If you’re one of the countless Apple iPhone owners out there, there’s a good chance that one of the reasons you love your smartphone is because you’ve heard that Apple devices tend to have fewer vulnerabilities to viruses.
Because of their shared operating system, iOS devices enjoy Apple’s security measures, which keeps them protected from malware and viruses differently from most Android devices.
This is great, right? Certainly! But it’s also important to remember that nothing digital or internet-related is ever foolproof, and while it’s rare, even iOS operating systems can be affected by malicious software.
The great news is that protecting yourself from iPhone viruses and hackers isn’t hard. Read on to learn more.
Can iPhones get viruses?
Although Apple has designed its iOS system to be pretty untouchable, it’s still possible to get a virus on your iPhone.
The biggest way this can happen is through something called “jailbreaking,” which is when you bypass the restrictions on the Apple operating system. You might do this to gain more control over your device, downloading any apps or programs from anywhere on the internet. It basically lets you do whatever you want with your iPhone.
A major reason that mobile security is so seamless with Apple’s iOS is that — unlike Android and Microsoft Windows products — Apple devices are designed to work only inside set parameters that “talk” exclusively to other approved Apple apps or devices.
This is all controlled by Apple encryption, making your iPhone security rather impervious to malicious apps. You might also notice that there are no antivirus apps in the App Store, which isn’t a coincidence!
But when you jailbreak an iPhone, this means you’ve opened the iOS to a wider range of apps, features, and themes — none of which are approved by Apple!
So, you won’t benefit from the virus protection that comes from having a closed system, meaning you can expose your iPhone to adware, scams, and other internet security issues that Apple permissions blocked.
Potential threats to your iPhone
So, you’ve jailbroken your iPhone and are out of Apple’s famously closed sandbox. While it’s not an ideal situation, it’s not the end of the world. You may need antivirus protection now. This is especially true if you frequently use public Wi-Fi.
Here are a few potential threats that a jailbroken iPhone might face:
Phishing: Unfortunately, malicious websites don’t come with a fraudulent website warning. Phishing happens when a cybercriminal sends a fraudulent message aimed at getting you to reveal important data like your personal or financial information. If your iPhone is successfully phished, private data on the iCloud and your device can be compromised.
Ransomware: Unsecured Wi-Fi networks can expose connected devices to ransomware. This type of malware threatens users with permanently blocked access to their devices unless they pay a certain amount of money. Some ransomware programs will even try to coerce money from users by warning that private information will be published if they don’t pay a ransom.
Malware: The reason so many different security apps and antivirus programs exist is that malware is everywhere. It also comes in many forms! Malware is a general term used to describe any software program intended to gain unauthorized access to a computer system or device. Malware can disrupt or disable a device, network, or specific user. It can also actively leak private information and create privacy concerns.
5 signs your iPhone has a virus
If you’re worried about the Wi-Fi you used at a coffee shop last week and are searching for the “best antivirus protection for Apple,” don’t curse that java-inspired Safari surf just yet.
There are a few telltale signs that your iPhone or another Apple device has been infected with a virus. They include:
Overheating: Being out in the extreme sun or having an old battery can be culprits for overheating. But if you’re repetitively seeing that feverish red thermometer on your screen, your iPhone could be letting you know it’s infected with malicious software.
Unexplained data usage: If you don’t have an unlimited phone plan, you probably keep a pretty close eye on data usage. So, if you see big increases in usage that don’t match your activity, this could be a sign that your iPhone may have a virus.
Pop-ups: Sometimes, there’s no escaping those pesky “look at me” boxes that pop up when you’re online. But seeing many pop-ups can indicate that your Apple device is harboring unwanted guests. You can minimize pop-ups by using a virtual private network like McAfee Secure VPN.
Suspicious apps: Make a habit of scrolling through your list of apps from time to time. This could be a red flag if you see anything that you don’t remember downloading yourself or that didn’t come with your iPhone.
Quick battery drainage: If your iPhone is older or has many big apps, your battery will typically drain faster. But it could also mean an unwanted and unseen program is running in the background.
How you can protect your iPhone
The first and best way to protect your Apple device from cybersecurity concerns is to avoid jailbreaking it. While an iPhone might be limited in what apps and themes you can enjoy, its built-in security features really can’t be beaten.
Here are some other ways you can keep your iPhone safe from malware and viruses:
Keep software updated. Each new version of Apple iOS has patches for security holes discovered by Apple’s internal hackers. Be sure to keep your iPhone software up to date to make sure you’re enjoying the latest security features. You can even set up automatic software updates to make things easier.
Set up USB restricted mode. Protect your data from “juice jacking,” which is when someone steals your data through your phone’s USB port as it’s plugged into a public charger. Head to “Settings” and then to “Face ID and Passcode.” Enter your passcode and toggle “USB Accessories.”
Use a password manager. A password manager like McAfee True Key can lend several additional layers of security to Apple’s already highly encrypted operating system. Consider a password management system that can help you create strong passwords and uses biometric security features like fingerprint recognition.
Enable Touch ID. This may seem like an old-school feature compared to facial recognition. But having touch ID enabled can reduce the chances of someone gaining unauthorized access to your iPhone since it requires your physical presence to open it.
Use a VPN. If you use public Wi-Fi a lot, you risk exposing your personal information. McAfee Secure VPN uses bank-grade encryption to keep your data protected while you live your life online — no matter where you are.
Consider antivirus software. Antivirus software can handle many potential vulnerabilities by looking out for online threats like hackers. McAfee antivirus software offers real-time threat protection across multiple devices and can help keep your iPhone free of data breaches.
Keep your everyday devices secure
In this day and age, we all live on our devices. And while it’s great to have the built-in security of Apple’s iOS, why settle for just one line of defense?
For complete protection against malicious software like viruses, malware, and more, look to McAfee Total Protection. Our all-in-one approach means you’re shielded from data breaches, have access to a secure VPN, and can receive up to $1 million in identity theft coverage. The best part is that it works for multiple devices, including Mac OS and iOS.
Enjoy the peace of mind that comes with having McAfee in your corner.