Best Android Antivirus Apps at a Glance
Today smartphones are more than just the means of communication: we store both personal information and bank account data in our smartphones. Mobile devices also allow us to solve many problems on the go, and this has made life much easier for people.
At the same time, confidential information, which is the primary target of cybercriminals, is becoming increasingly vulnerable. Moreover, devices and data can be lost and stolen. We risk losing them if we treat the issue of data protection carelessly.
Antivirus apps are as popular among users as the most popular social media apps. Also, malware and viruses can break the normal Android functionality, making the work with your smartphone inconvenient.
There are several security rules for owners of Android smartphones. First, do not download apps from the third-parties and do not follow suspicious links. Second, do not pay online if connected to public Wi-Fi, and do not forget to install antivirus on your phone.
In the review, we will talk about the best antivirus apps for Android devices. The review is based on the results of tests by leading antivirus labs. We included the following products:
- Norton Mobile Security
- Bitdefender Mobile Security
- Avast Mobile Security
- McAfee Mobile Security & Power Booster Free
- Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus
- AVG Mobile Security
- ESET Mobile Security and Antivirus
- Lookout Security & Antivirus
- Google Play Protect
- Avira Antivirus Security
1. Norton Mobile Security
- Intuitive interface
- Fast scans and processes
- The app does not consume many system resources
- Some features are not available in Android 9 and above
- SMS theft prevention component is now disabled in all versions of Android
- Quite an expensive premium plan
It is a mobile antivirus for Android with Norton Mobile Insight technology that prevents malicious and unwanted applications from getting to your smartphone or tablet. You can also back up your contacts and synchronize them with other Android devices. The product also includes a free version; however, all the advanced features are available only in the premium version.
This antivirus has a unique and truly generous offer – one paid subscription will protect up to 10 different devices on Android and iOS. Every gadget will have almost perfect protection – Norton has shown a 99.9% rate during lab tests. Another advantage of this android antivirus is the fast scan that will take around just 10 seconds. Even though the software impacts the performance of the device a bit, due to the fast scan you might not even notice it.
The regular package cost is $29.99/year, but the first year of subscription will only cost you $14.99.
- Antivirus scanner monitors and protects your smartphone or tablet from malicious applications. It also deletes apps that contain malicious code/viruses that can harm your device or slow it down.
- Safe Search lets you see the security ratings of websites and online stores, and helps you avoid malicious sites in your search results.
- Application Advisor automatically checks applications for possible personal information leaks, inefficient use of battery and data resources, and intrusive behavior before downloading.
- Web protection blocks fraudulent and phishing websites from accessing your personal and confidential information, including bank card data, online banking accounts, online shopping, and social media.
- Wireless network security notifies you when you connect to unsecured public Wi-Fi networks.
- Antispam. Call Blocking allows you to block unwanted phone calls and SMS messages (not available in Android 9.0 and above).
- Anti-Theft: remote blocking, cleaning, and device search.
Overall, Norton Mobile Security is quite a good Android antivirus and protects your device from most threats.
2. Bitdefender Mobile Security
- Affordable price-tag
- A lot of useful features
- It does not use many system resources
- Expensive unlimited VPN plan
The Android antivirus provides complete protection against mobile viruses and threats to personal data. The main goal of Bitdefender Mobile Security is to provide as many opportunities as possible to protect your Android device and essential information on it, not consuming a lot of system resources and battery.
Bitdefender is built on one of the most reliable and modern anti-malware engines (read the review here). During tests, this antivirus scored a perfect 100%. The software automatically scans all apps that are just installed or updated. However, there is no feature that would allow scheduling scans, and that’s a downside. The scan on demand is quite fast – it will take around 30 seconds. The antivirus is using cloud-based malware detection and doesn’t take a lot of resources.
Bitdefender Mobile security package will cost you $14.99/year. 14-day free trial is available.
- Antivirus scan. The Bitdefender Malware Scanner automatically scans apps during installation to avoid installing malware. The antivirus runs in the cloud, so it is always up to date and protects your Android device from the latest threats and aggressive advertising.
