Best Antivirus App for Android 2021
You need to use an antivirus for your Android device. Why? Simply put, Android is the operating system of choice in the world. This means it is also the biggest target from hackers and third parties trying to get into your device, as well as malware being sent around to infiltrate your smartphone or tablet.
Unlike Apple users who are only able to download apps from the official iOS App Store, Android will allow you to pretty much download apps from any platform, leaving the door open for unofficial apps that are probably crawling with malware and spyware. The official Google Play Store also has a simpler approval process, meaning that dangerous apps can creep in, and even when detected and removed, they have a tendency to come back.
An antivirus app will help keep your smartphone or safe and free from malware and other dangerous threats targeting your Android device.
The Best Antivirus for Android
We have sifted through a bunch of apps that might just be the tool you need to keep your Android device safe.
Here at the top three picks for the best antivirus app for Android.
Winning many awards since being released on the market, McAfee is one name you probably already know when it comes to antivirus programs. This app comes in both a free and paid version, and neither will disappoint, with the free version even scoring almost 100% in the latest tests done by AV-TEST.
The app itself is incredibly easy to use and navigate and will not slow down your mobile phone or impact on the battery life, which is one of the biggest problems when it comes to antivirus software for Android. Within the app, you will find a list of shortcuts including: Security Scan, App Protection, Call & SMS Filter, Backup, Restore & Wipe, Lock Device and Web Protection. The McAfee app is protected by a password you can set and you can also select so that the app cannot be deleted unless the password is entered.
You can run on-demand scans that will look for malware on your Android device, which includes all of your installed apps, attachments, files and code from text messages. Another amazing feature within this antivirus app is App Protection. Here, McAfee will search your apps to find which of them have access to your most delicate information. Additionally, it will monitor which apps you are looking to download, warning you ahead of time in case of suspicious privacy issues.
If you happen to lose your phone or fear it might have been stolen, there is a remote location as well as an anti-theft function which can be accessed from your account on the McAfee website or via SMS from a different phone. From there you can see exactly where your device is located as well as being able to set off its alarm. In this situation it is great to be able to lock your device as well as being able to send a message to it, making your presence felt.
Lastly, if you think there is no chance of getting your phone or tablet back, you can clear your contacts, call logs, photos, messages, videos and your SD card.
Here are some more reasons why McAfee is the best Android antivirus app:
- Device lock security
- Thief camera (takes a photo of the thief)
- Remotely wipes data
- Map location service
- Anti-theft uninstall protection
- Safeguard your online privacy under unsecured network
- Blocks access to risky websites
- Securely locks apps with sensitive content
- Phone support
- Media Upload
- No ads
- Controls which apps guests can see on your device
If you want to know more, read our review here.
There is nothing confusing about using this Android antivirus app. You will get started as soon as you download the app from the Google Play Store and create an account with your email account. The interface is user-friendly and clean with the home screen divided into four buttons that you can choose from, Protection, Performance, Anti-Theft, and Privacy, as well as the last time you ran a scan.
Any of the mentioned buttons will open a submenu and allow you various options such as privacy protection, SIM-card replacement, camera trap as well as the ‘protect another device’, which will hook you up to AVG Zen, a free Android app that allows you to scan other Android devices remotely.
Within the app, you have a call and message blocker which allows you to add numbers to both a trusted and blocked list as well as the option to send automated messages when you get calls from particular numbers.
There is also AVG’s PrivacyFix for social platforms which will give you an in-depth examination of how your privacy settings work on platforms like Twitter and Facebook. This is something unique to AVG which other apps are not offering.
Here are the features that make AVG one of the best Android antivirus apps:
- Anti-theft phone tracker
- App lock
- Camera trap
- Easy to use interface
- Monthly plan
- Dual-engine antivirus for removing malicious content
- Performance-boosting features
- Photo Vault
- Surveillance agent
Something we didn’t like about AVG Antivirus Pro:
- Numerous features are broken out into separate apps
If you want to know more, read our review here.
