5 Best (REALLY FREE) iPad & iPhone Antivirus Apps in 2021
Short on time? Here’s the best free iOS antivirus in 2021:
- 🥇 Avira Mobile Security: Includes a privacy monitor, anti-theft protection, a limited VPN, a call blocker, and a performance optimizer. Get the free download here.
Here’s something most antivirus companies won’t tell you — virus scanning isn’t actually possible on iOS. This is because 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 basically viruses can’t infect iOS devices, because viruses can’t do anything on an iOS device.
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. Because iOS devices aren’t naturally protected against a wide range of other security threats, including:
- Phishing links.
- Unsafe public Wi-Fi networks.
- Data-stealing apps.
- Browser trackers.
- Device theft.
I spent dozens of hours digging through scam apps, useless free apps, and fake security apps on the App Store, looking for products that could provide decent security coverage for all iOS users. I was able to find 5 free security apps for iOS that provide solid cybersecurity protection with no hidden fees or tricky trial periods.
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 2021:
How I Ranked the Best Free iOS Antivirus Apps:
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. All of the apps I recommend offer long-term functionality at zero cost, not just free trials. However, all of these apps do offer premium versions that are much better — and most of them are pretty cheap (and many are available for a free trial).
- Data privacy. There are a lot of free apps that exist solely to log and sell user data — there aren’t that many ways to make money with free products! However, 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. Apple already provides some great security features for iOS, but a lot of them are really hard to access. If you’ve ever tried to use the “Find my iPhone” web tool from Apple, you know it can be a real hassle. The tools and apps on this list provide increased security protections with convenient, well-designed user interfaces.
- Efficiency. Many antivirus apps are buggy or slow 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:
- Norton. I don’t want to mislead you: Norton’s iOS app is great, but it isn’t free. It offers Wi-Fi security protection, web protection, a VPN, and dark web monitoring. Still, if you’re looking for guaranteed protection, it’s the best iOS antivirus app there is.
- 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.
1.🥇 Avira Free Mobile Security for iOS — Best Free Antivirus App for iOS in 2021
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 you know Avira isn’t profiting off of your browsing history. 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 gets you unlimited data and a variety of global server locations.
Avira Free Mobile Security for iOS is a great free app, but most users will want to upgrade to Avira’s paid plans. You can subscribe to Avira Security Pro for iOS (adds anti-phishing, spam call blocking, and data breach monitoring) and Prime Mobile (adds a VPN with no limitations and a premium password manager). There’s also the Avira Prime package (currently off), which includes all of Avira’s features and coverage for up to 5 devices, including iOS, macOS, Windows, and Android devices.
Avira’s wide range of features make it the best 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 >
2.🥈 TotalAV Mobile Security — Good Range of Free Features for iOS
TotalAV Mobile Security provides most of its features to free users, including 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 2021).
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.
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 — it’s not as good as McAfee’s anti-theft tools, but it gets the job done. I also really like TotalAV’s photo cleanup feature that removes duplicate photos and screenshots from your device, and I appreciate that TotalAV’s free iOS app also includes system security that alerts you to iOS updates and prevents hackers from exploiting system vulnerabilities.
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 Mobile Security Premium is also included with TotalAV’s antivirus packages, which cover up to 6 devices across all operating systems.
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 >
3.🥉 McAfee Mobile Security for iOS — Best for iPhone Theft Protection
McAfee Mobile Security for iOS is a simple free app that offers excellent anti-theft protections. My favorite feature is the remote anti-theft alarm — simply log into McAfee’s online dashboard to trigger a very loud alarm that gradually gets louder and louder. Unlike Apple’s rather quiet built-in iOS alarm, McAfee’s alarm literally sounds like a haunted house scream — it’s very hard to ignore!
McAfee’s anti-theft protection also offers remote location tracking and data wiping, as well as the option to display an automated message. iOS’s built-in “Find my iPhone” feature isn’t nearly as easy to use as McAfee’s, which is easily accessed from McAfee’s online dashboard.
McAfee also offers:
- Wi-Fi scanner.
- Media vault.
- Contact backup.
- System security scan.
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. However, the media vault and contact backup features aren’t very useful because iOS already offers the ability to create a PIN-protected “Secret Album” for your media, as well as automatic iCloud backup for your contacts.
McAfee’s paid iOS security app offers a lot of advanced protections — McAfee Mobile Security Standard also includes real-time anti-phishing protection, and McAfee Mobile Security Plus adds an excellent mobile VPN (McAfee’s VPN did rank near the top of our best antivirus with a VPN for 2021).
