6 Best 100% FREE iPhone & iPad Antivirus Apps (Updated 2021)
You’ll find plenty of free antivirus apps on the App Store making all sorts of claims. To make sure there are no hidden catches, I tested and ranked the best free iOS apps in 2021.
I was confused to discover many apps advertise virus scanners — but iPhones and iPads don’t actually need this feature due to Apple’s in-built protection. However, I was impressed by a few great free apps that defend against phishing scams, unsafe WiFi networks, theft, and invasive third-party tracking.
But no free antivirus is perfect and even the best have limitations. If you’re like me and you take your iOS data seriously, I recommend a low-cost premium antivirus like Norton Mobile Security. Unlike the free apps, Norton provides full-coverage protection against all types of online attacks in real-time with minimal battery drain. It has a 60-day money-back guarantee, so it’s risk-free to try out on your own iPhone or iPad.
Quick Guide: Best Free Antivirus Apps for iPhone and iPad (All iOS Versions)
- Avira Mobile Security — #1 free antivirus for iOS with strong privacy features and device optimization tools (try Avira for free!).
- TotalAV for iOS — Reliably checks for iOS vulnerabilities, but no safe web browsing feature.
- Panda Dome for iOS — Provides device locator with an anti-theft tool, but has fewer extra features.
- Bitdefender Mobile Security — Effective data breach tool checks for leaks, but web protection is only available for paying users.
- Sophos Intercept X — Robust WiFi scan checks networks for issues, but no VPN or anti-theft tools.
- Kaspersky Security Cloud — Secure VPN has a 300MB daily data allowance, but no anti-phishing or parental controls.
Update September 2021: Norton Mobile Security no longer has a free version but it’s still the best low-cost antivirus for iOS. It provides web protection, device security, and network scans — plus you can try Norton Security risk-free for 60 days with its money-back guarantee.
The Best Free Antivirus Apps for iPhone and iPad (Tested September 2021)
- Includes anti-theft tools, device security updater, and VPN
- Privacy manager stops Siri conversations from being saved and analyzed
- Works on iOS 12.0+ (iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch)
- Customer support only available on website
Avira Free Security is the top iOS antivirus because of its solid privacy features including anti-theft tools, device updater, VPN, and Privacy Manager. I’m surprised by how many high-quality tools it offers for a completely free app.
I’m particularly impressed by Avira’s privacy tools which are notably lacking from Apple’s in-built features. Avira Free Security comes with a VPN that securely encrypts your connection to protect your online activity. During my tests, I found Avira’s VPN easily hid my true location. It has a small daily data limit of 100MB, but I found this was enough to browse, shop, and bank online safely. Avira also includes a Network Scanner that shows you which devices are in your network (public or private) and a Call Blocker that stops annoying spam calls.
I also like the inclusion of Avira’s Privacy Manager, a feature I haven’t seen on other iOS antiviruses. This stops your “Hey Siri” conversations from being recorded and sent for analysis. I think this is particularly important in case of accidental Siri activations that could lead to private information being shared with Apple. It takes seconds to download and I could rest assured my conversations would stay private.
You don’t need to create an account to use Avira Free Security, just download it from the App Store and it’s ready to go. I wasn’t inundated with ads or constantly prompted to upgrade — and I could see which features were free as premium tools are locked with a small yellow icon. This means I didn’t keep clicking on inaccessible features which made using the app much easier.
Avira’s iOS app didn’t ask for invasive permissions either. I had the option to give permission to access my photos and contacts if I wanted to use Avira’s optimization tools or contact backup.
The key features Avira Free Security is missing are web and identity protection, so you won’t be safeguarded against phishing scams, malicious websites, or email security breaches. These are some of the biggest threats to iOS security so you may want to upgrade to Avira Mobile Security Pro for full iPhone and iPad protection. However, its free app is enough to give you basic security, so I recommend you download Avira today to keep your iOS device safe.
- Actively checks for security issues and iOS updates
- Also features a data breach check, device locator, and photo manager
- Supports iOS 9.0+ (iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch)
- Customer support available via email and website
TotalAV’s iOS app provides a great layer of extra security with a range of free tools. This includes a System Security feature, data breach checker, device locator, and photo manager.
