5 Best iOS Antivirus Apps for iPhone and iPad (Updated 2023)
iOS is one of the most secure operating systems for mobile devices, with its “sandbox” app security that blocks antivirus scans. However, I found Apple’s devices are still vulnerable to attacks, including phishing and email scams, malicious pop-up ads, fake websites, and even offline threats like theft.
Not every antivirus will protect your iOS devices from these risks. I tested 20 services from the App Store and ranked the 5 best antivirus apps.
Of these, Norton Mobile Security takes the top spot for its advanced web protection and privacy tools. Even better, you get 60 days to test Norton’s iOS antivirus app risk-free with its money-back guarantee.
Quick Guide: 5 Best iOS Antivirus Apps for iPhone and iPad
- Norton Mobile Security — #1 iOS antivirus protects your device from all online cyberattacks.
- McAfee Mobile Security — Features a media vault, WiFi protection, and safe web browsing for Safari, but an expensive option for full-coverage security.
- TotalAV Mobile Security — Optimization tools boost iOS performance, but one of the largest apps at over 145Mb in size.
- Bitdefender Mobile Security — Autopilot assistant helps improve device security, but doesn’t offer many other features.
- Avira Mobile Security — Unlimited VPN feature, but has prolonged customer support response times.
5 Best iOS Antivirus Apps for iPhone and iPad — Full Test Results in February 2023
1. Norton Mobile Security — #1 Antivirus for iOS With Advanced Protection From Online Threats and More
- Protects against online threats with Web Protection and WiFi security
- Also offers a VPN, device security, and Dark Web Monitoring to secure your data
- Works on iOS 13 and up (iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch)
- Customer support available 24/7 through live chat, phone assistance, and forums
- 60-day money-back guarantee
Norton’s Mobile Security is the best for iOS because of its top-tier protection against online threats. Its highly accurate Web Protection feature blocks dangerous websites and stops malicious downloads and phishing scams. I tried connecting to multiple test sites while on my iPhone and Norton blocked each one.
Norton even blocked sites that Safari allowed — proving that Apple’s built-in security isn’t always enough to protect your iPhone or iPad.
Norton’s WiFi Security is one of the best I’ve tried, as it automatically scans every network you connect to and gives it a security rating. This is especially useful for mobile devices as you run the risk of connecting to an unsafe public WiFi network.
If you connect to an unsecured network, Norton auto-connects the included VPN. I didn’t have to worry about security — and as soon as I got home to my safe network, Norton automatically switched off the VPN. Norton’s VPN has 30 global servers you can use to access services like Netflix and Hulu. I could stream Netflix US easily and with minimal buffering. It also has unrestricted bandwidth and no data caps so I could browse, stream, and play mobile games as much as I wanted.
Norton Mobile Security also includes these features:
- Spam call and SMS protection — Blocks fraudulent calls and blocks scam links in SMS messages.
- Device security scan — Checks your OS and apps to ensure they are up-to-date, boosting security.
- Secure Calendar — Protects against suspicious iOS calendar invites, which could be malware in disguise.
- Data breach checker — Using Norton’s LifeLock technology, scans the web for breaches that contain your data and alerts you if a compromise is found.
- Ad Tracker — Part of Norton’s VPN — when the VPN is active, the Ad Tracker blocks cookies from tracking your online activity.
There was little impact on my battery or device performance with Norton running in the background. Norton Mobile Security is also very small at just over 70MB, so it doesn’t take up much device space.
Norton Mobile Security is available as a standalone purchase that covers 1 device, with a 7-day free trial for every subscription. If you have more devices (iOS, Mac, Windows, or Android) I found it’s a better value to choose the Norton 360 Deluxe plan. It covers up to 5 devices on multiple platforms and gives you access to more features like parental controls and a password manager.
You can try Norton’s subscriptions risk-free as they all come with a 60-day money-back guarantee. I tested the refund policy and it took less than 5 minutes to have my request approved through the 24/7 live chat. Even better, I had my money back in 5 days!
- Secures your iOS device with safe web browsing and WiFi network protection
- Includes media vault, contact backup, and anti-theft tools
- Supports iOS 13.0+ (iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch) and watchOS 4.3 and up
- 24/7 customer support — live chat, email ticketing, and community forums
- 30-day money-back guarantee
McAfee’s iOS app is packed with security features, such as Safe Web, anti-phishing, a VPN, and data breach tools. All of these features are easily accessible — a single tap takes you to the “Services” menu.
