Updated on: January 1, 2023
Short on time? Here’s the best iOS antivirus for 2023:
Apple’s iOS doesn’t allow security apps to perform “virus scans”, so iPhones and iPads don’t need traditional malware protection. 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.
But this doesn’t mean iOS devices are immune to threats! iOS devices are still vulnerable to network attacks, phishing links, apps with unauthorized access to data, fake websites, adware, phone theft, and more.
I tested the top antivirus and internet security apps on the App Store — there are only a few that can protect your device against all of the above threats. However, my top choices can protect against those threats and much more.
Quick summary of the best iOS antivirus apps for 2023:
- 1.🥇 Norton — Best overall iOS security app in 2023.
- 2.🥈 McAfee — Excellent web & phishing protection for iOS.
- 3.🥉 TotalAV — Simple and secure antivirus for beginner users.
- 4. Avira — Good free plan with great privacy protections and a secure VPN.
- 5. Kaspersky — Feature-rich security app (with good parental controls).
- Bonus. Trend Micro — Decent security for iOS devices.
- Comparison of the Best Antivirus Apps for iOS.
🥇1. Norton Mobile Security — Best iOS Security App in 2023
Norton Mobile Security is an intuitive security app for iOS devices that has all of the essentials for keeping your device safe online, including:
- Web protection — Detects malicious and phishing sites in browsers, apps, text messages, and emails.
- Dark web monitoring — Continuously scans the dark web for leaked or stolen person details, including breached online accounts.
- VPN (virtual private network) — Encrypts your browsing traffic and hides your IP address location.
- Scam SMS message filtering — Protects against malicious SMS text messages.
- 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.
- And more…
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 Secure Calendar feature also offers protection against suspicious iOS calendar invites, which could contain phishing links or links to other malicious websites.
Norton’s dark web monitoring tools are some of the best on the market — Norton can continuously scan the dark web for your personal information, including your email address, bank account details, address, gamer tag, driver’s license, insurance documents, and even your mother’s maiden name (commonly used as a form of identity verification).
Norton Mobile Security is an intuitive install-and-forget iOS security app — it’s a good choice for users looking for a simple solution that they can use on one iOS device.
However, Norton 360 Deluxe ($49.99 / year) is a great choice for users with multiple devices (including PCs, Macs, and Androids) and users looking for additional protections. It adds coverage for up to 5 devices, excellent parental controls, and a password manager.
Norton offers an excellent security app for iOS users — it has web protection, dark web monitoring, scam SMS message filtering, a VPN, a WI-Fi monitor, and more. Norton also offers excellent parental controls and a secure password manager for iOS users (but they come as separate apps). Norton Mobile Security only covers one iPhone or iPad, but all of these features are also included with Norton 360 Deluxe, which also adds coverage for up to 5 devices across all operating systems and a risk-free 60-day money-back guarantee.
🥈2. McAfee Mobile Security – Great Phishing Protection for iPhones + iPads
McAfee Mobile Security combines great web protections with a decent VPN, providing iOS users with a good selection of tools needed to stay safe online. It gives an overall security score and provides tips on how to improve your score. Initially, my security score was low, but once I’d activated all of McAfee’s features and run various scans (including the data breach scan), I was able to significantly increase it.
During my tests, McAfee performed exceptionally well — it was able to find security issues with my device, like outdated iOS software and anti-phishing protections switched off.
McAfee also comes with:
- Anti-phishing monitor.
- VPN (with unlimited data).
- Wi-Fi network scanner.
- Data breach alerts.
McAfee’s app didn’t drain my battery or slow down my iPhone (unlike some competitors), even though I kept the web protections permanently switched on. I also like how easy it was for me to use McAfee — the app is very intuitive and all the features are easy to access.
I think McAfee’s VPN is decent — it keeps you safe when you’re browsing the internet on unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots, it has a strict no-logs policy, and it works with most major streaming sites, like Netlflix and Amazon Prime.
