Can iPhones Be Hacked? Yes! How to Protect Yourself in 2024

Sayb Saad
Last Updated by Sayb Saad on December 19, 2023 Fact-checked by Justyn Newman Fact-checked by Justyn Newman

If your iPhone is behaving weirdly, it’s likely been hacked. If so, you may see random apps appearing on the home screen and unknown calendar entries. Your iPhone will also drain the battery rapidly with excessive data usage and be noticeably slower.

While iOS is generally regarded as a more secure platform compared to others, it is not immune to cyber threats. It’s wiser to proactively protect against potential hacks rather than dealing with the aftermath, as once your iPhone is compromised, there’s no assurance that your sensitive data will remain safe. In fact, the likelihood is quite the opposite.

Finding the right antivirus for your iPhone is difficult as most of them treat iOS as an afterthought. I tested 20+ top brands and picked the best antiviruses for iPhones. Norton is my #1 choice as it provides 100% accurate real-time protection. You can buy Norton confidently with its 60-day money-back guarantee.

Protect your iPhone with Norton

Quick Guide: How to Quickly Fix a Hacked iPhone

  1. Download and install an antivirus. I recommend Norton as it provides perfect real-time security for iOS devices with many additional protection features.
  2. Check overall security. The antivirus will search for existing issues like suspicious and outdated apps to remove a hacker’s access to your phone.
  3. That’s it! Now you can turn on the internet on your iPhone.

Secure your iPhone with Norton

Step-By-Step Guide: What to Do if Your iPhone Has Been Hacked

Step 1: Download and install an antivirus

The first step is to download a reputable antivirus like Norton on your iPhone. This will make your device hack-proof with its web and phishing protection features and useful extras like Secure Calendar and WiFi protection, giving you perfect real-time security. When installed, Norton will analyze your iPhone’s overall security status. A good antivirus tailored for iOS monitors your WiFi network and apps.

Step 2: Check Your iOS Calendar For Any Suspicious Events

After scanning your device for malware, inspect your iOS calendar for any signs of unauthorized or suspicious events. Hackers may exploit your device by adding malicious calendar entries without your knowledge by making you subscribe to a malicious calendar. Look for any unfamiliar appointments, meetings, or events that you didn’t create — carefully review each event.

If you find a suspicious calendar entry you can easily unsubscribe from that calendar by opening the event, tapping “Unsubscribe from this Calendar” at the bottom of the screen, and confirming by tapping “Unsubscribe” again.

Step 3: Change your Apple ID password & Enable Two-Factor Authentication

Your Apple ID is the key to accessing various Apple services like Apple Pay and iCloud. If your iPhone is hacked, you must immediately change your Apple ID password.

To change your Apple ID password, open the “Settings” app and tap on your name at the top of the screen. Next, select “Password & Security” and choose “Change Password.” You will be prompted to enter your current password, followed by a new password of your choice. Make sure to create a strong, unique password that combines letters, numbers, and symbols to enhance its security.

Additionally, I recommend turning on two-factor authentication (2FA) as it adds an extra layer of protection by requiring a second verification step. Even if someone manages to guess your password, they won’t be able to access your account.

To enable 2FA on your iPhone, open Settings and tap on your name at the top. Select Password & Security > Two-Factor Authentication, and follow the on-screen instructions.

Step 4: Update iOS and Apps

Updating your device and apps gives you the latest security measures on your iPhone. This reduces the risk of unauthorized access, data breaches, and malware infections. Updates have security patches and fixes that address loopholes in your iPhone in addition to bringing new features and improved performance.

The Best Software to Prevent iPhone Hacks — Full Test Results in 2024

1. Norton — Best Overall Antivirus to Prevent iPhone Hacks With Perfect Real-Time Protection

Key Features:

  • Detects 100% of iOS-specific threats in real time with its powerful SONAR analysis.
  • Includes dark web monitoring, ad tracker, spam protection, and web protection.
  • Compatible with iOS 13+ and other platforms like Android, Windows, and macOS.
  • Offers excellent support via 24/7 live chat, phone, and extensive online guides.
  • Provides a 60-day money-back guarantee.

