Best Antivirus for Android in 2023 – Be Prepared
Updated: September 12,2023
We love our smartphones. We protect them with cases and hide them in our pockets. But most of the time, there’s nothing to shield them from viruses. Considering that software never develops immunity (and phone masks are no help either), we have a responsibility to keep our smartphones healthy - starting with the best antivirus for Android we can find.
1. Avast Mobile Security for Android
1. Avast Mobile Security for Android
2. Bitdefender Mobile Security for Android
3. Kaspersky Internet Security for Android
4. McAfee Mobile Security for Android
4. McAfee Mobile Security for Android
5. Norton Mobile Security
5. Norton Mobile Security
- Great free version
- Good malware protection
- Optimizes battery life
- Expensive subscriptions
If you are looking for optimum virus protection for Android, you can’t go wrong with Avast Mobile Security. Avast is one of the most popular desktop antivirus solutions on the market, and Avast for Android aims to extend this popularity to mobile devices as well. The company offers a great ad-supported free version and two premium ad-free options.
The basic Avast mobile app performs regular scans to detect malware and malicious apps early, scans potentially unsafe Wi-Fi connections and URLs, and tracks your phone’s location in real time. It also comes with performance-boosting tools such as RAM boost, battery-life optimization, a cleaner you can use to get rid of junk files, and more.
For this company’s best mobile antivirus features, you’ll have to move to the Pro or Ultimate tier plans. Prices vary depending on where you are, but both subscription options offer a discount of up to 40% for the first year.
The Pro plan retains all features from the free version (minus the ads, of course) while adding robust anti-theft tools such as the ability to secretly take pictures of people who steal your phone, remotely lock your phone, and delete files. You also get tech support directly from the experts at Avast.
If you’re a heavy phone internet user and want to protect yourself with a VPN while browsing, your best bet is the Ultimate version.
In addition to the best Android virus protection that Avast can offer, you’ll also get access to Avast’s Secureline VPN service. Other useful features found in all app versions include an Android firewall, call blocking, a photo vault for encrypting photographs on your device, and insights into app usage.
To conclude our Avast antivirus for Android review, we should mention that the app runs very smoothly on every version of Android from Lollipop onward and doesn’t hog system resources too much - speed is compromised by less than 10% during full scans.
Even though we consider it the best Android antivirus app, we find that ads in the free version diminish the professional feel of an otherwise well-designed mobile interface.
- Class-leading virus protection
- Excellent app-lock function
- Low resource usage
- High VPN costs
Considered by many to be the best cell phone antivirus solution for any OS, Bitdefender for Android has a serious reputation to live up to, especially with no free version available. What does $14.99 per year get you, and how does it stack up to the competition?
First of all, Bitdefender Mobile Security offers much more than just a virus cleaner for your Android phone. You also get effective privacy protection and anti-theft tools, first-rate reporting features, and a powerful VPN service.
In professional tests, Bitdefender’s Android malware scan got perfect scores, detecting every possible malware listed in the procedure. This includes tests conducted by the famous German IT security institute, AV-TEST.
Admittedly, Bitdefener’s scanner is one of the slower Android antivirus apps, but the good news is that it hardly slows down your phone’s performance, even in full scan mode (4.42%). Scans are automatically performed when you install or update apps, and web protection keeps your browsers safe from malicious attack pages.
In addition to some of the best virus protection for Android, you can also make use of excellent account privacy features. For example, after verifying your email address, the software will automatically notify you of possible security breaches through services using that address.
The Mobile Security feature allows you to set a PIN on all of your mobile apps, while anti-theft features let you remotely locate, lock, or even completely wipe your device. You can also create trusted Wi-Fi zones where apps can remain unlocked. Audiophiles can safely enjoy streaming tracks on their music-playing phones after scanning the Wi-Fi connection.
Finally, a standard subscription for this top antivirus for Android gives you access to Bitdefender’s VPN service. Unfortunately, users without paid subscriptions are limited to 200 MB per day and won’t be able to pick which VPN server they want to connect to.
