The Best Antivirus for iOS of 2019

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Felicity Kay
Cybersecurity Expert
Updated: May 7, 2019

Apple’s iOS mobile operating system is designed as a closed ecosystem so the user gets the fastest possible experience. It’s a direct contrast to Google’s Android one, which caters more towards experimentation and open source projects.

However, that doesn’t mean iOS can’t get infected. It’s very possible for these phones to contract malware or another virus due to dangerous web browsing or application downloads. That’s why you need antivirus software installed to protect yourself.

To help find the best one, we’ve examined over 40 antivirus software for iOS to make sure you can stay safe.

What follows is a breakdown of what we look into while testing everything out.

  1. McAfee – Best For Its Social Media Guard
  2. Panda – Best for Its USB Scanner
  3. Norton – Best For Its Quality Support Team
  4. Webroot – Best For Its Streamlined Approach
  5. MalwareBytes – Best For Its Customization
  6. AVG – Best for its Email Protection
  7. TotalAV – Best for Its User Friendliness
  8. Avira – Best For Anti-Theft and Loss Tools
  9. TrendMicro – Best for Its FolderShield Feature
  10. MobiShield – Best for Its Selective Vault Feature

The Best Antivirus for iOS Features to Look For

While browsing around to find the best antivirus for your iOS device, you need to examine a few offerings to make sure you’re really getting the top software. Again, just because iOS is more of a closed ecosystem, that doesn’t mean you want to suffer from data theft.

In fact, if you aren’t protecting yourself with an antivirus, you’re leaving your data at great risk. It’s important that you install something soon that will take care of your sensitive information and keep your iOS device running smoothly.

Here’s everything you need to know about iOS antivirus software.

Security

Malware and ransomware protection are two of the most important things to consider when searching for antivirus software for iOS. You want software that consistently updates and keeps a running database of the latest attacks. If you don’t, you run the risk of getting your data stolen and having your device locked out of your control.

In fact, these are only a few reasons why you need to set up some antivirus. Fortunately, we’ve put together a solid list of the best ones out there.

When examining the different Antivirus for iOS, we take all of this into account, and more.

Key security features we always examine:

  • Immediate virus scans that protect your device in real-time
  • Detecting suspicious behavior as it occurs
  • Whitelisting websites for easy access
  • Sandboxing to test downloads in a safe environment
  • Protection from spyware
  • Defense against phishing
  • Built-in VPN (Virtual Private Network)
  • Device cleanup and speed up for a faster iOS device
  • Ransomware prevention
  • Firewall for quick browsing protection
  • Wi-Fi inspection
  • Protection from keyloggers

While defending against viruses and other dangers is the most important feature of an Antivirus for iOS, many of them come with optional extras that make the software even better. This is the biggest form of competition between the different offerings, as the one with the best extra features is the best for your time and value.

To help, we’ve looked into over 40 antivirus software for iOS to find you the best one. In our search, we look specifically for:

  • Security features: sure, an antivirus can say it will protect you, but how exactly does it do so? There are different types of protection, from malware protection to ransomware defense and more. Some antivirus software provides this while others don’t.
  • Reliability and accuracy: How well does an antivirus software catch potential attacks? Does it commit a ton of false-positives, or does the program catch things that will actually harm your iOS device?

1st Place – McAfee – Best For Its Social Media Guard

$49.99 - $89.99 / year
  We like
  • Due to being around for so long, McAfee has all sorts of experience with different malware
  • Social Media Guard is great for a mobile device
  • Great at both on-device and web protection

We don’t like
  • Expensive plans are no fun for anyone
  • Multi-device feature is expensive

McAfee has been around longer than nearly any antivirus software on the market. This means it has seen nearly every type of malware and virus out there and knows how to defend against it. The platform’s database has all sorts of different threats packed away from over the years, which makes it a perfect line of defense for your iOS device.

With this database, the software is consistently checking your device against anything it may have stored in there. It also pairs with something called a security scanner, which pays attention to your mobile device and scans for any unauthorized changes like apps moving by themselves or launching without your input.

While McAfee has fantastic on-device malware protection, it also defends you from the web as well. This isn’t something that every antivirus software can attest to. Part of this web defense is in the platform’s Social Media Guard, which protects you from any spam links or fake accounts you may come across – especially useful on a phone where you’re logging into social media all the time.

