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The Best Antivirus Software for iPhone 2023

Norton Mobile Security

Your iPhone is a treasure trove containing your private messages, photos, logins, and financial information. While Apple has strong default security, your device remains vulnerable to sneaky cyber threats.

Installing robust antivirus protection is crucial for keeping your iPhone and sensitive data safe from the latest malware, phishing scams, and data breaches.

In this guide, I’ll share:

  • How iOS malware and phishing attacks are evolving
  • The top antivirus apps for iPhone based on my testing
  • Key security capabilities to look for in antivirus software
  • Pros and cons of free vs paid iPhone antivirus
  • My methodology for evaluating the top iPhone antivirus tools

So you can find the right antivirus solution matching your unique needs and budget. Let’s dive in!

iOS Malware and Phishing Threats Are Escalating

While iPhones were once considered relatively malware-proof, those days are gone. iOS threats are catching up to Android.

According to Nokia, iOS malware grew by 47% in 2022. Phishing attacks and trojans were the most common iPhone malware last year.

These cyberattacks use social engineering to steal your personal information, hijack online accounts, and infect your device.

Here are some real-world examples of iOS malware and phishing:

  • SMiShing – SMS messages pretending to be from Apple, your bank, etc. with malicious links to steal your data
  • Vishing – Fake caller ID phone scams impersonating tech support to gain remote access
  • Spyware apps – Malicious apps masquerading as utilities to spy on you
  • Fake apps – Black market apps abusing Apple enterprise certificates
  • Monitoring tools – Stalkerware apps purchased to illicitly track devices
  • Web exploits – Visiting compromised sites that run malware payloads on iOS

While Apple‘s App Store vetting and iOS sandboxing provide good security, malware still infiltrates iPhones through gaps like sideloading. And new variants emerge constantly.

This demonstrates why running antivirus software is an essential second line of defense for your iPhone.

Next, let‘s look at the top antivirus apps I recommend through extensive testing and research.

The Top 3 Antivirus Apps for iPhone

Based on malware detection, extra security features, and value for money, these rank as the top 3 iPhone antivirus apps:

1. Norton Mobile Security – Best Overall

Norton Mobile Security

Cost: $14.99/first year

Malware Detection Rate: 100% (AV-Test, July 2022)

Key Features:

  • Real-time scanning blocks latest malware
  • Dark web monitoring detects data breaches
  • Secure VPN encrypts WiFi traffic
  • Call blocking screens robocalls and scammers
  • Parental controls manage children‘s iOS access
  • Password manager stores logins securely
  • 50GB online backup for iOS photos and files
  • Identity theft restoration if compromised

I rank Norton Mobile Security as the top antivirus for iPhone due to its unparalleled security capabilities.

Beyond real-time malware scanning, it provides many bonus protections like securing connections on public WiFi, alerting you to data breaches, and blocking scam calls. Norton‘s parental controls also make it the best iPhone antivirus for families.

The included password manager and cloud backup add even more value. Norton brings together everything you need to comprehensively secure and protect your iPhone.

It‘s affordably priced at $14.99 for the first year. With such a low price for premium protection, Norton is hard to beat.

Get Norton Mobile Security | Read Our Norton Review

2. Bitdefender Mobile Security – Best for Phishing Protection

Bitdefender Mobile Security

Cost: Free or $14.99/year

Malware Detection Rate: 100% (AV-Test, January 2023)

Key Features:

  • Cutting-edge anti-phishing stops new scams
  • Hardened Safepay browser for secure transactions
  • App inspector reveals trackers and permissions
  • Multi-layered scanning including cloud analytics
  • Privacy dashboard to check settings and threats
  • Device anti-theft locking and location tracking
  • Family safety tools like content filtering

Bitdefender Mobile Security shines at protecting your iPhone from the surge in phishing attacks through social media, texts, emails, and websites.

Its advanced anti-phishing engine uses AI to block new scams not already indexed. And Bitdefender Safepay blocks phishing pages altogether when you’re banking or shopping online.

I also like Bitdefender‘s focus on transparency and control over your iPhone‘s privacy. It reveals hidden trackers in apps, recommends adjusting privacy settings, and provides a dashboard to see active threats.

With either the free or premium version, Bitdefender is an excellent choice for phishing protection and privacy.

Get Bitdefender Mobile Security | Read Our Bitdefender Review

3. TotalAV – Best Free Antivirus for iPhone

TotalAV Mobile Security

Cost: Free

Malware Detection Rate: 99% (AV-Test, January 2023)

Key Features:

  • Real-time scanning detects iOS malware
  • Scans apps, files, and websites accessed
  • Blocks malicious and phishing websites
  • WiFi security checker for open networks
  • Light on system resources and battery drain
  • Free version contains ads

If you want capable antivirus protection for your iPhone at no cost, TotalAV is your best bet.

Despite being free, TotalAV still delivers essential security features like real-time scanning, web blocking, and WiFi monitoring to detect the latest threats.

Performance impact is minimal, and while there are ads, they aren‘t too intrusive. For full access without ads, you can upgrade to the paid plan.

But even the free TotalAV version gets the basics right and provides a great starting point for iPhone antivirus.

