Ultimate Guide to the Best Antivirus for Android Smartphones and Tablets
Android is the operating system that’s present on most of the devices we use nowadays. The reason lies in its practicality, straightforwardness, affordability, and a vast number of possibilities it offers for facilitating everyday tasks.
When it comes to its security features, there is not much to say – Android itself can’t provide enough protection from the threats unlike its competitor iOS, even though it offers system scans where it successfully detects malware apps.
Accordingly, Android antivirus is more than an essential program for those whose devices are based upon the mentioned OS, and many prominent antivirus developers offer solutions that may meet your needs.
Do I Need Antivirus for Android?
Before we start with further explanations, let’s just say that you do need antivirus for Android.
Malware coders find it easier to write malicious codes that would affect Windows and Android, than those that could infect iOS or Mac – that said, Android and Windows aren’t as secured as their rivals, which is why they are more prone to vulnerabilities, which are easily discovered by hackers.
What is the Best Antivirus for Android?
The best antivirus for Android should be able to provide enough protection from malware, phishing, spyware, and other types of advanced cyberattacks.
Since viruses execute differently on desktop and mobile device, not all the features found in PC antimalware will be present in the program designed for mobile protection – that said, make sure your software contains some of the following options:
- Application scan: The most vital feature of every antivirus lies in the application scan – a detailed privacy scan should be able to detect malicious apps or any security failure that could jeopardize your privacy.
- Camera trap: This feature is a part of almost every Android antivirus app, and it comes in handy when an unauthorized source tries to unlock your mobile device – if someone makes three wrong entries, a camera will secretly capture them, and the app will send you an email with the photo and location of the thief.
- Call blocker: If you don’t want to receive phone calls from specific numbers, you can make a list of them, and the antivirus app will block such calls.
- Insecure Wi-Fi warnings: Wireless connection, especially the public one, is usually the place where hackers “chase their victims.” This feature will inspect the wireless network you’re connected to, and it will warn you in case it finds something suspicious.
- Integration with Android wear: You may want to pair your Android Smartwatch with an antivirus app, which is why you should look for the program that allows pairing.
- App rating: Almost every app that’s available on the Play Store is considered safe, but if you don’t want to risk when downloading one, make sure your antivirus software offers app rating, which will determine whether the desired app is safe.
Now that you are familiar with the features found in the best Android antivirus, let’s see some of the most prominent examples of the antimalware apps that can protect your smartphone and tablet:
1. AVG AntiVirus 2019 for Android Security Free (4.7/5)
AVG AntiVirus 2019 for Android offers a full package of security features, and it works perfectly on most mobile devices.
This version of AVG antivirus for Android protects your smartphone from harmful viruses and malware, and it makes sure your personal data keep safe. Thanks to the real-time protection, all your games, apps, settings, and programs will be continuously scanned so that you won’t have to worry about potential infections that could affect your system.
- Full protection: This free antivirus for Android offers complete app protection, which means that it scans apps you use, websites you visit, network encryption, and it provides VPN, which is essential for safe browsing.
- System performance improvement: AVG will extend your battery life, kill the background processes that slow down your phone or tablet, and clean all unnecessary files that occupy your storage space.
- Anti-theft protection: AVG offers quite advanced anti-theft protection features, including device lock, which automatically locks your phone whenever the SIM card is replaced, and the Surveillance agent, which allows you to remotely capture photos and record audio from your phone via the official AVG website.
- App lock: This option allows you to lock your sensitive apps so that no one but you can access them.
- Subscription issues: Many users said that even though they’ve upgraded the app to the Pro version, some Pro features were disabled, and ads were still going on.
- Poor malicious URL detection: Phishing URLs that are aimed at stealing your credentials are quite dangerous, and AVG has shown mediocre results when it comes to their detection and blocking.
Subscriptions: If you want to upgrade your app and enjoy some extra features, you’ll have to pay from $0.99 to $89.99 per item.
