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Best free antivirus apps for Android in 2022


Free Android antivirus apps can help you protect your smartphone from the most popular types of malware, like adware, spyware, and other cyber threats. Yet, are those free antivirus actually free? We bet you have seen apps which claim to be free of charge and then ask to pay for every single feature once you install it.

In this article, we aim to show you that malware protection doesn’t have to cost a fortune or in fact, anything. Check our list of the best free antivirus for Android to find out which one has the most suitable protection features for you.

Top 5 best free Android antivirus:

  1. Bitdefender – best free Android antivirus suite
  2. Avira – best malware and privacy protection solution
  3. Kaspersky – premium security for Android free of charge
  4. TrendMicro – best free overall Android antivirus
  5. Malwarebytes – top free antivirus for privacy protection

Is a free Android antivirus worth it?

One fact is very clear that you need protection. The only way to get it is to use malware protection tools. So, is a free Android antivirus worth it? Any antivirus is better than no protection at all.

While you might say that Android already has an in-built antivirus – the Google Play Protect – unfortunately, it fails to detect 70% of spyware and only has an 81.7% overall malware protection rate, according to AV-Comparatives. So, experts highly recommend getting a third-party antivirus that could effectively help you protect your device.

That being said, free Android antivirus applications are totally worth it since they can give you a basic protection from various potentially unwanted programs and intrusive ads. You get quick and full scan options to check all apps and files for malicious components with minimal impact on the phone’s battery. Some of them even offer a free VPN to secure your browsing!

However, if you want advanced protection features, like real-time defence, notifications about phishing attempts or even a password vault, you should consider getting one of the paid Android antivirus apps. You can either install Norton antivirus, or pick one of the listed protection tools and get a subscription of the premium version.

Best free antivirus apps for Android - detailed list:

We made sure to select applications that offer solid protection solutions, whether in the form of a free plan or a powerful free trial. Below, you will find the list of the best free antivirus apps for Android in 2022.

1. Bitdefender – best lightweight Android antivirus solution

Bitdefender interface
Dedicated Android app:Yes
Scans both apps and files:Yes
VPN included:No
Current deal:Get Bitdefender, now 50% OFF!

Bitdefender Antivirus Free for Android provides robust protection solutions for the devices. It has a dedicated and easy-to-use application which you can safely download from the Play Store. This antivirus employs high-detection engines to catch 99% of all malware actively targeting Android operating systems, so it’s definitely a top choice for those seeking powerful protection for their devices.

It utilizes the cloud-based threat detection system which scans apps and files online instead of downloading virus signatures on the device. So, this malware protection suite doesn’t have a negative impact on Android’s battery life.

Additionally, Bitdefender antivirus doesn’t require you to supervise the protection, as it performs automatic on-install scannings whenever you get a new app on your smartphone. Although, if you want reassurance that your device is safe, you can manually run an on-demand scan with just one click.

The dedicated Android app is extremely user-friendly and requires zero configurations. Unlike others, it doesn’t put you through multiple steps and settings to simply make a quick check-up. Likewise, this is a perfect security solution if you want to forget that malware even exists.

What’s worth mentioning is that Bitdefender antivirus is completely free. You don’t need to register an account or enter the credit card information if you want to use it.

Although the free version is pretty compelling, you can get even more security features, such as a VPN, anti-theft technology and protection against link-based scams from $14.99/year with the Bitdefender Mobile Security for Android plan.

Find out more about this antivirus in the Bitdefender review.

2. Avira – performs fastest Android malware scans

Avira AV banner
Dedicated Android app:Yes
Scans both apps and files:Yes
VPN included:Yes
Current deal:Get Avira, now 40% OFF!

You can get security, privacy, and boost your device’s performance with just one dedicated app – Avira Free Antivirus for Android. It provides protection from millions of various viruses and helps you maintain your online anonymity, so you can also be safe while browsing. This is a truly all-in-one antivirus solution for Android users and it comes free of charge.

