10 Best (REALLY FREE) iPad & iPhone Antivirus Apps in 2024

Updated on: May 24, 2024
Fact Checked by Kate Davidson
Katarina Glamoslija Katarina Glamoslija
Updated on: May 24, 2024

Short on time? Here's the best free iOS antivirus for 2024:

  • Norton Mobile Security : Includes web protection, phishing protection, a fast VPN, advanced identity theft monitoring, SMS message filtering, and unsecure Wi-Fi network scanning. It isn’t free, but it has a generous 60-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it out risk-free for 2 months to see if it’s right for you.

iOS “antivirus” apps don’t provide traditional antivirus scanning. This is because iPhones and iPads use an advanced security mechanism called “sandboxing” that prevents apps from making changes to other apps, files, or processes on your system.

So when people say “iOS antivirus”, they mean “security tools for iOS”. These toolsets include a wide range of features that keep iPhones, iPads, and their users safe, like anti-phishing protection, scam SMS message protection, and Wi-Fi network scanning.

I was able to find 10 iOS security apps that offer free features or extensive free trials of their premium features. However, there isn’t a single free security app for iOS that includes every feature for protecting your iOS device. If you understand that your data and privacy are worth more than a few dollars per month, you should definitely consider getting Norton’s fantastic low-cost iOS app or another one of our top picks. If you do opt for a premium iOS security tool, I recommend purchasing it through your browser. You can use the links on this page to get cheaper prices and a more generous money-back guarantee than you’ll find on the Apple App Store.


Quick summary of the best free iOS antivirus apps for 2024:

1.🥇 Norton Mobile Security — Best Premium Antivirus App for iOS

1.🥇 Norton Mobile Security — Best Premium Antivirus App for iOS

Norton Mobile Security is by far my favorite iOS security app in 2024. It’s not free, but it offers a 60-day money-back guarantee for annual subscriptions, so you can install and try Norton on your iPhone or iPad risk-free for 2 whole months before committing to a subscription.

Honestly, Norton offers the best security features for iOS, including:

  • Phishing protection.
  • Malicious SMS message protection.
  • Secure calendar.
  • VPN with unlimited data (360 plans only).
  • Wi-Fi security scanning.
  • Advanced Identity theft monitoring (LifeLock plans only).
  • And more…

Norton has the best phishing protection on the market, detecting more malicious, fake, and risky sites than all other iOS apps. Its web protection doesn’t just keep you safe while browsing, but it also scans emails, messages, social media apps, and even calendar invites, preventing you from visiting sites and clicking on links that can put your data or device at risk.

1.🥇 Norton Mobile Security — Best Premium Antivirus App for iOS

I also really like Norton’s identity theft monitoring — it’s way better than similar features offered by other apps on this list. Most apps just scan email addresses for breaches, but Norton also scans for stolen credit card details, insurance details, bank account credentials, driving licenses, addresses, phone numbers, and more. It even scans for your mother’s maiden name, which is commonly used as a form of verification. Most of these features are only available for US customers — and only on the higher-tier 360 with LifeLock plans.

I’m also a huge fan of Norton’s VPN, which comes with top-notch security features, pretty fast speeds, and tons of features — it has Tor support and an ad blocker. It also works with popular streaming apps like Netflix, and it lets you stream video lag-free thanks to its fast speeds.

1.🥇 Norton Mobile Security — Best Premium Antivirus App for iOS

Norton 360 Deluxe ($49.99 / year*) is the best-value plan, covering up to 5 iOS (or Android, Windows, or macOS) devices, so you can enjoy the best protection for all your devices. It also comes with a VPN with unlimited data, plus a wide range of other features such as a password manager, system optimization tools, and parental controls. US users should also check out Norton’s LifeLock plans, which start at $99.99 / year* and add the best identity theft protections on the market (which include $1 million insurance). If you just need protection for a single iOS device, then check out Norton Mobile Security. All Norton plans come with a generous 60-day money-back guarantee.

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Bottom line:

Norton’s iOS security app is my favorite choice for iPhones and iPads in 2024. It offers advanced security features, including web protection, a VPN, and advanced identity theft scanning tools — depending on the plan you choose. Norton doesn’t have a free plan, but it does offer a 60-day money-back guarantee if you subscribe through Norton’s website.

Read our full Norton review

2.🥈 TotalAV Mobile Security — User-Friendly iOS App With Data Breach Scanning

2.🥈 TotalAV Mobile Security — User-Friendly iOS App With Data Breach Scanning

TotalAV Mobile Security is a powerful security app with a few useful features for iOS, including an on-demand data breach scanner and a system security scanner. All of its features, like the unlimited-data VPN and dangerous website shield, are available as a 7-day free trial as soon as you download the app.

