The AppLock Virus: What It Is and How to Remove It

Banish this pesky iOS based irritant

A conceptual illustration of the App Lock virus destroying a laptop computer.

Lifewire / Theresa Chiechi 

Are you being bombarded with advertisements when browsing online on your iPhone or iPad? You may have been infected with the AppLock adware virus

AppLock affects iOS devices including all variants of iPhones and iPads. It can also cause some issues for a cloud-connected Mac device. 

What Is the AppLock Virus?

The AppLock Virus is an annoying form of adware/malware that solely affects Apple based devices. 

It shows users excessive numbers of ads and sometimes causes page redirects to other sites. On its own, it's just an irritant, but it can make it easy for more nefarious online threats to arrive on your system, courtesy of viewing unsafe adverts. 

How Does AppLock Work?

AppLock is a browser hijacker so it works by constantly displaying advertising on your iPhone or iPad. It's not as dangerous as a 'true' virus or malware, but it's very annoying and can leave your system less secure. 

It has the capability to expose you to ransomware threats and other issues, by opening up so many pop-ups and page redirects that you can end up misclicking on one of the advertisements instead of something you intended to click. 

It's also likely to be spying on your activities, recording your browsing history and search queries in a bid to figure out which ads are most likely to attract your attention. 

An annoying threat, it's important that you delete AppLock quickly so that the problem doesn't escalate and get worse.

How Do I Know I Have the AppLock Virus?

AppLock is quite easy to spot because it bombards you with many pop-up banners and adverts, as well as can change your default search engine on your browser. 

The ads tend to be for unfamiliar websites that tend to sound suspicious by name. While it shouldn't slow down your system like a computer-based form of adware, it will be very annoying as you try to browse other websites. 

Antivirus software for iOS devices is less common than for Android smartphones, but it's worth running an antivirus tool or malware detection software to spot any potential issues. 

How Did I Get the AppLock Virus?

One of the easiest ways to make your iOS device open to viruses and malware is by jailbreaking it. While there are advantages, it immediately makes your iPhone and iPad less secure. 

It's also possible to acquire the AppLock virus by downloading files from illicit sources and viewing them on your iOS device, although it should be reasonably well locked down. 

How Do I Get Rid of the AppLock Virus?

One of the most effective ways of getting rid of the AppLock adware virus is to use iOS based antivirus software as well as malware removal tools. 

It can take a while for the removal process to complete, but it's one of the best ways of ensuring all malicious files have been removed. 

Because AppLock isn't a particularly malicious form of malware, it's also possible to stop it by blocking pop-up ads in Safari. This effectively protects your iOS device from being affected in any way in future.

How Can I Avoid Getting the AppLock Virus Again?

There are a few important ways in which you can reduce your chances of being re-infected with AppLock, or suffering from any other virus or malware. 

Here's a look at the main methods to avoid re-infection. 

  • Use an antivirus software tool. It might seem like iOS devices don't require antivirus protection, but it can still be useful to have an app available to you that provides a virus scan at regular points. Keep it updated often so that the app knows about new virus definitions. 
  • Don't install apps from unfamiliar sources. If your iOS device is jailbroken, be wary about where you download apps and files from. Even if it's not jailbroken, be suspicious of any files or settings tweaks that an app or website tries to force you to install. 
  • Stick to well known websites. Clicking on a suspicious link can cause you issues and make you more vulnerable to the threats that come from adware. Be careful about the websites you browse and the links you click, even if it's from someone you know.