Avira antivirus scans apps and files for malware, spyware, and other cyber threats that target Android devices. Also, it is capable of identifying privacy-related issues, like device and account vulnerabilities to help you improve your security.

The best thing is that the Smart scan option allows you to perform the full checkup with only one click. It provides a detailed report on the found threats and even suggests what actions you could take to boost your device’s performance.

Apart from that, Avira antivirus also provides identity protection which checks the dark web for potential data leaks. You just need to enter your email address and it will quickly identify whether your passwords and credentials have been compromised.

In addition, you also get a VPN for secure browsing, a call blocker to avoid scammers, and an app lock for privacy. All of these perks are included with the free Avira antivirus app.

If you want to get camera and microphone protection, as well as an anti-phishing technology, the paid Avira Security Pro for Android subscriptions start from $11.99/year.

Find out more about this malware protection software in the Avira antivirus review.

3. Kaspersky – premium antivirus protection for Android plus a free VPN

Kaspersky AV banner
Dedicated Android app:Yes
Scans both apps and files:Yes
VPN included:Yes
Current deal:Get Kaspersky, save up to 50%!

Kaspersky Free Internet Security antivirus plan provides powerful malware protection solutions for Android. It has a free mobile app that is tightly packed with useful features for maximum security. You can easily perform a quick or full scan to detect the latest threats or simply specify individual folders for a checkup.

What’s really great about this antivirus is that it also allows you to check all app usage and permissions directly in its dashboard. So, you don’t need to manually navigate through Android settings to identify potentially unwanted programs which might be exploiting its resources.

Additionally, Kaspersky antivirus includes a free VPN with a 200MB daily cap, a data leak checker, and a call filter. All of these features help to create an all-round protection of both your Android device and your personal information.

What’s also worth mentioning is that this security software can not only protect your smartphone from cyber attacks but also from real-life criminals. It’s anti-theft feature is designed to erase all sensitive data stored on the phone if it gets stolen, including: messages, photos, videos, and other files. It even allows you to take a mugshot of the thief and turn on an alarm remotely.

Its paid subscription plans include even greater features, like real-time protection against advanced threats, alerts about malicious URLs targeting your credentials, and a spy app detection. If you’re interested, you can get the premium Kaspersky Internet Security for Android plan from $11.99/year.

Find out more about this malware protection software in the Kaspersky antivirus review.

4. Trend Micro – get protection for your Android device and your private information

Trend Micro antivirus banner
Dedicated Android app:Yes
Scans both apps and files:Yes
VPN included:No
Current deal:Get Trend Micro, now 55% OFF!

Trend Micro Mobile Security for Android provides trustworthy smartphone protection services for free. The company has over 30 years of experience in cyber security and allows its customers to enjoy enhanced security and privacy of their devices wherever they go.

With this antivirus, you can perform easy malware scans with just one click. It scans files and apps to identify potential privacy and system threats. Additionally, it even allows you to link your social media accounts, like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter and protect them against data leaks.

All of the detected issues which are related to apps, wifi, browsing, email, or social networks appear on a detailed security report. You can see how frequently you run the scans and how many threats were found over a period of time. It’s exceptionally useful if you want to always track your private information and smartphone security.

Apart from being a great malware protection software, Trend Micro also has an in-built System Tuner feature to help you optimize the memory usage and battery time. You can always see the device’s temperature, battery status, and free memory space, as well as boost its performance.

However, those who are interested in extra layers of security, should consider getting a premium version of Trend Micro Mobile Security which starts from $29.99/year. Even though it's quite expensive, you get advanced protection of financial and banking apps, alerts about malicious links in text messages or social media platforms and pre-install scans for malware.

Find out more about this security software in our Trend Micro review.

5. Malwarebytes – scans for malware and identifies weak Android settings

Malwarebytes banner
Dedicated Android app:Yes
Scans both apps and files:Yes
VPN included:No
Current deal:Get Malwarebytes, now 40% OFF!

The free Malwarebytes for Android antivirus offers a dedicated app for the devices. It is easy-to-use and has a user-friendly interface. You can install it for free on Android 7.0 or later operating systems for good protection against malware and other malicious programs.

It scans your files and installed applications for potential threats, as well as checks the device settings for vulnerabilities. Although it has great malware detection rates, there’s only one scanning option – the full scan. Keep in mind that it takes quite some time to complete it. So, it might not be the best option for those who seek quick checkups.

Apart from that, Malwarebytes is an excellent choice if you want to safeguard your privacy as well. It has a Privacy Checker feature that shows which apps and how many of them have access to your contacts, location, personal data, microphone, calendar, etc. Likewise, with this antivirus, you can easily manage app permissions to secure your privacy.

It’s important to mention that not all features are available in the free version. You will be able to enjoy all of its perks for 30 days free of charge. Afterwards, if you want advanced security, including a VPN and real-time protection, you will need to purchase one of its subscription plans starting from $16.00/year or keep using only the basic features.

Find out more about this antivirus in the Malwarebytes review.

6. PC Protect – detects malware and adware on Android devices

PCProtect antivirus banner
Dedicated Android app:Yes
Scans both apps and files:No, only apps
VPN included:No
Current deal:Get PC Protect, now OFF!

PC Protect is a basic antivirus suite which is also compatible with Android devices. You can install its dedicated app free of charge and enjoy simple, yet effective malware protection features.

This antivirus is great for catching malware and adware which exclusively target Android operating systems. Just simply opt for the full scan option through the dashboard to find the malicious programs on your smartphone.

All of the detected threats will appear in a simple scan report in which you can see which apps are putting your device’s security at risk.

Additionally, PC Protect provides a possibility to clear your device from cache, as well as junk and duplicate files with its Cleaner feature. This way, you can free up memory space and necessary resources for a smooth system performance and longer battery life.

Apart from basic malware protection features, this antivirus also aims to provide you with a safer browsing experience. You can access the incognito browser via the app’s dashboard to hide your online activities and avoid tracking cookies.

If you want to try all PC Protect features, you can get it for $19.00/year. Its paid version includes real-time protection, a secure VPN, anti-phishing technology and a browser cleaner.

You can read more about this security tool in the PC Protect review.

How we selected and tested these free Android antivirus apps

It’s not a secret that most of the free security tools for Android have a highly limited functionality. For that reason, our experts aimed to find antivirus programs for Android that would provide the best protection possible. Of course, free of charge. These are the criteria that helped to pick our list:

  • Brand. Unfortunately, small-scale brands neither have the financial capabilities, nor the resources to provide robust and free antivirus solutions. We have selected applications that are developed by the industry leaders which have years of experience and necessary resources to deliver effective Android malware protection suites free of charge.
  • Malware detection scores. Each application we’ve listed is examined by the independent testing labs, like AV-Test and AV-comparatives. All of them show an outstanding performance in malware protection, identifying from 100% to 98.1% of the latest Android viruses.
  • Android app. The free Android antivirus programs we’ve picked have dedicated apps which are user-friendly and easy to use. The best apps allow you to get a full system scan in just one click and doesn’t have a negative impact on the phone battery.
  • Security features. Many of the free security tools merely allow you to download the app and then require in-app purchases to use anything on them. We’ve made sure that our selected Android antivirus programs would include as many free security features as possible.

Are all free Android antivirus apps safe?

Yes, free Android antivirus apps are safe if they come from well-known and trustworthy service providers. The majority of top antivirus developers always provide solutions for users who either seek to test their services free of charge or want to get completely free options to use indefinitely. Even though the apps might not give access to all malware protection features, they are safe to use.

However, I wouldn’t say the same about free antivirus solutions which come from unknown developers. You can find numerous so-called security tools on the Google Play Store which claim to be free of charge and effective.

