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The 3 Best Antivirus for iPhone & iPad (2023 Update)

By Tibor Moes / Updated: March 2023

iOS, the operating software of your iPhone and iPad, is incredibly safe. Apple made sure that every app lives in a “sandbox,” a sealed-off environment from which it cannot infect or influence other apps and files.

This means that malware has a tough time infecting your device. And that anti-malware, the core component of antivirus software, has an equally tough time scanning your iPhone. So the classic feature of antivirus software – which scans and deletes viruses – does not exist on iOS.

However, that does not mean that you are safe. You still need a security app. Just not to protect you from malware. Instead, good security apps for iOS safeguard your online privacy and prevent your identity from being stolen by hackers.

The core features to look out for are a VPN to protect your privacy, a Web Protection feature to block dangerous websites, and an Identity Protection feature to scan the Dark Web for your personal information.

Norton - The best antivirus for iPhone of 2023


Mobile Security for iOS

  • Identity theft protection 100% 100%
  • Online Privacy 100% 100%

Advanced Security, Complete Privacy

Norton is the only antivirus app for iOS that combines excellent Web Protection and Identity Theft Protection with an unlimited VPN. So if you spend a lot of time surfing the web, Norton will keep you safe online.

Norton is the best antivirus app for iOS.

Kaspersky - one of the best iPhone security apps


Security Cloud for iOS

  • Identity theft protection 99% 99%
  • Online Privacy 96% 96%

Advanced Security, Limited Privacy

Kaspersky’s Security Cloud for iOS covers all the core features (VPN, Web Protection, and Identity Protection) and even adds a password manager. However, its VPN remains limited to a maximum of 500 MB / day.

Kaspersky is the best alternative to Norton.

The Best Antivirus for iPhone & iPad (2023 Update)

We have tested and reviewed security apps since 2014. Below are the three best antivirus apps for iPhone and iPad. 

Click the links or scroll down for more.

Norton Antivirus Review

Norton Antivirus Review

Ranked #1 out of 20 Antivirus

Norton Mobile Security for iOS Review

Norton Mobile Security for iOS Review

Norton Mobile Security for iOS is the best antivirus for iPhone and iPad.

  • The Unlimited VPN will keep your personal information private online.
  • The Anti-Tracker will stop ads from following you across the web.
  • The Web Protection will protect you from dangerous websites.
  • The Identity Protection will monitor the Dark Web for your data.
  • The Device Protection will keep you informed on security updates.

In short: Norton will significantly improve your online security and safeguard your privacy and identity. It’s the best security app for iOS of 2023.


A VPN (Virtual Private Network) hides your iPhone’s IP address and encrypts your internet connection. This has several advantages:

  • You’ll be anonymous online. A VPN will hide everything you do online from governments, Internet Service Providers, Facebook, hackers, and more. You can search, surf, socialize, and shop in anonymity.
  • You are safe on public Wi-Fi. Typically, public Wi-Fi networks are unsafe. However, because a VPN encrypts your internet connection, other users on the network (including hackers) can’t see what you do online.
  • You can avoid censorship. In some countries, specific websites are blocked (for instance, WhatsApp calls in Dubai or YouTube in China). You can avoid these restrictions and use those services by using a VPN.

The best thing about Norton’s Secure VPN is its unlimited data. VPNs offered by other brands usually have a data limit between 200 and 500 MB / day, which means that you can’t leave the VPN on. Instead, you’ll have to use it tactfully and, most importantly, not forget to turn it on.

With Norton, you can turn the VPN on once and forget about it. From that moment forward, you will be anonymous online. Forever.

Ad Tracker

The ad tracker is part of Norton’s VPN. When the VPN is activated, the Ad Tracker will block cookies that attempt to track your activity online.

Web Protection

Norton’s advanced Web Protection will detect and block dangerous sites before you visit them. It works with any iOS browser and can be activated with or without the VPN. Of course, we recommend turning on both simultaneously to maximize your protection from online threats.


Did you know that there is a hidden part of the internet that search engines can’t find? It’s called the Dark Web, and cybercriminals use it to buy and sell personal data, like credit card information. Norton can search the Dark Web to see whether criminals are trading your personal data.

It can monitor your:

  • Email addresses
  • Home addresses
  • Phone numbers
  • Credit cards
  • Bank accounts
  • Insurance information
  • Driver’s license
  • Mother maiden name
  • And even your Gamer tag

Device Security

Norton will check whether you have updated your iPhone or iPad to the latest iOS version. As newer versions are frequently security updates, they are critical. Interestingly, we often learn about a new update for iOS from Norton and not from our iPhone itself. So it’s a helpful feature.