Norton is my #1 pick for removing viruses from iPhones and other Apple devices. Its SONAR analysis goes beyond the simple signature-based detection technique and instead identifies threats based on how they behave — these include unauthorized access attempts and unusual network traffic. In my tests, Norton gave me 100% real-time protection and removed viruses like Xcodeghost and WireLurker.

I was super impressed by Norton’s web protection feature. It blocked me from opening malicious sites on Safari, which Apple’s in-built security system didn’t. Norton also identified infectious URLs in spam emails in my inbox, blocking them from opening when I clicked on them. Besides that, it’ll protect your iPhone with:

  • WiFi Security — automatically scans your network and auto-connects to its in-built VPN if you’re using unsecured public WiFi on your iPhone.
  • Spam protection — blocks scam URLs sent to your iPhone via SMS along with fraudulent calls.
  • Secure Calendar — blocks suspicious iOS calendar invitations that may contain malware to prevent hackers from remotely accessing your iPhone.
  • Data breach checker — scans your iCloud email address for past data breaches on the web, so you can take measures if your information has been compromised.
  • Ad tracker blocker — blocks cookies from tracking your online activity, preserving your online privacy and reducing exposure to potential hackers.

You can also protect your children’s devices remotely with Norton’s iOS app with the Family plan. It lets you set up screen time, limit access to certain apps, and block inappropriate websites. For instance, you can block Netflix during your child’s self-study hours in the evening while setting up my House Rules and even track their location.

Screenshots of Norton's Parental Control settings for iOS.
Norton’s parental controls let you monitor your child’s online and offline activities

While its extensive knowledge base has answers to most of your queries, you can contact Norton’s support team via live chat. I had to fill out a brief form on its site and was connected to an agent immediately. For more technical issues, Norton’s phone support is available in 50+ countries and multiple languages.

You’ll have to subscribe to Norton’s Mobile Security for iOS to protect your iPhone. However, its other plans also support iOS. If you’re in the US, you can take advantage of Norton’s LifeLock plans. They cover extra devices and offer more cloud storage. All of Norton’s subscriptions are backed by a 60-day money-back guarantee, so you can buy it with confidence.

Prevent iPhone hacks with Norton

2. McAfee — Global Threat Intelligence Blocks 100% Of Phishing Attacks in Real-Time

Key Features:

  • Offers perfect real-time protection score against iOS-based viruses.
  • Includes phishing, WiFi, and web protection with anti-theft protection and a VPN.
  • It works on iOS 13+ and is also compatible with Android, Windows, and macOS.
  • Provides fast support via 24/7 live chat, phone, and community forums.
  • Has a 30-day refund guarantee.

McAfee’s Global Threat Intelligence keeps your iPhone secure at all times. It’s a global hivemind that analyzes vast global data to identify zero-day threats before they can infect your iOS device. It successfully prevented Pegasus, Xsser, Jekyll, Yi Specter, and other iOS-specific malware from infecting my iPhone. McAfee Mobile Security also includes:

  • WiFi Scanner — scans and detects potential security risks in WiFi networks, securing your iPhone when it’s connected to public WiFi.
  • Web protection — provides real-time protection against malicious websites and downloads to give you a safe browsing experience on your iPhone.
  • Secure VPN — establishes a secure and encrypted connection on your iPhone while browsing the internet, so you can browse anonymously on public networks.
  • Identity monitoring — monitors up to 10 email addresses for breaches and immediately notifies you so you can immediately take measures to secure your iPhone.

Seeing my iPhone’s overall protection score on McAfee’s iOS app gave me peace of mind that my device was secure. It also provides valuable insights into potential weaknesses, recommending actionable steps to further improve your iPhone’s security. For instance, it suggested setting up 2FA for my Apple ID.

Screenshots of McAfee's iOS app, showing how to navigate from the home screen to the features options.
I could see my iPhone’s overall security at a glance with McAfee

With System Scan, McAfee automatically checked my iPhone’s OS and apps for updates. This was convenient as I didn’t have to go to the App Store or System Settings to periodically check if there were updates. The only catch is that its unlimited VPN and Identity Monitoring are only available if auto-renewal is active for your subscription.

