The best Android antivirus apps in 2021

Best Android antivirus

 

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To guard your Android tablet or smartphone against malware and corrupted applications You will require one of the most effective Android antivirus apps.

The options are limitless. The top Android antivirus programs provide more than top-quality malware prevention and detection. They also offer the option of privacy and antitheft. The majority of applications offer a free version and some have a completely free version.

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Android antivirus programs that are among the top ones can back up your contacts as well as track your tablet’s location via GPS. They can also take photos or capture a photo of a thief on your smartphone and then use the Wear OS smartwatch to track your position.

We’ve gathered the most well-known mobile antivirus companies — Avast. Bitdefender. Kaspersky. Lookout. McAfee. Norton. Even Google. We have rated their Android apps based on their interface, setup, and usability.

For assessing security using data provided by the AV-Test. This independent German lab tests security applications by their capability of detaching malware that is not a zero-day threat. Geekbench 4 was also used to assess the effect of these applications on the overall Android performance.

What Android antivirus applications are the most effective?

Based on our research, Bitdefender antivirus for mobile devices ($15 per year) is the most effective Android antivirus app. It offers nearly perfect security against malware and comes with many options.

Norton Mobile Security is $15 per year and offers more security. Norton Mobile Security has been removed from the free version, together with its anti-theft and anti-theft features. We can do not recommend it anymore.

McAfee Mobile Security, Avast Mobile Security along McAfee Mobile Security provide a range of features that are at no cost and have performed very well in a malware detection test. Avast’s antitheft, call blocker, and theft tools didn’t perform well. The apps also display many advertisements, except when they’re paid.

Kaspersky’s Mobile Antivirus Free Edition has no advertisements. The call-blocking and anti-theft features are superb. It provides excellent malware protection but doesn’t provide a WiFi security scanner for the network.

Lookout Security & Antivirus was the first mobile antivirus application and provides a powerful identity protection feature. Unfortunately, we don’t have any third-party lab-test information to determine Lookout Security & Antivirus’s effectiveness against malware.

Google Play Protect happens to be the most recent of the applications Android phones use. Unfortunately, it isn’t able to protect you from malware. It’s better to install a different application.

The top Android antivirus software provides not just the best malware detection and prevention but also provides a broad variety of privacy and anti-theft security options. They are able to track your Android tablet or smartphone using GPS and take a photo using cameras of burglars. Also, they have the capability to make use of Google Wear as a Google Wear smartwatch in order to track your device.

To guard yourself against malware that is not available on other platforms, check out our web pages on the best security software for your computer.

Find out more about: Keep your data safe by using the best Android VPN Software

The most effective Android antivirus app.

Best Android antivirus: Bitdefender Mobile Security
Bitdefender Mobile Security Image Credit: Bitdefender

Bitdefender Mobile Security

Best-paid option

Specifications

Price per annum: $15.

Minimum Android support: 5.0 Lollipop

Ads No

App lock: Yes

Anti-theft is a Yes

Reasons to Buy

Top malware protection+Affordable premium version+Many useful features+Small system impact

There are many reasons to be cautious about

-Expensive unlimited VPN option

Bitdefender’s Android security program offers nearly 100% malware protection, with minimal impact on performance, Android Wear watches integration, VPN client, and an untrusted blocker of websites. It works with the majority of Android internet browsers.

It also comes with powerful privacy-protection tools, such as App Lock, WiFi scanner security features, anti-theft, and alerts about data breaches.

It is a Bitdefender Mobile Security that offers a 14-day trial, however, it’s not an application that is free. Bitdefender Antivirus Free for Android (which is truly free) checks for malware.

The VPN client comes with 200MB of data. This is enough to access your email when you are outside of the country. Additional data costs an additional $7/month.

Bitdefender Mobile Security is only $15 per year, which is worth the price. It is our most-loved Android antivirus application.

Our complete Bitdefender Mobile Security analysis is accessible here.

Best Android antivirus: Norton Mobile Security
Norton Mobile Security (Image credit Norton]

 Norton Mobile Security

Specifications

Price per annum: $15.

Minimum Android support: 8.0 Oreo

No ads

App lock: No

Anti-theft:

Reasons to Buy

+Flawless malware detection+App Advisor beats the competition+Intuitive design

There are many reasons to stay clear of

No more Anti-Theft Features-No No Free Tier

Norton Mobile Security, also known as Norton 360, is the most reliable Android antivirus application we’ve tested for protection against malware. Unfortunately, it doesn’t include protection against theft, contacts backups, and Link Guard maliciously-linked blocker.

