See an unfamiliar app on your iPhone that you didn’t download? Sure, it can be tricky to keep track of all the apps we install over the years, but it may also be a sign of a malicious app trying to steal your data.
Thanks to Apple’s meticulous screening process before apps are made available, it’s harder for threat actors to get an app hiding malware on the App Store. In fact, Apple’s App Store protected users from nearly 1.7 million apps found to be breaching privacy, security and content standards, preventing over $2 billion in potentially fraudulent in 2022.
However, despite a closed ecosystem and strict App Store regulations, your iPhone isn’t immune to malware, like infostealers or spyware. Malware can sneak onto your device in different ways, from a malicious link on a website or an app changing its icon.
This guide will help you delete random apps installed on your iPhone safely and make sure your device is protected with the best antivirus software.
Random apps installing on iPhone: Quick fixes
For the best way to scan your iPhone phone for malware, we’ve got you covered.
Safely remove an app on iPhone
If you find a random app on your iPhone, it’s best to delete it immediately. However, to make sure it doesn’t cause any damage to your device, you should delete it in Safe Mode.
On your iPhone, press the necessary buttons to turn off your device. Turn your iPhone 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.
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 and spied on by malware. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to clear your browser and app cache on your iPhone to minimise the effects of the malicious software.
To clear the app cache, go to Settings on your device and tap General. Select iPhone Storage and 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.
You’ll also want to clear browser cache on your iPhone, with many using Safari as their default browser.
To do this, go to Settings, scroll down and tap Safari. Navigate to Advanced at the bottom and tap on it. Select Website Data, then choose Remove All Website Data.
Change your passwords
If a random app appears on your iPhone and you’re seeing suspicious activity, chances are your iPhone has been infected with a virus or malware, and your online accounts and devices are at risk of being compromised.
To help mitigate potential malware threats or hackers taking control of your accounts, change your passwords and use a strong password to stop suspicious activity.
Changing passwords will stop hackers from trying to steal any sensitive information and your online accounts.
Use antivirus software on Android to detect and stop malware
Random apps on your iPhone could mean malware is installed on your device, and it needs to be removed the right way. Using one of the best antivirus software like Norton 360 (from $19.99/year) will keep you safe from any malicious software, like ransomware, adware, spyware, phishing and more.
That’s not all; antivirus software can provide extra features like VPNs, dark web monitoring and more. Norton 360 has all these features and extra security tools that can backup your data, prevent online identity theft and stop malware.
What’s more, Norton 360 comes with monitoring features to identify all suspicious activity on your device. It will help detect and notify you about any unusual activity, including malicious apps, and stop it using it’s protection tools.
How does iPhone get malware?
There are numerous ways malware can infect your iPhone. From adware and Trojans to ransomware and spyware, hackers use all kinds of malware to loot your personal and financial data – and all it takes is a mistaken click on a dodgy website, malicious email attachment or suspicious app on the App Store that has slipped through the cracks (such as these fake ChatGPT apps).
That being said, it is less likely for your iPhone to be infected with malware or a virus than Android phones. Apple is known for boasting a secure operating system (OS) and layers of protection on its App Store.
A popular method for hackers to infect mobile devices is through apps. There are plenty of examples of malware on Android apps, as it’s an easy way to trick potential victims into downloading legitimate-looking apps.
Since all apps on iPhone are obtained from the App Store and are sandboxed, Apple devices have a strong defence against malware threats. But that doesn’t make it impossible for iPhones to get malware.
Some users jailbreak their iPhones to access app stores outside Apple’s App Store. These stores don’t have Apple’s layers of protection, meaning it’s easier for hackers to distribute malware in illegitimate apps.
Can any antivirus scan and protect iPhone?
The best antivirus software will stop malware in its tracks. Not all antivirus software is equal, as some don’t have high malware detection and protection rates or have accredited lab scores to back them up.
Antivirus software comes in the form of security apps designed to detect, prevent and remove malware on your iPhone. When installed, it will scan through everything on your iPhone, including software, applications, files and even web pages. Reliable antivirus services will notify you about suspicious software, allowing you to block or destroy emerging cyber threats.
Services, including Norton 360 (from $19.99/year) and Bitdefender (from $19.99/year), include device monitoring features to help uncover suspicious activity early and offer the tools to fight off cyberattacks. Whether its a phishing attack, ransomware, spyware or infostealer malware, these security products have the tools to protect you.
These services have protection features that block malicious activity blocking any software updates on your device. To make sure your device is ready to identify and block malware damaging your system, set yourself up with an antivirus.
Best antivirus to prevent viruses and malware
1. Norton 360 🥇From $19.99/year
Best overall antivirus of 2023
“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.
Read our full Norton 360 review
2. Bitdefender 🥈 From $19.99/year
Best security features and tools
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.
Read our full Bitdefender review
3. Avast One 🙌 From $39.99/year
Best antivirus for beginners + free plan available!
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.
Read our full Avast One review
4. AVG👍 From 4.99/month
Best antivirus for multiple devices + free plan available!
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.
Read our full AVG Antivirus review