How to Get a Virus Out of a Cell Phone

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Advanced cell phones can become susceptible to viruses.

If a phone has become unresponsive or is acting erratically, it is possible your device has a virus. A cell phone with a virus may fail to make phone calls, turn off on its own or close applications unexpectedly, and this can be frustrating. Most basic cell phones do not run the risk of getting viruses, whereas more advanced cell phones, such as smart phones, PDAs or tablet devices are more susceptible to cell phone viruses due to their operating systems. The more complex the phone, the more opportunities it has to contract a cellular virus. Fortunately, you can remove a virus from a cell phone and return it to working order.

Identify the Threat

Step 1

Log your phone's symptoms that le you to believe a virus has infected the device. Be as specific as possible. Include what you were doing on the phone when the phone virus symptoms appeared and a list of any recent changes or downloads you made to the device.

Step 2

Write down any error messages that appear on your cell phone.

Step 3

Locate the make and model of your device. These can be found on the back of your phone under the battery on a sticker or under "phone info" on your device.

Step 4

Search for the error message, or symptoms, and device model number on the cell phone manufacturer's website or your cellular service provider's support website.

Back up Personal Information

Step 1

Download a backup or sync program for your device. These are available from your device manufacturer or cellular service provider.

Step 2

Perform a backup of your contacts, photographs, music and videos. Save these items to a memory card or with a USB cable to a computer that is not infected with a virus and is functioning properly.

Step 3

View or locate files after they are created. Items backed up by your provider may be available on its website after logging into your personal account. Ensure important items are backed up.

Get Rid of the Virus

Step 1

Follow device-specific instructions for resetting your device. This will return your phone to a like-new status and wipe out your personal information, and the virus. This process is sometimes called master resetting your cell phone.

Step 2

Power device back on and test for cell phone virus symptoms.

Step 3

Reactivate your phone and begin restoring your personal data. Add personal items to device individually (first contacts, then photographs, then music, etc.).

Step 4

Test your device for recurring cell phone virus symptoms after restoring each item. If symptoms come back after adding a specific file it may be corrupt and the source of your problem. Remove the item and do not restore it to your phone.

Things You'll Need

  • Phone

  • Pen

  • Paper

  • Computer

  • Internet access

  • USB cable


Only download programs and pictures from trusted sources. Read all reviews for applications before downloading them.

If you call technical support, use a phone other than the infected one.


Failure to back up personal information before resetting a cell phone results in lost information.