You can get McAfee’s paid mobile plans with an individual subscription or bundled with McAfee’s 2-year Total Protection subscriptions, which covers up to 10 devices, including iOS, Mac, Android, and Windows devices.
McAfee offers some useful security features, including an excellent remote anti-theft tool. Triggering McAfee’s alarm causes your iOS device to emit a very loud screaming sound, and its location tracking is much simpler than Apple’s “Find my iPhone” tool. If you’re looking for web protections like anti-phishing protection and a VPN, I recommend most users look into McAfee Mobile Security Standard or Plus — there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee on both paid plans.
Download McAfee’s Free iOS App Now
Read the full McAfee review here >
4. Kaspersky Security Cloud Free for iOS — Best Free VPN and 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.
Just like all of these products, the free version of Kaspersky’s iOS app is a pretty limited version of its premium plan. Premium users get unlimited VPN usage with access to a global network of servers, plus anti-phishing protection and unlimited password storage across desktop and mobile devices. Plus, Kaspersky offers excellent parental controls — it’s one of my favorite parental control apps on the market.
Kaspersky’s free iOS app is essentially a VPN with dark web monitoring and a little bit of password management — it’s 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 and 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. 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.
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: Traced — Free Web Browser & Network Protections for iOS Users
Traced is a free and lightweight iOS app that provides good web and network protections without compromising user privacy. Traced doesn’t gather any user usage data, which most security apps do — even top-quality apps like McAfee compile scan data to help keep their threat databases up-to-date.
During my tests, I was really impressed with Traced’s network scanner — it has live intrusion detection, which can help protect users from ARP spoofing attacks, man-in-the-middle attacks, and exploit attacks. I also like that Traced provides live browser protection, which can integrate with Safari on your iOS device.
Traced doesn’t provide important features like an app scanner or anti-theft tools, but it’s not a bad option for users that just want a Wi-Fi network monitor and additional browser security. Plus, Traced is completely free.
Traced is a minimal but effective network monitor and browsing protection app for iOS that doesn’t collect any user data. Traced’s Wi-Fi scanner provides live intrusion detection, and the browser protections integrate with Safari to add increased security against phishing and exploit attacks. Traced doesn’t provide an app scanner or anti-theft tools, but it can be a good addition to your existing antivirus app.
Download Traced’s Free iOS App Now
Read the full Traced review here >
Antiviruses for iOS — Frequently Asked Questions
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 Avira, TotalAV or McAfee 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 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 Avira’s free app for iOS. It has a good variety of features, but because of its limited VPN and lack of anti-phishing protections, I recommend most users upgrade to Avira Prime Mobile.
5 Best iOS Antivirus Apps : Secure All iPhones & iPads
Short on time? Here’s the best iOS antivirus for 2021:
- 🥇 McAfee: Offers a variety of internet security tools like secure file storage, Wi-Fi scanning, a VPN, and a lot of excellent anti-theft protections.
Apple’s iOS doesn’t allow security apps to perform “virus scans”. So iPhones and iPads don’t need a “traditional antivirus”.
Does this mean iOS is immune from threats?
While Apple’s iOS is designed to be very secure — each iOS app is executed in its own “sandbox”, preventing the app from doing major system damage — viruses are only one type of internet security threat.
These top iOS antiviruses protect against:
- Network hackers.
- Fake websites.
- Phone theft.
- …and a lot more.
I tested the top antivirus and internet security apps on the App Store. Only some protected against all of the above threats. And some protected against much more.
Quick summary of the best iOS antivirus apps for 2021:
How I Rated the Best Antivirus for iOS in 2021:
- Web security. The greatest threats to iOS users are web-based threats like phishing sites, browser trackers, and unprotected Wi-Fi networks. I tested each product’s anti-phishing protections, tracker blocking features, VPNs, and Wi-Fi scanners against the latest online threats to ensure these apps can keep both your data and your device safe.
- Device security. iOS devices are one of the most stolen pieces of hardware in the world. I checked each product’s anti-theft protections, with extra points going to products with remote alarm and data wipe capabilities.
- Ease of use. Apple products are known for their intuitive interfaces, so an antivirus for iOS should be easy to use. All of the apps that made it to this list integrated well with iOS’s ecosystem without taking too much time, energy, or battery life.
- Value. I compared each product’s security features against the competition so that I could accurately decide which internet security app provides the most protection for the price.