- The Application Lock feature shows a list of all applications installed in the system and allows you to select those that can be password-protected against unauthorized access. This way, only you and someone who knows the password can use these applications.
- Bitdefender Web Security protects you in real-time when you visit websites by blocking malicious and phishing resources.
- VPN. The service provides 200 MB of traffic per day for free. If you need more, please subscribe to the Bitdefender VPN.
- Anti-theft includes a web-based remote control panel that allows you to send SMS commands, lock, locate, sound the siren and erase Android information from any device with Internet access, as well as to listen to your phone.
Bitdefender Mobile Security is a very good option for all your Android devices. You get powerful protection against all possible threats, as well as some additional features.
3. Avast Mobile Security
- Reasonable pricing
- A wide variety of available features
- Doesn’t overload your device
- Call blocking doesn’t work stable on some devices
- Anti-theft is not very reliable
The mobile security application protects personal data with automatic virus scanning and notification of malicious URLs and blocks hackers’ actions using the built-in firewall. There is a basic free version, but the premium edition includes all the advanced options.
Avast antivirus offers pretty reliable protection, although lab tests are very inconsistent (read our full Avast Antivirus review). In some tests, Avast scores 100%, in others — only 5.5 out of 6. However, even the lower scores are not as bad – it has the award because of its low system impact. The app offers several modes: a real-time shield that protects the device from malware; the scan-on-demand; scheduled scans. The last option allows to schedule scanning for, say, 3 a.m. when you’re asleep, so you don’t have to deal with a laggy phone.
Prices for the paid option of Avast Mobile Security are as follows:
- Monthly – $1.99/month
- Yearly – $7.99/year
- Antivirus scanner performs on-demand scans of installed applications and the contents of the SD card and scans in real-time when applications are first launched. It includes scheduled scanning, updating antivirus databases, deleting apps, deleting files, and sending false positives reports to the Avast lab.
- Security advisor — privacy report. The app scans the system and detects all the potential privacy risks.
- Application management shows lists of running applications and their size, CPU, and memory usage, as well as some threads and services.
- Web Protection powered by the Avast WebRep cloud technology. The antivirus checks every URL you enter, alerting you if it is malicious. The new SiteCorrect feature detects the most common errors in URL typing and allows you to be redirected to the website you intended to visit.
- Firewall (for rooted devices only) protects against hackers and network threats to your mobile device.
- Wi-Fi Security component scans wireless network access points the device is connected to, and reports on their security level identify potential Wi-Fi vulnerabilities and offer solutions to address them.
- Avast Anti-Theft: application masking, invisible mode, self-protection, battery power saver, notifications about SIM card changes, list of allowed SIM cards, remote control.
In general, this is quite a good Android antivirus solution from one of the most popular vendors. It works smoothly and provides enough protection for most users.
4. McAfee Mobile Security & Power Booster Free
- Variety of available features
- Clear interface
- The application does not use a lot of system resources
- Quite an expensive pricing
- Too many ads in the free plan
It is a free antivirus for Android that helps maintain high levels of online privacy and improves the performance of your tablet or smartphone. The premium subscription allows getting some additional features and disables ads in the app.
McAfee Antivirus is one of the not that many antiviruses that offers pretty good protection and a nice range of features for free (check our review). The McAfee software will scan all installed apps automatically as well as new files. Also, you can run the on-demand scan if you feel the need. The Web Protection feature will block all sites that contain possible threats and will warn you when you get suspicious emails or texts.
A 1-year subscription will cost you $29.99.
- The Anti-Theft module will lock the lost device and take a photo of the person using it.
- Spyware Protection prevents phishing attacks and blocks access to your personal information.
- Delete all data remotely or reset the device to factory settings.
- Locate and track your device, as well as trigger a remote siren.
- Anti-deletion in case of theft.
- Remotely manage your antivirus protection from a web portal.
- Privacy check monitors which applications are dangerous for your data.
- Performance optimization with Power Booster.
- Battery optimization.
- Memory cleaning tool.
- Storage Cleaner.
- Antivirus protection and virus scanner scan the malicious code in files, on SD card, in applications, and downloads.
- Anti-malware provides real-time protection against malicious applications.
