iPhone Has Been Locked POP-UP Scam (Mac)

Also Known As: "iPhone has been locked" virus
Type: Mac Virus
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Medium

How to remove iPhone Has Been Locked from Mac?

What is iPhone Has Been Locked?

"iPhone Has Been Locked" is a fake error message displayed by various malicious sites. It is very similar to to Your Mac Is Infected With 3 Viruses, Please Call Apple Support, and many others. Research shows that users typically visit deceptive sites inadvertently - they are redirect by intrusive advertisements (delivered by other rogue sites) or potentially unwanted programs (PUPs), which infiltrate systems without permission. Most PUPs are also designed to record user-system information and deliver intrusive advertisements.

iPhone Has Been Locked scam

"iPhone Has Been Locked" states that users' iPhones are locked due to 'illegal activity' and encourages them to immediately contact Apple's tech support via a telephone number ("+1-855-475-1777") provided. They then supposedly receive instructions about how to resolve the issue. Be aware, however, that this is a scam - your device is probably secure. Cyber criminals generate revenue by scaring and tricking unsuspecting users into calling fake 'tech support' and paying for services that are not required. It is worth noting that "iPhone Has Been Locked" has a rather unique feature which is not common for other tech scams. The malicious website is designed to launch a default calling application (e.g., FaceTime) and automatically call the aforementioned number. By doing so, crooks significantly increase the chance of scamming - shocked user is way more likely to click "Call" instead of "Decline". Either way, ignore the "iPhone Has Been Locked" error and immediately leave these sites. Note that some rogue sites employ scripts that prevent users from closing browsing tabs/windows. In this case, simply terminate the web browser using Activity Monitor or reboot the system. After re-running the browser, do not restore the previous session, otherwise you will return to the malicious site.

IMPORTANT NOTE! If you encounter this error using a mobile device, you should follow these instructions:

  1. Click on "Home" button and swipe Safari upwards
  2. Go to: Settings -> Safari
  3. Clear History and Website Data

If you see the "iPhone Has Been Locked" error when using a computer, simply follow the adware removal instructions below.

Potentially unwanted programs record various user-system information relating to browsing activity. Collected data (IP addresses, website URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries, etc.) usually includes personal details that developers share with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals). These people misuse private information to generate revenue. Therefore, the presence of information-tracking apps might lead to serious privacy issues or even identity theft. PUPs deliver coupon, banner, pop-up, and other similar intrusive advertisements. To achieve this, developers employ various tools (e.g., "virtual layer") that enable placement of third party graphical content on any site. Therefore, intrusive ads often conceal underlying content, thereby significantly diminishing the browsing experience. In addition, displayed ads often redirect to malicious websites and even execute scripts that stealthily download and install other PUPs (or even malware). Therefore, even a single accidental click can lead to various computer infections. For these reasons, you are strongly advised to eliminate all potentially unwanted programs immediately.

Threat Summary:
Name "iPhone has been locked" virus
Threat Type Mac malware, Mac virus
Symptoms Your Mac became slower than normal, you see unwanted pop-up ads, you get redirected to shady websites.
Distribution methods Deceptive pop-up ads, free software installers (bundling), fake flash player installers, torrent file downloads.
Damage Internet browsing tracking (potential privacy issues), displaying of unwanted ads, redirects to shady websites, loss of private information.
Removal

To eliminate iPhone has been locked virus our malware researchers recommend scanning your computer with Combo Cleaner.
▼ Download Combo Cleaner
Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Combo Cleaner.

As mentioned above, "iPhone Has Been Locked" shares many similarities with dozens of other fake errors. All claim that the system is damaged, however, these errors are designed only to extort money from unsuspecting users. Potentially unwanted programs also share many similarities. By offering a wide range of "useful features", they attempt to give the impression of legitimacy, however, the only purpose of all PUPs is to generate revenue for the developers. Rather than giving any real value for regular users, they cause unwanted redirects, deliver intrusive ads, and gather sensitive information, thereby posing a direct threat to your privacy and Internet browsing safety.

How did potentially unwanted programs install on my computer?

Some PUPs have official download/installation websites, however, most are distributed using intrusive advertisements and a deceptive marketing method called "bundling" (stealth installation of third party apps together with regular software/apps). Developers do not properly disclose PUP installations - they are hidden within "Custom/Advanced" settings (or other sections) of the download/installation processes. Many users are likely to click various advertisements and skip download/installation steps - behavior that often leads to inadvertent installation of PUPs. In this way, they expose their systems to risk of various infections and compromise their privacy.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

To prevent this situation, be very cautious when browsing the Internet and downloading/installing software. Intrusive advertisements typically seem legitimate, since developers invest many resources into their design, however, most redirect to dubious websites (gambling, pornography, etc.) If you experience these redirects, immediately eliminate all dubious applications and browser plug-ins. Furthermore, select "Custom/Advanced" settings and closely analyze each step of the download/installation processes. Opt-out of all additionally-included programs and decline offers to download/install them. You are advised to download your apps from official sources only, using direct download links. Third party download/installation tools are monetized by promoting PUPs, and thus should never be used. The key to computer safety is caution. If your computer is already infected with PUPs, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate them.

Text presented in "iPhone Has Been Locked" pop-up scam:

Contact Support
Your iPhone has been locked due to detected illegal activity! Immediately call Apple Support to unlock it!
To help. +1-855-475-1777

"iPhone Has Been Locked" scam attempting to initiate a phone call:

iPhone Has Been Locked scam second pop-up

Instant automatic removal of iPhone has been locked virus: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of iPhone has been locked virus. Download it by clicking the button below:
▼ DOWNLOAD Combo Cleaner for Mac By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Combo Cleaner.

