Tablet Tips

How to Tell If Your Tablet Is Infected By Malware

Learn how to tell if your tablet is infected by malware and what you can do to clean it. That way you can keep your tablet data safe.

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And What You Can Do to Remove It

How to Tell If Your Tablet Is Infected By Malware

Malware has long been a problem for computer owners, with Windows users being particularly vulnerable. However, today there are more smartphones and tablets than ever, and with it has come malware that attacks your tablets just as they do on a PC. The bad thing is, many tablet owners have no idea that they are at risk.

Today, we will look at the dangers of malware and how they happen, what happens to your tablet when you do get infected, and what you can do to remove malware when it happens. Unfortunately, this is more of a when, not if situation. No matter what you do, there is a good chance you will encounter malware on your tablet at some point or another. If you do, let’s learn how you recognize it and what you can do to fix it.

Dangers of Malware

Many of you may think that because malware isn’t really a virus, they aren’t very dangerous. But really, there isn’t that big of a difference between viruses and malware. Truthfully, the only difference between the two is how they replicate themselves. As far as what they can do, they are very similar.

If you become infected, your tablet could slow down considerably or you could start getting a lot of popups. If that’s all that happens, consider yourself very lucky. They can be far worse. If you get infected with something more serious, you could notice charges to your accounts without your knowledge or you could even find your personal data stolen.

To sum it up, malware can pose a great danger not only to your tablet, but to yourself as well. If your personal data gets stolen, then you could be in for months or even years worth of problems as you try to clean up the damage that’s been done. Needless to say, you don’t want to become infected, and if you do, you will need to clean it up as quickly as possible.

How Infections Happen

Now, you may be wondering how you get infected in the first place. It’s a common question. After all, the design of tablets is quite a bit different from your average Windows PC, so how does it happen? Well, to answer your question, it can happen in much the same manner, regardless of the differences in the platforms. However, here are the most common methods that I have seen in my experience

1. Infected Websites

Just like your PC, if you visit an infected website using the browser on your tablet, you could unwittingly be infected by malware. Often these will impact the browser alone, but there are more extreme cases that result in your entire tablet being compromised. To combat this, know where you are going at all times and don’t visit sites that look suspicious.

2. Downloaded Infections

Do you download a lot of files onto your tablet? Not everyone does. But, if you do download files, you need to make sure you know they are safe. Just like on a PC, you need to ensure that nothing nefarious has been attached to any files you do download. If you don’t, you could end up getting more than you bargained for when you download that next PDF file.

3. Corrupted Emails

Just like on a PC, you need to watch your email. These are far less common on tablets, but emails can contain phishing attempts designed to trick you into visiting a location you shouldn’t or they could contain files that will download the infection onto your tablet. As always, don’t open any email from anyone you don’t know, and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

4. Apps

This one is a bit different from traditional PCs. Sometimes, apps make it to the app stores that are designed for one thing – infecting your tablet. Google and Apple are pretty good at stopping these before they reach the store, but every now and then one slips by. If you have an Android tablet, then you can also install apps from other locations. These can present a very big risk to you as you don’t know what else has been included in the APK file you download. If you do install apps from other locations, make sure you know where you are getting them to ensure they are safe.

How to Tell If You’ve Been Infected

It’s not always obvious when your tablet has been infected with malware. Sure, with ransomware, you will get a big warning and won’t be able to use your tablet until you pay the ransom or remove the malware from your system. But, in other cases, it may not be as obvious.

If your tablet has been infected with malware, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Slow tablet – If your tablet seems a little sluggish then you may be infected. Because malware runs in the background, it takes up valuable processor and memory resources. The end result is a tablet that is much slower than normal.
  • Pop Ups – This is a favorite among many malware creators both on PC and Android. If you are getting random pop ups with advertisements and other questions, both in your web browser and just as messages on your screen, there’s a good chance you’ve been infected.
  • Battery Drain – At first you may think that your battery just isn’t lasting as long as it should because of age, but there could be nothing wrong with your battery. Because malware uses your processor and memory in the background, your power reserves could more quickly be tapped.
  • Unwanted Apps – Are apps that you didn’t install yourself popping up all over your home screen? At first, you may think it was an app installed by your manufacturer during an update, but if no updates have been done and you are still getting apps that just appear out of nowhere, it could be malware. This is even more true if you remove the app and then it comes back seemingly on its own.
  • Crashing Apps – Are you having trouble with apps you are using crashing on your tablet? In many cases, these are apps that are legit and used to work very well on your system. However, the instability caused by malware causes these apps to crash much more frequently. While this could just be a bad update, you could have a problem with malware.
  • Unexplained Charges – This is one that could cost you dearly if you aren’t careful. If you pay for a data plan, or have your passwords for various stores saved in your tablet, malware could easily rack up charges before you even figure out you’ve been infected. If you start noticing charges from online accounts or unexplained data charges, there is a good chance you are infected and you need to do something about it quickly before it costs you a lot of money.
  • Data Usage – Tablets use data, whether they are on Wi-Fi or using a cellular data plan. When you are infected with malware, it will often try to connect or dial home to upload information it has found on your tablet. In other cases, it could try to download even more malware or other applications to help it with its task. When this happens, you will notice a spike in your data usage on your tablet. If your data use has gone way up but you haven’t changed how you use your tablet, all signs point to a malware infection that you will need to deal with sooner rather than later.

