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    The Best Antivirus Apps for Android

    Having the best apps for your Android device is great, but without an antivirus, you may be asking for trouble

    Android apps

    Android has become one of the most popular mobile operating systems in the world, not surprising considering its great versatility, power, customizability and ease of use.

    In fact today’s Android devices have far more computing power than full blown computers did just a generation ago.

    A constantly Internet-connected computer that contains sensitive information, however, poses serious security risks.

    If malware were to infect the device, your sensitive information and private photos and videos could potentially be compromised.

    Fortunately, most antivirus companies today offer solutions that extend protection to your Android smartphone. These apps include similar protections to desktop antivirus tools, but they’re modified and optimized to meet the demands of a mobile ecosystem.

    Some of the common tools in the best virus protection for Android also add security features like Wi-Fi scanning, anti-theft tools, child safety features, VPN access, and app advisors to help you avoid malware and ransomware.

    Read on below to see the best android antivirus apps for 2020.

    The Top Android Antivirus Apps for 2020

    Antivirus
    Features
    Starts From
    • Real-time malware protection
    $19.99 annually/m
    • Multi-layered malware protection
    $39.99 annually/m
    • Real-time malware protection
    $69.99/m
    • Threat detection from sophisticated malware
    $49.99 per year/m

    Compare The Top Antivirus Apps for Android 

    AvastBitdefenderNortonKaspersky 
    Price Per Month$12.00 / $24.00$15.00$30.00$15.00
    Free VersionYesYesYesYes
    App LockPremium YesNoPremium
    VPN ClientAdditionalYesNoNo
    Wi-fi ScannerYesYesPremiumNo
    App AdvisorYesYesPremiumYes
    Anti - TheftTop Tier OnlyYesYesYes
    AdsFree versionNoYesNo
    Child SafetyNoNoNoNo
    URL FilterYesYesYesPremium
    Cloud SecurityNoNoNoNo

    Avast Antivirus

    Avast

    Avast’s feature-rich app will keep you safe and your privacy protected while you browse on your smartphone.

    Pros:

    • Browse safely with built-in VPN
    • Protect against known threats with blacklist tool
    • Stay safe on the go with Wi-Fi scanning

    Cons:

    • Call blocking doesn’t always function
    • Anti-theft could use improvements

    Avast mobile security offers one of the most value-added apps when you sign up. The company’s antivirus includes a VPN client to help you stay anonymous while you browse, as well as URL blocking and extensive malware protection. The company’s mobile offering received a perfect score in AV-TEST’s most recent evaluation, well ahead of the industry curve.

    Moreover, I was impressed to see the company offers significant features even with its free version. It also includes a nifty photo vault that encrypts your image files, as well as Wi-Fi security to keep you safe anywhere you connect to a public network.

    Bitdefender Antivirus

    Bitdefender

    With near perfect security scores and a low footprint on your phone’s resources, Bitdefender offers robust protection and great value.

    Pros:

    • Minimal impact on your phone’s resources
    • No-hassle setup
    • No ads make for a great user experience

    Cons:

    • Not as many features as some competitors
    • No scheduled calls

    Bitdefender is mostly known for its powerful scans and its low resource footprint. The app is easy to set up once you’ve downloaded and installed it, and it will quietly work in the background to keep you safe. Although scans are not the quickest, they do run quite lightly and have very little impact on your phone.

    Moreover, great features like URL blocking, a 100% success rate in malware detection tests, and an account privacy advisor, which constantly scans the web to see if your email has been part of a new data breach add to the advantages. Overall, it’s great if you’re looking for top-end security and don’t mind paying for your antivirus.

    Norton Antivirus Plus

    Norton

    With best-in-class malware protection, Norton gives you excellent online security features and an easy to use interface and great tools.

    Pros:

    • High scores from independent benchmark tests
    • Great remote lock and anti-theft tools
    • App advisor prevents you from downloading malicious apps

    Cons:

    • Price jumps considerably in year two
    • The free version has significant ads

    Norton’s mobile version of its widely popular desktop antivirus doesn’t fall far behind, with top-scoring malware and antivirus protection that keeps your phone safe from any threat. Norton’s app advisor is also one of the best available, with a great database of whitelisted apps as well as the ability to scan for any suspicious and potentially malicious apps you’re trying to download.

    The app’s intuitive design makes it easy to use, and its anti-theft tools let you remotely lock your phone, trigger a screen, and wipe your device in case of emergency.

    Sophos Home Antivirus

    Sophos

    Sophos’ free offering doesn’t skimp on the features and gives you a great antivirus tool that also protects your privacy with nifty tools.

    Pros:

    • The free version is the only version
    • Consistently rates highly in independent testing
    • Robust anti-theft tools keep your identity secure in the worst of cases

    Cons:

    • The interface is somewhat cluttered at times
    • Can take up a lot of your phone’s resources

    With one of the most complete free offerings on the market, Sophos adds to its lineup with a great Android version. The company’s mobile antivirus is powerful and fast, scoring highly in AV-TEST’s benchmarks. Additionally, it has excellent anti-theft tools that include SMS locking, security wipes, and location tracking.

    You can also schedule scans for your phones, check for unwanted apps that may have been installed, and connect to cloud scanning for significantly faster performance.

    Overall, Sophos’ free antivirus may be a contender for the best free antivirus for Android mobile. 

    Kaspersky Antivirus

    Kaspersky

    Kaspersky is a great antivirus solution if you’re looking for a low-footprint app that also keeps you safe while you browse the web.

