This article will teach you how to tell if your iPhone is hacked in some way. There are some things relating to the iPhone and Apple devices that can show signs of being hacked. By the end of this article everything will be clear.
Before I get going – you need to use this article alongside my in depth guide How to Find Out if Your Phone Has Been Hacked.
It covers in great detail all information common to all types of cell phone – here I am dealing with things unique to the iPhone / Apple operating system.
For Android users see – How to Tell if Your Android is Hacked – as you might expect this one covers Android specific recommendations.
Another article you might like to check is Detecting Spyware or Stalkerware Apps – it looks at ways to find spy apps on your phone in great detail. Now on with this one….
Signs Your iPhone Might Be Hacked
These are signs common to all phones not just the iPhone and are explained in detail on the main guide – see the link above. Remember use both guides for the best results. So to recap :
- Is your phone battery charge running out very quickly?
- Is your phone getting overheated for no apparent reason?
- Is it acting strangely – suddenly lighting up for no reason?
- Is it shutting down or restarting by itself?
- Having email problems – being blocked or not sending?
- Have you noticed any unusual text message with just numbers and characters?
- Has your data use suddenly gone up?
- Noticed irregular background noises when on a call?
- Getting pop-ups like “you need to run a scan or have disc errors”
- Check installed apps – any you did not install?
- Getting notifications from your iCloud account?
- Are you getting prompted to change your passwords too often?
These are all explained in my main guide – how to tell if your phone is hacked so I don’t need to go into all that again! Go read it …. please.
So now let’s have a look at items specific to the iPhone and Apple devices.
Jailbreaking – Can Open Your iPhone to Hackers
Have you heard about Jailbreaking before? If not check out my article How to Jailbreak Your iPhone it explains all in detail. I’ll explain why it matters …
Apple products like the iPhone run on Apples own operating system iOS. But their system is closed in a way – you can only install apps from the Apple Store on an iPhone. Unlike Android where you can install apps from any source.
This can be a benefit to Apple users in terms of security but a negative in terms of free choice.
One way to get around being tied to the Apple store is to alter the iPhone operating system using what is called a Jailbreak. Now you know.
However by Jailbreaking your iPhone you have just left it more exposed to hackers.
Now you are exposed to malicious apps and need to be very careful what software you install on the phone. Hackers even create fake apps just to get inside your phone and steal your data or use it to mine crypto currency. They are very creative!
Modern spy apps need the phone to be Jailbroken before they can be installed (in most cases … I’ll explain below).
The good news is that you can usually tell if your iPhone has been Jailbroken. And if you did not do it you know you have a problem.
How to Tell if Your iPhone Has a Jailbreak
First check if you can see the Cydia app anywhere on the home screen. The Cydia app is usually only on Jailbroken phones – it acts like the Apple store as a place to download any apps you choose.
Some of the best spy apps go so far as to hide the Cydia app – so if you can’t see it on the home screen you may need to check a little deeper in installed apps for example. It can usually be found somewhere – have a good look.
Check the iPhone operating system version. A working Jailbreak is only available up to iOS 12.1.4 so if your phone is running a newer version you are not Jailbroken.
You need to check this often as new Jailbreaks are released – a simple search will show the latest ones.
How to Remove a Jailbreak
This is your answer if you think someone has Jailbroken your phone without your consent – and it is easy to do. Simply update your iPhone operating system and the Jailbreak will be removed – that’s it. It also means any spy app that was installed will no longer work.
If you are concerned that you have a serious hack other than a spy app you can Factory Re-set your iPhone – see that guide for full details. It sounds scary but is simple and very effective and will remove most hacks and spy apps from your phone completely.
iCloud Backups Can be Hacked
This is a relatively new development but is a growing problem. There are a range of different spy app companies offering this method to spy on an iPhone. They realized that the need to Jailbreak any iPhone before you can install spy software was a big block to many potential customers.
They came up with a way to spy on an iPhone or Apple device by hacking into their backups stored automatically on Apples free iCloud platform. No software is actually installed on the target phone and so no Jailbreak is required. I have an article looking at so called iCloud hacking and how it works.
mSpy were the first company to offer this No Jailbreak method and others soon followed. See my article on apps to hack an iPhone for a run down on what is available and how they work.
In some cases it can be done without even having physical access to the phone they want to monitor – If backups are already enabled. Scary stuff!
The hacker does however need to have your iCloud user name and password. For this reason this form of spying is usually done by someone close to you with access to your account details.
You should keep a look out for any notifications from iCloud that appear unusual – or request to change your password too frequently. These could be clues you are being hacked that way.
Because there is no software involved there will be no suspicious signs to look for – no Jailbreak and a factory reset will not stop it. The only way to stop this is to make sure you have 2 step verification enabled on your account.
If you think someone is already doing this – change your password and enable 2 step verification right away.
Better still – consider not using iCloud there are plenty of alternatives out there some of them free. iCloud has been the main target because most iPhone owners use it for backups.
Difficult to Inspect iPhone files and Directories
If you think your phone has been hacked one step I normally recommend is to look inside the phone file system – for any suspicious looking file names. This is a bit more difficult to do with an iPhone which can be a bit of a disadvantage.
To look inside your iPhone files you will need to connect to a PC or Mac and install iExplorer – you can get it here for free. That program will allow you to explore your iPhone files!
Need some extra help? Take a look at my Premium Security Guide. It will help you find and remove any spy apps on your phone with easy to follow instructions.
Is the iPhone Harder to Hack than Android?
Yes I definitely think that the iPhone is more difficult to hack than an Android phone by the very nature of the “closed” system and not allowing third party apps. It does have some disadvantages in relation to searching for suspicious files.
Still this slight security bonus is no reason to be complacent. Your iPhone is still very vulnerable to hacking from any number of methods – outlined in my main guide.
Can I Use a Code to Tell If My iPhone Has Been Hacked?
Some websites have been talking about using USSD codes to check if your iPhone has been hacked. I did some research and ran some tests to debunk these claims. See my article to read the details.
How to Stop Someone Hacking your iPhone
There are a couple of steps you can take to stop someone hacking your iPhone or device:
- Do not Jailbreak – it increases your risk. If you have Jailbroken you should be extra careful with any app you choose to install.
- Keep it up to date – always update to the latest iOS version available for your phone. Updates often include security patches plus updating also removes any Jailbreak.
- Be careful with using iCloud backups – at least make sure you have 2 step verification enabled, better still use something else for backups.
Worried that someone could be spying on your texts? I have an article that covers ways to stop someone from reading your texts on iPhone.
This article is all about things specific to the iPhone and Apple devices and how to know if your iPhone has been hacked. As I mentioned (several times) you should use this alongside my main guide – How to Tell if Your Phone is Hacked – it covers things in great depth.
I also have other Online Security Resources – How to Detect Spy Apps and How to Remove Spy Apps – these are great if you think you have been hacked by someone using spy apps. Then check out How to Unhack Your iPhone – a detailed guide to removing any sort of hack from your phone or device.
If you really do suspect that someone has hacked your iPhone and feel you need more help – check out my Premium Cell Phone Security Ebook. It has helped many people find and remove spy apps from their phones.
Thanks for reading and good luck!