The useful System Security tool checks that your software is the latest version and configures your device’s password and face ID. I found it easy to set up a password and facial recognition using the TotalAV app — it’s reassuring to know that TotalAV monitors my iPhone’s security while online and offline. I also liked the data breach check, device locator, and photo manager features. The data breach check is useful as you can enter different email addresses to find out if any accounts linked to them have been compromised. From there, you can click on the account and you’ll be taken straight to the site, making it easy to change your password.
TotalAV’s device locator keeps track of your iPhone or iPad in case of loss or theft (you’ll have to set up a free account to use this tool). I also found the photo manager helpful for clearing duplicate images and unnecessary screenshots from my iPhone — I saved over 1.2GB of space on my device!
TotalAV’s free version is missing a web protection feature, so you’re still at risk from malicious links and shady websites. However, the device and account security features it offers are enough to give you a little protection. You can use TotalAV’s secure web browser to avoid web trackers, but the drawback is you have to use the dedicated web browser — it won’t work with other browsers like Safari or Google Chrome.
I recommend you try TotalAV on your own iOS device for free. I even didn’t have to create an account to get started — although I recommend it to access additional features like the device locator.
- Includes anti-theft tool and accurate GPS tracker
- Comes with a 150MB daily VPN
- Supports iOS 11.0+ (iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch)
- Email and phone support available
Panda Dome’s free iOS app provides location tracking with its anti-theft tool. When active, you can find your iOS device by logging in to your Panda Dome account on any web browser. While I’d like to see Panda include some additional options (like an alarm or remote data wiping), I was impressed by how precise this tracking was. On the map interface, I could pinpoint my exact location.
While this is primarily an anti-theft tool, it could be used as a GPS tracker for your children too. Not many free antivirus apps come with parental controls — but if you just want to know where your kids are, this feature is more than capable of locating them.
Panda Dome for iOS comes with a VPN service with a single local server and a daily data cap of 150MB. I found this was suitable for browsing online and checking emails. The VPN is powered by top VPN provider Hotspot Shield, meaning you can rest assured your data is securely encrypted.
These are the only 2 features on Panda Dome’s free app. While I’d like to see greater functionality, this does make it a lightweight and low-impact app — less than 33MB in size.
For full access to the free app’s features you will need to make an account. Luckily, Panda won’t hassle you with ads or upgrades and only asks for permission to install the VPN configurations. You also don’t need to provide any payment details, so you can be sure that Panda Dome is 100% free and risk-free to use.
- Monitors multiple online accounts for privacy issues
- Also provides a VPN with 200MB of daily data and Web Protection
- Dedicated app for iOS 12.0+ (iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch)
- Customer support over live chat, phone, and email
Bitdefender’s Mobile Security iOS app lets you check whether your online accounts have been breached. This saved me time as it meant I didn’t have to visit different websites to check my account security. When I entered an old email address, it brought up an account I’d completely forgotten about — in just a couple of minutes, I was able to change the password and mark the account as “Secured” on Bitdefender’s app. Bitdefender also monitors multiple email addresses and will alert you to new security issues, so you don’t need to keep checking yourself.
The Web Protection feature impressed me, as it blocked malicious websites that were after my payment information or other personal details. While I was testing it, Bitdefender stopped me from accessing 2 sites that contained phishing scams.
I also like that Bitdefender included a VPN with its iOS app. I found Bitdefender’s VPN great for browsing securely online and logging into my bank account with an encrypted connection. Unfortunately, while its 200MB daily data allowance is more than most free apps, it’s not great for streaming or data-heavy activity. It also only lets you connect to a local server so you can’t access location-restricted content.
You don’t need to provide any billing information to download Bitdefender on iOS — although you do need to create an account. Fortunately, there aren’t any ads and you won’t see many annoying prompts to upgrade to the premium version.
- Scans WiFi connections and alerts you to potential risks
- Also features a device security monitor, password manager, and QR scanner
- Works on iOS 11.0+ (iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch)
- Customer support only available via website
Sophos’ Intercept X for iOS has a strong Network Security tool that constantly monitors your WiFi connection for vulnerabilities or risky networks. Once the “Background Check” feature is active, Sophos will automatically perform safety checks whenever your network changes. I could take my iPhone and iPad out with me and not worry about connecting to public WiFi. Sophos sent me an alert warning me of an unsafe connection so I could switch to a secure network.
