Best Android antivirus apps 2021: Keep your devices safe | #android | #security

You’ve installed antivirus software on your desktop — but your smartphones and tablets need protection, too. These are the ones that deserve a look.

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We hate to kick off this in such a negative fashion, but we feel obligated to alert all you Android users that your smart phones are vulnerable. While Android’s customization is great, the fact that they have an open platform makes them easier to hack and attack. And this can result in anything from lost photos and contacts to stolen credit card numbers and malware that bricks your phone, rendering it unusable and unrepairable. Fortunately, you can protect your Android by downloading an antivirus app. (Exhale deep sigh of relief now.)

Android antivirus apps work similarly to the antivirus software you would download for your PC. Once it’s been installed, the app will scan all the files on your phone and look for anything you might have downloaded inadvertently. As it completes the scan, it alerts you to any problems. However, unlike Mac or Windows-based software, not all Android apps automatically remove the harmful files. You may have to do that manually.

Many of these apps also have value beyond preventing viruses. Indeed, a number of them come with bonus features like anti-theft controls. These allow you to locate and track misplaced phones as well as remotely lock and delete their contents. Some apps also provide phone and message filters, letting you add unknown (and unwanted) numbers to a blacklist. Additionally, you’ll discover many options that offer network and web monitoring. Hence the app will alert you whenever you’re on a suspect site or risky Wi-Fi network. It’s also possible to find programs that backup your data as well. And a handful of applications are even designed with alarms and flashlights. Finally, we should note that many companies offer both free and paid versions of their apps.   

We know that all of the above sounds great. But there are some drawbacks to downloading antivirus apps. These applications often take up a decent amount of space and consume battery life. They can also impede your processing speed and barrage you with irritating notifications. Moreover, some Android enthusiasts argue that if you simply stick to downloading apps from Google Play, your phone should be fine. 

However, we just love playing it safe (we enjoy a good seat belt, too). So we heartily recommend installing some antivirus software. In fact, we even did some research to make it easy for you. Here are our top picks for antivirus apps.

Simple scans • Strong malware protection

Free version basically only scans for malware and nothing else

Amazing protection with minimal effect on performance.

1. Bitdefender Mobile Security

Amazing protection with minimal effect on performance.

  • Size:
  • Free Version:
  • Premium Version:
    Yes ($14.99/year)
  • In-app Products:
    Up to $49.99
If you want absolute protection against malware and viruses, consider downloading Bitdefender. A top-of-the-line app, Bitdefender has a malware scanner with an impressive 100 percent detection rate. You can also use it to lock any app you deem sensitive with a PIN code (replete with 30 second timeout after 5 false attempts). And should your phone go missing, Bitdefender allows you to track, lock and wipe your Android. Bitdefender Mobile Security also includes security for your smart watch as well as an integrated VPN.  
Moreover, its web security function ensures a safe browsing experience as it quickly detects any malicious content. Oh, and the coolest feature? Snap Photo — Bitdefender snaps a pic of anyone tampering with your phone in your absence. That’s practically worth the price alone.  
Google Play reviewer writes:

“Bitdefender is strong security and easy to use. On Android the autopilot lets you set it and forget it for the most part — really non-invasive. Seems fairly light weight, too. The anti-theft features are good for peace of mind. Glad to have my trusted PC protection as my Android security.”

Another writes on Google Play reviews:

“So thankful for Bitdefender. I’ve tracked my stolen laptop, blocked access to my files, found/tracked my lost phone. Made my phone scream when I misplaced it. Put a lock code on my laptop and phone when they went missing. Put a lock code on apps that I don’t want a nosey bf to Snoop through and it took a picture of him when he was trying to guess my passcode. All of this I’ve done through the app, and quickly as the app is very user-friendly. Not to mention the years of protection for my PC’s, that seem to be infection free and definitely have operated like so. Thanks to all of you at Bitdefender for making this possible.”

Very straightforward to use

A trusted brand that delivers.

