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5 Best Security Apps for Tablets [2022]: iOS, Android + Windows

Sam Boyd Sam Boyd 5 Best Security Apps for Tablets [2022]: iOS, Android + Windows

Short on time? Here’s the best security app for tablets in 2022:

  • 🥇Norton: Excellent virus protection for iOS, Android, and Windows tablets. It uses artificial intelligence to detect all types of malware, identifies malicious apps before download, blocks phishing sites across all browsers, has an excellent Wi-Fi scanner, and comes with extras like a VPN, parental controls, dark web monitoring, and lots more.

I tested every antivirus and internet security app on the market — I wanted to find the ones that provide the perfect balance between security, cost, and ease of use for iOS, Android, and Windows tablets in 2022.

It wasn’t easy. Many of the apps I tested were slow and buggy, failing to catch both malware and deceptive downloads. I even came across some apps which were actually data-stealing malware in disguise!

Since iOS, Android, and Windows all have very different vulnerabilities, I wasn’t too surprised that a lot of cybersecurity brands provided decent protection for only one operating system and were really bad at protecting the others.

However, I did manage to find 5 apps that were able to protect my tablets from a wide range of potential online dangers and keep me safe online, with features such as malware scanning, anti-phishing protection, Wi-Fi security, and VPNs (virtual private networks).

I ranked each app on security, features, intuitiveness, and overall value. All of the products on this list are good at detecting and removing all types of malware, work across all operating systems, are easy to use, and offer a good value.

Quick summary of the best security apps for tablets in 2022:

🥇1. Norton — Best Overall Security App for All Tablets in 2022

🥇1. Norton — Best Overall Security App for All Tablets in 2022
Norton provides the most comprehensive internet security protections for iOS, Android, and Windows tablets in 2022. During my tests, I was really impressed with Norton’s AI-based anti-malware scanner — it blocked every piece of test malware I placed on my Android and Windows devices, including advanced viruses, ransomware, and spyware that a lot of the competitors missed.

Norton also offers other great security features, including:

  • App advisor (Android only).
  • Anti-phishing protection.
  • Wi-Fi monitoring.
  • Device Report Card.

I love Norton’s advanced app scanner, which identifies malicious apps from popular app stores before you download them to your devices — something very few antiviruses offer!

Another thing I really like about Norton is that it rates apps from the Google Play Store based on the amount of personal data they’re allowed to share, the number of ads they display, and how much background data they use. It’s features like these that have earned Norton the top place on our list of the top antiviruses for Android.

Along with advanced malware and app scanning, Norton also offers an excellent Wi-Fi scanner, which identifies unsafe public Wi-Fi networks, preventing hackers from accessing your tablet and stealing your information.

Finally, Norton has some of the best anti-phishing protections around — I tested this feature against a database of malicious and fraudulent sites, and Norton blocked every single fake site that I visited on a wide range of browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Safari.

Norton’s mobile plans offer affordable coverage for 1 iOS or Android device, but I recommend most users check out Norton’s 360 plans, which include coverage for up to 5 devices across all operating systems and provide all of the features listed above, along with extras like a VPN, dark web monitoring, parental controls, identity theft protection (US-based users only), and a lot more. Norton 360 plans start at $19.99 / year and come with a generous 60-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line:

Norton provides top-notch internet security apps for all tablets. Its malware engine and app scanner caught every virus, suspicious app, and potential spyware and ransomware file in my testing. Norton also comes with an excellent Wi-Fi scanner and anti-phishing protection. You can get Norton’s mobile plans if you want to cover just 1 Android or iOS device, or you can opt for Norton 360, which offers reliable antivirus protection along with extras like a VPN, dark web monitoring, and parental controls for up to 5 devices. You can try out Norton risk-free with a 60-day money-back guarantee.

Download Norton Now

Read the full Norton review here >

🥈2. Bitdefender — Lightweight App With Great Scanning Engine

🥈2. Bitdefender — Lightweight App With Great Scanning Engine

Bitdefender has a fast cloud-based malware scanner that’s extremely lightweight — the malware scanner caught every malware file in my testing, and it didn’t slow down my Android or Windows tablet or use up any battery power during scans. Even other top competitors like TotalAV can cause some slowdown during scans, so this is really impressive.