The Norton Mobile Security free Norton Mobile Security tier was also removed. It was one of our top choices among all Android antivirus applications. This free option is now replaced by a $15-per year security-only application on only one device.

Norton 360 for Android A moderately-priced plan, which includes unlimited VPN services and “dark Web” monitoring of private information, costs just $50 for the annual. Norton 360 Deluxe, Norton’s most expensive plan provides protection for 5 Android, Windows, or iOS devices.

All subscriptions can be purchased through Norton’s mobile app. You can try a 14-day trial for free. trial.

Norton’s exclusive App Advisor is the most valuable feature. This lets you check apps running on your device for unusual behavior, or high data use. It also scans Google Play store apps for security and privacy issues before you install the apps.

Read our Norton Mobile Security complete review.

Best free antivirus: Avast Free Antivirus
Avast Mobile Security (Image credit Avast)

Specifications

Cost for the year: No. 20 or $40 for premium versions.

Minimum Android support: 5.0 Lollipop

Ads Free Version

App lock: Premium only

Anti-theft Partly premium

Reasons to buy

Premium version for a nominal price and tons of features available for no cost

There are reasons to avoid

Unreliable anti-theft features -Too many ads in the free version

Avast Mobile Security and Antivirus are among the most complete of the top Android antivirus applications, providing all the features you need from privacy advisor to a system optimizer, to an adjustable blacklist.

However, while Avast’s protection against malware is effective, however, it’s not flawless. Certain functions of Avast’s anti-theft weren’t working with us. Likewise, the call-blocking function didn’t perform even if it tried. (It’s now gone.) Also, the free version’s ads and frequent solicitations to upgrade are irritating and annoying.

The ads will disappear when you purchase one of the paid tiers: Premium ($2 per month or $20 annually) as well as Ultimate ($7 per month or $40 annually). The paid plans will also receive additional security features including an app locker as well as technical assistance.

The built-in client of Avast’s SecureLine VPN is just a teaser, and the only method to access it is to purchase an Ultimate Tier. The price of the stand-alone version of SecureLine is $65 per year, an additional $20 over the top Android antivirus tier that provides unlimited VPN usage is not the best deal.

Check out our complete Avast Mobile Security evaluation.

Best Android antivirus: Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus
Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus (Image Credit: Kaspersky)

Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus

Specifications

Cost annually: free. Premium version $20

Minimum Android support: 5.0 Lollipop

Ads: No

App lock: Premium only

Anti-theft: Yes

Reasons to buy

Strong malware protection + Call blocking works + No ads in the free version

There are reasons to avoid

The Free version has limited features. It won’t automatically scan new applications

Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus also called Kaspersky Internet Security for Android It offers near-perfect malware protection and a minor system impact, and an effective call blocker that is working.

There aren’t any ads with the no-cost version and there’s not much to nag you to upgrade to a paid plan. Free users can enjoy phone filtering features, Android Wear support, and an array of security features, but you need to verify each new application manually.

Paying customers to get automatic scanning of the latest apps with an app lock as well as blocking of known phishing sites. This is all. There’s no Wi-Fi-connected network scanner, and there aren’t any privacy features other Android antivirus applications now provide.

If you’re only searching for protection against malware and protection from malware, you won’t choose between Kaspersky Mobile’s free version. While the paid version isn’t expensive but it’s a bit bare and it’s possible to get better protection from Bitdefender’s paid application for just $5 more.

Find our full Kaspersky Mobile antivirus review.

Best Android antivirus: Lookout Security & Antivirus
Lookout Security & Antivirus (Image credit: Lookout Mobile Security)

 Lookout Security & Antivirus

Specifications

Cost annually: free. $30 or $100 for premium versions.

Minimum Android support: 5.0 Lollipop

Ads: No

App lock: No

Anti-theft Partly premium

Reasons to buy

Strong identity protection option + Good user interface

There are reasons to avoid

There are a few free features, but not much protection against malware. heavy scanning, slow

Lookout Mobile Security, now changed to Lookout Security and Antivirus or Lookout Personal, was one of the very first Android antivirus applications, and for a considerable time the most effective. Its simplicity of use, as well as its clean interface and absence of advertisements, are the reasons for its popularity.

However, the costs of Lookout can add up fast. The free version is minimal it searches for malware and finds lost phones.

