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9 min read 140 comments

Best Android antivirus and mobile security apps

Considering how often malware, ransomware and hacking hit the headlines, you might be wondering which anti-virus is best to keep your trusty Android phone and all its data safe. So we've put together an updated list of apps for keeping your device protected. Whether you are looking to keep your phone safe from theft or a trojan, these are the best antivirus and security apps for Android in 2016 and 2017.

CM Security

CM security (Clean Master) is an all-singing, all-dancing option made by Cheetah Mobile that brings you a whole host of anti-virus and security features for free - as long as you don't mind a few ads. Or you can pay $.99c each month to remove them.

Feature-wise it tries to offer everything - anti-virus, browsing protection, battery saving, privacy protection of apps, the whole lot. It takes pretty much the same simplified approach to each of those things too. CM security identifies what it describes as threats and then asks what you want to do about them in a straightforward way.

That might disappoint people who love spending time in settings menus, but you're not going to be doing that with CM Security. One potential drawback, however, is that it's relentless in nagging you about other aspects of your device and other apps made by Cheetah that can help you out. But again, it's free, so it's hard to complain too much.

androidpit cm security
CM Security is fully-featured, but you have to put up with ads. / © AndroidPIT

Kaspersky Internet Security

Kaspersky is a well-established anti-virus and security package on the desktop, and with its Android app it brings a whole lot of that protection to your mobile. That means you get anti-virus, call and text control, anti-theft, and anti-phishing features.

It can also protect you with real-time, web protection, and a few privacy options, though to get the full package you'll need to pay for the premium version of the app, which is currently priced at $14.95 for one year. If you need to cover more than one Android device, you can add up to two more at $5 per device, per year.

If you want to test out the premium features, there's a 30-day trial to activate within the app, but to use some of the features you will need to create an account using your email address. The anti-theft feature, for example, isn't premium but does require an account to work.

androidpit kaspersky
Kaspersky has a pretty neat UI. / © AndroidPIT

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware

Malwarebytes is one of our favorites in this list, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it focuses on doing one job well - protecting your phone from malware - and secondly, because it does so with a simple interface and well-chosen options.

That means it's also relatively lightweight in comparison to the others here, and offers free real-time protection. As well as offering malware protection, there's also a really handy privacy audit feature that scans all the apps on your phone and breaks them down into different categories, which allows you to get a simple and quick overview of all the apps on your phone.

You'll probably want to pay some attention to categories like 'Apps that can cost you money'. The security audit feature does a similar thing for your phone settings, by quickly assessing potential weak spots in your security and guiding you to turn them off. This is likely to include things like switching off the ability to install apps from third-party sources and the developer options.

There's no longer a phone location feature, as many of the others offer, but then there's also not really any need for one given that Android can do that natively. Malwarebytes might not offer the same level of features as some, but it's a well-thought out, and free, option that does its job well.

Malwarebytes focuses on doing one job well. / © AndroidPIT

Avast Antivirus & Security

Avast's anti-virus and security package is one of the most feature-packed in this list. If you want an app that can take care of all your security, RAM boosting, junk cleaning and other needs, Avast could be it.

Some of those features will, as with similar apps, require the installation of other components too though. On the purely protection side of things, Avast has the on-demand and real-time scanning you'd expect of an anti-virus app, and also includes things like the ability to check the security of your current WiFi connection and to lock specific apps so only you can open them.

There's also a firewall option, but to use that you need to have a rooted phone. Unlike some of the others in this list, the display ads that show in the app aren't too off-putting, but it does promote a lot of its own other apps designed to 'enhance' the suite. If you don't need or want those features, that could be slightly annoying to ignore constantly. If you want no display ads at all, you'll need to pay for the premium version, which is available on a monthly or annual basis and varies in cost depending on where you're located.

If you do decide to pay, each subscription is valid across all your Android devices using the same Play Store account. Add in a call blocker and app privacy advisor that displays all the info in a simple, easy to understand way and Avast is a truly useful anti-virus tool for anyone looking for an 'all in one' package.

androidpit avast
Avast offers a decent set of free options without too many ads. / © AndroidPIT

AVG Antivirus Security

AVG Antivirus Security is more than its name suggests, as it also provides app locking, anti-theft, task killer and app backup features. And it does it all in a well-designed interface. There are also a few battery-saving options on board, and the ability to dig down into your battery data to find out what's been draining it.