The McAfee home dashboard provides access to the Social Media Guard and other features like a firewall control panel. This space is super easy to use, making the onboarding process quite simple for those without much experience in antivirus.

However, these features don’t come cheap. While it may be worth it for those who can afford it, the platform’s plans are a little expensive. For example, you may want multi-device support, but if you can’t afford a higher plan to get it, you’ll have to head somewhere else. That said, for those who can afford it, McAfee antivirus software for iOS is a fantastic choice.

2nd Place – Panda – Best for Its USB Scanner

$46.99 - $154.99 / year
We like
  • Free VPN is a standout feature
  • USB scanner is great for heavy users
  • Malware defense is top-of-the-line

We don’t like
  • False positives happen quite often
  • Higher plans offer limited extra features
  • Free VPN doesn’t offer much, feels like a bit of a tease

Panda is a unique antivirus for iOS in that it provides a virtual private network (VPN) on its free plan. It’s quite useful for those who need to browse privately for a small while, though it is limited to 150mb a day, which isn’t very much for a heavy user. Still, it’s fantastic that this application even offers such a feature.

Also, you’ll want Panda for its protection against malware. Panda is great at checking your files and figuring out which are dangerous, though at times the application is a little too excited and marks things that aren’t malware. We call this a false positive, and Panda suffers from this more than we’d like.

Overlapping that feature is a USB scanner, which examines any USB device you connect to your phone for dangers. While you may not do this very often, this is a useful feature for those who connect their phone to all sorts of different things.

Panda’s firewall prevents many attacks as well, with the app providing all sorts of ways to customize how it works. It’s also always on, ensuring that your browsing experience is always safe! That said, these features are great and a lot are included in Panda’s basic plan. However, upgrading doesn’t bring you much value, so make sure you’re happy with what you have here before buying in.

3rd Place – Norton – Best For Its Quality Support Team

$49.99 - $109.99 / year
We like
  • Fantastic features like SONAR and Proactive Exploit Protection
  • Quality support team can help you with anything you need
  • Zero-day protection is something you really want to protect your device

We don’t like
  • Multi-device support is only on higher plans
  • If you don’t have specific features set up, the app is always bothering you
  • You need to upgrade to get the most out of this app

Norton and McAfee are often compared due to their extensive database full of different malware. That experience also means Norton knows how to take care of customers that have issues, which is done via their support team.

Topping their support team is the Norton’s SONAR feature. This neat little segment is always scanning your device to check for malware. Interestingly, the feature makes sure to ping you if you aren’t using it. That’s great for security, but if you don’t want this on for whatever reason it can get a bit annoying.

There’s also something called Proactive Exploit Protection (PEP) which protects your device from brand new viruses, otherwise known as zero-day attacks. This feature is great for those who do a lot of browsing in potentially dangerous spaces where new attacks can appear.

Combined with both of these is Norton’s Virus Removal Assurance, which is simply a warranty that provides you a complete refund if you ever get infected while running Norton on your iOS device.

That said, while these are killer features, Norton’s basic plan doesn’t offer many of them. Instead, you have to upgrade to get the most out of the antivirus software. Moreover, Norton is always pinging away at you if you don’t have certain features enabled. That can get annoying if you’re keeping some off on purpose. Finally, if you want multi-device support, make sure you upgrade to a higher plan to get it.

4th Place – Webroot – Best For Its Streamlined Approach

$39.99 - $79.99 / year
We like
  • Streamlined approach is great for newer users
  • Quality malware protection
  • Money back guarantee mitigates risk

We don’t like
  • Doesn’t explain its services very well
  • Misses some malware at times
  • Lack of features is a turn off for advanced users

If you don’t know much about antivirus software for iOS, Webroot is the app to get. Though not ideal for experienced users, Webroot’s lack of advanced features makes it easy to learn and it has a quality defense system too.

Interestingly, the application’s protection features are cloud-based, though we’re not entirely sure what that means. This is because Webroot decides to keep its technological side under wraps, which can be confusing for some. It also makes it a bit difficult to tell how effective the app really is. For example, while it does block many different malware attacks, Webroot isn’t always on the mark. Some attacks go through the defense system which is never a good thing.

What we do know is that Webroot’s cloud storage and identity protection is fantastic. That and if you aren’t the biggest fan of the service, you can utilize Webroot’s 70-day money back guarantee to mitigate any risk.

