iPhone Virus Warnings: How to Get Rid of Fake Security Alerts on Your iPhone

* This post is part of iPhone Life's Tip of the Day newsletter. . *

You're browsing a website on your iPhone when suddenly a pop-up appears. "Warning! iOS Security Breach! Virus detected on iPhone!" Well, that's alarming! Luckily, there's a number to call and get everything sorted out, right? If you haven't already heard, virus warnings and Apple security alerts like these are scams designed to get you to click on a link or call a number. If you fall for it, your iPhone can be infected with malware, or you may be tricked into giving away personal data over the phone. Step one when you see an iPhone virus warning like this is to not tap on it or call any phone numbers associated with it. But now what? How can we get these bogus iPhone virus removal pop-ups off the screen so we can use our devices again? Read on to learn how to quickly and easily get rid of fake iPhone virus warnings on your phone.

Related: 10 Tips to Protect Your iPhone From Hackers

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iPhone Virus Warnings and Scams: How to Get Rid of Fake Security Alerts on Your iPhone

As mentioned above, the first thing you want to do if you get a virus warning in a pop-up is to remember that Apple doesn't send out messages like these; don't tap on it or call any numbers listed on a pop-up. Also—and this is really important—don't even tap on the pop-up to close it! Some pop-ups seem to have an X or Close option that only resembles a close button but will actually direct you to the phishing site. Instead:

  • Close out the Safari tab or window that the pop-up appeared in.
  • Open Settings on your iPhone.
  • Toggle on Airplane Mode.

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The reason for toggling on Airplane Mode is to temporarily disconnect from the internet, this way you can reset Safari while blocking unwanted access to your iPhone. Next, scroll down within Settings:

  • Tap on Safari.
  • Tap on Clear History and Website Data.

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  • While you're in Safari Settings, it's a good idea to make sure your pop-up blocker and fraudulent website warnings are also toggled on.
  • Now you can close Safari, then toggle Airplane Mode back off.

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Now you can open Safari again, at this point virus scams shouldn't be appearing any more. If you didn't click on or interact with the fake virus warning, all should be well with your iPhone.

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Leanne Hays's picture

Leanne Hays is a Feature Web Writer at iPhone Life.  She loves reading and blogging, and is never without a book in her backpack or an audiobook on her phone. Short-term goals include finishing painting her house and starting an aquaponics farm, long-term goals include a bike tour of Italy and writing a novel.