TotalAV is incredibly easy to use — it has the cleanest and most intuitive interface of any app on this list, so it’s the perfect choice if you’re looking for something very straightforward. Everything you need is available from one dashboard, and it only takes a tap or two to use any of its features.

I really like TotalAV’s Breach Scan, which scans breach databases for compromised emails. I was relieved to see that my test Gmail account is still secure, but I wasn’t surprised to discover that my Hotmail account from 2005 has been a part of numerous data breaches in the last several years. That said, I still prefer Norton’s data breach monitoring feature that looks for a wide range of information, like stolen credit card details, driving licenses, and much more.

2.🥈 TotalAV Mobile Security — User-Friendly iOS App With Data Breach Scanning

TotalAV’s Smart Scan is good, too — it checks your iPhone or iPad device for necessary iOS updates, confirms that you have basic security like a passcode and Face ID set up, and checks if you have web protection (a premium feature) enabled. It’s pretty basic, but it doesn’t need to do too much as iOS devices don’t need traditional virus scanning anyway.

Upgrading to TotalAV Mobile Security Premium lets you keep all the features described above after the trial ends and adds a lot of extra features, including:

  • Anti-phishing protection.
  • VPN (with unlimited data).
  • Device optimization tools.
  • Secure QR scanner.

TotalAV’s VPN is excellent — during my tests, it provided fast, reliable connections to a variety of servers worldwide, and it can access popular streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime (TotalAV’s VPN is the best antivirus-bundled VPN on the market).

2.🥈 TotalAV Mobile Security — User-Friendly iOS App With Data Breach Scanning

I also really like TotalAV’s device optimization tools. It offers a cleaner for photos, videos, and contacts, which scans each area for duplicates and allows you to quickly delete files and free up storage. In my tests, I was able to delete more than 500 unnecessary photos and videos from my gallery and merge 300 duplicate contacts in just a few seconds.

TotalAV Mobile Security Premium is also included with TotalAV’s antivirus packages, which start at $19.00 / year and cover up to 8 devices across all operating systems. TotalAV’s internet security packages come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

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Bottom Line:

TotalAV provides a few free features for iOS, including a system security scanner and a data breach scanner. Upgrading to TotalAV Mobile Security Premium gets you anti-phishing protection, device optimization tools, and a VPN with unlimited data. You can try out the premium features for iOS with a 7-day free trial, and there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee on all of TotalAV’s premium antivirus packages.

Read the full TotalAV review here >

3.🥉 McAfee Mobile Security for iOS — High-End Security Features & Good Web Protection

3.🥉 McAfee Mobile Security for iOS — High-End Security Features & Good Web Protection

McAfee Mobile Security is a super intuitive app that offers a great range of iOS security features. It’s not 100% free, but its multi-device plans have a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee, which gives you a month to test it and see if it’s right for you.

I was very impressed with McAfee’s web protection — it prevented me from accessing multiple phishing sites, including fake banking login pages. Its web protection isn’t as advanced as Norton’s, but it’s still better than most iOS security apps.

McAfee’s iOS app also includes:

  • SMS Protection.
  • Wi-Fi scanner.
  • VPN (with unlimited data).
  • Identity monitoring (data breach alerts).
  • System scan (automatically checks for new updates).
  • Social Privacy Manager.

3.🥉 McAfee Mobile Security for iOS — High-End Security Features & Good Web Protection

McAfee’s Wi-Fi scanner is pretty good — it’s an on-demand scanner that will notify you if you’re using an unsafe Wi-Fi network. It notified me whenever I was on my local coffee shop’s public Wi-Fi, which isn’t a secured network.

I also like the VPN, which is very easy to set up. The VPN provided good speeds during all of my tests, but I was disappointed that it doesn’t work with Disney+ and ESPN+. If you want a better VPN for streaming, I recommend TotalAV (which is the best antivirus-bundled VPN on the market) or ExpressVPN (which is the best standalone VPN in 2024).

3.🥉 McAfee Mobile Security for iOS — High-End Security Features & Good Web Protection

You can get McAfee’s paid mobile plan with McAfee’s Total Protection subscriptions (starting at $39.99 / year), which can cover from 5 to an unlimited number of devices, including iOS, Mac, Android, and Windows devices — they’re some of the best-value plans around.