5th Place – MalwareBytes – Best For Its Customization

$40.00 - $60.00 / year
We like
  • Scans are fast and show you everything that happened
  • Zero-day protection is very reliable
  • Customizable features included

We don’t like
  • Doesn’t hit every piece of malware
  • Can’t be relied upon to accurately benchmark your device

MalwareBytes is great because of something called real-time protection, which means the antivirus is always keeping an eye on your iOS device and making sure nothing fishy is happening. This is great for protecting against malware, both common ones and brand new ones via zero-day attacks.

On top of this, the antivirus app allows you to pick and choose what you’re protecting via a customization screen. That way, only apps you want to be scanned will stay scanned, such as web browsing software or places that expose you to the open web. Pairing with this is MalwareBytes’ recommended protections, which is great for new users who aren’t sure what apps are the best to keep scanning.

MalwareBytes scans fast and allows you to view what it’s doing via the in-app dashboard. And when all of the proceses are done, the antivirus software provides you with a diagnostics report that details everything that it found.

While these are all fantastic reasons to use MalwareBytes, note that it sometimes misses some of the more common malware out there, despite its fantastic zero-day defense strategies. On top of this, it’s not great at benchmarking your iOS device. Keep all of this in mind while considering the antivirus.

6th Place – AVG – Best for its Email Protection

$69.99 - $99.99 / year
We like
  • Fantastic web, malware, and ransomware protection
  • Turbo Scan keeps your device moving fast even during a scan
  • Email defense is something you won’t want to live without

We don’t like
  • Too many options leads to a convoluted user interface
  • Not many options come with the basic plan

AVG combines three products into one great offering that improves on the security, performance, and privacy of your iOS device. When you factor in lab testings, experts noticed that AVG stands against pretty much any type of malware on top of some zero-day strains they created to test it.

On top of that malware protection is AVG’s ransomware defenses. These come from the application’s firewall, which can also house your most important files into an encrypted folder of their own.

Joining the excellent malware and ransomware protection is AVG’s web defenses. Not only does it keep you safe from attacks while on the web, but this application has an email defense system as well. This ensures you’re not getting any spam links sent to you while scanning every single email for other issues as well.

These protections are so good because AVG is constantly running and monitoring your iOS device. Like some of its competitors, the application makes sure to check for suspicious behavior such as files moving by themselves. It does so via something called “Turbo Scan,” which activates after the first official scan. After the initial one, following scans don’t bother looking at files that are already safe, which speeds up the process indefinitely.

That said all of these safety features do come at a bit of a cost. The user interface can be overwhelming due to so many options, and the basic plan doesn’t provide very good support. But, it’s a wonder that these features don’t really slow down your iOS device since the team has made sure to make their applications work very well with common operating systems.

7th Place – TotalAV – Best for Its User Friendliness

We like
  • Can compete with longstanding antivirus despite being new
  • Very user-friendly application
  • Remote firewall is great for users who don’t keep their phone on them

We don’t like
  • Web protection is fairly weak compared to other applications
  • Customer support doesn’t respond on time
  • Some users have trouble paying for the antivirus

You’re bound to see TotalAV on a ton of different top antivirus lists due to its quality malware protection despite being a newer antivirus. That’s right, this piece of software competes with McAfee, Norton, and other longstanding software with extensive malware databases.

On top of this, the application is very user-friendly. One of its standout features is a remote control firewall, which means you can control your iOS defenses from a computer if you’re away from your phone.

Also, this fantastic malware protection comes at the cost of TotalAV’s lackluster web protection. Don’t get tricked by the application’s dedicated “Web Shield” feature. It misses some malware and can lead to your device getting infected.

TotalAV is also lacking in customer support, with the teams taking a while to respond to inquiries. Though to counter this there is a fleshed out FAQ page for users to check out in case of an emergency. This doesn’t help the fact that some customers struggle to pay for their plans, however.

8th Place – Avira – Best For Anti-Theft and Loss Tools

We like
  • Great tools to protect against theft and loss
  • Identity Protection scans the dark web for your data
  • Register up to five devices to Avira Connect dashboard

We don’t like
  • No network security tools
  • Lacks innovative features compared to other apps

For many people, their phone is the most expensive object they own. Criminals know this. And I’m not just talking about cybercriminals. I mean the old-fashioned type.

Avira’s iOS product offers anti-theft tools that will give you the best chance of recovering your iPhone if you’re pickpocketed, burgled, or mugged. They’ll also come in handy if you lose your iPhone. And who hasn’t done that?

