Most people don’t know this because most antivirus companies don’t want to let this out: virus scanning isn’t possible on iOS. Here’s why: Apple banned developers from antivirus apps that claim to scan your iPhone for viruses.
Why is this? iPhone apps can’t access data from other apps (with a few exceptions, but not many!) Apple devices are far better defended against malware and viruses with its built-in security features.
So, what does “antivirus” mean for iOS? It means that the software can protect you from phishing, insecure networks, and loss or theft.
Unfortunately, there are hundreds of fake antivirus apps that will steal your iPhone’s information. So, not only do you need to be careful when picking the best antivirus app, you need to be sure while protecting your iPhone, you’re not falling int a scam.
We have done extensive research on the best free antivirus apps for iPhones and iPads. Here’s how our methodology worked:
iOS Antivirus Gratis, Yes for Free!
Here are the qualities that we looked for in an iOS antivirus app before it could be on our top five list:
- 100% Free: Free means free. The apps we recommend are not ones with a free trial, and then you have to pay to continue using the products. They are 100% free.
- Solid Protection: The apps we recommend offer the protection needed to keep your devices as safe as possible.
- Extra Perks: One positive of Apple is that they offer some excellent security features; however, each app adds an extra perk!
- Low impact on your system: Some antivirus apps will slow down your device tremendously! We don’t have time to wait and wait while pages load. The apps we will discuss here have minimal impact on your iPhone or iPad.
Please keep in mind that the apps we discuss will not guarantee protection like most paid iOS antivirus apps will. I say “most” and not all, because some of our recommendations are clearly superior to some paid ones.
Best Free Antivirus Apps for iPhone & iPad
1. Avira Mobile Security: Best for Extra Features
Avira offers one of the most capable free antivirus versions on the market.
What we like about Avira Mobile Security is that it offers more features than any other antivirus app we researched. Here are the features of this app:
- Web Protection Feature: protects against phishing websites
- Phantom VPN: keeps your data safe on public Wi-Fi (up to 500MB/month)
- Avira Connect: online dashboard
- Password Manager: keeps your account organized
- Device Analyzer: helps free up space and improves performance
- Contacts Backup: emails you a copy of your contacts in case you lose your phone
- Identity Safeguard: checks to see if your email address has been stolen in a data breach
- Call blocker: prevents unwanted callers
As you can see, Avira Mobile Security has a lot of free features, and they work well. The only thing we don’t like is that some of these features need to be downloaded separately. This app is fast, reliable, and easy to navigate.
- Excellent phishing protection
- Powerful tools for finding a lost or stolen iPhone
- Large range of free features
- Low impact on your system
- Fast updates
- You will need to download additional apps for Avira’s other free products
- Some users reported software bugs
- Free version does not offer great customer support
Avira Free Antivirus is worth your time and energy to install and use it. It is excellent at protecting your iPhone or iPad against phishing and effectively protects your devices from online threats. You can’t beat the many features offered, and best of all, it’s free!
2. McAfee Mobile Security: Best Theft Protection
McAfee is a prominent name in the antivirus world, and for good reasons. Not only does this company offer excellent cybersecurity plans, but they also offer a free one for iOS users that is excellent. Check out these features:
- Secure Media Vault: restricts access to your photos and videos to where they can only be accessed with a PIN.
- Locate and Remote Alarm: Lets you activate an alarm to locate your lost or stolen device. With the remote management portal, you can locate your device on a map.
- CaptureCam: if someone gives the wrong Vault PIN multiple times, your device will snap a picture and email it to you.
- Back up, Restore and Wipe: You can back up your contacts, then restore them to another location. You can also wipe your contacts out remotely from another device.
McAfee’s security features focus on theft, which is a great plus. The Media Vault feature also encrypts your iPhone’s media and provides an additional security layer by requiring another PIN. The only downside is that the free version does not include phishing protection or a Safe Web VPN. These features require a paid subscription.
- Excellent anti-theft features
- “Wi-Fi Scanner” alerts you when you connect to an insecure network
- Keeps contacts secure
- Easy to use
- Phishing protection and Safe Web VPN require a paid subscription
- Free version contains ads
McAfee Mobile Security is an excellent choice for those who need an extra layer of protection against theft. The fact that this app can locate your phone, protect your contacts, photos, and video, and take a picture of anyone trying to break into your phone is impressive. The fact that it’s all free is even better!
3. Phone Guardian: Best Network Protection
If you frequently use your iOS devices to send and receive personal financial information, Phone Guardian may be the antivirus you need. Phone Guardian’s aim is to protect the data leaving your device. Here are the specific features:
- Virtual Private Network (VPN): this tool ensures that your phone is always connected to a secure network.
- Personal Information: Phone Guardian will alert you if an app is collecting your personal information for advertising purposes
- No Registration: No registration or complicated set up
- Security Leaks: uses the latest technology to scan your internet traffic for security leaks
As you can see, Phone Guardian is great at protecting you while you’re online. If someone does intercept your personal information, the VPN feature encrypts data, so no one will be able to read it.