Wi-Fi Security

Norton will check whether your Wi-Fi connection is password protected and encrypted. If you have the Auto-Connect feature of your VPN activated, it will automatically start the VPN if you connect to a compromised network.

SMS Security

Norton can filter dangerous text messages containing phishing links to malicious sites that attempt to steal your personal information.

Secure Calendar

Norton will identify iOS Calendar invites that contain dangerous links.

Is Norton Mobile Security for iOS the best antivirus for iPhone?

Yes, we believe it is. Unfortunately, most antivirus apps for iOS devices offer minimal benefit to Apple’s highly secure mobile operating system.

Norton is different. By combining an Unlimited VPN with Web Protection, Anti-Tracking, Identity Theft Protection, and a range of bonus features like Device Security, it is a truly valuable addition to the native security of iOS.

If you also want to protect a PC or Mac, you could read our review of Norton 360 Deluxe, which you can install on any operating system. It is also our pick for the best all-round antivirus software of 2023.

Kaspersky Antivirus Review

Kaspersky Antivirus Review

Ranked #2 out of 20 Antivirus

Kaspersky Security Cloud for iOS Review

Kaspersky Security Cloud for iOS Review

Kaspersky Security Cloud for iOS offers a range of products. It starts with a basic free version and moves up to a 10-device package costing a whopping $ 150 per year.

Overall, it covers all security tools required on iOS: a VPN, a Web Protection feature, and an Identity Protection feature. But it’s too bad that, no matter what package you buy, the VPN has a data limit of 500 MB / day.

Therefore, we believe Norton is the best security app for iOS, thanks to its unlimited VPN.

There is no Kaspersky Internet Security for iOS, as there is on Android and Mac. Instead, Kaspersky’s iOS app is called Security Cloud and comes in several versions:


The free version contains four features:

  • A VPN limited to 200 MB / day. It will hide your IP address and encrypt your internet connection to restore your anonymity online.
  • A Data Leak Checker will see if your data, like passwords and credit card information, is leaked on the internet or Dark Web.
  • A Wi-Fi Security Check will notify you when you access unsecured public Wi-Fi networks so that you can activate the VPN.
  • A Password Manager can create, store, and auto-fill secure passwords. The free version can store up to 15 passwords.

If you don’t want to spend anything, this is not a bad deal. Although the VPN and password limits are low, and the app lacks web protection, it still offers basic security. Therefore, it is the best free antivirus for iOS in our test.

Personal for 1 iOS Device – $ 19,99 per year

It includes everything from the free plan and adds the following on top:

  • Anti-Phishing Protection will block links to phishing websites where scammers attempt to steal your Apple ID, money, and passwords.
  • A higher VPN limit of 300 MB / day. 
  • No limit on the Password Manager.

Personal for 5 Devices – $ 89,99 per year

It can be installed on 5 devices of any operating system, includes everything from the Personal plan above, and adds the following on top:

  • Antivirus protection for Windows, macOS, and Android devices.
  • Parental Controls that allow you to monitor and protect your kids online.
  • A higher VPN limit of 500 MB / day. 

Family for 10 Devices – $ 149,99 per year

It includes everything from the Personal plan above but can be installed on 10 devices (instead of 5) of any operating system.

Is Kaspersky Security Cloud for iOS the best antivirus for iOS?

No, it’s not. The Personal plan for 1 device is a reasonably complete security app and covers the three features that we look for in an iOS antivirus app:

  • A VPN
  • Web Protection (called Anti-Phishing by Kaspersky)
  • Identity Protection (called Data Leak Checker by Kaspersky)

On top of that, it adds a password manager, which makes it a very compelling deal. However, we would have loved to see an unlimited VPN. No matter how much you pay for Kaspersky, the data limit on the VPN will never exceed 500 MB / day, which is simply too low.

Instead, we believe every antivirus software should include an unlimited VPN. Therefore, we prefer Norton Mobile Security for iOS.

McAfee Antivirus Review

McAfee Antivirus Review

Ranked #3 out of 20 Antivirus

McAfee Mobile Security for iOS Review

McAfee Mobile Security for iOS Review

McAfee Mobile Security for iOS has the best design of all antivirus apps for iOS that we’ve tested. On top of that, by combining a VPN, Safe Browsing, and Identity Protection, its feature set is very similar to that of our test winner Norton.