The power saving options replicate functions dotted around any stock Android settings menus, but bring them altogether in one place for easier control. If you want to use the junk cleaning options, you'll need to install AVG Cleaner too, but once you have, it integrates with AVG Antivirus.

In this instance, it seems smart of AVG to provide the cleaner functionality through a separate download, rather than bundle another large app inside the main suite. It's worth pointing out that AVG Cleaner is free to download, like AVG Antivirus, but also offers another paid for upgrade to a Pro version for additional features and the removal of ads.

You don't need the premium version of either app to use the Phone Locator option, but you will need to sign up for an account via your email address to use this feature.

AVG is one of the most fully-featured options on this list. / © AndroidPIT


Lookout is one of the apps on this list that doesn't have a desktop client, as it's focused exclusively on mobile. It's also one that requires you to sign up for an account to use any of the features.

Once inside, you've got the choice of taking the free or premium route - premium is around $2 per month. The free version gives you just app security and phone location features, whereas premium will also protect your Web browsing, give you a privacy overview of your apps and allow a few other anti-theft related features.

There's also a handy breach report feature that will alert you if any of the services you use are hacked, thereby allowing you to change your credentials in a timely manner. If it doesn't sound like the free version offers much, that's a mistake.

Within the single category of app security, you're protected against adware, bots, click fraud, remote exploits, root enabler threats, spyware and a number of other types of malicious software.

Lookout is one of the simpler options here, but the breach report is worth considering. / © AndroidPIT

McAfee Mobile Security

McAfee is a long-established name in the security space on the desktop, and its Android app provides the level of features you'd expect to find from a premium brand.

As well as giving you on-demand and real-time threat protection, there's a feature to check your data exposure via installed apps, as well as more traditional options to lock certain apps away from prying eyes. Other features, like device backup options, the 'Find device' mode and specific profile options require some additional permissions and email registration before you get access.

It's a relatively expensive option if you want access to the premium version, however. At $29.99 each year, it's twice as expensive as some of its competitors, though closer in price to something like Lookout Premium. Can't say it's likely to win any design awards though.

androidpit mcafee
Functional, but a little retro looking. / © AndroidPIT

Norton Security Antivirus

Norton Security Antivirus is another hugely popular desktop protection platform that's made the jump across to mobile. In short, it blocks and removes malware both on-demand and in real-time.

It also offers the now-familiar app advisor feature that tells you about privacy risks in a simple, easy to understand way. One thing that none of the others offer but Norton does is a really handy feature that integrates with Google Play to show you any alerts about an app before you download it; so you can see if the app you're about to install hogs battery, uses excessive data or poses any other sort of potential risk.

There's a 30-day free trial for the premium version, which unlocks all the features, but after that it'll cost you $29.99 per year, making it on a par with McAfee in terms of pricing. It does have an appealingly simple design and is straightforward to use though.

androidpit norton
Norton is one of our favorite antivirus apps for 2016 - 2017  / © AndroidPIT

OK, we know, we missed your favorite! Let us know which one it is, and why, in the comments below!


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  • CM security is the worst one... my precious photo being deleted by this stupid app

  • D. L. May 28, 2017 Link to comment

    Sophos is free & ad free. It has a big set of features as well. They score the highest in independent testing too. Unlike Avast and AVG, also owned by Avast, you will not be inundated with ads, or nag screens to upgrade to pro version. Furthermore, if you have HTC, their app Boost + has a very good app lock feature to compliment any AV app.

    • Ila V. Aug 16, 2017 Link to comment

      Never heard of Sophos.

      • D. L. 11 months ago Link to comment

        Sophos has been around a long time, based in the UK, they also have free home PC protection. They make their money on businesses using enterprise protection. They have tons of options, and just updated the UI recently too.

  • Bitdefender, best is the best.

