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The 3 Best Antivirus for iPhone & iPad (2024 Update)

Updated: January 2024

By: Tibor Moes is the founder of SoftwareLab. He has tested 28 antivirus brands and studied Cybersecurity at Stanford. Read how we test antivirus.

Norton is the best antivirus for iPhone and iPad of 2024

Norton Antivirus

Ranked #1 of 28 antivirus for iOS

  • Identity protection 100% 100%
  • Privacy protection 100% 100%
Norton has the best security and privacy features, and a great price. It’s the best antivirus of iOS of 2024.

  • Identity: 100%. Norton offers anti-phishing, dark web monitor, app advisor, and more.
  • Privacy: 100%. Norton has a VPN, anti-tracker, Wi-Fi scanner, and more.
  • Speed impact: 100%. Norton did not slow down our test iPhone. 

Try it risk-free, thanks to its 60-day return policy.

McAfee is the second best antivirus for iOS of 2024

McAfee Antivirus

Ranked #2 of 28 Antivirus for iOS

  • Identity protection 90% 90%
  • Privacy protection 80% 80%

McAfee offers excellent protection and security features for iOS, but it’s quite expensive compared to Norton.

  • Identity: 90%. McAfee offers anti-phishing, dark web monitor, and more.
  • Privacy: 80%. McAfee has a VPN and Wi-Fi scanner, but no anti-tracker.
  • Speed impact: 100%. McAfee did not slow down our test iPhone. 

Try it risk-free, thanks to its 30-day return policy.

The best antivirus for iPhone

iOS, the operating system on the iPhone, isolates each app in a sandbox. This makes it a very secure operating system and anti-malware tools useless.

Therefore, security apps focus on privacy and identity protection. Because phishing attacks target you via email, text, and the web. And your data is vulnerable if you surf public Wi-Fi networks without a VPN.

To find the best security app for iOS, we tested 39 apps from 28 brands. We tested the VPN, anti-phishing, anti-tracker, app scanner, dark web monitoring, and more.

These are the best antivirus for your iPhone and iPad of 2024:

  1. 🥇 Norton Antivirus – The #1 in 2024
  2. McAfee Antivirus
  3. Kaspersky Antivirus

Scroll down for the reviews.

Norton Antivirus for iOS

Norton Review

#1 of 28 antivirus for iOS

Norton Mobile Security for iOS Review

Norton is ranked #1 of 28 antivirus for iOS.

It includes all essential features:

  • Web protection
  • Identity theft protection
  • Unlimited VPN

And a range of bonus features:

  • Anti-tracker
  • Wi-Fi security
  • SMS scanner
  • Vulnerability scanner

Most importantly, the VPN doesn’t have a data limit. By contrast, many other antivirus apps have a VPN limit of a few hundred MB / day. That’s not enough.

When you frequently surf on public Wi-Fi, Norton’s unlimited VPN will protect your privacy on those unsecured networks.

We highly recommend Norton for anyone who surfs, shops, or banks on their iPhone or iPad.

Discount: Save 70% at Norton

Detailed Review

Norton Antivirus for iOS Review 2024

Norton Mobile Security for iOS stands out as a top antivirus choice for iPhone and iPad in 2024. It’s packed with features that greatly enhance your online security, keeping your personal information secure and your identity protected.

Unlimited VPN for Constant Privacy

We tested Norton’s VPN and were impressed by its unlimited data feature. Unlike other brands that restrict data usage, Norton allows you to stay anonymous online without worrying about data limits.

This means you can safely browse, shop, and communicate without being tracked. The VPN is particularly useful on public Wi-Fi, ensuring your activities remain invisible to others on the network.

Effective Ad Tracker Blocker

Norton’s Ad Tracker, integrated with its VPN, successfully blocks cookies that track your online activities. This means fewer targeted ads and more privacy.

Proactive Web Protection

We found Norton’s Web Protection to be highly effective. It preemptively identifies and blocks dangerous websites across any iOS browser. It works with or without the VPN, but we recommend using both for maximum security.

Dark Web Monitoring

A standout feature is Norton’s Dark Web monitoring. It scans the Dark Web for your personal information, such as email addresses, credit card details, and more. This feature is a real eye-opener, highlighting potential identity theft risks.

Device Security Insights

Norton’s Device Security feature alerts you about the latest iOS updates, often before your device does. This helps ensure you’re always running the most secure version of iOS.

