Android has become one of the most popular mobile operating systems in the world, not surprising considering its great versatility, power, customizability and ease of use.
In fact today’s Android devices have far more computing power than full blown computers did just a generation ago.
A constantly Internet-connected computer that contains sensitive information, however, poses serious security risks.
If malware were to infect the device, your sensitive information and private photos and videos could potentially be compromised.
Fortunately, most antivirus companies today offer solutions that extend protection to your Android smartphone. These apps include similar protections to desktop antivirus tools, but they’re modified and optimized to meet the demands of a mobile ecosystem.
Some of the common tools in the best virus protection for Android also add security features like Wi-Fi scanning, anti-theft tools, child safety features, VPN access, and app advisors to help you avoid malware and ransomware.
Read on below to see the best android antivirus apps for 2020.
Compare The Top Antivirus Apps for Android
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The Top Android Antivirus Apps for 2020
Avast’s feature-rich app will keep you safe and your privacy protected while you browse on your smartphone.
- Browse safely with built-in VPN
- Protect against known threats with blacklist tool
- Stay safe on the go with Wi-Fi scanning
- Call blocking doesn’t always function
- Anti-theft could use improvements
Avast mobile security offers one of the most value-added apps when you sign up. The company’s antivirus includes a VPN client to help you stay anonymous while you browse, as well as URL blocking and extensive malware protection. The company’s mobile offering received a perfect score in AV-TEST’s most recent evaluation, well ahead of the industry curve.
Moreover, I was impressed to see the company offers significant features even with its free version. It also includes a nifty photo vault that encrypts your image files, as well as Wi-Fi security to keep you safe anywhere you connect to a public network.
With near perfect security scores and a low footprint on your phone’s resources, Bitdefender offers robust protection and great value.
- Minimal impact on your phone’s resources
- No-hassle setup
- No ads make for a great user experience
- Not as many features as some competitors
- No scheduled calls
Bitdefender is mostly known for its powerful scans and its low resource footprint. The app is easy to set up once you’ve downloaded and installed it, and it will quietly work in the background to keep you safe. Although scans are not the quickest, they do run quite lightly and have very little impact on your phone.
Moreover, great features like URL blocking, a 100% success rate in malware detection tests, and an account privacy advisor, which constantly scans the web to see if your email has been part of a new data breach add to the advantages. Overall, it’s great if you’re looking for top-end security and don’t mind paying for your antivirus.
Norton Antivirus Plus
With best-in-class malware protection, Norton gives you excellent online security features and an easy to use interface and great tools.
- High scores from independent benchmark tests
- Great remote lock and anti-theft tools
- App advisor prevents you from downloading malicious apps
- Price jumps considerably in year two
- The free version has significant ads
Norton’s mobile version of its widely popular desktop antivirus doesn’t fall far behind, with top-scoring malware and antivirus protection that keeps your phone safe from any threat. Norton’s app advisor is also one of the best available, with a great database of whitelisted apps as well as the ability to scan for any suspicious and potentially malicious apps you’re trying to download.
The app’s intuitive design makes it easy to use, and its anti-theft tools let you remotely lock your phone, trigger a screen, and wipe your device in case of emergency.
Sophos Home Antivirus
Sophos’ free offering doesn’t skimp on the features and gives you a great antivirus tool that also protects your privacy with nifty tools.
- The free version is the only version
- Consistently rates highly in independent testing
- Robust anti-theft tools keep your identity secure in the worst of cases
- The interface is somewhat cluttered at times
- Can take up a lot of your phone’s resources
With one of the most complete free offerings on the market, Sophos adds to its lineup with a great Android version. The company’s mobile antivirus is powerful and fast, scoring highly in AV-TEST’s benchmarks. Additionally, it has excellent anti-theft tools that include SMS locking, security wipes, and location tracking.
You can also schedule scans for your phones, check for unwanted apps that may have been installed, and connect to cloud scanning for significantly faster performance.
Overall, Sophos’ free antivirus may be a contender for the best free antivirus for Android mobile.
Kaspersky is a great antivirus solution if you’re looking for a low-footprint app that also keeps you safe while you browse the web.
- Excellent safe browsing features
- VPN client included
- Great tools for when your phone is lost or stolen
- Limited features on the free version
- URL filtering only works with Chrome browser
Kaspersky offers one of the lightest antivirus apps for Android without sacrificing security and power. The company’s app detected almost 100% of all malware in real-time tests, and it has excellent anti-phishing and text filtering tools that help you prevent spyware and ransomware.