    Pros:

    • Excellent safe browsing features
    • VPN client included
    • Great tools for when your phone is lost or stolen

    Cons:

    • Limited features on the free version
    • URL filtering only works with Chrome browser

    Kaspersky offers one of the lightest antivirus apps for Android without sacrificing security and power. The company’s app detected almost 100% of all malware in real-time tests, and it has excellent anti-phishing and text filtering tools that help you prevent spyware and ransomware.

    Additionally, the company’s anti-theft tools, which include taking pictures of unknown users, and sending messages and alerts directly from your web dashboard make it easier to find your phone and protect your data. With powerful real-time scanning, Kaspersky always has your back.

    Avira Antivirus

    Avira
    Avira’s feature-light antivirus app is great if you’re looking to protect your identity and have greater control of the devices that connect to your smartphone.

    Pros:

    • Scans external storage connected to your phone
    • Identity safeguard keeps your contacts have been involved in major data breaches
    • Real-time protection keeps you consistently covered

    Cons:

    • No VPN client included
    • No child protection tools

    Avira offers a focused mobile security that dispenses with the bells and whistles and focuses on keeping your phone safe. The app scans your phone in real-time but can also perform scans on-demand and even monitor external storage devices such as SD cards that you connect to your Android phone.

    Additionally, it includes a privacy advisor that lets you know how your apps are collecting data from you, as well as anti-ransomware tools and microphone and camera protection.

    AVG Technologies 

    Avg

    If you’re looking for a fully free antivirus app that will keep your Android device protected with top-tier security, AVG can help.

    Pros:

    • Intuitive and easy-to-use interface
    • Robust anti-theft and privacy tools keep your identity safe
    • Boost your battery life with optimization tools

    Cons:

    • Malware protection could use some improvement
    • Scans are difficult to schedule at times

    With a clean interface and a great free application, AVG’s Android app matches its desktop version in protection and usability. The company’s mobile application is intuitive, with your tools divided into four main sections and the ability to start a scan with a single click.

    Additionally, AVG offers multiple scanning modes, including installed apps, selected folders, and even a settings scan that checks your phone’s security and lets you know how safe or unsafe your phone is. I was also happy to see that AVG includes some phone optimization tools that can reduce your memory usage and extend your battery life.

    F-Secure Antivirus

    F-Secure

    A great antivirus that includes strong parental controls, safe browsing tools, and real-time scans.

    Pros:

    • Great anti-theft features keep your identity safe in the worst cases
    • Always keep your phone protected with real-time scanning
    • Browse the web safely from your phone with great security features

    Cons:

    • No anti-spam tools included
    • You can’t create a blacklist

    F-Secure may not have as big a name as Norton or McAfee, but it does provide reliable security and real-time protection for Android devices. The company’s mobile solution is surprisingly lightweight, causing very little impact on your mobile device, and it scored very well on independent benchmark tests.

    Additionally, the easy-to-use interface lets you quickly find the tools you need and take the steps you need to keep your mobile phone and identity safe. F-Secure also gives you great anti-theft tools that include security code resets, remote locking, and more.

    Malware Protection for Android

    Android is a great mobile OS because it’s so flexible and open to customization. Its ability to mold to different manufacturers’ needs and the active user community that keeps open source projects alive make it a thriving ecosystem for both users and developers.

    However, this also opens the door for less altruistic users to create malware in much more easily delivered packets—apps themselves. You may be downloading a game and unwittingly install ransomware on your phone, or simply click a mobile link that will install spyware on your device.

    Malware protection, such as the one the best security app for android would provide, will automatically scan and prevent malware from reaching your device before it becomes a problem. It does so in steps, each increasing the level of response.

    Many antivirus apps today include app advisors, which scan apps against databases of whitelisted ones to ensure that you’re not downloading malware and other nasty surprises. This works both ways, as most apps also have blacklists, which in many cases you can add to and customize, that will automatically block you from downloading suspicious apps.

    Once you do download an app, most antivirus tools will automatically scan them to ensure there’s nothing suspicious or hidden in the installation files. This is a crucial step in the process, as most apps seem perfectly harmless when you first download them and may not even trigger the malware until much later.  

    Finally, your antivirus will scan for malware that may have gone unnoticed, scanning your phone system and directories for any suspicious files or applications running in the background.

    How I Test the Best Antivirus Apps for Android

    In a crowded market, it’s difficult to find the right solution for you from the bunch. With similar-sounding features, confusing terms, and sometimes not fully clear information, it can be hard to make the right choice. I am committed to helping you find the best android antivirus for your smartphone, and I do so by running rigorous tests on every app I include on my website.

    To find the best antivirus for Android, I check the following factors:

    How well it performs in scans

    This is the most important job an antivirus has—keeping your phone secure. I run my own tests, adding malicious files to smartphones to see how well they detect and prevent them, and compare them to independent lab results for a better view.

    How little it impacts your phone

    Smartphones are already running hundreds of processes, so your antivirus shouldn’t hinder it further. I test each antivirus on how much it impacts your smartphone to determine the best option.

    How easy it is to use

    Finally, I make sure that even if it’s complex, the antivirus I recommend is easy to use and intuitive enough to let you maximize its potential.

    Our Recommendation

    Before selecting the first antivirus app you see, it pays to do a little research and find the best option for you. Explore my in-depth expert breakdowns to see how each antivirus performs.