🥇1. McAfee Mobile Security – Best Antivirus for iPhones + iPads
McAfee Mobile Security is my favorite iOS antivirus in 2021 — it combines excellent web protections with the best anti-theft features on the market, providing everything iOS users need to stay safe both online and offline.
During my tests, McAfee performed exceptionally well — unlike many competitors, McAfee didn’t drain my battery or slow down my iPhone or iPad. I also like how easy it was for me to use McAfee — the dashboard is very intuitive and all the features are easy to access.
McAfee comes with:
- Anti-theft protection.
- Anti-phishing monitor.
- VPN (with unlimited data).
- Wi-Fi network scanner.
- Secure media vault.
McAfee’s anti-theft protections are the best on the market. Low on battery? McAfee sends an email of the last location detected before your battery died. Phone stolen? McAfee automatically photographs thieves trying to unlock your phone, and there’s also a very loud alarm which you can trigger remotely. Phone unretrievable? McAfee offers remote data wiping so you can at least know your private stuff is safe from thieves.
McAfee’s web protections are also really good. The phishing monitor detected almost every phishing site in my testing, including sites that Safari and Chrome failed to flag as unsafe.
I also think McAfee’s VPN is great — it keeps you safe when you’re browsing the internet on unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots, and it’s able to bypass geo-restrictions and lets you access content that’s unavailable in your country.
McAfee Mobile Security is available for a single device for a yearly subscription, but if you want to protect multiple devices, you should consider McAfee Total Protection — it offers excellent security for up to 10 devices, including Windows, Android, and macOS devices.
McAfee provides an excellent app for protecting iPhones and iPads, both online and physically. McAfee’s anti-theft protections are the best around, offering a remote alarm, remote data wiping, location tracking, and automatic selfie capture. McAfee’s web protections are also really good — the anti-phishing protection is better than most competitors and the VPN is secure, fast, and removes geo-restrictions. McAfee Mobile Security is a great choice for covering a single iPhone or iPad, while the Total Protection plan offers protection for up to 10 devices for a very affordable 1-year or 2-year subscription.
Try McAfee for iOS
Read the full McAfee review here >
🥈2. Norton Mobile Security — Best iOS Web Protections
Norton Mobile Security is an intuitive security app for iOS devices that has all of the essentials for keeping your device safe online.
Norton has the following iOS security features:
- Web protection — Detects malicious and phishing sites in browsers, apps, text messages, and emails.
- Wi-Fi scanner — Alerts you when you connect to an unsecure Wi-Fi network.
- Device security — Notifies you when your operating system is out of date and needs to be updated.
I really like Norton’s web protection — during my tests, it caught several newer phishing sites that both Safari and other iPhone antiviruses failed to detect. Norton’s Wi-Fi scanner is also really good — it offers a security rating for public Wi-Fi networks and actively monitors networks for changes that could compromise user security.
Norton Mobile Security is a good choice for users looking for a simple-to-use, install-and-forget iOS security app that they can use on up to 3 iOS devices. However, users with multiple devices (including PCs, Macs, and Androids) and users looking for additional protections should check out Norton 360 Deluxe which adds coverage for up to 5 devices, excellent parental controls, a VPN with unlimited browsing data, and a password manager.
Norton offers an excellent security app for iOS users — it only offers web protection and a WI-Fi monitor, but both of those are among the best on the market. Norton also offers excellent parental controls, a VPN with unlimited data, and a secure password manager for iOS users. However, all of these features are included with Norton 360 Deluxe, which also has coverage for up to 5 devices across all operating systems and a risk-free 60-day money-back guarantee.
Try Norton for iOS
Read the full Norton review here >
🥉3. Avira Free Mobile Security for iOS – Best Free Antivirus for iOS
Avira Free Mobile Security for iOS comes with good free features, including excellent privacy protections that ensure your private data doesn’t end up compromised.
I was especially impressed with Avira’s unique Privacy Manager feature, which uses a specially designed downloadable “iOS Profile” to prevent Apple from saving your Siri conversations on its servers.
Avira also has additional iOS security protections like:
- Photo clean-up.
- Call blocker.
- Breach monitor (Pro only).
- Anti-phishing (Pro only).
I really like Avira’s anti-theft protections — during my tests, I was able to easily track my iPhone’s location, wipe my data, lock my iPhone, and trigger a really loud alarm all from Avira’s secure online dashboard.
