How to Detect Malware on an iPhone: A Step-by-Step Guide

Detecting malware on an iPhone is a straightforward process that involves looking for unusual behavior, running software updates, checking for unknown apps, restoring from a backup, and, if necessary, performing a factory reset. By following these steps, users can ensure their device is free from malicious software.

After completing the task, your iPhone should be free of any malware. You can now use your device with the assurance that your personal information is secure and that your iPhone is functioning optimally.


Malware on iPhones? Yes, it’s a thing. While Apple’s iOS is known for its strong security features, it’s not completely immune to malware attacks. Malicious software, designed to harm your device or steal your personal information, can sometimes sneak its way onto even the most secure iPhones. So, who needs to worry about this? Essentially, anyone who uses an iPhone and downloads apps, opens email attachments, or browses the internet.

Understanding how to detect malware is crucial for all iPhone users to ensure their personal data remains private and their device continues to function smoothly. Malware can lead to various problems, from annoying pop-ups to severe privacy breaches, and knowing how to spot it is the first step towards keeping your digital life secure. So, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of detecting malware on your iPhone and make sure you have the knowledge to keep your device clean and secure.

How to Detect Malware on an iPhone

Before diving into the step-by-step tutorial, it’s important to understand what these steps will accomplish. They will guide you through identifying and removing any potential threats from your iPhone, ensuring your device and personal information remain secure.

Step 1: Look for Unusual Behavior

Check if your iPhone is showing any signs of unusual behavior such as frequent app crashes, unexpected pop-ups, or battery draining quickly.

Unusual behavior on your iPhone can be the first indicator that something is amiss. If your apps are constantly crashing without explanation, or if your battery life is depleting at an abnormal rate, it could be a sign that there’s malware running in the background. Pay attention to any new, unexpected behaviors after installing a new app or clicking on a suspicious link.

Step 2: Run a Software Update

Make sure your iPhone is running the latest version of iOS because updates often include security patches for vulnerabilities that malware might exploit.

Apple regularly releases updates that not only add new features but also fix security holes that could be exploited by malware. Keeping your iPhone up-to-date is a simple yet effective way to ensure you have the latest protection against threats. Go to Settings > General > Software Update to check if you’re using the latest iOS version.

Step 3: Check for Unknown Apps

Review your installed apps and delete any that you do not recognize or remember downloading.

Sometimes, malware can come in the form of an app that you don’t remember installing. If you spot an unfamiliar app on your iPhone, there’s a chance it could be malicious. Be sure to remove any apps that raise a red flag to keep your device safe.

Step 4: Restore from a Backup

If you suspect your iPhone has been compromised, consider restoring it from a backup made before the issues began.

If you have a backup from before you started noticing issues with your iPhone, restoring from that backup can help you get rid of any malware that has made its way onto your device. Make sure your backups are always up-to-date to minimize the loss of any recent data.

Step 5: Perform a Factory Reset

As a last resort, perform a factory reset on your iPhone to remove all content and settings, including potential malware.

If all else fails, a factory reset will wipe your iPhone clean, removing any and all software, including malware. Remember to back up important data before doing this, as it will erase everything on your device.


SecurityDetecting and removing malware helps keep your personal data secure, preventing unauthorized access and potential identity theft.
Improved PerformanceBy getting rid of malware, your iPhone’s performance can improve, with faster load times and fewer crashes.
Peace of MindKnowing how to detect and remove malware provides a sense of security, allowing you to use your iPhone without worrying about threats.


Time-ConsumingThe process of detecting and removing malware can be time-consuming, especially if you need to restore your iPhone from a backup or perform a factory reset.
Potential Data LossIf you need to perform a factory reset and don’t have a recent backup, you risk losing personal data and custom settings on your iPhone.
False PositivesOccasionally, legitimate apps or software updates may cause issues mistaken for malware, leading to unnecessary actions.

Additional Information

When it comes to malware, prevention is always better than cure. To avoid the hassle of detecting and removing malware from your iPhone, be proactive with your device’s security. Only download apps from trusted sources, like the App Store, and be wary of clicking on links or attachments from unknown senders. Additionally, using strong, unique passwords and enabling two-factor authentication can further protect your digital identity.

If you’re ever in doubt about whether your iPhone has been infected with malware, don’t hesitate to reach out to Apple Support or visit an Apple Store for professional assistance. Lastly, consider investing in a reputable mobile security app that can provide an extra layer of protection and peace of mind.


  1. Look for unusual behavior like app crashes or battery drain.
  2. Run a software update to patch any security vulnerabilities.
  3. Check for unknown apps and delete any suspicious ones.
  4. Restore from a backup made before the issues appeared.
  5. Perform a factory reset as a last resort to remove all content and settings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can iPhones get viruses?

Yes, while rare, iPhones can get viruses or other forms of malware. However, Apple’s robust security measures make it less common than on other platforms.

How can I tell if my iPhone has malware?

Signs of malware include unexpected app crashes, rapid battery drain, increased data usage, or unfamiliar apps appearing on your device.

Is it safe to download apps outside of the App Store?

It’s generally not recommended to download apps from outside the App Store, as they haven’t been vetted by Apple and could potentially contain malware.

Will resetting my iPhone delete everything?

Yes, performing a factory reset will erase all data and settings on your iPhone, so it’s important to back up anything you don’t want to lose before doing so.

Are there any security apps for iPhone that can detect malware?

While the App Store offers various security apps, their ability to detect malware is limited due to Apple’s restrictions on app functionality. It’s better to follow the steps outlined in this article for malware detection.


Malware on an iPhone can be an unsettling thought, but with the right knowledge and tools, you can detect and eliminate it, ensuring your device remains secure. By staying vigilant and following the steps provided, you can protect your personal information and maintain the optimal performance of your iPhone.

Remember, while the iPhone is relatively safe from malware compared to other platforms, no device is entirely immune. Stay informed, stay secure, and don’t let malware disrupt your digital life.