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Bottom Line:

McAfee’s iOS security app is easy to set up and use, and it offers effective protection against malware and other web-based threats. It also includes a great set of bonus features, such as a VPN, identity monitoring, and automatic system updates, and you can get it as part of McAfee’s budget-friendly Total Protection plans. McAfee isn’t 100% free, but it has a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read the full McAfee review here >

4. Bitdefender Mobile Security — Good Web Protection & Decent Free VPN

4. Bitdefender Mobile Security — Good Web Protection & Decent Free VPN

Bitdefender’s iOS app provides a good range of features, and they all work pretty well. It comes with a VPN and a device security scanner that includes a Wi-Fi security check.

I like Bitdefender’s VPN. It only includes 200 MB/day, and you can’t choose your server on the free plan, but it’s fast and reliable — and it’s double Avira’s 100 MB/day allowance.

4. Bitdefender Mobile Security — Good Web Protection & Decent Free VPN

The data breach alert works in exactly the same way as TotalAV’s and others on this list, and the device security scanner is useful for ensuring you’re using the latest iOS software and have basic security covered.

4. Bitdefender Mobile Security — Good Web Protection & Decent Free VPN

I also like the scam alert feature that scans both your phone’s message inbox and your email for suspicious links — automatically moving any it finds to your junk folder, so you don’t accidentally open them. It’s a pretty helpful way to stay safe online, especially if you’re not super tech-savvy.

Bitdefender’s paid plans are an excellent value, too — the paid Mobile Security plan for iOS comes with web protections as well as an advanced version of the VPN. Alternatively, you could upgrade to Total Security ($49.99 / year) to cover 5 devices across all operating systems, including iOS, and benefit from a huge range of additional features, or Premium Security ($79.99 / year) to cover 10 devices and additionally get unlimited data on the VPN.

Bottom Line:

Bitdefender Mobile Security comes with a good free VPN, data breach monitoring, a scam alert feature, and a device security checker. Its multi-device paid plans are some of the best (and most affordable) on the market, and they all come with a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try them out risk-free.

Read the full Bitdefender review here >

5. Panda Dome for iOS — Precise GPS Tracking & Decent Anti-Theft Tools

5. Panda Dome for iOS — Precise GPS Tracking & Decent Anti-Theft Tools

Panda Dome for iOS has decent anti-theft tools — the GPS tracker is very accurate, making it easy to locate a lost or stolen device. This also doubles as a tool for parents to keep track of their children.

5. Panda Dome for iOS — Precise GPS Tracking & Decent Anti-Theft Tools

Panda also includes a VPN with a single server and a 150 MB daily data cap, which is better than Avira’s 100 MB per day data limit but still not good enough for most users.

This is pretty much the extent of Panda’s free features, which makes it look rather lackluster next to many of the other antiviruses on this list. As a result, I would only recommend Panda Dome if you’re specifically looking for a simple and lightweight security app for your iPad or iPhone.

5. Panda Dome for iOS — Precise GPS Tracking & Decent Anti-Theft Tools

Upgrading to a premium Panda plan gets you coverage for up to 5 devices across all operating systems and a ton of extra features for your non-iOS devices, starting at $23.99 / year. The paid iOS app benefits from extra server locations and unlimited traffic on your VPN, and advanced parental controls that let you monitor and limit your children’s device usage. Panda’s paid plans all include a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line:

Panda Dome for iOS has a good free VPN and an accurate device locator to prevent theft and keep tabs on where your kids are. Without upgrading to one of its premium plans, however, Panda is lacking in features compared to other free antiviruses for iOS. Fortunately, you can take advantage of the 30-day money-back guarantee, which lets you try out its paid features, including advanced parental controls and an unlimited-data VPN, risk-free.

Read the full Panda review here >

6. Avast Security & Privacy for iOS — Basic Network Scanner & Encrypted Photo Vault

6. Avast Security & Privacy for iOS — Basic Network Scanner & Encrypted Photo Vault

Avast Security & Privacy for iOS is a basic security toolset for iPhones and iPads that includes a handful of features: a Wi-Fi network scanner, data breach alerts, and a secure vault for your photos. While all the features work well, their range can’t really be compared to fully fledged mobile security solutions for iOS such as Norton or TotalAV.

The network scanner, called Network Inspector, scans public Wi-Fi networks for intruders, weak passwords, and other vulnerabilities. It’s light on your system, works smoothly, and will always notify you whether a Wi-Fi network is safe to connect to. There’s also a free secure browser that blocks ads among other things, but unfortunately, it’s a separate app.

6. Avast Security & Privacy for iOS — Basic Network Scanner & Encrypted Photo Vault

The Identity Protection tool provides basic data breach alerts for your email account. It monitors public databases and notifies you if it finds your passwords among the leaked credentials. To get unlimited data breach alerts (for multiple email addresses), however, you’ll have to upgrade to a paid plan.