Enhanced Wi-Fi Security

Norton checks your Wi-Fi connections for safety and automatically activates the VPN on suspicious networks. This adds an extra layer of security, especially when connecting to public networks.

SMS and Calendar Protection

We appreciate Norton’s SMS Security and Secure Calendar features. These protect against phishing attempts via text messages and calendar invites, a common vulnerability often overlooked.

Conclusion: Is Norton the Best Antivirus for iPhone?

From our experience, Norton Mobile Security truly enhances iOS’s built-in security. Its comprehensive features, from the Unlimited VPN to identity theft protection, set it apart from competitors like McAfee and Kaspersky. It’s affordable, doesn’t limit VPN data, and offers a 60-day return policy, making it a risk-free choice.

In conclusion, Norton Mobile Security for iOS is an excellent choice for those looking to bolster their iPhone’s security and privacy.

Bitdefender Antivirus for iOS

McAfee Review

#2 of 28 antivirus for iOS

McAfee Mobile Security for iOS Review

McAfee is ranked #2 of 28 antivirus for iOS.

It has an excellent design, the three essential features (unlimited VPN, identity theft protection, and web protection), and a few bonus features (Wi-Fi scanner, system scanner, and protection score).

However, McAfee limits your VPN data to 500 MB / day when you turn off auto-renew, which we don’t like. If you pay for a service, you should get it completely, even if you don’t renew.

Therefore, we prefer Norton. But McAfee is a close second.

Discount: Save 50% at McAfee

Detailed Review

McAfee Antivirus for iOS Review 2024

McAfee Mobile Security for iOS emerges as a strong contender in the realm of digital security. Our review delves into its features, assessing how it can be a key player in enhancing your cybersecurity.

Reliable VPN with Limitations

McAfee’s VPN impresses with bank-grade encryption, ensuring your data and location stay private. The option to switch between different countries is a plus, especially on unsecured public Wi-Fi. However, the 500 MB daily data limit when auto-renew is turned off is a drawback. We believe full access should be available regardless of subscription choices.

Proactive Identity Protection

The identity protection feature is a highlight. It monitors up to 10 personal identifiers, such as email addresses and credit cards, alerting you to any breaches. This proactive approach is crucial in today’s digital landscape.

Effective Safe Browsing

With the proliferation of harmful sites, McAfee’s safe browsing feature stands out. It blocks malicious websites and, with the McAfee WebAdvisor, even previews the risk level of sites. This greatly reduces the risk of phishing and data leaks.

Wi-Fi and System Security Scanning

McAfee’s Wi-Fi and system scanner is a useful tool, warning against insecure Wi-Fi networks and outdated iOS systems. This feature plays a vital role in guarding against new threats.

Unique Protection Score

The Protection Score is a standout feature, offering a quantifiable measure of your security status. It not only informs you of potential risks but also suggests how to improve your score, empowering you in your cybersecurity efforts.

Conclusion: Is McAfee the Best Antivirus for iPhone?

McAfee Mobile Security for iOS ranks highly among antivirus apps for iPhone, offering robust features like a VPN, identity protection, and safe browsing. The Protection Score adds an interactive element to your security management.

However, we prefer Norton’s more transparent privacy policy and its lack of VPN data restrictions. While McAfee offers solid protection, Norton edges out slightly ahead in our comparison.

Nonetheless, McAfee remains a viable option, backed by a 30-day return policy, allowing you to test its capabilities risk-free.

Kaspersky Antivirus for iOS

Kaspersky Review

#3 of 28 antivirus for iOS

Kaspersky Mobile Security for iOS Review

Kaspersky is ranked #3 of 28 antivirus for iOS.

It has all the essential features (unlimited VPN, identity theft protection, and web protection) and several bonus features (password manager, jailbreak detection, remote management, and more).

However, to access the unlimited VPN and password manager, you need to sign up for Kaspersky Plus. Which is an expensive product compared to Norton Mobile Security for iOS.

Therefore, we prefer Norton. But Kaspersky is an excellent option too.

Discount: Save up to 50% at Kaspersky

Detailed Review

Kaspersky Antivirus for iOS Review 2024

Kaspersky Antivirus for iOS emerges as a well-rounded cybersecurity solution, adept at tackling various digital threats while preserving online privacy. We’ve explored its key features to provide an insightful evaluation.