2. Avast Antivirus – Scan & Remove Virus, Cleaner (4.7/5)
Avast Mobile Security could be the best free antivirus for Android that offers a broad range of useful, security-related features.
With Avast antivirus Android is protected from phishing attacks that usually come from email, phone calls, fraudulent websites, or even SMS messages. You can choose between a free or a paid version, and both of them offer essential options that help to detect and to prevent malicious activities.
- Web Shield: This feature scans and blocks malicious links that contain Trojan, adware, or spyware that could affect your privacy. It also fixes mistyped URLs, preventing potential phishing attacks – for instance, it will correct pyapal.com to paypal.com.
- Photo Vault: You can secure your photos with a unique PIN code, pattern, or fingerprint password and move them to the Vault – once added, they will be encrypted and only accessible to you.
- Call Blocker: Create a blacklist and add phone numbers you don’t want to receive the calls from, and Avast will prevent them from contacting you.
- VPN: Avast introduced VPN as a new feature that will hide your online activities, change your location, and allow you to visit your favorite streaming platforms (Hulu or Netflix) from anywhere.
- Poor malware detection: According to some users, this app failed to detect and block malware that was present in the system, notifying that the phone is all clean.
- Ad-based: Almost all free versions of apps contain ads, but the Avast users complained that the ads continued to appear even after the subscription to the premium version.
Subscriptions: If you want to upgrade your Avast antivirus for Android, you can make in-app purchases that cost $0.99 – $79.99 per item.
3. Norton Mobile Security and Antivirus (4.7/5)
If you are looking for the best antivirus for Android tablet, Norton Mobile Security could be the best choice for you.
This app will provide you with comprehensive security features that will protect you from malicious attacks, including phishing and spyware, which are created to steal your credentials, credit card information, and money.
- App Advisor: App Advisor offers a complete insight into the apps, which means that it checks them for potential privacy risks, high battery and data usage, as well as for intrusive behavior before downloads.
- Anti-theft: Norton’s web console allows you to locate, lock, or wipe the device, and the advanced Scream feature helps you find the device you left somewhere around the house.
- Sneak Peek: In case someone steals your device, or it gets lost somehow, Norton Security will secretly take a photo of them and email it to you. It will also react in case it notices that someone keeps entering the wrong unlock password or pattern.
- Wi-Fi security: When you’re using your phone or tablet to connect to a public Wi-Fi, Norton will make sure you don’t become a victim of the famous man-in-the-middle attack (MITM), which includes someone who’s spying on your online activity.
- A separate app for VPN and password manager: Unlike most of its competitors that offer VPN as an integrated antivirus feature, Norton requires you to download a separate app called Norton Secure VPN. Also, if you want to protect your passwords, you need an additional Norton Password Manager
- Unresponsive customer service: Users who had had particular issues with the app said that they haven’t got any response from customer service.
Subscriptions: Once your 30-day free trial expires, you can subscribe to the Premium service ($0.99 – $39.99), which will provide you with more advanced features. Still, if you don’t want to pay for using the app, you can continue to use it for free, but some options will be limited.
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4. McAfee Mobile Security: VPN Proxy & Anti-Theft Safe Wi-Fi (4.5/5)
McAfee Mobile Security is specially designed for providing secure and private Internet browsing. This free Android antivirus app enhances your online privacy, making sure your phone or tablet’s performance stays untouched.
Most of its features are aimed at improving VPN performance and Wi-Fi inspection, but this app also includes virus removal and mobile security features that help you stay safe from phishing, risky apps, and other dangerous Wi-Fi threats.
- Enhanced VPN features: McAfee provides a 256-bit VPN encryption, making sure your data is protected with the advanced encryption standard even when you’re connected to a public Wi-Fi.
- Ad tracker blocking: Apart from being annoying, ads can also contain malware – thanks to this useful feature, all the targeted advertisements, and ad trackers will be stopped.
