Can Your iPhone Be Hacked? (2023)

Can Your iPhone Be Hacked? (1)

The iPhone has earned a reputation as a security-focused device thanks (in part) to Apple’s iron grip on the ecosystem. However, no device is perfect when it comes to security. So, can your iPhone be hacked? What are the risks?

What It Means to “Hack” an iPhone

Hacking is a loose term that’s often used incorrectly. Traditionally, it refers to illegally gaining access to a computer network. In the context of an iPhone, hacking could refer to any of the following:

  • Gaining access to someone’s private information stored on an iPhone.
  • Monitoring or using an iPhone remotely without the owner’s knowledge or consent.
  • Changing the way an iPhone operates by using additional soft- or hardware.

Technically, someone guessing your passcode could constitute hacking. The installation of monitoring software on your iPhone so someone can spy on your activities might also be something you’d expect a “hacker” to do.

There’s also jailbreaking, or the act of installing custom firmware on a device. This is one of the more modern definitions of hacking, but it’s also widely used. Lots of people have “hacked” their own iPhones by installing a modified version of iOSto remove Apple’s restrictions.

Malware is another problem that’s hit the iPhone before. Not only have apps on the App Store been classified as malware, but zero-day exploits have also been found in Apple’s web browser, Safari. This allowed hackers to install spyware that circumvented Apple’s security measures and steal personal information.

Can Your iPhone Be Hacked? (2)

The jailbreaking space moves quickly. It’s a constant game of cat and mouse between Apple and tweakers. If you keep your device up to date, you’re most likely “safe” against any hacks that rely on the jailbreaking method.

(Video) 7 Signs Your iPhone Has Been Hacked - Don't Miss These!

However, that’s no reason to let your guard down. Hacking groups, governments, and law enforcement agencies are all interested in finding ways around Apple’s protections. Any of them could discover a breakthrough at any moment and not notify Apple or the public.

RELATED: Can My iPhone or iPad Get a Virus?

Your iPhone Can’t Be Used Remotely

Apple doesn’t let anyone remotely control an iPhone via remote access apps, like TeamViewer. While macOS ships with a virtual network computing (VNC) server installed that allows your Mac to be remotely controlledif you enable it, iOS does not.

This means you can’t control someone’s iPhone without jailbreaking it first. There are VNC servers available for jailbroken iPhones that enable this functionality, but stock iOS does not.

iOS uses a robust permissions system to grant apps explicit access to particular services and information. When you first install a new app, you’re often asked to grant permission to location services or the iOS camera. Apps literally cannot access this information without your explicit permission.

Can Your iPhone Be Hacked? (3)

(Video) How to Check If Your iPhone Has Been Hacked and How to Remove Hacks

There’s no level of permission available within iOS that grants full access to the system. Each app is sandboxed, which means the software is sectioned off from the rest of the system in a safe “sandbox” environment. This prevents potentially harmful apps from affecting the rest of the system, including limiting access to personal information and app data.

You should always be wary of the permissions you grant an app. For example, an app like Facebook wants access to your contacts, but it doesn’t require this to function. Once you grant access to this information, the app can do whatever it wants with that data, including uploading it to a private server and storing it forever. This might violate Apple’s developer and App Store agreement, but it’s still technically possible for an app to do so.

While it’s normal to worry about attacks on your device from nefarious sources, you’re probably more at risk of giving your personal information away to a “safe” app that simply asked politely. Review your iPhone app permissions routinely, and always think twice before agreeing to an app’s demands.

RELATED: 10 Easy Steps to Better iPhone and iPad Security

Apple ID and iCloud Security

Your Apple ID (which is your iCloud account) is probably more susceptible to outside interference than your iPhone. The same as any online account, many third parties can get a hold of your credentials.

You probably already have two-factor authentication (2FA) enabled on your Apple ID. Still, you might want to make sure by going to Settings > [Your Name] > Password and Security on your iPhone. Tap “Turn on Two-Factor Authentication” to set it up if it’s not already enabled.

(Video) Is Your iPhone HACKED? Here's the BEST WAY to Check & Remove Hacks

Can Your iPhone Be Hacked? (4)

In the future, whenever you log in to your Apple ID or iCloud account, you’ll need to enter a code sent to your device or phone number. This prevents someone from logging in to your account even if he or she knows your password.

