In this guide we’ll share a list of the best Android antivirus apps and why you should use one. Android is the number one operating system in the world, and it’s often a target for bad actors. These days security and privacy is a growing concern, which is why preparing for it is a wise choice.
While malware on Android smartphones and tablets isn’t nearly as bad as some antivirus “experts” say, protection is still a good idea. We’re talking about protection from trojans and viruses, Android malware, or even malicious apps and websites.
Over the past few years Android antivirus apps have grown in popularity. Most are free, but for the best protection, you’ll need to pay a monthly or yearly fee. With that in mind, we have multiple apps below to protect you from malware, viruses and more.
As we mentioned above, malware and virus problems on Android aren’t nearly as bad as some people make it sound like. I’ve never had an issue in all my years using Android, even since the beginning with my T-Mobile G1, but others have. Like those fake vibrating pop-ups while browsing the web. Which, by the way, Google removed with an update to the Chrome web browser.
Android Antivirus apps can protect your smartphone and keep it safe. Not to mention most have extra features worth using and paying for. Some of those include find my phone features, real-time scanning, security as a whole, or even photo vaults to keep your personal data safe from prying eyes or theft. These are some of our favorites.
AVG AntiVirus Security Free
First up is AVG, simply because everyone’s probably heard of them. AVG is a staple in the PC antivirus space, and they have excellent options for Android. AVG has over 100 million downloads and tons of excellent reviews, not to mention the free version offers enough protection for most users.
AVG Free offers the basics like antivirus, anti-phishing, and anti-malware scanning all in real-time. The Find My Phone feature is available for both free and paid users. AVG lets you remotely wipe out your phone or tablet if needed, on top of protecting it day in and day out. And finally, there’s a built-in battery, data, and storage monitor for general device usage.
AVG AntiVirus Security Free is a comprehensive app that’s extremely thorough, and the paid version offers even more for those who need it. Get it now from the link below.
CM Security & Find My Phone
Next up is a feature-filled app called CM Security. It’s made by a Chinese company but is marketing towards English-speaking users. CM Security does it all in one simple package. They claim a 100% detection rate, and one of the best detection engines around.
CM offers antivirus and anti-malware scanning, as well as safe browser built-in. The service is light on resources and will keep your phone running smooth, yet also has tons of features at the same time. The Find My Phone works great for anti-theft, using Google Maps, and it even has a “scream” function to let your phone make noise. Perfect for finding a lost device. The theft security can even use the front-facing camera to take a selfie of the thief using your phone. Neat, right?
Considering it’s free it has more options than you could ever want. Not to mention most of the features you’d have to pay for with something like McAfee. Don’t forget to try the built-in SafeConnect VPN service. Give it a try today because it’s absolutely free.
Lookout Security & Antivirus is another good option, and it comes pre-installed on a wide array of smartphones already. The free option is pretty basic, but once you pay the $2.99 a month or $30 a year price for Lookout it’s a pretty good package.
Lookout offers antivirus, anti-malware, anti-theft, and backup capabilities in the free version. All of those features are even better once you’re a paying customer. Lookout even has a feature that will remember your devices last known location as the battery is about to die, which could be helpful if it gets lost. This is also a free feature.
Many consider it bloatware since it comes on most devices out of the box, but it’s an overall decent package that’s priced competitive and works well.
Avast Mobile Security
If I had to recommend one free antivirus for your computer at home, I’d choose Avast. So, naturally, one of my top recommendations for Android antivirus protection is Avast too. Their mobile suite has plenty of features for both free and paid users. They’re even friendly to modders who root Android devices.
Really, Avast probably could top this list, but we’re not going in any particular order here. Avast offers all the same antivirus, anti-malware, phishing, and scanning features of the others. You get a virus scanner, virus removal, protector, network meter, app manager, app lock, and even firewall (on rooted phones) which give you total control for staying clean. It really is as feature-complete as they come.
Avast does anything and everything and does it well. And that includes all the theft and find my phone functions too. That said, the notifications and real-time scanning are a bit aggressive. However, the pricing is also aggressive and is half that of the competition. Costing $1.99 a month or only $19.99 per year.
