For decades, Apple products have been the “it” gadgets in the tech industry. This is especially true for iPhones. But Apple’s fame doesn’t just come from their design. Their phones also come with one of the most impenetrable security measures ever, but that doesn’t mean iPhones can’t get viruses.
So… Can iPhones Get Viruses?
By default, Apple devices have excellent security measures in place to protect you from malware and viruses. So your iPhone is relatively safe as long as you leave its closed system alone.
However, some people choose to disable Apple’s security system so they can install certain apps, but it might not be worth the risk.
Apple’s “Walled Garden”
Apple’s security system is known as a “walled garden” or a “closed platform.” It only allows users to install apps that have been reviewed and approved by Apple engineers. Also, you can’t easily share files with other devices, unless they’re from Apple.
But Apple’s “walled garden” isn’t there just so that they can have a legitimate claim to exclusivity. It’s actually a very strict security measure that closely monitors and limits the chances of malware getting into your system. And Apple has been mostly successful at this, so far.
If you’re using a Mac desktop computer, it is possible to install applications that are not from the App Store. Unlike the iPhone, Mac computers have a feature called “Gatekeeper,” which verifies the signature of downloaded applications to make sure they are legitimate before letting them run. This effectively keeps Mac users from installing and running harmful programs on their system, even though they’re not from the Mac App Store.
However, iPhone users can’t download an application unless it is in the App Store. That is, unless you’ve had your iPhone or Apple device “jailbroken.”
What is Jailbreaking?
In essence, a jailbroken iPhone has been set free from the limited confines of Apple’s closed platform. Once you jailbreak an iPhone, you have root access to the iOS file system, which basically means you can then install and run a host of programs that don’t come from the App Store.
Also, if your iPhone is tied to a specific telecom carrier, once it’s jailbroken, you’ll be free to jump ship to another carrier. However, not everything about a jailbroken iPhone is exactly hunky-dory. By jailbreaking your iPhone, you will be violating the iOS end-user software license agreement and voiding your warranty. Your device will lose its “country club” privileges at any Apple Store.
But, more importantly, once you’ve jailbroken your phone there’s a possibility your device could get infected, if it’s not already.
How Do I Know if My iPhone has a Virus?
If you want to know the symptoms of an infected iPhone, here are some of the things you can watch out for:
- Has your data usage increased?
- Do you notice your battery/power drains faster?
- Have you seen unknown apps on your phone?
- Are you experiencing pop-up ads in Safari?
- Have you received unsolicited redirects to the App Store?
- Are apps crashing for no reason?
- Do you notice extra charges on your monthly bill?
If you are having any of these problems with your iPhone, it may be a good idea to start the “clean up” process as soon as possible.
How Do I Remove Viruses From My iPhone?
The longer these unwanted nasties are on your device, the more havoc they’ll be able to wreak. And you really don’t want that to happen, do you? So how do you remove those nasty viruses?
Start by taking these steps and see if anything changes:
Install and run an antivirus
There are lots of antiviruses you can search for on the App Store. If you can’t decide on one right away, opt for a free one at first.
Once you install it, perform an initial full scan. This may take a while, but it’s better to be safe than sorry, don’t you think?
Check for those unknown apps
Look at all the installed applications in your device. If you find one that you don’t recognize or don’t remember installing, check to see if you’ve purchased it through the App Store. If not, then it could be malware or a “Trojan app,” and it is best to promptly remove or uninstall it.
Clear your cache
There’s a possibility that the problem is coming from a specific app that’s interacting with your browser. One way you can stop this is by clearing your cache. Basically, your cache includes all the junk files left over from when you visit a website.
Don’t worry, you won’t lose any information by doing this. You won’t even lose passwords to websites or autofill information from your phone.
Important Note: It’s best to restart your device after clearing your cache, so it can start with a clean slate.
Restore your iPhone
If you did go through with jailbreaking at some point, try to restore your phone to factory settings. Before doing this, be sure to back up your iPhone first! There are two ways to restore your iPhone: you can either restore it from a backup or restore it as a new device.
If you only started experiencing the glitch recently, you can try to restore your phone to a recent backup copy before the problem started. Hopefully, your device can recover from this.
How Do I Make Sure My iPhone Doesn’t Get Infected?
First off, if you’ve jailbroken your iPhone before, don’t do it again. Apple’s security is already top-notch, so don’t mess with it. Second, always make sure to have the most current iOS updates installed.
To make this hassle-free, turn on your Automatic Updates. Moreover, be vigilant. Create strong passwords for your device and online accounts. Avoid clicking links that you’re not sure about (especially in emails). And, most importantly, only install applications you know are trustworthy.
So can iPhones get viruses? Why yes, they can. But in most cases, the chances of it happening are pretty slim because of Apple’s superb “walled garden.” However, if you’ve tinkered with your device and jailbroken it, that’s another story.
If you think your phone might be infected, check out our guide on how to remove a virus from your iPhone.