How to Tell If an iPhone Has Been Hacked
By Anthony Oster
Purchasing used or refurbished iPhones is an option that many consumers choose to make when upgrading their current phone. While purchasing a used or refurbished iPhone has some benefits, you may also be at risk of purchasing a jailbroken or hacked iPhone. Though some may welcome this scenario, others may be concerned with the safety and security of their personal information while using a hacked iPhone. However, there are several telltale signs of a hacked iPhone that you can check for. If you determine that your iPhone has been hacked, it can be restored by downloading the latest version of iTunes and performing a factory restoration of your phone.
Apple strives to maintain a consistent, uniform look and feel among all of its iOS products. While many consumers may yearn for the ability to customize their iPhone to their personal tastes, heavy customization of the iPhone's icons, keyboard and other proprietary features is one of the primary indicators that your iPhone has been hacked. Additionally, hackers are notorious for leaving their mark on hacked software. One such mark can include an alteration of the traditional Apple icon as your iPhone starts up. There are several variations of this hack, but some include replacing the Apple logo with a pineapple or some other fruit, video game characters and personalized images or videos.
One trait of a jailbroken iPhone is the ability to boot operating systems other than Apple's iOS software on your phone. Some examples of alternate operating systems available on jailbroken iPhones include the Android and Windows mobile platforms. If you are given the option to choose an operating system upon turning on your phone, your iPhone has been hacked.
If you notice apps on your phone that are not available on the iTunes store, it is an indicator that your iPhone has been jacked. Two common apps used by jailbroken iPhones include "Cydia" and "Installer." These programs are used to install unsupported apps onto jailbroken iPhones.
Restoring Your iPhone
If you discover that your iPhone has been hacked, or if you just want peace of mind that your iPhone is running official software, you can restore your iPhone to factory settings by downloading the latest version of iTunes from Apple and connecting your iPhone to your computer. Once connected, select your iPhone under the Devices tab in iTunes and select the "Restore" option. Your iPhone will begin the process of removing any compromised software and reinstalling the official iOS operating system. Do not disconnect your iPhone from the computer until the installation is complete.
Hacking or jailbreaking your iPhone not only puts the safety and security of your personal information at risk, but can also permanently disable or damage your iPhone if unsuccessful. Apple does not support the jailbreaking process and may void the warranty of any jailbroken iPhone or iOS device.
Anthony Oster is a licensed professional counselor who earned his Master of Science in counseling psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has served as a writer and lead video editor for a small, South Louisiana-based video production company since 2007. Oster is the co-owner of a professional photography business and advises the owner on hardware and software acquisitions for the company.