It is important to know that because Phone Guardian is free, they collect data about app usage and sell it for market research purposes. Even though the data is anonymous, if you don’t want your data sold to advertisers, you will need to upgrade to a paid plan.
- Superior VPN tools
- Encrypts any data that leaves your device
- No registration required
- Easy to use
- The only features are network security and privacy
- Some users may not like Phone Guardian’s data collection
Phone Guardian excels in its VPN services. It will keep your networks secure when you are connecting to public Wi-Fi. Those who are concerned with their network security and not leaking out personal information will benefit from Phone Guardian.
4. Lookout Personal for iOS: Best for Finding Lost iPhones
If you’re losing your iPhone often (like me), Lookout Personal for iOS is a great free app that specializes in locating iPhones, while also offering layers of mobile security and identity theft protection. Check out these features:
- Locate Feature: provides a map for locating a lost or stolen iPhone
- Scream Feature: good for locating a lost phone if it is in close proximity
- Lost Message: sends out a message on the lock screen with contact details. This is helpful if a friend, acquaintance, or even a helpful stranger has the device.
- Signal Flare: sends an email telling your phone’s last location (good to use if the battery dies)
- Theft Alerts: detects suspicious activity on the iPhone
The features here work well if you are looking for your lost iPhone. Whether it is lost or stolen, there’s a good chance you can find it using the Locate Feature and Lost Message feature. Another thing is you can choose which activities will trigger Theft Alerts. For example, if you turn your phone off and on several times or if your PIN is entered several times incorrectly, the device will take a picture and email it you with the phone’s last known location.
- Smart theft features
- Theft Alerts is customizable
- Easy to use interface
- Extra features are for premium users
- Apple Watch combination is not supported
Lookout Personal for iOS is an excellent choice if you frequently misplace your phone. Some customers have said it’s the best app out there for recovering lost iPhones and iPads. The anti-theft features work well if your phone is stolen.
5. Avast Mobile Security for iOS: Most User-Friendly
While all the mobile security apps we have recommended are user-friendly, Avast Mobile Security takes it to another level. Customers repeatedly say that this app is so easy to use, and the interface is clear and simple. Here are the specific features this app offers:
- Identity Guard: notifies you if your personal information has been leaked online
- Wi-Fi Security Feature: automatically checks Wi-Fi connections for weaknesses
- Photo Vault: gives you an extra layer of security for media stored on your device
- Clean and Lightweight User Interface: simple to use
Avast’s Wi-Fi Security Feature is useful if you frequently connect to public Wi-Fi. It will alert you of issues such as weak routers and Wi-Fi passwords, out-of-date software, or evidence that someone has hacked into an unsecured Wi-Fi network.
The Photo Vault works by keeping your media galleries locked by an additional PIN number (not your normal one), so if someone hacks into your device, they won’t be able to see your photos and videos. Unfortunately, the space is limited to 40 photos or videos for the free edition.
- Excellent Wi-Fi protection
- Identity Guard works well if your personal information is leaked
- Easy to use interface
- Lightweight and won’t slow down your device
- Photo Vault storage space is limited
- Customers have complained about ads
If your main security goal is to keep your personal information safe, then Avast is worth checking out. It’s lightweight, won’t slow down your iPhone or iPad, and best of all, it’s easy to use! Like really easy to use. Oh yeah, and of course, it’s free.
Frequently Asked Questions
I thought Apple products didn’t need antivirus protection. Do I really need an antivirus for my phone?
“Antivirus” is the wrong word here because these apps aren’t detecting viruses. Apple’s built-in security measures do protect from viruses; however, phishing, theft, and browsing on unsecured networks are still problems that need to be addressed. That is where these “antivirus products” come in to take care of the other potential issues.
Will iPhone antiviruses work on my iPad?
The short answer is yes. iPhone antiviruses usually always work on iPads. Still, make sure you check that the protection works for the iPad as there are some features that may only work with iPhones.
What if I see a pop-up on my iOS device saying that I have a virus?
Because iPhones and iPads naturally combat malware and viruses with their built-in software, it’s unlikely that you have an actual virus. It’s more than likely a scam. Just immediately exit out of it.
In fact, one of the most common scams for iOS users is phishing, an attempt to trick owners into thinking they have a virus, and they need to call a number to get it fixed. The people on the other end ARE NOT Apple employees; they are scammers, and they want to trick you out of your money or gain your information that can be used to hack into your account. Don’t fall for it!
The bottom line is that it is true that iOS products are protected against malware and viruses through Apple security software. However, that does not mean that you are immune to other threats, such as identity threats or phishing attacks.
That’s why it’s important to use an iPhone “antivirus” or rather a “security system,” because these apps can protect you against other threats. There’s nothing to lose here–they are all free!