How to choose an antivirus for iPhone

The best antivirus for iPhone

The best antivirus for iPhone is the one that keeps you and your data safest for the lowest cost. In the past, a key benefit of picking Apple products instead of rival items from Microsoft or Android has been Apple’s focus on security.

The relatively niche status of Apple devices meant viruses and malware were more likely to be aimed at other platforms.

A virus designed to exploit vulnerabilities on an Android phone wouldn’t have the same effect on iOS, even if it was reprogrammed for Apple devices.

Individual iOS apps run in their own confined spaces, making it difficult for viruses to steal data from other parts of the device’s memory.

However, this has made many iPhone owners blasé about their devices.

If you want to know the best antivirus for iPhone, it’s not as simple as just picking a program you’ve heard of.

Last year was unusually troublesome in terms of Apple security, with over 4,000 XcodeGhost-infected apps temporarily available through the official App Store.

The first three months of last year saw Apple patching as many iOS vulnerabilities as they did in the whole of 2016.

Worms (self-replicating malicious software applications) are increasingly being reported on jailbroken iPhones – those where official App Store protections have been bypassed.

Is antivirus for iPhone necessary?

This depends on who you ask. At present, most people say it isn’t, though some industry observers have acknowledged growing threats against iOS devices.

Apple’s iOS 11.3 launch this week has a strong focus on data privacy and security, perhaps in reaction to various social media data scandals.

It certainly won’t do any harm to have the best antivirus for iPhone you can buy, even if it’s less important than it would be on an Android device.

Because iPhones aren’t a common target of malware developers, you probably won’t need a premium version – a free app should be sufficient.

You’re also unlikely to need the detailed directory scans familiar to Windows and Android device owners, so any package will run relatively unobtrusively.

What should I look for?

The best antivirus for iPhone protection should have the following features:

  • The ability to block malicious websites, which might attempt to phish sensitive information
  • Tools to back up your address book, usually by emailing a contacts list to yourself or uploading data to a cloud-based portal like Dropbox
  • A scanner for email attachments, comparing files against a list of known threats
  • Regular checks for vulnerabilities or suspicious activity among existing apps, such as unexpected requests for access to a device’s contacts list

Go Deeper: The complete guide to jailbreaking your phone

It goes without saying that any antivirus package should be allowed to automatically update itself.

It’s crucial to ensure permissions for this are granted when the software is installed, since a new threat can spread across the internet like wildfire almost as soon as it’s created.

Additional features

Because iOS requires relatively little hand-holding to get the best antivirus for iPhone, Apple-specific versions often do more than simply repel unwanted software incursions.

McAfee Mobile Security incorporates a series of anti-theft features, including the ability to take a picture of anyone attempting to access securely stored files and folders before emailing the intruder’s mugshot to a nominated address.

Trend Micro Mobile Security blocks trackers on websites to enhance browsing privacy, and it’ll scan social media accounts for potential privacy concerns, too.

Avira Mobile Security will even monitor your memory and storage use, effectively making it a fitness coach as well as a bodyguard.

More: The complete guide to improving iPhone security

Using common sense

While most of us could enhance any mobile device’s safety using some basic common sense, it’s more important to do this with iPhones – which are supplied with a wealth of standard safety features.

These are our recommendations for improving iPhone security:

  • Use the Touch ID fingerprint scanner. It makes it extremely difficult for other people to access the device, whereas a four or six-digit passcode could be guessed, phished or even observed
  • Enable the Find My iPhone feature. Someone could potentially load a temporarily lost or stolen device with Trojans and phishing tools, so being able to identify its location through GPS reduces the miscreant’s window of opportunity
  • Resist the temptation to jailbreak the device. Potential risks are small, but they do exist, whereas an iPhone that can only access Apple-approved software is largely immune to attack
  • Finally, always install Apple software updates. The latest version of iOS is 11.2.6, and permitting software updates is essential for maintaining an iPhone’s protection.

MAIN IMAGE: Faris Algosaibi/CC BY 2.0

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