On the home screen, McAfee displays a Protection Score out of 1000 to show you how well your device is secured. Not only is it reassuring to know my Protection Score is good, but McAfee also helped me improve my security with information about potential weaknesses and recommended actions.
For security, McAfee’s Safe Web tool scans websites for suspicious content and blocks you from clicking on risky links. It also has a WiFi Guard that encrypts your connection with VPN technology, protecting you on public networks. Both tools were easy to set up and worked well with my iPhone XS.
McAfee’s iOS app also includes the following features:
- System Scan — Checks your device for necessary OS and app updates, protecting you from potentially exploitable vulnerabilities.
- Unlimited VPN — Encrypts connections to protect data from hackers and spies, and allows you to access your online accounts from anywhere — ideal for streaming on Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and more.
- Identity Monitoring — Regularly checks up to 10 email addresses for breaches, immediately notifying you of any security issues found.
It’s important to note that unlimited VPN and Identity Monitoring are only available if you have auto-renewal active for your subscription. If you decide to switch this off (to avoid being charged after the first year), you’ll no longer have access to Identity Monitoring and the VPN drops to 500MB of data per day.
While McAfee’s iOS app is only 96MB, it’s larger than some other options. That being said, I found McAfee’s iOS app very simple to navigate during my tests — so it’s perfect for new antivirus users.
I was disappointed to find McAfee’s recent update removed some of its security and privacy tools, including anti-theft features and a secure Media Vault. These features were a huge bonus for the iOS app and are still offered by other top antiviruses.
McAfee’s Mobile Security is one of the most expensive single-device subscriptions. While it does offer a 7-day free trial, its yearly plan is almost as much as one of McAfee’s full-coverage packages. With McAfee’s Total Protection plan, you get security for 5 devices on multiple platforms (including iOS) — and you get a full 30 days to test McAfee risk-free with its money-back guarantee!
- Protects against web-based attacks with WebShield
- Offers system security scan, data breach check, anti-theft, and photo manager
- Supports iOS 9.0+ (iPhone and iPad)
- Customer support available through live chat, email, and online guides
- 30-day money-back guarantee
TotalAV Mobile Security’s app has an intuitive interface for iOS devices. All features (like running scans or checking device security) are easy to access with a single tap. It’s a great option for users who are new to antivirus. I didn’t even have to sign in to use the app, although I couldn’t access most of the features until I created an account.
I’m particularly impressed by TotalAV’s Photo Manager, an optimization tool that frees space on your device. When I ran the Photo Manager it took less than 10 seconds to check over 5GB of photos on my iPhone. It found more than 500 photos I could delete, creating over 1.2GB of space on my device.
I’m glad that TotalAV created so much space as it’s one of the larger iOS apps at 146.8MB — more than twice as big as Norton Mobile Security. However, it didn’t have a negative impact on my device performance or drain my battery life.
TotalAV uses both its WebShield and VPN features to secure your online activity. WebShield blocks sites that aren’t secure or have suspicious links. I particularly like that TotalAV’s VPN has unlimited data and that it auto-connects when I use Safari’s private browsing. As the VPN is powered by Windscribe, you’ll find that your browsing speeds stay consistently fast — my speeds only dropped 13% when I connected to a distant US server.
Other features TotalAV includes are as follows:
- Data Breach Check — Checks data breaches for your email address and advises you on the best way to secure your data.
- Device Locator — Lets you find lost or stolen devices and can trigger an alarm sound.
- Battery Monitor — Shows you how long your battery will last based on what apps you’re using.
TotalAV’s Mobile Security plan is one of the more expensive standalone options. If you invest in the Total Security package instead, you can cover up to 6 devices on multiple platforms (including iOS) for the same price. Plus, you can test TotalAV risk-free for 30 days with its money-back guarantee. I called customer support to request a refund and had it processed in 5 minutes, getting my money back in less than a week.
- Secures your browsing with its Web Protection feature
- VPN provides fast, secure connections to global servers
- Supports iOS 12.0+ (iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch)
- 24/7 customer support through live chat, phone support, and community forums
- 30-day money-back guarantee
Bitdefender’s top-tier mobile security for iOS includes a VPN, which is a great way to constantly secure your online connections. You can use up to 200MB of data per day, which adds up to a generous 6GB of data per month. I mostly used the VPN to encrypt my connection on unsecured public WiFi, protecting my data from hackers and spies. I ran multiple leak tests connected to different servers and found Bitdefender kept me secure at all times.
Having the VPN running did impact my battery life, but Bitdefender is a tiny iOS app (only 23Mb) so this balances out the drain on resources significantly.
