How can I find out if my phone has malware?

Having malware on your phone can lead to issues like slower performance, abnormal battery drain, excessive data usage, and privacy concerns. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to check for and remove malware from your Android or iPhone.

How to check for malware on Android phones

Here are some quick answers about checking for malware on Android phones:

– Look for unexpected pop-up ads or notifications, especially if they promote apps or claim your phone has a virus.

– Review all your installed apps and remove any you don’t remember downloading or that have suspicious permissions.

– Use a malware scanning app like Malwarebytes to perform a deep scan for malware and other security threats.

– Check your battery usage – any unusual spikes may indicate malware activity in the background.

– Examine your data usage for any suspicious spikes which could point to malware sending premium texts or using data.

If you do find signs of malware, here are the steps to remove it from your Android phone:

  1. Delete suspicious apps – This can remove any malware lurking in app form. Go to Settings > Apps and uninstall anything suspicious.
  2. Run a security scan – Use a trusted anti-malware app to perform a deep scan and quarantine any threats found.
  3. Check app permissions – Make sure no apps have unnecessary permissions that could enable malicious activity.
  4. Reset your phone – For severe malware that anti-malware apps can’t remove, a factory reset may be necessary.
  5. Change passwords – Malware may have accessed passwords stored on your device, so change any important passwords.
  6. Install security updates – Make sure your Android OS and apps are patched against the latest vulnerabilities.

Using a combination of these steps can help you remove malware from an infected Android device and bolster security to prevent future malware infections.

How to check for malware on iPhones

Here is a quick overview of checking for malware on iPhones:

– Jailbroken iPhones are more vulnerable to malware – avoid jailbreaking your device.

– Watch for unusual activity like popping ads, unwanted subscriptions, or overheating.

– Check app permissions and remove anything with suspicious access.

– Install trusted security apps to scan for iOS threats.

– Update to the latest iOS version to patch vulnerabilities.

– Restore your iPhone to factory settings if all else fails.

While iPhones have strong security, malware targeting iOS does exist. Here are detailed steps to find and remove malware from your iPhone:

  1. Delete suspicious apps – Check your apps for anything you don’t remember downloading and uninstall it. Use “Offload App” to keep app data.
  2. Check Safari history and bookmarks – Malware may modify these to spread malicious links. Delete anything suspicious.
  3. Review permissions – Verify apps only have permissions relevant to their purpose, like camera access for a photography app.
  4. Run anti-malware software – Reputable tools like Malwarebytes can scan for iOS threats.
  5. Check Activity Monitor – This displays current processes to spot any unusual background activity.
  6. Update iOS – Install the latest iOS version which contains security patches.
  7. Restore your iPhone – For stubborn malware, a factory reset may be necessary to wipe the infection.
  8. Change iCloud and app passwords – Malware could have stolen passwords stored on your device.

Persistence is key when dealing with iOS malware. Combining different tools and techniques will improve your chances of removing malware and enhancing iPhone security against future threats.

Signs your phone may be infected with malware

Watch out for these common signs of a malware infection on your Android phone or iPhone:

  • Pop-up ads appear randomly, even on reputable websites
  • You are subscribed to services you didn’t sign up for
  • Your home screen background image unexpectedly changed
  • Your battery drains faster than usual
  • Your data usage spikes without explanation
  • Your phone runs slower or crashes frequently
  • You notice unwanted apps installed you didn’t download
  • You can’t uninstall suspicious apps
  • Your camera or microphone activates unexpectedly

Even one of these signs could indicate malware. The more issues you notice, the higher the likelihood your phone is infected.

How malware gets on phones

Malware can find its way onto phones through:

  • Infected apps – Downloading apps outside the official app stores increases malware risk.
  • Phishing links – Tapping malicious links can install malware, especially from SMS/text messages.
  • Insecure Wi-Fi – Using public Wi-Fi exposes you to attackers aiming to plant malware.
  • Operating system exploits – Unpatched OS vulnerabilities can let malware invade your phone.
  • Jailbreaking iPhone – Jailbreaking bypasses iPhone security and opens malware opportunities.

Practicing good security habits goes a long way towards keeping malware off your phone:

  • Only use trusted app stores like Google Play and the App Store
  • Don’t click suspicious links in emails/texts from unknown senders
  • Avoid public Wi-Fi or use a VPN on public networks
  • Update your OS and apps frequently
  • Don’t jailbreak your iPhone

Best Android anti-malware apps

These highly rated Android anti-malware apps can scan for and remove malware:

App Key Features
Malwarebytes Deep malware scanning, real-time protection, web protection
Bitdefender Mobile Security Malware scanner, web protection, app locking, anti-theft
Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus On-demand/scheduled scans, web filtering, app locking
AVG AntiVirus Virus scanning, junk cleaner, app locking, web protection
Lookout Security & Antivirus Malware scanner, missing device locator, backup

Features like malware scanning, web filtering, and app analysis help these apps detect and stop malware threats.

Best iOS anti-malware apps

Here are top anti-malware apps to secure your iPhone and scan for threats:

App Key Features
Malwarebytes Malware scanner, phishing detection, device monitoring
Norton Mobile Security Malware scanning, real-time protection, jailbreak detection
Intego VirusBarrier Scans apps, files, and media for threats
Lookout Security & Antivirus Malware scanning, data breach alerts, backup
TotalAV Antivirus for iOS Virus scanning, system monitor, web protection

Core iOS malware protections like app scanning, system monitoring, and web protection make these apps useful.

Preventing malware on phones

You can take these proactive measures to prevent malware infections:

  • Vet apps before downloading – Verify app legitimacy and reviews first.
  • Avoid sideloading – Only use trusted sources like app stores for downloads.
  • Update OS/software – Maintain up-to-date security patches.
  • Use secure networks – Don’t use public Wi-Fi without a VPN.
  • Don’t jailbreak iPhone – Jailbreaking undermines iPhone security.
  • Install security apps – Use anti-malware and antivirus tools.
  • Back up data – Regularly back up your phone to facilitate malware removal.
  • Avoid phishing links – Don’t click sketchy links in messages/emails.

Making malware prevention habits part of your regular phone use is the best way to stop infections before they start.


Malware on phones manifests through abnormal behavior like excessive ads, battery drain, and sluggish performance. Checking app permissions, installing security apps, and performing factory resets allows you to remove smartphone malware. Avoiding shady downloads, using trusted Wi-Fi, updating software, and not jailbreaking your phone reduces your risk. With vigilance and proactive precautions, you can keep your Android or iPhone malware-free.