If you’re concerned that your phone might be hacked, there are several signs to watch for, including slow performance, rapid battery drain, unexpected pop-ups, and unrecognized apps. Other indicators include an increased phone temperature, unusual messages or calls sent from your phone, unexpected charges on your phone bill, and odd browser redirects. 

In this guide, we will walk you through 15 clear signs that your phone may have been hacked. Recognizing these signs early can help you take swift action to secure your phone and protect your personal information. 

Additionally, we’ll provide effective measures to regain control and secure your phone against future attacks. Whether you’re a tech novice or an experienced user, understanding these signs and knowing what to do next is key to safeguarding your digital life.

15 Signs that My Phone is Hacked

If you’re concerned that your phone might be hacked, there are several signs and symptoms to watch out for. Here’s a list of indicators and steps you can take to check if your phone has been compromised.

Your Phone is Running Slowly

One of the first signs of your phone being hacked is that it will start working slowly. This is because there is malware working in the background and it can use the phone’s processor (CPU), memory (RAM), and even the graphics processor (GPU) intensively. This increased load can significantly slow down other operations on the phone, as there are fewer system resources available for regular tasks. Everything from switching between apps to the Internet will be slow. However, this is not an exact way to say that your phone has been hacked. Slow speed could be due to other reasons too including aging hardware, full storage, battery issues, and more. Still, it is one symptom that you can look out for. If it is coupled with other symptoms, then you can be wary that your phone is hacked.

Your Phone Receives and Sends Spam Messages

If your phone is hacked, it’s possible that your phone number and other contact details have been accessed and shared among cybercriminals. This can lead to an increase in spam messages, as your contact information is added to various spam lists. Hackers can gain remote access to your phone, allowing them to send messages from your device. Some malware programs are specifically designed to send out large volumes of spam or malicious messages automatically. If such malware is installed on your device, it can use your messaging apps or email accounts to distribute these unwanted messages. These messages may contain malicious links designed to steal personal information or to install malware on the recipients’ devices. So, if your friends or family report receiving odd messages from you that you did not send, this is a clear sign something is compromised. You can even receive spam text messages on your phone from unknown sources if your phone has been hacked.

Unknown Apps on Your Phone 

One of the clearest indicators that your phone may have been compromised is the sudden appearance of apps that you do not remember downloading. This unusual occurrence can be alarming, and rightly so, as it often points to unauthorized access or malicious activity on your device. However, it’s important to approach this situation with a balanced perspective, recognizing the differences between potentially harmful apps and benign bloatware, and knowing when to take action.


It’s also worth noting that many smartphones come with pre-installed applications from the manufacturer or carrier, commonly referred to as bloatware. These apps might be unnecessary for your use but are generally harmless. Bloatware can often be identified by its association with known brands or by being listed as system applications. 

Malicious Installations

Cybercriminals can use various methods to install malware-laden apps on your device without your knowledge.  If you notice an unfamiliar app that you definitely did not install yourself, it could be a sign that your phone has been hacked. These apps can be tools for further exploitation, such as stealing your personal information, spying on your activities, or using your device for illegal activities like sending spam. This is why it is important that you keep checking for any unknown apps if you are seeing other symptoms of hacking too.

If you use an iPhone, you can check for installed apps through the App Store. Tap on your Profile icon and then tap Purchased. You will be able to see the apps that you ever installed on your phone. See if there is an app that you do not remember installing or is unknown to you. Delete this app as it might be causing trouble.


To check for installed apps on Google Store, open the store and tap the menu icon on the left side of the screen. From the option, tap My Apps & games. This will show you all the apps that you have ever installed on your phone.


Quick-Draining Battery

Reduced battery life in phones can often be attributed to normal factors such as aging hardware or increased usage patterns. However, a sudden and unexplained decrease in battery performance might also be indicative of something more concerning, such as the presence of malicious software. So,If you notice that your phone’s battery is draining significantly faster than usual without a change in your usage habits, it’s possible that hidden processes are running in the background. Malicious apps can consume a lot of power by continuously working in the background, thereby reducing the overall battery life of your device. Below, you will discover how this malicious software quickly drains your phone’s battery.

