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Home  /  geekspeak  /  How to Remove Malware From Your Mac or Android

How to Remove Malware From Your Mac or Android

It’s a popular trope that Androids and Macs don’t get viruses or malware, but that’s incorrect. Whilst they may not be as susceptible to them as Windows PCs, there are certainly dodgy apps floating around for all platforms. If you’re unlucky enough to get stung by malware on your Mac or Android device, here’s some tips for getting everything back to normal.

How to Remove Malware From a Mac

Do you know the name of the app bothering your Mac? You can stop it running by launching Activity Monitor (located in the Applications folder) and looking for its name in the list of running apps. Select it then press the X button in the menu bar. Now go back to your Applications folder, find the app in there and move it to the Trash. Good riddance.

If you don’t know what’s causing your Mac to play up, grab a copy of Bitdefender Antivirus or Kaspersky Internet Security from their official websites. The independent testing lab AV-TEST has declared these software packages as the best anti-virus and malware removal apps for macOS.

They do cost money, but usually come with a free trial and do have discounts for multiple Macs and smartphones. For example, protect your Mac, Windows and Android phone with the same software licence. All you need to do is install Kaspersky or Bitdefender, run a scan and follow the recommendations they provide so you can get on your merry way.

If these steps haven’t resolved the problem, it might be time to go nuclear and reset your Mac back to the factory settings and restore data from your backups (you do have a backup, right?). The exact instructions vary depending on the age and type of Mac you have, so search Apple’s support website for full details relevant to your specific Mac.

With modern Macs it’s a simple as rebooting your Mac, hold down the Alt + R keys and follow the prompts. If for some reason the recovery partition is corrupted due to the malware, hold down Option-Command-R or Shift-Option-Command-R and a fresh copy of macOS will be downloaded off Apple’s servers for you.

How to Remove Malware From Android

In general, sticking the apps solely from the Google Play Store and making sure the setting to install apps from unknown sources is disabled should be enough to keep the vast majority of Android-based malware away. But if you’re experiencing an abundance of pop-up ads, unexplained data usage and apps installed you don’t remember installing, you’ve probably got malware somewhere on your device.

There are apps like Bitdefender Mobile Security and Kaspersky Internet Security that can find known malicious apps sneakily running in the background on your Android device. AV-TEST has determined that these are some of the best on the market at detecting the latest malware strains, without slowing down your device in the process. Download them from the Google Play Store and give them a shot. They do cost money, but it’s worth it if you’re the type of person who downloads obscure apps from outside the Google Play Store as the apps will warn you prior to installing if they’re a known risk.

If running an Android anti-virus and malware removal app doesn’t work, you need to reset your phone back to the factory settings. Hopefully your photos and other important data are stored in the cloud so it’s easy to put back once the phone has returned to normal! You should also take note of login information (i.e: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc) so you can log back in to your favourite apps after the restore.

To reset the phone, go into Settings, then tap System > Advanced > Reset options. Tap Erase all data (factory reset) and then Reset phone. If needed, enter your PIN, pattern, or password. To erase all data from your phone’s internal storage (a good idea if you’re suffering from a virus or malware), tap Erase everything. Now you can re-install your apps from the Google Play Store. The process can take anywhere from a few minutes to over an hour depending on the speed and storage capacity of your device.

If your Android device is so far gone that you can’t even get into the settings to do a factory reset, most smartphones let you use the physical buttons on the device to reset it. Most smartphones use a combination of holding down the Volume Up/Down, Home or Power buttons simultaneously, but how long you need to hold the buttons down and which combination of buttons to press for will vary from device to device, so check the website of the device’s manufacturer (i.e: Samsung, Huawei, LG, etc) for specifics information relevant to your model smartphone.


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