If you’re concerned about the safety of your Android, you should definitely think about downloading Norton. A well-known and respected brand, Norton quickly scans your Wi-Fi connection and notifies you if it’s not secure. Of course, it also scans for malware, spyware and viruses that have the potential to harm your device. 
Similar to other applications, it allows you to block SPAM and junk calls. But the one way Norton distinguishes itself from the competition? It’s smartly integrated with Google Play to show you alerts about specific apps prior to downloading them. You’re able to see any potential risk they might pose — from draining the battery to requiring an excessive amount of data. And you can make a judgement call before hitting download.
Google Play reviewer writes:

“Norton continues to be my favorite security app for all my devices, new features are good. I’ve used other mobile security apps and never have been advised on my mobile of malicious emails or websites until I used Norton. I use it on my laptop and tablet as well. Norton will let you know in advance whether an app is safe or a downloaded app causes risk to your device. You then have a choice to trust the app or uninstall it.”

Another Google Play reviewer writes:

“One year update: Norton is still working hard protecting my phone. I love all the features Norton Mobile offers, but my favorite one is the website scan. It has caught numerous bogus websites that could have been potentially harmful to my phone. I definitely recommend purchasing this Norton product!”

Great at combating phishing attacks

A popular app that provides unparalleled protection.

3. Avast Mobile Security

A popular app that provides unparalleled protection.

  • Size:
  • Free Version:
  • In-app Products:
    Up to $79.99
  • Pro Version:
    Yes ($1.99/month or $24.99/year)
  • Ultimate tier::
    $6.99/month or $39.99/year
There’s a reason Avast has been installed over 100 million times. This app is filled with features that guarantees your Android will stay safe and your information secure. After all, Avast offers both real-time and on-demand scanning and easily checks the security of whatever Wi-Fi connection you’ve logged onto. 
You can also use the app to lock specific apps, ensuring that only you have the power to open them. Additionally, Avast provides a call blocker, anti-theft support, a photo vault, a junk cleaner, a Wi-Fi speed test, a RAM boost, a VPN and even a firewall (for rooted Androids only). We assume you stopped reading this halfway through this list so you could start downloading Avast. Good thinking.
Google Play reviewer writes:

“I enjoy this app, it is user friendly and it Works great for me. Saved my ass…sets from being over run by hackers and malware. It has stopped malicious emails, text messages, and even tells you whether a phone number is safe (bare in mind that doesn’t mean the caller is safe).”

Another Google Play reviewer writes:

“I have been using Avast in my desktop for years and it works so well, I put the mobile version in my tablet. It works great, also. Avast was recommended to me by several of my computer savvy friends and they were right. I recommend Avast for computers as well as mobile devices.”

Solid real-time web protection

Places a premium on privacy, ensuring personal data stays personal.

There’s no doubt that Kaspersky is a leader in antivirus software. Making the leap from PCs, the company now ensures that phones are safe from malware, viruses and Trojans as well. Importantly, its anti-phishing feature works diligently to keep your financial information safe when you’re shopping or banking online. 
The app is also capable of blocking both unwanted calls and texts. And it allows you to place a lock on your other apps, requiring a secret code before anyone can access messages, photos, etc. Best of all, should you ever lose your phone, Kaspersky allows you to track it. So you can follow the adventures it’s having without you.
Google Play reviewer writes:

“Premium protection! I’ve been using Kaspersky protection on PC for 10 years with full satisfaction. As from about 2 years ago, I’ve also installed protection for Android, which works smoothly and is very light, not idling the phone.”

Another Google Play reviewer writes:

“Well, it’s been working good. I have 2 smartphones, Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and a LG G6, 1 laptop and 1 Desktop protected by Kaspersky all are under my Premium Subscription. And it’s working well together. The app also shows me how many days I have left which is about 3 more years to go… Update, got a new product key to cover 5 devices for $50.00 that’s a very good deal, I am still covering my note 5, lg g6, but now covering my wife’s laptop, my desktop and my samsung galaxy Tab S tablet. I have zero complaints now.”

Great storage cleaner and memory booster

Expensive (in comparison to other apps)

Well rounded app that offers protection, privacy, and performance.