While McAfee for Windows is relatively heavy compared to Norton, its iOS app is only about 100MB. My iPhone didn’t slow down while McAfee was running in the background and checking for app and system updates. I liked the clean and organized user interface, which makes McAfee beginner-friendly.

You can protect your iPhone with McAfee Mobile Security for iOS. However, it only supports a single device but includes web protection, identity monitoring, WiFi protection, and system update scans. I prefer the Total Protection plan, which works on multiple platforms other than iOS and supports 10 simultaneous devices. You can try it risk free for 30 days with its money-back guarantee.

Prevent iPhone hacks with McAfee

3. TotalAV — Optimization Tools Remove Unnecessary Files From Your iPhone to Improve Performance

Key Features:

  • Offers 100% accurate anti-phishing protection to keep your iPhone data secure.
  • Includes a VPN, optimization tools, an in-built browser, and data breach monitoring.
  • Works on iOS 9 or higher and also supports Android, macOS, and Windows.
  • Its support options include 24/7 live chat, email, phone support, and online guides.
  • Lets you try it risk-free for 30 days with its money-back guarantee.

TotalAV’s optimization tools free up space on your iPhone to improve its performance. While iPhones are incredibly efficient, they can slow down over time especially if they’ve been hacked. Its Photo Manager found 500+ photos in my gallery that I could delete, freeing up 1.2GB of space on my iPhone.

Screenshots of TotalAV's Photo Manager and iPhone storage, showing that the photo manager feature freed up more than 1.2GB of space.
TotalAV’s Photo Manager detected duplicate images, videos, and contacts to delete

With its Battery Monitor, TotalAV shows you how long your battery will last. It tracks the usage patterns of apps running on your iPhone, telling you which ones consume the most battery power. By identifying power-hungry apps, Battery Monitor lets you extend your device’s battery life. It also keeps your iPhone protected with:

  • QR Code Checker — ensures that the QR codes you scan with your iPhone are safe and don’t lead to harmful websites.
  • Web protection — provides a secure browsing experience on your iPhone by identifying malicious websites that could plant malware on your device.
  • Data breach monitoring — actively monitors the web for any signs of data breaches, so you can secure your online accounts through your iPhone.

On public WiFi networks, you can use TotalAV’s VPN to make your browsing activities anonymous. The VPN is powered by Windscribe, a renowned brand, and didn’t slow down my connections in my tests. I got fast speeds to stream UHD content on YouTube and my Netflix account.

Unfortunately, TotalAV’s iPhone app doesn’t have a password manager. This would’ve been an excellent enhancement to Apple’s in-built security for my iCloud and Apple ID accounts. However, you can set up Touch or Face ID by setting up 2FA for most of your online accounts, so I wasn’t that concerned.

I recommend signing up for TotalAV’s Internet Security plan. It offers data breach monitoring and all the above features for your iPhone.You can test it before committing as it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. If unsatisfied, just email the billing support team via email or phone and ask for a refund.

Prevent iPhone hacks with TotalAV

4. Bitdefender — Traffic Filter Prevents Hackers From Exploiting Your Apps to Steal Data

Key Features:

  • Prevents accidental data exposure and an interception to secure your financial data.
  • Offers excellent web protection, a VPN, and usage statistics for your iPhone’s security.
  • It’s compatible with iOS 12 or higher, Android, Windows, and macOS.
  • Has 3 customer support options — 24/7 live chat, email, and phone.
  • Provides a 30-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Bitdefender’s Traffic Filter acts like a firewall for your iPhone. It analyzes incoming and outgoing data packets on your network to block suspicious access attempts, data exfiltration, or communication with malicious servers. In my tests, it blocked an app from transmitting data online without my permission. Bitdefender’s iOS app also includes:

  • Autopilot — checks your iPhone’s overall security and provides recommendations on how to improve it.
  • Web protection — blocks phishing attacks and dangerous websites to make your iPhone browsing experience much safer.
  • Account Privacy — checks if your email addresses have been involved in past data breaches, so you can remedy your online accounts and change their passwords.

