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Best Antivirus Apps for Android in 2021


Best Antivirus for Android

On average, a typical Android OS phone will have fewer security holes than, for example, your Windows PC. With features like Google Play Protect automatically scanning your device for malicious apps, you already have antivirus built-in on your Android.

On the flip side, Google isn’t quite on the same level as Apple when it comes to security updates. Android phone manufacturers also don't issue updates often. Not to mention that if your phone is rooted, it’s a good idea to stick to third-party protection. But what antivirus software is the best for Android?

We've tested lots of tools, and here’s our list of the best antivirus apps for Android phones in 2021.

Best Android antivirus apps:

  1. Norton 360 - perfect premium mobile suite
  2. TotalAV - the package with the Android security essentials
  3. Bitdefender Antivirus - complete antivirus suite for Android
  4. Kaspersky - one of the most versatile antivirus packages for mobile
  5. Avira Antivirus - the least resource-intensive option

What to look for in the best antivirus for Android?

When you're looking for an antivirus for Chromebook, most of the same criteria that apply for other platforms are relevant here, as well.

Android app. You have to make sure that the service actually has an app for Android. And even if it does, that still doesn't mean that you should pull a trigger right away, check whether their Android app is on the same quality level as the rest of the suite.

Malware labs scores. Make sure that your chosen service is good at removing malware. Most independent malware labs run monthly tests and publish their results.

Features. You can live without extra features, but they never hurt. Some of them might even justify getting a more expensive package.

Customer support. If you run into problems, it's always good to know that someone will help you out. Good customer support guarantees that there's always someone to rely on.

Price. It's easy to overspend if you're not sure what you're getting. Be smart about your purchases, and don't waste your money on poor antivirus services.

The best Android antivirus – our detailed list:

The best antivirus apps for Android do bring a lot of additional value to the table. Aside from malware protection, they offer anti-theft tools, phone tracking, and VPN. Here are some of the best on the market:

1. Norton Mobile Security – best premium feature suite

norton
Free version:No
Dedicated Android app:Yes
VPN included:No (available on separate app)
Current deal:Get Norton, save up to 53%!

Norton has been one of the best antivirus services for years. Their product being on our list is practically a staple.

However, this is much more than your regular run-of-the-mill antivirus for mobile. Norton protection takes care of three key areas: security, identity, and privacy.

The security part deals with malware scans on your mobile, informs when your Android OS has vulnerabilities, and notifies you when you join insecure networks. This will be the most useful when you’re connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots.

Web Protection prevents you from visiting malware-infested websites. Norton constantly updates the blacklist, and the sites on it simply won’t load. This effectively neutralizes any harm that could be caused.

There are also app advisors that scan your Google Play installs and warn you about potentially dangerous apps. You can set up automatic scans that will be performed in the background. For example, when you go to sleep and leave your phone on the nightstand.

Lastly, there’s privacy protection, which mostly deals with VPNs. Keep in mind that you’ll have to download and install this app separately. The same goes for the password manager and parental controls.

The main drawbacks of Norton is their pricing. There's no free version, and the subscription is somewhat expensive.

2. TotalAV Antivirus – essential Android package

TotalAV Antivirus
Free version:Yes
Dedicated Android app:Yes
VPN included:Yes
Current deal:Get TotalAV, now 80% OFF!

If you want desktop-grade performance on your phone, look no further than TotalAV Antivirus. Albeit the service is a fairly recent competitor, it’s already proven to be a superb solution.

A lot of its value comes from security scans. During our tests, TotalAV managed to pick up malware types that some other providers didn’t detect. I’m guessing that this is due to their unique malware database.

Then, there are additions such as a VPN. With it, your connection will be encrypted, and hide your real IP address to prevent online tracking. Which alone is well worth the subscription cost.

You can also clear up junk files with the Device Tune-Up feature. Not only can this help you free up more space on your phone, but it can also significantly increase speed.

If you’re frequently connected to public hotspots, you can check whether they’re safe with a Wi-Fi security checker. This will let you know if there are potentially dangerous perpetrators on the same networks.

The value that TotalAV brings is beyond malware removal. The service can help to prevent viruses from ever landing on your device. With that said though, it does lack web filters or an anti-theft features.

3. Bitdefender Mobile Security – all-inclusive suite for Android in 2021

Free version:Yes
Dedicated Android app:Yes
VPN included:Yes
Current deal:Get Bitdefender, now 60% OFF!

Bitdefender is often praised as the best antivirus service, period. This doesn’t change even on Android.

Though, it’s worth noting that Bitdefender here brings much more than malware scanning. This app gives you contextual recommendations based on your device usage and needs. Then, you have anti-theft tools, malware scanners, web protection, and a VPN.

If your device ever gets lost, you can log into your Bitdefender account to check where it is on the map. Moreover, you can remotely scan for malware, lock the device, or wipe all the data from it. This gives a pretty incredible level of control over your device, especially if you’re using a secure method to lock your phone’s screen.

