What is the app that checks iPhone for malware?

There are a few different apps that can check an iPhone for malware. Some of the most popular and effective options include:


Lookout is one of the most well-known anti-malware apps for iPhone. It provides comprehensive protection against malware, phishing attempts, and other mobile threats. Some key features of Lookout include:

  • Real-time scanning – Lookout continuously scans files and apps on your device to detect threats.
  • Phishing and web protection – It checks websites and links for threats before you access them.
  • Backup scanning – Lookout can scan backups of your device data stored on iCloud or iTunes.
  • Privacy advice – It gives warnings about apps that may be accessing private data without consent.

Lookout has a basic free version with limited functionality. Premium paid plans unlock additional features like data breach alerts and identity theft monitoring. Lookout is easy to set up and runs passively in the background without draining battery life.


Malwarebytes is another trusted name in malware protection. Their iPhone app provides robust detection of malware, adware, spyware, ransomeware, and other threats. Key features include:

  • Real-time protection – Constantly monitors activity and blocks threats.
  • Web filtering – Detects and blocks scams and malicious sites.
  • App audit – Checks permissions of installed apps to identify risky behavior.
  • Anomaly detection – Uses AI to identify suspicious activity that may indicate an infection.

Malwarebytes has a free tier with limited scans or a premium subscription option for comprehensive protection. One advantage over Lookout is that Malwarebytes allows you to schedule regular scans at set times or intervals.


Symantec’s Norton Mobile Security offers robust malware detection paired with other features like WiFi security, online backup, and device location. Highlights include:

  • App advisor – Scans apps before download to flag potential risks.
  • Real-time protection – Constant monitoring and blocking of threats.
  • Smart firewall – Prevents unauthorized connections to block attacks.
  • Safe web browsing – Checks sites and links for threats.
  • Missing device features – Lets you remotely lock or wipe data if your phone is lost.

Like the other apps, Norton has free and premium versions. The premium subscription unlocks the full suite of features. Norton leverages Symantec’s threat intelligence data to provide comprehensive mobile protection.

McAfee Mobile Security

McAfee is another established leader in consumer cybersecurity. Their mobile product provides malware detection alongside features like device location, contact backup, and secure file storage. Notable features include:

  • Real-time scanning – Constantly checks apps and files for threats.
  • Vulnerability detection – Scans settings and apps to flag risky configurations.
  • Contact backup – Syncs and backs up contacts to protect data.
  • App locking – Locks apps behind a PIN or fingerprint.
  • Bluetooth security – Scans Bluetooth connections for risks.

Like the other apps, McAfee offers basic protection in the free version with the option to upgrade to the full suite in a paid premium plan. It leverages McAfee’s extensive experience protecting PCs and networks.

Trend Micro Mobile Security

Trend Micro Mobile Security provides robust malware protection alongside web, network, and privacy features. Key capabilities include:

  • Malware scanning – On-device and cloud-assisted scanning to detect threats.
  • Web security – Blocks access to compromised or malicious sites and URLs.
  • WiFi security – Scans WiFi networks for risks and blocks suspicious connections.
  • Privacy scanner – Checks settings to identify privacy risks and clean up traces of activity.
  • Data backup – Backs up contacts, photos, and other data to the cloud.

Like the other apps, Trend Micro offers free and premium versions. Trend Micro has a very long history in cybersecurity, and their mobile product leverages their extensive threat intelligence.

Common Features of Malware Protection Apps

While the apps differ in their specific capabilities, there are some core features common across most malware and security apps for iPhone:

  • Real-time scanning – Constantly checks files, memory, inbound network data, and device activity for threats.
  • Vulnerability scan – Checks for misconfigurations or risky settings that could expose the device to threats.
  • Web/network protection – Scans websites, links, WiFi networks, and other connections for malicious content or behavior.
  • App reputation – Checks apps against databases of known good and bad apps to identify risks before downloading.
  • Cloud-assisted detection – Uses constantly updated cloud databases to check for the latest known threats.

Premium versions tend to offer additional features like more frequent or scheduled scans, data backup, identity monitoring, and family safety tools. But the core malware protection capability is generally effective even in the free versions.

Key Factors in Choosing a Malware Protection App

All of the apps discussed above are reputable options that use proven security technologies to detect potential malware and other threats on iPhone devices. However, there are some key factors to consider when choosing a solution:

  • Malware detection rate – Look at tests and reviews to compare the effectiveness at identifying malware samples and threats.
  • Impact on system performance – Assess whether the app consumes reasonable system resources or noticeably impacts battery life and performance.
  • Cost – Factor in the pricing model for premium features. A free version may be sufficient if you only need basic protection.
  • Extra features – Consider whether you need additional capabilities like web filtering, firewall, data backup, identity theft monitoring, etc.
  • Customer support – Check reviews and testimonials regarding the vendor’s customer service and support resources.

While individual needs and preferences vary, for most users we recommend Lookout or Malwarebytes as providing robust malware detection and overall mobile security capabilities for iPhone with reasonable system resource consumption. But evaluating your specific requirements including pricing, features, and app performance is advisable to determine the best solution for your needs.

Limitations of Malware Apps for iPhone

While malware and security apps provide useful protection for iOS devices, they do have some limitations:

  • Cannot scan or detect threats within encrypted apps due to lack of access.
  • May be circumvented by very advanced threats designed specifically to evade detection.
  • Can only scan the device itself – does not protect the network or other devices/users.
  • May not detect emerging or zero-day threats until updated threat databases are pushed out.
  • Resource consumption, however light, still impacts battery life and performance to some degree.

For these reasons, security apps should be just one layer of defense rather than the only protection. Safe browsing habits, encrypting sensitive data, enabling device locking, keeping software updated, avoiding side-loading random apps, and exercising general caution regarding links, attachments, WiFi connections, etc. also remain important. But a reputable security app can detect the majority of common threats, providing valuable protection in combination with general security best practices for mobile devices.

The Bottom Line

Malware and mobile security apps provide automated on-device protection against the significant and growing threat of malware on iOS devices. Lookout, Malwarebytes, Norton, McAfee, and Trend Micro are among the top options with proven malware detection and mobile security capabilities.

While basic malware scanning is free, premium versions offer expanded protection and extra features for a subscription cost. Evaluate specific needs like malware detection rate, system impact, and additional capabilities when selecting a solution. Security apps fill an important role, but work best alongside general security awareness and safe mobile usage habits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is antivirus needed for iPhone?

Traditional antivirus is less crucial on iPhone than other platforms due to the closed iOS ecosystem. But malware and other threats do exist even on iPhone, so using a security app provides an added layer of protection and peace of mind.

Does iPhone have built-in malware protection?

iOS has some general exploit and malware protections built-in, but no real-time on-device scanning for malicious apps and files. Third party security apps fill this gap with automated threat detection and blocking.

What is the best free antivirus for iPhone?

Lookout, Malwarebytes, and Norton all have excellent free tiers of their iPhone security apps. Lookout provides malware detection with minimal battery/performance impact. Malwarebytes allows scheduled scans. Norton includes web protection and other features.

Can iPhone get a virus?

Yes, iPhone is susceptible to threats like malware, spyware, trojans, phishing attacks, and other malicious content, even if less so than Android. Reputable security apps can detect and block the majority of iPhone virus threats.

Should I run antivirus on my iPhone?

Running a modern security app like Lookout or Malwarebytes provides useful extra protection at minimal cost. iPhone viruses and malware do exist and security apps can catch them. So it’s recommended for the added peace of mind.