Other features on Sophos’ Intercept X free iOS app include a device security monitor to check for software updates, a password manager, and a scanner to check QR codes. I like the addition of Sophos’s QR code scanner as these codes can be used as links to phishing websites and other scams.
Some of these tools, like the password safe, require setup to work properly and it can be complicated if you’re not tech-minded. However, Sophos provides step-by-step guides on its website.
Sophos doesn’t ask you to create an account, and you don’t have to enter payment details either — the app is always free to use, so you can try Sophos risk-free now. It’s a solid choice for securing your network connections and keeping your device up-to-date, but I’d like to see some extra tools (like a VPN or phishing protection) to make it really worth downloading.
- Provides a free QR scanner and password manager
- Encrypts your connection with a VPN — 300MB daily data allowance
- Custom app for iOS 12.0+ (iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch)
- 24/7 customer support with live chat, phone support, and email ticketing
Kaspersky’s Security Cloud focuses on defending iOS devices from phishing scams and data insecurities. It comes with a QR scanner that detects and blocks malicious links. I found this very useful, as scams are getting harder to recognize.
Along with this, Kaspersky also offers a password manager that securely stores up to 15 passwords. It auto-generates your passwords for you, so you can be assured that all your accounts are secured with a unique and powerful password.
I was impressed with Kaspersky’s free VPN. Its 300MB daily data allowance is enough for web browsing and secure online banking and shopping. I ran several leak tests and Kaspersky passed them all.
Unfortunately, these features are all in separate apps, so Kaspersky can take up quite a bit of space. That being said, the apps download quickly and you don’t have to enter any payment details. You will need to create a My Kaspersky account with a valid email address to use the Security Cloud tools. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean you’ll be emailed constantly to upgrade — I only saw upgrade options when I clicked on premium features, which are clearly marked with a yellow icon.
Kaspersky’s premium plan provides excellent value additions such as an unlimited VPN, a password manager that works across desktop and mobile devices, and anti-phishing protection. However, the free version is also a good option if you only need basic protection. Don’t just take my word for it — try Kaspersky for free now to see if it suits you.
Bonus: Norton Mobile Security — Best Premium iOS Antivirus — Full-Coverage Protection From Web-Based Threats
- Protects against online threats, phishing scams, and dubious public WiFi networks
- Includes device security scan, ID theft protection, and unlimited VPN
- Works on iOS 12.0+ (iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch)
- 24/7 customer support with live chat, phone support, and community forums
Norton’s Security for iOS isn’t a free service, but it’s recommended for users who need top-tier protection for iPhone and iPad. Norton’s iOS app is one of the most comprehensive I’ve tested. It includes Web Protection and WiFi Security that checks links and networks for security issues, device security to keep your device up to date, identity theft protection, parental controls, and an unlimited VPN.
While it doesn’t include an anti-theft feature (instead relying on Apple’s in-built option), it provides full coverage security and privacy for every other aspect of your iOS device. Powered by Symantec’s Security Technology and Response engine, Norton can predict and shield you from online threats like man-in-the-middle attacks.
In my tests Norton’s Web Protection feature worked excellently, blocking malicious websites and links. This feature is enhanced by Dark Web Monitoring, which will notify you in the event your personal info is leaked. I was also impressed by Norton’s WiFi Security as it automatically scans for security risks and connects to the VPN if the network is compromised.
As it’s not a free service, you will need to sign up for one of Norton’s premium plans to get its iOS apps. However, Norton is a reasonably priced option for such high-quality security. If you’d like to try it before you commit to a subscription, Norton gives you 60 days to test the service risk-free. If you change your mind, you can get a full refund with its money-back guarantee.
Comparison Table: 2021’s Best Free iOS Antivirus Apps
Avira’s Free Security takes the #1 spot as the best free iOS app for its unique privacy features and strong device security. However, it doesn’t quite provide the top-tier security I want for my iPhone and iPad — the only antivirus to achieve that level of protection is Norton’s Security for iOS.
|Web Protection||Device Security||VPN||Network Security||Identity Protection||Anti-Theft Tool|
|Bonus: Norton 360||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✘|
Popular Antivirus Brands That Didn’t Make the List
If you search for free antiviruses on the App Store, you’ll find these popular options that don’t appear on this recommended list.
