Updated on: November 1, 2021
Short on time? Here’s the best iOS antivirus for 2021:
- 🥇 McAfee: Offers a variety of internet security tools like secure file storage, Wi-Fi scanning, a VPN, and a lot of excellent anti-theft protections.
Apple’s iOS doesn’t allow security apps to perform “virus scans”. So iPhones and iPads don’t need a “traditional antivirus”.
Does this mean iOS is immune from threats?
While Apple’s iOS is designed to be very secure — each iOS app is executed in its own “sandbox”, preventing the app from doing major system damage — viruses are only one type of internet security threat.
These top iOS antiviruses protect against:
- Network hackers.
- Fake websites.
- Phone theft.
- …and a lot more.
I tested the top antivirus and internet security apps on the App Store. Only some protected against all of the above threats. And some protected against much more.
Quick summary of the best iOS antivirus apps for 2021:
- 1.🥇 McAfee — #1 iPhone and iPad antivirus app in 2021.
- 2.🥈 Norton — Advanced web protection with excellent Wi-Fi scanner.
- 3.🥉 Avira — Good free plan with great privacy protections and a secure VPN.
- 4. TotalAV — Simple and secure antivirus for beginner users.
- 5. Kaspersky — Feature-rich security app (with a really fast VPN).
- Bonus. Trend Micro — Decent security for iOS devices.
- Comparison of the Best Antivirus Apps for iOS.
- FAQ about iOS Antivirus/Internet Security Apps.
How I Rated the Best Antivirus for iOS in 2021:
- Web security. The greatest threats to iOS users are web-based threats like phishing sites, browser trackers, and unprotected Wi-Fi networks. I tested each product’s anti-phishing protections, tracker blocking features, VPNs, and Wi-Fi scanners against the latest online threats to ensure these apps can keep both your data and your device safe.
- Device security. iOS devices are one of the most stolen pieces of hardware in the world. I checked each product’s anti-theft protections, with extra points going to products with remote alarm and data wipe capabilities.
- Ease of use. Apple products are known for their intuitive interfaces, so an antivirus for iOS should be easy to use. All of the apps that made it to this list integrated well with iOS’s ecosystem without taking too much time, energy, or battery life.
- Value. I compared each product’s security features against the competition so that I could accurately decide which internet security app provides the most protection for the price.
🥇1. McAfee Mobile Security – Best Antivirus for iPhones + iPads
McAfee Mobile Security is my favorite iOS antivirus in 2021 — it combines excellent web protections with the best anti-theft features on the market, providing everything iOS users need to stay safe both online and offline.
During my tests, McAfee performed exceptionally well — unlike many competitors, McAfee didn’t drain my battery or slow down my iPhone or iPad. I also like how easy it was for me to use McAfee — the dashboard is very intuitive and all the features are easy to access.
McAfee comes with:
- Anti-theft protection.
- Anti-phishing monitor.
- VPN (with unlimited data).
- Wi-Fi network scanner.
- Secure media vault.
McAfee’s anti-theft protections are the best on the market. Low on battery? McAfee sends an email of the last location detected before your battery died. Phone stolen? McAfee automatically photographs thieves trying to unlock your phone, and there’s also a very loud alarm which you can trigger remotely. Phone unretrievable? McAfee offers remote data wiping so you can at least know your private stuff is safe from thieves.
McAfee’s web protections are also really good. The phishing monitor detected almost every phishing site in my testing, including sites that Safari and Chrome failed to flag as unsafe.
I also think McAfee’s VPN is great — it keeps you safe when you’re browsing the internet on unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots, and it’s able to bypass geo-restrictions and lets you access content that’s unavailable in your country.
McAfee Mobile Security is available for a single device for a yearly subscription, but if you want to protect multiple devices, you should consider McAfee Total Protection — it offers excellent security for 5, 10, or unlimited devices, including Windows, Android, and macOS devices.
McAfee provides an excellent app for protecting iPhones and iPads, both online and physically. McAfee’s anti-theft protections are the best around, offering a remote alarm, remote data wiping, location tracking, and automatic selfie capture. McAfee’s web protections are also really good — the anti-phishing protection is better than most competitors and the VPN is secure, fast, and removes geo-restrictions. McAfee Mobile Security is a great choice for covering a single iPhone or iPad, while the Total Protection plan offers protection for multiple devices for a very affordable 1-year or 2-year subscription.
🥈2. Norton Mobile Security — Best iOS Web Protections
Norton Mobile Security is an intuitive security app for iOS devices that has all of the essentials for keeping your device safe online.
Norton has the following iOS security features:
- Web protection — Detects malicious and phishing sites in browsers, apps, text messages, and emails.
