How to Remove a Virus From Your iPhone or Android Phone

Abeerah Hashim  - Security Expert
Last updated: June 18, 2023
Read time: 20 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?

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.

Types of mobile viruses

Although the term “virus” is often used to refer to a wide variety of security threats, it is actually a specific type of malware found on fake emails, legitimate applications, infected attachments, and any other digital files. Mobile viruses include ransomware, adware, spyware, worms, and trojan horses.

  1. Ransomware: A type of malware that encrypts personal information, making it inaccessible to the user. The hacker demands a ransom to release the files. It originally appeared on desktop computers.
  2. Worm: It does not require a user’s interaction to cause harm. A worm spreads through text, and its primary aim is to spread to multiple devices and enable hackers to load malware and steal data.
  3. A Trojan horse: Trojan horse malware on a mobile phone can present itself as a text message, sending messages that can add to premium charges on the phone bill. It can also attach to legitimate-looking apps.
  4. Spyware: Spyware is often hidden in legitimate-looking applications, and when installed, it loads itself onto the device to track and monitor the user’s location, activity, passwords, and usernames without the user’s knowledge.
  5. Adware: An excessive number of pop-ups can indicate the presence of adware. These pop-ups can range from annoyance to more serious issues, such as tracking your online activities and compromising your device to steal personal information.

How can I know if my phone has malware?

Becoming proficient in detecting malware on your device may take time and practice. However, being familiar with the common signs of a malware-infected device can aid in early detection.

Running scans with mobile security apps or checking recently downloaded apps while in safe mode are effective ways to check for malware. So, it’s important to take action if you find any signs of malware to protect your device from further damage.

Below are some of the indicators that your phone could be infected

  1. Unusual increment in data usage: Unexpectedly high data usage can be a sign of malware on your device; regularly check to ensure no malicious activity is consuming your mobile data.
  2. Frequently crashing apps: Frequent app crashes can indicate the presence of malware on your Android device. If multiple apps are crashing more often than usual, it may be worth investigating and taking steps to remove the malware.
  3. Rapid battery drain: Rapid battery drain can be a sign of malware on a device, which could be running processes in the background, consuming power, and reducing the battery life of the device.
  4. Constant unwanted advertisements: Constant unwanted advertisements and pop-ups are symptoms of malware on your device. This can be caused by malware that generates ads and pushes them to the user’s device.
  5. Increased phone bill: Sudden increase in phone bills can indicate malware running unwanted activities like sending premium text messages or making calls without your knowledge.
  6. New and unfamiliar apps: The presence of unknown or unfamiliar apps on the device could indicate malware. They may have been installed by malware on your device to carry out malicious activities.
  7. Overheating: Excessive heat generated by a device could signal malware running processes in the background. This can cause overheating and potentially damage your device. 
  8. Fraudulent linking: Malicious redirection to fake or phishing websites could signal malware on the device. The malware can alter your device’s settings and redirect you to fraudulent websites.

How to remove viruses 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: