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Best Android antivirus and mobile security apps

Update: Fully overhauled list!

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.

1. 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
CM Security AppLock AntiVirus Install on Google Play

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.

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It is well worth paying to get the best security for my Android device
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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
Kaspersky Antivirus & Security Install on Google Play

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
Malwarebytes focuses on doing one job well. / © AndroidPIT
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Install on Google Play

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
Mobile Security & Antivirus Install on Google Play

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.

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Security apps that provide an all-in-one package are the better option
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avgfree
AVG is one of the most fully-featured options on this list. / © AndroidPIT
AntiVirus FREE 2016 - Android Install on Google Play

Lookout

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
Lookout is one of the simpler options here, but the breach report is worth considering. / © AndroidPIT
Lookout Security & Antivirus Install on Google Play

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
Security & Power Booster –Free Install on Google Play

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
Norton Security and Antivirus Install on Google Play

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

119 comments

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  • Apart from the dedicated Sony AVG antivirus and separately licensed each year file cleaner, which both integrate together with a three tier payment option of; premium/ pro/ monthly at £9.99-£6.99-£1.49 respectively ( £6.99 on sale at the moment for £3.99), which all work very smoothly in the background.
    Another app which I've used from nearly since it's inception, and now i'm a beta user is 'Logdog'. It has been free from the beginning but has added over time new layer's of protection as paid.
    The free protection is for your Google account, Twitter, Dropbox and Facebook, which has worked very well over the years I have found. The paid Gmail account security (first few scans free) looks for flaws in your gmail which hackers may use to gain access to your account and banking ,which then prompts you to delete and even warn the sender to 'up' the security on their end. Also there is a paid 'Bank card' security coverage, which 'lock's down' your bank details and informs you if your banking information may have been compromised.
    I don't mind going to the trouble of writing this on their behalf, because they are very polite and helpful, and just a quick mention that I once signed up to one of Amazon's campaigns on it's US site via Twitter, and although I don't use Twitter much, I was informed each time that Amazon US accessed my Twitter account which was over 200 times! You can witness who abuses the privileges you give to companies, otherwise you wouldn't have a clue, then revoke it.
    This app gives you protection of your social media accounts and so on, that I haven't found elsewhere, the banking protection feature is quite expensive relatively speaking, however, saying that, if you have a lot of savings at risk (which I don't) its not as important to me in that respect.
    Consider taking a look into the app, it will work well alongside the other apps mentioned on here.
    Always keep safe!

  • Ever needed to know when your battery has reached 100 percent?
    Or other percentage?
    Than, TMK Battery Alarm is the app for you!
    Download now for free:
    Look for TMK Battery Alarm in the playstore!

  • I work in I.T and use and recommend Kaspersky on all my products.

  • Tom Cat 11 hours ago Link to comment

    AdGuard ? LBE Security Master ?

  • reviewdeeper.blogspot.in

  • How is it that AV has finds BITDEFENDER to be THE Best AV software out there. Yet you name all the others but the AWESOME BITDEFENDER software? Please Clarify- & do so QUICKLY. as my Subscriptions end at the end of this month. - Thank You

    • BITDEFENDER is the best AV Software.... Awesome performance and Less on resources than any other compared AV

  • There is another collection of best antivirus apps 2016 edition at www.techindroid.com/best-antivirus-apps/

  • I would make another point that while downloading apps we need to make it sure that source is not infected and not spreading any infected apps so better download apps from Google Play Store, I wrote and detailed article comparing top antivirus security PAID apps here newandroidphones.in

  • I use 360 Security. It is good and fast and cleans up all junk files. Only problem I have is that the dialogs keep popping up at the end of an activity recommending something else and on and on .. i usually stop after cleaning, but these recommendations make me apprehensive.

  • GizmoSafe is an android antivirus that has the most updated database of online threats. This app lets you scan the device at a time convenient for the user. Also, you can take backup of your contacts to your email as well. This app is available at Google Play Store as well as gizmohelp's website .

  • Hi, So am I to install and use all these apps because I'm unsure what do do from here.

    Thanks.

    Lisa

    • You should download from Google Play, a single antivirus and a single anti-malware app, for example, such as both Avast! Mobile and Malwarebytes, and give them a try, they complement each other, provide real-time protection, receive good reviews on other sites, and are free. I have them both and they are great. Avast! CleanUp is also as good as Piriform's CCleaner, for housekeeping, and actually a tad better. LastPass will protect your passwords so that is a good idea, too. They also own XMarks, a bookmarks syncing app, which like Google's and Firefox's syncing facilities, sync bookmarks across devices, and I use it all the time. Solid un-intrusive apps.

  • I use Kaspersky security multi device to cover laptop, tablet and phone. Worth every cent, the it is that good. Dash Lane locks down all passwords again worth every cent. Nothing compares to these two. Why is Dashlane not on your list. last pass got taken over and heard enough about the new company to dump it fast.

  • The paid version of Bit Defender is way better than the apps mentioned here.

  • David rom 6 months ago Link to comment

    Gateway antivirus allows corporate and enterprise to check for viruses at the application layer using a web-based scanning service. These types of security software available ClearCenter Marketplace. The ClearCenter Marketplace is a service that allows administrators to browse and search for apps compatible with the platform/version and install them.

  • CJ Brown 7 months ago Link to comment

    Well-written and well-researched article :)

    CM Security - I have been using app this for almost a year without any problems (still surprised that Google hasn't partnered with, or purchased, a company to create their own antivirus / security app)

    • PureVPN !! the best VPN I know for mobile security and data encryption. I keep all my confidential data on my phone without fear of falling into wrong hands.

  • Nice article and very useful apps mentioned. While learning about Android Security, I also found a wonderful blog on purevpn website with the title 10 Steps to Perform a Personal Android Security Audit! and I think its a must for every Android user.

  • There's only one App I trust and that's Bitdefender Mobile Security use Bitdefender everyday on my pc/mobile and on clients' pc's and I must say it has proved that it works to me and to my clients imho.

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