How come there are no antiviruses for iOS devices like iPhones and iPads while Android has many available?

Update The article here shows that there have been attacks on the iOS Devices as well http://www.informationweek.in/informationweek/news-analysis/277157/researchers-breach-apple-famed-ios-security-wall

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    This is because there is no need for anti-virus or anti-malware apps on iOS, period. The Android platform suffers from a great deal of viruses and malware, but iOS does not.
    – user9290
    Sep 26, 2013 at 20:20
  • @WheatWilliams - Actually you need to get the facts cleared, there are malwares that do effect iOS as well, you can see in the link I just provided.
    – killswitch
    Sep 26, 2013 at 20:22
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    Related: apple.stackexchange.com/a/41990/18387 Oct 7, 2013 at 16:54
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    @killswitch The "malware" in the article you linked to is still limited by the sandbox. Oct 7, 2013 at 16:56
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    @killswitch Thanks. Have a look at apple.stackexchange.com/help/dont-ask - there's a lot of variation in how people see "asking for explanation" vs "seeking discussion" which might explain some of the negative votes the current edit of the question has gotten.
    – bmike
    Oct 15, 2013 at 21:59

3 Answers 3


Due to application sandboxing in iOS, which restricts applications to just their individually allocated areas on the filesystem (and prevents access to any other application's or the OS' files as well as memory, network communication, etc.), an app written to be like an antivirus cannot really read anything outside of its own sandbox.

Due to limited multitasking in iOS, an app written to be like an antivirus cannot really run in the background for a long time to scan the system continuously.

Both these factors together make it impossible to make an antivirus like app for iOS unless the device is jailbroken.

Any antivirus, if at all deemed necessary, would have to be made by Apple. Third party app developers are limited to the restrictions mentioned above.

Further to the comments on the question, it may be worth one's while to look at this presentation titled "The Android vs. Apple iOS Security Showdown - July 2012" (especially slides #20 through #33).

  • As I said in a comment above, the finding of the Malware is almost a month ago, and this sand boxing has been there even before, so how did this get through?
    – killswitch
    Sep 27, 2013 at 8:09
  • Every software product in the world that is alive and evolving with time would have some security issue. It's more a matter of when the issues are found rather than if. I'm sure Apple is concerned about such breaches and takes them very seriously.
    – M K
    Sep 27, 2013 at 13:47
  • You can send feedback to Apple yourself (though you may not get a response) at apple.com/feedback and let Apple know your thoughts and suggestions on it.
    – M K
    Sep 27, 2013 at 13:48

The brief answer is Apple provides a developer kit (SDK) that makes this sort of program very limited in functionality and doesn't allow programs to plug in and modify the OS as has proven popular for desktop OS scanning tools.

Antivirus software is limited by the sandbox

As Kaspersky explains, the way apps are currently sandboxed within the app store, there is no way for an antivirus package to scan outside of its sandbox. It would not be able to scan files downloaded from Safari, other apps, Mail, or anything else.

But that's ok.

Apple's sandbox limits malware

The sandbox also limits what any malware could do. Since apps need to be signed, and the APIs they're allowed access to limit their access, there's not much room for a virus or other malware to sneak in. Right now, there are no known iOS viruses.


Intego which are famous for their security products for Mac, have an iOS App for iPad/iPhone:

Intego VirusBarrier iOS offers on-demand scanning for your iPad or iPhone so you can catch any malicious files and get rid of them before they harm your computer or important files.

  • I would like to thank you for not understanding the question and down voting it, as I said why are they not prominent and not the name of s specific company!!
    – killswitch
    Oct 15, 2013 at 17:27
  • @killswitch Please lighten up a bit about down votes (or even accusing someone who may not have down voted you). Some will love the easy question without a lot of coloring or preconceived ideas, others won't like it at all. The place runs on anonymous voting and you should be able to see that some might find it unclear, lacking a practical thing to solve or not useful.
    – bmike
    Oct 15, 2013 at 21:41
  • @killswitch Excuse me but I DIDN'T downvote you. You did say there are none available for iOS, well one certainly exists which I put in my answer (from a well known company with regards to Apple Mac security). If it makes you feel any better I asked a question on here recently which got a -4 vote (yet in my mind was perfectly answerable).
    – Simon
    Oct 16, 2013 at 9:01

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