I’m also like Avira’s VPN — it’s one of the fastest VPNs I’ve used, enabling me to securely browse the web and stream video without noticeable speed drops. However, Avira’s free plan comes with a limited version of the VPN (100 MB per day).
On the other hand, Avira Mobile Security Pro adds a VPN with unlimited browsing data as well as anti-phishing protections and data breach monitoring, all of which provide an extra layer of security online. This app also comes bundled with Avira’s best-value internet security package, Avira Prime (which covers up to 5 devices across all operating systems).
Avira has a really good free plan for iOS users – it includes anti-theft protection, 100 MB of daily VPN usage, spam call filtering, and device clean-up tools. However, Avira’s premium Mobile Security Pro is a better choice for most users, as it adds essential features like phishing protection, a VPN with unlimited data, and automatic data breach monitoring. This plan is also available bundled with Avira Prime, which covers up to 5 devices and has a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
Try Avira for iOS
Read the full Avira review here >
4. TotalAV Mobile Security — Intuitive + Easy-to-Use iPhone Antivirus
TotalAV Mobile Security is a decent mobile app for iOS users with an easy-to-use user interface — it’s a particularly good choice for beginners or non-tech-savvy users looking for a simple, user-friendly iOS antivirus with all the essentials and a couple of really useful extras, including:
- VPN (with unlimited data).
- Device tracking.
- Photo clean-up.
- Dark breach monitoring.
During my standard series of tests, TotalAV’s anti-phishing protection worked pretty well — but it didn’t detect some of the newer phishing sites that antivirus competitors like Norton and McAfee blocked.
On the other hand, I was impressed with TotalAV’s VPN, which provided me with encrypted access to servers around the globe. It allowed me to watch HD video and even unblock geo-restricted content with no noticeable slowdown of my web connection.
If you’re looking for a simple iPhone security app with a good VPN, TotalAV Mobile Security will keep your device safe from hackers and web-based threats. You can also get TotalAV’s web protection bundled with TotalAV’s internet security packages that cover up to 6 devices, including Macs, PCs, and Androids.
TotalAV is a good security app for beginner or non-technical iOS users — it offers a sleek and intuitive dashboard, an excellent VPN, and helpful extras like anti-phishing protection and photo storage cleanup. You can also get TotalAV Mobile Security bundled with PC, Mac, and Android security protection as part of TotalAV’s internet security suites that cover up to 6 devices and have a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Try TotalAV for iOS
Read the full TotalAV review here >
5. Kaspersky Security Cloud & VPN — Good iOS Security Features (with Fast VPN)
Kaspersky Security Cloud & VPN provides a wide range of security protections for iOS — from essential ones like anti-phishing to additional ones like parental controls.
While I like most of Kaspersky’s protections, I wasn’t too impressed with the anti-phishing tools, which missed more risky sites than any other app on this list. Even Chrome and Safari’s built-in protections detected a few more phishing sites in my testing than Kaspersky did!
That said, Kaspersky’s other iOS features are really good, including:
- Password manager.
- Parental controls.
- Data breach monitoring.
Kaspersky’s VPN is excellent, providing encrypted internet access with servers in more than 25 countries as well as very good connection speeds, making it a good option for users interested in streaming.
I’m a big fan of Kaspersky’s parental controls as well, especially because of the geo-fencing feature, which allows parents to get alerts if their kids leave a safe location.
Kaspersky Security Cloud is available for an annual subscription, or as part of one of Kaspersky’s premium plans, which cover 3-10 devices, including PCs, Macs, and Androids.
Kaspersky packs a ton of security features into a single, easy-to-use iOS app. The lightning-fast VPN and excellent parental controls really stood out to me, but I think the anti-phishing protection could use some improvement. If you’re on a single iOS device, you should check out Kaspersky Security Cloud, or you can get coverage for up to 10 devices on one of Kaspersky’s premium internet security packages.
Try Kaspersky for iOS
Read the full Kaspersky review here >
Bonus: Trend Micro Mobile Security – Good iOS Anti-Phishing Protection
Trend Micro Mobile Security provides solid web protections for iOS devices — including some pretty good anti-phishing tools.
In my testing, Trend Micro caught as many phishing sites as top competitors like McAfee and Norton.
I also like Trend Micro’s Wi-Fi scanner, which scans all of the devices connected to a network and alerts you of any potential threats, including man-in-the-middle attacks.
Another cool feature is Trend Micro’s iMessage Protection, which automatically places all iMessages that link to suspicious websites into a junk folder.