How Malicious Software Affects Battery Life

Background Processes: Some forms of malware are designed to run continuously in the background, carrying out tasks such as recording audio, tracking your location, or sending data back to a cybercriminal’s server. These operations require processor power and consequently drain battery life.

Adware: Certain types of malware, particularly adware, can drain your battery by constantly displaying ads or secretly clicking on them in the background. This not only uses your data but also your phone’s processing power.

Cryptomining Malware: One of the more malicious forms of malware involves cryptomining, where your phone is used to mine cryptocurrency without your knowledge. This is highly processor-intensive and can cause a significant drop in battery life.

To check battery usage on Android, 

  • Go to “Settings” and then to “Battery”.
  • This will show you how much battery is remaining. To see if the device battery is being used up too quickly, tap on “Battery Usage”.
  • Now, you will be able to see a graph for battery usage.
  • From here, you can figure out if the battery is being drained too quickly.

You will see the battery usage of different apps under the graph. If you spot an app that you did not download and it is using up the battery, then you should immediately delete it. 

And if you are an iPhone user, 

  • You can check the battery usage by going to “Settings”.
  • And then to “Battery”.
  • Then, tap on “Battery Usage” to see the battery usage of the background and foreground. 
  • You can see the battery consumption for the whole week to check if the battery has been draining fast for a few days now.

Hot Phone

When your smartphone, whether an iPhone or Android, overheats, it can be a sign of normal usage, especially during intensive tasks like gaming or streaming. However, if your phone constantly feels hot to the touch without such activities, it might be a cause for concern, indicating potential security vulnerabilities like malware infection. Malware often works in the background, unbeknownst to the phone owner, using substantial processing power which generates heat. Malware may also continuously transmit data over the internet, such as personal information or files, which not only uses up bandwidth but also processor resources, causing additional heat. 

Apps Do Not Work Properly

Since the hackers would be messing with your phone, it may not function optimally, affecting the performance of your standard apps. You might experience the following issues:

  • The app might get too slow or some features would not load.
  • The app might open or close on its own.
  • You might see an error that the app has crashed or has stopped working.

If you keep seeing messages like this for normal apps on your phone, then it might be a sign that your device is hacked.

Extra SMS activity and Bill Charges

Hackers can use your data to make international calls or send SMSs, to transmit the data on your device to a third party. Due to this, the SMS usage on your phone will increase and obviously, your phone bill will also be higher. You can check for this in one of the two ways:

  1. Check your phone bill. If there is a higher charge for SMSs than your usual bill, then there is a reason to get suspicious.
  2. Secondly, you can check for SMS usage in the Battery usage option. If SMS is using up more battery than it normally does, then it means that hackers are using your device for proxying via it.

Unusual Pop-ups on Your Phone

Another indicator of potential hacking is the presence of unusual pop-ups on your device. If you encounter frequent pop-ups, especially when you have ad-blocking features enabled, and the issue continues, this could signify that your device has been compromised. Do not click on any of the links in these pop-ups.


As you can see in this pop-up, the grammar is quite wrong. So, it cannot be from an authorized or trusted source such as Microsoft. You should not click on any such link or message as it can bring malware to your phone or take you to a site where the hackers want to take you.

Emails Sent From Your Device Go to Spam

If the emails that you send from your device are being sent to the spam folder or are being blocked by spam filters, it means that your device might be hacked. Ask your friends if they receive your emails. If your emails go to their spam folder, it means that the hackers have changed the email configuration on your phone and some third party is reading your messages.

The Device Goes to Bad Sites

A hacked smartphone, whether it’s an iPhone or an Android device, compromised by malware, presents various security risks, including the potential redirection to unwanted or malicious websites. This redirection usually serves several purposes:

Advertising Fraud

To generate revenue by driving traffic to certain websites.


