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Your iPhone may provide layers of protection from cybersecurity threats, but it’s still vulnerable to adware. Not only can this irritating software plague your phone with pop-up ads, but it can also lead to more harmful malware.

Hackers use adware to automatically generate money right without causing too much harm, but no one wants to look at even more online advertisements on their iPhone’s screen when they don’t have to.

Adware can sneak its way onto your iPhone through many methods, such as downloading an app (free or paid) or clicking on a malicious link on a website that quietly downloads the pesky software onto your phone, tablet or PC.

The good news is you can easily get rid of adware on your iPhone. And the sooner you do it, the better; it can be a sneaky gateway to installing harmful malware that steals your data and banking information.

Read on to find out how to remove adware from your iPhone and the best adware removers that do the work for you.

How to remove adware on iPhone

Adware can appear in a free app you download, meaning all you need to do to get rid of these obnoxious pop-ups is to upgrade to an ad-free subscription. However, this sneaky software can go beyond the app itself, with suspicious advertisements appearing in your iPhone or iPad’s browser and screen.

Safely remove an app on iPhone

  • On your device, press the necessary buttons to turn off your device.
  • Turn your device on again by holding the power button.
  • Once it lights up, hold down the volume down button until you see the Apple logo. Your iPhone should now be in Safe Mode.
Remove adware on iPhone
  • Tap and hold any suspicious or unwanted apps.
  • Tap Delete App. Restart your device to go back to normal mode.

Clear cache on iPhone

Apps and browsers that store your online activity can be used by adware to display more targeted ads. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to clear your browser and app cache on your iPhone to minimize the effects of the malicious software. What’s more, clearing cache can also help clear up space on your iPhone or iPad, boosting the device’s performance.

  • To clear app cache, go to Settings on your device.
  • Tap General.
  • Select iPhone Storage (or iPad Storage).
  • Choose an app you wish to clear.
  • Tap Offload App.
  • A message will appear stating it will delete the app but keep its documents and data. Tap Offload App.
Remove adware on iPhone

Many iPhone owners use Safari as their default browser. Here’s how to clear cache in Safari on iPhone.

  • Go to Settings.
  • Scroll down and tap Safari.
  • Navigate to Advanced at the bottom and tap on it.
  • Tap Website Data.
  • Tap Remove All Website Data.
Remove adware on iPhone

Use adware removers and antivirus software

The best way to get rid of adware, along with any other malicious software that sneaks onto your device, is to use an adware removal tool or antivirus software.

Many free adware removal apps will easily dispatch any lingering ad-based software on your device. But it’s a good idea to make sure these tools are trustworthy, as hackers can also disguise these apps to deploy more adware or malware. We recommend free apps from known cybersecurity companies, including Avast One and Malwarebytes Mobile Security. These will detect and remove any adware on your iPhone.

The best antivirus apps come with a suite of security features that not only get rid of unwanted malicious ad-based software but also any virus, malware, ransomware, spyware or any malicious software that burrows into your iPhone or iPad. Some antivirus software, such as Bitdefender, offers security subscriptions specifically for iOS, making it more affordable.

What is adware?

Also known as advertising-supported software, adware is software that automatically displays numerous online advertisements on a user’s screen. It’s a way for threat actors to generate revenue by displaying ads and luring users into clicking on them.

Adware is generally less harmful than malware, as developers mainly use it to make money by displaying a continuous number of ads without harming the user. This can be done through pay-per-click (PPC), pay-per-view (PPV) and pay-per-install (PPI). The more ads you see or click, the more profit the threat actor will automatically make – this is why you’ll see an abundance of ads pop up on your smartphone, tablet and PC.

Unlike the ads you see appear on webpages, it is software that installs on your device disguised as a legitimate program, software or app. It can request your device to show windows over apps or windows, which can make navigating around your device frustrating. What’s more, it can evade detection by hiding its presence from a device’s list of installed apps or replacing an icon of an app or program you download to make it difficult to spot.

While less harmful, adware can trick users into downloading malware, too. The ads that pop up can lead to malicious websites, and clicking the wrong link will expose your device to malware.

Signs of adware on iPhone

Adware can be easy to spot, as you’ll see a copious amount of advertisements pop-up out of nowhere, but other symptoms will notify you that your iPhone or iPad needs some cleaning. This includes your browser redirecting you to different web pages and installing unwanted toolbars, extensions or plugins. However, it can also affect your device directly.