The Photo Vault is the place where you can store up to 40 photos you wish to keep private. The encrypted vault is protected by a PIN or biometric login, so no one will be able to access it without your permission, even if they get a hold of your iPhone/iPad. As is the case with data breach alerts, to gain unlimited storage, you’ll have to upgrade to Premium.

6. Avast Security & Privacy for iOS — Basic Network Scanner & Encrypted Photo Vault

Apart from unlimited email monitoring and photo storage, Avast Premium Security adds a VPN, ransomware protection, and coverage for Mac, Android, and Windows devices as well as iOS for $2.46 / month. A 14-day free trial is available for iOS users, and all plans are also backed up by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line:

Avast Security & Privacy is a decent, no-frills security app that offers a Wi-Fi network scanner, data breach alerts, and a secure photo vault for iOS devices. The Network Inspector scans public Wi-Fi networks for vulnerabilities, while the Identity Protection tool provides basic data breach alerts for email accounts. Users can also securely store up to 40 photos in the Photo Vault. The Premium plan includes unlimited email monitoring and photo storage, VPN, and ransomware protection, as well as coverage for multiple devices across different platforms.

Read the full Avast review here >

7. Avira Free Mobile Security for iOS — Good iOS Privacy Features + VPN

7. Avira Free Mobile Security for iOS — Good iOS Privacy Features + VPN

Avira Free Mobile Security for iOS provides a heap of free features. What’s more, all of its features are useful, intuitive, and provide an additional layer of protection for iPhones and iPads.

One of the things I like most about Avira’s iOS app is the Privacy Manager, which is a downloadable iOS profile that prevents Siri from sharing your data with Apple — once installed, this profile prevents Siri from logging commands on Apple’s servers, which is great if you’re trying to minimize the amount of personal data that big businesses can collect from you.

7. Avira Free Mobile Security for iOS — Good iOS Privacy Features + VPN

Avira also offers a ton of additional security features, including:

  • VPN (100 MB daily limit).
  • Device analyzer.
  • Photo cleaner.
  • Contacts backup.
  • iOS updater.
  • Call blocker.

I’m a big fan of Avira’s VPN, which provides fast encrypted internet access with a no-logs guarantee — so your browsing history is totally private! However, the VPN has a daily limit of 100 MB on Avira’s free plan and it only lets you connect to one server location. Kaspersky’s free VPN is better, offering 300 MB per day. That said, upgrading to Avira Phantom VPN Pro ($4.34 / month) gets you unlimited data and a variety of global server locations.

7. Avira Free Mobile Security for iOS — Good iOS Privacy Features + VPN

Avira Free Mobile Security for iOS is a great free app, but Avira’s paid plans offer a lot more. Avira Security Pro for iOS adds anti-phishing and data breach monitoring. To add unlimited VPN data and Avira’s premium password manager, you can try Avira Prime Mobile, which you can get as part of the Avira Prime package ($59.99 / year) — it includes all of Avira’s features and coverage for up to 25 devices, including iOS, macOS, Windows, and Android devices. Avira Prime comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee, which gives you plenty of time to use the app and decide if you like it.

Bottom Line:

Avira’s features make it a great free antivirus app for iPhones and iPads. Its Privacy Manager feature will allow you to use Siri without having your interactions logged by Apple, and its anti-theft tools, call blocker, and VPN (limited to 100 MB/day) are all excellent. However, if you’re looking for web protections, a VPN with no limitations, and a secure password manager, you’ll need to upgrade to Avira Prime Mobile, which is available for a monthly subscription or as part of the larger Avira Prime antivirus package.

Read the full Avira review here >

8. Kaspersky VPN & Antivirus — VPN, Password Manager & Security Breach Scan

8. Kaspersky VPN & Antivirus — VPN, Password Manager & Security Breach Scan

Kaspersky Antivirus & VPN is a minimal free iOS security app that comes with a security breach scanner, Wi-Fi protection, a VPN, and a secure QR scanner. Its breach scanning is pretty much identical to TotalAV’s breach scanner — simply enter your email address and Kaspersky will check your email against a massive database of breached websites and alert you to any compromised logins. The Wi-Fi protection and QR Scanner are also simple but useful tools to protect you from unsecured or dangerous sites.

8. Kaspersky VPN & Antivirus — VPN, Password Manager & Security Breach Scan

Kaspersky also offers a free password manager. Unfortunately, it is a separate app. This is a bit odd because the free security app includes a password manager, but only premium subscribers can use it. The password manager provides convenient auto-filling, password generating, and 256-bit AES encryption for user logins, but the free version is limited to only 5 passwords, which is poor compared to other free password managers. And the VPN is capped at 200 MB of data per day (300 MB if you’re connected to My Kaspersky), which is more than Avira offers on its free plan, but still not really enough for anything beyond light browsing.

