Does Your iPhone Need Antivirus Software On It?
Apple is known for producing extremely well-crafted devices and software, but does that keep the evil hackers at bay? Computer viruses have been known and feared for decades, causing data corruption or data loss and effectively disabling entire operating systems. Do you need an antivirus for iPhone? Here’s a comprehensive rundown on whether antivirus apps for iPhone are actually necessary, or not.
How secure is my iPhone?
As opposed to Google’s Android, your iPhone is running a very tightly knit and secured operating system called iOS. On iOS, each and every app runs within a so-called sandbox, which keeps it from accessing your personal data stored within other apps and accounts. Think of it as a battening down of the hatches, or keeping everything as quarantined as possible. This is what a virus scanner application on your PC does, by the way. Once a threat is detected, it is then isolated from the rest of your apps and data. With iOS, you get this kind of behavior by default, as far as it is possible in practice.
What weakens the iPhone’s security measures?
Any kind of software has its weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Apple’s iOS is no exception, which is why hackers created loopholes for users to install their own unsigned applications on their devices, such as the iPhone. They call this reoccurring loophole a “jailbreak” and Apple tends to close it fairly quickly, leaving jailbreakers “stranded” on older iOS versions.
To keep the iPhone’s security measures, such as the sandboxing, intact and well-functioning, you should always get the latest version of iOS and upgrade as soon as possible. Installing a jailbreak on your iPhone offers lots of customization options and newfound freedom, but it also compromises most of the security features. Thus we don’t recommend jailbreaking your iPhone if you want to stay as safe as possible.
Your iPhone is hard to infect with a typical virus, which you can only forward via email and create secondary damage on unprotected Windows PCs and alike. While there certainly were are a few vulnerabilities that have turned up as at least suspicious, there is no indication of any larger number of iPhones being actually affected by any kind of malicious software. We can’t rule out the secret services accessing your texts and data through other means, but it is highly unlikely that any unauthorized person ever accessed your iCloud data or anything that was stored on your iPhone while not jailbroken.
So do I need an antivirus for iPhone, or not?
The answer is of course: no. Just as with your Mac, the best protection against malicious software is common sense and a tiny bit of caution while using your device. Any kind of app promising additional safety above what Apple is already offering can be regarded as snake oil.