However, McAfee’s VPN is limited to 500 MB / day unless you opt for the very expensive McAfee Total Protection. On top of that, McAfee’s privacy policy, which allows the company to collect your IP address and browsing history, is one of the worst we have read.

Until McAfee updates its privacy policy and makes the unlimited VPN available at a lower price, we will stick to Norton.

McAfee vs Norton

McAfee’s iOS app has one of the best designs we’ve seen. We like it even more than Norton’s. Feature-wise, the two American brands are pretty similar. Upon testing, however, we noticed some important differences.


By activating McAfee’s VPN, you encrypt your internet connection and hide your IP address. This makes you untraceable and anonymous online. If you frequently surf on Public unsecured Wi-Fi networks, this is a crucial feature.

If you buy McAfee Mobile Security ($ 29,95 per year), you’ll get a VPN limited to 500 MB / day. However, if you opt for the premium version, McAfee Total Protection ($ 99,95 per year), you’ll be able to access the unlimited VPN. 

Because Norton already includes an unlimited VPN with its Mobile Security software, at $ 29,95 per year, McAfee looks quite expensive. On top of that, during our test with McAfee’s VPN, we ran into several issues:

1. The VPN was limited to 500 MB / day, even though we had signed up for the expensive McAfee Total Protection, also known as McAfee LiveSafe. This might have been a temporary bug, but we could not fix it.

2. McAfee’s privacy policy is terrible. Amongst others, McAfee can collect:

  • Your IP address and geo-location
  • The websites you visit and the applications you install
  • Your interests, purchases, demographics, photos, videos, and biometrics
  • Device ID, language preference, ISP, and so much more

3. If you turn off auto-renewal, the VPN will be limited to 500 MB / day, even if you bought the expensive Total Protection package. We think this is a rather dirty trick to lock people into their subscription.

All of this is simply not acceptable from a company that claims to “care deeply about your privacy” (McAfee’s exact words). Therefore, we would advise sticking with Norton until McAfee fixes these issues.

Safe Browsing

McAfee will block malicious websites, known for phishing attacks, when you surf, shop, and socialize online. 

Identity Protection

Identity theft is a significant security threat. McAfee can monitor the Dark Web to see whether hackers got a hold of your email addresses, phone numbers, passport numbers, bank accounts, credit cards details, and more.

Like the VPN, this feature becomes limited when you turn off auto-renewal. If you ask us, that’s not the way to treat a paying customer.

Wi-Fi Scan

McAfee scans the encryption strength and password of your Wi-Fi network.

System Scan

McAfee’s system security scan will check whether your iOS version is up to date. 

Is McAfee Mobile Security for iOS the best antivirus for iPad?

No, it’s not. Although its design is excellent and its feature-set similar to that of Norton, there are too many red flags. 

As long as McAfee does not fix its privacy policy, VPN data limit, and auto-renewal tricks, we recommend sticking with Norton. 

Comparison of the best iPhone antivirus apps

Starting Price
$ 15 / year
$ 63 / year
$ 30 / year
Web Protection

Dark Web Monitor

Anti Tracker

Free VPN Data Limit
300 MB / day
Unlimited (if auto-renewal is active)
Money Back Guarantee
60 days
30 days
30 days

How do we test the best antivirus for iPhone and iPad of 2023?

In 2023, the best antivirus apps for iOS don’t offer virus protection. Instead, it’s all about identity theft protection and privacy protection on Apple’s mobile operating system. And, of course, security apps for iOS must have a user-friendly interface and come at a reasonable price.

We put the best security apps through 8 tests to find the one that offers the best value for your money and the best protection from security threats.

> Test 1: Virtual Private Network (VPN) test

We test the VPN in-depth on a wide range of aspects:

Logging policy:

A logging policy is a statement by VPN service providers about what data they collect and how long it is retained. For example, some providers track browsing history and location, which can be sold to data brokers and advertisers.

These policies can be challenging to understand and may put your privacy at risk. Therefore, we read and evaluate each VPN provider’s policy to ensure they are not collecting and storing data that would compromise user privacy.


Ownership refers to the company or companies that have legal control over a VPN service. This can include a primary company that owns the VPN service and a parent company above that. Ownership structure can create conflicts of interest, as the parent company may have different data retention laws and can access user data.

