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15 best antivirus apps and best anti-malware apps for Android
Antivirus Android apps remain one of the most popular types of applications on Android. Generally, you don’t need an antivirus app if you play it safe, only download apps from the Play Store, and keep your security settings enabled. However, there are those who like to take a walk on the wild side and not do those things. There are a ton of really bad antivirus apps out there. Even if these apps aren’t necessary, it’s good to know the safe ones that don’t suck. Here are the best antivirus apps and anti-malware apps for Android. All prices are current as of January 2021.
One final thing to note is that a lot of antivirus apps on Android do literally nothing or do a very bad job. Here’s a study that AV-Comparatives conducted with additional information about how effective some antivirus apps actually are. We recommend checking out that list before making any choices so you can help yourself make the right one.
The best antivirus apps for Android
Price: Free / $$7.49-$26.99 per year
Avira is one of the newer antivirus apps comparatively speaking. It grew rather quickly over the last year. The app comes with the basics, including device scans, real-time protection, external SD card scans, and a lot more. This one also comes with a VPN for an added layer of security. Some other features include anti-theft support, privacy scanning, blacklisting, and even device admin features. It’s much lighter than apps like Norton and others. The free version is functional for basic things. The premium versions include three tiered prices that add things like the aforementioned VPN, password generation, more frequent virus database updates, and more.
Price: Free / $19.99-$39.99 per year
Avast Mobile Security is one of the most popular antivirus apps on any platform. It boasts over 100 million downloads and tons of features. Some of the features include the classic antivirus scanning, an applock, call blocker, anti-theft support, a photo vault, and even a firewall for rooted Android devices. That makes it an excellent tool even if you don’t need the antivirus part very often. There are also some booster features, but as usual you should avoid those. The free version comes with most features and is supported by ads. The premium versions come with more security features, no ads, and the most expensive version includes a VPN as well.
AVG Antivirus Free
Price: Free / $19.99-$39.99 per year
AVG is another big name in the antivirus apps space. In fact, it’s basically the same as AVAST. AVAST actually purchased AVG back in 2016. Thus, the experience is similar in both antivirus apps. You can scan your phone and find potential vulnerabilities in much the same way. This one has anti-theft tracking via Google Maps, but it doesn’t have the rooted firewall availability like AVAST does. Thus, they are different enough to be different products. Just make sure you avoid the trash features like the phone boosting because they don’t actually work. The price tiers and premium features are identical to AVAST.
Bitdefender Free Antivirus
Bitdefender Antivirus is one of the few actually free antivirus apps. It hasn’t changed much over the years. It offers a basic scanning feature, a simple interface, quick performance, and no configuration. This is a great one for super basic needs. All it really does is scan stuff and then sit there and wait to scan stuff again. There is a larger, more in-depth Bitdefender app. However, we think this one is better for those who just want something simple. It’s also actually free with no in-app purchases or subscriptions. There is advertising, though.
Dr. Web Security Space
Price: Free / $8 per year / $16 per 2 years / $89 lifetime
Dr Web is one of the older antivirus apps and anti-malware apps. It has a decent set of features, including quick and full scans, protection from ransomware, a quarantine space, and even stats. Along with that, it has good anti-theft features, call and SMS filtering, URL filtering, parental controls, a firewall, and more. It’s also fairly inexpensive. It goes for an even $8-$16 for one to two years. There is also a lifetime license for $89. The lifetime license is a tad pricey, but it is an opportunity to get away from the monthly subscription if you want.
ESET Mobile Security and Antivirus
Price: Free trial / $1.99 per month / $14.99 per year
ESET is another big name in the antivirus and anti-malware world. It has a decent set of features, including scans, anti-theft support, a security auditor feature, scan scheduling, and more. The setup process is a bit intrusive. It’s one of the few that require an email address. Otherwise, it works pretty well. You get a free one month trial upon installation. From there, it goes for $1.99 per month or $14.99 per year. It’s not quite has heavy as something as AVAST or AVG, but it is heavier than CM Security Lite or Bitdefender. Take that info for what it’s worth.
Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus
Price: Free / $3.99-$14.99 per month / $19.99-$149.99 per year
Kaspersky is one of the most popular antivirus apps. It has both a free and pro version. Both versions offer SMS and call blocking, scans, virus updates, and anti-theft. The premium version adds things like real-time protection, an app lock, and more. Of course, both versions have device scanning for malware and stuff like that. It isn’t nearly as heavy as the biggest antivirus apps. Plus, it doesn’t have hardly any nasty booster features that don’t work. It’s nice to see an antivirus app that doubles down on its purpose instead of trying to stretch out to stuff that doesn’t make sense. The subscription pricing is relatively cheap if you only need support for one device. There are optional tiers for five devices and ten devices that can get pretty expensive.