On the other hand, I wasn’t super impressed with Trend Micro’s parental controls. They provide decent content filtering, but Trend Micro doesn’t really offer a significant improvement over Apple’s built-in parental controls (and they’re not better than other antiviruses with parental controls).
Trend Micro Mobile Security is available for an annual subscription for a single device, or bundled with Trend Micro’s premium Maximum Security and Premium Security plans.
Trend Micro provides decent iOS security protection — the anti-phishing protection and Wi-Fi scanner are both pretty good. Unfortunately, I think that competitors like McAfee and Norton provide a better range of similar features for a better value. On the other hand, Trend Micro’s premium internet security suites aren’t bad — and they come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Try Trend Micro for iOS
Read the full Trend Micro review here >
Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut:
- Lookout. Lookout is a pretty good iOS-specific security app, with advanced anti-theft protections as well as anti-phishing and identity theft monitoring. However, the other apps on this list provide similar protection for a better value.
- Phone Guardian. This app is a free VPN that also encrypts your photos and personal information. It’s a good free app for iOS, but it’s not nearly as secure or feature-rich as the other products on this list.
- Avast. Avast was caught in a scandal where they were selling data from millions of users to giant corporations — you can read more about it here.
Comparison of the Best Antivirus Apps for iOS
|Antivirus||VPN||Anti-Theft Photo Capture||Anti-Phishing Protections||Wi-Fi Network Scanning|
|1.🥇McAfee||Unlimited data with upgrade||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|2.🥈Norton||No (separate purchase available)||No||Yes||Yes|
|3.🥉Avira||100 MB daily data free (unlimited with upgrade)||No||Yes||Yes|
|4. TotalAV||Unlimited (premium plan only)||No||Yes||Yes|
|5. Kaspersky||200 MB daily free (unlimited with upgrade)||No||Yes||Yes|
|6. Bonus – Trend Micro||No (separate purchase available)||No||Yes||Yes|
Antiviruses for iPhone and iPad — Frequently Asked Questions
Why can’t I see my iOS antivirus scanning my files for viruses?
The reason your iOS security app isn’t scanning for viruses is pretty simple — iOS can’t get viruses.
Internet security apps for iOS protect iPhones and iPads from web-based threats instead of using virus scans to keep you safe. For example, McAfee offers anti-phishing protection, a Wi-Fi network scanner, a secure VPN for private browsing, data breach monitoring, and parental controls.
Do I need to pay for an iOS antivirus if there are so many free apps?
Even though some iOS antiviruses offer decent free protection, you’ll only get high-quality protection if you pay. That said, Avira provides my favorite free protection for iOS, but even Avira doesn’t provide anti-phishing protection or an unlimited VPN in its free plan.
Even the best premium iOS security apps are only a few bucks a month, and they all save you from the headaches of dealing with a free antivirus — limited functionality, annoying ads, and apps that spy on you and steal your data (like Avast and AVG).
Will antivirus software drain my iPhone’s battery?
iOS security software will affect your battery life in the same way as any other application that needs to be constantly running in the background. But many of them, like McAfee and Norton, operate with low-resources and won’t cause a significant drain on your battery.
Do antiviruses for iOS include parental control features?
Yes, some do. Norton and McAfee are two brands which offer particularly good parental control features that improve upon Apple’s built-in parental controls.
While iOS already provides limits on app usage, as well as the ability to block “adult content” online, the parental control features offered by these top antivirus apps provide a lot more fine-tuning, including:
- Content filters. Customize content filtering by dozens of categories.
- Geo-fencing. Get location alerts if your child’s device leaves a predefined safe area.
- Usage controls. Schedule app and device access.
With these apps, you can ensure that your kids are safe online — you can protect them against predators and scammers, provide them with access to age-appropriate content, limit their screen time, monitor their location, and more.
Do iPads Need Antivirus?
You may have purchased your iPad, as opposed to a Windows tablet or a Kindle, specifically because of its resistance to viruses. Or, at least that’s what they told you in the Apple Store, but is it the truth? Put on your detective hat because today, we’re going on an investigation.
Do iPads Need Antivirus?
The Apple employee you probably talked to was right; iPads do not need antivirus software, unlike Macs, Windows, and Android devices. Unless you jailbreak your phone, all of your apps will come through Apple’s official App Store. Apple isolates each app in the app store so that it can’t infiltrate or infect other systems, so viruses aren’t possible. However, through fake ads, phishing, and attachments, some types of malware can get through.
