With the rising threat of malware on mobile devices, it’s important for iPhone users to protect their devices. Malware, short for “malicious software”, refers to harmful apps and viruses that can steal personal information, lock the device, display unwanted ads, and more. While iPhones have strong built-in security, additional malware protection can give users extra peace of mind.
Do iPhones need antivirus software?
Due to Apple’s closed iOS ecosystem and App Store review process, iPhones face less risk from malware compared to Android devices. However, iPhones are still vulnerable in some cases, such as:
- Jailbroken iPhones – the process of removing software restrictions can expose devices to risky apps and malware.
- Phishing attacks via emails, texts, and fake websites.
- Outdated devices and operating systems missing the latest security patches.
- Malicious profiles that can be installed outside the App Store.
Therefore, while not necessarily mandatory, antivirus software can provide an extra layer of protection for iPhones.
Best malware protection apps for iPhone
Here are some top antivirus apps to secure iPhones against malware and other threats:
1. Norton Mobile Security
Norton Mobile Security provides comprehensive protection against unsafe apps, network threats, phishing attacks, and device loss/theft. It includes real-time anti-malware scanning, WiFi security, a firewall, call blocking, system advisor, and iOS vulnerability protection. Norton 360 Deluxe includes additional features like 50GB of secure cloud backup and Dark Web monitoring.
2. McAfee Mobile Security
McAfee Mobile Security protects iPhones with features like an anti-malware engine, web protection, app locking, WiFi security, privacy audit, and device finder. It can remove ads, block risky websites, and assist with safe web browsing. The premium version adds more features like identity monitoring and data backup.
3. Avast Mobile Security
Avast Mobile Security provides core protection including an antivirus engine, web shield, anti-phishing, network security, and real-time scanning. It also includes a firewall, DNS protection, data breach alerts, a privacy advisor, app insights, and camera trap. Additional features like a caller filter, photo vault, and cleanup tools are available.
4. AVG AntiVirus FREE
AVG AntiVirus FREE for iOS provides essential malware protection including real-time security scanning, web and link scanning, email protection, and WiFi network analysis. While the free version has basic features, AVG AntiVirus Pro adds more advanced tools like app locks, privacy tools, and unlimited VPN bandwidth.
5. Lookout Security & Antivirus
Lookout Security & Antivirus delivers complete mobile threat defense including an antivirus engine, privacy analysis, system advisor, and backup tools. It blocks dangerous links, scans apps before download, provides real-time web protection, and secures the WiFi network. Premium plans add more features like identity monitoring and data backup.
Key things to look for in iPhone antivirus apps
When choosing antivirus software for your iPhone, here are some key features to look for:
- Real-time app scanning – Scans apps as you download them to detect malware and block risky apps.
- Web protection – Blocks phishing websites and scans links for malware to protect web browsing.
- Network security tools – Secure WiFi connections and monitor network traffic for threats.
- Privacy features – Provide privacy audits, VPNs, and tools to detect data breaches.
- Performance optimization – Features to clean up junk files and speed up device performance.
- Anti-theft tools – Remotely lock, locate or wipe lost or stolen devices.
Also look for apps that provide firewalls, call blocking, real-time scanning, and web filters for comprehensive security.
How to install antivirus apps on iPhone
Installing antivirus software on your iPhone is quick and easy. Just follow these steps:
- Open the App Store on your iPhone.
- Search for top antivirus apps like Norton or McAfee.
- Tap “Get” or “Install” and enter your Apple ID password if prompted.
- Once installed, open the antivirus app and follow the setup instructions.
- You may need to enter your email address to create an account with the antivirus provider.
- Enable app scanning, web protection, and other security features you want.
- The antivirus will run passively in the background and send notifications if threats are detected.
It’s important to keep the antivirus app updated whenever new versions are released for the best protection. Antivirus apps typically don’t take up much storage space or drain battery life significantly.
Protecting iPhone without antivirus software
If you don’t want to install third-party antivirus apps, there are some basic precautions you can take to protect your iPhone:
- Keep your iPhone operating system updated to get the latest security patches.
- Only download apps from the official App Store, avoid untrusted sources.
- Use strong passcodes and enable Face ID/Touch ID authentication.
- Back up your iPhone regularly in case you need to wipe it.
- Don’t jailbreak your device as it becomes more vulnerable.
- Don’t open links or attachments from unknown sources.