We know you might be scoffing at the price. However, the McAfee Mobile Security app is designed with a number of great elements. Certainly, it can scan for malicious code, risky websites and ARP spoofing attacks. But McAfee offers so much more. You can use the app to remove unwanted files, boost battery, and monitor data usage. 
The app also allows you to lock any sensitive content, control what your kids can see and filter out unwanted calls and SMS messages. As if that wasn’t enough, McAfee has a variety of anti-theft features. Once you download, you’ll be able to remotely lock your phone and wipe your data, prevent a thief from uninstalling your security app, track your phone and sound a remote alarm. Honestly, these features are so good you’ll almost want someone to steal your phone so you can use them. Almost. 
Google Play reviewer writes:

“A lot of security apps are overly constraining and continuously alerting you of unimportant matters, McAfee doesn’t seem to slow anything down, and alerts only important matters. An overall good protection app.”

Another Google Play reviewer writes: 

“Awesome puts my mind to rest, no viruses or malicious content and the kids mode is really the best thing since sliced bread, you choose what a person can and cant access in kids mode, I know now I can share my phone without somebody messing with my stuff it’s one of the best features on android altogether and should come available on any android device as standard privacy control!”

Great malware protection that receives continual intelligence reports

An easy and affordable way to ensure security.

Using regularly updated intelligence from SophosLabs, the Sophos Antivirus App is fantastic at identifying suspect and malicious content. And considering it’s free and doesn’t make you suffer through ads, you’d think that that would suffice. But the folks at Sophos aren’t content with resting on their laurels. This app also lets you remotely lock or wipe your data, on the off-chance your phone is stolen. 
Sophos can also block unwanted calls, provide password protection for your apps and offer advice on how to improve your device security. It even keeps a record of the apps you’ve downloaded that contain your personal data. However, Sophos will not order you dinner. But you have Seamless for that.
Google Play reviewer writes:

“Good antivirus. I had been using Avast, but got sick of it’s ads and made a change in my free antivirus choice. Now, I’m satisfied with this one. Like others already said, lightweight, barely had effect on performance of the phone, and for the protecting quality AV and other testing groups proved it. Good one! Live it and satisfied with it. Only with they still maintaining the same.”

Another Google Play reviewer writes:

“In my experience, a great antivirus. The AppLock feature here has more options (eg a password option) and is more secure than even apps dedicated to this purpose… The built-in authenticator is useful too, so now I don’t have to use a separate app for that. I haven’t used any of the other features, but I can say that this app is 10/10 in my book. The only thing that’s odd is that web filtering isn’t detecting I have Chrome Beta installed.”

Easy installation and little impact on your phone

An app with a simple design that’s intuitive to use!

As the name implies, Malwarebytes first priority is protecting your phone from malware. And we’re happy to report that the app greatly succeeds in that. It even offers real-time protection, searching for unwanted programs on your phone. Malwarebytes also conducts privacy audits on your other apps, tracking which ones monitor your location and calls or have the potential to cost you in hidden fees. 
If you’re fancy enough to spring for the paid version, you will receive alerts about malicious texts and call protection from known or suspected scammers. And the app will also scan for phishing URLs as you browse Chrome. Best of all, Malwarebytes detects ransomware before it has the ability to lock your phone. Isn’t that peace of mind worth paying for?
Google Play reviewer writes:

“Amazing software. I had an adware and tried everything from deleting the app in safe mode, to going into developer mode, to downloading Avast. I was really hesitant with Malwarebytes might not detect the virus. Low and behold, it does which surprised me. You have been helping me with my PC and now I am surprised you are also working on mobile. Fantastic work!  I would not subscribe to any mobile service but this is definitely an exception!”

Another Google Play reviewer writes:

“My phone was so pestered by malware and I had no idea where it came from or how to get rid of it. This app saved me a factory reset and I’ll add another star in the future when I see that it really did delete that malware. Update: Amazing app. It deleted my malware just as I had hoped 🙂 no more pop up ads and redirects. They were really annoying and inappropriate and I’m so glad that this app was created because it got rid of all of it :)”

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