iPhone Virus Warning: How to Get Rid of Fake Apple Security Alerts (iOS 16)

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

It can be alarming when you're browsing a website and a pop-up appears warning you of an iPhone virus. Virus messages, warnings, and Apple security alerts like these are scams designed to get you to call or tap on a link. Fake Apple virus warnings are a real thing, so be sure to follow the steps below on how to safely stop these scams by turning on pop-up blocker settings.

Why You’ll Love This Tip

  • Protect yourself from fraudulent virus warnings and phishing sites that can infect your iPhone with malware or trick you into giving away personal data.
  • Block annoying pop-ups that interrupt your web browsing on Safari.

Related: 10 Tips to Protect Your iPhone From Hackers 

How to Get Rid of Fake iPhone Virus Warnings

If you get a virus warning in a pop-up, the first thing to remember is that there is no such thing as an Apple security alert on an iPhone; don't tap on it or call any numbers listed on the fake alert. Don't even tap on the pop-up to close it! Some scam alerts seem to have an X or Close option that only resembles a close button but will actually direct you to the phishing site. Instead, follow the steps below:

  1. Do NOT tap anywhere on the pop-up. Instead, tap the tab icon.

    does my iPhone have a virus
  2. Tap the X button on the tab or swipe up to safely close it. 

    apple security alert on Phone
  3. Open the Settings app.

  4. Toggle on Airplane Mode; this temporarily disconnects your phone from the internet so you can reset Safari while blocking unwanted access to your iPhone.

  5. Scroll down and tap Safari.

  6. Tap Clear History and Website Data.

    clear history and website data
  7. While in Safari settings, it's a good idea to make sure Block Pop-ups and Fraudulent Website Warning are also toggled on.

    pop up blocker and fraudulent website warning settings
  8. Tap on Settings in the upper-left corner. 

    iPhone virus checks online alerts are scams
  9. Toggle Airplane Mode back off.

Now you can open Safari again; at this point, Apple virus scams shouldn't be appearing anymore. If you didn't click on or interact with the fake virus warning, all should be well with your iPhone. If you're curious to learn more about iPhone security, we've also published other articles about iPhone viruses, including Can iPhones Get Viruses, which includes how to get rid of a virus on an iPhone. We've also written about ways to protect yourself from fraud and identity theft and how to set up two-factor authentication!

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Author Details

Leanne Hays's picture

Author Details

Leanne Hays

Leanne Hays has over a dozen years of experience writing for online publications. As a Feature Writer for iPhone Life, she has authored hundreds of how-to, Apple news, and gear review articles, as well as a comprehensive Photos App guide. Leanne holds degrees in education and science and loves troubleshooting and repair. This combination makes her a perfect fit as manager of our Ask an Expert service, which helps iPhone Life Insiders with Apple hardware and software issues.
In off-work hours, Leanne is a mother of two, homesteader, audiobook fanatic, musician, and learning enthusiast.