Can iPads get viruses?

iPad does an excellent job of fighting viruses, malware, and the dark side of the internet, so don't panic if you see a message on your iPad saying you have a virus. Currently, there are no known viruses that target iPads, and such viruses may never exist.

In a technical sense, a virus is a piece of code that replicates itself by creating a copy in another piece of software on your computer. However, unlike Windows PCs, which have very open file systems, iPadOS does not allow one application to directly access another application's files, thus preventing any potential virus replication.

If you visit a website and see a message claiming that your device is infected with a virus, exit the website immediately. These pop-up messages are scams designed to scare you into installing malware on the pretext of increasing your device security.

Additionally, you don't need to install virus protection on your iPad. Unlike Windows computers, which are almost required to run real-time virus protection software, the iPad does not require full virus protection.

While it's impossible to write a true virus for the iPad, malware can and does exist. Malware includes any software that has malicious intent, such as tricking you into revealing your passwords or other sensitive information. Malware targeting iPads is relatively rare, though, because it has to overcome one major hurdle before it can be installed on your device: the App Store.

Owning an iPad guarantees that every app submitted to the App Store has been reviewed by Apple; it's actually a big reason people choose an iPad over a PC. While it's possible for malware to slip through, it's rare. On the rare occasion that this happens, the app is usually detected within days or weeks and immediately removed from the store.

However, you should still be wary, especially if an app asks for personal or financial information. It's one thing for an Amazon app to ask for this kind of information, but quite another when it comes from an app you've never heard of and downloaded on a whim.

Even well-known apps should be treated with a certain level of distrust. Never share your personal information, especially financial information like bank account and credit card numbers, unless the application has a specific reason to ask for it.

While the virus is unlikely to exist on the iPad, scammers have bypassed the iPad's ability to protect itself from viruses by infecting developers' PCs and injecting code before it reaches the App Store. While this may sound like something out of a movie, it actually happened. This situation is rare and shouldn't worry most of us, but it does go to show that even popular apps shouldn't have our full trust.

VirusBarrier is the first antivirus app for the iPad, but it requires a Mac because it can't be installed directly on the tablet. There's also McAfee Security that runs on iPad, but it's more about functionality, so it lets you connect to a VPN, check for data leaks online, block malicious websites, scan text for strange URLs, and more.

Apps like VirusBarrier are exploiting your fear of viruses and want you to install them without reading the fine print. In fact, Apple removed VirusBarrier for exactly this reason. Yes, even McAfee Security wants you to be scared enough not to realize that there are no known viruses on the iPad, and that malware is actually harder to infect on an iPad than on a PC.

One of the most common iPad scams is iOS crash reporting and its variations. In this phishing scam, the website displays a pop-up window informing you that your operating system has crashed or that your iPad is infected with a virus, and then instructs you to call a certain number. However, the person on the other end is not an Apple employee and their main goal is to scam you out of money or information that they can use to hack into your account.

The difference between viruses and malware is important. The virus simply cannot copy itself to the iPad because it cannot access the files to copy. But other forms of malware simply trick users into infecting their computers or revealing personal information.

When you receive a message like this, the best thing to do is to close Safari and restart your iPad. If you frequently receive this message, clear the cookies and network data stored on your device as follows:

  1. Open settings .

  2. Scroll down the left menu and click Safari .

  3. In Safari settings, scroll down and click Clear history and website data , then select Clear to confirm.

    After completing this step, you will have to re-enter previously saved website passwords, but this is a small price to pay for keeping your browser clean and secure.

If your iPad web browser keeps showing annoying pop-up ads that lock you out and tell you that you've won something, it's most likely another form of malware. One common type pretends to be from Amazon and tricks you into thinking you've won a gift. Just like the crash reporting scam, these sneaky ads try to get you to reveal personal information.

To fight back, clear your web history and data. The malware resides in your web cache, which is data saved by Safari browser to help speed up websites by storing parts of their content.

The easiest way to compromise an iPad is to exploit security holes in the operating system. Apple fixed these issues quickly, but you'll need to update your iPad to get the problem under control.

When you're prompted about a new operating system update, just tap Later and plug your iPad in before bed. The iPad will be scheduled to update that night, but it will need to be plugged into a power source (computer or wall outlet) to download and run the update.

Jailbreaking is a major vulnerability that can expose your device to potential malware infection. Jailbreaking involves bypassing the protections implemented by Apple, which often restrict you to installing apps from their store. Typically, apps require a certificate from Apple to download, install, and run on your device. Jailbreaking can bypass this protection, allowing any app to be installed on the iPad.

If you jailbreak your device, be extra careful what you install on it, as Apple has not tested it and certified it as free of malware.

Most people won't jailbreak their iPad. In fact, as tablets gain more features, jailbreaking becomes less and less popular. Most things that can be done through apps on Cydia and other non-Apple app stores can now be done through apps downloaded through the official App Store.

Just because malware has a hard time getting into your iPad, doesn't mean your iPad is completely safe from any intrusions. Hackers are very good at finding ways to compromise a device or get inside a device.

Here are some things everyone should do with their iPad:

  • Open Find My iPad. This tool allows you to remotely lock your iPad or even wipe it if it is lost or stolen.
  • Lock your iPad with a passcode. While entering a code every time you use your iPad may seem like a waste of time, it's still the best way to keep it safe.
  • Disable Siri and notifications from your lock screen. When your iPad is locked, Siri is still accessible by default. And, with Siri, anyone can do anything from check their calendar to set reminders.