Redirecting to websites that mimic legitimate services to steal login credentials, credit card numbers, and other personal information.

Further Malware Downloads

Leading the user to sites that automatically download more malware onto the device.

Mysterious Data Usage Spikes

Have you ever noticed your phone consuming more data than usual, even when you haven’t changed your browsing habits or downloaded large files? Unexpected spikes in data usage can be perplexing and potentially costly. Often, these spikes might not be due to your activity but could be a sign of hidden, malicious processes operating in the background of your device.

Causes of Unexplained Data Usage

Malware and Spyware: Malicious software can infiltrate your device, often without your knowledge, using your data to transmit information about your activities back to cybercriminals. This unauthorized data transmission can lead to significant increases in your data usage.

Hacked Devices: If your device has been compromised, it may exhibit unusually high data usage. Hackers might use your device to carry out tasks that consume a lot of data, such as sending spam or mining cryptocurrencies.

You Have Issues With Your Online Accounts

Once a hacker has your account credentials, they can engage in several fraudulent activities:

Credit and Debit Fraud

With access to your banking or payment service credentials, hackers can perform unauthorized transactions, transfer money, or make fraudulent purchases.

Account Hijacking

Hackers can lock you out of your accounts by changing the passwords. This not only prevents you from accessing your own accounts but also allows the hacker to misuse these accounts, possibly impersonating you or accessing further sensitive information.

Account Takeover Fraud

This broader strategy involves gaining control over several of your accounts, often starting with your email or main Google or Apple accounts. By controlling your primary email, a hacker can reset passwords across all accounts linked to that email, effectively taking over your digital identity.

The Flash of Your Camera Lighting Up

If you notice the flash of your camera activating unexpectedly, even when you’re not using your phone, this could be a sign that your camera has been compromised. Additionally, discovering photos and videos on your device that you did not take is another indicator that your phone may have been hacked. Be vigilant for these unusual occurrences as they can signal unauthorized access to your camera.

You Get Unexpected 2FA Codes

If you receive unsolicited two-factor authentication (2FA) codes via SMS or email, it often indicates that someone else has your password and is attempting to access your account. The 2FA codes are a security measure designed to prevent unauthorized access, even if someone has obtained your password.

In such cases, you should not enter the 2FA code if you did not initiate the login attempt. Instead, it’s important to immediately change your password for the affected account. Additionally, it’s a good idea to review your account’s security settings, update any other accounts that may use the same password, and consider strengthening your security measures, such as enabling 2FA on more of your accounts if it’s not already in place.

Your Personal Information, Including Your Phone Number, Was Compromised in a Data Breach

Finding your personal information on the Dark Web, such as your name, address, or Social Security number (SSN), does not necessarily mean that your phone has been hacked. Instead, it indicates that your personal data has been compromised and is potentially accessible to malicious actors. This can happen through various means, such as data breaches at companies where you have accounts, phishing attacks, or other security incidents. The presence of your personal information on the Dark Web does make you a more likely target for identity theft, financial fraud, and other forms of cybercrime. Hackers and criminals can use this information to commit fraud, apply for credit in your name, or even attempt to access your other online accounts.

How to Remove Hacker From Your Phone

If you notice any of the signs mentioned above on your device, it’s possible that your phone has been compromised. To tackle this issue and secure your phone, consult our comprehensive guide on the steps to remove the hacker effectively.

Uninstall Unrecognized or Resource-Draining Apps 

Begin by reviewing the list of apps installed on your phone. Uninstall any apps that you do not recognize or that consume an unusually high amount of resources (like battery or data). If you are unsure about an app’s legitimacy, research it using Google or check its reviews and details in the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.

Reset Your Phone to Factory Settings

If the malware infection is severe, consider resetting your phone to its factory settings, which will erase all data and potentially remove any lingering malware. Before doing this, ensure any backup used to restore your phone is from a time before your device was compromised. 

Restoring Your Android Phone to Its Factory Settings

To restore your Android phone to factory settings, follow these simple steps. Before you start, make sure to back up any important data.

