Can an iPhone virus go away on its own?

iPhones can get infected by viruses just like other devices. However, there are some key differences in how these infections occur and persist on iPhones versus other platforms. Viruses on iPhones are relatively rare, but not unheard of. The good news is that some iPhone viruses and malware can resolve on their own without the user having to do anything. However, relying on them to go away without taking action is generally not recommended.

How do viruses get on an iPhone?

There are a few primary ways an iPhone can become infected with a virus:

  • Installing malware apps – Downloading apps outside of the official App Store increases risk, as these apps are not vetted by Apple for security issues. Apps can sometimes make it into the App Store with malware as well.
  • Phishing attacks – Visiting compromised websites or clicking links can trigger a malware download.
  • Outdated iOS – Running old iOS versions with known vulnerabilities.
  • Jailbreaking – Jailbreaking bypasses Apple’s security controls, leaving iPhones more vulnerable to malware.
  • iCloud/device syncing – Syncing with an infected computer can spread malware to an iPhone.

Being cautious when downloading apps and avoiding phishing scams are good preventative measures. Keeping iOS up-to-date provides critical security patches. Jailbreaking is highly discouraged.

How do iPhone viruses behave?

iPhone malware may exhibit various types of behavior:

  • Displaying intrusive ads – Ads can pop up frequently, sometimes using 1ove telnets intended to get the user to click on them.
  • Sending premium SMS messages – Texts sent silently that can rack up charges on your cellular bill.
  • Collecting personal data – Malware may secretly gather contacts, messages, photos and other private information.
  • Hijacking system resources – Viruses may utilize device resources like bandwidth, storage space or processing power for nefarious purposes.
  • Bricking device – In rare cases, malware can partially or fully disable core phone functionality.

Users should keep an eye out for any anomalous or suspicious iPhone behavior as an infection sign. Increased data usage, slow performance, and random pop ups are common symptoms.

Can an iPhone virus go away on its own?

It is possible in some situations for an iPhone virus to be resolved without the user taking action. Here are some ways this can happen:

  • App removal – If the malware came from a downloadable app, that app potentially being removed from the App Store or device can stop reinfection.
  • iOS update – Apple may patch the vulnerability being exploited with a system update.
  • Malware self-removal – Some malware will uninstall or deactivate itself after achieving its goal.
  • Certificate expiration – Code signing certificates used to bypass security can expire, disabling malware.
  • Server takedown – Malware that depends on communication with command and control servers may break when those servers are taken offline.

So in some instances, an iPhone virus will essentially resolve on its own once the app, certificate or infrastructure enabling it is no longer active. However, this is not guaranteed to happen in a timely manner, if at all. Proactive removal steps are much more reliable.

Relying on self-resolution risks

While an iPhone virus may occasionally go dormant or uninstall itself, counting on this happening without intervention comes with considerable risks:

  • Ongoing data theft – Malware may continue secretly stealing personal data like passwords even if other symptoms seem to disappear.
  • Reinfection chance – The original infection vector may still exist, allowing repeat malware downloads.
  • New vulnerabilities – Even if a specific malware is disabled, any unpatched zero-day vulnerabilities in iOS remain.
  • Permanent system damage – Some malware can cause irreparable damage to an iPhone before deactivating.
  • Bricking – There’s always a chance of malware fully disabling the device.

Leaving an active infection unchecked raises the odds of ongoing issues or even complete iPhone failure. Relying on self-resolution is very much a gamble.

Manually removing an iPhone virus

To reliably remove an iPhone virus and avoid potential harm, users should take proactive measures as soon as an infection is suspected. Recommended steps include:

  • Closing suspicious apps – Force quit any third party apps you think may be infected.
  • Deleting apps – If malware came from a downloaded app, delete it.
  • Rebooting – Power cycle the iPhone to clear out malicious code from memory.
  • Reset network settings – This clears any suspect proxy or VPN configurations.
  • Restore iPhone – A full restore from a pre-infection backup removes malware.
  • Update iOS – Install the latest iOS update which may patch vulnerabilities.
  • Change passwords – Update passwords for iCloud, bank accounts and other sensitive logins.
  • Install security software – An anti-virus app can detect and remove any lingering traces.

Combining these steps gives the best chance to completely eliminate iPhone malware and prevent reoccurrence. While cumbersome, this process is far quicker and less risky than waiting to see if an infection disappears on its own.

When to factory reset an iPhone

Performing a factory reset (fully erasing and restoring the iPhone software) is an extreme but sometimes necessary step to remove a persistent or sophisticated malware infection. A reset should strongly be considered in situations such as:

  • Antivirus scans detect malware but cannot remove it
  • You continue experiencing malware symptoms after removing suspicious apps
  • Phone performance remains very sluggish even after rebooting
  • Suspicious files, apps or configuration changes reappear after removal
  • Any signs system or data damage caused by malware

A factory reset gives you the cleanest slate to work from. Be sure you have a complete iPhone backup before resetting so you can restore your personal data afterwards. Enable two-factor authentication on your Apple ID as well before proceeding with the reset.

Preventing future iPhone malware

While a factory reset removes current infections, users should take measures to avoid iPhone malware going forward:

  • Only install apps from the official App Store
  • Do not jailbreak devices
  • Keep iOS up-to-date and enable automatic updates
  • Use strong passcodes and/or Touch ID
  • Avoid unsafe websites and phishing scams
  • Be cautious with public WiFi networks
  • Install a reputable anti-virus/malware app
  • Frequently sync and backup your device
  • Enable two-factor authentication on Apple ID

Following security best practices minimizes future risk significantly. Quickly remove any suspicious apps or files at first sign of infection. Seek help from Apple support if you have concerns about an active malware infection.


While iPhones have robust built-in security, they are still vulnerable in some circumstances to malware infections. Counting on an iPhone virus to disappear on its own is very risky behavior. Proactively removing suspicious apps, running antivirus scans, resetting the device and keeping iPhone software updated are the most effective ways to eliminate infections and prevent their return. Practicing good security hygiene remains essential to keep iPhones malware-free.