Even 2FA is susceptible to social engineering attacks, however.Social engineering has been used to transfer a phone number from one SIM to another. This could hand a would-be “hacker” the final piece of the puzzle to your entire online life if they already know your master email password.

This isn’t an attempt to scare you or make you paranoid. However, it does demonstrate how anything can be hacked if given enough time and ingenuity. You shouldn’t worry excessively about this stuff, but do be aware of the risks and remain vigilant.

What About iPhone “Spy” Software?

One of the closest things to a hack to affect iPhone owners is so-called spy software. These apps prey on paranoia and fear by inviting people to install monitoring software on devices. These are marketed to concerned parents and suspicious spouses as a way of keeping track of someone else’s iPhone activity.

These applications can’t function on stock iOS, so they require the device to be jailbroken first. This opens the iPhone to further manipulation, gaping security problems, and potential app compatibility issues, as certain apps won’t work on jailbroken devices.

(Video) Has YOUR iPhone been compromised? (here's what you need to know)

After the device is jailbroken and the monitoring service is installed, people can spy on individual devices from web control panels. That person will see every text message sent, the details of all calls made and received, and even new photos or videos snapped with the camera.

Can Your iPhone Be Hacked? (5)

These apps won’t work on the latest iPhones (including the XS, XR, 11, and the latest SE), and only a tethered jailbreak is available for some iOS 13 devices. They’ve fallen from grace because Apple makes it so difficult to jailbreak the recent devices, so they pose little threat under iOS 13.

However, it won’t stay that way forever. With each big jailbreak development, these companies start marketing again. Not only is spying on a loved one questionable (and illegal), jailbreaking someone’s device also exposes it to the risk of malware. It also voids any warranty he or she might have left.

Wi-Fi Might Still Be Vulnerable

Regardless of which device you’re using, unsecured wireless networks still pose one of the greatest threats to mobile device security. Hackers can (and do) use “man in the middle” attacks to set up fake, unsecured wireless networks to capture traffic.

By analyzing this traffic (known as packet sniffing), a hacker might be able to see the information you’re sending and receiving. If this information is unencrypted, you could be leeching passwords, login credentials, and other sensitive information.

(Video) 4 Ways To Check If Your iPhone Has Been Hacked

Be smart and avoid using unsecured wireless networks, and be mindful whenever you’re using a public network. For ultimate peace of mind, encrypt your iPhone traffic with a VPN.


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Can your entire iPhone be hacked? ›

Although iPhones have more secure operating systems than android phones, no smartphone is immune to cyberattacks. Ultimately, hackers can infiltrate any networked digital technology — it's just a question of how and when.

What are the signs of your iPhone being hacked? ›

Signs your iPhone is hacked
  • iPhone overheating and constant low battery. This is normally a sign that a process is running in the background without your knowledge. ...
  • You're informed of strange messages from contacts. ...
  • Mysterious messages and texts. ...
  • iPhone performance has dropped. ...
  • High data usage.
Nov 13, 2022

Can my iPhone be hacked by answering a call? ›

Can someone hack my iPhone by calling me? No one can hack your iPhone just by calling you. However, a scammer might call and fool you into giving up personal information, which they could then use to hack your phone or steal your identity.

Can someone hack my iPhone through text messages? ›

So to answer the question, “Can someone hack my phone by texting me?” No, your phone cannot be hacked by anyone just by receiving or opening the message. If you further follow the instructions of the text and click on the malicious link, then hacking might happen.

How do I run a security check on my iPhone? ›

After you're signed in, you can go to Settings > Privacy & Security > Safety Check. Note: If you don't have access to Safety Check or you're having trouble using the feature, you can manually adjust your sharing settings and access to your device and accounts.

Can you check to see if your phone is hacked? ›

Use the code *#21# to see if hackers track your phone with malicious intent. You can also use this code to verify if your calls, messages, or other data are being diverted. It also shows your diverted information's status and the number to which the information is transferred.

Can you Unhack your phone? ›

Some Android manufacturers pre-install security apps that will allow you to remove any hacking apps from your device without the need to install anything else.

What does it look like when your phone is hacked? ›

Signs Your Phone Has Been Hacked

Your phone is running slower than usual. You notice strange activity on your online accounts, like unfamiliar logins, new account signups, or password reset emails. You see unfamiliar calls or texts. You get more pop-ups than usual; this could be a sign of adware.