However, McAfee recently removed its anti-theft features, even though brands like TotalAV still include anti-theft tools. That said, I quite like Apple’s built-in anti-theft tracking features, so I’m not overly disappointed about McAfee’s change.
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 (starting at $39.99 / year) — it offers excellent security for either 5 or unlimited devices, including Windows, Android, and macOS devices.
McAfee provides a great app for protecting iPhones and iPads. Its web protections are really good — the anti-phishing protection is better than most competitors, and the VPN is secure, fast, and can access popular streaming sites. McAfee Mobile Security is a great choice for covering a single iPhone or iPad, while the Total Protection plans offer protection for 5 or unlimited devices for a very affordable 1-year or 2-year subscription.
🥉3. TotalAV Mobile Security — Intuitive + Easy-to-Use iPhone Antivirus
TotalAV Mobile Security is an intuitive security apps for iOS users — 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.
- Data breach monitoring.
I also really like TotalAV’s anti-theft device tracking feature, which locates your iPhone or iPad if it’s lost or stolen — you can always see the location of your device through the TotalAV online dashboard.
I was impressed with TotalAV’s VPN too, which provided me with encrypted access to servers around the globe. It allowed me to watch HD video on popular streaming platforms with no noticeable slowdown of my web connection. TotalAV’s VPN is one of the best antivirus-bundled VPNs in 2023, comparable to some of the best standalone VPNs out there.
TotalAV Mobile Security is a simple security app with a good VPN — it’ll 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 start at $19.00 / year and 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, anti-theft tools, 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.
4. Avira Free Mobile Security for iOS – Good 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 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 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). Also, I wasn’t able to access many popular streaming sites, which I was consistently able to do with TotalAV.
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. You can get it as a standalone app, but it also comes bundled with Avira’s best-value internet security package, Avira Prime, which starts at $45.99 / year and 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 60-day money-back guarantee.
5. Kaspersky Security & VPN — Good iOS Security Features (With Great Parental Controls)
Kaspersky Security & VPN provides many security protections for iOS — from essential ones like anti-phishing to additional ones like parental controls.
Kaspersky’s other iOS features are really good too — they include:
- VPN (300 MB daily data allowance).
- Password manager.
- Parental controls (separate app).
- Data breach monitoring.
Kaspersky’s VPN is great, providing encrypted internet access with servers in more than 20 countries as well as very good connection speeds, making it a good option for users interested in streaming. However, the unlimited-data VPN is only available with Kaspersky’s Plus and Premium plans — unless you subscribe to one of these plans, you’re limited to 300 MB per day. I think Norton’s VPN is better, as it offers unlimited VPN data on all of Norton’s 360 plans.
I’m a big fan of Kaspersky’s parental controls, especially because of the geofencing feature, which allows parents to get alerts if their kids leave a safe location. My only complaints are that the screen time schedules and time limits don’t work on iOS and that you can’t monitor SMS messages on iOS devices like you can with top competitor Qustodio.
Kaspersky Security is available for an annual subscription, or as part of one of Kaspersky’s premium plans, which start at $21.99 / year and cover 3–20 devices, including PCs, Macs, and Androids.
Kaspersky packs a ton of security features into a single, easy-to-use iOS app. The VPN and parental controls really stood out to me, but I think the anti-phishing protection could use some improvement, and I’d like to see Kaspersky offer more VPN data with its lower-tier plans. If you’re on a single iOS device, you should check out Kaspersky Security & VPN, or you can get coverage for up to 20 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. In my testing, Trend Micro caught as many phishing sites as top competitors like McAfee and Norton.
I also like Trend Micro’s Wi-Fi scanner, which scans all of the devices connected to a network and alerts you to any potential threats, including man-in-the-middle attacks. The app also includes anti-theft device tracking capabilities, which were pretty easy to set up and use.
Another cool feature is Trend Micro’s iMessage Protection, which automatically places all iMessages that link to suspicious websites into a junk folder.
However, I wasn’t 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, including Kaspersky).