- Strong malware protection
- Ad-free across all versions
- Competitively priced Premium app
- Free version doesn’t automatically scan new apps
Kaspersky is a well-known cybersecurity company distinguished for what could be the best Android security app and arguably the best free antivirus for Android. In addition to an outstanding free app, the company is currently offering affordable deals for premium paid subscriptions.
The Kaspersky mobile antivirus has a straightforward pricing scheme: You either pick the free version or pay a yearly fee that depends on how many devices you want protected. Currently, one-year protection for a single device amounts to $11.96, while two or three devices will set you back $15.96 or $19.96. That’s a discounted rate for first-time customers.
So, what makes Kaspersky the best free Android antivirus in 2023? In a nutshell: a great set of features and an app that is completely free of annoying advertisements. That’s right: While companies such as Avast and McAfee support their free software with omnipresent advertisements, no such annoyances are to be found here.
Instead, you get superb malware detection and protection, manual scanning, fantastic anti-theft tools, Android Wear support, and call filtering. You can remotely locate, lock, or wipe your device, trigger an alarm on it, and even capture photographs of would-be thieves using the device’s front camera.
However, to truly make Kaspersky’s app the best security app for Android, you’ll have to switch to Premium. This adds automatic malware scanning (real-time protection) as well as a wonderful app-locking feature. The company also adds great anti-phishing tools that protect you against dodgy sites and suspicious links sent through SMS.
The software is easy and quick to install but is relatively slow in terms of scanning speed and system impact. In our tests, full scans took between 30 and 50 minutes, and the system performance toll was about 7%. What’s more, Kaspersky’s best mobile antivirus app isn’t available on all Android versions, so you’ll have to check to see if you can run it at all.
- Performance optimization utilities
- Easy installation
- Handy guest mode
- No fee plan
It would be silly to hold a competition for the best Android virus scanner and not mention another giant in the world of cybersecurity: McAfee. While it faces tough competition from other phone security apps, McAfee’s app comes with unique and exciting features that make it a strong contender.
Despite its ad-supported model, the free version of the McAfee Android virus cleaner boasts more features than most of the competition. It has rapid malware detection, unique anti-theft tools, Wear OS integration, memory boosting and storage cleaning tools, an app privacy checker, and a Wi-Fi scanner.
As one of the best phone antivirus apps, McAfee boasts some incredibly thorough anti-theft features: Remote locating, locking, wiping, and even a factory reset are all available in case your device gets stolen.
The company also brings a clever twist to the traditional thief cam: After creating a fake alert on the phone, it snaps a photograph of the would-be thief when they try to dismiss the notification.
While the free plan offers lots of valuable features, moving to the Premium subscription truly unlocks McAfee Mobile Security’s potential as a contender for the best antivirus on Android. For $24.99 per year per device, you get everything we’ve mentioned, plus versatile app-locking features, a backup system for your device’s files, and 24/7 phone support (an upgrade from free chat support).
You also get access to the unique McAfee Guest Mode feature. While most of the company’s competitors are content to enable PIN locking on specific apps, McAfee Mobile Security lets you create an entire Guest account with customized app privileges.
If you want the very best security for Android devices, McAfee’s Secure VPN will drive the cost up another $19.99 to $44.98 overall for first-time users. Furthermore, with a small cost increase, you can protect more devices with a single subscription. Not a bad deal if you ask us.
In terms of speed, McAfee Mobile Security is similar to Kaspersky’s offering. It scans a little faster, and it’s slightly more demanding, imposing a performance drop of just over 8%.
Furthermore, free one-year McAfee Gamer Security comes with some subscription plans. This offer, along with the best mobile antivirus, may be attractive to PC gamers. Relaxing in your comfy gaming throne is easier when your games are running safely.
- Great malware and phishing protection
- Best-in-class app advisor
- Fast scanning
- VPN requires a separate app
Perhaps the best-known cybersecurity company on our list, Norton, unsurprisingly makes one of the most impressive antivirus apps for Android. Unfortunately, there is no free version, the software has no anti-theft features, and the VPN has to be bought separately. And since you’re already forced to have a separate VPN app, choosing a top-rated VPN service for Android may be a better solution.