Open the “Settings” app.

  1. Scroll to “General management” and tap it.

Choose “Backup and Reset.”

Select “Factory data reset.”

Tap “Reset” to confirm and start the process.

Restoring Your  iPhone to Its Factory Settings

To make sure you don’t lose your data when resetting your iPhone, first back it up using iCloud. Here’s how to do it simply:

  1. Connect to WiFi

Make sure your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch is connected to a WiFi network.

  1. Access iCloud Settings
    • For iOS 8 or newer: Go to Settings > iCloud > Backup.
    • For iOS 7 or older: Go to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup.
  2. Start Backup

 Ensure iCloud Backup is on and then tap Back Up Now.

Now you can reset your iPhone without data loss. For this;

  1. Open Settings

On your device, go to Settings > General > Reset.

  1. Select Reset Type 

Tap Reset All Settings to reset the device without deleting your data.

This method resets your device settings while keeping your data secure through iCloud backup.

Update Your Operating System and Apps

Keep your device’s operating system and installed apps up to date. Updates often include security patches that protect your phone from new threats. Ignoring updates can leave you vulnerable to hacks that exploit old vulnerabilities.

Use a Password Manager 

A password manager can help manage your passwords securely. These tools also have features to alert you if an account may be compromised and prevent their use on phishing sites.

Contact Your Bank and Affected Businesses

If you believe your financial information has been accessed, contact your bank and other affected companies to report potential fraud. This can help protect your assets and recover any lost funds more rapidly.

Change Your Passwords and Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Change the passwords for your important accounts, especially if you suspect they may have been compromised. Enable 2FA to add an additional layer of security.

Turn Off Mobile Data and Wi-Fi When Not in Use

Disabling internet connections when not needed can prevent malicious apps from communicating with their servers or transmitting data.

Clear Browsing History, Cache, and Downloads

Malware can reside in hidden corners of your device, including your browser. Clear your browsing history, cache, and any downloaded files that you do not recognize or need. This can help eliminate hidden malware or reduce its functionality.

Download and Run Antivirus Software 

Install a reputable antivirus application from trusted providers such as Aura or others known for digital security. Run a full scan to detect and isolate any malware, spyware, or viruses that may be present on your device.

Remove Unrecognized Devices from Your Accounts

Check the list of devices connected to your Apple ID or Google Account. Remove any device that you do not recognize. This prevents scammers who have gained access to your account from maintaining their access.

Sign Up for Credit Monitoring and Identity Theft Protection 

Services that monitor your credit and alert you to potential fraud can be invaluable after a security breach. They provide notifications of any unauthorized attempts to access or open new accounts in your name.

Consider Locking Your Credit

To prevent identity theft, consider placing a lock on your credit with the major credit reporting agencies. This prevents scammers from opening new credit lines in your name.

Inform Your Contacts

Notify your friends and family about the breach and advise them to ignore any suspicious messages that may appear to come from you. This can prevent the spread of malware or phishing attacks to your contacts.

Once you’ve followed the steps mentioned above, your phone should no longer be under the control of a hacker. However, this doesn’t guarantee future security against hacking attempts. To ensure your phone remains secure, it’s crucial to understand the methods by which hackers can infiltrate your device. Before we explore protective measures, let’s first discuss why and how hackers target your phone.

Why a Hacker Hacked Your Phone

The vulnerabilities associated with smartphone security are far-reaching and impact various aspects of personal and professional life. Here’s an expanded look at the dangers you face when hackers target your phone, and how they exploit access to your device:

Device Takeovers

Hackers might not always aim to steal your data; sometimes, the goal is merely to utilize your device. Once they gain control, your phone can serve as a tool for other malicious activities, including:

  • Cryptojacking 

This involves using your phone’s processing power to mine cryptocurrency without your knowledge. It slows down your device and drains your battery life, all while benefiting the hacker financially.

  • Ad-Spamming 

By taking over your device, hackers can generate revenue by forcing your phone to click on ads or even download apps that generate income per install.

