Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.


How to tell if someone is using your iPhone to spy on you (and how to put a stop to it)

It's hard for someone to get access to your iPhone, but it's not impossible.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Smartphones like the iPhone are home to so much information.

Texts, emails, financial, medical. Then on top of that, smartphones can be used to track our movements and what we do online.

It's vital to keep them secured.

But what do you do if someone has figured out a way into your iPhone? How do you even know if someone has found a way into your iPhone?

Yeah, scary, isn't it.

Over the past few weeks, I've been assisting someone in this exact position. Someone that they trusted turned out not to be worthy of that trust and

The first reaction of most people is to change their passcode, but that's not where I'd start.

Note: If someone does have access to your iPhone, either because they've guessed your passcode, or by another means, remember that making changes to revoke that access will be noticeable to them.

Here's the process that I follow for securing an iPhone that someone might have gained access to:

#1: Reboot

There's a reason we start with a reboot. Bottom line, if someone has compromised an iPhone using a jailbreak or some other exploit, a simple reboot should get rid of it.

Instruction on how to reboot your iPhone can be found here.

A regular reboot will also help to keep your iPhone running swiftly and smoothly, and it's something that I do once a week.

#2: Change your passcode

It has to be done. Make it a secure one because this is the key to everything on your phone: birthdays, pet names, names of children, these all such as passcode.

Apple has information here on how to change the passcode for versions of iOS ranging from iOS 12 to iOS 15.

Also: iOS 15.3.1: A pleasant surprise after the chaos

#3: Check for rogue Face ID or fingerprints.

You can have more than one face, and set of fingerprints enrolled in your iPhone. To check if someone has added their face to Face ID, tap Settings > Face ID & Passcode and enter your passcode.

If you see the option to Set Up an Alternative Appearance, then there's only one face enrolled, and you're OK.

However, if that option is not visible, there are two faces enrolled (or perhaps you enrolled your face twice). If this is that case, and you've not set up your device so someone else can access it, tap on Reset Face ID and go through the enrollment process again (it takes seconds).

If your iPhone users the Touch ID fingerprint reader, I recommend deleting all the stored fingerprints and adding them again.

Go to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode, then tap on each fingerprint and then tap Delete Fingerprint to remove it.

#4: Run an anti-spyware scan

It might be overkill, but it's better to be on the safe side. My favorite is Certo AntiSpy, and you can get more information about it here.

A lower-cost solution that you can run is iVerify. This app is great because it is packed with awesome hints, tips, and tricks on how to secure your iPhone.

iVerify: Added security for iPhone and iPad users

#5: Don't hand your phone to other people

It can be hard to set certain boundaries in life, but the one of not passing your unlocked iPhone over to someone else is probably a good one to build. A smartphone is packed with personal information, and it's OK to want to keep that private. 

Editorial standards