Additionally, the company’s anti-theft tools, which include taking pictures of unknown users, and sending messages and alerts directly from your web dashboard make it easier to find your phone and protect your data. With powerful real-time scanning, Kaspersky always has your back.
Avira’s feature-light antivirus app is great if you’re looking to protect your identity and have greater control of the devices that connect to your smartphone.
- Scans external storage connected to your phone
- Identity safeguard keeps your contacts have been involved in major data breaches
- Real-time protection keeps you consistently covered
- No VPN client included
- No child protection tools
Avira offers a focused mobile security that dispenses with the bells and whistles and focuses on keeping your phone safe. The app scans your phone in real-time but can also perform scans on-demand and even monitor external storage devices such as SD cards that you connect to your Android phone.
Additionally, it includes a privacy advisor that lets you know how your apps are collecting data from you, as well as anti-ransomware tools and microphone and camera protection.
If you’re looking for a fully free antivirus app that will keep your Android device protected with top-tier security, AVG can help.
- Intuitive and easy-to-use interface
- Robust anti-theft and privacy tools keep your identity safe
- Boost your battery life with optimization tools
- Malware protection could use some improvement
- Scans are difficult to schedule at times
With a clean interface and a great free application, AVG’s Android app matches its desktop version in protection and usability. The company’s mobile application is intuitive, with your tools divided into four main sections and the ability to start a scan with a single click.
Additionally, AVG offers multiple scanning modes, including installed apps, selected folders, and even a settings scan that checks your phone’s security and lets you know how safe or unsafe your phone is. I was also happy to see that AVG includes some phone optimization tools that can reduce your memory usage and extend your battery life.
A great antivirus that includes strong parental controls, safe browsing tools, and real-time scans.
- Great anti-theft features keep your identity safe in the worst cases
- Always keep your phone protected with real-time scanning
- Browse the web safely from your phone with great security features
- No anti-spam tools included
- You can’t create a blacklist
F-Secure may not have as big a name as Norton or McAfee, but it does provide reliable security and real-time protection for Android devices. The company’s mobile solution is surprisingly lightweight, causing very little impact on your mobile device, and it scored very well on independent benchmark tests.
Additionally, the easy-to-use interface lets you quickly find the tools you need and take the steps you need to keep your mobile phone and identity safe. F-Secure also gives you great anti-theft tools that include security code resets, remote locking, and more.
Malware Protection for Android
Android is a great mobile OS because it’s so flexible and open to customization. Its ability to mold to different manufacturers’ needs and the active user community that keeps open source projects alive make it a thriving ecosystem for both users and developers.
However, this also opens the door for less altruistic users to create malware in much more easily delivered packets—apps themselves. You may be downloading a game and unwittingly install ransomware on your phone, or simply click a mobile link that will install spyware on your device.
Malware protection, such as the one the best security app for android would provide, will automatically scan and prevent malware from reaching your device before it becomes a problem. It does so in steps, each increasing the level of response.
Many antivirus apps today include app advisors, which scan apps against databases of whitelisted ones to ensure that you’re not downloading malware and other nasty surprises. This works both ways, as most apps also have blacklists, which in many cases you can add to and customize, that will automatically block you from downloading suspicious apps.
Once you do download an app, most antivirus tools will automatically scan them to ensure there’s nothing suspicious or hidden in the installation files. This is a crucial step in the process, as most apps seem perfectly harmless when you first download them and may not even trigger the malware until much later.
Finally, your antivirus will scan for malware that may have gone unnoticed, scanning your phone system and directories for any suspicious files or applications running in the background.
How I Test the Best Antivirus Apps for Android
In a crowded market, it’s difficult to find the right solution for you from the bunch. With similar-sounding features, confusing terms, and sometimes not fully clear information, it can be hard to make the right choice. I am committed to helping you find the best android antivirus for your smartphone, and I do so by running rigorous tests on every app I include on my website.
To find the best antivirus for Android, I check the following factors:
How well it performs in scans
This is the most important job an antivirus has—keeping your phone secure. I run my own tests, adding malicious files to smartphones to see how well they detect and prevent them, and compare them to independent lab results for a better view.
How little it impacts your phone
Smartphones are already running hundreds of processes, so your antivirus shouldn’t hinder it further. I test each antivirus on how much it impacts your smartphone to determine the best option.
How easy it is to use
Finally, I make sure that even if it’s complex, the antivirus I recommend is easy to use and intuitive enough to let you maximize its potential.
Before selecting the first antivirus app you see, it pays to do a little research and find the best option for you. Explore my in-depth expert breakdowns to see how each antivirus performs.