The premium version costs $30 per year the features, such as malicious website blocking, Wi-Fi network scans are free with other Android antivirus programs. Unlimited VPN and a data breach notification service make the price worth it.

With a cost of $100 per year”premium plus” at $100 per year “premium plus” plan is actually an inexpensive identity-protection service that comes with all the features that you’d receive with LifeLock and IdentityForce. It may be worth the price.

The issue is that Lookout isn’t often submitting its application to third-party laboratory tests, so we don’t know for certain what level of protection Lookout can guard against malware. The active scans it offers are heavy and slow.

Check out our complete Lookout Review of Security and Antivirus analysis.

Best Android antivirus: McAfee Mobile Security
McAfee Mobile Security (Image credit: McAfee)

McAfee Mobile Security

Specifications

Cost annually: $0. Premium versions of $30 and $80.

Minimum Android support: 7.0 Nougat

Ads Free Version

App lock: Removing

Anti-theft: Discontinued

Reasons to buy

Some decent features for free and VPN If you’re prepared to pay for a large amount

There are reasons to avoid

There are too many ads on the free version. Pricey premium tiers. protection

Similar to Avast, McAfee offers (or was offering) an array of helpful options, however, it’s free versions are packed with ads and upsell recommendations. The protection against malware is adequate however, it’s not the best.

At the end of summer 2021, McAfee Mobile Security eliminated some of its most effective features such as its App Lock Guest Mode Anti-Theft and Storage Booster as well as Storage Cleaner functions. It’s not clear what the reasoning behind this decision is in the first place, aside from in order to “adjust our product portfolio.”

There’s plenty to do when you download the free version of McAfee Mobile Security, such as the ability to monitor the usage of data by each app, as well as a Wi-Fi security scanner.

There’s more to it when you upgrade to”Standard,” which is the “Standard” premium tier, with a URL filter with 24/7 tech support as well as no advertisements. However, it’s quite expensive at just $30 per year, considering the fact that Bitdefender and Kaspersky provide the same features at a lower cost.

The most expensive level, “Plus,” costs $80 per year, and offers you Standard features and unlimited VPN access, however only for one smartphone or tablet. It is possible to get one of the most reliable VPN solutions to protect all of your devices for less.

Check out our complete McAfee Mobile Security review.

Best Android antivirus: Google Play Protect
McAfee Mobile Security (Image credit: McAfee)

 McAfee Mobile Security

Specifications

Cost annually: $0. Premium versions of $30 and $80.

Minimum Android support: 7.0 Nougat

Ads Free Version

App lock: Removing

Anti-theft: Discontinued

Reasons to buy

Some decent features for free and VPN If you’re prepared to pay for a large amount

There are reasons to avoid

There are too many ads on the free version. Pricey premium tiers. protection

Similar to Avast, McAfee offers (or was offering) an array of helpful options, however, it’s free versions are packed with ads and upsell recommendations. The protection against malware is adequate however, it’s not the best.

At the end of summer 2021, McAfee Mobile Security eliminated some of its most effective features such as its App Lock Guest Mode Anti-Theft and Storage Booster as well as Storage Cleaner functions. It’s not clear what the reasoning behind this decision is in the first place, aside from in order to “adjust our product portfolio.”

There’s plenty to do when you download the free version of McAfee Mobile Security, such as the ability to monitor the usage of data by each app, as well as a Wi-Fi security scanner.

There’s more to it when you upgrade to”Standard,” which is the “Standard” premium tier, with a URL filter with 24/7 tech support as well as no advertisements. However, it’s quite expensive at just $30 per year, considering the fact that Bitdefender and Kaspersky provide the same features at a lower cost.

The most expensive level, “Plus,” costs $80 per year, and offers you Standard features and unlimited VPN access, however only for one smartphone or tablet. It is possible to get one of the most reliable VPN solutions to protect all of your devices for less.

Check out our complete McAfee Mobile Security review.