Yet, there’s a reason why they’re free. Most of those fake apps are designed to collect private information and make profits from selling it to third-parties. Therefore, you should avoid using such ‘free’ tools as they are definitely not safe to use.

Keep in mind that if you’re concerned about the safety of the free antivirus, you always have an option to get a free trial of a paid Android antivirus program which is recommended by the experts. Similarly, you can purchase a subscription and try the software risk-free with the 30-day money-back guarantee.

Disadvantages of using a free antivirus for Android

Free Android antivirus programs which are not approved by the experts might not only cause you problems, but also have a negative impact on your device. These are only a few disadvantages of using them:

  • Fake scan results. The majority of untested Android antivirus software are not even capable of detecting real malware. Instead, these apps display fraudulent scan results to trick you into thinking that your device is infected. Consequently, they immediately offer to remove all identified threats but obviously, for a price. Many people fall for the scam and agree to pay although their smartphones are malware-free.
  • Phishing attempts. While you are getting an Android antivirus to protect your device, you might end up getting malware or adware if you choose a fake app. One of the real-life examples is the secret network of app developers on Google Play Store which managed to gain access to dangerous permissions on users’ devices before they were removed from the platform. So, installing a questionable app which is highly promoted as a free tool can easily put your smartphone’s security at risk.
  • Privacy risks. Keep in mind that dubious applications, including free Android antivirus programs can collect your sensitive information. Just like the infamous app-based Android SMS scam, these ‘free’ malware protection tools might ask you to enter your phone number to confirm your account, yet charge substantial amounts of money without your permission to make illegal profits.
  • System slowdown. All applications installed on your device use a portion of its resources. If you get a useless free antivirus on your Android, it will be using them for no reason and might slow down your device’s performance. Therefore, save the smartphone’s memory and resources for applications that serve a purpose.

Free Android antivirus to avoid

If you are wondering which free Android antivirus to avoid, AV-Comparatives has conducted a thorough research of Android antivirus apps to determine whether they are effective as promised by the developers.

The independent testing lab examined 250 malware protection applications available on the Google Play Store and found that 138 of them detect less than 30% of malware and/or have a high false positive rate.

While many of the ineffective antivirus programs are already removed from the Play Store, we found that some of them are still there.

These are the free antivirus for Android that you should avoid:

  • CHOMAR Antivirus Security
  • Shield Antivirus by ShieldApps
  • Anti-Virus Scan Apps by SkyMobileTeam
  • Mobile Security Master by Utilitarian Tools

Can free antivirus detect and remove Android malware?

Yes, free antivirus can find and remove adware which is the most popular Android virus. This type of malicious program is designed to gain unauthorized access to permissions and start displaying various ads in the form of pop-ups, banners and redirects.

Adware not only makes the browsing experience unbearable, but can also lead to suspicious websites where cyber criminals distribute malware or aim to steal personal information. Luckily, even the free version of a reliable antivirus can help you block pop-ups.

However, there are less common but still highly dangerous Android malware types which are not so easy to remove, like spyware or ransomware. If your phone is infected with an advanced cyber threat, you will need to purchase an antivirus subscription with the full set of security features for successful elimination.

Bottom line

Nowadays, malware is no longer targeting computers only. So, at least the basic protection for your smartphone is essential to keep your private information and valuable data secure. Luckily, there are truly useful antivirus solutions for Android that you can use without paying for a subscription first.

Free Android antivirus apps can easily help you to detect most popular viruses with great scanning features or like Bitdefender – perform automatic on-install scannings for you. So, you would always have that extra layer of security.

Although the free tools are truly powerful, their paid versions offer even more advanced malware protection features that are definitely worth the price if you want to forget that Android viruses exist at all.

That being said, we strongly suggest using a free Android antivirus in case you currently don’t have any protection. But switching to a robust security tool with a wallet-friendly subscription should still be the end goal.

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