Do iPhones & iPads Need Antivirus? How to Stay Safe (2023)

By Tibor Moes / Updated: June 2023

Do iPhones and iPads Need Antivirus

Do iPhones & iPads Need Antivirus?

Today’s world is full of digital threats and cybercrimes, making it essential to secure our devices. Apple’s iPhone and iPad are known for their strong security features, but does that mean we can afford to be complacent? Are antivirus apps really necessary for our Apple devices?

In this blog post, we’ll dive into the world of iPhone and iPad security, exploring built-in security features, the role of antivirus apps, and additional measures to ensure the safety of your devices. Are you ready to unlock the secrets of Apple’s security fortress?

Summary

  • Apple devices come with built-in security features like encryption and App Store review processes to protect against cyber threats.
  • This makes the risk of malware lower on iOS devices. However, identity theft, hacks and phishing scams are still real risks.
  • Norton, which includes a free password manager and VPN with its mobile security, provides the best protection for iPhones and iPads.

Don’t become a victim of cybercrime. Protect your devices with the best antivirus software and your privacy with the best VPN service.

Understanding iPhone and iPad Security

Apple takes the security of its devices very seriously. iPhones and iPads come with built-in security features, such as sandboxing, encryption, and the App Store review process, which make them more secure than many other devices on the market. However, even with these impressive features, there are potential vulnerabilities that can be exploited if users aren’t vigilant.

One of the reasons Apple devices are considered more secure than their Android counterparts is the strict App Store review process. This process ensures that all apps, including security apps, meet Apple’s security standards before they’re made available for download. This careful scrutiny helps protect Apple’s operating system from malware and other online threats, keeping users safe from scams and other fraudulent activities.

iOS Built-in Security Features

Sandboxing is a key security feature of iOS devices. It ensures that no app can communicate with another app unless explicit permissions are enabled. This isolation prevents malicious apps from accessing sensitive data stored in other apps, making it especially important for iPad users to keep their devices secure.

Encryption is another crucial security feature found in iOS devices. It encodes data in such a way that only authorized users can access it.

In addition to sandboxing and encryption, the App Store review process plays a vital role in maintaining the security of Apple’s operating system. All apps, including antivirus for iPhone, must pass through this rigorous review before they can be downloaded and installed on users’ devices.

The Role of App Store Review Process

The App Store review process is essential for maintaining the security of Apple devices. Apple takes a close look at each app to ensure it’s free of malware and other security threats before giving it the green light. This thorough examination helps guarantee the security of Apple’s operating system and prevents threats that could exploit a phone’s USB port.

This stringent review process means that apps for Apple devices must meet certain security standards before being released to the public. As a result, iPhone and iPad users can have greater confidence in the security of their devices and the apps they download from the App Store. By ensuring that only secure, vetted apps are available, Apple helps protect users from potential security risks and malicious software.

Do iPhones and iPads Need Antivirus Software?

So, do iPhones and iPads really need antivirus software? The short answer is no. Thanks to the built-in security features and the App Store review process, these devices are generally more secure than other operating systems.

However, iPhones and iPads can still be vulnerable to hacking or malware if they’re jailbroken or not up-to-date. It’s important to remember that while iPhones and iPads don’t typically require antivirus software, they’re not invulnerable to online threats. By keeping software updated and avoiding risky practices like jailbreaking, users can further strengthen the security of their devices and reduce the likelihood of falling victim to cyberattacks.

Can iPhones be hacked?

Yes, iPhones can be hacked. Although Apple devices are known for their robust security features, they’re not immune to cyberattacks. Hacking occurs when someone gains unauthorized access to a computer system or network, while a virus is a type of malicious software that can infect a system.

iPhones are at a higher risk of being hacked when users tamper with the original operating system, such as jailbreaking the device or neglecting to install the latest updates. If you notice your device running slower than usual, experiencing a rapid battery drain, detecting a spike in data usage, receiving random pop-ups, or discovering unfamiliar apps, these could be signs that your iPhone has been hacked.