Robust Anti-Phishing

Kaspersky’s anti-phishing module effectively safeguards against dangerous websites and deceptive emails. This protection is crucial in preventing data theft and financial scams.

Unlimited VPN for Paid Subscribers

The Unlimited VPN is a standout feature for paid subscribers. It activates automatically on unsafe public Wi-Fi, enhancing data security. However, this benefit is limited to users on the “Plus” plan or higher.

Secure Password Management

We found the password management feature, available from the “Plus” plan, extremely useful. It securely stores and manages passwords, acting like a digital key vault.

Alerts for Data Leaks

The Data Leak Checker is particularly impressive. It monitors the internet for your personal data and promptly alerts you if a leak is detected, offering guidance on preventing future breaches.

Jailbreak Detection

The jailbreak detection is a unique offering. It alerts you if your iOS device’s security is compromised due to jailbreaking, providing helpful suggestions for remediation.

Secure QR Scanner

Kaspersky’s Secure QR Scanner is an innovative addition, ensuring that scanned codes are safe and free from malicious content.

Customized Alerts

Personalized alerts based on your online behavior add a tailored security touch, delivering warnings and tips relevant to your digital activities.

Family Sharing and Remote Management

Family Sharing allows for easy management of your family’s digital security. Coupled with Remote Management, it simplifies overseeing security across multiple devices.

Automatic Security Updates

With automatic updates, Kaspersky ensures you’re always equipped with the latest defenses against emerging cyber threats.

Social Privacy Protection

The Social Privacy feature is handy, helping you manage privacy settings on social media platforms to enhance personal security.

Conclusion: Is Kaspersky the Best Antivirus for iPhone?

In summary, Kaspersky ranks as a top choice for iPhone users seeking a comprehensive security suite. Its array of features, from anti-phishing to social privacy tools, provides robust protection in the digital age.

While the premium features require a “Plus” plan subscription, which is pricier than Norton Mobile Security, Kaspersky offers extensive security capabilities.

Those willing to invest in the “Plus” plan will find Kaspersky an excellent choice, backed by a 30-day return policy. However, considering cost-effectiveness and feature accessibility, we lean towards recommending Norton for most iOS users.

Specification comparison

Below, we compare the the specifications of Norton, McAfee, and Kaspersky.

Starting Price
$ 15 / year
$ 30 / year
$ 46 / year
Web Protection

Identity Theft Protection

Anti Tracker

VPN Data Limit
Unlimited (if auto-renewal is active)
Money Back Guarantee
60 days
30 days
30 days

User reviews

We’ve compared the user reviews of all antivirus brands. We’ve used the scores and review count of TrustPilot, a leading user review platform. However, take these results with a grain of salt, as some brands actively attempt to increase their ratings.

Personally, we are wary of exceptionally high scores. Especially those by brands such as TotalAV, known for aggressive marketing and sales tactics.

We consider scores between 4.0 and 4.5 good and realistic. Higher scores are dubious, and lower scores indicate that the brand might have a poor product or customer service. McAfee’s scores, for instance, are worrying.

Review score
Review count

Buying Guide

Common questions about antivirus software for iOS

What is antivirus for iOS and why do I need it?

Antivirus for iOS is a type of security software designed specifically for Apple’s iOS operating system, which powers devices like iPhones and iPads. Its primary function is to safeguard these devices against various forms of malware (like viruses, spyware, and ransomware), unauthorized access, and other cyber threats.

While iOS is renowned for its robust security features, including sandboxing and regular updates, no system is impervious to all threats. Cybercriminals continuously evolve their tactics, creating sophisticated attacks that can exploit vulnerabilities. Antivirus for iOS addresses these threats by offering additional layers of protection, including:

  1. Real-time Protection: It monitors your device continuously for suspicious activities.
  2. Web Protection: Shields against phishing attacks and unsafe websites.
  3. Privacy Monitoring: Alerts you about unauthorized access to your personal data.
  4. System Health Checks: Ensures your device’s operating system is up to date.

Having antivirus software on your iOS device is a proactive step in safeguarding your digital life, protecting personal information, and enhancing your overall online security.

For more, read our blog post on what antivirus software is.

How does antivirus software protect my iPhone?

