How to check if your iPad has malware

For some people, buying Apple products over any other brand is simply a preference. Sometimes it’s because devices like iPhones, iPads and Mac computers are far more resistant to threats like viruses.

For instance, here’s one of the great things about owning an iPad — unless you’ve jailbroken it, the chance of it becoming infected with a virus is almost zero. That’s great, but it doesn’t mean you’re completely in the clear.

Even if a full-fledged virus can't take over your iPad, threats like malware still exist. You know those phishing scams that trick you into providing information like passwords on malicious sites? Those links can also be sent to your iPad as easily as they’re sent to your computer.

Luckily, there are a few ways to verify you’re not looking at adware or a phishing scam, and they don’t necessitate buying anything. I’ll also tell you how to protect your iPad so you can avoid these issues altogether.

Checking your iPad for malware and other problems

To check if you’re looking at adware or a phishing scam on your iPad when you’re browsing the internet, check the URL in your web browser. If the URL has misspellings or a lot of numbers and letters, it’s very likely a scam and you should just exit the page.

If you keep encountering a page that says you have malware or a virus on your device, or you keep seeing a persistent pop-up ad, you may need to clear out your iPad’s cache. Doing this will sadly eliminate most saved passwords from your browser, which can be annoying. Just make sure you have your passwords stored elsewhere, such as a password manager, before you follow the next steps so you can re-save them all and get back to normal iPad use quickly.

Once you have your passwords ready to go, go to Settings, then tap Safari in the left menu. Tap the “Clear History and Website Data” link on the lower part of the page and tap “Clear” to confirm your choice. That malware/virus warning should now go away altogether, as should any pop-ups.

If you’ve received an odd notification in your email, rather than while browsing the internet, check the email address. Again, if the address has misspellings or isn’t officially from somewhere where you have an account or subscription, it’s very likely a scam and you should report it as spam, then delete it from your inbox.

If you’re concerned about your iPad’s behavior after you’ve jailbroken the device (which is not recommended), think back to any of your recent downloads. Were any of the apps from outside the App Store or from a company whose identity you have trouble verifying? Or is just one particular app acting oddly? The problem might be that app.

Check the developer’s social media pages for any news of issues, and make sure you have the most up-to-date version of the app. If things are up to date, and there aren’t issues being reported, uninstall the app and see if problems continue elsewhere on your iPad. If they don’t, you found the culprit!

Try to find an alternative app for that function in the future. If the problem persists, continue checking recent app downloads, or file downloads, and see if uninstalling these fixes your problem.

We also have tips to check if your iPads are giving bad information, or are genuinely compromised. Let’s see how we can protect our iPads so this doesn’t happen again.

Keep your iPad from being compromised

We’ve already talked about checking URLs and email addresses before clicking links, or providing personal information. On top of doing this, it’s incredibly important to keep your iPad, and your apps, up to date. Updates from Apple and app developers come with new security features, or direct responses to hacks or bad code. If you want to keep adware, malware and even some phishing scams off of your iPad, you need to stay on top of software updates, both for iOS and for each individual app.

Again, it’s best not to jailbreak your iPad to keep it 100% safe and to keep it repairable, as most Apple Genius bars won’t work to help a jailbroken device. If that is what you decide to do, however, make sure you take a few more safety precautions when you use it. Try using a VPN (such as ExpressVPN) while you browse the internet so it’s harder for your device to be targeted or seen by outsiders.

Download apps only from reputable developers. Consider getting an anti-virus app like Bitdefender Mobile Security, which can provide a bit more security to your device in the form of remote locks, added web protection and device wipe features.

Also remember restarting your device can sometimes help reset it if bad software has gotten in, and that kick people accessing your device remotely off your iPad. Also consider clearing your cache periodically so adware gets flushed out before it tricks you, or becomes an annoyance when you use your tablet.

The last way to protect your iPad is to back it up regularly, to cloud storage or your computer. If malware gets in that necessitates you restoring your iPad to factory settings, you’ll be less impeded if you have clean backups available, and your iPad can be back up and functioning that much sooner.

iPads are some of the safest devices when it comes to malware and viruses, but they’re still vulnerable to some attacks. Keep your iPad safe by knowing what to watch out for, and protecting it in advance with the advice we’ve provided.

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Learn about all the latest technology on The Kim Komando Show, the nation's largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today's digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.