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5 Best (REALLY FREE) iPad & iPhone Antivirus Apps in 2022

Ben Martens Ben Martens
Updated on: May 1, 2022
5 Best (REALLY FREE) iPad & iPhone Antivirus Apps in 2022

Short on time? Here’s the best free iOS antivirus in 2022:

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

So when most people say “antivirus for iOS”, they mean “internet security for iOS” — covering a wide range of features that keep iPhones and iPads safe, like anti-phishing, scam SMS message protection, and Wi-Fi network scanning.

I was able to find 5 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 all of the features for complete iOS protection — if you understand that your data and your privacy are worth more than a few dollars per month, you should look at Norton’s fantastic iOS app.

Quick summary of the best free iOS antivirus apps for 2022:

1.🥇 McAfee Mobile Security for iOS — Best Free iOS Security App in 2022

1.🥇 McAfee Mobile Security for iOS — Best Free iOS Security App in 2022

McAfee Security is a super intuitive app that offers a great range of iOS security features. It’s not 100% free, but it currently offers a huge 180-day free trial of its premium features, which is the longest free trial of any iOS security app.

I was very impressed with McAfee’s web protections, which prevented me from accessing multiple verified phishing sites, including fake banking login pages.

McAfee’s iOS app also includes:

  • Wi-Fi scanner.
  • VPN (with unlimited data).
  • Data breach alerts.

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 I couldn’t choose a server location — it automatically chose the server closest to me. If you want a better VPN, I’d recommend looking for a VPN that offers a choice of servers and more advanced features.

You can get McAfee’s paid mobile plans with an individual subscription or bundled with McAfee’s 2-year Total Protection subscriptions (starting at $49.99 / year), which cover up to 10 devices, including iOS, Mac, Android, and Windows devices.

Bottom Line:

McAfee is my favorite free iOS security app in 2022. It’s very intuitive and one of the most easy-to-setup apps available. It includes a great set of features and include accurate protection against malicious sites. It’s not 100% free, but its 180-day free trial makes it a great option for anyone looking to protect their device without paying anything for 6 months.

Download McAfee’s Free iOS App Now

Read the full McAfee review here >

2.🥈 Avira Free Mobile Security for iOS — Excellent iOS Privacy Features + VPN

2.🥈 Avira Free Mobile Security for iOS — Excellent iOS Privacy Features + VPN

Avira Free Mobile Security for iOS provides more free features than any other free iOS app — and 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 feature, 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.

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

  • VPN (100 MB daily limit).
  • Anti-theft protection.
  • Network scanner.
  • Device analyzer.
  • Photo storage manager.
  • Contacts backup.

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 and it only lets you connect to one server location. Upgrading to Avira Phantom VPN Pro ($4.27 / month) gets you unlimited data and a variety of global server locations.

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, spam call blocking, and data breach monitoring. To add unlimited VPN data and Avira’s premium password managers, 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 5 devices, including iOS, macOS, Windows, and Android devices.

Bottom Line:

Avira’s features make it a great free antivirus app for iPhones and iPads. Its Privacy Monitor 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.

Download Avira’s Free iOS App Now

Read the full Avira review here >

3.🥉 TotalAV Mobile Security — Good Range of Free Features for iOS

3.🥉 TotalAV Mobile Security — Good Range of Free Features for iOS

TotalAV Mobile Security provides a secure web browser and an on-demand data breach scanner. TotalAV’s secure browser uses DuckDuckGo, a privacy-focused search engine, to ensure that users can access the web without being tracked or targeted by advertisers (DuckDuckGo is one of our top choices for the most secure web browser in 2022).

TotalAV also has a breach scanning feature that 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.

TotalAV also provides a few more free features, including:

  • Device locator.
  • Photo cleanup.
  • Battery manager.
  • System security.

TotalAV’s device locator is a basic anti-theft tool that lets you track your iPhone if it gets lost, but while it’s free to turn on device tracking, you’ll need to upgrade to track your device if it’s lost.

Upgrading to TotalAV Mobile Security Premium gets you anti-phishing protection and a VPN with no limitations — during my tests, TotalAV’s VPN provided fast, reliable connections to a variety of servers worldwide, and it was even able to unblock geo-restricted streaming content on Netflix (TotalAV’s VPN is one of the best antivirus-bundled VPNs on the market). TotalAV Mobile Security Premium is also included with TotalAV’s antivirus packages, which start at $29.00 / year and cover up to 6 devices across all operating systems.

Bottom Line:

TotalAV Mobile Security provides a lot of free features, including a secure browser and a data breach scanner. TotalAV’s other free features are pretty good too, including a device locator, duplicate photo cleanup, and a battery manager. Upgrading to TotalAV Mobile Security Premium gets you anti-phishing protection and unlimited VPN usage. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee on all of TotalAV’s premium plans.

Download TotalAV’s Free iOS App Now

Read the full TotalAV review here >

4. Kaspersky Security Cloud Free for iOS — Decent Free VPN & Security Breach Scan

4. Kaspersky Security Cloud Free for iOS — Decent Free VPN & Security Breach Scan

Kaspersky Security Cloud is a minimal but decent free iOS security app with a secure VPN. The included VPN provides 300 MB of daily data (better than Avira), and it includes a no-logs policy, which means that even Kaspersky isn’t tracking your browsing history.

Using Kaspersky’s VPN, I was also able to stream high-quality video without slowdown, but unfortunately Kaspersky’s free version doesn’t include the option to choose your server from its global network, so you’re stuck with automatically connecting to a local server. For that option, you’ll need to upgrade.

Kaspersky’s 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 logins.

Kaspersky also includes a free password manager app — the app provides convenient auto-filling, password generating, and 256-bit AES encryption for user logins, but the free version is limited to only 15 passwords, which isn’t very good compared to other free password managers.

Kaspersky’s paid iOS plans include anti-phishing protection and unlimited password storage across desktop and mobile devices, but Kaspersky’s multi-device plans, which start at $29.99 / year, are a better value — adding unlimited VPN data and protection for multiple devices, including iOS, Mac, PC, and Android.

Bottom Line:

Kaspersky’s free iOS app is a decent sample of Kaspersky’s full offering, and 300 MB of daily VPN access is pretty good as long as you aren’t streaming video or gaming. Upgrading to premium protection gets you unlimited VPN browsing, unlimited password storage, anti-phishing, and parental controls — there’s a free 30-day trial of Kaspersky Security Cloud Premium and Family offered in the free app.

Download Kaspersky’s Free iOS App Now

Read the full Kaspersky review here >

5. Lookout Personal for iOS — Good Breach Monitoring & Anti-Theft Tools

5. Lookout Personal for iOS — Good Breach Monitoring & Anti-Theft Tools

Lookout Personal for iOS provides an app update scanner, basic data breach monitoring, and missing device location tools for free users. 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 pretty good — if you lose your device, you can go to the website and track your device on a map, 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!

Lookout’s last free feature is an on-demand data breach scanner that’s 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.

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. Lookout also offers identity theft protections for Premium Plus users.

Bottom Line:

Lookout Personal 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, I really think that users that enjoy Lookout’s iOS security tools should opt for the premium upgrade, which includes anti-phishing protection, Wi-Fi scanning, data breach reports, and identity theft tools.

Download Lookout’s Free iOS App Now

Bonus: Norton Mobile Security — Best Premium Antivirus App for iOS

Bonus: Norton Mobile Security — Best Premium Antivirus App for iOS

Norton Mobile Security is by far my favorite iOS security app in 2022. It’s not free, but Norton offers a 60-day money-back guarantee, so you can install and try Norton on your iPhone or iPad risk-free before committing to a subscription.

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

  • Advanced Identity theft monitoring (using Norton’s LifeLock technology).
  • Phishing protections.
  • Malicious SMS message protection.
  • Scam iOS calendar invites protection.
  • VPN (with unlimited data).
  • Wi-Fi security scanning.
  • And more…

Norton’s identity theft monitoring is 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.

I also like Norton’s iOS calendar protection. It stops hackers from sending spam calendar invites that often contain malicious links to phishing sites. However, I would like to see Norton offer more iOS-tailored features, like Avira’s option to keep Siri interactions private from Apple’s servers.

Norton Mobile Security offers a great value, and it costs less than many other premium iOS security apps, but it only covers 1 device. However, if you need to cover multiple devices, Norton 360 Deluxe ($29.99 / year) covers up to 5 devices, including Macs, PCs, and Android devices. All Norton plans come with a 60-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom line:

Norton’s iOS security apps is my favorite choice for iPhones and iPads in 2022. It offers advanced security features, including protection against spam iOS calendar invites and advanced identity theft scanning tools. Norton doesn’t have a free plan, but it does offer a 60-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it risk-free.

Download Norton Now

Read our full Norton review


Comparison of the Best Free iOS Antivirus Apps in 2022

iOS Antivirus App 100% Free Version Key Features Free VPN Money-Back Guarantee
1.🥇McAfee 180-day free trial Anti-phishing, Wi-Fi scanning, identity protection Yes 30 days
2.🥈Avira Yes Private Siri requests, anti-theft tools Yes, 100 MB/daily data allowance, unlimited VPN with premium plan 60 days
3.🥉TotalAV Yes Secure browser, anti-theft, data breach scanning No, unlimited VPN available with premium upgrade 30 days
4. Kaspersky Yes Data breach scanning, decent VPN Yes, 300 MB/daily data allowance, upgrade to unlimited data at extra cost 30 days
5. Lookout Yes Data breach scan, anti-theft tools No 30 days
Bonus. Norton 60-day money-back guarantee Advanced identity theft scanning, scam SMS filtering, phishing protection, and more. No, unlimited VPN with premium version 60 days

How to Choose the Best Free iOS Antivirus App for You

No free security app is going to provide the kind of protection that I consider essential for an iOS device — but some of the apps on this list get pretty close. Here’s what I looked for in all of the apps that made it to my top 5 free apps for iOS:

  • 100% free. Look for an app that offers long-term functionality at zero cost, including lengthy free trials. However, all of these apps do offer premium versions that are much better — and most of them are pretty cheap.
  • Data privacy. Avoid free apps that 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.
  • Ease of use. Choose an app that’s easy to set up and use and that doesn’t take time to learn how each feature works. The tools and apps on this list provide increased security protections with convenient, well-designed user interfaces.
  • Efficiency. Ensure the antivirus app you choose isn’t buggy or slowing down your iOS device. I analyzed my iPhone and iPad’s performance and battery life before and after installing each app, making sure that none of the apps slow down devices or drain batteries.

Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut:

  • Traced. Traced’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.
  • Bitdefender. Bitdefender’s paid mobile app is decent, providing good web protection, data breach scanning, and a limited VPN. However, Bitdefender doesn’t offer a free version of its iOS app.
  • Avast/AVG. Avast is still one of the first security apps that pops up on the App Store, but it won’t be getting a recommendation from SafetyDetectives anytime soon. Avast owns AVG, and some disturbing reports came out about Avast/AVG selling user data to huge corporations. You can read more about it here.

Do I really need an antivirus for my iPhone?

Apple is right when it says you don’t need an antivirus for your iOS device. And it’s also completely wrong. 

“Antivirus” is the wrong word to use because these apps aren’t really detecting viruses. But Apple’s built-in security measures can’t protect us from our own browsing habits. Phishing is a huge problem, theft is a huge problem, and browsing on unsecured networks is a huge problem.

And anyone who’s ever tried to use Apple’s clunky “Find My iPhone” features knows that you need a faster, louder, and more comprehensive option to find a lost device and deter thieves.

There’s really no reason not to install an antivirus app like McAfee, Avira or TotalAV on your  iPhone. Not only are our iPhones valuable assets, they also contain some of our most sensitive personal information.

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?

Again, “antivirus” is a weird word for iOS security apps. While the threat of a traditional virus is low, there are all sorts of other threats that can compromise your cybersecurity.

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.

Users that are looking for a free security app should look into McAfee’s app for iOS. It has a good variety of features and is very easy to use, but it’s not 100% free — however, it has a generous 180-day free trial, which gives you around 6 months to use all of its premium features completely free of charge.

If you really care about keeping your iPhone secure, check out SafetyDetectives’s best premium antivirus apps for iOS in 2022:

$9.99 - $299.88 / year
$29.00 - $49.00 / year
$49.99 - $99.99 / year
$45.99 - $59.99 / year
$29.99 - $693.00 / year

About the Author

Ben Martens
Ben Martens
Senior Editor
Updated on: May 1, 2022

About the Author

Ben Martens is a cybersecurity journalist with a background in internet ethics, malware testing, and public policy. He resides in Oregon, and when he's not advocating for the rights of internet users, he's walking with his dog and inventing stories with his daughter.