If you’ve got an Android device, you need one of the best Android antivirus apps to protect your phone or tablet from corrupted apps and other kinds of malware.
Having the best Android antivirus app installed on your smartphone or tablet is essential. After all, Android is the most widely-used operating system in the world, and that means it can be a big target for malicious users.
The best Android antivirus apps offer not only top-notch malware detection and prevention, but a range of privacy and anti-theft features. Most have a free tier, and some are entirely free.
Generally, you don’t need an antivirus app if you play it safe like only download apps from the Play Store, and keep your security settings enabled.
However, there are those who like to take a walk on the wild side and not do those things.
There are a ton of really bad antivirus apps out there. Even if these apps aren’t necessary, it’s good to know the safe ones that don’t suck.
In this article, we’re going to highlight 16 of the best Android antivirus apps in 2021.
Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus, also known as Kaspersky Internet Security for Android, offers nearly-perfect malware protection, a small system impact and a call blocker that actually works.
There are no ads in the free version, and not much nagging to upgrade to the paid plan.
Free users get call filtering, Android Wear support and a strong set of anti-theft functions, but you have to scan each new app manually.
Paying users get automatic scans of new apps, an app lock and blocking of known phishing websites. And that’s about it. There’s no Wi-Fi network scanner and none of the privacy tools that other Android antivirus apps now offer.
If you’re just looking for malware protection, you can’t really go wrong with Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus’s free tier.
But while the paid version is inexpensive, it feels stripped-down, and you can get more from Bitdefender’s rival paid app for $5 less.
Avira is one of the newer antivirus apps comparatively speaking.
It grew rather quickly over the last year. The app comes with the basics, including device scans, real-time protection, external SD card scans, and a lot more.
This one also comes with a VPN for added layer of security. Some other features include anti-theft support, privacy scanning, blacklisting, and even device admin features. It’s much lighter than apps like Norton and others.
The free version is functional for basic things. The premium versions include three tiered prices that add things like the aforementioned VPN, password generation, more frequent virus database updates, and more.
AhnLab V3 Mobile Security 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.
In fact, it defended against 100% of threats, and so ranked up there with the best performers (but note that AV-Comparatives hasn’t evaluated AhnLab since 2015).
Another strong point of this app is that it runs well even on older Android devices and is generally undemanding in terms of system resource usage. Furthermore, it has a built-in booster to help speed up your phone’s performance.
Other handy features include a privacy cleaner to securely clear your browsing history, and a privacy advisor which vets the apps installed on your device, ensuring they aren’t compromising any of your sensitive details.
There’s also a hidden gallery for personal photos, so privacy is definitely a strong suit with AhnLab.
All this adds up to a robust offering for a free app, for sure, although there is a piece of the puzzle missing in terms of anti-theft capabilities.
Bitdefender is another established player in the Internet security field, with tons of products for various security requirements.
One of them is the free antivirus app for Android devices.
This handy app will provide malware protection and cloud scanning capabilities that parallel those of Bitdefender Mobile Security.
Apps are automatically scanned upon installation and it doesn’t require any special configuration.
It’s main selling point is its light weight – the fact that it doesn’t encumber your system resources as it doesn’t run in the background all the time. In other words, you only run it when you need it or schedule the scans yourself.
If this offering isn’t enough, Bitdefender Mobile Security might be the one for you.
And we have good news – there’s a 14-day free trial to see if you like it. Do note that this version provides anti-theft tools, privacy advisor, real-time protection for Chrome, and WearON technology that sends alerts to your smartwatch when you leave your phone behind.
5. Google Play Protect
Google Play Protect comes built into every Android device that runs Google Play, and it would be great if it worked well.
Unfortunately, Google Play Protect’s dismal malware detection makes the strongest possible argument for using a third-party Android antivirus app.
We did like that Google Play Protect’s interface is minimal, there are no ads and the system impact is light.
Some of Android’s other built-in features, including Find My Device and Chrome Safe Browsing, mirror what third-party antivirus apps do on the side.
Google Play Protect’s best feature is that Google can use it to remotely disable dangerous apps. This stays the case whether you’re running third-party antivirus software or not. We recommend you not disable Google Play Protect.