  • Your device is slower than usual and crashes frequently.
  • Your browser is slower than usual and crashes frequently.
  • Browsing through websites takes longer.
  • You need to recharge your device more often.
  • Apps take longer to load.
  • There’s an unknown app or software on your device you didn’t download.

Best antivirus for iPhone

You can find out the best antivirus software below.

  1. Bitdefender
    Best overall antivirus

    Bitdefender

    Bitdefender takes the spot as best antivirus, and for good reason. It’s not enough that it boasts near-perfect lab test scores across the board, as it goes the extra mile by giving users access to a plethora of advanced security features.

    Bitdefender goes above and beyond in the features department, all while keeping known malware, ransomware, and viruses at bay. It will defend your device against new attacks, provide security for online transactions, keep you safe with a reliable VPN, and protect your accounts with a password manager.

    It’s a no-brainer when it comes to defending your devices against virtually any form of cyberattack, and its top-notch protection extends to its most affordable package, too. Protecting your PC and smartphone, from Windows and macOS to iOS and Android, is becoming even more necessary, and Bitdefender is the tricked-out shield you need. 

    See our full Bitdefender review

    Click here to get Bitdefender Premium Security ($100 OFF!)

  2. Avast One
    Best free antivirus

    Avast One logo on laptop

    With Avast One, you can protect your device from viruses, malware and ransomware for free. That’s right, and you don’t have to pay a dime for the extra security features the antivirus throws in, including its VPN, firewall and more.

    Avast One will safeguard your device from malware, comes with ransomware protection, blocks harmful websites and downloads from the web, scans your emails for malicious attachments, stops hackers from infiltrating your device through Wi-Fi with a firewall – the list goes on. That’s a lot of tools for software that’s free, and the included VPN and the ability to speed up your PC are a welcome bonus.

    It’s the ideal antivirus software for home use, as it takes the hassle out of staying wary of cyber threats lurking around, even if you’re not a tech whizz. What’s more, if you are looking for added precautions, its paid Individual and Family packages still boast great value. Hard to go wrong with this best antivirus.

    See our full Avast One review

    Click here to get Avast One (up to 50% OFF!)

  3. Norton 360
    Best antivirus for families

    Norton 360 on Laptop

    “Norton” and “antivirus” are synonymous these days, as the well-established cybersecurity brand has successfully fought against malware, viruses and nasty software threats since 1990. 

    Norton 360 offers excellent antivirus protection and extra features that make for a valuable, all-in-one security product. Its Norton 360 Deluxe and Premium package may cost a pretty penny. Still, with security across multiple platforms, a full-blown VPN, Dark Web Monitoring, Parental Controls and more, it will have a household free of cyber threats. 

    Norton’s certainty of its antivirus software’s capabilities is clearly defined by the brand’s 100% Virus Protection Promise. If a device protected by Norton 360 can’t get rid of a virus, the user receives their money back. It’s a big claim, but unquestionably, no one should expect to get that refund.

    If you have the money for it, you can also check out the premium Norton 360 Platinum package for even more online protection, including from identity theft. Without a doubt one of the best antivirus to get.

    See our full Norton 360 review

    Click here to get Norton 360 (get $80 OFF!)

  4. AVG
    Another best antivirus for free

    AVG Antivirus logo on laptop

    You can never go wrong with free antivirus protection, but some deliver even better detection and protection rates, along with extra security features, without costing a dime. This is where AVG antivirus shines.

    AVG provides reliable protection and only a small impact on performance for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. It safeguards your devices against malware, viruses and zero-day exploits, along with blocking malicious links and attachments in emails. Throw in phishing protection when surfing the internet and extra security features such as its SafePrice browser extension and Network Inspector, and you’ve got yourself a do-it-all antivirus.

    Sure, you can find all of these perks with Avast, but if you like a slick, darker user interface that’s easy to navigate, then AVG is for you.

    See our full AVG Antivirus review

    Click here to get AVG (up to 42% OFF!)

Darragh Murphy
Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from the mischievous world of online security to washing machines designed for earbuds. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for laptops into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. When he's not checking out the latest devices and all things tech, he can be found swimming laps, watching terrible shark movies, and trying to find time to game.  Previous Editor at Laptop Mag and News Editor at Time Out Dubai, specialising in food culture, nightlife events, gaming, tech and entertainment.

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