After running a system scan, Bitdefender’s Mobile Security introduced me to its Autopilot feature. Autopilot is like a virtual assistant that recommends the best ways to improve your device security, such as prompting me to activate Web Protection. I also had access to my usage insights, so I could see information like my daily traffic and how many threats Bitdefender had blocked.
Bitdefender also offers Web Protection and Account Privacy features. Web Protection detects suspicious websites and phishing links and blocks access to prevent your data from being stolen. Account Privacy checks to see if your personal data has been found in any data breaches so you can restore security — you can add multiple email addresses to check all of your accounts and you’ll receive instant notifications for any security incidents.
However, Bitdefender’s iOS app is lacking some features I’d expect from a top-tier antivirus. There are no anti-theft options, optimization tools, or network monitoring features. While this makes Bitdefender more lightweight, these features would provide more well-rounded coverage.
You can use Bitdefender’s Mobile Security for free, but it’s very limited. I recommend opting for the premium service — it’s an affordable option and the price doesn’t rise after the first year. However, if you want more coverage and features like an unlimited VPN, you can try Bitdefender’s Total Security plan. It has licenses for up to 5 devices, plus all Mobile Security tools are included. Whichever plan you choose, you can try Bitdefender risk-free as it’s always backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Provides Web Protection (premium only), anti-theft, and vulnerability scan
- Also offers VPN, Privacy Manager, Call Blocker, and more to protect your data
- Supports iOS 12 or higher (iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch)
- Email response is slow, phone support is non-existent — no live chat
- 30-day money-back guarantee
Avira’s free antivirus is one of the best available, but it isn’t as protective as I want for my iPhone and iPad. Avira’s Mobile Security Pro is a great choice for iOS because it includes Web Protection, which checks every website you visit for malicious behaviors or content. I found Web Protection effectively blocked access to malicious test sites.
I’m impressed by Avira’s Privacy Manager feature — it stops your Siri conversation data from being logged and sent for analysis. This is a feature I haven’t seen on other antiviruses and I like that it gives a greater level of control over how my data is used.
I also like that Avira is packed with extra features:
- Data breach monitoring — Provides identity theft protection by monitoring the web for signs of your personal data.
- VPN — Ideal for fast, secure browsing, but limited data means no streaming (the VPN also struggled to access streaming sites during tests).
- Password manager — Secures passwords and simplifies logging into accounts.
- Unwanted call blocker — Stops spam phone calls.
- Anti-theft settings — Tracks your device location, triggers an alarm, and wipes your device’s data for additional security.
- Photo cleaner — Detects duplicate photos and selects them for deletion, freeing space on your phone.
- Contact backup — Stores and sends all contact information to your email, DropBox, or Google Drive.
- iOS updater — Regularly checks your iOS to ensure it’s up-to-date, lowering the chance of vulnerability exploits.
The only downside is that Avira’s customer support is extremely slow, with no live chat option. Email support takes several days and I had no luck connecting to phone support. It’s important to have help on hand if you have urgent queries, so Avira might not be the best choice for new antivirus users.
Avira’s Mobile Security Pro package only protects a single iOS device with its yearly subscription. The Prime plan provides coverage for up to 5 devices on multiple platforms and includes Mobile Security Pro, making it better value for money — especially with the discount you get for the first year. Plus, you can try Avira Prime risk-free for 30 days with its money-back guarantee.
Warning! Avoid These 3 Antivirus Brands
Here are a couple of antiviruses that aren’t ideal if you’re looking for the best protection for your iOS device.
Avast and AVG
Avast had been secretly selling its users’ personal data to make extra profit on the side. Avast and AVG are popular antivirus apps with millions of users — but unfortunately, most people don’t realize that Avast (and its subsidiary AVG) were caught in a huge privacy scandal. This is a serious breach of ethics and trust, so I can’t recommend either Avast or AVG as a reliable antivirus app.
Unfortunately, BullGuard does not have an iOS app so you can’t use it to secure your iPhone or iPad. This is a shame, as BullGuard is a great antivirus with excellent malware protection and a Game Booster feature that optimizes your PC while you play.
I was surprised to find Intego doesn’t have any mobile apps at all, considering it’s the best antivirus for Mac users. As such, it can’t be recommended for securing your iOS devices.