Norton Antivirus is the #1 Way to Protect your iPad
If you jailbreak your iPad or clicked on a suspicious attachment, malware, or malicious code, can come through in the form of:
- Adware: Adware is a form of malware that creates targeted ads by tracking you online. We’ve all seen oddly specific ads about something we just searched for; adware is the fuel. If you think you have adware on your iPad, open up System Preferences, Safari (or the web browser you use), and then Clear History and Website Data. Your web history and cache will be cleared.
- Spyware: Another form of malware is spyware, which the user will have no knowledge of as it gathers and tracks data and activity. It may even disguise itself as legitimate software, what’s known in the digital security world as a Trojan horse. While spyware is rarely found on iOS devices, you could get it if you torrent, download files or click on attachments. If you think you have spyware on your iPad, we recommend contacting Apple support directly.
- Phishing: Like spyware, phishing can come through emails, email attachments and pop-ups. If you see something that you believe is fake, quit the browser, clear your cache and restart your iPad.1
Pro Tip: If you get an email from an unfamiliar sender, do not click on it or on any of its attachments, as these may be to do phishing websites designed to gather your login credentials.
Is My iPad Safe?
Given that you don’t jailbreak, your iPad is probably safe from viruses and malware, so the biggest risk you have is actually losing your device. That’s why it’s important to make sure you have a passcode, among other measures which we’ll get to shortly. But first, how can you tell if your iPad has been hacked?
Signs Your iPad Has Been Hacked
These are the red flags you need to look out for:
- You receive a message about ransomware or antivirus software that requires user action
- You find new sites bookmarked on your browser’s toolbars
- You get pop-ups randomly and frequently
- Your web searches are redirected elsewhere
- Your friends tell you that you keep sending them invitations on social media that you haven’t sent
- Software installs unexpectedly
- Money is missing from your accounts
- Your normal passwords are not working
- Your mouse moves on its own
- Your information was involved in a data breach.2
Even though iPads are one of the most secure types of devices when it comes to viruses and malware, it’s still important to keep these red flags in mind upon usage.
Do Macs and iPhones Need Antivirus?
Since both iPads and iPhones use the iOS operating system, neither type of device needs antivirus software. However, Macs use a different operating system, macOS, so yes, you do need antivirus software for Macs. That being said, Apple does give Macs some built-in antivirus software, but it doesn’t block against adware nor PUPs, potentially unwanted programs. Here’s what’s built into Macs:
- XProtect: XProtect comes on all Macs and provides antivirus protection in the background.
- Sandbox mode: The Sandbox is where Macs quarantine apps that they believe are suspicious; it’s a virtual sandbox, obviously, that’s isolated from the rest of the device.
- Gatekeeper: Finally, Gatekeeper prevents untrusted software from running.
For basic antivirus protection, the above features are sufficient, but if you want protection against adware and PUPs, it makes sense to get antivirus software from a third party.
How To Keep Your iPad Secure
Although iPads are very secure by design, a few best practices can make them even more secure.
- Update software: Perform all software updates in a timely manner, as outdated software could have security vulnerabilities.
- Don’t jailbreak: Jailbreaking allows you to download apps from outside the App store, which is not a good thing, as they’re not verified as safe. While jailbreaking allows users more control over their iPads, it’s not worth the potential security risks of unverified apps.
- Turn on Find my iPad: In case you lose your iPad, make sure that no one else will be able to access it. Plus, this feature will help you find your iPad through GPS.
- Secure Apple ID: Your Apple ID should have a long, complicated and unique password.
- Use a Passcode: Make sure your iPad has a passcode, ideally as many numbers as it allows for.
- Turn on authentication: Turn on Face ID or Touch ID to make sure that, even if someone knows your passcode, they still can’t access your iPad.
- Secure lock screen: Have your iPad lock within a few seconds of inactivity; the shorter the time period, the more secure.
- Sign into accounts with Apple: Instead of signing into third party accounts with Facebook or Google, choose Apple if it’s available. Why? Because Apple doesn’t sell user data, so you won’t be tracked as you sign into various accounts.
- Turn off location and app data: If you’re not using an app, it shouldn’t be gathering any data about you. Even if you are using an app, it may not need all of the data it asks for, such as your location. Limit app permissions as much as possible to retain your privacy and security.