But overall, Google Play Protect is awful at protecting you from malicious apps. For your own sake, please use something else.
6. Norton 360
Norton 360 has its ups and downs. Just imagine how much worse it gets if we put this one here.
The app has a lot of the basic features though, including protection from malware, spyware, and other bad stuff. Additional features include saving device location when the battery is low, real-time protection, anti-theft features, and more.
It’s one of the pricier options in antivirus apps. However, its $49.99 per year option does include a VPN and a dark web monitor. There is another $104.99 per year option that includes support for up to five devices if you need it. Honestly, if you don’t need the VPN, the $14.99 per year is the one we’d recommend.
Sophos Intercept X for Mobile antivirus app is completely free, yet it doesn’t contain any adverts, unlike many freebie apps.
So while Sophos Intercept X is certainly impressive in that respect, there is a slight question mark over its malware protection chops in that the app hasn’t been tested by the major independent labs this year. That said, it scored full marks for antivirus protection throughout AV-Test’s reports in 2019.
Sophos scans apps for malware or otherwise harmful content as they are installed and further alerts you if they might leak any sensitive information. The antivirus scanner can be scheduled to scan files and folders periodically, too.
Another nifty feature is the Secure QR Code Scanner, which as the name suggests will check any target URL for possible threats when you scan a QR code, ensuring that you can use these safely.
Intercept X also benefits from an authenticator which you can use for multi-factor authentication with any app that supports Google Authenticator, and you can manage all these 2FA accounts from this central hub.
As well as some of these more unusual features, the standard anti-theft functionality is present here, so this is a well-featured effort overall.
It isn’t the most intuitive or user-friendly app, mind, and the fact that it hasn’t been recently evaluated by either of the main independent test labs might be a slight concern for some (and we hope that situation changes soon).
McAfee’s Android product, McAfee Mobile Security, is an antivirus platform that holds some serious power, available in free and paid version.
The free tier provides antivirus scanning for your network, apps, and files, a privacy check tool which allows you to see how much personal info your apps access and share, as well as the anti-theft measures that include locating and locking down your device. It does, however, have in-app ads.
The battery and memory boosters and storage cleaner are there to make your device more efficient, while the safe Wi-Fi option instantly warns you if you’re connecting to an unsafe or unprotected Wi-Fi network.
Additionally, you can keep track of apps that waste your data.
As for the paid Standard version, it offers all this and more – protection against suspicious websites, media backup, secure app lock, guest mode that hides your private apps when you share your device, 24/7 phone support, as well as no annoying in-app ads.
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. It goes for an even $8-$16 for one to two years. There is also a lifetime license for $89. The lifetime license is a tad pricey, but it is an opportunity to get away from the monthly subscription if you want.
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. The app looks nice, works well, and it’s not too heavy like others. It’s also reasonably priced at $1.49 per month or $11.99 per year.
11. AVG Antivirus
AVG AntiVirus Free is another high-quality app for securing your Android device, and it delivers an impressive level of protection at no cost whatsoever.
In fact, it uses the same well-liked antivirus engine as Avast above (remember that Avast bought up AVG back in 2016).
This isn’t the same product, though, and it doesn’t have some of the features you’ll find in Avast’s freebie offering.
It is, however, still built around very robust core antivirus protection, plus anti-theft features which allow you to locate, lock or wipe a stolen (or lost) phone. Also like Avast, this app is ad-supported, but by upgrading to the premium version you can get rid of those adverts.
The paid Pro version of AVG comes with a whole load of extra features, including extended anti-theft capabilities (such as the device locking itself if the SIM card is replaced, and sounding an alarm), a Photo Vault to secure your photos, an app lock, Wi-Fi security scanner, and additional privacy settings, such as for blocking callers.
There are also a host of other features such as performance enhancement measures, which aim to kill unnecessary processes, turn off battery-draining settings, as well as deleting junk files such as those commonly found in temp and cache folders.
Note that you can try out all these Pro features for free, at least for the first two weeks when using AVG AntiVirus Free; but after that, you have to pay.
With so many features bundled in the Pro version, it’s no wonder this app is the most popular antivirus when you search for one in the Google Play store, with more than 100 million downloads, over 6.5 million reviews and an average score of over 4.5.