Bitdefender also includes a good variety of cybersecurity tools, like:

  • Security advisor (Android only).
  • VPN (200 MB per day).
  • Anti-phishing protection.
  • Anti-theft protections (Android only).
  • Data breach monitoring.

Bitdefender’s security advisor (Autopilot) feature is pretty unique — it monitors your device usage and fixes critical issues on your tablet without disturbing you or asking for your authorization. You can easily select Autopilot mode from the app’s settings, and when you do this, it applies an optimal security configuration and makes all security-related decisions for you. In other words, you won’t see any pop-ups or alerts, and you can forget all about the app while it quietly runs in the background and keeps you safe online.

I’m also a big fan of Bitdefender’s anti-phishing protection. I tested it by trying to visit dozens of dodgy sites, and Bitdefender was able to block every single one, including ones that Chrome’s built-in protections had missed.

Bitdefender offers cheap plans for Android and iOS device, but its best-value plan is Total Security, which provides cloud-based protection for up to 5 PCs, tablets, and mobile devices for $36.00 / year. Users who want to get the VPN with unlimited data should check out Premium Security, which costs $69.99 / year and covers up to 10 devices. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try Bitdefender risk-free.

Bottom Line:

Bitdefender’s lightweight cloud-based malware engine is bundled with some great additional features for tablets. The Autopilot feature allows Bitdefender to fix critical issues and problems without disturbing you, and tailor security protections to best suit your needs. Bitdefender also comes with anti-phishing controls, breach monitoring, and a limited VPN (200 MB per day). Users looking to cover multiple devices should get Bitdefender Total Security, which covers up to 5 devices, or Bitdefender Premium Security, which offers coverage for up to 10 devices. Bitdefender has a 30-day money-back guarantee.

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Read the full Bitdefender review here >

🥉3. TotalAV — Easy-to-Use App for All Tablets

🥉3. TotalAV — Easy-to-Use App for All Tablets

TotalAV is a good antivirus with an easy-to-use interface — it’s a great choice for beginner or non-technical tablet users looking for a secure and simple product. TotalAV doesn’t have as many advanced features as Norton, but it has all the essentials, and all of the provided tools work really well.

TotalAV’s malware scanner did a good job at detecting malware during my tests, catching over 99% of the malware on my Android and Windows devices. While this isn’t quite up there with Norton and Bitdefender, it’s still pretty impressive. I was also pleased with TotalAV’s app scanner, which blocked unsafe apps before I could install them.

I really like TotalAV’s Safe Browsing VPN. It’s secure, easy to use, and it worked with all the top streaming services in my tests. It also works with popular torrenting clients like BitTorrent and Vuze, and it offers impressive speeds (I was able to download a 20 GB file in around 30 minutes). In fact, TotalAV is our top antivirus with a VPN.

I’m a big fan of TotalAV’s WebShield too, an anti-phishing tool designed to block phishing sites and malware distributors. WebShield worked great in my tests, blocking more phishing sites than Chrome or Firefox’s built-in protections. That said, TotalAV’s anti-phishing protection isn’t quite as advanced as Norton’s.

TotalAV’s mobile plans are decent options for protecting 1 iOS or Android device, and there are also 3 premium plans for Windows tablet users or users looking to protect up to 6 Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac devices, starting at $19.00 / year.

Bottom Line:

TotalAV is a user-friendly antivirus for tablet users looking for good, basic malware protection. It performed well during my tests, blocking almost all of my malware samples and phishing sites. TotalAV offers mobile-only plans for a single device or multi-device plans, which cover up to 6 devices across all operating systems. All purchases have a 30-day money-back guarantee for annual subscriptions.