The kicker is that Bitdefender also works with Android smart wearables. It will alert you on your smart watch if your phone gets too far from you.

Bitdefender's scanner checks whether you have installed ransomware, adware, stalkerware, coin miners, and other potentially unwanted apps. Not to mention that you can expect malware databases that are more up-to-date than what you would get with Google Play Protect.

Then, there’s web protection that, when turned on, filters every website. When it’s enabled, you won’t accidentally visit malware-infested websites. They simply won’t load.

The final addition is a VPN, which does have a pretty restrictive 200 MB daily cap. Still, it does mean that you can avoid purchasing a VPN separately, assuming you don't need it for much.

4. Kaspersky Internet Security for Android – efficient Android malware removal service

Kaspersky antivirus
Free version:Yes
Dedicated Android app:Yes
VPN included:Yes
Current deal:Get Kaspersky, save up to 50%!

As an antivirus service, Kaspersky has a superb track record. This old-school antivirus provider has always had a great Windows package. Well, as it turns out, Kaspersky is just as reliable on mobile devices.

In the classic fashion, the major attraction is their malware scanner. With it, you’ll be able to remove most malicious apps and other threats. If your phone is becoming exponentially slower or overheating, it won’t hurt to check it in this mode.

Then, there is a system updates checker, call filters to block robocalls, and Anti-Theft tools. With the latter, you can lock your device, find out where it is exactly, take a selfie when someone tries to unlock it, wipe it remotely, or sound an alarm. All of which can be of great use if your mobile is stolen. Most importantly, all of the features above are free.

If you’re a premium version user, you can get real-time protection. This feature looks for threats in opened files and scans for malicious code while installing. Another addition is the app lock – this will allow you to protect particular apps with a passcode. This can be handy if you’re in the habit of giving your phone to your kids.

Finally, there are text message and web anti-phishing tools to prevent you from clicking on malicious websites URL's.

Where you might have concerns is their business location – Russia. Even though they moved most of their operations elsewhere, this remains their weakest link.

5. Avira Mobile Security – versatile and lightweight tool

Avira antivirus
Free version:Yes
Dedicated Android app:Yes
VPN included:Yes
Current deal:Get Avira, now 40% OFF!

Avira is a service that is simple to use but still provides a lot of useful features. In other words, it’s a lightweight security suite with none of the loss in functionality.

Their suite focuses on Protection, Privacy, and Performance. So, it won’t be some tool that you’ll just use for malware removal. The service is much more versatile.

There is Web Protection that keeps you off the phishing and malware websites. It’s the same feature that you might have seen on desktop versions of the app. What is exclusive is mobile anti-theft tools, which help you to locate your lost device. You can keep a backup of your contacts and easily retrieve them if your storage ever becomes corrupted.

As for privacy, there’s the Network Scanner that shows you other devices on your network, this could be a handy tool to discover who is leeching off your Internet. There is also a call blocker, which may help you manage spam-callers better.

Then, there is also microphone and camera protection – if you’re worried that some apps are secretly recording you, this will help you out. Revoke microphone or camera permissions at will.

Finally, you’re getting a system optimizer to clean up junk or duplicate files. With it, you’ll easily get rid of the clutter and have more space on your mobile.

Where the service could be improved is their customer support. I found that the waiting times for customer support agents' responses were pretty long.

6. ESET Mobile Security and Antivirus – most Advanced Android cybersecurity suite

ESET-NOD32
Free version:Yes
Dedicated Android app:Yes
VPN included:No
Current deal:Get ESET, save up to 26%!

As far as Android antiviruses go, ESET is by far the most curious exhibit. It's certainly one of the most advanced suites available on the market today.

Naturally, the virus scanner is a big part of its appeal. You can even schedule scans for later or automate them to be performed when you plug in your device, so you won’t have to deal with the antivirus interfering with your everyday tasks.

There’s also an anti-theft suite, which is something that is becoming quite commonplace on mobile cybersecurity toolkits. With it, you can check the location and the IP address of your device. You can even take screenshots to find out what your phone is being used for.

It’s possible to enable web filters that help to steer clear from phishing and malware websites. This is very useful when you’re worried that you might be entering your credit card details into a spoofed website. With that said, there’s a separate payment protection function, which kicks in when you’re using banking apps.

And that's not even everything - ESET Android certainly has you covered. On the other hand, you have to take into consideration their steep price. The service is paid-only and only offers an Android app. Also, some settings might be too complex for new users.

7. AVG Mobile Security – slick design and many useful features

avg antivirus
Free version:Yes
Dedicated Android app:Yes
VPN included:No (separate app required)
Current deal:Get AVG, save up to 5

Most AVG users flock to the service because of their free version. Yet this isn’t the only good thing about this cybersecurity suite.