  • Further Cyber Attacks 

A compromised device can be used as a springboard to launch other attacks, including those against large networks or other connected devices.

Data Leaks and Exposure

Your phone holds a wealth of personal information. If hackers gain access to this data, the implications can be severe:

  • Identity Theft

With your passwords, PINs, and other personal information, hackers can impersonate you to commit fraud.

  • Selling Data

There is a black market for personal data on the Dark Web, where your information can be sold to the highest bidder.

  • Unauthorized Access

Hackers can use your credentials to access your other accounts, including email and social media, which may contain further sensitive data.

Accessing Sensitive Photos for Extortion

Personal photos and sensitive information stored on phones are prime targets for extortion schemes:

  • Blackmail

Hackers can threaten to release embarrassing or compromising photos unless you pay a ransom.

  • Public Exposure

As seen in incidents like CelebGate, even high-profile individuals are not immune to having their private photos leaked online.

Spying and Stalking

Smartphone hacking can also facilitate personal invasions of privacy:

  • Spyware

This software can be installed by someone you know, like a former partner or a family member, to monitor your communications and movements.

  • Safety Risks

Such surveillance can escalate to physical stalking or direct harm, making it a particularly dangerous form of hacking.

Breaking into Your Workplace

Using personal devices for work-related tasks can inadvertently provide hackers with a backdoor into secure corporate environments:

  • Corporate Espionage 

Hackers can access sensitive company information, potentially leading to significant financial and reputational damage to the business.

  • Network Infiltration

 By compromising your device, hackers can potentially gain access to broader corporate networks and execute large-scale data breaches.

Identity Theft and Financial Fraud

With sufficient personal information from your phone, hackers can undertake various forms of financial deception:

  • Credit Card Fraud

Using stored or autofill card information to make unauthorized purchases or open new accounts in your name.

  • Bank Account Drainage

Access to mobile banking apps can allow hackers to directly transfer funds out of your accounts.

How a Hacker Hacked Your Phone

Hackers can hack your phone through various methods, some of which are quite technical, but here’s a simplified overview of common ways they might gain access:

Sim Swap Attack

A SIM swap attack is when someone tricks your mobile company into giving them control of your phone number. They pretend to be you and ask the company to switch your number to a SIM card they have. Once they do this, they can get into your phone and any online accounts you have that use text messages for extra security. This lets them take over your accounts and personal information.


Spyware is malicious software that gets installed on your device without your knowledge. Its purpose is to monitor your actions, collect your personal information, and send it back to the cybercriminals or third parties behind it. Spyware can capture a wide range of data: from your web browsing habits and downloads to your login details and financial information. This information can be used for financial theft, identity theft, or sold to advertisers or other nefarious users. Common ways spyware can infect your device include:

  • Downloading attachments or clicking links from unknown sources.
  • Installing applications, games, or media from unreliable sources.
  • Accepting dubious cookie consent requests or pop-ups on insecure websites.

USB Cable Hacking

Using a compromised USB cable or charger can also be a risk. If the USB cable is connected to a device infected with malware, this malware can be transferred to your device. This might happen even if you are only using the USB to charge your device. The malware might then infect your device, allowing hackers to steal your data or monitor your activities.

Public Wi-Fi or Charging Stations

Using public Wi-Fi networks or public charging stations can expose you to various cyber threats. Hackers can set up fake Wi-Fi networks that mimic legitimate ones, tricking you into connecting and transmitting your personal information through their network. Similarly, malicious software can be installed on public charging stations to intercept data from your device when you plug in to charge.

Phishing Attacks

Phishing is a technique used by cybercriminals to deceive you into revealing personal or sensitive information. They might send you emails, texts, or create websites that look legitimate but are actually fake. These messages often urge you to click on malicious links, download malware, or directly provide sensitive information such as social security numbers, bank account details, or login credentials. Phishing can lead to various problems, including identity theft, financial loss, and access breaches.