With Bitdefender’s VPN, you can encrypt your iPhone’s internet traffic on public networks. I ran multiple tests and found no DNS, IP, and WebRTC leaks, so my real IP address remained hidden from hackers. While a standalone VPN like ExpressVPN is much better, Bitdefender’s VPN is good for accessing global platforms from anywhere and streaming UHD content.

Screenshots of Bitdefender's iOS VPN connected to a server, with the results of a data leak test showing no leaks.

Bitdefender’s VPN lets you browse anonymously with your iPhone

The 24/7 live chat is the fastest way to contact Bitdefender’s customer support. I connected to a support agent in under a minute and got prompt responses to all my questions. You can also reach out via email or phone, but I recommend searching your questions on Bitdefender’s extensive online knowledge base first.

Unfortunately, Bitdefender’s iOS app isn’t as feature-rich as I’d have liked it to be. It lacks anti-theft, optimization tools, and network monitoring features that competitors like Norton provide. However, Bitdefender’s web protection and traffic filter provide enough security to keep iOS-specific threats at bay.

The Mobile Security plan for iOS covers 1 device. For more thorough protection, you can get Bitdefender’s Internet Security plan to protect your iOS, Android, Windows, and macOS devices. Its money-back guarantee gives you 30 days to try it risk-free.

Prevent iPhone hacks with Bitdefender

5. Avira — Privacy Manager Makes Siri Searches on iPhone Completely Private

Key Features:

  • Privacy Manager ensures your iPhone’s Siri commands aren’t stored on any server.
  • Includes smart scan for performance fixes, call blocker, a VPN, and anti-theft.
  • Works on iOS 11+, but its antivirus suite supports Android, macOS, and Windows.
  • Support options include live chat, email, phone, and its online knowledge base.
  • Offers a 60-day money-back guarantee, so you can try Avira risk-free.

Avira’s Privacy Manager makes your Siri conversations private. It opts you out of Apple’s user data collection for training Siri, preventing them from being logged in and sent for analysis. You’ll get greater control over the privacy of your voice commands. Besides that, Avira includes:

  • Web protection — blocks malicious websites and file downloads but only if you upgrade to the premium plan.
  • Data breach checker — monitors your email address for data breaches, giving you thorough identity protection on the premium version.
  • Network scanner — gives you the list of all devices connected to your network, ensuring that no unauthorized or unknown devices can harm your iPhone.

I ran Avira’s Smart Scan and it immediately scanned performance issues on my iPhone. It checked for updates, my web protection status, email breaches, network traffic protection, and more. The Photo Cleaner function identified and deleted duplicate images in my gallery, freeing up 0.5GB of space.

Using Avira’s VPN is the best way to make your iPhone’s traffic anonymous, especially on unsecured public networks. It kept my real IP address hidden and passed all my leak tests. My speeds dropped 15% from baseline levels but were still enough for bandwidth-intensive activities. However, it has a data cap of 200MB per day unless you’re subscribed to the premium plan.

My only reservation with Avira was its slow customer support. There’s no live chat option, and phone support doesn’t work. Every time I dialed the hotline, I got an automated response saying the call couldn’t get through. However, Avira’s email support is decent and I got a prompt reply from the agent.

Screenshot of Avira's email response

Avira’s email support representative gave me a detailed response to solve my query

Avira Mobile Security for iOS is available for free — it includes contacts backup, anti-theft, Privacy Manager, and a VPN. However, you’ll have to upgrade to the premium plan to get web and identity protection. Avira offers a 60-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it risk-free in case you change your mind later.

