If you're trying to learn how to tell if someone is spying on your iPhone, odds are that you have noticed some oddities with your device already and you are worried that someone could be listening to your calls, watching you through your camera, and tracking your movements. So how do you know if someone is spying on your phone? This article will tell you the best ways to spot spyware and how to protect yourself from it.
Can Someone Spy On My iPhone?
Yes someone can spy on your iPhone, and it's a near certainty that the NSA is recording from your cameras and smartphone microphone at all times. As concerning as that sounds, it's not generally for you personally as they do it for everybody. For the average person, this will never affect their life, even if it is a violation of your previously held right to privacy. Not that you can do anything about it.
A much bigger practical concern is if you are being spied on by other individuals. It's absolutely possible, so let's discuss how to know if someone is monitoring you and how to stop anyone from spying on your iPhone.
How To Know If Someone Is Spying On Your iPhone
1. Unusual battery drain
All methods of spying on an iPhone require keeping apps running in the background. Because these apps never turn off, they constantly draw power from the battery. The better iPhone spies will also be able to activate your camera and microphone, using even more power.
If your phone suddenly needs to be charged more often, it is very likely that someone is monitoring you.
2. Hot Battery When In Idle Mode
We've all felt our phones get hot after heavy use. Sometimes this is because of long video game sessions, video calls, or even web browsing.
The battery gets warm because the processor is working harder and using much more power than usual.
When someone is spying on your phone, it is constantly under more load and the battery can become warm at times that would not make sense for how much it is being used. This is the second most reliable method of telling if someone is spying on your iPhone.
3. Excessive Data Use
All spy apps have to give the user access to your phone remotely and upload data from your iPhone to the hacker. Both of these activities use quite a bit of data. The standard procedure is for all of your pictures, videos, and media to be uploaded to the cloud for later retrieval by the wacker, so that's a lot of data usage right there.
If you notice a sudden spike in data usage that does not correspond to your own usage, you know that someone is spying on your iPhone.
4. Slow iPhone Performance
The same heavy resource usage that causes shortened battery life also causes slow performance. When you notice that the performance of your phone suddenly worsens, it's time to start wondering if your phone has been compromised.
5. Unexpected Reboots
iPhones rarely crash, and an iOS crash is the only valid reason for an unexpected reboot. If hackers were attempting to monitor you, they may need to reboot it to update the software or enforce a system change so be aware of any spontaneous reboots.
6. Difficulty Turning Off iPhone
Although most people don't shut off their phones very often, we usually know how long it takes for them to shut down. When you notice that it takes an unusually long time to shut down, particularly every time you shut it down, this can be a sign that you are being spied on.
To investigate further, manually close all open apps 2-3 minutes before shutting down. Then, when you shut down, you know that nothing authorized should be running so if the shutdown still seems to hang then you are very likely to have spyware running in the background.
7. iPhone Shows Signs of Activity in Standby Mode
It is normal for your screen to light up when a message or call is being received, but it should never come on for no apparent reason.
Some spyware simulates user actions, which could cause your screen to light up briefly. If not notifications are found, it's time to start being suspicious.
8. Unrecognized Outgoing Messages
Spying apps can not only read your messages but also send SMS messages.
Typically, the person spying on you would send a message to one of the contacts already on your phone, pretending to be you, and then delete their message and the reply so you will never see it. For example, a jealous wife may send a message to her husband's female friend to see if her reply will be incriminating and then delete both messages so he will never know.
Sometimes, though, the timing does not work for the spy and the phone's owner sees a message they do not recognize. If this ever happens, you have spyware on your iPhone.
9. Suspicious Apps or Files
It's always good to not install more apps on your phone than you need so that you can easily spot new icons that appear.
If you notice icons for apps you don't recall installing, or files that appear without explanation, it is worth investigating further to see if there is spyware installed.
Any unexpected browser pop-ups are a reason to be suspicious, particularly on pages you are familiar with a know they previously did not use pop-ups.
When pop-ups are seen outside of web browsing, it's a near certainty that your phone has adware, malware, or spyware installed.
How To Stop Someone From Spying On iPhone
Most of the time when a phone gets hacked it's because of an oversight by the phone's owner. Either you didn't update to the latest version of the operating system, are using old versions of apps, have a weak passcode, or left your phone unlocked.
Simply following a few straightforward tips can make you a much harder target.
Keep your iPhone with you at all times
The truth is, most of the time people are spied on by people they know.
Usually, it's a girlfriend, wife, or husband that suspects their partner is cheating. It can even be a friend with an unhealthy obsession.
The typical course of attack is to wait for you to leave your phone unattended and then install a spy app on your device.
While you may think that a passcode would prevent this, consider how many times you may have sent a message and then set your phone down to go to the bathroom, walking out of the room before the screen turned off. If someone picked it up as soon as you went around the corner, they could not only browse through your messages and files but also install spyware in a matter of minutes.
Never let another person use your iPhone
Never let anyone use your phone outside of your view. Maybe you are letting a friend make a phone call because their battery died, but don't let them walk to the next room without you or get out of your sight.
We may think we know our friends well, but do you really want to bet your privacy on it?
Never use public WiFi without a VPN
Public Wi-Fi hotspots are convenient and they can save data usage, but they are also a hotbed of hacker activity. Between the possibility of your Internet traffic being intercepted and the risk of unwittingly connecting to a hacker's spoofed hotspot and losing your e-mail passwords, it's best to just avoid them altogether.
If you must use WiFi hotspots, or the convenience is just too overwhelming, always use a VPN so that all of your Internet traffic is encrypted.
Disable microphone access for unnecessary apps
Some otherwise legitimate apps may be set to have microphone access enabled. This not only leads to the possibility that the app is spying on you but also raises the possibility that spyware could piggyback on to the app and its permissions to turn on the microphone.
Take the time to meticulously go through your settings and disable microphone and camera access for any apps that do not regularly need access to them.
Use a more secure web browser
As much time as most people spend online every day, your web browser is a prime entry point for an attack. Using a more privacy focused web browser like Firefox, Brave, or DuckDuckGo can lessen the odds of data leaks.
Keep iOS up to date
Spy apps commonly rely on exploiting unpatched security holes in iOS. Even when this is not the case, an iOS update may break an installed spy app or prevent one from being installed as spyware makers and Apple are constantly racing to out-smart each other.
Never click on suspicious links
You should never click on a link in a text message or from an e-mail address you don't recognize. Even when you do recognize the sender, you should never select to download, install, or give additional permissions when prompted.
Turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when not in use
Any features that are turned on when not in use are just inviting exploitation. That's especially true for wireless communication. Leaving Bluetooth or WiFi on means that your device is constantly trying to ping other devices and broadcast its presence.
Make a habit of turning off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi as soon as you stop using them.
Delete un-needed apps and files
Sometimes junk apps get installed by wireless providers or even as part of software or OS updates. In other cases, they are entry points for spyware to enter your phone.
No matter what the case may be, any apps you don't use are serving no purpose and are only an entry point for hackers.
Change your iCloud password regularly
Many spy apps rely on accessing your iCloud account to spy on you. By changing your password regularly you can ensure that someone will not be able to spy on you via iCloud.