At a recent cyber security presentation, the speaker insisted that all mobile phones need Anti-Virus since that “phone” is really just a “computer that makes phone calls.” A quick search on the Apple App store shows no REAL Antivirus apps for the iPhone and the Apple Store claims you don’t need AV for your iPhone. However, the expert claimed that it is still needed. So what is the truth? Here is what I found.
Most viruses change the computer operating system itself. That is how the whole system gets compromised. If it was just a bad program, deleting the program it would solve the problem. But we all know that when you get a virus, we need to reinstall EVERYTHING from scratch.
The iPhone (and iPads) all use an operating system (iOS) that is built from the ground up with security in mind. Every app is given its own space to run in and access to the OS itself is blocked off. This is known as sandboxing. Apple claims you don’t need an AV for the iPhone because of this technology and they are correct. Only Apple controls the iOS and whenever a change is needed in the iOS, Apple pushes a new version out.
When I did a search for Antivirus on the App Store, I did get some hits. So why are there Antivirus programs for the iPhone? Well, these aren’t really AV applications. Looking at the details, these apps don’t really protect the OS, they backup the data. They do things like backup the photos and send messages to the phone if it is lost. They are backup applications, not really “antivirus” programs.
Now, the Android phones out there are a different story. They are much more versatile devices BUT at a cost. They DO have virus problems because the OS is designed differently.
Tom’s Guide wrote up a good technical description of why iPhones don’t need antivirus. https://www.tomsguide.com/us/iphones-dont-need-antivirus-software,news-23111.html