- Read privacy policies: The fine print under “Terms and Conditions” actually matters, so make sure to find out which iPad apps log your data and share it with third parties.
iPad Virus Scams
What do you do if you get a warning that there’s a virus on your iPad? Ignore it. If your iPad finds a virus, it will deal with it on its own without requiring any action from the user. Plus, it’s unlikely that your iPad will get a virus in the first place, so any warnings are most likely scams.4
The fact that iPads don’t need antivirus software is a huge feather in their cap. However, since some forms of malware can get through, you still want to adhere to best practices like creating a passcode. The best defense is a good offense, and simply by tinkering with your iPad’s settings, you can greatly reduce the risk of hacking or malware.
iPad Viruses: The Questions We Get The Most
There is no such thing as stupid questions, even if we’ve already answered them before.
- Can Apple iPads get viruses?
Apple iPads cannot get viruses unless the user is jailbreaking, meaning is downloading apps from outside of the App Store. However, if you are using the iPad as intended and only downloading apps from the App store, it’s nearly impossible that iPads can get viruses.
- Why do iPads not get viruses?
The reason why iPads do not get viruses is that every app in the App store is scanned for malicious code. Plus, each app is isolated from one another so viruses can’t spread to other systems, shutting them down completely.
- Can iPads get hacked?
iPads can get hacked if someone obtains a user’s login credentials or if the device is lost or stolen. However, iPads are unlikely to get hacked due to viruses.
- How can you tell if your iPad has a virus?
While it’s incredibly unlikely that your iPad has a virus, you can tell if it has a virus if your mouse moves without you touching the trackpad, you are getting a lot of pop-ups, your passwords stop working, etc.
Use the built-in security and privacy protections of iPad
iPad is designed to protect your data and your privacy. Built-in security features help prevent anyone but you from accessing the data on your iPad and in iCloud. Built-in privacy features minimize how much of your information is available to anyone but you, and you can adjust what information is shared and where you share it.
To take maximum advantage of the security and privacy features built into iPad, follow these practices:
Set a strong passcode
Setting a passcode to unlock iPad is the most important thing you can do to safeguard your device. See Set a passcode on iPad.
Turn on Find My iPad
Find My helps you find your iPad if it’s lost or stolen and prevents anyone else from activating or using your iPad if it’s missing. See Add your iPad to Find My.
Keep your Apple ID secure
Your Apple ID provides access to your data in iCloud and your account information for services like the App Store and Apple Music. To learn how to protect the security of your Apple ID, see Keep your Apple ID secure on iPad.
Use Sign in with Apple when it’s available
To help you set up accounts, many apps and websites offer Sign in with Apple. Sign in with Apple limits the information shared about you, it conveniently uses the Apple ID you already have, and it provides the security of two-factor authentication. See Sign in with Apple on iPad.
Let iPad create a strong password if Sign in with Apple isn’t available
For a strong password that you don’t have to remember, let iPad create it when you sign up for a service on a website or in an app. See Automatically fill in strong passwords on iPad.
Use the built-in authenticator for two-factor authentication
For sites and apps that offer two-factor authentication, you can get automatically generated verification codes on iPad without relying on SMS messages or additional apps to provide the codes. See Automatically fill in verification codes on iPad.
Review the privacy practices of apps
Review the privacy practices of an app before you download it. Go to the app’s product page in the App Store for a developer-reported summary of the app’s privacy practices, including what data is collected. See Get apps in the App Store on iPad.
Hide your personal email address
When you subscribe to iCloud+, you can use Hide My Email to generate unique, random email addresses that forward to your personal email account, so you don’t have to share your personal email address when filling out forms on the web or signing up for newsletters. See Hide your personal email address in Safari on iPad.
Better understand the privacy of your browsing activities in Safari and help protect yourself against malicious websites
Safari helps prevent trackers from following you across websites. You can review the Privacy Report to see a summary of trackers that have been encountered and prevented by Intelligent Tracking Prevention on the current webpage you’re visiting. You can also review and adjust Safari settings to keep your browsing activities private from others who use the same device, and help protect yourself from malicious websites. See Browse privately in Safari on iPad.
Control app tracking
All apps must receive your permission before tracking you across apps and websites owned by other companies to target advertising to you or share your information with a data broker. After you grant or deny permission to an app, you can change permission later, and you can stop all apps from requesting permission.
Use the internet more privately with iCloud Private Relay
When you subscribe to iCloud+, you can use iCloud Private Relay (beta) to help prevent websites and network providers from creating a detailed profile about you. When iCloud Private Relay is turned on, the traffic leaving your iPad is encrypted and sent through two separate internet relays. This prevents websites from seeing your IP address and location and network providers from collecting your browsing activity. A website or a network provider won’t simultaneously know both who you are and what websites you visit. See Turn on iCloud Private Relay on iPad.
