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The debut of Avira Mobile Security is something of a head-scratcher: iPhone owners generally have little reason to worry about the security of their device, at least on the software front. Apple works hard to keep its mobile operating system locked down tight (often to the dismay of developers), and quickly plugs any holes that do crop up.
Avira’s app scans any device it’s installed on for malicious processes, along with offering tips on how to make the most of available storage and battery life conservation. The scan, which takes only seconds, checks to make sure that the latest version of iOS is installed, while identifying jailbroken devices, which are theoretically more susceptible to intrusion. Such users may have good reason to fret after voluntarily circumventing Apple’s walled garden, but it doesn’t make as much sense for the majority of us.
The iPhone 5s we tested came out squeaky clean after each scan, and we imagine that will be the case for all but a handful of users. Although we don’t necessarily feel safer or more secure, the app does get high marks for its well-organized, clean layout that nicely complements iOS 7.
Thankfully, Avira has built extra value into the app, courtesy of an anti-theft feature. It keeps tabs on the location of each device in your account, offering the ability to call or “scream” (push an alert) from any web browser. We didn’t have any luck with the first option – curiously, no such call ever came through. "Scream" worked as advertised, but we’re not quite sure who would actually bother using it, since Apple already offers a similar feature with Find My iPhone.
The app also integrates with Avira’s companion Secure Backup service, offering 5GB of free cloud storage for photos, documents, and other content. This would be more convenient if you could actually create and access backups without having to install a second app, but free is free.
The bottom line. Avira Mobile Security is best suited for owners of jailbroken devices or those who just need extra peace of mind – even if it’s not really necessary.
iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 6.0 or later
Security scan takes only seconds. Includes 5GB free cloud storage. Locates device with pinpoint accuracy.
Web call feature never worked in our testing. Replicates existing Find My iPhone functionality. Likely unnecessary for non-jailbroken devices.