These are the most common signs that you have been infected with malware on your tablet. If you’ve noticed any of these, it’s important that you remove the malware as soon as possible. Below you will find how to remove malware from both Android tablets and an iPad so you can easily clean your device and get back to enjoying it worry free.

Removing Malware from an iPad

While there aren’t as many cases of malware out there for iOS, they do exist. Unfortunately, there are many options out there available to you for removing malware on an iPad. If you suspect your iPad has been infected. Here’s what you need to do.

1. Backup any important data to iCloud or another cloud service.

2. Go to Settings – General

3. Tap on Reset

4. Select Erase all Content and Settings to reset your device.

5. Sync your device to iCloud to restore your files and settings.

6. Reinstall any apps that weren’t part of the backup.

I wish there was a more precise method of removing malware from an iPad, but you can rest assured that this method will work. In the end, you will have a freshly reset iPad that will probably run better than it has in awhile. So there is that.

Removing Malware from an Android Tablet

Malware and ransomware has become quite a problem on the Android platform, and with the ability to install apps from virtually anywhere and the platform’s popularity, this problem won’t go away anytime soon. Thankfully, there are several ways you can remove malware from your Android tablet.

1. Remove any questionable apps you may have installed.

2. Download and run a malware scanning app from the Google Play Store. If it finds anything, remove it.

3. If you are unable to remove some apps, reboot your tablet by holding down the power button and rebooting your device into safe mode. How you do this varies device to device, so be sure you check with your device’s manufacturer before you do it.

4. From there, go to the Apps or Application Manager and remove any apps that you are having trouble getting rid of from the main screen.

5. If none of the above works, you may have to reset your device, much like an iPad. If you do, make sure you backup all your data before you do it.

While there are more threats out there for Android, there are also more ways to remove malware from your device compared to an iPad. In many cases, you may be able to clean your device without having to remove all your data. If not, you can still reset your device to get rid of it once and for all.

Prevention is Key


Your best bet is to avoid malware altogether. I know, that’s easier said than done. But there are a few things you can do to prevent yourself from becoming infected.

1. Know Your Apps

First, you always need to know what apps you are downloading and where you are downloading them from. Always download apps from trusted sources such as the official App stores for your tablet. Remember, you don’t really know what has been attached to those apps you find on the Internet, so download with caution.

2. Watch What You Download

Infections can come from files just as easily as they come from apps. When you are downloading files from the Internet, make sure you know what you are downloading and make sure you trust where you are getting it from before you download it.

3. Run Anti-Malware Software

This is more for Android than iOS, but still good to list, nonetheless. Always install an anti-malware application on your system, and use it! Check everything you can, especially if download a lot of apps and files. This can be the first defense against malware on your tablet.

4. Regularly Check Your Tablet

Finally, you need to regularly check your device for malware to make sure you are safe. If you have software, run it. But beyond that, keep tabs on your data usage and your system resources. If you notice a spike in either one, then you may be infected. Clean your system and then continue to keep an eye on the statistics to make sure you took care of the problem.

Parting Thoughts

Malware is a huge problem across all computer platforms today, and that includes tablet operating systems such as iOS and Android. I think there will always be a disgruntled programmer out there looking to cause mischief.

While most malware is designed just to get in your way and annoy you, some of it is more malicious and can be used to steal your personal data. That’s why it’s more important than ever to properly protect your device from threats. If you do get infected, knowing how to recognize the infection and how to remove it is essential to limit your exposure to the threats.

Have you ever experienced a malware infection on your tablet? If so, what kind of infection was it and what did you have to do to fix it? Tell me about your experience in the comments below. Who knows, your experience may help someone stop malware on their tablet.