Your smartphone can easily be tapped by people around you, be it your friends, family, employer, or even your spouse. Android phones can be monitored with third-party apps, while iPhones can be spied upon after jailbreak. If you’re suspicious about your phone being watched by someone, then do not worry. Here are some easy ways to check if your phone is being tapped. Besides, we’ve also mentioned methods to stop it.
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Hackers or other people around you can spy on your phone to check your messages, calls, emails, notifications, or any other information. It is usually targeted and done via spying software available for monitoring Android and iPhones.
Tapping Android phones is much easier than iPhones. In the case of iPhones, the other party will likely have to jailbreak the device before installing any backdoor or spyware. Anyways, whatever device you have, below are some pointers to help you check if your phone is being tapped or monitored.
If someone is monitoring your phone, the first thing you’ll notice is a surge in data usage. Alongside, you may also witness increased phone bills.
Most malicious apps use the internet to upload your data. So, check your data usage to see if any unknown app or software is suspiciously consuming data in the background.
Using the phone in a hot environment, keeping the brightness at maximum, or playing heavy games or applications can cause overheating and battery drain problems. However, if the phone is getting warm or losing battery too quickly even when idle, it could be a malicious app spying in the background.
So, check your battery usage to see whether it’s due to common reasons like a buggy app update or apps running in the background, or there’s something fishy on the device.
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Has your phone started behaving abnormally like screen turning on, apps opening on their own, sudden lag or stutter, and phone rebooting automatically? Or have you started seeing pop-up ads on your phone? If yes, then it could probably be infected by spyware or adware.
Spyware tools usually eat a lot of resources in the background. A tapped phone could be recording all conversations even when the phone appears to be idle, causing the phone to feel sluggish and discharge quickly.
Plus, the phone may behave strangely if the other party is trying to perform remote actions on the device. Some apps may simply show you malicious ads, clicking on which will attract more ads, or further inject fraudulent software.
One of the easiest ways to find if your phone is being tapped or has spyware is to check if there’s an unknown app on the device. Spywares are usually installed without your information. So, go to the list of installed apps and check for unfamiliar apps.
Usually, these apps are disguised to look like system apps and may contain names like security, malware, messenger, scanner, etc. You must also be aware of popular spying apps in the market like mSpy, FlexiSpy, XNspy, and more. These apps can snoop into your calls, messages, location, and even capture your screen.
However, if your phone has an app like FamiSafe, Norton Family Premier, etc., it could likely be your parents limiting your phone.
Tip: If no other app is installed on your phone, yet the other party knows your location at a given moment, check Google Maps. Someone might have turned on location sharing on your phone. Thankfully, Google sends periodic notifications about it.
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Another sign of spyware on Android or iPhone is random suspicious text messages. If you have started receiving weird texts with random letters, symbols, or numbers from unknown senders, then you need to be extra careful.
These messages could be the other party trying to communicate with the spyware on your phone. Similarly, if your contacts report having received weird text messages from you, then the app is likely trying to install malware on their devices.
If there’s an unusual clicking sound or static noises during calls, then your calls are likely being snooped upon by someone. It’s not uncommon to hear these noises due to connection issues but if that’s something that started happening recently, then it’s a sign of phone tapping.
There are several third-party apps that let you scan for spyware on your phone. In general, any reliable anti-malware app would detect unwanted apps on your phone. That said, you can also try apps like Certo Anti Spyware to check for tapping tools on Android.
iPhone users shall check if their device is jailbroken. To do so, see if there’s an app called “Cydia” installed on the device. You can also use desktop tools like 3UTools or look for other jailbreak signs like extra customization options, apps not from App Store, etc.
If you find that the iPhone is jailbroken but do not remember trying anything such, it probably has been jailbroken to install spyware by some third party to tap the device.
If your phone is being tapped, follow the steps below to remove any spyware or tapping software from your Android or iPhone.
The first step would be to turn on airplane mode. Doing so would block all the connectivity features and cut off connection for the app or tool trying to spy on you. Once done, you can proceed with the other methods below.
Now, check the list of installed apps carefully and remove any app you don’t remember installing. Even if you have the slightest suspicion, delete the app.
Are you unable to uninstall a particular app on your Android phone? Is the uninstall button greyed out for the app? This is probably because the app has device admin access. Most malware or spyware apps use it to prevent users from uninstalling them.
To remove device admin access, go to Settings > Security & Lock Screen > Device admin apps and disable the toggle for all applications except for Google’s Find My Device and the ones you intentionally enabled the access for.
If a malicious app prevents you from disabling it, reboot your phone in safe mode. Doing so will disable all third-party apps on the phone. You can then uninstall the app without any hassles.
Restarting in safe mode varies by phone. Generally, you would get the Safe Mode prompt by pressing and holding the Power toggle in the power menu.
If the spyware is still present on the phone, proceed with a complete factory data reset but make sure to back up any important data.
If you have a jailbroken iPhone with spyware installed, backup data and restore the device using iTunes or recovery mode.
Lastly, check and update your phone to the latest available software. Doing so will patch any security vulnerabilities and make sure the same cannot be exploited again to infect your phone.
This was how to check if your Android phone or iPhone is being tapped or monitored by someone. Besides, we’ve also mentioned steps to stop your phone from being spied upon. I hope this helps you prevent others from snooping on your data. If you have something to add, do let me know in the comments below. Stay tuned for more such articles.