Many Android owners don’t take precautions to protect their devices. This is a mistake and could result in an infected Android device that is beyond repairable. An antivirus app for your Android device can detect and clean up malware, viruses, as well as protect your privacy from spyware and ransomware while keeping your device working to its optimal performance.
There is really no excuse to not protect your Android, especially with free antivirus apps! Today we are looking at FREE antivirus protection for Androids.
Let’s be honest for a minute: most cybersecurity companies are out to make money as their primary aim. That means that they may not offer the best services. In addition, many antivirus companies offer free antiviruses for Androids, but not all of them are quality. In fact, from our research, we found that some are actually fake, ineffective, or not actually free.
If you carry a lot of sensitive information on your Android, you will benefit from a low-cost antivirus for Androids, but if you need basic protection, there’s no reason why you should be paying money when you can get quality protection for free!
That’s why we became detectives. Our goal was to weed through the companies that offered free Android antiviruses and separate the legitimate ones with the ones not worth our time. Here are our criteria for a company to make our “Best Android Antivirus Apps” list:
Our Methodology for Finding the Best Free Antivirus Apps
All of our six recommendations had to meet these standards:
100% Free: Not free trials, not free virus detection without free virus removing, no hidden agendas. They have to be 100% free!
Proven Track Records: We made sure that the companies had positive cybersecurity third-party testing scores, excellent customer reviews, and could provide high-quality security.
Efficiency: All of the apps we recommended must be efficient, ad-free, and not slow down your device
Features: We don’t expect many extra features from a free antivirus, but if there are some, we are thrilled!
Well-Known Brands That Did Not Meet Our Criteria
Some of these may surprise you, and in no way are we saying they are not reputable cybersecurity companies. They just don’t offer what we are looking for in a free Android antivirus:
Norton Mobile Security:
While Norton’s Android app is a low-cost option, it is not free. You can get a 30-day free trial, which is great, but Norton Mobile Security did not make our cut since it is not entirely free.
Avast and AVG merged in 2016, and their Android apps are effective. The only downfall is they have a lot of annoying ads, and we don’t have time for that!
Kaspersky Internet Security:
Kaspersky features a pretty good free antivirus for Androids, but some features, like real-time protection and anti-phishing, are only available if you upgrade to the paid plan, which is why this company did make our cut.
So, now that you know who didn’t make our cut, the moment you have been waiting for: Who did? Here you go, our top six Really Free Android Antivirus Apps:
Best Android Antivirus Apps for Mobile Users
1. Bitdefender Antivirus Free: Easiest to Use!
Bitdefender has a proven track record in cybersecurity, no doubt. They also provide solid protection for Android users. There are no fancy features with this app, just complete protection from malware, including spyware, ransomware, and other viruses.
Another thing we love about Bitdefender is its ease of use. All you do is launch the app and tap Scan, and you’re protected. You don’t have to keep pressing scan though, as Bitdefender automatically scans apps and downloads in real-time.
Bitdefender Antivirus Free is perfect for basic protection. If you need theft prevention, online account security, or other security on your Android, you could upgrade to the premium version and claim a 30-day free trial.
However, you’re reading this article because you want free. Bitdefender Antivirus Free is an easy to use, ad-free antivirus app for Androids. You won’t be disappointed.
2. Avira Antivirus: Best for Protecting Your Privacy
With the slogan, “Privacy isn’t a privilege. It’s your right,” it is clear that Avira Antivirus takes your personal privacy very seriously. The company’s free Android antivirus app features real-time protection that focuses on privacy protection.
Avira’s privacy features include:
Permissions Manager: Keeps track of how apps access your data
Identity Safeguard: This feature checks to see is your email address is every stolen in a data breach
App Lock: The app lock adds extra security to your apps.
Avira Antivirus also includes tools that protect against theft and loss, call/text blocking, and a VPN with 100 MG of data each day.
If you want additional safety and privacy features, you can upgrade to the premium version, but if you want basic protection with a handful of extras, the free version is perfect for you.
3. McAfee Mobile Security: Best for Theft Protection
McAfee has been a leader in cybersecurity ever since the company was born in 1987. McAfee Mobile Security offers free features like real-time malware protection, device optimization, and loss and theft protection.
