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Published: Aug 30, 2023 19 min read

Regardless of how you use your Android device, safeguarding it from potential online and cyber threats shouldn’t be overlooked. With the ever-growing variety of online risks, finding and using the best antivirus for Android can give your device critical layers of security. Antivirus apps for Android not only shield your personal data from breaches but also protect your device from malware, viruses and other threats.

When choosing the right antivirus, you need to consider key factors such as the level of protection offered, the user interface, the impact on device performance and customer support. Identifying what you specifically need from an antivirus Android app is an essential step. Here’s a look at some of the best options in the industry.

Our Top Picks for Best Antivirus for Android

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Best Antivirus for Android Reviews

  • High malware detection rates
  • User-friendly interface
  • Excellent internet security features
  • Useful browser extensions and extra mobile features
  • No web protection for free version
  • Slow customer support response times
  • Few benefits in paid version
  • No customer service for users of free version

Why we chose it: With outstanding results in independent lab testing, good protection from ransomware and low drain on system resources, this free Android antivirus app comes with significant benefits.

Avira’s user-friendly interface makes navigating the software easy. It offers various system scans — including a crucial rootkit scan — and also comes with a virtual private network (VPN) and password manager (though the VPN is limited to 500 MB a month on the free plan). Its robust anti-malware scanner executes its tasks swiftly without compromising system performance and has one of the highest malware detection rates in the industry. Test scores suggest detection rates close to 100% in both malware and real-time protection.

It’s worth noting that some users have reported Avira Antivirus Pro consumes significant system resources, and the free version doesn't include web protection (which protects you from phishing sites and suspicious links).

Even with those caveats, the free version, which does include malware detection, rootkit checks and the VPN, is still an excellent choice for users seeking effective antivirus protection at no cost, although you should be aware of Avira’s limited customer support options.

Users of the free version don't have access to customer support at all, and those who opt to pay for the premium version complain of unreliable and hard-to-reach customer support staff.

  • Easy to install and use
  • Works with other Norton products
  • Low use of system resources
  • Sometimes slow virus definition updates
  • Firewall can be difficult to disable
  • No monthly plan

Why we chose it: Norton Mobile Security’s emphasis on safeguarding against malware, viruses and other online threats, combined with a parental control dashboard, provide comprehensive protection for your tablet device.

Beyond basic functions, Norton Mobile Security has a firewall and a parental control dashboard, which is a great feature for the parents of tablet users. Its user-friendly interface and affordability further increase its appeal. It interfaces well with other Norton products for smartphones and desktops; however, do note that the Norton Mobile Security app doesn’t provide access to Norton Secure VPN.

Some users find the firewall, which blocks access to untrusted sites or those without a current security certificate, difficult to disable. Others have noted that Norton can sometimes be slow to update their virus definitions, which can leave users vulnerable to zero-day exploits and other developing security concerns until a refreshed virus signature set is available.

Priced at $29.99 per year, there’s no monthly payment plan, though Norton does offer promotional discounts of up to 50% off and a 60-day money-back guarantee.

  • Good anti-malware scan functionality
  • Robust web protection
  • Anti-theft feature
  • Built-in VPN
  • VPN has a 200 MB daily limit
  • No monthly plan

Why we chose it: Bitdefender Mobile Security distinguishes itself as the best Android antivirus featuring a built-in, efficient VPN, which is vital for maintaining your privacy and security, especially while accessing public Wi-Fi networks.

If you’re concerned about privacy and security on your Android device, you might be looking for an app that combines the best VPN services with antivirus protection. Bitdefender delivers thorough protection against malware and boasts various additional security features that work seamlessly across Android devices, including smartphones, tablets and wearables. Independent laboratories have consistently validated the effectiveness of Bitdefender’s malware protection with outstanding ratings.

The inclusion of a secure VPN is a significant benefit. However, one major drawback is the 200 MB per day limit on VPN use. This should be sufficient to check emails and do some light web browsing but probably won’t be enough for streaming or heavy-duty use. As well as malware protection and VPN services, Bitdefender provides other critical security features such as a Wi-Fi scanner, an anti-theft function and an application lock.