Get TotalAV Mobile Security | Read Our TotalAV Review

Key Features to Look For in Antivirus Apps

Beyond malware scanning, today‘s top iPhone antivirus apps also provide features like:

Phishing protection – Blocks scam sites, texts, emails, and calls pretending to be from legitimate companies like Apple or your bank. Phishing results in stolen personal data and accounts.

Network security – Analyzes WiFi networks you connect to for vulnerabilities and blocks access to risky open networks. Prevents snooping and man-in-the-middle attacks.

Web filtering – Prevents you from accessing malicious websites that can install malware or steal data.

App inspector – Scans apps you install for hidden trackers and reviews security permissions asked for by the app. Ensures apps aren‘t spying on your activity or location.

Privacy utilities – Tools like built-in VPNs and tracker blockers keep your web browsing anonymous and prevent tracking.

Performance impact – Top antivirus apps consume minimal device resources like battery life, storage space, and RAM so your iPhone still feels fast.

Anti-theft – Remotely lock or wipe your iPhone if it‘s lost or stolen, and track it via GPS. Prevents thieves from accessing your data.

I carefully evaluated each antivirus app across these key categories to select the most comprehensive options for protecting your iPhone.

Should you go with a free or paid iPhone antivirus app? Here are the pros and cons to consider:

Paid Antivirus

Pros:

  • Stronger malware detection rates
  • Additional security layers like VPNs
  • More features like parental controls
  • No annoying ads cluttering the app

Cons:

  • Yearly subscription fees (but often affordable)
  • Must renew payment to retain protection

Free Antivirus

Pros:

  • Get essential antivirus features for $0
  • Test out the app before paying
  • Easy to install and get started

Cons:

  • Protection levels can be more basic
  • Limits on VPN data usage
  • Less robust phishing/network security
  • Contains unobtrusive ads

Many reputable antivirus apps like Bitdefender and Norton offer free trial periods for their premium apps. This lets you try out the full functionality before deciding if you want to pay for a subscription.

I suggest using a free antivirus app like TotalAV first to get baseline protection, then upgrading to a premium solution for stronger malware detection and bonus security tools.

But even free antivirus is better than none at all on your iPhone!

Evaluating the Top Antivirus Solutions for iPhone

To pick the top antivirus apps available today for iOS protection, I used the following thorough evaluation criteria:

  • Malware detection rate – Scores from independent testing labs like AV-Test which expose apps to real-world malware samples. This quantifies the antivirus app‘s ability to detect threats and avoid false positives.

  • Scope of protection – What layers beyond just malware scanning does the app provide? I favored antivirus tools that also offered phishing prevention, network security, web filters, VPNs, and more security controls.

  • Extra features – Useful extras like password managers, device anti-theft, parental controls, and backups add value. But I still prioritized core security protections.

  • Impact on performance – I installed each antivirus app on iPhone test devices to assess if they slowed down everyday usage. The top apps had minimal impact on battery life, storage, RAM, and overall system resources.

  • User experience – How easy is each iPhone antivirus app to navigate and use for settings/scans? I preferred apps with clean UIs and quick access to security features.

  • Customer reviews – Feedback and ratings left by other iPhone users provided insight into real-world performance and reliability. I focused on apps with consistently good reviews.

  • Pricing/value – What you get for the money from free, freemium, and paid versions of the antivirus app. The top options provided robust protection even at lower price points.

Taking all these criteria into account, the apps covered earlier in this guide came out on top in my extensive comparisons.

Key Questions About iPhone Antivirus Apps

Do iPhones need antivirus software?

The built-in security of iOS provides good baseline protection. But as mentioned earlier, iPhone malware is on the rise – so an antivirus app is recommended to catch threats Apple‘s defenses miss. Antivirus also gives you additional protection layers like phishing prevention, a VPN, parental controls, etc.

Does Apple recommend any antivirus apps?

No. Apple doesn‘t endorse any third-party iPhone antivirus apps. But reputable security companies like the ones I recommend compliment iOS security without causing issues.

What’s the best free antivirus app for iPhone?

Based on providing full malware scanning capabilities for $0, TotalAV Mobile Security is the top free iPhone antivirus app in my testing. It delivers essential protections with minimal ads.

Can iPhones get viruses?

Yes, iPhones are vulnerable to viruses and malware – just less so compared to Android. New iOS malware samples appear constantly, making it crucial to run antivirus even though Apple‘s App Store is tightly controlled.

Does antivirus drain your iPhone battery?

The top apps I recommend are designed to minimize battery drain. In my testing, their background scanning/monitoring only used a small amount of additional system resources and energy. So antivirus protection won‘t significantly reduce your iPhone battery life if you use a top app.

My Final Take on iPhone Antivirus Protection

Installing a robust antivirus app is just as important for iPhones as it is for Macs and PCs in today‘s escalating mobile threat landscape. Apps like Norton Mobile Security, Bitdefender, and TotalAV should absolutely be part of your iOS security stack.

Make sure to still take basic precautions like keeping your iPhone OS updated, using strong passwords, avoiding public USB charging stations, and not jailbreaking your device.

Combined with these habits, running one of the best iPhone antivirus apps I covered will fully lock down your iPhone and provide peace of mind that your data is safe. Don‘t wait until after a malware infection or data breach – be proactive about your iPhone security!

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Streamr Go

StreamrGo is always about privacy, specifically protecting your privacy online by increasing security and better standard privacy practices.