You’ve seen them. Those ominous messages that your iPhone is infected, and that some virus is stealing your financial data from right under your nose. These are scary, sure, but are they legit? Typically, not so much. Sure, there might be a link to tap on or a phone number to call that promises help, but that’s a scam. After all, it’s usually a safe bet that, if you do ever have a virus, it’s not going to tell you that it’s there. Malware generally prefers to operate with as low a profile as possible. That’s step one out of the way: never interact with these ominous messages, since they’re designed to extort information from the user. Wouldn’t it be nice, though, if we could prevent them from coming up at all? Read on!

These fake messages – and they are always fake, Apple does not send out virus alerts to iOS devices – typically rear their heads while browsing mobile Safari, but occasionally find their way into less trustworthy third-party applications. To reiterate, the first thing to do about them is ignoring them completely. Even if there appears to be an option to tap and close the message, don’t do it. Instead, close Safari or the offending application, then open up Settings and enable Airplane Mode.

Enabling Airplane Mode will temporarily disconnect the iPhone from the Internet. This gives you the ability to reset Safari while also blocking unwanted to your device. After that’s done, scroll down within Settings and tap on Safari > Clear History and Website Data.

While you’re here, it’s a good idea to check your pop-up blocker and fraudulent website warnings settings. You can also view the status of any ad-blockers you have installed, which can go a long way to preventing these pesky messages from making another appearance.

When you’re satisfied with the state of your browser security, don’t forget to toggle Airplane Mode off on your way out.

The next time you fire up Safari, there should be a considerable decrease in the frequency of scam virus alerts. The best deterrent, though, will always be safe browsing habits!