For instance, a few companies own a majority of the VPN services:

  • Kape Technologies, based in the U.K., owns Zenmate, ExpressVPN, CyberGhost VPN, and Private Internet Access (PIA).
  • Gaditek, based in Pakistan, owns PureVPN, Ivacy VPN, and Unblock VPN.
  • Ziff Davis, from the U.S., owns StrongVPN, IPVanish, Buffered VPN, Encrypt.me, and Perimeter 81, among others.
  • Aura/Pango, another United States company, owns JustVPN, Hotspot Shield, and TouchVPN. They also provide VPN technology for various other VPN providers like Bitdefender, Kaspersky, Panda, and others.
  • CyberSpace, a Dutch company, owns NordVPN, Surfshark, and Atlas VPN.

We investigate the owner of each VPN service, their country of registration, and data retention laws to ensure users’ privacy is respected. We also examine the company’s history to see if it has been involved in any scandals or controversies.

Independent audit:

An independent audit examines the VPN provider’s server infrastructure and privacy policies. It is carried out by an external, independent body, which ensures that the VPN service operates securely and responsibly and that its systems meet industry best practices.

A recent example is the audit by Deloitte of NordVPN’s privacy policy and server infrastructure in 2022. Other VPN providers, like ExpressVPN, also frequently undergo independent audits.

These audits can provide peace of mind that a VPN connection is trustworthy and reliable. We check if a VPN provider has undergone an independent audit and take particular interest in any flaws uncovered during the audit.

VPN Protocols:

  • A VPN protocol is a set of instructions to establish a secure connection between two devices. Different protocols have their advantages and disadvantages:
  • PPTP is fast but needs to be more secure.
  • L2TP/IPsec is a balance between speed and security.
  • SSTP is fast and secure but only available on Windows.
  • OpenVPN is the most secure and open source but can be slow.
  • WireGuard is a next-gen protocol that’s faster and easier to audit.

Some VPN providers have created their own protocols. For instance, NordVPN has created NordLynx, a version of WireGuard. And ExpressVPN has created LightWay, which connects very quickly.

Encryption standard:

An encryption standard is a set of instructions used to encode and decode digital data, ensuring the privacy of sensitive information. The most common encryption standards are Data Encryption Standard (DES) and Advanced Encryption Standard (AES).

AES is a more secure and efficient version of the Rijndael block cipher, using a block size of 128 bits and a key length of 128, 192, or 256 bits. Therefore, AES-128 or AES-256 in GCM or CBC versions are considered suitable options for VPN protocols that are both fast and secure.

During testing, we check the default encryption standard used by the VPN service and if alternatives are offered.

Other things we test for:

We test the advanced security features like a kill switch, split tunneling, ad-blockers, anti-trackers, malicious website blockers, dedicated IP addresses, double VPN, obfuscated servers, GPS location overrides, and RAM-only servers.

We test for various data leaks that could undo the VPN protection, such as IP leaks, DNS leaks, and WebRTC leaks. And we run download speeds while connected to the most used VPN protocols, OpenVPN and WireGuard.

We test whether the server infrastructure consists of actual physical servers or whether the VPN provider uses virtual servers (Servers located in a different country that still provide a local IP address).

We also check whether the VPN services use their own DNS servers to provide maximum DNS leak protection. And, although it goes without saying, we analyze whether the VPN offers unlimited bandwidth (unlimited VPN data).

Finally, we test whether the streaming service works with popular streaming services, such as Netflix, Amazon, Disney, Hulu, HBO, Apple, BBC, and more. And whether the VPN service allows you to download torrents on their VPN servers.

> Test 2: Password manager test

A password manager is a software tool that helps users store and organize their passwords and other sensitive information, such as credit card numbers and personal identification numbers (PINs). The stored data is protected using ultra-strong (AES-256) encryption.

On top of that, password managers can generate strong, unique user passwords, which are kept in the password manager’s vault. Users only need to remember their master password to access the vault. This can help them avoid reusing passwords and make it easier to create and remember strong passwords.

Finally, password managers can automatically fill in login information on websites and apps, saving time and reducing the risk of typos. Password managers can also alert users if their passwords have been compromised in a data breach and offer a way to change them easily.

Overall, a password manager is a convenient and secure way to manage your online credentials and protect against identity theft and cyber threats.