8. Kaspersky VPN & Antivirus — VPN, Password Manager & Security Breach Scan

Kaspersky’s multi-device plans start at $34.99 / year and include Kaspersky’s full range of antivirus and internet security protections for multiple devices, including iOS, Mac, PC, and Android. You can also get the iOS app as a standalone purchase; Kaspersky’s paid iOS plans include anti-phishing protection, unlimited password storage across desktop and mobile devices, an unlimited-data VPN, and breach scanning for an unlimited number of emails. You can also scan the dark web for your mobile number — which is pretty cool! Kaspersky has a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line:

Kaspersky’s free iOS apps come with a good number of features, such as a (limited) password manager, VPN (300 MB daily limit), data breach scanner, and Wi-Fi protections. Upgrading to a premium plan gets you unlimited password storage, anti-phishing protection, an unlimited-data VPN, parental controls, and more. There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read the full Kaspersky review here >

9. AVG Mobile Security for iPhone & iPad — Simple App With Data Breach Alerts & Wi-Fi Protection

9. AVG Mobile Security for iPhone & iPad — Simple App With Data Breach Alerts & Wi-Fi Protection

AVG Mobile Security for iPhone & iPad is a product developed by Avast Software, the same company that owns the Avast brand — which accounts for remarkable similarities between the two pieces of software.

9. AVG Mobile Security for iPhone & iPad — Simple App With Data Breach Alerts & Wi-Fi Protection

Just like Avast Security & Privacy, AVG offers a network scanner, data breach alerts, and an encrypted vault to store your photos, which is a pretty modest list of features compared to what top competitors such as Norton and McAfee offer.

The limitations of the free version of each feature are also the same: the data breach scanner, called Identity Guard, will enable you to monitor just 1 email address for leaks, while the Photo Vault will allow you to upload 40 photos max.

9. AVG Mobile Security for iPhone & iPad — Simple App With Data Breach Alerts & Wi-Fi Protection

All 3 tools (the scanner, the vault, and Identity Guard) work well, and the app itself is intuitive to use. The user interface design is sleek and modern — and strikingly similar to Avast’s, with the only major difference being the color palette.

Upgrading to the Pro plan will set you back $39.99 / year. For this price, you’ll get unlimited photo storage and monitoring for unlimited email addresses, plus an unlimited-data VPN to keep your browsing private. There’s a 14-day free trial for annual subscriptions and a 7-day one for monthly subscriptions.

Bottom Line:

AVG Mobile Security for iOS offers a basic set of features, including a network scanner, data breach alerts, and a photo vault. The app works well and is intuitive to use, with a sleek, modern design. Upgrading to the Pro plan unlocks unlimited photo storage, email monitoring, and a VPN. The app offers free trials for both monthly and annual subscriptions.

Read the full AVG review here >

10. Lookout Life Mobile Security for iOS — Good Breach Monitoring & Anti-Theft Tools

10. Lookout Life Mobile Security for iOS — Good Breach Monitoring & Anti-Theft Tools

Lookout Life Mobile Security for iOS provides several handy features on its free plan: an app update scanner, basic data breach monitoring, and missing device location tools. Lookout’s System Advisor tool will give you notifications if your system is due for an update, which is only useful if you’re really good at ignoring iOS’s persistent update notifications.

However, Lookout’s Locate tools are decent — if you lose your device, you can issue a remote alarm, or even display a message on your screen to help good Samaritans return your device to you. Lookout will even save the last location of your phone before its battery dies — which is a super helpful feature! The only downside is that the tool that’s supposed to show the location of a lost phone didn’t work in my tests. This is disappointing because I had no problem using Panda’s lost device feature.

10. Lookout Life Mobile Security for iOS — Good Breach Monitoring & Anti-Theft Tools

Lookout’s data breach scanner is almost identical to TotalAV’s breach scanner. Simply enter your email and Lookout will let you know if any of your logins have been compromised in a data breach.

10. Lookout Life Mobile Security for iOS — Good Breach Monitoring & Anti-Theft Tools

Lookout’s free iOS protection is decent, but the paid app is much better. Lookout Premium includes anti-phishing protection, a Wi-Fi network scanner, and real-time data breach updates for $29.99 / year. Lookout also offers identity theft protections for Premium Plus users (US customers only).

Bottom Line:

Lookout Mobile Security for iOS provides decent lost phone protections, data breach scanning, and iOS update notifications. I especially like the remote alarm feature that can deter thieves and help detect lost iOS devices. However, Lookout’s free tools won’t protect you from the worst online threats, so if you like Lookout’s iOS security tools, I’d recommend opting for the premium upgrade, which includes anti-phishing protection, Wi-Fi scanning, data breach reports, and identity theft tools.

