Can your iPhone be hacked? What to know about iOS security

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Here are some of the most common ways that an iPhone can be compromised with malware, how to tell it’s happened to you, and how to remove a hacker from your device

Let’s be clear: if your iPhone or iPad is connected to the internet, there’s a risk it might get hacked. Sure, statistics seem to support the idea that your iOS device is pretty safe (and Apple keeps adding new safety features), but your security largely hinges on how you actually use the device.

In this article, we’ll look at some of the most common ways for malware to compromise iPhones, some warning signs your own phone may have been hacked, and how to ‘fight back’.

How can an iPhone be hacked?

Sideloaded apps

One of the biggest complaints about iOS is how slow the operating system is in adopting features that have long been present on Android devices. So to overcome this, some users resort to an option that goes against Apple’s Terms and Conditions: they jailbreak their phone.

This bypasses the built-in limitations to content from Apple’s App Store, allowing users to sideload apps and widgets from third-party stores. Sideloading – the act of getting an app from an unofficial store – can also be done by downloading it directly through a website on Safari or any other browser.

While allowing, or not, access to content from third-party stores can be debatable, as of now, only the applications on the App Store have been officially reviewed for safety. Meanwhile, the risks are clear: when installing a non-verified app, you are giving it unrestricted access to your device.

Fake apps in the App Store

Apple’s official store on your iOS device is generally known for providing safe content. Any application made available on the App Store has gone through a process that checked for bugs, privacy policy concerns, identification of third-party ad providers, and licensing requirements.

But sometimes a bad app(le) slips through the safety net. And a simple calendar event spam, a malicious link shared via messaging apps, or an aggressive advertisement displayed while browsing a website can…

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