How to remove a virus from an iPhone or Android phone

Abeerah Hashim Last updated: September 21, 2022 Read time: 13 minutes Disclosure

Windows users know how important it is to be alert against different malware. Their OS has been a hacker's favorite target for decades. But what about phones? Are they prone to catching digital infections? What can you do about it?

Sneak peek at smartphone virus removal

Smartphones are also vulnerable to malware threats like computers, Windows, or Mac. So, again, you need to monitor your phone usage patterns and apply security best practices to prevent phishing and malware threats. Yet, regardless of how cautious you remain, there’s always a threat of virus infections to your mobile phones. Therefore, it is imperative to promptly detect and remove viruses or malware from your Android phone or iPhone. Numerous antivirus apps are available today to ensure robust protection against such infections. Still, you must also learn and apply the necessary manual steps to get rid of viruses on smartphones.

Today, almost every individual on Earth has a mobile phone, specifically a smartphone. And every user knows how to protect their devices from physical damage. But did you know that your phones are also vulnerable to malware attacks? Ever bothered to scan and remove viruses from your iPhone or Android phone?

Indeed, smartphones are exceedingly valuable things. They allow us to read and write emails, keep in touch with friends through apps like Whatsapp and Telegram, watch YouTube videos, and we can even perform financial operations with our banks. However, what makes these toys so valuable is the insane amount of information they hold about us. They know everything; our friends, what we tell them, how much money we spend on a given store, or what we have in the bank. Unfortunately, that’s where the risk lies.

What would happen if an external agent manages to insert a piece of software into your smartphone so that he can know about you as much as your device does? It’s a nightmare scenario. But, on the other hand, we can hardly imagine the worst thing to happen to anybody. The thing is: it happens. It’s what a virus does when it finds its way into your telephone.

Fortunately, whether you are an iOS or Android user, there are ways to eliminate such malware.

Technically the word “virus” means a specific type of malware that spreads through infected files. (However, we’re not going to split hairs in this article. And we’ll use the words malware and virus as synonyms, although malware refers to many more types of threats.)

This guide will tell you all the essentials about malware and smartphones, what they can do to your phones, how to remove them, and prevent virus attacks in the future.

But, the first step, of course, is to know for sure if your phone is infected with something.

How do I know if my phone is infected with malware?

We could give you a series of common indirect symptoms in infected smartphones. We won’t. Those signs are meaningless unless you know your context perfectly (your phone’s brand, processor, memory, etc.). Moreover, they are never definitive.

In other words, beating around the bush will get you nowhere. However, your phone’s security is important enough to go for the best test possible, which means getting an antivirus suite. So here’s what you do:

  1. Download and install a good antivirus suite for your system. Surfshark antivirus is our best friend in this regard, but you can try Kaspersky or Bitdefender too.
  2. Scan your system.
  3. Turn on the real-time protection option.

How to remove virus from Android devices (particularly, mobile phones)

There are many ways to kill a cat. How to proceed depends on the specific security threat you’re dealing with.

In the Android world, plenty of malicious actors hide in plain sight, posing as apps –like a flashlight. You can eliminate the malware by uninstalling the app when you know this is the case. It’s that simple.

However, finding out where these nasty guys are isn’t always that straightforward. That’s why you need an antivirus suite for Android (Kaspersky, Bitdefender, Norton 360). So go ahead and install the Android antivirus of your choice and run a full scan.

Let’s suppose now that you’ve done your scan. You can still see how malware affects your device. Then it’s time to roll up your sleeves and do things manually. Proceed like this to remove the Android virus from your phone:

  1. Remove any app on your device you can’t recognize. It is not just about having a bad memory. You could indeed find an app around that you never installed yourself. So please get rid of it.
  2. Try a different network. Sometimes all it takes for your phone to behave as if it was infected is to be online on an insecure network. So try a better one and see what happens.
  3. Change your Google account password. One of the most valuable pieces of information hackers want to get from your Android phone is your Google account. So you can spoil their fun by changing your password. It could be enough to solve the problem. Make sure to follow the best password security practices.
  4. Use two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication makes it impossible for anybody else to access your Google account. Find the “Manage Google account” option in the Google menu, click on the “Security” tab, and select 2-step verification.

The infallible step

If you’ve tried everything correctly and the malware sticks around despite your best efforts, it’s time to try the infallible (if also dramatic) step: wiping your smartphone.

However, we wouldn’t recommend you to go ahead and wipe everything out just like that. If you do this correctly, you won’t lose any data or functionality. Follow the next steps: