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“Your iOS/iPhone is damaged” pop-up scam explained

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  • 5 min read

Have you ever encountered a sudden pop-up on your iPhone claiming critical damage or virus infection? These alarming messages are a common scam tactic designed to scare you into taking actions that could compromise your device’s security.

Here, we’ve discussed the ‘Your iOS/iPhone is damaged’ pop-up scam, how it infiltrates your iPhone, and how to remove it.

Below we have discussed:

Also read: Can you get scammed on Apple Pay?

What is the scam?

This scam attempts to create a sense of urgency by displaying a flashy pop-up window. These messages often use scare tactics, stating your iPhone is riddled with viruses, severely damaged, or at risk of data loss. They might even display a fake percentage of damage to heighten your fear. The pop-up will then urge you to take immediate action, typically by clicking a button to download a “security app” or fix the problem, usually leading to:

  • Downloading fake antivirus software: Clicking the button might download a program that claims to remove viruses but installs malware that steals your data or bombards you with further ads.
  • Revealing personal information: The pop-up might take you to a fake website mimicking legitimate Apple support, where you’re tricked into entering your Apple ID, password, or credit card details.

Why is it a Scam?

  • Apple security: Apple prioritises user safety. Unlike the pop-up, Apple itself will notify you of genuine security issues through trusted methods, not through unexpected browser pop-ups.
  • Scare tactics: The scam preys on fear, using phrases like critical damage or virus infection to pressure you into immediate action.
  • Fake solutions: The security app or support number advertised in the pop-up is likely malicious. Clicking or calling could lead to malware installation or attempts to steal your personal information.

Also read: Why does RTT randomly turn on?

How does it infiltrate your device?

Unlike a true virus, these pop-ups can’t infect your iPhone in the traditional sense. However, they can infiltrate your browsing experience in a few ways:

  • Malicious websites: Sometimes scammers compromise legitimate websites by injecting malicious code. When you visit such a site, the code triggers the fake pop-up to display on your screen.
  • Deceptive ads: You might encounter these while browsing seemingly normal websites. These deceptive ads can be cleverly designed to resemble download buttons or system warnings, tricking you into clicking on them and triggering the pop-up.
  • Adware on third-party apps: While rare, some unofficial or untrusted apps might contain adware that displays these pop-ups as a way to generate revenue for the app developer.

How to remove it?

Here’s how you can get rid of Your iOS/iPhone damaged pop-up:

Close the pop-up

You should close the pop-up right away by clicking on the small ‘x’ or the ‘Close’ button, or by simply swiping it away. Don’t click on any links inside the pop-up. If you’ve mistakenly clicked on the pop-up, refrain from downloading anything or providing any personal information.

Clear cache and website data

This removes any trackers or malicious code the pop-up might have placed. Here’s how to do it:

  • Open the Settings app on your iPhone and tap on the Safari app.
  • Tap on the Clear History and Website Data option.
  • Tap on the Clear History button.

Also read: Apple ID hoax and phishing explained

Block the Pop-ups

To stop pop-ups from appearing in the future, you can turn on the ‘Block Pop-ups’ feature. Although this won’t stop every pop-up (since some legitimate websites use them), it will greatly decrease how often you come across them. Here are the steps to enable it:

  • Open the Settings app on your iPhone and tap on the Safari app.
  • Turn the toggle on beside the Block Pop-ups option.

Enable the Fraudulent Website Warning feature

The Fraudulent Website Warning feature notifies you if you’re about to visit a website that’s likely trying to steal your information, giving you extra protection against scams. Here are the steps:

  • Open the Settings app on your iPhone and tap on the Safari app.
  • Scroll down to the Privacy & Security section and turn the toggle on beside the Fraudulent Website Warning option.

Scan with security software

If you have a security app installed, run a scan to ensure your device hasn’t been infected by any malware disguised as an antivirus program.

Apple takes user security seriously and has robust protections in place for iPhones. These pop-up warnings are not genuine and should be ignored. By staying informed and cautious, you can protect your device and your data.

Also read: The 3 most expensive phones in the world

Akash Singh

Akash Singh

Akash is a law graduate who likes to go for bike rides on the weekends soul-searching for answers to his many existential questions. You can contact him here: