You may think that iPhones and other iOS devices don’t get viruses. There is some truth in this — Apple products are pretty secure by design.
Although viruses and other malware are not a big problem for iPhones, there are other security threats you need to protect against.
- Phishing. Malicious mobile websites can trick you into giving your personal information to criminals.
- Unsafe networks. The data on your iPhone can be hacked if you connect to a public Wi-Fi network.
- Loss and theft. Phone theft is more common than ever, and iPhones are the most commonly stolen.
Our Recommended Top 5 Free iPhone Antivirus Apps for 2019:
- Avira Mobile Security
- McAfee Mobile Security
- Phone Guardian
- Lookout Personal for iOS
- Avast Secure & Photo Vault
Virus scanning isn’t actually possible on iOS. In fact, Apple banned developers from publishing apps that claim to scan your iPhone for malware. iPhone apps are “sandboxed”, meaning they can’t access data from other apps (with very limited exceptions).
iPhone “antivirus” apps don’t really detect “viruses”. But it’s still essential to have extra protection. That’s why iPhone antivirus brands provide mobile security apps to cover other aspects of iPhone safety. They provide web, network, and physical security — filling the gaps left by Apple’s default cybersecurity protection.
Many excellent iPhone antivirus apps are free to download and provide some great features without a premium prescription. We’ve tested every free iPhone antivirus app available and have selected the top 5.
If you want to learn more about how we rate the best antivirus apps for iPhones and other iOS devices, click here to skip to the bottom of this article.
1. Avira Mobile Security — Best for Extra Features
If you use your iPhone for shopping or banking, it’s important to make sure that phishing websites aren’t stealing your personal information. Avira Mobile Security’s Web Protection feature prevents you from visiting phishing websites.
Avira’s free iPhone app also includes access to an online dashboard — Avira Connect. If your phone gets lost or stolen, you can log into Avira Connect from another device to use Avira’s anti-theft tools.
In addition to these security-enhancing features, Avira Mobile Security also offers:
- Device Analyzer — Helps you free up space on your iOS device to improve its performance.
- Contacts Backup — Emails you a copy of your contacts so you can still access them even if you lose your phone.
- Identity Safeguard — Checks if your email address (or the email address of any of your contacts) has been stolen in a data breach.
- Call Blocker — Lets you blacklist unwanted callers and prevent them from contacting you.
It’s also worth checking out Avira’s other free iPhone cybersecurity apps, including:
- Avira Phantom VPN — keeps your data safe on public Wi-Fi networks, with up to 500 MB of data for free.
- Avira Password Manager — keeps your account details organized and secure.
What We Like:
- Excellent protection against phishing.
- Effective tools to help you find your lost or stolen iPhone.
- Very generous range of free features.
What We Don’t Like:
- You need to download additional apps to access Avira’s other free cybersecurity products.
- Some users report software bugs such as difficulty logging in.
Avira Mobile Security’s wide range of features make it the most versatile free antivirus app on iPhone. Its anti-phishing technology is particularly impressive. Combining Avira Mobile Security with Avira’s other free apps, including Avira Phantom VPN and Avira Password Manager, will give you the ultimate range of free security and optimization features.
Experience Avira’s generous range of free security features:
2. McAfee Mobile Security — Best for Anti-Theft Tools
McAfee Mobile Security includes 2 phone location features to help you find your lost or stolen iPhone. You can access these by logging into your free McAfee account on another device (including an Apple Watch).
If you think your iPhone might be nearby, try the Remote Alarm feature. This creates a loud noise — even if your phone is on “silent” mode. You can also use the Locate feature to see the current location of your iPhone on a map.
If someone enters your iPhone’s PIN incorrectly three times, McAfee’s CaptureCam feature will take a photo of them using your front camera. McAfee will then email this photo to you along with your iPhone’s current location.
If someone does manage to break into your iPhone, the Media Vault feature provides an extra layer of protection for your photos and videos. Media Vault encrypts your device’s media and secures it behind an additional PIN. You can also automatically save new photos and videos to the Media Vault.
Finally, McAfee Mobile Security provides a 3-stage “Backup, Wipe, and Restore” process to make sure that your contact list remains private:
- Back up your contacts using McAfee’s cloud storage.
- Wipe your contacts via your McAfee account if someone steals your iPhone.
- Restore your contacts by installing the McAfee app on a new device.
What We Like:
- The best anti-theft features of any free iPhone antivirus app we tested.
- Includes a “Wi-Fi Scanner” to alert you when you connect to an unsecured network.
- Attractive and smooth-running user-interface.
- Ensures your contact list remains private.
What We Don’t Like:
- Safe Web (phishing protection) and Safe Web VPN require a paid subscription.
- Free version contains ads.
McAfee Mobile Security’s anti-theft features are highly impressive. The app can locate your iPhone, protect your photos, and wipe your contact data. McAfee also ensures you’re always connected to a secure Wi-Fi network.
Keep your iPhone safe from phone thieves:
3. Phone Guardian — Best for Network Protection
You probably transmit sensitive, personal, and financial information via your iPhone every day. This data is at risk unless you take steps to protect it. Phone Guardian focuses on protecting your outbound network traffic — the data leaving your device.
Phone Guardian uses a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to ensure your phone is always connected to a secure network. A VPN encrypts the data leaving your phone and reroutes your network traffic through a secure server. Even if someone does intercept your data, they won’t be able to read it.
Another Phone Guardian feature analyzes how your apps use your personal information. Phone Guardian will tell you if an app is collecting your personal information and usage data for advertising purposes.