Read the full Lookout review here >

Quick Comparison Table

iOS Antivirus App 100% Free Version Key Features Free VPN Money-Back Guarantee*

60-day money-back guarantee
Advanced identity theft scanning, scam SMS filtering, phishing protection, and more
(unlimited VPN with 360 plans)
60 days
2.🥈TotalAV Data breach scanning, Anti-phishing, QR scanner protection, device optimization
(unlimited VPN available with premium upgrade)
30 days
30-day money-back guarantee
Anti-phishing, Wi-Fi scanning, identity protection
(unlimited VPN with all paid plans)
30 days
4. Bitdefender Data breach scan, VPN, device security scan, scam alert
(free VPN with 200 MB/daily data allowance, unlimited VPN with premium upgrade)
30 days
5. Panda Anti-theft tools, VPN
(150 MB/daily free data allowance, unlimited VPN with the premium plan)
30 days
6. Avast Wi-Fi scanning, data breach scanning, photo vault 30 days
7. Avira Private Siri requests, anti-theft tools, VPN
(free VPN with 100 MB/daily data allowance, unlimited VPN with premium plan)
60 days
8. Kaspersky Wi-Fi and QR scanner protection, data breach scanning
(free VPN with 200 MB/daily data allowance, 300 MB if connected to my Kaspersky. Unlimited VPN with premium plan)
30 days
9. AVG Wi-Fi scanning, data breach scanning, photo vault 30 days
10. Lookout Data breach scan, anti-theft tools

*Note: Money-back guarantees only apply if you buy through the vendor’s official website. If you purchase a mobile security plan directly from the Apple App Store, you’ll be subject to Apple’s refund policies.

Testing Methodology: Comparison & Ranking Criteria

To find the best free antiviruses of 2024, I relied on our rigorous testing methodology. I tested real-world scenarios by checking factors such as customer support, value, speed, and security. In addition to that:

  • I checked for free access. I looked for apps that offer a free plan, free trial, or money-back guarantee. These allow you to test features before committing long-term. Although there are some decent free antivirus apps available for iOS, you’ll always get better protection when you pay for it, which is why I included Norton and McAfee on this list — while they don’t have free versions, they’re the best iOS apps around, and they include generous money-back guarantees (so you can try them risk-free).Testing Methodology: Comparison & Ranking Criteria
  • I looked for useful features. Internet security suites these days include a wide range of features with questionable functionality, and products vary hugely, so I took extra care to rigorously test each antivirus’s features and only include genuinely useful ones to this list. Additionally, I considered value rather than just cost — while the free apps usually just cover the basics, the premium plans will include so many useful features that they are an amazing overall value.
  • I inspected each antivirus’s data privacy policy. Some free apps exist solely to log and sell user data — there aren’t that many ways to make money with free products! All of the free apps on this list protect user data, and some of them even include additional tools that ensure your sensitive data doesn’t get compromised.Testing Methodology: Comparison & Ranking Criteria
  • I tested apps to see how easy they are to use. I strongly believe there shouldn’t be a learning curve to using an antivirus app. The tools and apps on this list provide increased security protections with convenient, well-designed user interfaces. Norton and TotalAV are my top picks for ease of use, and they’re both great for all types of users, from people new to security apps to advanced users looking for higher levels of customization.
  • I assessed each app’s efficiency. I analyzed my iPhone and iPad’s performance and battery life before and after installing each app. You can rest assured that none of the apps from my list slow down devices or drain batteries!

Do I Really Need an Antivirus for My iPhone?

I certainly recommend that you get an antivirus for your iPhone. Remember, the apps on this list aren’t antiviruses in the strictest sense of the word. They are general security tools, designed not to root out malware but to improve your overall security and help you maintain privacy online. If you care about that sort of thing (and you should), I recommend using one. Here are some of the things these tools can do:

