The Best Antivirus Apps for Android

article by Maria Perinic
August 06, 2019

Android devices are the most widely used in the world. This is probably due to the fact that users are able to almost completely change the software within the Android device in order to make it completely personalized. However, in recent years, smartphones and tablets have not just been used for text messaging and making quick calls.

Instead, people are now leaning on their Android devices to complete more sensitive tasks such as internet banking, online shopping, and booking airfares. This consequently means that a lot of delicate data can be found on your device, and if you haven’t secured your Android phone or tablet you could be inviting in a myriad of hackers just waiting to get their hands on your information.

Best Antivirus for Android

We often forget the need to keep our Android devices protected, but the fact is the information on these devices could be very dangerous, according to Ondrej Krehel, CEO, and Founder of LIFARS;

“Mobile security is often misrepresented by the high confidence levels of users themselves. While enterprises are adopting new mobile cybersecurity strategies, it’s the users who are the closest to the BYOD technologies, and often are responsible for their choices of action on their devices. Smartphones and other portable devices are among the easiest attack vectors for hackers.

Just because we do not see many high-level cases in the press yet, it does not mean that it is not happening. We need to emphasize that these devices hold the key to our lives – both corporate and individual. Because they are always close to us, in our pockets, users experience a false perception of security.”

Considering that keeping your device secure is more important now than ever before, finding the right antivirus software for your Android device is key. So, which is the best antivirus for Android? Here is a list of apps that have made our top three.

The Top Antivirus Apps For Android Devices

#1 McAfee

mcAfee logo

This has taken the number one spot as the best antivirus app for Android as it is used by consumers as well as businesses. There are a number of advanced features which include anti-theft, WiFi security, battery optimizer, and memory cleaner just to name a few. The great thing about McAfee is that you have a tutorial for every feature which will tell you why you need it and how to use it. It includes multi-user app profiles, app protection, app lock as well as a call blocker and an SMS filter.

As soon as you have installed the app, which only takes a few moments, McAfee will prompt you to enter your phone number as well as a six-digit PIN. The cool thing about this app is that you can customize it so that it cannot be uninstalled without first entering a PIN.

There are anti-theft features which include CaptureCam that will quietly take an image of the person that is holding your device and send the photo to your email as well as its last detected location. Additionally, you have a device lock which will ensure that you can lock it remotely if you believe it has been lost or stolen. There is also the option to wipe the device completely if you think that there is no hope in getting your Android device back.

A VPN is available within the app which includes military-grade protection, keeping your personal data and your online activities completely anonymous even when you are using public WiFi.

The App Privacy Check will uncover which apps might put your personal data at risk depending on the permission levels. This antivirus also includes a storage cleaner, tracks your data usage, battery booster, memory booster, and a widget.

It will scan your Android device for malicious code found in any of your files, SD cards, internet downloads, and apps.

Here are some more reasons why McAfee is the best antivirus for Android:

  • Device lock security
  • Thief camera (takes a photo of the thief)
  • Anti-spyware
  • Remotely wipes data
  • Map location service
  • Alarm
  • 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

Read our review here to find out more.

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#2 AVG

avg_210x100_b

If we want to talk about popularity, this is the first AV app for Android that reached 100 million downloads from Google Play. The AVG app will protect your device from spyware, unwanted callers, viruses, malware, Trojans as well as unsafe apps and settings.

There are scheduled scans that you can turn on, and it can also scan files that are stored on the internal storage device. You will also get notified of what other AVG users have found to be threats too.

Browsing the internet can be a dangerous activity today with phishing websites appearing everywhere. AVG will keep you secure whenever you’re browsing Chrome, Amazon Silk, the native Android browser as well as others.

The best thing about this app is that it isn’t just a virus scanner but instead offers many more features for the average user.

AVG will scan the network you are connected to and in turn check for both encryptions as well as password strength. There is also an internet speed test so that you can find out both the upload and download speed you’re working with.

Chances are you have stored more junk on your Android device that you care to remember, but this antivirus will pick up on files that you haven’t used in a long time in order to free up space. You can also keep selected images hidden in the photo vault that you don’t want others to see. This vault is protected with a custom password.

Improving on memory is simple as AVG will shut down apps and other activities running in memory that you do not need. It will also let you know when your battery life reaches 50%, 30%, and 10%. If your battery life gets far too low you can always configure a customer power saver that will stop Bluetooth, automatic brightness and WiFi in order to save your battery life.

You also have PrivacyFix which is created to give you a detailed explanation on how privacy settings work for social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. You will be able to discover which apps have high permissions, such as having access to your payment information.

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

To find out more, have a look at our detailed review here.

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#3 Avast

avast

With a high user rating on Google Play and winning the Editor’s Choice for the best Android Security App two years in a row, it is no wonder why many people choose Avast for their Android security. There is a large range of anti-theft and privacy tools that are found in this antivirus as well as decent malware detection.

The great thing about the app is when you open it up the very first thing you see is a green button with the word “scan” on it. It cannot get much simpler than that. The scan itself can take a little longer than other AVs ranging from 45 seconds to a minute. However you can do a scheduled full scan day or night, so you can set it to 5 in the morning and sleep through the whole thing.

There is a call blocker that allows you to block specific numbers, as well as a feature called Privacy Advisor which will tell you which of your apps have high, medium or low permissions providing specific information about ad networks, amongst other things.

The anti-theft feature is one of the best any AV company has on offer. You can command to track your device which will automatically find the location of your Android phone or tablet. You can set this to as often as every five minutes.

There is also a ‘Mark as Lost’ feature which finds your device, locks it, sets off a siren and disables USB bugging so that your device cannot be tampered with. One of the best things is that this app has the ability to forward all of your texts and calls to a new number as well as sending a message, or even call your old number to speak to the person who may have your device.

Installation shouldn’t take more than ten minutes, which is a little longer than the other two apps mentioned above, but this is due to the various settings as well as additional apps you should install to make sure things run as smoothly as possible. Although it might be a little bit of a hassle, it is a one-time thing and there are helpful animations guiding you through the process. If you need help there are some FAQs available which will be helpful if you have a particular issue at hand.

Additionally, you have the option of using their reasonably active moderated forum. There is also email support which should answer your questions within the day. The lack of chat support is a little frustrating though.

Here are the features that make Avast one of the best Android antivirus apps:

  • Call blocker
  • Antivirus Engine
  • App permissions
  • Anti-theft
  • Firewall
  • Photo Vault
  • RAM boost
  • Web Shield
  • Power Save
  • Junk Cleaner
  • App insights
  • 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

To find out more, have a look at our detailed review here.

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How to Install an Antivirus app for Android

  1. Open the Google Play Store.
  2. Search for your chosen antivirus app.
  3. Tap install and wait a few seconds for the app to download.
  4. Tap open.
  5. Your antivirus of choice interface will load.

Conclusion

There are a handful of ways that you can keep your device safe, however, one of the best suggestions is to stick to apps that are found on the official Google Play Store and not to install apps which you do not need. There have been instances where even the most mundane of apps have had security issues such as a simple flashlight.

“SnoopWall, a cybersecurity firm led by a founding member of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, found that all of the top 10 most popular flashlight apps required user permission to access sensitive data and could actually control and change phone settings. We recently reported that many free flashlight apps that are so popular may be spying on users and stealing their data.”James Geddes, Tech Times.

You should know that attacks which have proven successful are also being tested out on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets to see which will be successful. Seeing as your Android device is full of sensitive data you need to take precautions in securing your information in order to stop people from stealing your credit card information or even your identity.

We suggest installing McAfee as the best antivirus for Android.