- Use a VPN for secure web browsing over public WiFi.
- Monitor your accounts for unauthorized access or charges.
However, antivirus software provides much stronger protection against emerging and sophisticated mobile threats compared to basic precautions alone.
Common iPhone malware and threats
Here are some examples of real malware and cyberthreats that can affect iPhones:
This malware affected over 39 iOS apps in the App Store, infecting millions of users. It was able to bypass Apple’s code review process. XcodeGhost stole information from devices and opened a backdoor for attackers.
Pegasus is dangerous iPhone spyware used to hack devices and extract private data like messages, emails, photos, and contacts. It can secretly activate a device’s microphone and camera.
KeyRaider stole over 225,000 Apple account usernames and passwords by hijacking jailbroken devices. It was distributed through a third-party repository for modified iOS apps.
The Clicker Trojan quietly generates fraudulent ad revenue clicks in the background. It consumes bandwidth and slows down the device.
This ransomware targeted Australian iPhone users in 2021. It pretends to be an official government app, locks the device, and demands payment to unlock it.
Fake iOS Profiles
Tricking users to install malicious iOS configuration profiles is a tactic to bypass App Store vetting and install risky apps.
Fortunately, with proper malware protection habits, users can avoid falling victim to these and other iOS threats. Be wary of suspicious links, unapproved apps, and phishing scams attempting to trick you into compromising your device and data.
Should I jailbreak my iPhone?
Jailbreaking removes the software restrictions on iOS devices, allowing installation of unauthorized apps and extensive customizations. However, it also carries significant malware risks, so jailbreaking is not recommended for security reasons:
- Jailbroken iPhones are vulnerable to malware like KeyRaider that targets modified devices.
- Since jailbreaking allows any apps to be installed, malware has an easier time being distributed.
- Jailbreaking voids the device’s warranty since Apple prohibits it.
- Normal security patches and updates may no longer work properly or install on a jailbroken iPhone.
- Banking, financial, and other sensitive apps may not work reliably.
- The device could experience crashes, slowdowns, and battery drain.
Unless you have a specific need to customize iOS extensively, jailbreaking is inadvisable for most iPhone users due to the security tradeoffs. You can achieve protection against malware without having to jailbreak.
What drains iPhone battery the most?
Some of the biggest battery drains on iPhones include:
- Display brightness – Having a high screen brightness uses a lot of battery.
- Background app refresh – This can use data unnecessarily in the background.
- Location services – Constant location tracking in multiple apps drains battery.
- Push notifications – Having notifications enabled for many apps uses more power.
- Older batteries – Battery capacity decreases naturally over time.
- CPU-intensive apps – Complex 3D games use more processing power.
- Overheating – High temperatures degrade batteries faster.
- Weak signal areas – Poor cellular reception makes the device work harder.
To maximize iPhone battery life:
- Lower screen brightness and set Auto-Lock sooner.
- Disable Background App Refresh for nonessential apps.
- Turn off Location Services for apps not needing it.
- Disable notifications from less important apps.
- Avoid extreme hot or cold environments.
- Replace aging batteries if capacity is below 80%.
- Close CPU-intensive apps when not in use.
- Disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when not in use.
Should I get insurance for my iPhone?
Here are some benefits of purchasing insurance for your iPhone:
- Protects against theft or accidental damage, the two most common issues.
- Covers costly screen repair or full device replacement if damage occurs.
- Provides peace of mind for an expensive device that’s used every day.
- Possible to include extra coverage like mechanical breakdown.
- Monthly premiums are usually affordable relative to iPhone cost.
Some downsides to consider:
- Read policy details closely to avoid unexpected exclusions.
- Deductibles apply per claim, often $50 – $200.
- May need to show proof of damage/theft such as a police report.
- Doesn’t cover cosmetic damage or standard wear and tear.
- Requires paying monthly/yearly premiums which add up over time.
AppleCare+ provides up to two incidents of accidental damage coverage every 12 months, each subject to a service fee. Premium tiers of carrier and third-party insurance provide the most extensive protection.
While iPhones have robust built-in security, malware and cyberthreats can still occur in some situations. Protecting your iPhone with antivirus software provides an added layer of defense to keep your device and data safe. Features like malware scanning, web protection, and network monitoring enable comprehensive mobile security. Avoiding jailbreaking and risky apps while practicing general precautions can also help stop malware.