Quick menu:

Video showing how to remove adware and browser hijackers from a Mac computer:

Potentially unwanted programs removal:

Remove PUP-related potentially unwanted applications from your "Applications" folder:

mac adware removal from applications folder

Click the Finder icon. In the Finder window, select “Applications”. In the applications folder, look for “MPlayerX”,“NicePlayer”, or other suspicious applications and drag them to the Trash. After removing the potentially unwanted application(s) that cause online ads, scan your Mac for any remaining unwanted components.

Remove "iphone has been locked" virus related files and folders:

Finder go to folder command

Click the Finder icon, from the menu bar. Choose Go, and click Go to Folder...

step1Check for adware-generated files in the /Library/LaunchAgents folder:

removing adware from launch agents folder step 1

In the Go to Folder... bar, type: /Library/LaunchAgents

removing adware from launch agents folder step 2
In the “LaunchAgents” folder, look for any recently-added suspicious files and move them to the Trash. Examples of files generated by adware - “installmac.AppRemoval.plist”, “myppes.download.plist”, “mykotlerino.ltvbit.plist”, “kuklorest.update.plist”, etc. Adware commonly installs several files with the same string.

step2Check for adware generated files in the /Library/Application Support folder:

removing adware from application support folder step 1

In the Go to Folder... bar, type: /Library/Application Support

removing adware from application support folder step 2
In the “Application Support” folder, look for any recently-added suspicious folders. For example, “MplayerX” or “NicePlayer”, and move these folders to the Trash.

step3Check for adware-generated files in the ~/Library/LaunchAgents folder:

removing adware from ~launch agents folder step 1


In the Go to Folder bar, type: ~/Library/LaunchAgents

removing adware from ~launch agents folder step 2

In the “LaunchAgents” folder, look for any recently-added suspicious files and move them to the Trash. Examples of files generated by adware - “installmac.AppRemoval.plist”, “myppes.download.plist”, “mykotlerino.ltvbit.plist”, “kuklorest.update.plist”, etc. Adware commonly installs several files with the same string.

step4Check for adware-generated files in the /Library/LaunchDaemons folder:

removing adware from launch daemons folder step 1
In the Go to Folder... bar, type: /Library/LaunchDaemons

removing adware from launch daemons folder step 2
In the “LaunchDaemons” folder, look for recently-added suspicious files. For example “com.aoudad.net-preferences.plist”, “com.myppes.net-preferences.plist”, "com.kuklorest.net-preferences.plist”, “com.avickUpd.plist”, etc., and move them to the Trash.

step 5 Scan your Mac with Combo Cleaner:

If you have followed all the steps in the correct order you Mac should be clean of infections. To be sure your system is not infected run a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus. Download it HERE. After downloading the file double click combocleaner.dmg installer, in the opened window drag and drop Combo Cleaner icon on top of the Applications icon. Now open your launchpad and click on the Combo Cleaner icon. Wait until Combo Cleaner updates it's virus definition database and click "Start Combo Scan" button.

scan-with-combo-cleaner-1

Combo Cleaner will scan your Mac for malware infections. If the antivirus scan displays "no threats found" - this means that you can continue with the removal guide, otherwise it's recommended to remove any found infections before continuing.

scan-with-combo-cleaner-2

After removing files and folders generated by the adware, continue to remove rogue extensions from your Internet browsers.

"iPhone has been locked" virus removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove "iphone has been locked" virus related Safari extensions:

safari browser preferences

Open Safari browser, from the menu bar, select "Safari" and click "Preferences...".

safari extensions window

In the preferences window, select "Extensions" and look for any recently-installed suspicious extensions. When located, click the "Uninstall" button next to it/them. Note that you can safely uninstall all extensions from your Safari browser - none are crucial for normal browser operation.

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Safari.

firefox browser iconRemove malicious plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:

Remove "iphone has been locked" virus related Mozilla Firefox add-ons:

accessing mozilla firefox add-ons

Open your Mozilla Firefox browser. At the top right corner of the screen, click the "Open Menu" (three horizontal lines) button. From the opened menu, choose "Add-ons".

removing malicious add-ons from mozilla firefox

Choose the "Extensions" tab and look for any recently-installed suspicious add-ons. When located, click the "Remove" button next to it/them. Note that you can safely uninstall all extensions from your Mozilla Firefox browser - none are crucial for normal browser operation.

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Mozilla Firefox.

chrome-browser-iconRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Remove "iphone has been locked" virus related Google Chrome add-ons:

removing malicious google chrome extensions step 1

Open Google Chrome and click the "Chrome menu" (three horizontal lines) button located in the top-right corner of the browser window. From the drop-down menu, choose "More Tools" and select "Extensions".

removing malicious Google Chrome extensions step 2

In the "Extensions" window, look for any recently-installed suspicious add-ons. When located, click the "Trash" button next to it/them. Note that you can safely uninstall all extensions from your Google Chrome browser - none are crucial for normal browser operation.

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Google Chrome.

About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Removal Instructions in other languages
Malware activity

Global virus and spyware activity level today:

Medium threat activity
Medium

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
iPhone has been locked virus QR code
A QR code (Quick Response Code) is a machine-readable code which stores URLs and other information. This code can be read using a camera on a smartphone or a tablet. Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of "iPhone has been locked" virus on your mobile device.
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Platform: macOS

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Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Combo Cleaner.