How to Protect Your Phone From Being Hacked

Protecting your phone from being hacked is crucial in the digital age, where personal data and privacy are frequently targeted. Here are some effective strategies to secure your smartphone and minimize the risk of unauthorized access:

Use Comprehensive Security Software on Your Phone

Just as you protect your computer with antivirus software, it’s crucial to extend that protection to your smartphone. A robust security app can defend against malware, phishing attacks, and other cyber threats. It can also include features like:

  • Real-time scanning to catch threats as they appear.
  • Anti-theft mechanisms such as remote lock and wipe capabilities.
  • Web protection to ensure safe browsing.

Stay Safer on the Go with a VPN

Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is essential when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks. A VPN encrypts your internet traffic, making it difficult for hackers to intercept or steal your data. This is particularly important when you’re accessing sensitive information such as bank accounts or entering passwords.

Use a Password Manager

Managing multiple strong passwords can be overwhelming. A password manager not only helps generate strong, unique passwords for each of your accounts but also stores them securely. By using a password manager, you eliminate the need to remember each password and protect yourself against the common security risk of using the same password across multiple sites.

Avoid Public Charging Stations

Public USB charging stations can be compromised with malware that infects connected devices. To avoid this risk, known as “juice jacking,” consider:

  • Using a personal portable battery pack.
  • Carrying your own cables and using standard electrical outlets instead of USB ports.

Keep Your Eyes on Your Phone

Physical security is as important as digital. To prevent theft:

  • Always keep your phone with you in public places.
  • Use a strong password or biometric locks (like fingerprint or facial recognition).
  • Enable device tracking features to locate, lock, or wipe your phone if it’s lost or stolen.

Stick with Trusted App Stores

Downloading apps from official sources like Google Play or the Apple App Store is safer due to their rigorous app review processes and quick removal of malicious apps once identified. This greatly reduces the risk of installing harmful software.

Keep an Eye on App Permissions

Apps requesting unnecessary permissions can be a red flag for malicious activity. Always review the permissions apps ask for and only grant what is essential for the app’s functionality. If an app asks for more than it needs, consider it a potential threat.

Update Your Phone’s Operating System

Regular updates to your phone’s OS can fix security vulnerabilities and improve overall performance. Enable automatic updates to ensure you’re always running the most secure version of your software.

Be Cautious with Unknown Sites and Services

Avoid browsing websites that you do not trust and never download files from suspicious sources. These can be avenues for malware to infect your device.

Lock Your SIM Card

If you suspect your device is compromised, contact your service provider to lock your SIM card, preventing calls, texts, and data usage.

Enable Biometric Security

Biometric features like fingerprint scanners and facial recognition add an additional layer of security, making it much harder for thieves to unlock your device.

Manage Bluetooth and Hotspot Settings

Keep your Bluetooth and hotspot turned off when not in use. When needed, ensure your settings are secure to prevent unauthorized access.

Use an Ad-Blocker or a Privacy-Focused Mobile Browser

Privacy-focused browsers can reduce tracking and protect against adware. Ad blockers can also help prevent malicious ads from compromising your device.

Regularly Check Your Credit Report and Bank Statements

Monitor your financial statements and credit reports for any unusual activity. Consider subscribing to an identity theft protection service that can alert you to potential fraud.

By implementing these practices, you can significantly enhance the security of your smartphone and protect your personal information from a variety of threats.


Recognizing the signs of a hacked phone is crucial for maintaining your personal and data security. Key indicators like unexpected slowdowns, unusual battery drain, excessive data usage, and strange messages should not be ignored. If you suspect your phone has been compromised, immediate actions such as checking for unrecognized apps, updating your security measures, changing passwords, and using antivirus software are essential steps in mitigating any potential damage. Additionally, implementing preventive measures such as using strong passwords, avoiding public Wi-Fi, keeping software up-to-date, and being cautious with links and attachments will help safeguard your phone against future attacks. Staying informed and vigilant about mobile security can protect you from the significant risks associated with phone hacking and ensure your private information remains secure. That’s all for today. If you like this article, share it with your family and friends. 

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