You can’t go wrong with Avast for Mobile. It scores high on AV-test’s leaderboard, a popular site for ranking and testing AV protection.
ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus
While Avast is the best free antivirus we’d recommend, I’ve used ESET and its all-seeing eye on my own PC’s for years, so we had to give them a nod. ESET’s NOD32 Security Suite is just as good on mobile as you’ll find on a desktop.
ESET had to make our list simply because it’s $14.99 a year and boasts a 99.7% detection rate of malware and harmful activities. ESET scans all files as they come in, as well as randomly scans your device. We also really like the clean and easy to use interface. However, you’ll need to pay for ESET to truly get the most out of it. There’s a discount if you secure multiple devices, and another discount if you subscribe for more than one year.
ESET has everything the others offer and more. They even support Find My Phone (from another device or your PC) call and SMS blocking, and there’s even a built-in training course for mobile security and good practices.
If you’re on the fence we recommend trying the free 30-day trial first.
AhnLab V3 Mobile Security
Earlier we mentioned AV-Test, a site that rates antivirus programs and is a trusted name in this segment. One of the highest rated apps and AV apps for Android is AhnLab V3. So, of course, it makes our list.
The company is from South Korea, and it’s really popular outside the United States. So while you’ve probably never heard of them, the 99.6% detection rate makes it something worth paying attention to. Not to mention it runs great on older versions of Android. That’s a big deal because malware typically targets older, less secure devices.
Not only does it run great on older devices, but it’s designed to use hardly any battery life. Another thing that’s important on old phones. You’ll enjoy high detection rates, plenty of features, an anti-theft alarm function, real-time monitoring and photo vault controls. Basically, it has all the features that the others on our list do.
Ahn consistently scores extremely high on most tests for being one of the best. You can try it free for 10 days with a trial, then protect your phone with just one tap.
Last but not least is a new app to our list but one that certainly deserves a spot. DFNDR Security is growing rapidly, has over 100 million happy customers, and just received an update to version 5.0 near the end of 2017 with more protection than ever before.
DFNDR is completely free, although you can pay $4.99 a year for the premium subscription and get total protection without ads. This app offers everything from an antivirus, performance booster, phone cleaner, anti-phishing protection and more.
Stay protected from phishing links in apps such as SMS, WhatsApp, Messenger, and Chrome. Anti-hacking alerts users about infected links before you click on them. Then, they have an intruder selfie feature that uses the front camera to snap photos of someone who stole your phone.
A popular aspect of DFNDR is the WhatsApp cleaner. One click cleans the entire app and gets rid of spam, junk files, media, images and cache build-up.
The latest version 5.0 of DFNDR added machine learning and crowdsourcing to find and kill attacks faster than ever before, and now boasts one of the best phishing-attack detection rates on the market. Meaning this app will keep you safe from just about anything.
Try it today and if you like it, get the yearly subscription for only $4.99
Honorable Mentions and Wrap-Up
Next, we wanted to do a few honorable mentions. The first of which has to go out to MalwareBytes. Seriously, if you’re having issues, try scanning MalwareBytes and see what it finds. I don’t use it as an AV, but the program has been on every PC I’ve owned for a very long time.
Don’t forget about Kaspersky, a popular PC service that’s now on Android. Another choice is 360 Security Free but it comes with ads to make up for the fact that it costs nothing. And finally, BitDefender is potentially another well-rounded and solid choice we can recommend.
In closing, keep in mind that Android has tons of built-in security measures already. From the OS blocking third-party app installs (unless you change the settings ) to Google’s integration of scanning tools and Play Store malware detection. For added safety, try sticking to the Google Play Store for all app downloads.
There’s an ongoing debate about whether malware is truly a problem on Android. Most of the talk comes from security companies looking to sell you an app, so keep that in mind. Even if security will be a big concern throughout 2018. At the end of the day, if you want the added protection or peace of mind the six or so apps we’ve outlined above are worth checking out.