Can your phone be hacked after answering a call? ›

Can you get hacked by answering a phone call? It's impossible to get hacked by simply answering a phone call made through your network service provider. But that doesn't mean a phone call can't be exploited to compromise your security via a social engineering attack.

What happens if you accidentally answer a spam call? ›

If you answer the call, your number is considered 'good' by the scammers, even if you don't necessarily fall for the scam. They will try again because they know someone on the other side is a potential victim of fraud. The less you answer, the fewer robocalls you will receive.

How can I tell if someone is reading my text messages on iPhone? ›

On an iPhone, Apple's Messages app lets you know if your recipient has read your message — but the sender and recipient must be using iMessages on an iPhone or iPad, too, and have read receipts enabled. To turn this on, open Settings, tap Messages and enable Send Read Receipts by flipping the switch so it is green.

Can someone hack a phone with just a phone number? ›

No, not directly. A hacker can call you, pretending to be someone official, and so gain access to your personal details. Armed with that information, they could begin hacking your online accounts. But they can't break into your phone's software and modify it through phone calls alone.

How do I know if I have a virus on my iPhone? ›

The best way to know if your iPhone has a virus is to check for the following signs: unfamiliar or crashing apps, lots of Safari pop-ups, unusual charges or data usage, a rapidly draining battery, or a consistently hot phone.

How do I clean my iPhone from spyware? ›

How to remove spyware from your iPhone
  1. Update iOS software to the latest version. Updating your iPhone to the latest iOS software can assure you have the latest fixes and patches. ...
  2. Remove suspicious apps. ...
  3. Clear browsing data and history. ...
  4. Reset iPhone to factory settings.
Feb 14, 2023

How do I clean my iPhone from viruses? ›

How to Get Rid of Viruses From an iPhone
  1. Delete Suspicious Apps. Inspect the apps on your phone and ask yourself if any of them seem suspicious. ...
  2. Clear Website Data and Browsing History. It's essential to know how to clear your website data because an iPhone virus can still live in this form of storage. ...
  3. Restart Your iPhone.

Can someone see what I'm doing on my iPhone? ›

Yes, a partner, parent, or even employer can gain remote, real-time access to your iPhone using spying software. Spyware can track your GPS location, record your keypad inputs such as credit card numbers and passwords, and monitor your calls, texts, app usage, emails, voice, and other personal data.

What are three signs which shows your phone has been hacked? ›

One or more of these could be a red flag that some has breached your phone:
  • Your phone loses charge quickly. ...
  • Your phone runs abnormally slowly. ...
  • You notice strange activity on your other online accounts. ...
  • You notice unfamiliar calls or texts in your logs.

Can hackers see you through your phone camera? ›

If a hacker installs spyware on your phone then there is a good chance they will be able to access your camera and turn it on/off as they please. They may also be able to access any photos or videos you have previously taken.

Where can I check if I have been hacked? ›

How to know if you've been hacked
  • You get a ransomware message.
  • You get a fake antivirus message.
  • You have unwanted browser toolbars.
  • Your internet searches are redirected.
  • You see frequent, random popups.
  • Your friends receive social media invitations from you that you didn't send.
  • Your online password isn't working.

What is the first thing you do when you get hacked? ›

Change your passwords immediately

If you think you've been hacked, update all your passwords — not just the ones you know were compromised. It may seem like a lot of work, but it's the only way to ensure that hackers can't do any more damage.

Can you remove a hacker from your phone? ›

Yes, you should be able to remove a hacker by doing a factory reset on your phone. Keep in mind that this solution will remove all of your data, including contacts, third-party apps, photos, and other files. You will need to set up your phone entirely from scratch.

Can resetting phone remove hack? ›

Can resetting my Android device remove hackers? A factory reset can remove most forms of malware, but you'll lose all of your stored data in the process, including photos, contacts, files, and similar items.

Can hackers listen to your calls? ›

It's also a common misconception that a phone can be hacked or that someone can listen to your phone calls just by knowing your phone number. This is not possible and is completely false. You can read more information here.

Why you should not answer unknown calls? ›

If you answer a call from an unknown number, hang up immediately. If you answer the phone and the caller or recording asks you to select a button or number to stop receiving the calls, you should just hang up. Scammers often use this trick to identify potential targets.

