Can An iPhone Get a Virus? Here’s The Truth!

You’ve heard about iPhones acting strangely or getting hacked, and you’ve asked yourself “Can an iPhone get a virus?”

The iPhone is one of the most secure mobile devices on the market. Apple takes security seriously — and that’s a very good thing! Though it’s rare, viruses called malware can affect your iPhone. In this article, I’ll walk you through how to keep your iPhone safe.

What Is Malware?

How can an iPhone get a virus? In a word: malware.

Malware is bad software that can infect iPhones, iPads, Mac computers, and other electronic devices. These programs come from infected websites, emails, and third-party programs.

Once malware is installed, it can cause all kinds of problems, from locking up apps to tracking how you use your iPhone and even using your camera and GPS system to gather information. You may never even know it’s there.

Keeping Your iPhone Secure

Thankfully, iPhone viruses are rare because Apple does a lot behind the scenes to keep your iPhone safe. All apps go through a serious security screening before they are approved for the App Store.

For example, Messages sent via iMessage are automatically encrypted. There are even security checks in place before you download new apps to your iPhone, which is why the App Store asks you to log in before you download something! However, no device or software is perfect and there are still vulnerabilities.

Update Your iPhone Software Regularly

Rule number one for preventing an iPhone from getting a virus: keep your software up to date.

Apple releases new versions of their iPhone software regularly. This software helps keep your iPhone secure by fixing any potential cracks that might allow malicious software to get through.

To check your iPhone for updates, go to Settings → General → Software Update. This will automatically check for any Apple software updates. If an update is available, tap Download and Install.

settings general software update

Do Not Open Links or Emails From Strangers

If you get an email, text message, or push notification from someone you don’t know, don’t open it and definitely don’t click on any links in these messages. Links, files, and even the messages themselves could install malware on your iPhone. The best thing to do is delete them.

Avoid Unfamiliar Websites

Malware can also live on websites. When you navigate to a website using Safari, just loading the page can also load the malicious software, and boom! That’s how your iPhone gets a virus.

To prevent this, only visit websites for organizations you’re familiar with. Avoid any search results that go directly to files. If a website asks you to download something, don’t tap anything. Just close the window.

Do Not Jailbreak Your iPhone

Some iPhone users choose to jailbreak their phones. That means they decide to uninstall or go around part of the iPhone’s native software, so they can do things like download apps that aren’t approved by Apple and change default settings.

Jailbreaking an iPhone also turns off some of Apple’s built-in security measures. That makes an iPhone much more vulnerable to getting a virus. It also voids your iPhone warranty and causes other issues. If you want to learn more about jailbreaking, check out our article: What Is A Jailbreak On An iPhone And Should I Perform One? Here’s What You Need To Know.

In general, jailbreaking an iPhone is a bad idea. Just don’t do it, or you may find yourself asking, “How did my iPhone get a virus?”

Do I Need iPhone Antivirus Software?

There are antivirus programs out there for iPhones, but most of them just duplicate the features that Apple already has in place. If you feel like you need added security for your iPhone to prevent it from getting a virus, I suggest using Apple’s built-in security options.

  1. Set the App Store to always request your password before downloading an app. To check or change this setting, go to Settings → iTunes & App Store → Password Settings. Make sure the check mark is next to Always Require and that Require Password is set for free downloads as well. Note: If you have Touch ID enabled, you won’t see this menu.
    always require password itunes and app store settings
  2. Set up a passcode for unlocking your iPhone. Go to Settings → Passcode → Turn Passcode On.
  3. Turn on Find My iPhone (Settings → iCloud → Find My iPhone) to unlock a whole host of features that will help keep your iPhone secure if you misplace it. Check out our guide to finding your iPhone from a computer for more tips about this program.

If you still feel like an added layer of protection would be helpful, choose a well-known antivirus product, like the ones from Norton or McAfee. Avoid programs you haven’t heard of before or that aren’t well-documented.

Can An iPhone Get A Virus? Now You Know The Answer!

Now that you know how an iPhone gets a virus and how to prevent it, you’re well on your way to using your iPhone with confidence. Be a smart iPhone user, and make the most of Apple’s security provisions. If you’ve ever experienced a virus on your iPhone, we’d love to hear about your experience in the comments section below!

About Author

I'm Valerie Lauer, a writer, editor and tech enthusiast. I believe in channeling my technical support powers for the greater good, creating helpful how-tos and making life with your smartphone easier.

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29 days ago

I got an alert that says I got a virus and it told me to download a certain app that removes viruses, but the app looks kind of sketchy. Did I really get a virus?

Liam Shotwell
28 days ago
Reply to  Wilson

You did not get a virus 🙂 It’s just an advertisement.

Virus Detected On iPhone? Is It Legit? Here's The Truth! | Payette Forward
1 year ago

[…] To learn more about iPhone viruses and what you can do to prevent them, check out our article Can An iPhone Get A Virus? Here’s The Truth! […]

3 years ago

What about the topic youve left out of your article. If you suspect you might have malware, how to get rid of it and fix your iPhone, iPad, or Mac? This artlicle is great but only if youve read it prior to unlocking malware, what do the people who unknowingly opened something they shouldnt of do after the fact? ( and Im not referring to myself, just curious for future knowledge ) thx

3 years ago

I just got a virus on my iPhone I went to go watch movies online and as soon as I clicked on a movie my picture and contacts from my pho e started deleting them I got a message from Apple to conta t them because my phone had a virus