> Test 3: Anti-phishing protection test

We test antivirus browser extensions by attempting to visit dangerous URLs. We check whether the web protection feature blocks malicious sites before they can open to prevent them from stealing sensitive data

> Test 4: Bonus features test

Antivirus software often includes additional features beyond basic virus protection. These can include things like spam filters, secure browsers, and secure online storage. While there are many different features that can be included, some of the more valuable cybersecurity tools to consider are those that provide extra security tools beyond just basic virus detection:

  • Anti-tracker
  • Anti theft protection (anti theft features are becoming rare on iOS)
  • Dark web monitoring (identity protection)
  • Device security (system scan)
  • SMS security
  • Secure calendar
  • Web protection / safe browsing (Anti-Phishing)
  • Wi-fi security

> Test 5: Ownership and reputation test

We evaluate the reputation of antivirus companies by researching press releases, news articles, and privacy policies. This includes looking into any past incidents of data collection and selling by the company.

A good example is the case of Avast, which was found to have tracked and sold the browsing habits of its users. We want to ensure that the companies we recommend have a good reputation for protecting customer data.

> Test 6: Interface test

For many users, cybersecurity is not a fun subject. Therefore, antivirus software must be quick and easy to install, and intuitive to use. We test the installation speed of every program, their ease of use on default settings, and the complexity of adjusting the advanced settings.

> Test 7: Customer support test

We evaluate the quality of the customer support offered by antivirus companies. We do this by checking the availability of 24/7 live chat, email, and phone support. And by reviewing their knowledge base, forums, and FAQs. We also test their support team’s speed and knowledge by contacting them with a complex question.

> Test 8: Value for money test

We recommend avoiding free antivirus software as they often collect your data and sell it to marketing firms. Instead, opt for paid versions that offer better protection and features than the free versions.

We compare prices and features across the best antiviruses with VPNs and recommend choosing one that offers top-tier anti-malware protection, an unlimited VPN, and a password manager.

What iPhone security apps have we tested?

We have tested a wide range of iphone antivirus apps from 20 different companies. Where it made sense, we tested the free antivirus program, the paid antivirus software, the paid premium version, and the VPN service.

The free programs usually offered decent malware removal and protection, but not much more. The paid versions were always much better than the free trial and free software.

  • Avast Antivirus Free, Avast Security & Avast One
  • AVG Antivirus Free & AVG Ultimate
  • Avira Mobile Security, Avira Free Security & Avira Prime
  • Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition, Bitdefender Antivirus Plus, Bitdefender Internet Security, Bitdefender Total Security, Bitdefender Premium Security & Bitdefender Premium VPN
  • BullGuard Antivirus & BullGuard Premium Protection
  • Comodo Antivirus
  • ESET Internet Security Premium Protection
  • F-Secure Safe & F-Secure Total
  • Intego Mac Internet Security X9 & Mac Premium Bundle X9
  • Kaspersky Anti-Virus (Kaspersky Antivirus), Kaspersky Internet Security, Kaspersky Security Cloud, Kaspersky Total Security & Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection
  • MacKeeper Antivirus
  • Malwarebytes Free & Malwarebytes Premium
  • McAfee Antivirus Plus & McAfee Total Protection Premium
  • Microsoft Defender (Windows Defender)
  • Panda Dome Essential & Panda Dome Premium
  • Norton Antivirus Plus, Norton 360 Standard, Norton 360 Deluxe, Norton 360 Premium, Norton 360 for Gamers & Norton Secure VPN
  • Sophos Home Premium
  • TotalAV Antivirus Pro & TotalAV Total Security
  • Trend Micro Antivirus Security & Trend Micro Maximum Security
  • Webroot Antivirus (Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus) & Webroot Internet Security

Of all the antivirus apps for iOS, we found Norton to be the best.

Frequently asked questions

Do iPhones & iPads need antivirus software?

Yes. Although the threat of malware is limited on iOS, identity theft and online privacy are very real concerns. Therefore, the best iOS antivirus apps include Web Protection, a VPN, and Dark Web Monitoring.

Can you scan your iPhone or iPad for malware?

No. Because all apps on iOS live in a closed-off environment, from which they cannot leave, antivirus apps cannot “scan” your iPhone or iPad for viruses. Luckily, the threat of malware is limited on iOS.
Author: Tibor Moes

Author: Tibor Moes

Founder & Chief Editor at SoftwareLab

Tibor is a Dutch engineer and entrepreneur. He has tested security software since 2014.

Over the years, he has tested most of the best antivirus software for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS, as well as many VPN providers.

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

This website is hosted on a Digital Ocean server via Cloudways and is built with DIVI on WordPress.

You can find him on LinkedIn or contact him here.