- Wi-Fi scanner — Alerts you when you connect to an unsecure Wi-Fi network.
- Device security — Notifies you when your operating system is out of date and needs to be updated.
I really like Norton’s web protection — during my tests, it caught several newer phishing sites that both Safari and other iPhone antiviruses failed to detect. Norton’s Wi-Fi scanner is also really good — it offers a security rating for public Wi-Fi networks and actively monitors networks for changes that could compromise user security.
Norton Mobile Security is a good choice for users looking for a simple-to-use, install-and-forget iOS security app that they can use on up to 3 iOS devices. However, users with multiple devices (including PCs, Macs, and Androids) and users looking for additional protections should check out Norton 360 Deluxe which adds coverage for up to 5 devices, excellent parental controls, a VPN with unlimited browsing data, and a password manager.
Norton offers an excellent security app for iOS users — it only offers web protection and a WI-Fi monitor, but both of those are among the best on the market. Norton also offers excellent parental controls, a VPN with unlimited data, and a secure password manager for iOS users. However, all of these features are included with Norton 360 Deluxe, which also has coverage for up to 5 devices across all operating systems and a risk-free 60-day money-back guarantee.
🥉3. Avira Free Mobile Security for iOS – Best Free Antivirus for iOS
Avira Free Mobile Security for iOS comes with good free features, including excellent privacy protections that ensure your private data doesn’t end up compromised.
I was especially impressed with Avira’s unique Privacy Manager feature, which uses a specially designed downloadable “iOS Profile” to prevent Apple from saving your Siri conversations on its servers.
Avira also has additional iOS security protections like:
- Photo clean-up.
- Call blocker.
- Breach monitor (Pro only).
- Anti-phishing (Pro only).
I really like Avira’s anti-theft protections — during my tests, I was able to easily track my iPhone’s location, wipe my data, lock my iPhone, and trigger a really loud alarm all from Avira’s secure online dashboard.
I’m also like Avira’s VPN — it’s one of the fastest VPNs I’ve used, enabling me to securely browse the web and stream video without noticeable speed drops. However, Avira’s free plan comes with a limited version of the VPN (100 MB per day).
On the other hand, Avira Mobile Security Pro adds a VPN with unlimited browsing data as well as anti-phishing protections and data breach monitoring, all of which provide an extra layer of security online. This app also comes bundled with Avira’s best-value internet security package, Avira Prime (which covers up to 5 devices across all operating systems).
Avira has a really good free plan for iOS users – it includes anti-theft protection, 100 MB of daily VPN usage, spam call filtering, and device clean-up tools. However, Avira’s premium Mobile Security Pro is a better choice for most users, as it adds essential features like phishing protection, a VPN with unlimited data, and automatic data breach monitoring. This plan is also available bundled with Avira Prime, which covers up to 5 devices and has a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
4. TotalAV Mobile Security — Intuitive + Easy-to-Use iPhone Antivirus
TotalAV Mobile Security is a decent mobile app for iOS users with an easy-to-use user interface — it’s a particularly good choice for beginners or non-tech-savvy users looking for a simple, user-friendly iOS antivirus with all the essentials and a couple of really useful extras, including:
- VPN (with unlimited data).
- Device tracking.
- Photo clean-up.
- Dark breach monitoring.
During my standard series of tests, TotalAV’s anti-phishing protection worked pretty well — but it didn’t detect some of the newer phishing sites that antivirus competitors like Norton and McAfee blocked.
On the other hand, I was impressed with TotalAV’s VPN, which provided me with encrypted access to servers around the globe. It allowed me to watch HD video and even unblock geo-restricted content with no noticeable slowdown of my web connection.
If you’re looking for a simple iPhone security app with a good VPN, TotalAV Mobile Security will keep your device safe from hackers and web-based threats. You can also get TotalAV’s web protection bundled with TotalAV’s internet security packages that cover up to 6 devices, including Macs, PCs, and Androids.
TotalAV is a good security app for beginner or non-technical iOS users — it offers a sleek and intuitive dashboard, an excellent VPN, and helpful extras like anti-phishing protection and photo storage cleanup. You can also get TotalAV Mobile Security bundled with PC, Mac, and Android security protection as part of TotalAV’s internet security suites that cover up to 6 devices and have a 30-day money-back guarantee.
5. Kaspersky Security Cloud & VPN — Good iOS Security Features (with Fast VPN)
Kaspersky Security Cloud & VPN provides a wide range of security protections for iOS — from essential ones like anti-phishing to additional ones like parental controls.
While I like most of Kaspersky’s protections, I wasn’t too impressed with the anti-phishing tools, which missed more risky sites than any other app on this list. Even Chrome and Safari’s built-in protections detected a few more phishing sites in my testing than Kaspersky did!