Though some customers find its interface a little too simplistic, it’s easy to understand and use. Customer support is available through a series of well-presented knowledge base articles and online chat. Bitdefender Mobile Security is priced at $24.99 annually.

  • Protect up to six devices on one license
  • A range of products for different needs
  • Multiplatform compatibility
  • Cheapest product lacks VPN, password manager and ad blocker features
  • Customer support options limited for basic product users
  • Poor customer reviews

Why we chose it: TotalAV is a versatile multidevice antivirus solution well-regarded for its user-friendly interface, making it a good choice for families with up to six devices.

TotalAV offers three different products, all equipped with efficient virus protection features and additional free licenses for multiple devices. Its antivirus software starts at $29 per year for the first year ($119 per year after that), supporting three to six devices depending on the product. Its remarkable simplicity and advanced defense features make TotalAV a great choice for multidevice households and families with young children.

The VPN, ad blocker and password manager aren’t included in TotalAV’s cheapest product (Antivirus Pro), but all TotalAV products deliver real-time antivirus protection, shield against potentially unwanted applications and ransomware, and offer tools for device optimization.

Support is available chiefly via email and a chat interface on the company’s website. Unfortunately, customer reviews have been poor, primarily due to billing issues. TotalAV is a good choice for families looking for a user-friendly and comprehensive antivirus solution compatible across platforms and devices, but users would do well to look into possible billing issues before subscribing.

  • Alerts users to activity indicative of identity theft
  • Scans apps for known malware signatures
  • Premium plan offers comprehensive identity theft monitoring
  • Identity theft monitoring is only available for premium users
  • Website can be confusing to navigate
  • Expensive
  • Advanced features only available to U.S. residents

Why we chose it: Two plans (including a free version) and vigorous malware protection, combined with identity theft monitoring, make Lookout Life a great option for anyone keeping a close watch on their personal data.

Lookout Mobile Security’s free plan provides good foundational features such as malware detection and malicious link blocking. The interface presents information clearly with intuitive prompts to manage your security details. It’s a solid free Android antivirus app, but its paid plan offers even greater protection.

For an annual fee of $99.99, you can opt for Lookout Life’s Premium Plus plan, which offers several additional features, such as enhanced dark web scanning and reports on data breaches when they occur. Though a little pricey, it provides ongoing checks of your financial and identity information and alerts you if anything looks out of bounds. In case of an identity threat, Lookout Life offers professional help and insurance of up to $1 million to assist in reclaiming lost funds or restoring your identity.

The app was recently rebranded from Lookout Mobile Security, and the company’s website seems to be still catching up. Though some fine print states that Premium Plus and its included Identity Protection Services are only available to U.S. customers, some information is difficult to find outside of the app. While Lookout provides a fairly robust selection of FAQs for those facing difficulties, more direct customer support is only available through a trouble ticket system on the website or through the app.

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Other antivirus apps for Android we considered

AVG Antivirus for Android

  • One of the more affordable antivirus Android apps
  • Good antivirus scanner
  • Blocks unsafe email attachments
  • Confusing scanning options
  • Detects some system executables and APK files as viruses
  • Poor customer support for free version

With a free option and a modestly priced premium version, good antivirus scan capabilities and built-in Wi-Fi security, this app had a lot going for it. It’s consistently rated one of the best Android antivirus apps.

Why AVG Antivirus for Android didn’t make the cut: Unfortunately, limited customer support options for the free version and the detection of some system files as viruses made it difficult to recommend this as one of the best.

Cheetah Mobile Security Master

  • Excellent interface
  • VPN included for all plans
  • Good spam call blocking
  • Intrusive ads
  • Inconsistent malware protection

Cheetah’s Security Master has a simple and elegant interface, affordable premium plans and good compatibility across devices and platforms. It also includes a free VPN (limited to 200 MB per day).

Why Cheetah Mobile Security Master didn’t make the cut: Annoying pop-up ads and the app’s failure to detect known virus signatures made this a hard pass.