That said, Norton Mobile Security has what is arguably the best virus scanner for Android - on par with Bitdefender Mobile Security - as well as a class-leading app advisor.
Norton offers its regular plan at $29.99 per year for up to three mobile devices, with occasional discounts to $14.99 for a single device, which is one of the best premium deals on the market. You also get a 14- or 60-day money-back guarantee, depending on the length of your plan, allowing you to test all the features before committing.
What’s included in the package? Anti-theft protection got axed in 2019, but Norton Mobile Security still offers an automatic SIM lock, call blocking, spam call detection, a system security advisor, privacy reports, and unsecured Wi-Fi detection. Most importantly, it’s the best antivirus app for Android, bar none, regarding advisory features.
Norton monitors not only unusual app behavior but also battery and data usage, sorting apps into groups based on how they rank across all three categories. System and privacy advisors give you an idea of how safe and private your apps are.
Like Bitdefender, Norton’s virus scan for Android catches 100% of the most common viruses on AV-TEST regularly. It has failed to hit 100% only a couple of times since 2017.
A top antivirus for Android, it has both the fastest quick scan and the least hobbling deep system scan (just 4% impact) of any software we’ve tested.
Norton integrates perfectly with Google Play and will warn you of malicious apps on the store. App Advisor, run by Norton Mobile Insight, will warn you of potential risks even before you download a dangerous app. We recommend giving this Android app a try, and if you aren’t satisfied, Norton has a refund policy of 60 days for annual and 14 days for monthly subscriptions.
Best Android Antivirus in 2023 - Top Five Picks
- Avast Mobile Security
- Bitdefender Mobile Security
- Kaspersky Internet Security for Android
- McAfee Mobile Security
- Norton Mobile Security
Our Review Process
The most important feature of any tool for virus removal on Android is to reliably remove any kind of malware and prevent malicious apps from reaching and affecting your device. Our team made sure to include only the most reliable Android protection solutions currently available.
The three most common pricing models for antivirus apps are free, freemium, and paid. In general, free apps tend to pay for themselves through advertisements, while freemium offerings typically have a limited set of features that can be expanded by paying for the full version.
Here we assess the overall value of each mobile antivirus solution compared to the competition and explore the pricing models of the best mobile security software on the market.
We evaluate both the standard and bonus features you can find in phone virus protection software. These include everything from app advisors and app-locking tools to advanced features such as anti-theft protection, URL and Wi-Fi scanners, and even a VPN for your phone.
Malware protection is the most important aspect, of course: Detecting harmful software early and being able to get rid of it painlessly are core demands for any decent Android virus protection app.
The best Android antivirus app is more than just a functional piece of software with excellent malware detection and removal capabilities. We go over everything from how easy the software is to install to the quality of the user interface. We also consider which versions of Android the antivirus software runs on and how much the software hogs your phone’s system resources.
Although virus scans are much less system-intensive than they used to be, smartphones tend to have weaker hardware than desktop computers and laptops. It’s essential that anti-malware apps don’t completely stifle your device’s performance as they keep it safe from threats.
You may be using the best free antivirus for Android smartphones but, depending on the ad presence, your user experience may be dampened. That’s why we presented you with both free and premium solutions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Open support for third-party apps on Android makes it a prime target for malware attacks. Most people tend to ignore the importance of having an Android security app, thus risking the loss of critical personal data such as contacts and bank account details if their phones get compromised.
Most Android phones have built-in Google Play Protect for scanning apps you download from the Google Play Store, but its protection is usually not enough.
The easiest way is to track your phone’s behavior. If it suddenly has trouble opening apps, crashes on demanding tasks, or becomes generally unstable, there’s a good chance it may be infected. Any good antivirus for Android will be able to detect malware before it’s had a chance to cause damage.
The process is generally very simple. You’ll usually need to download an antivirus app, possibly register an account (if it’s a paid service), and then simply run it on your device. Some companies offer automated set-and-forget solutions, but you can always do manual scans as well.
Yes, there are plenty, though free versions always come with caveats. The best antivirus for Android will almost always be a paid solution, but some great free options include the offerings from Avast and Kaspersky.
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