Trend Micro Mobile Security is available as an annual subscription for a single device, but this isn’t the best value when compared to Norton and TotalAV. However, for a better value, you can get Trend Micro’s iOS app bundled with Trend Micro’s premium Maximum Security ($49.95 / year) and Premium Security ($59.95 / year) plans.
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.
Comparison of the Best Antivirus Apps for iOS
|Antivirus||VPN||Anti-Theft Tools||Anti-Phishing Protections||Wi-Fi Network Scanning||SMS Spam Text Protection|
|2.🥈McAfee||Unlimited data on premium plan||❌||✅||✅||❌|
|3.🥉TotalAV||Unlimited data on premium plan only||✅||✅||✅||❌|
|4. Avira||100 MB daily data free; unlimited with upgrade||✅||✅||✅||❌|
|5. Kaspersky||300 MB daily free; unlimited with upgrade||❌||✅||✅||✅|
|6. Bonus – Trend Micro||Separate purchase available||✅||✅||✅||✅|
How to Choose the Best Antivirus for iOS in 2023:
- Ensure the app offers effective web security. You need an iOS security app that offers solid protection against web attacks, like malicious websites, scam messages, and phishing links. I tested each product’s web protections against the latest online threats to ensure these apps can keep both your data and your device safe.
- Select an app that includes privacy features. To protect your data, a good iOS security app will offer privacy features like app permissions monitoring, VPNs, and even features to block Apple from saving Siri requests. Most apps on this list offer some kind of important privacy protection features.
- Look for an app with an easy-to-use interface. Apple products are known for their intuitive interfaces, so you should look for an antivirus app that is 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.
- Choose an app that offers a range of features for a great price. You shouldn’t need to spend a lot to get decent iOS protections. 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.
Do iOS Devices Need an Antivirus?
The short answer: Yes. iPhones and iPads don’t usually get viruses like a computer or Android device would. The iOS operating system is built in a way that doesn’t allow traditional malware to spread throughout the system. However, iOS devices are still vulnerable to a lot of security threats, including:
- Scam SMS and iMessage messages.
- Email phishing attacks.
- Malicious iOS calendar invites.
- Phishing websites.
- Zero-day attacks.
- Device theft.
- And more…
iOS security apps like Norton Mobile Security protect against threats including malicious websites, suspicious iOS calendar invites, and scam SMS messages.
Apple recently released an important security update for iOS devices — a system vulnerability allowed hackers to exploit devices and access private information, like banking details. iOS antivirus apps can scan your device and let you know of important iOS firmware updates, so you can avoid exploit attacks and other security issues.
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.
- Webroot. Webroot’s mobile security app for iOS is extremely limited. It’s just a secure web browser, which will protect you against malicious sites but not much else. This app lacks pretty much all of the web protection tools that make the other apps on this list useful.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why can’t I see my iOS antivirus scanning my files for viruses?
Your iOS security app isn’t scanning for viruses because 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, Norton offers anti-phishing protection, a Wi-Fi network scanner, a secure VPN for private browsing, and dark web monitoring.
Do I need to pay for an iOS antivirus if there are so many free apps?
You’ll only get high-quality protection if you pay — though some iOS antiviruses offer decent free protection. Avira provides my favorite free protection for iOS, but even Avira doesn’t offer 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.
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 the ones I chose for this list, 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, geo-fencing, and usage controls.
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.
Which antivirus is best for iOS?
The best iOS security app is Norton Mobile Security, which comes with:
- Web protection — blocks phishing sites and other malicious unsafe sites.
- Scam SMS message filtering — detects and blocks suspicious SMS messages.
- Live dark web monitoring — continuously scans the dark web for your personal information, including passwords, bank details, and more.
- Malicious iOS calendar invite protection — detects malicious links attached to spam calendar invites.
- Device security scanner — scans your iPhone or iPad for security issues, including outdated firmware.
- A VPN (virtual private network) — encrypts your browsing activity.
- And more…
There are also a few decent alternatives to Norton. McAfee’s iOS security app is very user-friendly and includes a decent range of features, including web protection and a VPN. TotalAV also offers a good range of iOS security features, as well as a useful photo cleanup tool.