ESET Endpoint Security

  • Good defense against viruses and malware
  • Broad platform and device capabilities
  • Confusing configuration
  • Performance problems
  • Expensive

ESET Endpoint Security provides robust protection against malware, viruses, and other security threats and has remote administration features for convenient security management across multiple devices.

Why ESET Endpoint Security didn’t make the cut: It’s a little pricey, some users find its initial setup and customization somewhat complex, and there have been reports of performance issues and challenges with its compatibility with other apps.

Antivirus for Android Guide

The upsurge in Android device usage has made them a popular target for cybercriminals. The Google Play Store’s open nature allows applications from various sources, which increases the number of available apps but also opens doors to potential risks. Possible threats include malware that affects the device’s functionality, hacking attempts that disrupt operations and can lead to loss of control over the device, or breaches that expose personal and financial data.

Moreover, marketers can target Android devices with aggressive spamming and unnecessary advertising. This is not only a nuisance but malicious links can also be disguised within enticing ads. To combat these threats, antivirus software has become an essential tool. High-quality antivirus software detects and removes malware, blocks hacking attempts, shields sensitive data, and filters unwanted spam and advertising. The protective measures of antivirus software provide a secure environment for you to enjoy using your Android devices.

What is Android antivirus software?

Android antivirus software serves as a robust protective layer for your Android device, safeguarding the integrity of your data, applications, and personal information. Operating silently in the background, this software identifies, isolates and removes potential threats before they can cause harm. It essentially works as a security guard, meticulously scanning each file, app and piece of data accessed on your device to ensure they are free from incriminating codes or suspicious patterns that indicate the presence of malware.

The umbrella term “malware” includes malicious software such as viruses, worms, trojan horses and ransomware. These can cause severe damage by deleting or modifying your files, spying on your activities, stealing personal data or rendering your device unusable. Spyware and adware, though less harmful, infringe on your privacy and create a significant security problem by tracking your online behavior, displaying unwanted ads or causing your device to run slowly.

By consistently updating its database of known malware signatures and using advanced techniques to detect new threats, antivirus software guarantees comprehensive protection against cyber threats, ensuring your Android device operates securely and smoothly.

How does antivirus software work with Android?

Antivirus software works diligently in the background of your Android device, scanning new files and applications for potential threats. It identifies these threats by comparing the data in your system with a library of known malware signatures.

Many modern antivirus programs also incorporate advanced scanning technologies such as heuristic analysis, which detects previously unknown threats, and sandboxing, which can safely run and evaluate suspicious programs. Some antivirus software also offers real-time protection, constantly monitoring your device’s activities to quickly detect and neutralize threats.

How to choose an antivirus software for your Android device

There is no one-size-fits-all antivirus Android app. The best antivirus software for your Android device will depend on your specific needs and circumstances. So how do you choose?

1. Compare the best antivirus for Android devices

Choosing the right antivirus software for your Android device begins with a comparison of the top contenders in the market. Dig into each software’s unique selling points to understand the features, capabilities and security protocols they offer. For example, some provide advanced features like VPNs, anti-phishing and anti-theft protection while others offer streamlined user interfaces, minimal impact on system performance or superior customer service. You might also want to look at benchmark tests performed by independent labs; these can objectively evaluate an antivirus software’s effectiveness at tackling various forms of malware.

Factors like the nature of your internet activities, the sensitivity of the data you handle, and your perceived risks should guide you toward the best choice for you. This process might take a little time but a well-protected device will mean you can use your devices without worry.

2. Consider the range of features and capabilities

When choosing antivirus software for your Android device, you need to look for a product that offers sufficient protective features. Real-time scanning is essential; this actively scans files, apps and downloads to ensure threats are caught instantly. Automatic updates, which ensure your antivirus software is continuously updated with the latest virus signatures and threat indexes, are another important feature.

As well as virus protection, features like phishing and anti-theft protection are critical if you want a comprehensive security protocol. Phishing protection safeguards your credentials and sensitive information from untrustworthy websites and emails. Anti-theft features can protect your data if your device is lost or stolen by providing remote access to locate, lock or wipe your device.

