Is It Possible to Get an iPhone Virus?

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In an age when we store more and more sensitive personal data on our computers and smartphones, security is a major concern. Given that, it's not surprising that you may be worried about getting a virus on your iPhone. That's understandable on an internet where there are thousands (and likely many, many times more) of viruses. But there's good news: most iPhone users don’t have to worry about their phone picking up a virus.

While it's technically possible for iPhones (and iPod touches and iPads, since they run the same operating system) to get viruses, the likelihood of that happening (at least right now) is extremely low. There have only been a few iPhone viruses ever created and most were created by security professionals for academic and research purposes and haven't been released on the Internet.

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What Increases Your IPhone Virus Risk

Of the iPhone viruses that are "in the wild" (meaning that they're a possible threat to actual iPhone owners) there are ​worms, a kind of virus, that almost exclusively attack iPhones that have been jailbroken. So, as long as you haven't jailbroken your device, your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad should be safe from viruses.

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But Should I Get IPhone Virus Protection to Be Safe?

The answer, for now at least, is no.

There aren't any identified iPhone viruses in the wild—there have only been proof-of-concept viruses and attacks.

As you can see, deciding whether you need iPhone virus protection depends on what you do with your phone. Another way to answer the question, though, is based on what antivirus software is available for the iPhone.

Turns out, there isn't any.

All of the major antivirus companies—McAfee, Symantec, Trend Micro—have security apps available for the iPhone, but none of those apps contain antivirus tools. Rather, they focus on helping you find lost devices, backing up your data, securing your web browsing, and protecting your privacy.

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There simply aren’t any antivirus programs at the App Store (the ones that carry that name are games or tools to scan attachments for viruses that couldn't infect the iOS anyway). The closest any company came to releasing one was McAfee. That antivirus company developed an internal app back in 2008, but never released it. 

If there was a real need for iPod touch, iPad, or iPhone virus protection, you can be sure the big security companies would be offering products for it. Since they're not, it's pretty safe to assume it's something you don't need to worry about.