iPhones are one of the most secure smartphones available on the market today. But despite this, in today’s world of shrinking privacy and with attackers constantly coming up with new ways to access your personal data it’s impossible for any device to be completely secure. Therefore, it’s likely that at some point you’ve considered protecting your iPhone or iPad with a security app in the same way that you’d protect your computer with an antivirus program.
When you type “antivirus” or similar into Apple’s App Store, not much comes up. This is because Apple places pretty heavy restrictions on what security apps can do. However, we’re going to have a look at 5 that have made it through and try to determine which is the best iPhone antivirus app.
We’ll look at what features they offer, how easy they are to use and how well they work.
Best Virus Protection for iPhone
1. MobiShield (Price: Free)
MobiShield is one of the most popular security apps on the App Store and takes the top spot on our list due to the sheer amount of information that it gives you. The app’s main screen displays handy graphs showing memory usage and data usage over time. The app also offers Jailbreak detection, Backup and Restore, Secure Erase, Battery Usage, Network information and Security News. Our main criticism is that the interface is not particularly well laid out and could be easier to use. It may also be too technical for some users and doesn’t offer much guidance about how to interpret the information it gives you.
2. Lookout (Price: Free)
Lookout is an established mobile security company that has worked with Apple in the past to investigate iPhone security threats. Their app is by far the most user-friendly and the interface is simple and easy to use. Features include Jailbreak detection, Missing Device Location and Backup. If you pay to upgrade to the Premium version you also get Theft Alerts and a Breach Report which notifies you if a service or app you use is breached. It is also the only app with an ‘App Monitor’ which claims to be able to check installed apps for malicious activity. However, we downloaded Lookout onto a test device that is Jailbroken and has a popular iPhone spy app installed and the App Monitor did not detect the spy app. For this reason, Lookout misses out on our top spot.
3. Avira (Price: Free)
Avira is one of the newer security apps available for download on the App Store. It features a Device Analyzer that displays current memory and storage usage in easy to read charts. Missing Device Location which allows you to pinpoint a lost device on a map and to trigger a loud ‘yell’ on the device. Identity Safeguard monitors your emails for threats as well as scanning your contacts and alerting you if any of their email providers have been compromised. The interface is slick and easy to use but can be a little slow to respond at times. The main disappointment with this app is its lack of features, there is no Jailbreak check and apart from the ability to monitor emails this app offers nothing more than other apps in this test. There are however other apps in Avira’s security suite that you can download to complement this app. For example, Avira Phantom VPN that allows you browse the web anonymously.
4. Protection by Byte Labs (Price: $9.99/month)
This app works differently from other apps in this list. It does not scan the device or provide any diagnostic analysis, instead it provides a secure VPN that directs your mobile traffic through Byte Labs’ secure server. This means that you can browse the internet without revealing your location. It will also block any connections that it deems to be malicious or insecure. The downside to using VPN is that some apps and websites (e.g. video streaming services) do not work over a VPN connection. This app also has a Device Health feature that checks if the device is Jailbroken, if the iOS software is up to date and displays memory and storage usage. A good, easy to use app but unfortunately it is not free.
5. McAfee Mobile Security (Price: Free)
McAfee is a well-known name in the field of digital security. Their computer antivirus software has been around for more than 20 years so you’d expect their mobile offering to be pretty good. Unfortunately, McAfee’s app is let down by its lack of features. The app offers a Secure Vault for storing photos and videos (which can be backed-up to iCloud), Missing device location and backup/restore of contacts. Anyone familiar with iPhones however will note that most of the features in this app are provided by Apple anyway, with iCloud backups and ‘Find My iPhone’. Therefore, it is difficult to justify using this app to perform the same functions. That said, the Secure Vault does have some nice additional features and the interface is well laid out and very responsive.
But what if I want to scan my iPhone for viruses?
Whilst these apps all offer nice features, what if you just want an app that can scan your iPhone for viruses or spyware, just like a regular antivirus program? Well, unfortunately, there are currently no apps available on the App Store that will do this as Apple does not allow it. However, there is a solution. Here at Certo Software we have developed a tool that allows you to quickly and easily scan your device for malicious software by simply connecting it to your Windows or Mac computer.