Viruses have plagued our computers nearly as long as they have been used. Now that those computers have shrunk in size and migrated to our pockets, it is not much different. It is true that smart phones can get viruses, but in general they are easier to get rid of than computer viruses, and are generally less malicious.
There are a few methods that can be used to get rid of smart phone viruses without too much hassle. Here’s an eight-step guide on how to clean your phone from virus attacks:
1. Know how it happens
Both iPhone and Android smart phones can get viruses, although it is significantly more difficult for iPhones. If an iPhone is jailbroken it could get a virus, but otherwise this brand is generally safe. The most common way for a smart phone to get a virus is by downloading an app that has a virus in it, but it could also happen by clicking an unknown link in a text message or email.
Luckily, smart phone viruses are much less common than computer viruses. Knowing how to protect yourself from getting a virus is key, as it lowers the likelihood (note: it does not eliminate the possibility) of getting a virus.
2. Recognize the signs
There are several indicators that a smart phone has a virus. If you notice outgoing calls or text messages being sent from your phone that you didn’t send, or if the quality of your actual phone calls is affected, these are a couple of signs that there is a virus. Other signs include if your battery is depleting alarmingly quickly, if the phone heats up even when it’s not being used or if it runs very slowly. The only way to work towards removing a virus is to first recognize that you have one.
3. Let a professional deal with it
If you have ongoing problems with your phone, and nothing is working, it is a good idea to visit a professional repair service for your cell phone. They will be able to locate the source of the problem, identify what the problem is, and fix it for you. Then, they may also be able to give you some advice on how to avoid it from happening again. They may not necessarily have to do anything you could not have done yourself, but they are a great source of knowledge to help you protect your device.
4. Download an antivirus
Although no antivirus apps exist for iOS, Android does have some antivirus apps that can be downloaded to scan the phone for viruses. Some are free for a basic, functional version, and have more features available for a small fee. For those who are using their phone in a very normal matter – text messages, phone calls, and a select few well-known apps – it shouldn’t really be a concern. However, for those downloading several apps, especially not well-known apps, or apps from third-party sites, it may be a necessary step.
5. Update problem apps
You can often remove a virus from your phone by updating the app that introduced it in the first place. By doing so, the app will prevent hacks that use the app to bypass security. New app updates will usually patch any known virus gateways, so the virus will no longer have access to your device.
You can often set up your phone to automatically update apps, but if you are having problems with an app, and especially if you think it is a virus, you could consider contacting the developer to see about patching it.
6. Update your phone
There are two ways to block a virus – the app can block the virus from accessing your device through it, but your phone can also block the virus from accessing your device. By updating your phone, it may patch up vulnerable areas that are allowing viruses to access your particular model or device. So, even if an app is vulnerable to a virus, your phone may be able to protect itself
7. Remove problem apps
If you want to learn how to clean your phone from virus infections, there’s a strong chance that the virus resides inside one of your apps. When an app is causing problems, one of the best ways to take care of it is simply to remove it from your phone. After uninstalling the app, reboot your phone and the virus should have been removed as well.
However, if you have given the app access as device administrator, you may not be able to uninstall it, and you’ll have to try another method.
8. Factory reset
A total factory reset of the device is like the magical cure-all of smart phone problems. Unfortunately it also means completely deleting everything off of the phone and starting from scratch. Any information you don’t have backed up in another location will be lost. Be aware of this fact and prepare before you use this method. You might want to try this as a last resort, as it is probably the most inconvenient method.