut down.

6. You receive strange messages

If you’re receiving unusual texts, especially if they contain unrecognized links, it can be a sign that a hacker is trying to trick you into giving up your sensitive data.

One common tactic used by fraudsters to obtain your login information is to send a SMS message containing a link to a fake website, often looking exactly like the real thing. Once a hacker has these credentials, they can use them to access your online accounts.

7. You receive unwanted ads and discover strange apps

One of the most common ways hackers can tap your phone is to install malicious apps that run in the background and spy on your activity.

Malicious software called adware is often installed on cell phones by hackers to try and gather data. Adware can display adverts to you that you may find strange, but these are used to encourage victims to click on them and unknowingly infect their device with more intrusive malware, such as spyware.

8. The websites you visit look different

Having a malicious app on your phone might change what websites look like, which could mean a fake page is being presented to you.

The malware installed on cell phones acts as a proxy that intercepts the communication between the phone and the website and can record anything you type.

If websites that you visit often start looking strange, there is a possibility that you’re dealing with a phone tap.

9. Your phone has been jailbroken or rooted

If your Apple device has been Jailbroken or your Android phone has been rooted, this means that the manufacturer’s security restrictions have been removed.

With your phone in this “unrestricted” state, unsafe apps could be installed on your phone.

Look out for a strange app called Cydia on your iPhone or SuperUser on your Android phone. Having these installed will generally mean your phone has been jailbroken or rooted.

How to check if your phone is tapped

If you are noticing some of the above signs, you may want to know how to tell if your phone has been hacked.

The best thing you can do is to use an anti-spyware app to scan your device for spy apps and malicious files.

Depending on the type of device you have, you can use our apps to locate and remove spyware, as well as other malicious software.

Award-winning mobile security

Certo's industry-leading spyware detection tools for iPhone and Android are trusted by millions worldwide.

For Android users

If you have an Android phone, you can download Certo Mobile Security for free from the Google Play Store.

Use the app to perform a full threat scan of your device and keep the hackers out.

This powerful tool will let you know if there is any tapping software on your Android device and remove it for good with the touch of a button.

For iPhone users

If you are using an iOS device, you can use the multi-award-winning Certo AntiSpy to detect and remove spyware in four easy steps.

This is the most effective way to ensure your iPhone is not vulnerable to tapping.

Even the most sophisticated spy app can be detected by Certo AntiSpy, even if it’s been designed to be completely hidden.

Additionally, the app will check the integrity of your operating system and will alert you to any signs of tampering. This will confirm whether your phone has been tapped or not.

The app will also check for any vulnerabilities that could leave you open to being hacked in the future, so you can make sure your phone is as secure as possible.

My phone is tapped, what can I do?

If you have discovered that your phone is being tapped, there are a few things you can do to take back control of your device and block any threats from hackers.

Scan your phone for spyware

You can use our anti-spyware apps to scan your device and quickly remove any of the threats that are detected. The scan is quick, and you can remove suspicious apps in minutes.

Uninstall apps that use a lot of battery

If you are worried about there being fake apps on your phone that are actually spyware, you can check which apps are using a lot of battery in your device management settings.

You can then remove any apps that you don’t recognize that are consuming a lot of your battery life.

Run a software update

A software update will typically ‘break’ any spyware installed on your device. Check your phone’s settings app to see if there are any software updates available, and install them if so.

Perform a factory reset

If there are no software updates available and you’ve run out of options, the best thing you can do is a factory reset. This restores your phone to the state it was in when you bought it.

You don’t have to worry about losing your data during a factory reset, just make sure you backup your data before you do the reset. You won’t be backing up any spyware when you do this.

How to Prevent Your Phone from Being Tapped

Prevention is better than cure. If you can avoid having your phone tapped altogether, you won’t have to go through the above steps to remove malicious software from your phone.

There are some basic security measures you can follow to prevent your phone from being tapped. These include:

  • Not leaving your phone unattended when you are in public. It is much easier for someone to tap your phone if they have physical access to it.
  • Using strong passwords that are hard to guess—using passwords like “1234” makes it very easy for hackers to get into your phone.
  • Using biometrics to unlock your phone, such as scanning your fingerprint or face.
  • Enabling two-factor authentication so that fraudsters can’t access your phone data remotely.
  • Keeping your operating system updated. Always install updates as soon as you are notified about them.
  • Regularly scanning your phone for malicious software using a security app like Certo AntiSpy (for iPhone) or Certo Mobile Security (for Android).

The best way to find out if your phone is tapped and to prevent your phone from being hacked is to use our software to detect spyware and remove threats. Download our apps for Android and iOS and find out why millions trust Certo to secure their phones.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can I tell if my phone is tapped by law enforcement?

If your phone is showing any unusual physical signs like getting noticeably hot or taking a long time to shut down, it is possible that law enforcement has tapped your phone.

You should also look out for things like distorted noises on calls and an unusual amount of mobile data being used.

How can I tell if my microphone is being tapped?

The first thing to do if you are concerned that your microphone has been tapped is to check which apps have permission to use your microphone.

You can find this information in the settings app on your device. If you see any suspicious-looking apps that you didn’t install yourself, immediately remove them.

How do I know if an app is suspicious?

A suspicious app would be one that asks for permission to access your microphone or calls even though there is no need for the app to have this access.

You can also consider an app potentially dangerous if it drains a lot of your battery life.

Always check the description of an app in the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. If the description is poorly written or doesn’t make much sense, this is a sign it might be an ill-intended app.