Like most other competitors, AVG has malware scanners. With this app, you’ll quickly remove most threats you may have picked up when browsing. After each scan, the app will give you a detailed description of what it has found and even rate the severity.

Still, this is only the tip of the iceberg. You can also clean up various cached data from your apps to save space. This could help you resolve some app errors.

There are even some monitoring tools like Wi-Fi network scan to check who also is using the same network. Even if something strikes you as suspicious, you can use their VPN to make your connection encrypted. This should help you against snoopy individuals and give an adequate degree of privacy from hackers and ISP’s alike.

Their paid edition removes ads and adds quite a bunch of useful features. For example, the app lock will allow you to lock specific apps behind a passcode. Then, there’s Camera Trap, which will take a selfie of the thief that decided to borrow your phone.

What holds this service back is their custom support options – it's difficult to find tutorials or guides for more complex questions. Also, their customer support is only available to premium users.

How we tested and selected these antivirus apps?

Most malware labs report that Google's built-in Play Protect feature protects the device 90% of the time. However, false positives and infrequent updates from phone manufacturers mean that additional malware protection for your Android device is a good idea.

  • Malware lab scores. The only way you can be safe from malicious software is if your antivirus recognizes most of its recent forms. If a service is relying on outdated signature lists, your device can quickly be overrun with viruses.
  • Additional features. Most antiviruses nowadays double down on bonus benefits. If the service is putting in some serious work there, this means more value for the consumer. This can turn an otherwise mediocre service into a top contender.
  • Reputation. It’s always worth looking into the company behind the service. Look for security or privacy incidents and scandals - it's probably best to avoid these services.
  • Customer support. It’s important to be able to reach out to customer support agents when you’re in trouble. Some services go the extra mile to make themselves more available. Some even guarantee protection from viruses and vow to give you your money back if they don’t. All of this gets extra points.
  • Price. The price that you pay for the service should adequately reflect what you’re getting. If you’re asked to pay top dollar for a mediocre suite, perhaps you should look elsewhere.

Video review

Best antivirus for android in 2021 video review

Why do I need an antivirus for my Android phone?

The truth is, current Android OS versions are pretty secure compared to how the landscape looked for first generations.

Still, the disparity between manufacturers and the frequency with which updates are rolled out is a problem in itself. Some manufacturers can take weeks, months, or years to catch up. All of which leaves you open for a garden variety of threats. If you’re not careful, this could be enough time for someone to take advantage of the latest loophole in the OS.

Not to mention, even if updates do come, you’re left with only Google Play Protect, which is simply not able to catch all the threats in their tracks. A third-party antivirus makes the odds that you’ll keep your data and your phone much better protected.

How do I install an antivirus on my Android phone?

Installing an antivirus on your phone is fairly straightforward. It boils down to finding an app on the Google Play Store and clicking the install button. If that doesn’t help you much, here’s how the general process should look like:

  1. Tap the Play Store shortcut on your Android
  2. Type the name of the service into the search bar. We recommend Bitdefender.
  3. Make sure that you’ve found the correct app
  4. Tap Install and wait till the setup completes.

If you’ve chosen a premium antivirus service, you’ll most likely have to log in to unlock premium features. Once you’re logged in, you can now scan for malware or take advantage of other features.

Does Android have a built-in antivirus?

Most Android devices come with Google Play Protect built-in. It uses various machine learning algorithms to detect malicious code. This serves as the main line of defense against malware if you’re not using anything else.

Additionally, if you only install the apps that you find on the Play Store, every single submission is reviewed. If the reviewers notice something odd, the submission is rejected. However, this isn’t a foolproof solution. There are many examples of malicious apps passing approval by downloading malicious code afterward.

So, using a third-party antivirus can provide you with better flexibility, features, and malware protection.

Which is the best free antivirus for Android?

As you’ve probably noticed, some antiviruses on this list have a free version. For the most part, you can install them without any strings attached and test how they perform. Bitdefender, Avira, and Kaspersky seem like the best choices. They all provide a free service that is functional enough to be worth space on your mobile.

However, it’s worth mentioning that with a premium antivirus, you’ll be getting a lot more features. Often, only the paid version will protect you against ransomware and other more serious threats.

Conclusion

Mobile Android antiviruses evolved enough to offer much more than simple malware cleanup. They are impressive cybersecurity suites that have numerous functions, including password managers and VPNs.

This makes antivirus for Android a handy investment. It pays off not only in terms of resilience against digital threats but also expands your functionality. Sometimes, it can even help you retrieve your lost device.

All in all, a top-of-the-line antivirus app for Android is certainly worth the money.

FAQ


More Anti-Virus guides from CyberNews:

Best Antivirus Apps for iPhone & iPad: increase your online safety even more with these tools

Best Antivirus Software for Mac: deny all the viruses accessing your Apple device


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