There are 3.8 billion smartphone users around the world which is nearly 50 percent of the world’s population. That number is similar to the number of households that have computers around the globe.
That means smartphones make an equally attractive target for scammers and virus makers.
Can phones get viruses? Let’s take a look.
- 1 What is a Computer Virus?
- 2 What’s Different About Smartphones
- 3 Android vs. iPhone – Which is Safer?
- 4 Can Phones Get Viruses If You Don’t Run Phone Virus Protection Apps?
What is a Computer Virus?
A computer virus is a piece of software that spreads from one computer to another automatically, much as a virus does in real life. With most modern computers being online, it makes it easier for viruses to spread.
Viruses can be harmless but in most cases, they’re designed to steal your data, add your computer to a network of PCs doing bad things, or various other nefarious activities.
While most viruses target PCs, some could infect your smartphone.
What’s Different About Smartphones
Smartphones work a bit differently than a typical desktop PC. They’re a lot more locked-down, which makes it harder for viruses to spread.
If you only install software from well-known app stores like Apple’s App Store or Google’s Play store, the chances of getting infected by a virus are small. These large companies review all the apps they add to the store so they would catch a virus in the review stage.
Smartphones also treat each app differently than a typical PC does. Smartphone apps run in their own memory space and only have access to the space assigned to them. This means that one app shouldn’t be able to read data or access memory that’s allocated to another app, limiting its ability to do any damage.
If you’re having trouble with your smartphone and want to check for a phone virus, do a bit of research. Get more info about smartphone repairs first to see if it might be a hardware problem instead.
Android vs. iPhone – Which is Safer?
The two major smartphone operating systems — Android and iOS — both have many safety features to limit the risk of viruses. There is one big difference between the two that has a bearing on how likely they are to have trouble though.
Android is a more open system than iOS. Google allows side-loading, which means users can install apps from outside the Google Play store. They also allow third-party app stores to distribute apps for their phones.
This exposes you to higher risk if you install an app from an unknown source. Those apps aren’t reviewed by Google and they could contain viruses or other malware.
Apple doesn’t allow side-loading or third-party app stores on the iPhone so you don’t need to worry about this problem. The only time you could have trouble on the iPhone is if you jailbreak it and install apps from unknown sources.
Can Phones Get Viruses If You Don’t Run Phone Virus Protection Apps?
As you can see, phones work differently from a typical computer. Can phones get viruses? Yes, but it’s not nearly as common as it is on a PC.
As long as you’re careful about what you install and avoid unknown app stores, you’ll be pretty safe from viruses on a smartphone.
Browse through the rest of our site for more helpful articles about staying safe online.