Prevent iPhone hacks with Bitdefender

Quick Comparison Table: 2024’s Best Security Apps for iPhone

Data breach monitoring WiFi security SMS security Simultaneous devices Money-back guarantee
Norton Mobile Security 1 60 days
McAfee Mobile Security 5 30 days
TotalAV Total Security 6 30 days
Bitdefender Mobile Security 5 30 days
Avira Mobile Security for iOS 1 60 days

Cure your hacked iPhone with Norton

How I Tested and Ranked the Best iPhone Apps to Prevent Hacks

Most antiviruses don’t focus on iPhone protection as they think Apple’s in-built security is enough — but that’s far from true. I extensively tested the top brands and picked the best iOS-specific antiviruses. I considered the following aspects in my tests:

  • Real-time web protection — All antiviruses on my list include web protection, so you’ll get real-time protection against online threats for your iPhone.
  • Phishing protection — I considered antiviruses that detected and blocked phishing attacks in real-time to give you 100% real-time security against cyber threats.
  • System performance — Antiviruses shouldn’t impact your iPhone’s performance. I assessed their impact on device speed, battery life, and overall system performance.
  • Customer support — I ensured all the above antiviruses support iOS and have user-friendly and feature-rich apps.
  • Money-back guarantee — My chosen antiviruses have refund policies, so you can try them out risk-free and get your money back if you don’t like them.

Secure your iPhone with Norton

FAQs on iPhone Hacks Recovery and Protection

Can an iPhone be hacked?

Yes! Despite Apple’s strong in-built security, iPhones aren’t foolproof to hacks. However, you can use a top iOS antivirus from my list to stay safe from cyber threats. This will remove existing malware from your iPhone and keep it secure in real time.

Like any complex software system, iOS can have vulnerabilities that hackers may exploit to remotely access your iPhone or plant data-stealing viruses. Updating your apps and OS may fix security patches but won’t remove any threats already on your device.

How to know if my iPhone has been hacked?

You may experience rapid battery drain, increased data usage, sluggish performance, and strange app behavior, among others. Check out this quick guide to fix your hacked iPhone. You’ll need a top antivirus to get rid of suspicious apps and prevent future hacks.

While a top antivirus is crucial to protect your iPhone, it’s equally important to practice safe usage habits. For instance, change your Apple ID password and set up two-factor authentication to prevent the hacker from misusing your accounts.

What should I do if my iPhone is hacked?

Follow this step-by-step guide to secure your iPhone. To cut your losses, change your Apple ID password and enable two-factor authentication. This will make your account inaccessible to a hacker and prevent it from being misused further.

However, using a top antivirus like the one from this list is the best course of action. Reliable antivirus software can identify suspicious entries on your iOS calendar and shady apps. Its web and phishing protection also prevent your iPhone from getting reinfected.

What’s the best way to protect my iPhone from hackers?

Using a top antivirus like Norton is the best way to protect your iPhone from hackers. It provides robust real-time web protection, WiFi security, identity theft protection, spam prevention, and more to keep your iPhone secure from prying eyes.

However, observing safe browsing practices is crucial to prevent potential vulnerabilities. Be cautious of suspicious links or attachments in emails and messages as they could lead to malicious websites or downloads.

Is there free security software for my iPhone?

Yes, but most aren’t good enough to keep your iPhone secure. The worst of them can even infect your device with malware. Here’s what you should consider when picking a good antivirus for your iPhone.

Most free antiviruses aren’t reliable — they either lack the necessary security features to protect your iPhone or don’t have those capabilities, to begin with. Here are the top 5 free iOS-specific antiviruses, but even they have limitations like limited VPN data usage and not having web protection.

Protect your iPhone with Norton

Keep Your iPhone Safe From Hackers With the Best Software

If you suspect your iPhone has been hacked, you must take measures to prevent your sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands. A hacked iPhone can lead to privacy breaches, data loss, financial exploitation, and identity theft. Using a top antivirus is the best way to restore your device and keep it secure from future attacks.

After extensive testing, I picked the best antiviruses that offer top-notch security for iPhones. Norton is the best option due to its perfect real-time detection scores against complex iOS-specific threats and many security extras like SMS security and WiFi protection. You can buy Norton confidently as it offers a 60-day money-back guarantee.

Summary — Best Software in 2024 to Protect iPhones From Hackers.

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