Using the Avira Connect online dashboard, you can locate your iPhone via GPS. Or if you think your iPhone’s nearby, Avira’s Yell feature will emit a loud tone to help you find it.

Avira also provides Identity Protection via its iOS app. Avira will monitor the dark web for your personal information (and that of your contacts) to check if you’ve fallen victim to identity theft.

With its iOS app, Avira focuses firmly on the physical security of your device. But it doesn’t offer the network or data security features boasted by other apps like Norton.

9th Place – TrendMicro – Best for Its FolderShield Feature

$39.95 - $89.95 / year
We like
  • FolderShield allows you to protect specific files
  • Heuristic scans are a neat touch that protects against hidden threats
  • Social media defender is good for children

We don’t like
  • The team collects a lot of your information and it’s hard to opt out of
  • Cheaper plans don’t get very good support

TrendMicro has a few unique features that help it stand out from lesser antivirus, such as Heuristic scans and its FolderShield. The former doesn’t specifically examine your files, but rather keeps an eye on any hidden applications that could be running malware. Then, the latter allows you to choose folders on your iOS device that TrendMicro will protect.

The antivirus’ social media defender is great as well, especially if you have children using the device. The built-in defense ensures that you don’t share to social media by accident, and provides a bunch of privacy options to prevent data leakage.

However, one should note that TrendMicro collects a lot of your data. You can opt out of this, of course, but they make it a little hard to do so. Unfortunately, the application also doesn’t provide very good support for users on its basic plan. Those on the cheaper tier only get phone support during traditional day work hours, while Premium subscribers get 24/7 access. Fortunately, Trend Micro does provide some well thought out FAQ pages for those who may need them, though.

10th Place – MobiShield – Best for Its Selective Vault Feature

We like
  • Vault is incredibly secure and stores most file types
  • Streamlined interface ideal for new users
  • Discover tab brings in interesting news stories

We don’t like
  • Shows some useless features
  • Discover tab sometimes brings in unrelated news stories
  • Doesn’t have very many features at all

MobiShield allows you to choose specific applications, files, images, and more to store in a vault. That vault is encrypted and no applications can access the information without a password. Then, there is a scanning tool that notifies you of any device risks like if your phone is jailbroken or if there are any features that shouldn’t be on.

That said, a lot of these features are already available in the iOS device’s settings page. They aren’t particularly useful for someone who knows what they’re doing but could be beneficial to newer users.

Interestingly, the antivirus application has a “Discover” tab that brings in news stories about iOS and Apple as a whole, though it sometimes puts in topics that have nothing to do with either of those, such as Nike shoes.

Also, one should note that the application is incredibly easy to navigate, but that’s only because it doesn’t provide many features. It’s an entirely passable application that requires you to choose what to protect and what not to.

Other Things To Look Out For When Choosing an Antivirus for iOS

Support

Quality antivirus support is important for the few times you may need it. If an app is well-designed, you generally won’t have to use support. But you want it to be great for the few times you’ll need assistance.

Even if that support doesn’t come in the form of direct communication, good antivirus software will have a dedicated FAQ or knowledge base for you to look on at any time.

Support features we place emphasis on:

  • Phone, email, and live chat support
  • Available 24/7
  • Online FAQ and knowledge base

Pricing

Some antivirus software gives you a lot for a little, though that doesn’t mean it’s a quality offering. There are times when you want to pay a bit more for quality features.

That said, make sure you’re not getting ripped off either. Pay attention to what plans are available with your preferred antivirus and consider what’s worth your money.

What we look for when gauging price:

  • Different plans and their prices
  • How many licenses come with
  • Package value
# Vendor Price Range Rating
1 $49.99 - $89.99 / year 4.6
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2 $46.99 - $154.99 / year 4.4
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3 $49.99 - $109.99 / year 4.4
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4 $39.99 - $79.99 / year 4.3
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5 $40.00 - $60.00 / year 4.2
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6 $69.99 - $99.99 / year 4.1
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7 4.2
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8 $30.95 / year 4.2
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9 $39.95 - $89.95 / year 4.0
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10 3.6
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Transparency and Trust – We pride ourselves on being the only site where users can freely contribute and share their reviews on any antivirus with other community members. When you visit an antivirus site we link to, we sometimes get affiliate commissions that support our work. Read more about how we operate.