Types of Malware Targeting iPhones and iPads

iPhones and iPads may not be as susceptible to viruses as other devices, but they’re still vulnerable to various types of malware, such as spyware, adware, trojans, and phishing apps. Malware can infect devices through malicious websites, ads, and emails containing attachments or links.

iPad users should be particularly aware of malware threats. While there are no viruses specifically designed to target iPads, these devices can still become infected with other forms of malware through external sources like malicious websites, ads, and emails. Protecting your device from these threats is essential to maintaining the security of your personal information and online activities.

Risks of Jailbroken iPhones and iPads

Jailbreaking is the process of removing the restrictions Apple places on its iOS devices, allowing users to install apps and tweaks that aren’t available on the App Store. While this may seem appealing to some, it comes with significant risks. Jailbroken devices are more prone to security threats and malicious software, making them a prime target for hackers and other cybercriminals.

By jailbreaking their devices, users sacrifice the built-in security features provided by Apple, leaving their devices vulnerable to viruses, malware, and hacking attempts. If you value the security of your personal information and the integrity of your device, it’s best to avoid jailbreaking and stick with the protection offered by Apple’s operating system.

Best Antivirus Apps for iPhone and iPad

While antivirus apps may not be necessary for most iPhone and iPad users, they can provide an additional layer of protection for those who desire it. Norton, Kaspersky, McAfee, and Avira Mobile Security are the top antivirus apps for iPhone and iPad, offering real-time protection and a host of additional features to keep your device safe from online threats.

These apps are particularly beneficial for users who may have jailbroken their devices or neglected to keep their software up-to-date.

Norton

Norton is a well-known name in the antivirus industry, offering comprehensive malware detection rates for all types of operating systems. Norton 360, their flagship product, provides 24/7 protection from online threats, along with a range of helpful extra security features.

Their customer support team is highly responsive, and their plans cover multiple devices. Norton 360 starts at $19.99/year with a free 7-day trial and a 60-day money-back guarantee, making it a reliable choice for antivirus protection.

Kaspersky

Kaspersky is another big name in cybersecurity, providing a range of products and services, including antivirus, internet security, password management, and endpoint security. Founded in 1997 by Eugene Kaspersky, the company has grown to become the world’s largest privately held vendor of internet security solutions.

With a strong reputation for reliability and security, Kaspersky offers robust protection for your Apple devices, ensuring your online activities remain safe from threats.

McAfee

McAfee is a comprehensive digital-security tool that provides antivirus protection, identity theft protection, and a VPN for online privacy. Designed for use on personal computers, server devices, and mobile devices, McAfee offers extensive features to keep your data secure.

With subscriptions available from $19.95/year, McAfee is an excellent option for those seeking additional protection for their iPhone or iPad.

Enhancing Your Apple Device Security

In addition to built-in security features and antivirus apps, there are several other measures you can take to further enhance the security of your Apple devices. By regularly updating your software, using a password manager, and employing a VPN, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of falling victim to cyberattacks and keep your devices safe from harm.

It’s essential to remember that no device is completely immune to security threats. By staying informed and taking proactive steps to protect your iPhones and iPads, you can minimize the risk of data breaches and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing your devices are secure.

Keeping Software Updated

Keeping your Apple device’s software up-to-date is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to enhance its security. Software updates often include patches for security vulnerabilities discovered in previous versions, as well as improvements to performance and battery life.

By ensuring your device is always running the latest software, you can protect it from potential threats and maintain optimal performance.

Using a Password Manager

Using a password manager is another excellent way to boost your device’s security. In addition to a password manager, a security app can further enhance protection. Password managers generate and store strong, unique passwords for each of your accounts, making it easy for you to log in securely without having to remember multiple passwords.

By using a password manager, you can protect your accounts from unauthorized access and reduce the risk of identity theft.

