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Topic Data Protection

How to Know If Your Phone Is Tapped

Your partner, employer, a police officer, a hacker, or a journalist — they can all be curious about what goes on in your private messages. Some might even be so interested that they would use malware to access this data. Check if your phone is tapped right now!

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Table of contents

6 ways to tell if your phone is tapped

Phone tapping, also called phone monitoring and tracing, happens when hackers use a mobile network or software (through mobile apps) to follow your actions and monitor your conversations.

 

Given that newer, more advanced spyware continue to be created, mobile users continue to be at risk of being tapped without them knowing it.

 

It may be possible that your phone is simply acting up. However, if your phone ticks for at least two of the signs listed below, it is likely that your phone is tapped.

 

Your battery dies faster than usual

Several things can make your battery drain quickly and overheat. This includes keeping your phone’s brightness at maximum, running numerous apps and memory-heavy games, or having a thick case that locks the heat in. 

 

You should also monitor your usage. Have you been using apps or doing voice and video calls more often than usual? Then this may be the culprit.

 

However, if your phone becomes hot or runs low on battery often, despite being idle most of the time, something fishy is going on.

 

A tapped mobile phone consistently records your activities and conversations and sends them to a third party. This increases its battery usage, causing it to drain faster than usual. 

 

You can check your phone’s settings to see which apps or functions are hogging your battery:

  • On an Android: Head to Settings > Device > Battery to see which apps use the most of your battery
Battery Usage on Android
  • On an iPhone: Go to Settings > Battery, the tap Battery Usage
Battery Usage on iPhone

Mobile data usage increases

Monitoring your data usage can help you save money, mainly since certain apps use huge amounts of data. But it can also help spot spyware lurking on your phone.

 

Tapping software uses a lot of data to upload stolen information collected from your device to an outside source.

 

If you’re already running low on your monthly data allocation or got shocked with an unusually high phone bill due to a spike in your data usage, despite not changing any mobile habits, then someone may be tapping your device.

Unwanted ads and apps appear regularly

A telltale sign that your phone is tapped is when you see apps you’re sure you didn’t download. The same is true if you suddenly find unwanted popups and spammy ads, even when you’re not actively browsing the web.

 

While this is common for Androids, iPhones are not exempt. For example, 17 apps on the App Store were found to be fraudulent. These apps were adware used to display unwanted ads on your phone. An ad blocker for iPhone would be helpful in these cases.

Websites look different

Malware installed on your phone can intercept the communication between you and the sites you visit. 

 

It may use the information it gathers to show you fake pages or malicious sites meant to trick you, potentially getting more sensitive information from you.

Performance issues crop up

Spyware that runs power-intensive activities may cause your phone to perform slower than usual. As mentioned, spyware and malware use your phone’s resources to transmit your personal data to a third-party server.

 

While apps take up power, they should not affect your phone’s performance. On the other hand, spyware will cause your phone to slow down since they typically perform tasks that require significant energy, like GPS tracking and audio and video recording. 

Strange messages and notifications start appearing

A commonly ignored but glaring sign that your phone is tapped is the presence of weird messages containing a string of numbers, symbols, and letters.

 

You might mistaken these suspicious messages as spam or missent messages, but they may actually be an outside party trying to communicate with the spyware on your phone. You can also unknowingly spread the malware if your friends mention receiving a similar text from you.

If your phone is showing at least two of the signs mentioned above, you urgently need to run a thorough security check on your phone to detect and get rid of spyware apps.

What to do if your phone is tapped

If you figured out that your phone is tapped, don’t fret — you can take specific measures to remove any tapping software on your phone.

Turn on airplane mode

The first step you need to take is to cut off all your phone’s connections to any hacker or outside source connected through the spyware. 

Airplane mode on iPhone

The easiest way to do this is to go on airplane mode. Once you’re in airplane mode, you can proceed with the other tips.

Thoroughly scan your phone

Go through the entire list of apps installed on your phone. Remove apps you don’t remember downloading. You can also inspect which apps are utilizing the most of your RAM.

  • On your Android: Tap Settings > Apps, then go to Running
Apps usage on Android
  • On your iPhone: Go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage
iPhone Storage on iPhone

Be sure to check any app that seems sketchy or unfamiliar to you. Spyware is usually camouflaged as system apps, hiding under names like “security,” “scanner,” and “messenger.”

 

Put your phone in safe mode

Sometimes, an app won’t allow you to remove it. Enter into safe mode so your phone will only load core system services and disable all third-party apps and tweaks. This also allows you to easily remove stubborn apps causing issues to your system, including spyware.

 

To go to Safe Mode on your Android:

  1. Press and hold the Power key while the device is turned on
  2. Tap and hold to power off until you see Reboot to safe mode
  3. Tap OK

 To go to Safe Mode on your iPhone:

  1. Turn off your iPhone
  2. Press and release the Power button to turn on your device
  3. Once your iPhone’s screen lights up, press the Volume down button and release it once the Apple logo appears

Do a factory reset

A full-proof way to remove all traces of spyware, malware, and adware on your device is by doing a factory reset. Just make sure to back up your device, as this will wipe up all your data.

 

On your Android phone:

  1. Tap Settings > System > Reset Options
  2. Once on the Factory reset page, choose Erase all data
Factory Reset on Android

On your iPhone:

  1. Go to Settings > General, then select Transfer or Reset iPhone
  2. Choose Reset
Erase all content and settings on iPhone

Use third-party spyware trackers

 

Instead of doing all the hard work by yourself, you can use reliable third-party apps like Clario’s anti-spyware tool for Android to routinely scan your files and apps daily. 

Clario on iOS

You can also set the app to scan automatically all the apps you plan to install or files you want to download. Once Clario detects a threat, it will inform you and ask your permission to delete the malware.

 

Clario’s automatic daily scan also prevents viruses and malware from stealthily entering your device. 

Summary

Knowing whether your phone is tapped can be difficult if you don’t know what you’re looking for. If you find your phone to is tapped, act as soon as possible to prevent it from causing more harm.

 

For peace of mind, install Clario’s anti-spyware tool for Android. If you own an iPhone, use our app to check if your iPhone is jailbroken, which puts it in a very vulnerable spot.

 

Doing these extra measures are important so you don’t have to worry about any hacks or phone tapping in the future.

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