What area codes should you not answer? ›

If they do neither, it's likely not necessary for you to call back and risk the charges. According to the FTC, some of the area codes that have possibly been linked to the one ring scam include: 268, 284, 473, 664, 649, 767, 809, 829, 849 and 876.

Can you get hacked by responding to spam? ›

As a concise answer, yes, you can get hacked or get a virus by a spam text. However, devices haven't made it easy for scammers to gain access. They'll need confirmation from you or will lure you into clicking a suspicious link to release malware onto your device.

Why am I getting so many spam calls all of a sudden? ›

Why am I receiving so many more spam calls? Usually, you receive spam calls because your number has been sold to scammers. They try their best to defraud you by calling you repeatedly. Make sure you report these scammers regularly to Better Business Bureau and Federal Trade Commission.

Can I tell if someone is reading my text messages? ›

Look for the checkmarks: A single gray checkmark indicates a successfully sent message. The appearance of a second gray checkmark shows your message was delivered to the recipient's phone. The two checkmarks will turn blue if the recipient has viewed your message.

Can someone be reading my iMessages? ›

They can only view this information if they are logged into your account on their iDevice. For example, an iPhone, iPad and MacBook all on the same account will receive all messages sent or received from the other machines (barring a lack of network connectivity).

How do I block my phone from being tracked? ›

Turn off location services (iOS and Android)
  1. Go to Settings > Privacy and tap Location Services.
  2. You can toggle off Location Services for all apps or scroll down and turn off location services only for specific apps.
  3. Go to Settings > Location, and toggle the location button to Off.
Nov 4, 2022

What can hackers do if they know your phone number? ›

What Can a Hacker Do with My Phone Number?
  • 'Phishing' for personal data. ...
  • Sending links to malicious apps. ...
  • Two-factor authentication. ...
  • Sending text messages from your number. ...
  • Determining your carrier and the country you are currently in.
5 days ago

How do hackers hack your phone? ›

Keylogging: In the hands of a hacker, keylogging works like a stalker by snooping information as you type, tap, and even talk on your phone. Trojans: Trojans are types of malware that can be disguised in your phone to extract important data, such as credit card account details or personal information.

Can my iPhone be full of viruses? ›

Fortunately for Apple fans, iPhone viruses are extremely rare, but not unheard of. While generally secure, one of the ways iPhones may become vulnerable to viruses is when they are 'jailbroken'. Jailbreaking an iPhone is a bit like unlocking it — but less legitimate.

How do I scan my phone for malware? ›

Run a security scan by following the steps below:
  1. Tap Apps.
  2. Tap Smart Manager.
  3. Go to Security.
  4. Tap Scan Now.

How do you check if your iPhone has a virus? ›

The best way to know if your iPhone has a virus is to check for the following signs: unfamiliar or crashing apps, lots of Safari pop-ups, unusual charges or data usage, a rapidly draining battery, or a consistently hot phone.

Can your iPhone get hacked by clicking on a link? ›

That's it. iOS / iPadOS devices cannot be hacked or infected with Virus / Malware / Spyware if it is updated to the latest iOS/iPadOS unless you have intentionally downloaded spurious software or unauthorized apps directly from the internet and installed them on your device or/and have.

What are the 2 possible signs that you have been hacked? ›

Some of the warning signs that you've been hacked include:

You receive emails or text messages about login attempts, password resets, or two-factor authentication (2FA) codes that you didn't request. You see logins from devices and locations you don't recognize in your account activity or sign-in logs.

How do you know if your iPhone has spyware? ›

Unsolicited ads might indicate spyware infiltration, as spyware is often bundled with adware. Disruptive messages may also come in the form of text messages, or app notifications if you've jailbroken your phone and installed apps from outside the App Store.

How long does it take to hack an iPhone? ›

A 4-digit passcode on the iPhone is crackable in 6.5 minutes on average, while a 6-digit passcode can be bypassed in 11 hours, as per a report.

Can someone hack my iPhone and watch me? ›

If your iPhone backs everything up to your iCloud account, then someone can spy on your activity by accessing your iCloud account from any web browser. They would need your Apple ID username and password in order to do this, so if you know that a third party has that information, there are a few steps you should take.


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