Antivirus software protects your iPhone through several key functions:

  • Malware Scanning: It scans files and applications for known malware signatures and behaviors.
  • Phishing Protection: Identifies and blocks attempts to steal personal information through deceptive websites or communications.
  • Network Security: Monitors Wi-Fi connections for suspicious activity, preventing unauthorized access.
  • Data Breach Monitoring: Alerts you if your personal data is involved in a data breach.
  • App Behavior Monitoring: Checks for apps that may misuse your data or perform unauthorized actions.

These features work together to create a comprehensive shield against various cyber threats, ensuring the safety and integrity of your data on the iPhone.

For more, read our blog post on what antivirus software is.

Will antivirus software slow down my iPhone?

Modern antivirus software for iOS is designed to be lightweight and efficient, minimizing its impact on your device’s performance. These applications are optimized for iOS, ensuring they don’t consume excessive resources like battery life or processing power. While some features, like real-time scanning, might slightly impact performance, this is generally negligible and outweighed by the security benefits provided.

Can antivirus remove existing viruses from my iPhone?

Yes, antivirus software can identify and remove many forms of malware from an infected iPhone. It scans the device, detects malicious software, and then either removes or quarantines it to prevent further damage. However, it’s important to note that the closed nature of iOS means that most malware threats are limited compared to other platforms. Often, simply updating iOS and removing suspicious apps can resolve many security issues.

Can antivirus software protect my iPad as well?

Absolutely. Most antivirus software designed for iOS is compatible with both iPhones and iPads. The underlying security principles and threats are similar across these devices, so antivirus software functions effectively on both platforms, offering the same level of protection and feature set.

What should I do if my antivirus detects malware?

If your antivirus software detects malware on your iOS device, follow these steps:

  • Follow the Software’s Instructions: The antivirus will typically provide specific steps to deal with the detected threat, like deleting or quarantining the malware.
  • Update Your iOS: Ensure your operating system is up to date, as updates often include security patches.
  • Change Passwords: If the malware could have compromised your data, change your passwords for sensitive accounts.
  • Monitor Your Accounts: Keep an eye on your financial and personal accounts for any unusual activity.
  • Consult Support: If unsure, contact the support team of your antivirus software for further assistance.

Prompt action is crucial in mitigating the potential impact of malware.

What are the most common types of cyber threats for iOS?

For iOS, the most common types of cyber threats include:

  • Phishing Attacks: Attempts to steal sensitive information through deceptive emails or messages.
  • Unsecured Wi-Fi Networks: Risks associated with connecting to public Wi-Fi without encryption.
  • Data Breaches: Exposure of personal information from third-party services.
  • Malicious Apps: Apps that seem legitimate but contain malware or steal data.
  • Web-based Threats: Websites hosting malware or exploiting browser vulnerabilities.
  • Identity Theft: Unauthorized access and misuse of personal identity information.

Despite iOS’s robust security, users must remain vigilant against these threats, as cybercriminals continuously develop new methods to circumvent security measures.

What cyber threats can and can’t antivirus protect me from?

Antivirus Protection:

  • Malware: Including viruses, spyware, and some types of adware.
  • Phishing Attacks: Through alerts and warnings about suspicious websites and emails.
  • Web-based Threats: By scanning websites for malicious content.
  • Unsecured Wi-Fi Connections: By alerting users to potential risks.


  • Zero-Day Attacks: Newly discovered vulnerabilities may not be immediately recognizable.
  • Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs): Highly targeted and sophisticated attacks.
  • Physical Theft of Device: Antivirus cannot prevent physical theft but may offer location tracking.
  • Social Engineering Attacks: Depends on user awareness; antivirus can’t always detect deception.
  • Data Breaches from Third Parties: Out of control of the antivirus if data is compromised from an external source.


How do I choose the best antivirus software for iOS?

To choose the best antivirus software for iOS, consider the following:

  • Security Features: Look for essential features like malware scanning, web protection, and Wi-Fi security.
  • Performance Impact: Ensure the software is optimized for iOS and doesn’t significantly drain battery or resources.
  • User Interface: Prefer a user-friendly interface for easy navigation and understanding.
  • Reputation and Reviews: Research user reviews and expert opinions for reliability and effectiveness.
  • Cost vs. Features: Compare the cost against the offered features and choose one that offers the best value.
  • Customer Support: Reliable customer support is crucial for addressing any issues.