- Secure Wi-Fi to protect data in unsafe Wi-Fi networks.
- Security Check identifies and removes infections.
- Wi-Fi Guard VPN.
- Safe browsing blocks access to potentially dangerous sites.
- Kids mode.
Generally, McAfee Mobile Security & Power Booster Free is a good solution for those who care about device security. However, it does not protect well against malware.
5. Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus
- Powerful anti-malware protection
- Reliable call blocking
- Variety of advanced features
- No scanning in the free version
- There are some false positives
It is a great security app for Android smartphones and tablets. It provides comprehensive protection against malicious applications, theft, spam, phishing, and dangerous websites on your mobile device.
Kaspersky Antivirus provides its users with several anti-theft features. You can take a mugshot, wipe all data, lock and locate the device remotely, and set an alarm that will at least irritate the thief. Also, there is a browser protection feature that will help you stay away from malicious sites. Kaspersky allows you to hide all calls and certain contact cards as well. Overall, this antivirus gives a vast range of features.
The price is $11.99/year for one device. Every additional device will cost $5.
- Detecting adware and programs that can be used to harm the device or user data.
- Heuristic analysis.
- Scanning the entire file system, only installed programs, or a selected folder on user demand for viruses and other malware.
- Quarantine or delete detected files.
- Update the program’s antivirus databases on user demand.
- Kaspersky Anti-Theft web portal allows to remotely control and lock the device, turn on the siren, receive photos from the front camera, as well as delete personal information or completely clean the device.
- Incoming calls blocking.
- Real-time file system check for suspicious activity.
- Checking new programs immediately after they are installed.
- Update program antivirus databases on a scheduled basis.
- Blocking malicious and phishing websites.
- Application blocking.
Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus is a reliable Android antivirus with strong protection against malware and other threats.
6. AVG Mobile Security
- Full remote control of the device
- Many features are available for free
- Not the best anti-malware protection
The antivirus app for Android provides real-time protection for smartphones or tablets, allows you to locate your device remotely, and block it in case of theft or loss. You also get effective and easy-to-use protection against viruses and malware, as well as real-time application scanner, process manager, apps lock, and data cleaning.
AVG antivirus will not offer you the best protection ever – its results in lab tests are pretty mediocre. However, it compensates this downside with other strength. The antivirus has a great interface, offers a monthly plan unlike most providers and supports an unlimited number of devices. The quick scanning is a huge plus, and a built-in secure search allows you to search something incognito without your data being gathered.
Additionally, AVG will scan your WiFi and tell you about any vulnerabilities. You also can protect some apps by locking them. There is a section for performance improvement as well. Here you can manage the activity of apps and clean trash to speed up your device. The last feature is the anti-theft. It helps to locate the gadget when it’s lost or stolen, set the alarm, lock it, delete the data and take a mugshot of a thief.
The price is $2.69/month or $10.79/year.
- Anti-Thief. Find your lost or stolen mobile phone, remotely turn on the GPS, send its location coordinates, and find the device on Google Maps. Remotely lock your smartphone or tablet through the AVG Mobilation web portal or by text message.
- Secure Internet. Online searches, shopping, and social networking with strong phishing and web threat protection. Scanning websites to block malicious resources.
- Performance and speed. Monitor battery consumption, use of free space, and data traffic to optimize device performance.
- Task Manager.
- Erase contacts, text messages, photos, web browser history, calendar, format SD card, and restore mobile device to factory settings.
- Lock applications to protect confidential data and phone settings with a password.
- Camera trap and SIM card lock.
AVG Mobile Security is a good antivirus for all those who care about the device security and wants to gain full remote control over it.
7. ESET Mobile Security and Antivirus
- Powerful protection from most threats
- Cloud integration
- Full control over the lost or stolen device
- Unstable work of some modules
- Slow technical support
It’s a comprehensive security solution that protects your Android smartphone or tablet against most known and emerging mobile threats and phishing sites. It can also block unwanted calls and SMS messages and allows you to control your device remotely in case of its loss or theft.
- Real-time protection.
- Fast, intelligent, deep antivirus scanning.
