In today’s world of massive data breaches, doxxing, and leaks, it makes sense for one to be concerned about their digital security. For iOS users, Apple has made sure that security on iOS platforms is a subject not worth talking about. The tech giant doesn’t allow actual anti-virus apps onto its App Store, simply stating that they “designed the iOS platform with security at its core.” While this may sound like a bit of bragging, it’s true and it’s been proven.
One big reason that you never see news of iPhones or iPads being hacked or virus-ridden is due to the way Apple approves and distributes its apps. Unlike Android, Apple does not allow 3rd party apps to be downloaded on iOS devices. Instead, they restrict downloads to their App Store, which allows them to curate and approve each prospective app.
There are ways to overcome this barrier, such as an Enterprise Developer Account or a jailbroken device, but for the vast majority of users, the only way to obtain apps is through the App Store. With the code of every app being scrutinized by Apple, it’s highly unlikely any malicious app would make it through their approval process.
The other main reason security is a non-issue on iOS devices is the way apps are stored and executed within the device. iOS apps exist within their own secure environments, preventing them from interacting with or gathering data from other apps or essential iOS functions. This means that even if a malicious app somehow made it through Apple’s rigorous App Store approval process, it would not be able to steal valuable data from other apps contained in the device. This is also why dedicated antivirus apps do not exist on iOS. While there are many security apps on the App Store, none of them function as actual anti-virus software. In order for an anti-virus app to be able to work on iOS, it would need to be able to interact with and pull data from other apps, something that no app on iOS can do.
If you jailbreak your iOS device, you negate both of these security precautions and potentially put your device at risk. Though jailbreaking is significantly less popular now than it used to be (due mainly to most popular jailbroken features being included in iOS and modern iOSes being difficult or impossible to crack), it is definitely the easiest way to expose your device to security threats. If you’re going to jailbreak, use extreme caution.
As of now, if you don’t jailbreak your device you should be almost completely secure from hackers or malicious software. Very few viruses have been created for iOS, and most of those that exist were created by security companies as tests. While you should always exercise caution while giving entering personal information online or into your iOS device, the chances of your data being stolen by a hacker or virus while using iOS is incredibly low.