Avast Mobile Security Bitdefender Mobile Security Google Play Protect Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus Lookout Security & Antivirus McAfee Mobile Security Norton Mobile Security for Android
Price per year Free; $12; $24 $15 Free Free; $15 Free; $30; $100 Free; $30; $80 $30
Minimum Android support 5.0 Lollipop 5.0 Lollipop 4.4 Kit Kat 5.0 Lollipop 5.0 Lollipop 7.0 Nougat 6.0 Marshmallow
Ads Free version No No No No Free version No
App lock Premium only Yes Yes Premium only No Discontinued No
Anti-theft Partly premium Yes Yes Yes Partly premium Discontinued No
App advisor Yes Yes No No Partly premium Yes Yes
URL screener Yes Yes Yes Premium only Premium only Premium only Yes
Wi-Fi scanner Yes Yes No No Premium only Yes Yes
VPN Costs extra Unlimited data costs extra No No Premium only Costs extra No
Wear OS support No Yes No Yes No Yes No

The reason you should choose an Android antivirus application

To ensure that your Android device secures it is recommended to keep the software up to date. Every new version of Android is more secure than the version before, and every month, an Android security update corrects new flaws.

If you don’t have a Google Pixel or Android One phone, you’ll be unable to get these updates and upgrades immediately. Many device makers need time to ensure that the changes made to Android do not cause damage to their software or devices.

The time lag can be as little as a few weeks, but it could be a long time. Even more troubling, certain Android handsets stop receiving Android OS upgrades after two years, while some do not receive monthly security updates in any way.

This is where the most effective Android antivirus applications are able to help. They block attacks trying to bypass the built-in security of Android, particularly ones that Google has patched but your device does not yet (or haven’t yet) have. They also block new threats which Google Play Protect won’t catch even on Pixel phones.

How do you choose the most effective Android antivirus app for your needs

Android antivirus applications are available in three pricing options: free, paid for and freemium.

Freemium applications let you pick between a few features of features free of charge or by paying for an upgraded version that offers you the entire range of features that are available in fully-priced applications. Apps that give you a variety of features at no cost could also present many ads.

This could be a combination of anti-theft features such as the “advisor” to help you look over and select applications, a Wi-Fi network security scanner, and apps that require a password to access certain applications.

Paid apps, as well as premium tiers, typically cost between $15 and $30 per calendar year. Certain app developers try to limit the number of devices you can use in their premium or paid versions. Some tack on a super-premium tier that gives you unlimited VPN service or an identity-protection service, often at a pretty good price.

The most important aspect in deciding what Android antivirus program to use is the protection against malware.

Norton and Bitdefender have the upper hand in this area Bitdefender and Norton lead the pack, while Kaspersky isn’t far from the top. Avast is decent, but not the best, and Google Play Protect, which is built into the app, is not a good choice. We’re not confident about Lookout as well as 360 Security because they haven’t presented their apps to laboratory tests.

What we tried to test the best Android antivirus applications

To assess the security features of the top Android antivirus applications We used the most recent bimonthly tests from the AV-TEST which is an independent laboratory located in Germany which measures the degree to which the top Android security applications detect the zero-day threat of malware and other threats.

Since scores for some apps differ between one test and another, we examined the last two years of tests.

We also used some of the results from the AV-Comparatives which is a lab located in Austria which once per year, tests all Android antivirus applications available on Google Play, even those which don’t cooperate with labs that test. These tests aren’t very precise.

To determine the effect that antivirus programs impact overall performance, we tested test the Geekbench 4 benchmarking app on the Google Pixel 3 phone running Android 9.0 Pie. For each application, we ran Geekbench repeatedly without having an antivirus app installed and then using either of these review applications installed, and then during the entire scan.

We also assessed the quantity and value of each app’s features. We also noted what features were only available to premium users. We also evaluated the interface for users and the installation procedure.

Kaspersky antivirus software has been excluded by U.S. government networks. Since this company’s name is Russian and its software is Russian, it could present a significant risk to individuals and companies that are involved in national security as well as critical infrastructure.

We do believe, however, that Kaspersky software is safe for users at home. We haven’t seen any evidence to support this. Kaspersky researchers are well-known in the world of antivirus, as well as the firm has publically disclosed Russian cyberespionage operations in addition to American ones.

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Paul Wagenseil

 

Paul Wagenseil is a senior editor at Tom’s Guide focused on security and privacy. He’s also a fry cook, dishwasher long-haul driver monkey, and video editor. He’s been exploring the field of information security for over 15 years with FoxNews.com, SecurityNewsDaily, TechNewsDaily, and Tom’s Guide has presented talks at the ShmooCon, DerbyCon, and BSides Las Vegas hacker conferences, appearing in various TV news ads and was a moderator during the CEDIA home-technology conference. Follow his blog posts through Twitter on Twitter at his handle: @snd_wagenseil.

 

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