AVG and Avast
Avast and AVG are some of the top options on the App Store for iOS antiviruses, but I can’t recommend them because of Avast’s recent privacy scandal. The company was caught selling user data to third parties, which is a serious breach of privacy. I’m hesitant to trust them despite them claiming they no longer sell information.
Trend Micro is a comprehensive iOS app that covers web-based security threats and monitors your privacy. However, when I tested Trend Micro on my iPhone I found that it only offers a free trial — it’s not completely free.
How I Tested & Ranked the Top Antivirus Apps for iOS
No free app is going to provide the level of security you want for your iPhone or iPad — you’re only going to get full-coverage protection from a premium app like Norton’s Security for iOS. That being said, these recommended apps offer a level of protection that is far better than not having any at all.
I thoroughly tested each antivirus against the following criteria so only the best made it on the list:
- 100% free — Every antivirus app on this list is completely free for life. While some require you to sign up for an account, you won’t have to enter any payment details to use them. No credit cards, hidden fees, or misleading “free trials”.
- Good value with premium plans — While I focused primarily on free apps, I made sure to only include antivirus providers that have even better premium versions and affordable plans to choose from if you decide to upgrade.
- Dedicated iOS app — Your antivirus should work perfectly on your iOS device, so I avoided software with clunky interfaces or tricky-to-use features. I also looked at antiviruses that improved the security tools Apple offers, such as device location features that are faster and smoother than Apple’s own Find My iPhone tool.
- Performance — An antivirus needs to always be running in the background to provide constant protection. I looked for apps that had less impact on my device’s speed and battery life.
- Multiple device connections — Protecting your iPhone or iPad is important, but you need security for the other devices in your home too. I made sure to include antivirus providers that offer coverage for Windows, Mac, and Android devices with a single account.
FAQ: Free Antivirus Apps for iPhone and iPad
Does my iPhone really need an antivirus?
Yes. Your iPhone is still vulnerable to web-based attacks, so you should consider a top iOS antivirus app to protect you from phishing scams and unsecured WiFi networks. Apple uses “sandboxing” to restrict apps from accessing the files stored by other apps or making changes to your device. So while a malicious app can’t deploy a virus, a legitimate-looking phishing link can still trick you into entering your personal details — so you need the web-based protection an antivirus app provides.
Some free plans even come with extra features that go beyond basic security. Avira includes Anti-Theft tools which are a step up from Apple’s built-in “Find My iPhone” feature, which is clunky and limited.
Is a free antivirus safe to use on iPhone or iPad?
Yes. I tested the top free antiviruses on the Apple App Store to find the most trustworthy options. It wasn’t easy though. In my research, many free antivirus apps didn’t work or falsely claimed to remove viruses. Some didn’t even take its users’ privacy seriously. For example, the Avast and AVG antivirus apps have 4+ star ratings, but historically logged and shared private user data without their permission.
Unfortunately, even the free antiviruses I recommended may not provide the level of coverage you want. If you’re willing to invest in the protection of your iPhone or iPad, I suggest Norton Security for iOS. It’s a low-cost, full-featured app without the limitations imposed by free services.
What’s the best free antivirus for my iPhone and iPad?
Based on my tests, the best free antivirus for your iOS devices is Avira Free Security. Avira Free Security has anti-theft tools, a privacy manager, a VPN, and performance optimization tools — at no cost to you.
However, Avira doesn’t have phishing protection, so you’re still at risk of malicious links in your emails or on websites. As phishing is one of the most dangerous threats to iOS users, you’ll need an antivirus that defends against it if you want maximum protection. A low-cost alternative is Norton Security for iOS, which is a powerful app that defends against all types of online attacks in real-time. Norton has a 60-day money-back guarantee, so you can test out the features risk-free.
Secure Your iPhone and iPad With a Free Antivirus App
Apple’s built-in security features are pretty good, but they can’t protect you from online threats — phishing links, unsecured WiFi networks, and privacy breaches all threaten your data. A free antivirus app for your iOS will protect you from cyberattacks.
Avira Free Security is the best free antivirus iOS app, providing a VPN, WiFi scanner, and Privacy Manager at no cost to you. However, even this doesn’t give you the best protection. To get comprehensive security with web protection, unlimited VPN encryption, and identity theft protection (and more!) you should take a look at Norton Security for iOS. It’s an affordable alternative that doesn’t compromise your data security — and you can try it risk-free for 60 days with its money-back guarantee.