Specifically, with this app, you will get the Thief Cam, which takes a photo from your camera if someone’s trying into your phone. You will also get Remote Wiping, which wipes clear your phone’s data if it is lost or stolen. Then you will get Locate Your Phone, which is a GPS that tells you where your phone is.
If you want a VPN and an ad blocker, you will need to upgrade to a paid plan, but if you bundle your Android protection with one of the paid plans, the price is well worth the cost.
If you have a lot of sensitive data on your Android, McAfee Mobile Security is what you are looking for to keep it protected against malware and viruses and safe from theft.
4. ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus: Best for Secure Internet Browsing
ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus is excellent if you frequently browse online. The range of free features includes a scan for malware and other viruses, protection for web browsing, and the best phishing protection we have seen in a free app.
A lot of people protect against malware, which is great, but phishing is a whole separate issue where “phishers” trick people into giving up passwords, credit card information, and a host of other personal data. ESET’s anti-phishing feature integrates into your mobile browser and will prevent you from visiting phishing sites.
If you want more security or advanced anti-theft features, you can check out the premium plans, but if you want basic antivirus protection, plus extra phishing protection, there is no reason to upgrade. Thankfully, this free antivirus app contains no ads, an extra perk.
5. AVG Antivirus Free: Best For Extra Security Features
Of the six Android antivirus apps, AVG Antivirus Free offers the most free features, which is why it is was the first antivirus app on Google Play to reach 100 million downloads! Here’s what you will get if you download this app:
- Real-time scanning for malware and other viruses
- Secure Wi-Fi networking capabilities
- Privacy checks on your apps to see how much personal info they access and share
- The ability to test Wi-Fi speed
- Storage clean up on your device
- Performance booster
- Data usage tracker
The only downside to this free app is that it contains a lot of ads, which is annoying to some users. You can upgrade to the premium plans to avoid the ads, but if you don’t mind them, the free version is effective at keeping you protected.
AVG Antivirus Free provides decent protection against malware and viruses with a range of excellent device security features and optimization tools.
6. Sophos Mobile Security: Best for Customer Support
Sophos Mobile Security has been the winner of the AV-TEST awards, an independent IT-Security Institute. It is an excellent free security app for Android, without any ads!
What we really love about this free app is the level of customer support. Some free antiviruses don’t offer much support, but Sophos provides a live chat, a place where you can submit a help ticket, a telephone number for customer support, and an extensive knowledge base.
With more than one million downloads on Google Play, Sophos Mobile Security protects your Android against malware and viruses, and you will also get these features:
- Web filtering to block malicious websites
- Protects apps with a personal passcode
- Wi-Fi security to protect you from spyware, ransomware, or phishing
- Call protection for blocking spam calls
- Loss and theft protection
If you want advanced protection, you could upgrade to Sophos Premium solutions, but for basic protection with extra security features, Sophos Mobile Security is a great choice!
Frequently Asked Questions
We have compiled some frequently asked questions from Android free antivirus users, and you may have some of the same questions.
Are Android antivirus apps safe?
Sadly, the answer to this question is no, Android antivirus apps are not always safe, specifically the free ones. Because scanning for malware entails access to your most sensitive data, some malicious antivirus apps are designed to steal your personal information. That is why it is important to be very careful when choosing an antivirus for your Android device.
The six on our list are obviously safe to use. Each one comes from a reputable company, known for its excellent cybersecurity software.
Does an Android really need an antivirus?
Yes, your Android needs an antivirus. If you compare Android devices to iOS devices, you will see that Androids do not have the built-in security software that iOS’s do. Unfortunately, Androids are a common target for hackers and cyber criminals, so it is essential that you have antivirus protection for your device.
Will the apps you recommended work with my Android device?
All of the Android antivirus apps on our list will work with any Android smartphone that uses Android KitKat 4.4, which was released in 2014, as well as anything newer.
What’s the Bottom Line?
The bottom line is that if you have an Android, you need internet protection. The last thing you want is for your personal information to be taken by hackers or for malware to infect your device. There’s no excuse not to download a secure antivirus since there are some excellent free options available!