Is free antivirus reliable enough for basic protection?

Free antivirus software can offer a basic level of protection and is generally better than having no protection at all. However, they often lack advanced features found in paid versions, such as comprehensive web protection, identity theft protection, and customer support. For users with minimal security needs and cautious online habits, free antivirus software can suffice, but for comprehensive protection, especially in a professional or high-risk context, investing in a paid solution is advisable.

Does antivirus for iOS come with customer support?

Yes, most reputable antivirus software for iOS comes with customer support. The level of support, however, can vary depending on the software provider. Paid versions typically offer more extensive support options, such as 24/7 live chat, email support, and phone support. Free versions might offer limited support, often through FAQs and community forums. When choosing antivirus software, consider the quality and availability of customer support, as it can be crucial in resolving issues swiftly and effectively.

Advanced questions about antivirus software for iOS

How do we test antivirus software?

At SoftwareLab, we are committed to delivering comprehensive and unbiased reviews of antivirus software. Our methodology encompasses a range of critical aspects to ensure that our assessments are thorough and relevant to our users’ needs.

1. Anti-malware protection (30%)

  • As the core function of antivirus software, we prioritize anti-malware protection. We conduct in-house testing with a diverse set of 1200 malware samples, including the latest threats, and simulate real-time attack scenarios to gauge the software’s effectiveness.
  • To reinforce the reliability of our findings, we compare our results with those from AV-Test, a respected independent security institute.

2. Security and privacy features (30%)

  • Web protection: We evaluate the software’s ability to protect against phishing sites and other web-based threats.
  • Firewall: Our tests include intrusion simulations to assess the effectiveness of the software’s firewall.
  • Password manager: We examine the ability of the integrated password manager to generate, store, and auto-fill passwords securely.
  • VPN: We test for VPN speed, encryption quality, server locations, and the ability to conceal IP addresses.
  • Parental controls: We assess the efficacy of filters and restrictions for safe browsing for children.
  • Identity theft protection: Monitoring capabilities and alert responsiveness are tested.
  • Secure cloud storage: We evaluate the software’s cloud storage solutions based on capacity, ease of use, and security.
  • Anti-ransomware: Effectiveness against ransomware attacks is a critical part of our testing.
  • Dark web monitoring: We check how well the software scans for personal information on the dark web.

3. Speed impact (10%)

  • We assess how the antivirus software affects system performance during common tasks, such as file copying, program downloads, and installations. Our assessment criteria are aligned with the AV-Test performance tests.

4. False positives (10%)

  • It’s crucial that antivirus software distinguishes between safe and harmful applications. We evaluate the frequency of benign software being incorrectly flagged as malware, referring to AV-Test’s usability tests for additional insights.

5. Price (10%)

  • We consider the overall value for money, analyzing the features offered against the long-term costs of the software.

6. Ownership and reputation (10%)

  • The trustworthiness of the software’s provider is integral. We examine the company’s history, its data handling practices, commitment to user privacy, and its response to any incidents of unethical conduct or data breaches.

Our rigorous testing approach ensures that we provide our users with reliable and up-to-date information, helping them make informed decisions about their cybersecurity solutions.

Read more on how we test antivirus software.

How does anti-malware for iOS work?

Anti-malware for iOS works by employing several strategies to protect devices from malware and other cyber threats. These strategies include:

  • Scanning Apps and Files: Checking for known malware signatures and suspicious behaviors.
  • Web Protection: Blocking malicious websites and phishing attempts.
  • System Monitoring: Observing system performance and settings for irregularities that might indicate malware activity.
  • Privacy Checks: Ensuring apps don’t access sensitive data without permission.
  • Regular Updates: Updating malware definitions and software capabilities to counter new threats.

Given the closed nature of iOS, anti-malware tools often focus on preventing threats from entering the system, rather than dealing with extensive after-infection scenarios common in more open systems.

What is signature-based detection?

Signature-based detection is a traditional method of identifying malware by comparing files and programs against a database of known malware signatures – essentially digital fingerprints of malicious software. This method is effective against known threats but can struggle to detect new, unknown malware.

What is heuristic analysis?

Heuristic analysis is a more advanced technique used by anti-malware software to detect new, unknown viruses or variants of existing viruses. It analyzes the code of a program or file to identify suspicious characteristics that might indicate malicious intent, even if the specific signature isn’t in the database.