There are no premium features with Phone Guardian. The company makes its money by collecting data about app usage and selling it for market research purposes. Privacy-conscious users should be aware of this — although the data that Phone Guardian collects is anonymized.
What We Like:
- Unlimited, fast, and free VPN.
- Every feature available for free with no registration required.
- Fun and unique user-interface.
What We Don’t Like:
- No features except for network security and privacy.
- Some users may be concerned about Phone Guardian’s data collection practices.
Start taking better care of your personal information:
4. Lookout Personal for iOS — Best for Finding Lost iPhones
Lookout’s Scream feature will make your phone emit a loud noise so you can find it nearby. If it’s further away, the Locate feature will show your phone’s precise location on a map.
If a helpful stranger finds your lost iPhone, Lookout’s Lost Message feature can help them return it to you. Lost Message shows a short text on your iPhone’s lock screen, so you can display your contact details and a message for whoever finds your phone.
These features are great, but what if your battery dies before you get a chance to use them? Lookout’s Signal Flare feature is a smart solution. Signal Flare notices when your phone’s battery is low and will send you an email to let you know its last-known location.
Lookout Personal for iOS also provides a feature called “Theft Alerts”. Theft Alerts is designed to detect suspicious activity on your phone. For example, if someone enters your PIN incorrectly several times, tries to turn the phone off, or removes the SIM card, an alert is triggered.
When Theft Alerts is triggered, Lookout will take a photo from your front camera, and email it to you along with your phone’s last known location. You can choose which activities will trigger Theft Alerts — after all, you might not want to receive a Theft Alert every time you turn your phone off.
Finally, Lookout’s System Adviser feature informs you if any of your apps are out-of-date, and it can tell if your iPhone is “jailbroken”. If you bought a used iPhone, it’s important to know this — it means a previous owner has removed some of Apple’s security restrictions.
What We Like:
- Smart features such as Scream, Lost Message, and Signal Flare to help reunite you with your lost iPhone.
- Theft Alerts feature is highly customizable.
- Attractive and easy-to-use interface.
What We Don’t like:
- Many features — such as Identity Protection and VPN — are only for premium users.
- Apple Watch integration no longer supported.
Lookout Personal for iOS is a great choice if (like most people) you’ve misplaced your phone in public before. In fact, it’s the best iOS app for recovering lost iPhones and iPads — and it will also help if your phone gets stolen.
Make sure you can find your iPhone next time you lose it:
5. Avast Security & Photo Vault — Best User-Interface
Avast’s Identity Protection feature will notify you if your personal information is leaked online. This means you can act quickly to protect your accounts before hackers can do any damage.
Whenever you connect to a Wi-Fi network on your iPhone or iPad, Avast’s Wi-Fi Security feature will automatically check if your connection is secure. The Wi-Fi Security feature scans for issues such as:
- Weak router or Wi-Fi passwords.
- Router vulnerabilities, such as incorrect configuration or out-of-date software.
- Evidence that an unauthorized person has hijacked the Wi-Fi network.
This feature is important if you travel and connect to a lot of unknown Wi-Fi networks. However, the Wi-Fi Security feature is most powerful when coupled with a VPN, which Avast only offers as a premium feature.
Finally, the Photo Vault lets you add an extra layer of security to the media stored on your device. You can keep your gallery locked up behind an additional PIN. Even if someone does break into your iPhone or iPad, they won’t be able to view your photos and videos.
What We Like:
- Clean and lightweight user-interface which is really simple to use.
- Excellent Wi-Fi protection to help keep you safe from hackers.
- Identity Protection means you can act quickly if your personal information is leaked.
What We Don’t Like:
- Some important features such as Web Protection and VPN are for premium users.
- Photo Vault storage space is limited to 40 photos or videos for free users.
Avast Security & Photo Vault can help keep your personal information, network traffic, and private media safe. It’s a great choice if you’re looking for a decent free mobile security app that won’t slow down your device.
For more information on anti-spyware and why you need it, check out our overview of everything you need to know about anti-spyware.
How We Rate the Best Free iPhone Antivirus Programs for 2019
Here are the qualities we expect from an iPhone antivirus app before it can earn a place in our top 5:
- Free. Our top 5 apps must all offer a great collection of free features — not only a free trial.
- Secure. We only recommend iPhone apps that can really enhance your iPhone’s security.
- Useful. Apple already provides some great security features with iOS. Our top 5 all offer something extra — or at least an improvement on Apple’s default features.
- Efficient. Many antivirus apps are buggy or slow down your iOS device. Our top 5 are lightweight, efficient, and easy to use.
Why You Need an Antivirus Program for iPhone in 2019
There’s really no reason not to install one of our top 5 free antivirus apps for iPhone. Not only is your iPhone a valuable asset — it also contains some of your most sensitive personal information.
While iPhones are more secure than most devices, you can’t be too careful. Apple’s own security measures are great — but they still leave gaps in your security. Our top 5 antivirus apps for iOS are designed to fill those gaps.
Installing a mobile security app, developed by a reputable antivirus company, gives you peace of mind that your iPhone or iPad is protected.
Avira Mobile Security offers the most generous range of free features, including phishing protection, data breach alerts, anti-theft tools, and more. If you can tolerate the occasional ad, it’s definitely worth downloading from the App Store — and take a look at Avira’s other free apps, too. Alternatively, for a great set of anti-theft features, you can give McAfee Mobile Security a try.