Quick Comparison Table: 2023’s Best iOS Antivirus Apps for iPhone and iPad
|Web Protection||VPN||Anti-Theft||WiFi Network Protection||SMS Protection||Money-Back Guarantee|
|Norton||✔||Unlimited data||✔||✔||✔||60 days|
|McAfee||✔||Unlimited data||✔||✔||✘||60 days|
|TotalAV||✔||Unlimited data||✔||✔||✘||30 days|
|Bitdefender||✔||200MB daily /
6GB monthly data
3 Easy Steps: How to Use an Antivirus on iOS
- Sign up for an antivirus compatible with iOS on the official website. Norton Mobile Security provides the best security for iOS — you can try it risk free for 60 days!
- Download the antivirus to your iPhone and iPad. You’ll have to sign in with the account details you created during purchasing.
- Run a device scan and customize your settings. You can check for issues, optimize device performance, and enjoy full protection against online threats.
How I Tested and Ranked the Best iOS Antivirus Apps for iPhone and iPad in 2023
I looked at more than 20 services to find the best antivirus apps in 2023 for iOS devices. I tested them using my iPhone XS and iPad, both running on iOS 15. Here are the criteria I checked them against:
- Online and Web Protection — The biggest threats to your iOS device are web-based attacks — I tested each antivirus for features like safe browsing, WiFi security scans, and tracker blockers to ensure protection from these threats.
- Ease of Use — I looked at how long it took to set up the antivirus, plus how well they integrated into the operating system. I also checked that the apps didn’t take up too much space or excessively drain battery life.
- Anti-Theft and Device Security — Another big risk to your iOS device is theft. I tested the anti-theft capabilities of each antivirus to check for remote access, theft alarms, and the ability to wipe all data.
- Extra Security Features — As Apple’s integrated security is already pretty good, I looked for additional features to help boost overall protection. I tested extras like a VPN, device tune-up tools, and SMS protection to make sure they add layers of security to your iOS devices.
- Multiple Device Connections — A top-tier antivirus service should protect more than your iPhone or iPad. I ranked subscriptions that secure multiple devices more highly, as these provide you with a greater level of overall protection.
- Value for Money — I looked at the range of features each antivirus offers and examined how well they perform, to see which offers the best value.
- Customer Support Options — It’s important to get fast responses to issues you might have with your antivirus. I tested all available customer support options to find out which is the quickest.
FAQ: 5 Best iOS Antivirus Apps for iPhone and iPad
Do I really need virus protection for my iPhone or iPad?
Yes — a high-quality antivirus app for iOS is the only way to block potentially dangerous connections and online attacks designed to compromise your data.
While iOS has excellent security, it’s not immune from online threats. Apple’s “sandbox” approach to apps means that an app can only execute in its designated space — it can’t infiltrate other apps to deploy viruses. This is top-tier security from Apple against viruses, but they are only 1 kind of online attack. Threats to iOS come from spam or phishing websites, hackers, adware and spyware, dodgy WiFi networks, and more.
A service like Norton protects your iOS device from web threats and theft and keeps your apps updated to avoid vulnerabilities — plus you can use it on multiple platforms to protect all of your devices.
Can I scan my iPhone or iPad for malware?
No — because of “sandboxing” an antivirus app can’t scan your iOS device as apps are unable to interact with other apps in that way. Instead, the best antivirus apps for iOS protect your device and data from external threats like phishing scams and loss or theft.
The scans that antivirus apps perform aren’t looking for viruses but for vulnerabilities and security gaps. For example, the antivirus can detect if your operating system has an available update and prompts you to download it. Your antivirus can also scan your network connection for any security issues and recommend steps you can take to rectify the issue.
What’s the best iOS antivirus app?
The best antivirus app for iOS is Norton Mobile Security. It has essential antivirus features to protect your iOS devices from web-based attacks, hackers, and unsecured WiFi networks. You also get a secure VPN to keep your activity and location anonymous. Plus, you can take advantage of Norton’s Dark Web Monitoring to check data breaches for your personal information.
Every subscription plan from Norton has a 60-day money-back guarantee. I like that I had so long to test Norton risk-free and make sure it was a good fit for me. Best of all, it took less than 5 minutes to approve a refund and I had my money back in 5 days!
Protect Your iOS Devices With a Premium Antivirus App
Apple’s software is secure against viruses, but going without extra protection puts your iPhone and iPad at risk of online attacks. Even with a free antivirus, you still can’t protect your iOS devices from phishing scams and hackers.
The best way to secure your devices and your data is by using a premium antivirus. An app like Norton Mobile Security protects your device from threats and offers extra features that improve your privacy. Plus, all of the antiviruses on this list have a money-back guarantee you can use to test the service before you subscribe. Norton gives you a full 60 days to test its Mobile Security risk-free.