  • Makes sure your device is using optimal settings. iOS devices have excellent in-built security features. The problem is that users can tamper with certain settings to make these less robust. A good free app can make sure your iPhone is set up right, shielding you from potential vulnerabilities.
  • Keeps your internet usage private. If you’re concerned about being snooped on while online, a VPN is the best way to assuage your concerns. Use one and your traffic will be securely encrypted. Free apps like Bitdefender include an iOS VPN.
  • Shields you from web-based threats. Even though your iPhone is unlikely to get a virus, it can still be a conduit for handing over all of your personal information to hackers. Phishing sites can be accessed from any type of device, iPhones included. That’s why I recommend you use a security tool like the ones on this list.
  • Ensures your device is up to date. The iOS operating system is not without vulnerabilities. Apple is pretty good about pushing updates that fix these issues as soon as they’re found. But if you don’t update your device, you’ll be vulnerable. The right app will make sure you’re never put in that position.
  • Alerts you to dangerous networks. If a network is not secure then neither are the devices connected to it. A good iOS security app like the one Norton puts out will let you know as soon as you connect to a network that isn’t protected.
  • Protects you from spam and SMS-based scams. Robotexts can be dangerous as well as annoying. Often they aren’t just trying to sell you something; they want to steal your information as well. A good app will block such attempted intrusions into your personal life.
  • Lets you know about data breaches. If any of my information were floating around on the dark web, I’d want to know about it right away. That’s why it’s important to have a mobile security tool like the ones on this list. Having a quick response is crucial in the event of a breach, so it’s great that these tools let you monitor your personal information from anywhere.

Risks & Disadvantages of Using a Free iOS Antivirus

In my opinion, it’s best to steer clear of free antivirus software. Although they offer basic protection, the more advanced features are often exclusive to their paid versions. While a free antivirus is better than no antivirus at all, investing in a reliable paid antivirus solution is worth considering for more comprehensive protection.

iOS devices are a little different than other devices, especially Windows and Android, as the way in which Apple has designed iOS is highly secure. All iOS apps operate in their own secure individual environments — called “sandboxing” — which prevents them from being able to access or make changes to any other apps, files, or processes on your device. This means traditional malware doesn’t pose the same risk on iOS devices, which is the reason iOS “antiviruses” don’t actually include antivirus engines.

Internet threats extend beyond malicious apps to include phishing attacks, unsecured Wi-Fi networks, and other web-based intrusions that can affect iOS devices. Protecting yourself from these threats is crucial. Since most of us use multiple devices, it’s essential to have comprehensive protection that covers all devices and safeguards your entire online identity, including monitoring for data breaches involving personal information.

There are some good free iOS antiviruses that include VPNs, secure browsers, password managers, anti-phishing protection, data breach scanners, and other tools to keep your device and identity safe. However, the free plans usually either limit the use of these features, or don’t include the most important features at all — such as Avira’s 100 MB/day VPN limit, and Kaspersky’s limit of 15 entries in its password manager.

If you want the best protection, I recommend paying for a premium plan — and you’ll get the best protection AND the best value if you go for an antivirus that not only covers your iOS device, but also protects all your other devices, too. Most top antiviruses are pretty affordable, plus they usually come with a money-back guarantee so you can test it before you commit long-term. For example, Norton 360 Deluxe has a huge range of excellent internet security features that protect 5 devices across all operating systems, including iOS — all for just $49.99 / year*, plus a 60-day money-back guarantee.

Free vs. Paid Antiviruses for iOS

Free antivirus apps can protect you from some common online security risks — such as attacks from unsecured Wi-Fi networks or your data that’s been exposed in a breach.

However, free apps will always have some features kept behind a paywall, and these will almost always be their most useful features — for example, TotalAV only includes anti-phishing protection and unlimited VPN data in its paid plans.

Typically, free apps only provide coverage for a single device and user. On the other hand, paid plans offer coverage for multiple devices, resulting in enhanced protection from cyber threats across all your devices and providing better value for your money.

The best antiviruses, like Norton, have comprehensive internet security suites that include advanced versions of tools such as password managers, VPNs, and device optimization tools, which you may otherwise need multiple separate subscriptions for.

Overall, I’d always suggest going for a paid plan — while free antiviruses for iOS are worth trying out, if you’re truly interested in protecting yourself from online threats, there are a lot of really great-value premium options out there.

Features and User Experience Free Antiviruses for iOS Paid Antiviruses for iOS
Web Protection Usually available via browser extensions with basic anti-phishing. Integrated within the app with advanced anti-phishing and safe browsing features.
VPNs Limited data and server options, if included. Unlimited data and a variety of server choices, integrated within the app.
Device Compatibility Primarily iOS-specific. Multi-platform support including iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac.
Password Managers Basic features, may require a separate app. Integrated, feature-rich with secure storage and auto-fill options.
Cloud Backup Typically not available. Offers secure storage, with options ranging up to 500 GB or more.
Customer Support Basic email and FAQ support. Extensive options include phone, email, live chat, and more.
Additional Features Lacks extra features like parental controls. Offers parental controls, device optimization tools, and more.

Free iOS Antiviruses to Avoid

Though Apple does a decent job of keeping outright scams off of its official app store, plenty of bad apps have gotten through and received millions of downloads. This includes completely fake security apps that claim to boost security and countless more that just aren’t very good. I’ll provide a few examples, but remember that this is far from an exhaustive list.

