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Do "security" apps on the iPhone actually do anything?



  The finger of a person entering a passcode on the lock screen of an iPhone.
ymgerman / Shutterstock

Apple does not allow "antivirus" applications in the App Store, but many "security" applications are available. For example, Norton Mobile Security costs $ 1

4.99 per year and Lookout Premium costs $ 29.99 per year. But do these apps actually do something?

You do not need an antivirus app for your iPhone. You will not find any in the App Store. What are these "security" apps doing? Are they useful and how exactly do they protect you?

Is Norton Mobile Security useful?

Let's look at Norton Mobile Security, which can be downloaded for free but requires an annual subscription fee 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 informs you if your Wi-Fi security is compromised on the Fi network. According to Norton's website, the app checks for SSL stripping, SSL decryption, content manipulation, suspicious network hardware, and hotspot reputation. This check is performed each time you connect to a new Wi-Fi network.

Basically, Norton checks to see if you're connected to a dangerous public Wi-Fi network that tries to monitor or change the traffic. This allows you to detect a dangerous public Wi-Fi hotspot. You should not have to worry about being connected to a trusted Wi-Fi network at home or at work or using only mobile data.

 Web protection status in Norton Mobile Security on the iPhone

Web Protection connects your phone to a VPN when you enable it. Norton uses this VPN to search your traffic for known, dangerous websites. It can then prevent you from accessing it. For example, if you navigated to a phishing site, Norton could block it.

This is not the kind of VPN you normally think of. Norton uses a "device VPN". If you enable the VPN, traffic will be sent to the Norton app on your device. The Norton app compares it to a blacklist and blocks known websites. This is not a typical VPN that sends your traffic encrypted over the network. Norton offers this as part of Norton Secure VPN, which incurs an additional monthly fee.

This might be useful in theory, but it should be noted that Safari for iPhone and iPad includes an integrated malicious website blocker. Just go to Settings> Safari> Fraudulent Website Warning to make sure this option is turned on.

Norton may detect more threats than Apple's protection, but it only protects against phishing sites and fraud. When Web Protection is turned on, battery life will be a bit longer, even in the background. And as long as you have a current operating system, the Safari browser is protected from attacks. There's no way a malicious Web site downloads malicious software from outside the app store onto your phone unless you install potentially dangerous configuration profiles.

If you want a VPN to block your traffic in public Wi-Fi, Web Protection does not. We recommend other VPNs.

 OS Alert Status in Norton Mobile Security for iOS

The third icon, OS Alerts, issues a notification when the operating system of your iPhone or iPad is outdated. Keep your device up-to-date so you have the latest security patches. However, you do not really need this feature. On an iPhone or iPad, go to Settings> General> Software Update and make sure that automatic updates are enabled. Your device then installs it automatically.

Operating system alerts may provide you with a faster warning when an update is available. However, it may be a good idea to wait one day for the automatic installation of the update.

We can imagine a benefit About this app: OS alerts let you know 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 it's fine

We do not do it I do not think the features of Norton justify this price of $ 14.99 a year. However, if you or someone you know feels better with an installed security app, Norton is not actively harmful. Feel free to use it.

RELATED: What is the best antivirus protection for the iPhone? None!

Is Lookout Helpful for the iPhone?

Lookout is another popular iPhone security application. It has some extra features but is also more expensive. The following Lookout capabilities are available:

  • System Advisor : Like operating system alerts in Norton, Lookout can tell you if you need to upgrade your operating system. Apple's Settings app alerts you and automatically updates your iOS operating system.
  • Secure Browsing : Like Web Protection in Norton, this feature also provides a VPN that looks for potentially dangerous Web sites.
  • Secure Wi -F i: As with Norton Wi-Fi security, it alerts you to potentially dangerous public Wi-Fi hotspots after you connect.
  • Violation report : Lookout can notify you about security breaches – For example, if a service you use is compromised and your password is lost. Services like "Have I Been Pwned?" Can do this for free.
  • Identity Protection : For an additional fee, Lookout offers a credit monitoring service and similar tools. You can even insure against identity theft to cover the legal costs and associated identity theft costs. Tools like CreditKarma offer some free credit monitoring services.
  • Missing Device : Lookout provides tools that help you find your iPhone more easily if you lose it. This is built into your iPhone with Apple's Find My iPhone. However, Lookout can notify you if someone removes your SIM card or activates Airplane Mode – that's something special.

Lookout can tell you if your iPhone's operating system needs an update, or track your lost phone for free – both of the things your iPhone needs can usually do without additional software – but other features will cost you. Lookout Premium includes most of the other features and costs $ 2.99 per month or $ 29.99 per year. For identity protection and insurance, Premium Plus is required for $ 9.99 per month or $ 99.99 per year.

 The main screen of the Lookout app on the iPhone

Lookout is not recommended, but it's fine too

We would not recommend Lookout for the iPhone either. Like Norton, Lookout duplicates some iOS security features and some that are sold separately and for free. With Lookout's pricier Premium Plus level, you only pay an additional $ 70 in addition to the regular price for a credit monitoring service sold through Lookout's iPhone App. This is not an iPhone security feature.

If you or a family member feel better about these services, you are welcome to pay them! They are not actively harmful to your iPhone.


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