What is behavior-based detection?

Behavior-based detection focuses on observing the behavior of programs and files rather than solely analyzing their code. This method monitors how programs interact with the system, looking for actions that are typical of malware, such as modifying system files or sending data without user permission.

What is machine learning within cybersecurity?

Machine learning in cybersecurity involves the use of algorithms that learn and adapt over time, improving their ability to detect and respond to threats. These algorithms analyze vast amounts of data to identify patterns and anomalies indicative of cyber threats. Key applications include:

  • Threat Detection: Identifying new and evolving malware.
  • Behavioral Analysis: Recognizing suspicious user or system behavior.
  • Predictive Analytics: Anticipating potential vulnerabilities and attacks.
  • Automated Response: Implementing quick countermeasures against detected threats.

Machine learning enhances cybersecurity by enabling proactive and dynamic defense mechanisms against sophisticated cyber threats.

What is cloud-based antivirus?

Cloud-based antivirus refers to security solutions that primarily use cloud computing resources to provide protection. Key features include:

  • Real-time Updates: Rapid updates for the latest threat protection.
  • Lightweight Client Software: Minimal resource usage on the device itself.
  • Remote Processing: Conducts most of the scanning and analysis on remote servers, reducing the load on the local device.


What is sandboxing within cybersecurity?

Sandboxing in cybersecurity is a security technique where potentially unsafe programs or code are executed in a separate, isolated environment – the “sandbox.” This prevents the software from affecting the system or accessing sensitive data, allowing for safe testing or running of untrusted applications.

What are false positives within cybersecurity?

False positives in cybersecurity occur when a security system incorrectly identifies a benign action or file as malicious. This can lead to unnecessary alerts and can sometimes disrupt normal system operations. While false positives can be inconvenient, they are generally preferred over false negatives, where actual threats go undetected. Regular updates and intelligent security algorithms help in minimizing the occurrence of false positives.

How does antivirus handle zero-day threats?

Antivirus software handles zero-day threats (unknown threats that exploit vulnerabilities) by using:

  • Heuristic Analysis: Detecting unusual behavior or patterns in code.
  • Behavioral Monitoring: Observing how programs interact with the system.
  • Cloud-Based Intelligence: Utilizing up-to-date threat intelligence from cloud databases.
  • Machine Learning: Learning from new threats and adapting detection capabilities.

While challenging to detect, these advanced techniques give antivirus software a fighting chance against zero-day threats.

How does a firewall work?

A firewall is a network security system that monitors and controls incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules. It acts as a barrier between a trusted internal network and untrusted external networks. Firewalls can be hardware-based, software-based, or a combination of both. They work by:

  • Filtering Traffic: Blocking or allowing data packets based on security rules.
  • Monitoring Connections: Keeping track of active connections and their legitimacy.
  • Preventing Unauthorized Access: Blocking access attempts from unrecognized sources.

Firewalls are essential for creating a defensive perimeter for network security.

How does a password manager work?

A password manager is a tool that stores and manages your passwords for various online accounts. It typically works as follows:

  • Secure Storage: Encrypts and stores passwords in a secure database.
  • Master Password: Uses one master password to grant access to the password vault.
  • Auto-Fill Feature: Automatically fills in passwords on login pages.
  • Password Generation: Generates strong, unique passwords for new accounts.

Password managers enhance security by enabling the use of complex passwords without the need to memorize them.

How does a VPN work?

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) creates a secure connection over the internet between your device and a server. It works by:

  • Encrypted Connection: Encrypts data transmitted between your device and the VPN server.
  • Hiding IP Address: Masks your IP address, making your online actions virtually untraceable.
  • Secure Access: Provides secure access to private networks, even over public Wi-Fi.

VPNs are crucial for maintaining privacy and secure communication over the internet.

How does anti-phishing work?

Anti-phishing measures protect against attempts to obtain sensitive information through deceptive means. They work by:

  • Detecting Suspicious Emails: Identifying and filtering phishing emails.
  • Website Verification: Alerting users about potentially fraudulent websites.
  • User Education: Providing warnings and education about phishing tactics.

Anti-phishing tools are vital for defending against social engineering attacks.

How does ransomware protection work?

