iPhones are well known for the great security measures they provide their users. They are almost completely impenetrable by viruses and malware – well, almost. As they say, security that is 100% fool-proof is yet to be discovered. Hence, although an iPhone virus may have been unheard of as it is quite a rare occurrence, malware on an iPhone is not unheard of.
Adware or advertisement-supported software is a type of malware that can infect an iPhone. There are different ways your iPhone can get infected with adware. The good news is, there are ways to get rid of adware on iPhones. Read on to find out more.
What Is iPhone Adware?
So what exactly is adware? Is it a simple unwanted pop-up virus on an iPhone, or a serious security threat? Will it compromise your files or your iPhone in general?
In essence, adware is a type of malware that displays unwanted and downright irritating pop-up advertisements. While typically created for computers, there is also adware designed for mobile device infiltration. This form of malware typically gets into a device in two ways:
- Free Apps
Adware can infiltrate an iPhone via free apps (typically in popular categories like entertainment and gaming) installed on the iPhone, especially those not downloaded from the App Store. Such apps are typically third-party apps or those downloaded after jailbreaking your iPhone.
Adware can also come with legitimate apps. The way this works is you download a free app without realizing it has additional software that contains the adware. In short, you download it onto your phone, at the same time, you do so without necessarily consenting. This is typically how app developers make money, allowing them to have their apps downloaded and be utilized for free. Some of these apps are harmless, but others behave maliciously and affect your phone’s performance.
- Software Vulnerability
Your iPhone can also be infiltrated by adware through a software vulnerability. Hackers can exploit such vulnerabilities in a software program, operating system, or web browser/installed applications and insert malware like some types of adware. This is one reason why it’s essential to keep your system up-to-date.
Can You Get Adware On An iPhone?
As previously mentioned, while iPhone security is certainly way up there, it is not immune to malicious software like adware. The adware infects your iPhone typically from freeware or shareware downloaded from the internet. Such freeware or shareware will secretly install the adware onto an iPhone and the adware will then run itself.
The thing is, free software or freeware that contains some ads is not illegal unless a third-party app adds the malicious adware onto your device without consent. There is a spectrum on which adware can be classified – from relatively harmless to harmful.
On the harmless end, adware would spam you with ads while surfing the internet using a web search engine. This can be a great nuisance and can affect tasks you perform on your iPhone. Some can also cause pop-up ads outside the app, appearing while doing other in-phone activities. While it’s often quite hard to trace where it’s from, such adware is harmless.
On the more dangerous side of the scale, the adware can be highly manipulative and open doors for more malicious programs or software. Such adware includes those that fall under ad fraud and ad clicker software. This involves the indiscriminate downloading of executable files and intentional breaching of personal information/confidential data. Such adware can also run malicious activities in the background. For instance, the adware may cause clicking on ads or subscribing users to premium services which they would later have to pay for.
How To Get Rid of Adware On An iPhone
So you’re probably here wondering how to block pop-ups on iPhone or looking for an antivirus for iPhone. Again, although you might say that your iPhone has a virus, it’s likely it’s been infected with a type of malware like adware. In this case, an iPhone adware removal will greatly help in fixing adware problems like obnoxious pop-ups and other hidden malware.
Here are some ways to get rid of adware and those annoying pop-up ads.
- Ad Removal Software
There are several adware removal software and tools available on the market. Make sure, however, to get one from a reputable developer to avoid compromising your phone further. One such program that we highly recommend is Malwarebytes.
- Upgrade The App
If ads continuously pop up on apps you don’t want to let go of, consider upgrading to the premium version. Developers of such apps earn from ads for the free versions so upgrading to the paid ad-free versions could take care of the problem.
- Clear Cache
Data stored on your browser can be used by adware in creating more targeted advertising. Clearing your browser cache and other stored information can help stop adware, albeit temporarily.
- Remove Unwanted Browser Extensions
It also helps to remove any browser extensions you don’t utilize or remember installing.
- Remove Suspicious Apps
Identify and remove apps that seem suspicious; this includes apps you don’t remember installing. To do this:
- Turn the iPhone to safe mode to block third-party apps from running in the background.
- Turn off the phone then turn it on again by holding down the power and home button until the Apple logo appears.
- Hold down the volume-up button until the iPhone boots up and now runs in safe mode.
- Remove the unwanted apps. Tap and hold on to the app then tap Delete App.
- Restart your iPhone/ reboot the phone to go back to normal mode.
Is Adware Dangerous On An iPhone?
Adware, as previously mentioned, can range from relatively harmless to more harmful ones. In most cases, adware simply spams you with obnoxious pop-up ads that could interfere with your workflow. In extreme cases, the adware can expose your device to more malicious software.
To avoid getting adware, keep the following in mind:
- Keep iOS up-to-date
Updated software is one of your strongest defenses against adware or any malware. Just go to Settings > General > Software update. Automatic software updates must be turned ON by default and all settings under it must be toggled to the right so they appear green.
- Avoid Jailbreaking your iPhone
Jailbreaking is removing Apple’s built-in security measures allowing unrestricted access to your iPhone. While this allows you to customize iOS and install third-party apps, it can also leave you vulnerable to malware.
- Use Security App for iOS
You can always opt to add an extra layer of protection with the help of mobile security software from a reputable developer.
Learn more about cell phone security with this guide!