Download TotalAV Now

Read the full TotalAV review here >

4. McAfee — Great Malware & Web Protections

4. McAfee — Great Malware & Web Protections

McAfee provides excellent security tools for tablets — its malware scanner blocked 100% of the malware and deceptive apps in my testing (even a couple of advanced spyware apps that managed to pass the Google Play Store’s security scans).

Apart from the malware scanner, I really love McAfee’s web protections, which include:

  • Anti-phishing.
  • Wi-Fi scanning.
  • Ad tracker blocking.
  • VPN (with unlimited data).

All of McAfee’s web protections worked well during my tests — I was particularly impressed with the VPN, which secured my internet connection, made sure my browsing stayed private, and allowed me to access a variety of streaming sites. That said, McAfee’s VPN doesn’t support torrenting like TotalAV’s does, and it can’t quite compete with the best standalone VPNs in terms of speeds and streaming access.

McAfee’s mobile plans are good for Android and iPad users, whereas Windows tablet users or users looking for coverage on multiple devices will want to check out McAfee Total Protection (starting at $49.99 / year). The Total Protection plans include protection for up to 10 devices across all operating systems and extras like a password manager and identity theft protection.

Bottom Line:

McAfee provides some of the best internet security tools on the market — its malware and app scanning was 100% effective at detecting malware and deceptive apps in my testing, and it includes some really great web protections. Upgrading to McAfee Total Protection adds coverage for up to 10 devices and extras like a password manager. All McAfee purchases come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Download McAfee Now

Read the full McAfee review here >

5. Avira — Best Free Security App for Tablets

5. Avira — Best Free Security App for Tablets

Avira has a good range of free internet security features for all tablets. Its cloud-based malware scanner — which is really fast and doesn’t take up a lot of system resources — blocked all of the malware samples in my testing (and I barely noticed it was there even when it was scanning my Android and Windows devices). In fact, the scanner is so good that Avira has licensed it out to various competitors, like TotalAV.

Along with cloud-based malware scanning, Avira comes with an app privacy scanner that protects tablets from data-harvesting apps and even helps iOS users change iPad settings to limit what information Apple can collect from them. This is a unique feature that helped to earn Avira a high ranking in our top antiviruses for iOS.

iOS and Android users will also be happy to know that Avira offers extensive anti-theft protections, including location tracking, remote wiping, and a remotely triggered alarm (it’s extremely loud).

Avira’s free plan also has a VPN — but it’s limited to 500 MB per month, which makes it pretty much useless. Upgrading to Avira Prime gets you premium coverage for up to 5 devices, a VPN with unlimited data, and more, all for $59.99 / year.

Bottom Line:

Avira’s is a really good antivirus that comes with a range of free features for all kinds of tablets. Avira’s free plan has app scanning, malware protection, data breach monitoring, and a limited VPN (500 MB per month), but users looking for additional features should upgrade to Avira Prime. Avira offers a 60-day money back guarantee on all yearly purchases.

Download Avira Now

Read the full Avira review here >

Comparison of the Best Security Apps for Tablets in 2022

Antivirus Starting Price Wi-Fi Scanner VPN Anti-Theft Protection Money-Back Guarantee
1.🥇Norton $19.99 / year Unlimited data 60 days
2.🥈Bitdefender $23.99 / year Unlimited (with Bitdefender Premium Security) 30 days
3.🥉TotalAV $19.00 / year Unlimited (with TotalAV Internet Security) 30 days
4. McAfee $49.99 / year Unlimited data (with automatic subscription renewals) 30 days
5. Avira $45.99 / year Unlimited (with Avira Prime) 60 days

