My Phone Was Hacked. How Do I Fix It?

Sophia Taylor

By Sophia Taylor


Want to know how to fix a hacked cell phone? Then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we explain what phone hacking is, how to fix it, and steps you can take to protect your phone in the future.

What is phone hacking?

We use our phones every single day. They hold a wealth of personal data that would be disastrous if it were to fall into the wrong hands — for example, your address, bank details, personal text messages, photos, and more. Hackers can use this information to blackmail you, impersonate you online, or steal your data and your money.

To put it simply, a hack is when a third party (it could be anyone) installs malicious software onto your device in order to steal data, monitor your activity, or track your location. Nowadays a hacker doesn’t have to be a computer specialist — they can simply install software that’s commercially available on the internet for as little as $30.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through some common signs of phone hacking, how to fix a hacked Android phone or iPhone, and steps to protect your device in the future.

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How do I know if my phone has been hacked?

There are a few tell-tale signs of a hacked phone to look out for. Although some of these signs aren’t a guarantee of a hacked phone, it’s important to be aware of them and to take action if necessary.

High data usage

If you notice that you’re reaching — or exceeding — your phone’s data limits and you’re not sure why, this could be a sign of phone hacking. Hackers often install malicious apps on your phone, which use lots of data to send your information to their device. Of course, there could be other explanations. For example, if you’re playing lots of games or watching videos on your phone while using mobile data — but it’s something to look out for.

Low internal storage space could also be an indicator of a hacked phone, since spyware can take up lots of room.

Suspicious apps

Chances are that you have lots of apps installed on your phone — some which you use daily, and others that you never use at all. However, it’s important to be vigilant and look out for any unknown apps appearing on your phone. Hackers only need physical access to your phone for a few minutes to install spyware, which grants them access to all your personal information.

Sometimes you’ll be able to identify the spyware on your phone in the form of an app you don’t remember installing. Be particularly wary of unknown or unrecognized apps with access to your location, camera or microphone, since this is a common characteristic of spyware apps.

As well as unfamiliar apps, look out for unnecessary files on your phone. Spyware is often hiding in places you’re unlikely to find it, such as hidden files or folders.

Battery draining quickly

If your battery is suddenly draining much quicker than usual, it could be a sign of a hacked phone. Since malicious software uses lots of data and processing energy to send information to hackers, your phone might be working harder than usual to keep up.

It’s important to note that although this is a possible sign of phone hacking, it’s not the only explanation. Phone batteries naturally degrade over time, so if your phone is a couple of years old already this could be the reason.

Think your phone is hacked?

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How to Fix a Hacked Android Phone

There are a few different things you can try to fix a hacked Android phone. Check out our suggestions below.

1. Use Certo Mobile Security

The best way to fix a hacked Android phone is to install a good anti-spyware app such as Certo Mobile Security. The app will allow you to perform a full scan of your Android device and discover any installed spyware, as well as give you the option to remove it.

You can also use the app to perform a scan of various settings on your device which could be making your phone vulnerable to attacks.

Here’s how to fix a hacked Android device with Certo:

  1. Install Certo Mobile Security.
  2. Open the app and tap Scan.
  3. Wait for the scan to complete.
  4. Tap Remove next to any threats found.

2. Review app permissions

Alternatively, you could try to fix the problem by manually reviewing your apps. To do this, go to Settings > Apps, then open each app and tap Permissions.

Look out for any apps you don’t remember downloading – particularly if they have access to your camera, microphone or location.

If you do find anything suspicious, delete the apps immediately since they could be compromising your privacy.

3. Perform a factory reset

It’s also possible to fix a hacked phone by performing a factory reset, which wipes all of the data and installed apps from your phone to return it to its original state.

This option is a last resort, and should only be carried out after you have backed up all your important data (photos, music, contacts, etc.) via cloud storage or an external device.

How to do a factory reset for Android

  1. Navigate to Settings > System.
  2. Tap Reset Options.
  3. Tap Erase all Data (factory reset), and tap again to confirm.
  4. You may need to enter your PIN or password to authorize the operation, depending on your security settings.

How to protect your Android phone from hacking in the future

  1. Use a security app such as Certo Mobile Security. This will allow you to stay on top of any potential threats to your device.
  2. Never root your device. This will make it much easier for hackers to gain access to your phone and steal your data.
  3. Never install apps from outside the official Google Play Store. This increases your chance of accidentally downloading and installing malicious software.
  4. Use a strong passcode to lock your phone.
  5. Keep your phone’s operating system and apps up-to-date to make it harder for hackers to gain access.
  6. Make sure specific system settings are correct, including:
    • ‘Play Protect’ set to enabled.
    • ‘Developer options’ set to disabled.
    • ‘Allow Apps from Unknown Sources’ set to disabled.

How to Fix a Hacked iPhone

If you need to fix a hacked iPhone or any other iOS device, you have a few different options.

1. Use Certo AntiSpy

The best way to fix your iPhone is by using Certo AntiSpy, which can do a full scan of your device to help you determine whether you’ve been the victim of a hack.

Here’s how to identify spyware with Certo AntiSpy:

  1. Download Certo AntiSpy on your computer.
  2. Plug in your phone using the USB cable.
  3. Click Scan.
  4. Click Remove on any threats that are discovered.

2. Update the device’s operating system

If you think your iPhone has been hacked, it’s a good idea to make sure you are running the latest version of iOS. Hackers often exploit security vulnerabilities from out-of-date operating systems to access people’s phones, so don’t make it easy for them.

Updating iOS will often stop any installed malware from functioning, so can be a quick way to fix a hacked iPhone.

3. Do a factory reset

Restoring your device to its original state is another possible way to fix a hacked iPhone, but it is a last resort. Choosing this option will wipe all of your data from your phone, so you’ll need to back it up first before you do it, either on iTunes, Finder or iCloud.

How to do a factory reset for iPhone

  1. Go to Settings > General.
  2. Tap Transfer or Reset iPhone and then Erase All Content and Settings.
  3. If required, you may need to enter your PIN or Apple ID password.

How to protect your iPhone from hacking in the future

Once you’ve fixed your hacked phone, you should take steps to prevent it from being hacked again in the future:

  1. Run regular malware scans, with a tool such as Certo AntiSpy.
  2. Turn on automatic updates to ensure your iOS version is always up-to-date.
  3. Never jailbreak your device.
  4. Never download apps from outside the official App Store.
  5. Always use a strong passcode to unlock your phone.
  6. Keep your apps up to date.
  7. Use two-factor authentication with your Apple ID — some hackers may target your iCloud account if your device is set to sync to the cloud.

Key Takeaways

Phone hacking is a real threat in today’s hyper-connected world. To protect yourself from threats, you should take steps to ensure your phone’s security.

  • Install Certo Mobile Security for Android or Certo AntiSpy for iPhone to quickly identify and remove viruses or hackers from your phone.
  • Look out for suspicious apps on your phone, and delete them immediately if you find any.
  • Improve your phone’s security by choosing strong passwords that would be difficult for anyone to guess. Change them regularly, and consider using a password manager to help. We recommend LastPass.
  • Use two factor authentication for an extra layer of protection against hackers.

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