In 2020, around a billion Android devices were found to be at risk of getting hacked. Their vulnerability came from using old versions of the operating system, which were no longer getting security updates. However, that doesn’t mean that newer devices don’t get hacked. In fact, if you’re reading these words, you’re likely researching how to fix a hacked Android phone that you have. This article will offer you some handy advice.
Don’t know if your phone has been hacked? Don’t worry, there are ways to check for intrusions. Just follow our guide, and you’ll find out if you have hacked rooting through your smartphone in no time!
How to remove a hacker from your Android phone
In short, here are the solutions to fix your hacked Android device – Solution 5 being optional and only to be taken in the most extreme cases:
Solution 1. Delete suspicious apps
Solution 2. Trash fishy files
Solution 3. Remove administrator access
Solution 4. Clear your device’s cache
Solution 5. (Optional) Carry out a factory reset
Delete suspicious apps
A hacker is unlikely to be monitoring your phone live. However, he or she may have left behind some malware to do it for them. Such apps often come with names that include the words “spy,” “monitor,” and other obvious stuff. Here’s how you can check for them:
- Go to Settings (by swiping down on the main screen and tapping the appropriate button).
- Tap Apps.
- Check for suspicious apps.
Don’t know whether the app you found is suspicious or not? Google the name! If it’s really an incompetently-named spy app, just uninstall it.
Trash fishy files
An alternative is to go through your file sections and directories to look for something suspicious. Here’s how it’s done:
- Find My Files or an equivalent app on your device.
- Access internal storage (phone or SD).
- Choose Android.
- Choose data.
- Browse around for folders with suspicious names.
Again, if you notice anything suspicious, Google the name and delete any offending portfolios and files.
Remove administrator access
You can also check what apps have administrator access to your phone – there shouldn’t be many.
- Go to Settings (probably via the main screen swipe-down menu).
- Scroll down to Lock screen and security.
- Once inside, scroll to Other security settings at the very bottom.
- Tap Device administrators.
- Check if all apps that have access are legitimate.
With administrator access removed from suspicious apps, they can do a lot less damage. At the same time, you might have found some suspicious apps – time to delete them!
Clear your device’s cache
Who knows what hacker horrors – or annoying ads – might lurk in your device’s cache? Wiping them out could solve a problem or two for you. Here’s how the process goes:
- Turn off your phone.
- With your phone turned off, hold the Power button and Volume up (though depending on the model, you might need to use the Volume down or Volume up + Home) button to engage Recovery mode.
- If the Google logo or Android mascot appears, wait for the No Command message to show up and then hold the Power button and press Volume up once.
- Using the Volume controls, navigate to the recovery mode menu and find Wipe cache partition. Select it by using the Power button and confirm that you want to wipe it.
- Restart your phone!
This is a harmless procedure, and it might help. On older phones, it might even clear up some important space!
Carry out a factory reset
The nuclear option in the “how to fix a hacked Android phone” repertoire is the factory reset, which will wipe your phone, restoring it to the settings it had when it was new. This is not the first step to take, as it deletes everything you have on the phone. Only do this if you believe that the other methods didn’t work. Here’s how you do a factory reset on Android:
- Make sure the phone is well-charged or hooked to the charger.
- Enter the Settings menu. You can often do this by swiping down on the main screen and selecting the appropriate icon.
- Navigate to General management.
- Tap Reset.
- Choose Factory data reset.
- Press Reset.
- Enter the security pattern (or PIN).
- Press Delete all.
- Wait for the process to end.
Note: the process can be a bit different depending on your phone manufacturer. If you can’t follow the steps outlined here, research your phone model!
Your phone’s operating system will now be as good as new! It’s a shame it doesn’t physically renew your phone at the same time…
Here’s an easy way to improve your phone’s security
At this point, you should know how to remove a hacker from your phone. But, as we stated before, it’s best not to allow hackers or malware on your phone in the first place. One way to do that is to secure your connection with a VPN (Virtual Private Network) like Surfshark. A VPN can block known malware and phishing links, keep your data safe when on public Wi-Fi, ensure that nobody can eavesdrop on your data, and much more!