That said, Kaspersky’s other iOS features are really good, including:
- Password manager.
- Parental controls.
- Data breach monitoring.
Kaspersky’s VPN is excellent, providing encrypted internet access with servers in more than 25 countries as well as very good connection speeds, making it a good option for users interested in streaming.
I’m a big fan of Kaspersky’s parental controls as well, especially because of the geo-fencing feature, which allows parents to get alerts if their kids leave a safe location.
Kaspersky packs a ton of security features into a single, easy-to-use iOS app. The lightning-fast VPN and excellent parental controls really stood out to me, but I think the anti-phishing protection could use some improvement. If you’re on a single iOS device, you should check out Kaspersky Security Cloud, or you can get coverage for up to 10 devices on one of Kaspersky’s premium internet security packages.
Bonus: Trend Micro Mobile Security – Good iOS Anti-Phishing Protection
Trend Micro Mobile Security provides solid web protections for iOS devices — including some pretty good anti-phishing tools.
I also like Trend Micro’s Wi-Fi scanner, which scans all of the devices connected to a network and alerts you of any potential threats, including man-in-the-middle attacks.
Another cool feature is Trend Micro’s iMessage Protection, which automatically places all iMessages that link to suspicious websites into a junk folder.
On the other hand, I wasn’t super impressed with Trend Micro’s parental controls. They provide decent content filtering, but Trend Micro doesn’t really offer a significant improvement over Apple’s built-in parental controls (and they’re not better than other antiviruses with parental controls).
Trend Micro provides decent iOS security protection — the anti-phishing protection and Wi-Fi scanner are both pretty good. Unfortunately, I think that competitors like McAfee and Norton provide a better range of similar features for a better value. On the other hand, Trend Micro’s premium internet security suites aren’t bad — and they come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut:
- Lookout. Lookout is a pretty good iOS-specific security app, with advanced anti-theft protections as well as anti-phishing and identity theft monitoring. However, the other apps on this list provide similar protection for a better value.
- Phone Guardian. This app is a free VPN that also encrypts your photos and personal information. It’s a good free app for iOS, but it’s not nearly as secure or feature-rich as the other products on this list.
- Avast. Avast was caught in a scandal where they were selling data from millions of users to giant corporations — you can read more about it here.
Comparison of the Best Antivirus Apps for iOS
|Antivirus||VPN||Anti-Theft Photo Capture||Anti-Phishing Protections||Wi-Fi Network Scanning|
|1.🥇McAfee||Unlimited data with upgrade||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|2.🥈Norton||No (separate purchase available)||No||Yes||Yes|
|3.🥉Avira||100 MB daily data free (unlimited with upgrade)||No||Yes||Yes|
|4. TotalAV||Unlimited (premium plan only)||No||Yes||Yes|
|5. Kaspersky||200 MB daily free (unlimited with upgrade)||No||Yes||Yes|
|6. Bonus – Trend Micro||No (separate purchase available)||No||Yes||Yes|
Antiviruses for iPhone and iPad — Frequently Asked Questions
Why can’t I see my iOS antivirus scanning my files for viruses?
The reason your iOS security app isn’t scanning for viruses is pretty simple — iOS can’t get viruses.
Internet security apps for iOS protect iPhones and iPads from web-based threats instead of using virus scans to keep you safe. For example, McAfee offers anti-phishing protection, a Wi-Fi network scanner, a secure VPN for private browsing, data breach monitoring, and parental controls.
Do I need to pay for an iOS antivirus if there are so many free apps?
Even though some iOS antiviruses offer decent free protection, you’ll only get high-quality protection if you pay. That said, Avira provides my favorite free protection for iOS, but even Avira doesn’t provide anti-phishing protection or an unlimited VPN in its free plan.
Even the best premium iOS security apps are only a few bucks a month, and they all save you from the headaches of dealing with a free antivirus — limited functionality, annoying ads, and apps that spy on you and steal your data (like Avast and AVG).
Will antivirus software drain my iPhone’s battery?
iOS security software will affect your battery life in the same way as any other application that needs to be constantly running in the background. But many of them, like McAfee and Norton, operate with low-resources and won’t cause a significant drain on your battery.
Do antiviruses for iOS include parental control features?
While iOS already provides limits on app usage, as well as the ability to block “adult content” online, the parental control features offered by these top antivirus apps provide a lot more fine-tuning, including:
- Content filters. Customize content filtering by dozens of categories.
- Geo-fencing. Get location alerts if your child’s device leaves a predefined safe area.
- Usage controls. Schedule app and device access.
With these apps, you can ensure that your kids are safe online — you can protect them against predators and scammers, provide them with access to age-appropriate content, limit their screen time, monitor their location, and more.