- Virus cleaner and removal: Antivirus app scanner will scan all your files, SD card, apps, and Internet downloads, and it will block any malicious code it finds.
- Guest Mode: This feature is a part of the premium version, and it allows you to control which apps your guests can see on your device and lock all the apps with sensitive content.
- Reduced battery time: A lot of app users claim that the latest update of this app drains their battery.
- Annoying ads: The free version of this antivirus Android app is full of annoying ads that discourage people from using it.
Subscriptions: Premium package costs $0.99 – $79.99, and it includes extra features that bring your privacy to the next level. However, if you are not ready to pay for it, you can keep using the Free version.
5. Bitdefender Antivirus Free (4.6/5)
The best free Android antivirus could be Bitdefender Antivirus Free, which, unlike most of its competitors, offers all of its features at no cost.
This software makes sure your Android device is entirely protected with the latest industry-leading virus detection, which is executed using in-the-cloud scanning technology. All in all, it’s the best antivirus Android device can have for free!
- Autopilot: Autopilot will automatically scan any new apps that are downloaded to your Android device, and it will check whether there are some malicious activities. Besides, this scanner will keep you protected 24/7.
- Cloud-based services: Instead of downloading and storing virus signatures directly to your device, Bitdefender, the best free antivirus for Android phone and tablet, uses in-cloud services to check online for the latest updates. That said, it has zero impact on battery life and system performance.
- Quick reactions: As soon as Bitdefender detects something suspicious, it blocks it prevents it from executing malicious activities before any damage is done.
- Free: This version of antivirus for Android is entirely free, and all the mentioned features are contained in it. If you like Bitdefender, and you want to see what else it can offer, you can install Bitdefender Mobile Security, which provides some extra options you may find useful.
- A full scan takes time: According to some Play Store reviews, the full scan of a device lasts long, which can be frustrating. Some users also said that the scan usually stops at 25%.
- Limited: A free version of Bitdefender excludes some features that are included in most free versions of its competitors.
Subscriptions: Bitdefender Antivirus Free doesn’t include any in-app purchases.
6. V3 Mobile Security – Antimalware/Booster/Apps Lock (4.6/5)
Even though it’s less known than the above-mentioned antivirus software, V3 Mobile Security brings all the essential features to Android users.
It has shown excellent results in malware detection and prevention, and apart from that, it offers a variety of options that can be useful for enhancing privacy.
- Minimal CPU: V3 Mobile Security is designed to use less battery and CPU than most of its competitors. That way, your device will keep working smoothly even after the software installation.
- One-Touch security scan: Thanks to the advanced security scan, your device will be scanned for rooting, permissions for unknown sources, and screen lock status after each engine update.
- Malicious URL detection: This almost free antivirus for Android phone and tablet will successfully detect malicious URLs and prevent you from a typical phishing attack.
- QR code scan: Even though QR codes don’t seem malicious, some of them can lead to apps that contain viruses. V3 will notify you in case it identifies the QR code as infectious.
- Slows down the network: Many app users said that this app caused a network to slow down, which is quite inconvenient.
- Limited to some Android versions: Some features, including App Lock, are not supported on Android 5.0 (Lollipop) and above.
Subscriptions: V3 Mobile Security is free, but you can make in-app purchases that cost from $0.99 to $1.49 per item.
Final Words: How to Protect Your Android?
No OS is invulnerable, and since the Internet is now more available than ever, hackers can find a million different ways to inject the virus into your system – therefore, it’s critical to arm yourself with the latest protection methods.
Even though you can easily install the best Android antivirus app on your smartphone or tablet, you shouldn’t forget about some basic security steps you can complete to protect your device from malicious activities:
- Enable two-factor authentication on your Google Account
- Lock your screen with pattern, PIN, password or fingerprints
- Enable ‘Find My Phone’
- Disable ‘Unknown Sources’ and Developer Mode
Extra tip: Never ever open links and attachments that come from untrusted sources!