  • Mobile Protection: Clean & Security VPN. This app claimed to provide a VPN, enhanced security protections, and lots more, including features that are inherently incompatible with iPhones. It was advertised with a laughably short free trial, after which users could be charged thousands of dollars.
  • Anti-Virus Detective. This app claimed to scan your iPhone for malware, but Apple remove it from the App Store. If you have Anti-Virus Detective on your device or if you see it listed on a third-party marketplace, you should delete/avoid it.
  • Mobile Security. Despite the name, the primary thing Mobile Security does is securely mobilize your money into someone shady’s bank account. It does have a VPN and a supposedly safe browser, but after 3 days, this ‘free’ app will start charging you about as much every month as most of the best iOS antiviruses cost per year.

Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut:

  • Trustd. Trustd’s iOS security app is very easy to use and offers some decent features. However, it doesn’t offer as many features as the other apps on this list.
  • Webroot. Webroot Mobile Security is a free iOS app, but it’s pretty bad. It’s limited to just one feature (a secure web browser) so it really can’t compete with the other feature-rich apps on this list.
  • Trend Micro. Trend Micro has a decent app for iPhones and iPads, but the free version isn’t worth the space it takes up on your device. After the trial of the premium features expires, all that remains is a QR code checker and a basic scanner that checks your device’s security settings.
  • Comodo. Comodo has a decent desktop app, but I can’t recommend the free iOS version. You need to pay extra for the VPN, web protections, and much else besides. Without paying, all you’ll get is a battery-draining space waster. There isn’t even a free trial you can use to test out the features.
  • Acronis Mobile. Though by no means a scam, the Acronis iOS app isn’t very useful. It’s basically just an additional way to back up your contacts, photos, and other data. There’s no spam filter, web protections, VPN, or anything else to protect you. Given that Apple provides other ways to securely store data, I really don’t see the point in this one.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best free antivirus for my iPhone and iPad?

The best free antivirus for iPhone and iPad is TotalAV Mobile Security. It’s a very intuitive app with all of the essential security features for iOS, including a system scanner and a data breach scanner.

But a free antivirus will never be as good as a paid one, and TotalAV’s free plan is no exception, lacking essential security features such as anti-phishing protection. For this reason, you may want to consider using a premium antivirus like Norton Mobile Security instead, which offers more advanced and comprehensive protection against all online threats.

What do free iOS antiviruses do?

Each free iOS app is different, but the best free iOS security apps include a number of tools. I think the most important features are phishing protections and VPNs. iPhones have strong security, but the internet is a dangerous place. Anyone can make a fake website designed to steal your personal information. You’ll need an app to confidently identify such threats. In the same vein, a VPN will encrypt your traffic so no one can see the sites you visit.

Unsurprisingly, free tools generally aren’t as good as those you need to pay for. Norton, which has the best features for protecting iOS users, only lets you use the free app as a trial. Other developers include a limited feature set on the free versions of their software. Still, having access to such tools is better than nothing.

Is a free antivirus safe to use on iPhone or iPad?

Yes, so long as you choose an antivirus from a trusted brand. All of the antiviruses I recommend have proven track records and protect the privacy of their users.

By using a free antivirus, however, you’re potentially missing out on advanced security features like anti-phishing protection, unlimited VPN usage, data breach monitoring, and more, which can indirectly put your device or your personal information at risk, so it’s worth considering upgrading to a good premium antivirus like Norton.

Will iPhone antivirus apps work on my iPad?

In most cases, yes. iOS antivirus apps like McAfee and Avira will work for most iOS devices, including iPads. But still, you should check with each product to make sure that the app offers the protection you want. There may be certain features that will only work on iPhones.

What kind of antivirus features do I need to stay protected?

Norton 360 offers the best range of security features, including phishing protection, data breach alerts, anti-theft tools, spam text and call protection, and more. Norton 360 isn’t free, but downloading a premium iOS security app is the only way to get all of the security features you need for your iOS device.

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About the Author
Katarina Glamoslija
Katarina Glamoslija
Head Content Manager
Updated on: May 24, 2024

About the Author

Katarina Glamoslija is Head Content Manager at SafetyDetectives. She has nearly a decade of experience researching, testing, and reviewing cybersecurity products and investigating best practices for online safety and data protection. Before joining SafetyDetectives, she was Content Manager and Chief Editor of several review websites, including one about antiviruses and another about VPNs. She also worked as a freelance writer and editor for tech, medical, and business publications. When she’s not a “Safety Detective”, she can be found traveling (and writing about it on her small travel blog), playing with her cats, and binge-watching crime dramas.