Ransomware protection safeguards against malware that encrypts files and demands a ransom for their release. It includes:

  • Access Control: Preventing unauthorized access to important files.
  • Behavioral Detection: Identifying suspicious activities indicative of ransomware.
  • Data Backup: Automatically backing up data to restore in case of an attack.

Effective ransomware protection involves both prevention and the ability to recover from attacks without paying a ransom.

How does identity theft protection work?

Identity theft protection involves monitoring personal information and alerting users of potential misuse. It includes:

  • Credit Monitoring: Tracking credit reports for unauthorized activities.
  • Alerts: Notifying users of suspicious activities involving their personal information.
  • Recovery Assistance: Providing support in case of identity theft.

Such services are crucial in promptly identifying and responding to identity theft incidents.

How do parental controls work?

Parental controls are tools or software that allow parents to monitor and limit their children’s internet use. They work by:

  • Content Filtering: Blocking access to inappropriate content.
  • Usage Controls: Setting limits on screen time and internet use.
  • Activity Monitoring: Tracking online activities and app usage.
  • Location Tracking: Keeping track of the child’s location through their device.

Parental controls help in safeguarding children from online risks while promoting healthy digital habits.

Advanced questions about iOS

Does iOS need 3rd party antivirus software?

The need for 3rd party antivirus software on iOS is a subject of debate. iOS is designed with robust built-in security features, and its closed ecosystem (where apps can only be installed from the App Store which vets all apps) significantly reduces the risk of malware.

However, for users who want additional security layers, particularly those handling sensitive information or using their devices in high-risk environments, 3rd party antivirus software can provide extra protection against phishing, unsafe websites, and potential vulnerabilities.

What security features does iOS have?

iOS is equipped with numerous security features, including:

  • App Store Vetting: Rigorous review process for apps to reduce the risk of malware.
  • Sandboxing: Each app operates in its own isolated environment, limiting access to other apps’ data.
  • System Updates: Regular updates that address security vulnerabilities.
  • Data Encryption: All data on the device is encrypted by default.
  • Touch ID/Face ID: Biometric authentication for enhanced security.
  • Find My iPhone: Allows users to locate, lock, or wipe their device remotely in case of loss or theft.
  • App Permissions: Users have control over what data each app can access.

These features collectively contribute to making iOS a secure platform.

How does Data Encryption in iOS work?

Data encryption in iOS is automatically enabled and uses Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) to protect all data stored on the device. When a user sets a passcode, it generates a device-specific encryption key, which is used to encrypt all data on the device. This means that without the passcode (or biometric authentication), the data on the device remains inaccessible and secure, even if the physical security of the device is compromised.

How does Secure Boot Chain in iOS work?

The Secure Boot Chain in iOS is a security feature that ensures each component of the startup process is verified as authentic and unaltered. When an iOS device is powered on, it executes code from read-only memory, known as Boot ROM. This Boot ROM contains Apple’s Root Certificate authority, which is used to verify the Low-Level Bootloader (LLB).

Each subsequent stage of the boot process is verified by the previous one (i.e., LLB verifies iBoot, which then verifies the iOS kernel). This chain of trust ensures that only Apple-signed code is loaded at each stage of the boot process, protecting against unauthorized software.

How does Touch ID and Face ID on iOS work?

Touch ID and Face ID are biometric authentication methods used in iOS devices:

  • Touch ID: Uses a fingerprint sensor to scan and store the user’s fingerprint. When unlocking the device or authenticating transactions, the fingerprint is compared to the stored data for verification.
  • Face ID: Uses a facial recognition system that projects and analyzes over 30,000 invisible dots to create a precise depth map of the user’s face. This data is then compared to the enrolled facial data for authentication.

Both systems store biometric data securely in the Secure Enclave, a coprocessor designed to provide additional security, ensuring that this data is not accessible to iOS or other apps.

How does App Store Security for iOS work?

App Store security for iOS involves several layers:

  • App Review Process: Every app submitted to the App Store is reviewed by Apple to ensure it meets their guidelines, including security standards.
  • Code Signing: Apps must be signed with a developer certificate issued by Apple, ensuring the app’s origin and integrity.
  • Sandboxing: Apps are sandboxed, limiting their access to the system and other apps.
  • User Permissions: Apps request permissions for accessing user data like contacts or location.
  • Regular Audits: Apps are subject to ongoing checks for compliance with guidelines.

This comprehensive approach helps maintain a high level of security and trust in the App Store ecosystem.