Using a VPN

A VPN, or virtual private network, is a powerful tool for enhancing your online privacy and security. By encrypting your internet traffic and masking your IP address, a VPN allows you to browse the web safely and anonymously.

This is particularly useful when using public Wi-Fi networks, as it helps protect your sensitive information from hackers and other malicious actors. By employing a VPN, you can safeguard your online activities and keep your data secure.

Recognizing Signs of Hacked or Infected Apple Devices

Recognizing the signs of a hacked or infected Apple device is crucial for preventing data theft and other malicious activities. Some common indicators of a compromised device include slow performance, unusual pop-ups, unexpected battery drain, unfamiliar apps, high data usage, and strange account activity.

By staying vigilant and monitoring your device for these signs, you can quickly identify and address potential security issues before they escalate.

Additional Security Measures for iPhones and iPads

There are several additional iPhone security measures you can take to further protect your iPhones and iPads. These include enabling two-factor authentication for your Apple ID, using iCloud Private Relay to keep your web browsing data hidden, activating Mail Privacy Protection to safeguard your email activity, and turning on USB restricted mode to prevent unauthorized access through a USB connection.

By implementing these measures, you can enjoy greater peace of mind knowing your Apple devices are well-protected against potential threats.

Summary

In conclusion, while iPhones and iPads are renowned for their robust security features, it’s essential for users to remain proactive in safeguarding their devices. By understanding built-in security features, utilizing antivirus apps when necessary, and implementing additional security measures, you can minimize the risk of cyberattacks and keep your Apple devices safe from harm. Remember, in today’s digital world, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

How to stay safe online:

  • Practice Strong Password Hygiene: Use a unique and complex password for each account. A password manager can help generate and store them. In addition, enable two-factor authentication (2FA) whenever available.
  • Invest in Your Safety: Buying the best antivirus for Windows 11 is key for your online security. A high-quality antivirus like Norton, McAfee, or Bitdefender will safeguard your PC from various online threats, including malware, ransomware, and spyware.
  • Be Wary of Phishing Attempts: Be cautious when receiving suspicious communications that ask for personal information. Legitimate businesses will never ask for sensitive details via email or text. Before clicking on any links, ensure the sender's authenticity.
  • Stay Informed. We cover a wide range of cybersecurity topics on our blog. And there are several credible sources offering threat reports and recommendations, such as NIST, CISA, FBI, ENISA, Symantec, Verizon, Cisco, Crowdstrike, and many more.

Happy surfing!

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the most frequently asked questions.

Do I need an antivirus on my iPhone?

Yes, it is wise to have an antivirus app on your iPhone for added protection. While Apple has strong security measures in place, an antivirus can provide an extra layer of security against potential threats.

Do Apple iPads have built-in virus protection?

No, Apple iPads do not come with built-in virus protection. Instead, the iPad’s closed-off ecosystem helps keep malware away. Any app downloaded from the App Store is subject to review by Apple before being approved.

Can an iPad or iPhone get a virus?

Yes, an iPad or iPhone can get a virus, though it is rare. An iPhone or iPad may become infected if it’s exposed to malicious software from external sources, such as visiting a compromised website, downloading a fraudulent app, or clicking on a malicious link in an email.

What are the benefits of using a password manager?

Password managers provide an easy and secure way to store and manage all your passwords. Not only do they help generate unique, strong passwords, but they also enable you to quickly and conveniently access multiple accounts. 

How does a VPN work?

A VPN provides a secure connection to the internet by routing your traffic through an encrypted tunnel. Any data you send and receive is private and protected from third-party monitoring. It also hides your real IP address so your online activities can stay anonymous.

Author: Tibor Moes

Author: Tibor Moes

Founder & Chief Editor at SoftwareLab

Tibor has tested 39 antivirus programs and 30 VPN services, and holds a Cybersecurity Graduate Certificate from Stanford University.

He uses Norton to protect his devices, CyberGhost for his privacy, and Dashlane for his passwords.

You can find him on LinkedIn or contact him here.