To get personalized support for these practices, go to the Apple Support website (not available in all countries or regions).
To learn more about how Apple protects your information, go to the Privacy website.
Ipad internet security
Just like your personal computer and smartphone, tablets like the iPad are attractive targets for hackers and identity thieves. In 2017, security professionals discovered the Broadpwn vulnerability gave cybercriminals the ability to crash Apple and Android devices using Wi-Fi. Preventing someone from accessing your iPad, either remotely or in person, is possible with consistent maintenance and a few changes to settings you can complete in a few minutes. Try these seven strategies for better iPad security.
1. Secure the Lock Screen
If an unauthorized person picks up an iPad with default settings, the notifications visible on the lock screen could reveal personal details about the owner. Snippets of emails, messages from social media accounts, calendar reminders and more are visible to prying eyes, even if the iPad has a passcode.
Hide sensitive notifications by opening the Notifications menu in the Settings application and selecting the applications that display your information on the lock screen. For example, select the Mail entry to hide the notifications from your email app. The notification settings for different applications vary, but most have an option to hide them from the lock screen.
Strangers may also be able to access the digital assistant Siri or reply to messages without circumventing the lock. To turn off these capabilities, open the Touch ID & Passcode menu in the Settings application, and select which applications are accessible from the lock screen.
2. Update and Backup
One of the easiest ways to secure an iPad is to update the operating system and applications regularly. For iOS updates, the device notifies you when an update is ready, but you can also check manually in the Settings application. Open the App Store to check for application updates, which are essential for security purposes, even for seldom-used applications.
Before installing an iOS update, update your iPad's backup in iTunes or iCloud to ensure you can recover from any issues that could arise during the installation process. For maximum security, you can encrypt these backups in just a few easy steps. A recent backup is the best defense against ransomware and other cyberattacks.
3. Secure Browsers
You may automatically use your iPad's native Safari browser, but is it keeping your data secure on the web? Safari's Private Browsing mode ensures a web page in one tab can't see pages open in other tabs. It also prevents any new website data being stored on your device, and it automatically asks websites not to track your browsing.
If you require even stronger security, some third-party browsers provide more control over security options and offer privacy-focused versions of their normal browsers. Before downloading any new applications, find the application publisher's official website, and follow a link from there to the App Store to ensure you download a legitimate version.
4. Manage Application Permissions
Not paying attention to application permissions means an application could access your location, microphone or contacts without your knowledge. Look for application permissions in two different places in iOS. Most are in the Settings application under the particular application's name. From that menu, select specific permissions to allow and reject. Others are managed under the Privacy menu in the Settings application. Choose a permission heading, such as Microphone, to see all the applications that have that permission. This is an easy way to ensure no application has access to Health data, Calendar events or other items that you would prefer to keep private.
5. Make Sure Find My iPhone Will Work
A thief who takes your iPad could turn off Find My iPhone's access to the device's location, negating the advantage of having an app that allows you to geolocate your device from another device. Even if the thief figures out your primary passcode, setting an application permission restriction prevents him or her from blocking Find My iPhone. This change is under the General menu in the Settings application. Choose the Restrictions option, decide on a unique passcode and then turn off the ability to allow permission changes for Locations and Accounts.
Restrictions are also a good way to ensure your child cannot access your Apple Wallet to make in-app purchases while playing a game or change other settings that could compromise his or her safety.
6. Choose a More Secure Passcode
In some versions of iOS, the default passcode is only four digits long. This is relatively easy for a sophisticated cybercriminal to crack. Navigate to your Touch ID & Passcode menu, and choose the option for changing your passcode. Disable Simple Passcode, and enable Custom Numeric Code or Custom Alphanumeric Code to create a longer passcode that is more secure. You can also decide whether you want your iPad to wipe itself after a certain number of unsuccessful access attempts.
7. Advanced Options
If you want to manage multiple iPads in a family or fine tune a personal security policy, Apple provides a tool for that. Apple Configurator 2 gives you the ability to design a policy for iPhone and iPad security on one computer and then share it with all relevant devices. This is a good solution if you need to secure devices used by less security-savvy people, such as children.
Regardless of your own familiarity with iPad security, it's important to take the right steps to keep your device secure. Install a strong mobile security program, and follow these useful tips.
Top 7 iPad Security TipsKaspersky
Just like your personal computer and smartphone, tablets like the iPad are attractive targets for hackers and identity thieves.
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