Trend Micro Mobile Security & Antivirus comes with a performance booster that optimizes your device and apps while simultaneously guarding you against viruses, malicious apps, ransomware, crypto-miners, and identity theft.
The role of the platform’s Web Guard is to protect you from harmful websites, be it in terms of fraud, phishing, or other malicious content, regardless of the browser.
In an event that your Android device goes missing, the app will help you locate it, lock access to it, erase its content, or snap a picture of whoever tries to use it.
This app can also monitor the URLs you receive in text messages, Facebook, WhatsApp and Line, warning you of risks before you even click on them. New apps are scanned before installing and Wi-Fi networks are scanned to alert you if they’re unsecured.
There’s also an integrated Facebook privacy scanner to alert you if your profile settings are revealing too much to outsiders.
Additionally, Pay Guard MobileTM keeps you safe from fake financial, banking, and shopping apps that could be stealing your sensitive information.
Parental control measures can be used so that your kids never see content unsuitable for them, based on the level of protection you choose.
Lookout Mobile Security, now rebranded as Lookout Security and Antivirus or Lookout Personal, was one of the first Android antivirus apps, and for a long time the best. Its ease of use, clean interface and lack of ads explain its continued popularity.
But Lookout’s costs can rack up quickly. The free tier is bare-bones; it just scans for malware and locates lost phones.
The premium tier charges $30 per year, even though some of its features — malicious website blocking, Wi-Fi network scanning — come free with other Android antivirus apps.
An unlimited VPN and a data-breach notification service make the premium price worthwhile.
At $100 per year, the “premium plus” plan is actually a fairly inexpensive identity-protection service that offers many of the same benefits you’d get from LifeLock or IdentityForce. It might well be worth the expense.
The trouble is that Lookout doesn’t often submit its app to third-partly lab evaluations, so we don’t really know how well Lookout protects against malware. Its active scans are also slow and heavy.
14. Safe Security
Safe Security (previously 360 Security) is a bit of a mixed bag. Some of its security stuff isn’t half bad and then the other half is quite bad.
The app scans your apps for potential malware activity, although its find rate is a little bit higher than we’re willing to believe. Facebook is bad and all, but it’s not malware yet.
In any case, this is a decent, super basic antivirus app that will do the scans and show you potential vulnerabilities. The app also features a bunch of phone booster and phone accelerator features.
We recommend not using those features at all because they don’t actually work and will make your phone perform worse. Aside from that, it’s relatively inexpensive and one of the few that offers a lifetime license.
ESET is one of the biggest antivirus names in Europe, with a very small system-performance load and fast scans. Its malware-detection rate used to be kind of meh, but has improved markedly in recent lab tests.
The entry-level ESET NOD32 Antivirus is easy to use, but has few useful extra tools. ESET Internet Security adds webcam protection, parental controls and a browser-hardening extension, as well as ESET security-software licenses for Mac, Android and Linux devices.
The top-billed ESET Smart Security Premium tosses in file encryption and a password manager. However, there’s no VPN client, backup software or file shredder.
ESET’s pricing is per device, which is optimal for users who might have more than a few devices to protect. But if your device count gets into double digits, ESET’s costs can add up.
Avast Mobile Security & Antivirus is one of the most full-featured of the best Android antivirus apps, offering everything from a privacy adviser to a system optimizer to a customizable blacklist.
But while Avast’s malware protection is good, it’s far from perfect. Some of Avast’s anti-theft functions didn’t work for us, and its call-blocking feature didn’t work at all. (It’s since been removed.) And the free version’s ads and constant nags to upgrade are annoying and intrusive.
Those ads go away if you pay for either of Avast Mobile Security’s paid tiers, Premium ($2 monthly or $20 yearly) or Ultimate ($7 monthly or $40 yearly).
Users of either paid plan also get additional anti-theft features, an app locker and tech support.
The built-in client for Avast’s SecureLine VPN is just a tease, and the only way to use it is to pay for an Ultimate tier.
Since the stand-alone price for SecureLine is $60 per year, paying an extra $20 on top of the premium Android antivirus tier for unlimited VPN data is not a bad deal.
That’s pretty much it! So, there are Best Free Android Antivirus Apps For Your Smartphone.
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