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Third-party antivirus, security, and privacy programs are available for the Apple iPhone, but they may not provide reliable and comprehensive protection from threats to security and privacy. This document provides an introduction into considerations for securing your iPhone. A similar document is available for Android smartphone users. [View]

Stay Current and Updated

Perhaps the most important step you can take to secure your phone is to make sure you have a recent model with the latest operating system and security updates. Replace older phones to ensure you have the latest security capabilities. You can ask your cell phone company to help with ensuring your phone is capable of having the latest operating system. 

It may seem wasteful, expensive, and disruptive to replace your smartphone frequently. So, have a plan to make the process as easy as possible. Don’t buy the most expensive ‘flagship’ phones. Keeping purchase cost at about $400 every few years is more affordable than spending $800 every time you upgrade.

Apple iPhone iOS Built-in Security

Apple describes their security features in an “Apple Platform Security” online guide. [View] Here are some highlights specific to the iPhone.

  • ENCRYPTION — Apple strives to encrypt as much data as possible. This includes the data on your device, the data in transit, and data stored elsewhere.
  • PAYMENTS — When credit cards are swiped at stores and other public locations, the magnetic strip is exposed to possible copying and theft. Apple has developed an Apple Pay system that intends to make digital payments more secure.
  • PASSWORDS — Under Settings > Passwords > Security Recommendations, there are suggestions provided regarding passwords. This includes information about website data breaches, overly simple passwords, duplicate passwords, passwords that have appeared in a data leak, and more.
  • PRIVACY — Apple has a private relay service and “hide my email” feature as well as other privacy measures to help keep your personal data and activities private.

Mobile Carrier Service Provider Apps

There are security apps available from AT&T [ActiveArmor], Verizon [Digital Secure app], and other service providers. There may be a monthly fee for the full security experience. For example, AT&T charges about $4 per month and Verizon charges about $5 per month. Some mobile plans already include these features.

The security apps from your phone company may be able to provide additional features and benefits beyond what is already included in your phone. Some of the features may be a duplicate of what you already have available.

Third-Party Apps

Antivirus and security software companies like Norton provide security apps for smartphones. These may have a fee associated with them. Some of what they describe as ‘features’ are already built-in on most phones. So, these may be an additional unnecessary cost.

Some reviews of smartphone security software include complaints about phones slowing down, and batteries being depleted much faster than normal.