  • Surprised you keep peddling these useless apps that gobble your battery, just keep your phone software up to date and you don't need any of these crappie apps.

  • You missed the master.

  • First, I only use Av because I sideload APKs outside the Play Store now and then. Absent that, no real need - the products pretty much replicate what Google does and the only real security threats have been from malware in apps.

    Tthere is no basis for brand loyalty in AV or malware protection - learned that from twenty-five years running PCs with pretty much the same list of companies. These products change radically year to year, some years changing algos or loading up with half-baked "features" they're not good at developing and soon abandon. It's worth reviewing the latest results at reliable sites every year at renewal time - for hard lab testing, not for uninformed cheers and jeers. I'd suggest AV-Test and its latest March list.

    I do like BitDefender for its very low resource footprint on my inexpensive devices and that it keeps well out of the way. All current tests put it in the top group of products.

  •   62
    Deactivated Account Mar 31, 2017 Link to comment

    I was thinking about installing mcafee but start wandering since me s7 edge already have the anti malware inside the smart menager i truly need a anti virus? Or the samart menager is enough?

  • I analyzed the different user authentication methods, what is the safest..but after reading this article - https:/www.cleveroad.com/blog/latest-approaches-that-guarantee-data-security-and-safe-authentication i don't know which option is the most preferred.

  • I would recommend you to use LEO Privacy applock. It is the best and most trusted applock and download safeguard app to protect over 100 million users from private information leakage, with strong applock to lock up apps, convenient privacy scan to locate loophole, safe box to Hide private photo & video, Wi-Fi security to secure network safety, etc.

  • According to me LEO privacy has to be the number one app for the job. I have been using this app for quite some time and it hides my private pictures and videos in the vault also this app has a unique feature which enables you to capture a snapshot of anyone who tries to unlock apps behind you. so this app comes in very handy when it comes to your private space and protection.

  • Since I'm a MetroPCS customer, when I elected to pop for the $6/mo handset protection "insurance," it also includes the Premium version of Lookout -- with which I am VERY happy. It doesn't badger you constantly to DL this, that, and the other thing, it doesn't try to scare you into DLing all their other products, and it doesn't constantly hijack your phone with annoying, flashing, intrusive, dimwit ads for dimwit games. It scans every app I DL, it has a safe-browsing component (which requires you to setup VPN, a small price to pay for safe browsing!), and the Breach Report seems pretty handy too. Even if you're not a MetroPCS customer, $2/mo seems like a pittance to know you're protected, and not have to put up with the constant annoyance of ads.

  • Most of these I will not even download and install on my biggest enemy's mobile device... No jokes.

  • What about SOPHOS mobile security, it's one of the best antivirus software protection around. SOPHOS antivirus engine is aggressive to any PUA or low reputation app.

  • there is no need for antivirus app in android wake up

    • Then explain why I have an app that is continously trying to post ads on my Facebook page in the middle of me playing a game, texting, doesn't matter it will continously try to post when I barley even open Facebook much less post stuff,....and it takes 3-15 attempts of backing out of the post, hitting the discard selection of the post and as soon as I do 1-2 seconds pass and then it will pop up again.......
      And yeah I'm sure you're probably thinking at this point "well just uninstall that app off of your phone, right?...... wrong..it has been u installed for more than 3 months now but yet continues some how to not only post on Facebook but as well as it randomly opens up the play store and brings me to the app that's causing this issue.....

  • Lets see! I kinda like Vipre myself as they don't talk about the viruses as when you here about them from other app providers they've written the code already to get rid of them and their software tends to pick up problems more often the Avast or any of the others that you are even suggesting. However most people in the public world have not even heard of Vipre but in the Corporate World it is well known and 100% effective but cost a little more but you can pay by the month for the mobile app and it runs at a cost of $2.62 Canadian Dollars per month or $2.00 U.S. and should not be over looked by anyone and I truly mean that !

  • The first antivirus I used on my android phones/tablet was AVG, followed by Avira. I'm using CM security, which I've been using for a while now. I bought the premium versions on all of them. I also use a vpn called Tunnelbear premium when I'm out and using wifi hotspots.

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