Lookout Security & Antivirus
Price: Free / $4-$10 per month / $40-$100 per year
Lookout is another popular antivirus and anti-malware app. It comes pre-installed on many devices, especially on carriers like T-Mobile. It does the basics fairly well. That includes scans, phishing protection, malware protection, anti-theft features, and more. It also comes with some unique stuff like identity protection, identity insurance, and WiFi scanning. That gives it a bit of a different perspective than most antivirus apps. There are two tiers of protection. The first is pretty standard stuff for $4 per month. The higher $10 tier adds $1 million in identity theft insurance, identity monitoring, and a few other features. The only part that is kind of annoying is that you need an account before the app does anything.
Price: Free / $1.49 per month / $11.99 per year
Malwarebytes is one of the most popular antivirus apps on Windows. The mobile version is pretty good too. It features an aggressively updated virus database, support for malware and ransomware, a permission tracker, and more. It can even scan messages in WhatsApp, Facebook, SMS, etc for potentially dangerous links. Of course, it does the usual stuff like scanning as well. The app looks nice, works well, and it’s not too heavy like others. It’s also reasonably priced at $1.49 per month or $11.99 per year.
McAfee Mobile Security
Price: Free / $2.99-$9.99 per month / $29.99-$79.99 per year
McAfee is one of the biggest names in antivirus apps. It’s also one of the heaviest. The app includes scanning, anti-theft, anti-spyware, and security locking features. Additionally, it can take photos of your potential phone thief, record locations to the cloud before the phone shuts down, and more useful stuff. McAfee also has a variety of standalone apps for other things. The UI is old and it doesn’t look very good. Additionally, it has phone booster features that don’t work and it requires an account creation to go pro. The antivirus portion of the app does work rather well and some of the tertiary features are nice. The lower tier subscription adds photo and video backup, an app locker, and Internet protection. The more expensive one adds additional protection for things like online banking.
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Price: Free / $14.99-$49.99 per year
Norton 360 has its ups and downs. Just imagine how much worse it gets if we put this one here. The app has a lot of the basic features though, including protection from malware, spyware, and other bad stuff. Additional features include saving device location when the battery is low, real-time protection, anti-theft features, and more. It’s one of the pricier options in antivirus apps. However, its $49.99 per year option does include a VPN and a dark web monitor. There is another $104.99 per year option that includes support for up to five devices if you need it. Honestly, if you don’t need the VPN, the $14.99 per year is the one we’d recommend.
Price: Free / $1.99 per month / $15 per year / $47.16 lifetime
Safe Security (previously 360 Security) is a bit of a mixed bag. Some of its security stuff isn’t half bad and then the other half is quite bad. The app scans your apps for potential malware activity, although its find rate is a little bit higher than we’re willing to believe. Facebook is bad and all, but it’s not malware yet. In any case, this is a decent, super basic antivirus app that will do the scans and show you potential vulnerabilities. The app also features a bunch of phone booster and phone accelerator features. We recommend not using those features at all because they don’t actually work and will make your phone perform worse. Aside from that, it’s relatively inexpensive and one of the few that offers a lifetime license.
Sophos Intercept X for Mobile
Sophos is one of our favorite antivirus and anti-malware apps for Android. It includes all of the basic stuff such as malware protection, a virus scanner, web filtering, app protections, theft protection, Wi-Fi security, and all kinds of other stuff. It does all of this for free, without advertising, and it doesn’t include any garbage booster functions that don’t actually work. Its password safe function is KeePass compatible and it even comes with an authenticator function for multi-factor authentication. We don’t outwardly recommend antivirus apps to anybody, but if you’re going to have one, try this one first.
Trend Micro Antivirus
Price: Free / $4.99 per month / $19.99 per year
Trend Micro is a decent overall selection for antivirus apps. It features the usual stuff like device scans where it checks if apps are malware or not. Like most, its biggest features are the secondary ones. Those include the prevention of malicious apps, a web security function, a public WiFi checker, and a security function for financial transactions. It’s not quite like other antivirus apps that check for malware and then do a bunch of random stuff. It tends to stay right in its wheelhouse. Some functions are available for free, but the $4.99 per month or the $19.99 per year (recommended if you get it) subscription is necessary to get all of the cool stuff.
Google Play Protect
Price: Included with Android
Google Play Protect is Android’s antivirus app. It scans the apps on your device and then compares them to the Google Play versions of that app. It lets you know if the two aren’t the same. This combined with the existing protection in Google Play creates a really good barrier of security. Plus, it’s free, it’s probably already on your device, and you don’t have to do anything to use it. This along with common sense work better and are better for your device than basically any antivirus app, no matter what company makes it. It’ll also save valuable resources with one fewer app running in the background. We recommend this one first. Hit the button below for more information!
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