Some antivirus software takes protection a step further by offering parental controls, allowing parents to monitor and control their children’s internet activities. VPN services help encrypt your online data, maintaining your privacy in public networks. Password management tools generate, store and auto-fill complex passwords, enhancing your account security. The best antivirus software for you will provide a blend of the features that you need most.

3. Read user reviews and ratings

User reviews provide essential insights into the real-world effectiveness of antivirus software. By reading reviews, you can find firsthand information about the software functionality; its ability to detect, quarantine and remove threats from users’ devices; and whether it can efficiently tackle viruses, spyware and ransomware.

User reviews also shed light on other critical aspects. Antivirus software often uses system resources, which can affect the device’s speed and performance. Reviews can give you an idea of whether the software effectively balances protection and system performance. Comments on the user interface and ease of use let you know whether you can comfortably access and use the software’s features.

4. Evaluate customer support and responsiveness

Reliable and accessible customer support can greatly enhance the overall user experience of android antivirus software, and multichannel support (e.g., through email, online chat and phone) is a helpful feature that increases accessibility for users. If an antivirus software provider has a helpful, efficient and flexible support system, it implies that it cares about and understands the importance of customer experience. This is a great benefit, especially considering the critical nature of security-related concerns.

5. Compare pricing and subscription models

You’ll want to make sure you understand the pricing structure of the antivirus software you choose before making a purchase. Many software providers offer diverse options, ranging from free versions with basic features to premium versions with more advanced protection against a variety of threats. The free versions usually serve as basic shields against common viruses, while paid versions offer a much more comprehensive line of defense and often come with extras such as password management, VPNs or anti-phishing measures.

While comparing prices, it’s important to remember that the cheapest option might not offer sufficient protection. Security shouldn’t be compromised for cost, and an antivirus app that seems economical initially might prove costly in the long run if it fails to protect your device. Make sure not to focus on the cost alone but to take into account the value offered by the software in terms of reliability, protection coverage and customer support.

Antivirus for Android FAQ

Does Android need antivirus?

Yes, Android devices do need an antivirus app. While Android's in-built security measures do offer a level of protection, they are not impervious to all threats. An antivirus app provides an extra shield of protection against malware and various internet threats.

What is the highest rated antivirus for Android?

The highest rated antivirus can vary based on different rating platforms and user experiences. Some consistently top-rated antivirus software includes Bitdefender, Norton and Avast. However, ratings can shift based on user experiences and updates, so it's advisable to check recent reviews and rankings.

What antivirus should I use for Android?


Choosing antivirus software is a decision that should be tailored to your individual needs and the level of protection desired. To make your decision, compile a list of highly rated providers (such as the ones in this guide), investigate the features they offer, and check user reviews to ensure it runs well and won't impact the performance of your device.

The quality and accessibility of customer support can greatly enhance your experience by ensuring that problems are quickly solved. You'll also want to understand exactly what is included within the pricing tiers so you can find a solution that fits your budget while also providing the degree of protection you need.

Look for highly reputable antivirus software that offers a balance of robust features and reliable support at a price that works for you. Considering these factors will help you make an informed choice that provides the most secure and user-friendly experience.

How we chose the best antivirus for Android

When determining the best antivirus products for Android, we examined the following factors:

  • Effectiveness against malware: We looked at whether the software could detect and remove various kinds of malware successfully.
  • Performance impact: We considered whether the antivirus could supply high-quality protection without significantly slowing down the device.
  • Ease of use: We investigated the product and customer reviews to find out if the software is intuitive and if users can easily access the product features.
  • Customer support: We weighed up the available customer support options and the speed and efficiency of responses to customer issues and queries.
  • Price: We reviewed the cost of the plans and the value offered to determine if the balance of cost and features is reasonable.
  • Additional features: We considered available features such as a VPN, parental controls and password managers that increase the functionality and overall security of the device.

Summary of Money’s Best Antivirus for Android

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