How does the Sandboxing of Apps on iOS work?

Sandboxing in iOS is a security mechanism that isolates apps from each other, the system, and the user’s data. Each app operates in its own “sandbox,” a restricted environment with limited access. Here’s how it works:

  • Restricted File Access: Apps can only access their own files and a limited set of system resources.
  • Limited Permissions: Apps must request permission to access features like the camera, contacts, or location.
  • Inter-App Communication: Controlled through specific APIs and services, ensuring data exchange is secure.
  • Prevention of Code Execution: Apps cannot directly execute code or access the memory space of other apps or the system.

This containment strategy significantly reduces the risk of a malicious app compromising the entire system or accessing sensitive data from other apps.

How does Find My iPhone on iOS work?

Find My iPhone is a feature that helps users locate their lost or stolen iOS devices. It works as follows:

  • Location Services: Uses GPS and network information to pinpoint the device’s location.
  • Activation Lock: Prevents others from using or erasing the device without your Apple ID and password.
  • Remote Actions: Enables users to remotely lock the device, display a message, play a sound, or erase all data.
  • Lost Mode: Locks the device, displays a custom message, and continues to track its location.

For this feature to work, it must be enabled in the device’s iCloud settings, and the device must be connected to the internet.

Are there known vulnerabilities in iOS?

Like any software, iOS can have vulnerabilities. However, Apple has a strong track record of addressing these issues promptly. Common types of vulnerabilities in the past have included:

  • Security Flaws in the Browser: Allowing malicious websites to execute code on the device.
  • Wi-Fi Vulnerabilities: Enabling unauthorized access through Wi-Fi connections.
  • Malware Through Apps: Although rare due to App Store vetting, some malicious apps have occasionally slipped through.
  • Jailbreaking Exploits: Exploiting system vulnerabilities to remove Apple’s restrictions (not recommended as it significantly compromises security).

Apple regularly releases updates to patch known vulnerabilities, making it crucial for users to keep their iOS devices up to date.

What are the best security practices for iOS?

The best security practices for iOS include:

  • Regular Updates: Keep iOS and apps updated to ensure all security patches are applied.
  • Strong Passcodes: Use a strong passcode, and consider enabling Touch ID or Face ID for additional security.
  • App Permissions: Regularly review and manage app permissions.
  • Two-Factor Authentication: Enable this for your Apple ID for added security.
  • Avoid Jailbreaking: This can expose your device to additional risks.
  • Secure Wi-Fi Connections: Be cautious when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks. Use VPNs for additional security.
  • Data Backup: Regularly back up data to iCloud or a computer.
  • Use Find My iPhone: Enable this feature to track and control your device if it’s lost or stolen.

Following these practices can significantly reduce the risk of security threats to your iOS device.

How does iOS handle security updates and patches?

iOS handles security updates and patches through its regular update process:

  • Automatic Updates: iOS can be set to automatically download and install updates.
  • Frequent Releases: Apple releases updates frequently, including major versions and minor patches.
  • Update Notifications: Users are notified when new updates are available.
  • Seamless Installation: Updates can be installed with minimal user intervention, often overnight while the device is charging.
  • Security Transparency: Apple provides detailed information about the contents of security updates in its release notes.

By ensuring regular and prompt application of these updates, users can maintain high levels of security against known vulnerabilities.

Other questions

What antivirus software have we tested?

We have tested 39 antivirus software from 28 brands. These range from free antivirus programs, to entry-level paid antivirus programs, mid-range paid antivirus software, and full-featured internet security suites.

These are the programs we recommend:

We believe that Norton Antivirus Plus is the best entry-level antivirus software and Norton 360 Deluxe the best antivirus all around.

Does this page exist in other languages?

Yes, at SoftwareLab, we write in 11 languages:

Click the links to be taken to the language of your choice.

What sources and tools have we used?

Below are the sources and tools we’ve used to test the antivirus software:

Click the links to be taken to the source or tool of your choice.

Author: Tibor Moes

Author: Tibor Moes

Founder & Chief Editor at SoftwareLab

Tibor has tested 39 antivirus programs and 30 VPN services, and holds a Cybersecurity Graduate Certificate from Stanford University.

He uses Norton to protect his devices, CyberGhost for his privacy, and Dashlane for his passwords.

You can find him on LinkedIn or contact him here.