Many of them do much more than run automatic scans, and they’ll actively try to prevent malicious web pages and files from being opened or downloaded in the first place.
An antivirus app for your Android device can clean up viruses, Trojans, malicious URLs, infected SD cards, and other kinds of mobile malware, as well as protect your privacy from other threats like spyware or improper app permissions.
5 Best Android Antivirus Apps (Video)
17 Best Android Antivirus Apps
Fortunately, a really great free antivirus app doesn’t also have to hit you with performance issues you might expect from tools like these, like bloated RAM usage, excess bandwidth, etc.
Google Play Protect
Avast Mobile Security
Antivirus giant, Avast, has used its considerable skills to create an app which goes above and beyond a mundane scanner. Extra features in the free version include a call blocker, firewall and even an anti-theft measure allowing you to remotely lock or wipe your Android device if it goes missing.
The app used to be paid but is now free, supported by ads. You can pay a small monthly or yearly premium to remove these. Another very useful premium feature is ‘in-app locking’ whereby your device will ask for a PIN before opening certain apps.
Bitdefender Antivirus Free
Bitdefender is a big name in the security community, and its free antivirus program is extremely lightweight. In fact, it doesn’t run in the background which frees up system resources and saves on battery life.
This does mean you have to schedule scans or run them manually to be safe. This said, any new apps downloaded to your device are automatically scanned. Another advantage of this app is that it’s ready to go as soon as it is installed.
Antiy AVL is a former winner of the AV-Test (a well-respected independent antivirus testing outfit) award for best protection of mobile devices. Its features include not only an antivirus database (of course) but a scanner capable of detecting any kind of executable file making its way onto your device.
Other handy features include a call blocker to prevent malicious numbers from contacting you, as well as an anti-phishing feature to stop harmful websites from loading in the first place.
McAfee Security & Power Booster Free
McAfee is another well-known name when it comes to antivirus software for the PC, and this Android app – McAfee Mobile Security – doesn’t disappoint. Besides the antivirus scanner itself, free features include tracking a lost device as well as locking and wiping it remotely. If your device is stolen, the app can even take a picture of the thief…
Other highlights include the ability to scan apps to check if they leak sensitive information, and lock them if necessary. McAfee will also block access to potentially malicious websites, as well as allow you to keep a blacklist of nuisance callers and texters.
Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus
Kaspersky has a reputation up there with the big players like Bitdefender. The free version of its security app has some impressive features, and it’s very good at picking up on malware, with a detection rate of 99.9% according to AV-Test’s trials from November 2017.
Kaspersky Antivirus & Security will also try to block any malicious sites or links before you click through to them, preventing an infection from happening in the first place.
Sophos Free Antivirus and Security
Apps are scanned for malware or otherwise harmful content as they are installed and Sophos alerts you if they might leak any sensitive information. The antivirus scanner can be scheduled to scan files and folders periodically, and the malware database itself is updated daily.
Norton Security and Antivirus
Other useful security features include the ability to lock your phone via an SMS message, or if the SIM card is removed. You can also choose to remotely lock your device if it goes missing (or have it locked after 10 unsuccessful attempts to enter the passcode).
Trend Micro Mobile Security & Antivirus
There’s also a built-in privacy scanner for Facebook which warns you if your profile settings are displaying sensitive personal information.
AhnLab V3 Mobile Security
Other handy privacy features include a hidden gallery for personal photos and a privacy cleaner to securely clear your browsing history. Anti-theft measures include an alarm which kicks in if the device is reported lost or the SIM card is replaced. You can also remotely track, lock and wipe your device.
Avira Antivirus Security
The integrated ‘Identity Safeguard’ regularly checks if the email addresses in your contacts list have been involved in any major data breaches. The app is controlled by a web-based management portal, which is extremely useful if you want to set up a common policy over multiple Android devices.
AVG Antivirus for Android
CM Security Lite
Dr Web Security Space
ESET Mobile Security and Antivirus
Lookout Security and Antivirus
TrustGo Antivirus and Mobile Security
We want to like PSafe DFNDR. It looks great; has many useful features, all of which are free; and its paid version costs only $4.99 per year and merely removes ads. But in lab tests, its malware-detection rate changes from month to month. Sometimes it’s excellent, sometime it’s pretty bad. Until PSafe gets that problem ironed out, we have to recommend other apps.