- Scheduled Threat Scans.
- Automatic update of signature databases.
- ESET Live Grid Cloud Technology.
- Detection of potentially unwanted and dangerous applications.
- The Anti-theft module prevents unauthorized access to the mobile device. You can search, block, and clean your lost or stolen device via SMS messages, control it via the web portal, get the photos from the front camera.
- Anti Phishing integrates with the most common Android web browsers and blocks all the potential phishing attacks.
- Security inspection helps control and modify important device settings and installed application permissions to prevent security threats.
This is one of the most powerful antiviruses. It offers a real-time scanning that doesn’t slow the device much, extra firewalls that are on alert all the time, quick and full scans. ESET will protect you from malware, ransomware, and phishing.
8. Lookout Security & Antivirus
- Strong identity theft protection
- Intuitive interface
- Most features are available for free
- Not a very intuitive malware protection module
- Very slow system scans
This is a free antivirus that uses the Mobile Threat Network, a cloud-based network that provides complete protection against viruses, malware, and spyware. Additional features include remote search and control of a mobile device, as well as turn on a loud siren. Some of them are available in the premium version.
- Mobile Threat Network blocks malware and spyware, checks every application you install, and alerts you if you attempt to connect to dangerous or attacked Wi-Fi networks.
- Phone search. Find your phone on a Google map, remotely activate a loud alarm.
- The app automatically saves geolocation data before the device discharges.
- Advanced protection against phishing and malicious websites.
- Privacy Protection. Find out which applications have access to your personal information, remove personal information from your lost device.
- Priority support for premium users
Lookout Security & Antivirus is quite lightweight and straightforward mobile antivirus. At the same time, it provides quite good protection against many threats.
9. Google Play Protect
- This is a built-in feature: for basic protection, you do not need to install any third-party apps
- Minimal system impact: it works smoothly even on weak devices
- Great anti-theft capabilities
- Very limited functionality
- Weak anti-malware protection
We included Google Play Protect into the review as it is built on all Android devices. However, we cannot advise relying only on this product. According to AV-Test, Google Play Protect showed worse results than all other antivirus applications. That’s why it’s not the best idea to avoid installing other applications.
- Built-in Android solution.
- Automatically scans all the applications in Google Play Market, as well as the apps you install manually.
- Real-time malware protection against most popular threats.
- Find My Device allows you to control your lost or stolen smartphone or tablet, located on Google Maps, as well as send a message or clean all the data on it.
- Chrome Safe Browsing will protect against phishing and malicious websites.
Google Play Protect is a good option for those who don’t use the device to store very important information, never visits suspicious websites, and installs the apps from Play Market.
10. Avira Antivirus Security
- Affordable pricing
- Good identity-theft protection
- Full device control
- Average antimalware protection
- Some features are not stable
Avira antivirus will scan downloaded files that are stored in the memory of your gadget and on the external storage like SD card. Unfortunately, in the free version, you will only get a scan-on-demand. If you want the software to protect you while you’re surfing on the Internet, you will have to get a paid premium version. Avira has shown rather good results during lab tests so that you will have decent protection.
The price is $5.95/year per device.
- Antivirus protection detects, blocks, and removes malicious applications.
- Automatic scanning. Applications are scanned when installed and updated.
- Scan on demand.
- Minimal resource consumption.
- Advanced Identity Safeguard. Check whether your email, contacts, and accounts have been hacked.
- Privacy Guard. Find out which applications are threatening your data.
- Blacklist the unwanted calls.
- Anti-theft. Remotely lock your lost or stolen device and control it through a web portal.
- App Lock protects your phone from the use by unauthorized users.
- Remote Scream. A remote siren to find your phone nearby.
- Location Tracking. Locate your lost or stolen phone.
- VPN Secure. The free version provides 100 MB of daily traffic for an encrypted connection. If you need more traffic, please buy a premium subscription.
- Device Management. Keep track of your device security settings, information, and battery life.
- Secure web surfing.
- Camera and microphone protection.