How to Choose the Best Security App for Your Tablet in 2022

  • Malware protection — Depending on the operating system, tablets can be vulnerable to either malware or deceptive apps, or both. I tested each app’s malware scanner against a range of malware, including viruses, trojans, ransomware, spyware, and rootkits. I also tested each program’s app scanner to see if they could detect unsafe software in a variety of app stores. All the apps that made it to my list offer strong protection against malware.
  • Security features — A lot of security apps claim to provide amazing additional features that are actually really bad. I tested additional features like anti-phishing protections, Wi-Fi scanners, and VPNs to ensure that they functioned as advertised. All of my top picks have genuinely useful security features, and Norton even has an unlimited VPN with all plans.
  • Ease of use — A good security app should be intuitive to use, even if you’re not tech-savvy. I used every single feature of each app to make sure they were easy to access, understand, and use. I gave points for intuitive, well-designed, and helpful programs that provided useful instructions. TotalAV is particularly strong in this area, and it’s a good choice for beginners.
  • Value — There are heaps of security apps on the market, so for an app to stand out from the others, it needs to offer really good value for money. I looked at the amount of useful security tools provided by each app, then compared each app to its competitors to determine which products offer the best value to the user. Norton has a huge range of useful features, all for a really reasonable price.

Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut:

  • Intego — Intego is the best macOS antivirus on the market, and it has a decent Windows version as well. However, it doesn’t support mobile devices.
  • BullGuard — BullGuard is a really good antivirus, and it detected all of my malware samples on my Android and Windows tablets. However, BullGuard doesn’t have an iOS app, so I simply couldn’t include it on this list.
  • Avast/AVG — Avast and AVG were recently involved in a data theft scandal, so we no longer recommend these programs on our site. You can read more about the scandal here.

Can you get viruses on a tablet?

It depends. Both Windows and Android tablets can get viruses, but iPads have really good built-in security protections that limit what files they are able to run, meaning iPads can’t get viruses.

However, all tablet users (including iPad users) have to worry about downloading malicious apps — the Apple App Store, Windows Store, and Google Play Store all have apps that can compromise your security.

Plus, whether you’re using Windows, Android, or iOS, you can still have your information compromised online through phishing sites, malicious web trackers, unsecured Wi-Fi networks, and large scale data breaches.

Fortunately, the security programs on this list don’t just scan for malware and deceptive apps, they also provide a variety of internet security features to keep you protected against all sorts of cybersecurity threats.

Doesn’t my tablet have antivirus protection?

Tablets have built-in security protections, but they’re not usually good enough to keep your data and device completely safe.

Here’s why:

  • Windows tablets use Windows Defender, Microsoft’s proprietary security software. It’s gotten a lot better in recent years, but it’s not updated often, and it doesn’t have the next-gen malware scanning capabilities of a standalone antivirus program like Norton.
  • Androids have Google Play Protect — it’s designed to detect the latest malware and suspicious apps, but it’s not as effective or reliable as third-party competitors like the ones here.
  • iOS devices are pretty secure. They have internal sandboxing which makes it impossible for malicious code to move from one app to the rest of the operating system. They’re safe from “viruses”, but they don’t provide adequate internet security or privacy protections against phishing, privacy leaks, or theft (unlike the apps on this list).

What is the best free antivirus for tablets?

If you’re looking for free protection, your best option is Avira. It offers a free mobile security app for Android and iOS devices, and a free Windows antivirus for Windows tablets.

Avira is a good free security app that comes with a malware scanner, a network scanner, device optimization, a VPN, and anti-theft protections, but it also comes with some frustrating limitations — there’s a 500 MB/month limit on the VPN (which makes it practically useless), and you also need to upgrade if you want web, microphone, and webcam protections. I recommend most users invest in Avira Prime, which offers coverage for up to 5 devices as well as a VPN with unlimited browsing data.

How can I keep my data and tablet safe online?

The single best way to protect your data online is to get an antivirus app with advanced internet security tools, such as anti-phishing software, a Wi-Fi scanner, and a VPN.

All of the apps on this list have pretty good web protections, but I think that Norton provides the best balance of security, high performance, and intuitive features for secure web browsing.

If you need to keep a lot of other devices safe on the internet (phones, computers, etc.), read more about the best internet security suites of 2022.

About the Author

Sam Boyd
Sam Boyd
Contributor

About the Author

Sam Boyd is an avid tech fan with a keen interest in cybersecurity products and online safety. When he isn't researching the latest online threats, he enjoys chilling out with some video games and getting outside, exploring new parts of the world with his family.