Do iPhone “Security” Apps Actually Do Anything?

The finger of a person entering an authentication code on the lock screen of an iPhoneymgerman / Shutterstock

Apple will not allow "antivirus" applications in the App Store, but many "security" applications are available. For example, Norton Mobile Security costs $ 14.99 a year and Lookout Premium $ 29.99 a year. But do these apps really do anything?

You do not need an antivirus application for your iPhone. You will not find it in the App Store. So, what are these "security" applications doing? Are they useful and how do they protect exactly?

Norton Mobile Security is good?

Let's see Norton Mobile Security, which is a free download but requires an annual subscription of $ 14.99. It has three features: Wi-Fi security, Web protection and operating system alerts.

Wi-Fi security screen in Norton Mobile Security for iPhone

Wi-Fi Security tells you if your Wi-Fi network is "compromised". Specifically, Norton's website said the application verifies SSL deletion and decryption, content manipulation, suspicious network hardware and reputation for wireless access points. This check is performed each time you connect to a new Wi-Fi network.

Basically, Norton checks that you're not connected to a dangerous public Wi-Fi network that is trying to monitor or change your traffic. This could help you spot a Dangerous public Wi-Fi hotspot. Do not worry if you are connected to a secure Wi-Fi network at home or at work – or if you only use mobile data.

State of Web Protection in Norton Mobile Security on iPhone

Web Protection connects your phone to a VPN when you enable it. Norton uses this VPN to scan your traffic for known dangerous websites. This can then prevent you from accessing it. For example, if you go to a phishing website, Norton can block it.

This is not the type of VPN you usually think of. Norton uses a "VPN on device": when you enable VPN, your traffic is sent to the Norton application on your device. The Norton app compares it to a blacklist and blocks all known websites. It's not like a typical VPN sending your network traffic in encrypted form. Norton proposes that as part of Norton Secure VPN, which requires additional monthly fees.

This could theoretically be helpful, but it should be noted that Safari for iPhone and iPad has a integrated dangerous website blocker. Simply go to Settings> Safari> Fraud Website Warning to make sure it is enabled.

Norton may catch more threats than Apple's protection, but it will simply protect you from phishing websites and scams. When Web protection is enabled, the battery life in the background is a bit longer. And, as long as your operating system is up-to-date, the Safari browser is protected from attack. There is no way for a malicious website to download dangerous software to your phone outside the App Store until you install potentially harmful software. dangerous configuration profiles.

If you want a VPN to protect your traffic over the public Wi-Fi network, Web Protection does not offer it. We recommend other VPNs.

Status of operating system alerts in Norton Mobile Security for iOS

The third icon, Operating System Alerts, provides notification when the operating system of your iPhone or iPad is out of date. Keeping your device up-to-date is essential for the latest security patches. However, you do not really need this feature. On an iPhone or iPad, you can access Settings> General> Software Update and ensure that automatic updates are enabled. Your device will install them automatically.

Operating system alerts can provide you with a faster alert when an update is available, but it's probably safe to wait for a day to install the update automatically.

We can think of an advantage of this application: the operating system alerts would inform you if your iPhone or iPad is so old and outdated that Apple no longer supports it with security updates.

We do not recommend Norton, but everything is fine

We do not think Norton's features justify this price of $ 14.99 per year. However, if you or someone around you feels better with any security application installed, Norton is not harmful. Feel free to use it.

RELATED: What is the best antivirus for iPhone? No!

Lookout for iPhone is useful?

Warning is another popular iPhone security app. It has some extra features, but it's also more expensive. Here are the features of Lookout:

System Advisor: Like Norton's operating system alerts, Lookout can tell you if you need to update your operating system. The Apple Settings app can warn you and even update the iOS OS automatically.
Safe browsing: Like web protection in Norton, this feature also provides a VPN that looks for potentially dangerous websites.
Safe Wi-Fi: As with Wi-Fi security in Norton, this warns you of potentially dangerous public Wi-Fi hotspots once you've logged in.
Report of the offenseLookout can inform you of security breaches, for example, if a service you use is compromised and your password is leaked. Services like "Have I been pwned?" Can do it for free.
Identity protectionLookout offers a paid service. credit monitoring service and similar tools. You even benefit from identity theft insurance to cover court costs and expenses related to theft of identity. Tools like CreditKarma offer free credit monitoring services.
Missing device: Lookout provides tools to help you locate your iPhone if you lose it. This is integrated with your iPhone with Apple finds my iPhone. However, Lookout can send you an alert when someone removes your SIM card or activates the airplane mode, which is something more.

Lookout can tell you if your iPhone's operating system requires an update or free tracking of your misplaced phone (two things your iPhone can normally do without additional software), but other features will cost you. Lookout Premium includes most other features here, and costs $ 2.99 a month or $ 29.99 a year. Identity protection and insurance require Premium Plus at $ 9.99 a month or $ 99.99 a year.

Main screen of Lookout application on iPhone

We do not recommend the gazebo, but it is also very good

We would not recommend Lookout on the iPhone either. Like Norton, Lookout duplicates some security features in iOS and some others, available separately and for free. With Lookout's more expensive Premium Plus tier, you typically only pay $ 70 more than the usual price for a credit monitoring service sold through Lookout's iPhone app. It's not really a security feature for iPhone.

But if you or a member of your family feels better with these services, do not hesitate to pay them! They will not be actively harmful to your iPhone.

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