Overall, Avira is a solid Android antivirus which includes automatic anti-virus protection and focuses on the extensive features of the Anti-Thief component. The application protects against malicious applications and allows you to find and return your phone if it was lost or stolen. Also, the application includes a VPN function for safe work on the Internet.
How to Choose the Top Antivirus?
Do we need antivirus for Android?
The biggest advantage of Android became one of its biggest problems. We talk about the openness of the operating system, which gives the opportunity not only to customize but also opens the way to create malware and viruses.
In most cases (like 99%), you don’t need to even think about an antivirus on your tablet/phone running on this operating system. Mass media has led regular people to believe that Android viruses are even more dangerous than the Windows ones, but that is far from the truth. At the same time, they do exist, which is why a robust modern-day antivirus will still have some work to do.
However, can Android phones be infected with viruses? Android devices do not receive traditional viruses like the computers do but can catch other malicious programs.
Android developers built several security features:
- Rights for apps. You are able to control which application has access to different device functions such as a microphone, camera, location, telephone, and messages.
- Software and security updates. Do not ignore the system updates — they include improved security.
- Secure browsing. This feature allows you to block some suspicious and phishing websites you visit on your Chrome mobile browser.
Antivirus for Android will fix the security flaws in your operating system. Here are some features of typical antivirus:
- Real-time antivirus protection.
- Scan for viruses and threats on request.
- SD card scanning.
- Device performance optimization.
- Battery consumption optimization.
- Checking access rights for installed applications.
- Powerful identity theft protection.
- Remote cleaning of confidential data.
- Detect and remotely lock the device.
So give Android antivirus a try. Many products have a free version — it will help to understand whether you like this software or not.
Testing Results From the Labs
Most leading antivirus test labs regularly conduct comprehensive testing of Android antivirus solutions, checking the level of protection, performance, and false positives for each mobile antivirus.
The test uses the latest versions of mobile antivirus available at the time of testing. Applications can update the signatures and databases in real-time via their cloud services.
Each software is tested by three points: protection, usability, and functionality (up to 1 point). The following apps in our review regularly receive the highest result:
- Avast Mobile Security
- AVG Mobile Security
- Bitdefender Mobile Security
- Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus
- McAfee Mobile Security
- Norton Mobile Security for Android
Here you can find some tests results from leading labs:
Malware Protection for Smartphone
Whether you use an Android antivirus or not, follow these simple rules to protect your smartphone from potential malware:
- Download applications only from reliable sources. Bypass suspicious applications downloaded from the Internet.
- Be careful, even when accessing a trusted site. Before uploading anything to your device, check the file rating, read the comments, and see who built the app.
- Install regular security updates on your device. In its updates, Google improves the Android OS every time, patching up security holes.
- Stop using outdated apps and phones –- they are not safe. Always install the latest operating system updates and mobile apps. It’s the best way to keep your phone secure, more efficient, and easier than any anti-virus protection.
- Don’t view important information on your phone over public Wi-Fi. As a rule, in public places, the Internet connection is not password protected. Think carefully before using public Wi-Fi for serious purposes, as easy access makes them more vulnerable.
- Do not store the most valuable data on your phone. In this case, there is less chance of losing them.
- Use strong passwords. The password is direct access to all your information, so do not underestimate its importance.
- Keep your passwords in special applications.
Antimalware and antivirus protection, as well as anti-theft modules, are core features of any Android antivirus. At the same time, many programs provide some additional features. They may include the following:
- Backup of contacts and files. Although Google allows backing up the contacts, many antiviruses additionally backup certain files like documents or photos too their cloud storage.
- Battery monitor. You can easily control which apps consume the battery resources the most.
- Performance improvement. You can boost the device performance and close the background apps you are not currently using.
- Wi-Fi control. The antivirus software will protect your traffic in insecure Wi-Fi networks.
- Pairing with Android Wear. Such antiviruses as Bitdefender, Kaspersky, and McAfee send reminders to Android Wear.
- Privacy risks report. The application scans the installed apps and notifies you if there are any privacy leaks or risks.
- VPN. Buying an antivirus subscription, you get an unlimited VPN connection, so you do not need to pay for additional service.
- Scheduled call blocking. You can set up, for example, receive calls at night from your family only.