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
Google Play Protect is Android’s antivirus app. It scans the apps on your device and then compares them to the Google Play versions of that app. It lets you know if the two aren’t the same. This combined with the existing protection in Google Play creates a really good barrier of security. Plus, it’s free, it’s probably already on your device, and you don’t have to do anything to use it.
This along with common sense work better and are better for your device than basically any antivirus app, no matter what company makes it. It’ll also save valuable resources with one fewer app running in the background. We recommend this one first. Hit the button above for more information!
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
Sophos’ free antivirus app has previously won the AV-Test award for best protection in 2015. Unlike other free scanners, Sophos doesn’t contain any adverts. It does, however, block websites with potentially spammy or illegal content.
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
This free app from Norton was able to detect 100% of all Android malware when benchmarked by AV-Test a few months ago. The scanner is powered by Norton Mobile Insight and can detect viruses inside apps and files, then remove them automatically.
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
Trend Micro’s effort not only scans new apps for malware, but prevents newly installed apps from accessing other programs, which can be useful for device admins and parents.
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
This security app from South Korean AhnLab is not as famous as the others on this list, but nonetheless has very high detection rates for Android malware according to AV-Test (99.6%) and runs well even on older Android devices. Indeed, it has a built-in booster to help speed up your phone’s performance.
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
Avira’s mobile offering will not only scan files you download and content on your phone’s memory, but it can also scan external storage such as your SD card. Applications are rated using a privacy scale to help you easily decide how much they can be trusted with your data.
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.
AndroHelm isn’t as popular as some other antivirus apps. However, it’s just as functional. The app features various antivirus and anti-malware features, including scanning apps on install, frequent updates, a quarantine mode, virus protection, and more. It also has features for anti-theft like tracking, remote wiping, and more. There are boost features as well. We don’t recommend them. They usually just mess things up and don’t actually help. The pricing structure is a bit complicated, but the base app has all the details if you need them.
AVG Antivirus for Android
AVG is another big name in the antivirus apps space. In fact, it’s basically the same as AVAST. AVAST actually purchased AVG back in 2016. Thus, the experience is similar in both antivirus apps. This one does offer a few differences. The app has anti-theft tracking via Google Maps, but it also doesn’t have the rooted firewall availability. Like AVAST, there are a swath of pointless battery, memory, and phone boosting features that don’t actually work. Otherwise, it’s not a bad antivirus.
CM Security Lite
CM Security Lite is another rare free antivirus app. We don’t recommend Cheetah Mobile apps typically. They tend to be just horrible. This one is a weird case, though. It works a lot like Bitdefender above. It scans your device and then it does nothing else. There are no boost features, no cleaner features, or anything like that. It scans your device along with your external SD card. The app also scans apps upon installation and can do scans on a schedule. That’s basically all it does. It’s good for a minimal antivirus experience. It’s also totally free with no in-app purchases and we’re pretty sure there are no ads either.
Dr Web Security Space
Dr Web is one of the older antivirus apps and anti-malware apps. It has a decent set of features, including quick and full scans, protection from ransomware, a quarantine space, and even stats. Along with that, it has good anti-theft features, call and SMS filtering, URL filtering, parental controls, a firewall, and more. It’s also fairly inexpensive.
ESET Mobile Security and Antivirus
ESET is another big name in the antivirus and anti-malware world. It has a decent set of features, including scans, anti-theft support, a security auditor feature, scan scheduling, and more. The setup process is a bit intrusive. It’s one of the few that require an email address. Otherwise, it works pretty well. It’s not quite has heavy as something as AVAST or AVG, but it is heavier than CM Security Lite or Bitdefender. Take that info for what it’s worth.
Lookout Security and Antivirus
Lookout is another popular antivirus and anti-malware app. It comes pre-installed on many devices, especially on carriers like T-Mobile. It does the basics fairly well. That includes scans, phishing protection, malware protection, anti-theft features, and more. It also comes with some unique stuff like identity protection, identity insurance, and WiFi scanning. That gives it a bit of a different perspective than most antivirus apps.
Malwarebytes is one of the most popular antivirus apps on Windows. The mobile version is pretty good too. It features an aggressively updated virus database, support for malware and ransomware, a permission tracker, and more. It can even scan messages in WhatsApp, Facebook, SMS, etc for potentially dangerous links. Of course, it does the usual stuff like scanning as well.
TrustGo Antivirus and Mobile Security
TrustGo is another one of the rare free antivirus apps. It features the basic stuff like device scanning, app scanning, and protection from malware and the like. The app also includes an app manager, a privacy adviser, data backup, and some other useful stuff. It’s not super heavy or bogged down with features. There are more features than most other free antivirus apps, though. This one does include cleaner and booster functions. We recommend you steer clear of those. They don’t really work.
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.