Coming in at number three we have the Avast Mobile Security app for your Android device. This is one of the best antivirus apps for Android, offering many great features, and to top it off, it’s free. These guys throw in the hard yards to enhance your mobile or tablet overall security. Unlike some of its competitors, this app will not slow down your device.
Having some problems in the past at keeping malware away has pushed Avast to make some great changes to their mobile phone app. Now, malware scanning is front and center within the app, and the first thing you will see at the top of the screen as you open it up will be a large green button saying “SCAN”. The scan itself might be a little slower than the other two antivirus apps we have mentioned, taking 45 seconds to a minute to complete the scan.
The great thing about this app is that you can always schedule a time for your scan to take place, meaning you can set it to work at 3 a.m. when you’re fast asleep. Just like McAfee, if you believe you have lost or had your device stolen, you can always activate the locate, lock and wipe device feature, with the siren included.
An additional feature in terms of anti-theft is the possibility to forward all calls that are made to your device to another number as well as texts also being sent to the new number.
Here are the features that make Avast one of the best Android antivirus apps:
- Call blocker
- App permissions
- Avast direct support
- SecureLine VPN
- WiFi Finder
- Secure photos with a pin or fingerprint passcode
- Verify WiFi security
There are also some things we did not like about Avast such as:
- Lengthy setup process
- The ads in the free version are pretty annoying
If you’re looking for the best antivirus software for virus protection for 2021 check out our review here. Alternatively, you might be interested in keeping your iPhone safe from malware. You can check out the best antivirus programs for your iPhone right here.
How to Install an Antivirus app for Android
- Open Google Play Store.
- Search for your chosen antivirus app.
- Tap install and wait a few seconds for the app to download.
- Tap open.
- Your antivirus of choice interface will load.
Types of Mobile Malware
There are various threats that can deeply affect your Android device’s performance, or worse hinder your personal data. Below, you can see what they are and why you need an antivirus app for Android.
Banking Malware – There are various Trojans which can invade your Android device, made specifically to collect your banking details including logins and passwords.
Mobile Spyware – This type of malware will enter your Android device, usually unnoticed and will collect various information including your location and passwords. You might only notice that something is wrong when the performance of your device starts declining. By then it is too late. This is why you need one of our best Android antivirus apps to keep your Android safe.
Mobile Ransomware – Hackers will attempt to steal user data including documents, photos, and videos, effectively encrypting your data and asking for a ransom to get it back. If you refuse, your data is often locked away or deleted, never to be seen again.
SMS Trojans – Once again hackers have become more savvy throughout the years, this time causing total chaos in their path by sending random Android users text messages and bringing up their phone bills.
MMS Malware – Getting a random MMS from someone you don’t know may have been harmless in the past, but today there is a chance that MMS is packed with malicious spyware. Even if you do not open the MMS, the effects can be dangerous, giving access to your device to the individual who sent the MMS.
Mobile Adware – Everyone hates those pesky ads that tend to pop up when surfing the internet, but did you know about malvertising? This is malware that infects your phone or tablet and allows it to download different adware that will allow hackers to get a hold of your personal information. They even have the ability to watch your every move on your phone and also screenshot your passwords.
So, how do you know if your phone has been affected by any of these security threats? There are a few giveaways that can alert you to suspicious activity on your Android device including:
- Slow service
- Your apps keep crashing
- Your battery life is drained quickly
- Malicious fake pop-ups
- Random pop-ups
- Unwanted app installs.
Of course, if you download one of the best antivirus apps for Android, this shouldn’t be an issue, because they will able to screen and block any of these threats.
The Bottom Line
With millions of users opting to use the Android operating device, there is no question that this is one of the operating systems most susceptible to hackers and dangerous malware. There are many disadvantages to this including annoying ads popping up all the time as well as devastating consequences. Nobody wants their personal information stolen and held ransom, or making a run for it with your banking information and emptying your bank account.
Thankfully there is a simple solution to keeping your Android phone or tablet secure. Investing in a great antivirus for your Android device means that your phone or tablet will be free of malicious adware, Trojans, spyware, and other threats.
For more information, read our best antivirus apps for mobile review.