I’ll be honest with you. I’m not really a fan of antivirus software.
Because no amount of security measures trump the most valuable resource that human beings, for some reason, are averse to using: common sense.
I say that because, if you play safe and are reasonably cautious in the way you use your Android phone, your chances of getting infected with a virus get pretty low.
Nonetheless, it is understandable to want extra security, as insurance policy just in case, in the form of antivirus software, especially if you are a user of the more infection-prone Android OS in contrast to Apple.
It takes a little research, however, to find the best free Android antivirus for your phone.
In this post, I will present multiple AV-TEST approved antivirus software for Android to put your mind at ease and keep your precious data safe.
Do You Really Need an Antivirus for Android in 2019?
Part of the reason for writing this article is to help Android users decide whether an antivirus is indeed something you should be installing in your phone.
The answer to that question depends on what kind of user you are.
Do you only download and install apps only from the Play Store?
Or do you like taking risks and have a rooted Android OS where you sideload shady apps all the time?
If you belong to the latter category, then it’s probably a good idea to have a reputable Android antivirus running on your device.
However, if you belong to the former category, you can get by without an antivirus, though you’re far from 100% protected.
What kind of an Android user are you? Let people know in the comments below!
Google is constantly adding improvements to security of Android. Although Play Store has a history of letting malicious apps slip through, recent features like Play Protect have considerably reduced the number of malicious apps on the store.
As such, Play Store is much safer now than it used to be and if you download apps from well-known and reputable developers, the chances of suffering a cyberattack are slim.
The thing is, even Play Protect isn’t perfect. In late 2017, Trend Micro found 36 apps on Play Store with undesirable behavior.
These apps were disguised as security tools but were sneakily harvesting user data and bombarding users with advertisements.
So, if you’d rather not risk being fooled by a deceptively malicious app on your Android, then I’d suggest that you go ahead and get an antivirus software.
Top Free Antivirus Apps for Android
Below you will find 15 different antivirus software for Android that are proven to be safe and effective in detecting malicious apps and files on your phone.
1. Sophos Antivirus and Security
Sophos is hands down the best antivirus you can get on Android completely free. It comes packed with both basic and advanced features that pushes zero ads in the face of users.
Apart from malware detection, Sophos allows users to remotely wipe off their data in the event that your phone is stolen.
It is lightweight and doesn’t hog resources of your phone. Sophos also offers password protection for the apps you have running on your Android and can even block calls.
Seriously, this software offers so many features for free that even premium counterparts lack. As such, Sophos has earned a spot on the top of this list.
- Excellent malware detection and protection
- Huge variety of additional features
- Drains battery a little faster
2. Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus
Kaspersky is one of the most respected brands when it comes to antivirus software. It is one of the most powerful software in terms of detecting malware.
In fact, Kaspersky has one of the best malware detection rate of 99.9% in the whole industry.
The free version only offers malware protection feature. For real-time protection, anti-phishing, and anti-theft, you will need to purchase the premium version.
Nonetheless, when it comes to basics, no other free antivirus comes close Kaspersky’s power.
- Highest malware detection rates
- Does not affect battery life
- Pushes too many notifications
3. Bitdefender Antivirus Free
Bitdefender for Android has a perfect 100% malware detection rate. That should rule every virus and malware out there worth being worried about.
It features a simple and highly usable interface that doesn’t affect phone performance. This free version, however, lacks advanced features, such as Snap Photo and browser security.
You will need to purchase the premium Bitdefender app to avail these features.
- Excellent interface
- Strong malware detection
- Contains ads
4. Avira Antivirus Security
Avira is not as popularly known as other reputed antivirus software. I find that a little bit strange because it has always been a top-notch software since it was first launched on Windows desktop PCs.
The antivirus is now offering the same quality for Android devices. It has both free and premium versions, but a lot of the features are still accessible for free.
Avira can scan your Android phone’s internal as well as external storage for viruses and privacy issues, which is quite a unique feature.
In addition, it has a cell phone tracker that you can use to get a trace in case you lose your phone.
The premium version goes even further and includes camera protection for maximizing your privacy. In short, Avira is a mammoth of an antivirus available for free for Android phones.
- Real-time protection
- Scans external + internal phone storage
- Buggy and error-prone app
5. Malwarebytes Security
Malwarebytes has long been rescuing infected users from all sorts of pesky malware. It is one of the few antivirus software which can detect and remove ransomware.
It integrates well with other Android apps such as SMS, WhatsApp, and Facebook and scans messages in them for harmful content/links.
The free version unfortunately lacks ransomware detection capability, but is excellent for the detection of Trojans and other dangerous viruses for Android.
- Lightweight and simple to use
- Detects most kinds of malware
- Call-blocking feature is buggy
6. Avast Mobile Security
Avast is a highly popular antivirus for desktop as well as mobile platforms. Antivirus scanning, call blocker, firewall, and anti-theft features are all built into the free version.
The pro version unlocks additional features which include App locker and SIM security. You can’t go wrong with Avast for improving your Android security.
- Anti-theft feature
- Great anti-malware capability
- Contains ads
7. AVG Antivirus
AVG was purchased by AVAST three years ago, so it is pretty much the same as Avast. There are some differences, though.
For instance, AVG does not offer a firewall and uses Google Maps for anti-theft tracking.
The malware detection capability is the same as Avast. So, for decent security, AVG is a good option, but it is far from the best.
- Decent malware protection
- Has a built-in VPN
- Battery boosting feature is no good
8. Norton Mobile Security
Norton is one of the long-running antivirus software developer. It has grown loyal users over the years. The Android antivirus version is extremely effective in its Wi-Fi, malware, and spyware scans to detect potential threat.
One of the best features of Norton is that it alerts you about the security status of an app on Play Store before you download one. This aid your judgement whether you should download that one app or not.
Unfortunately, the free version lasts only 30 days. You will have to purchase a subscription to continue using it after that.
- Simple interface
- Integrates with Play Store to assist user decision-making for downloading apps
- Paid subscription is required after 30 days
9. Security Master
Security Master is an interesting free antivirus for Android. Although it isn’t that well-known, it is one of the most feature-loaded antivirus on the Play Store.
The free version has a surprisingly strong malware scanner, notification cleaner, message security among a host of other features. There is a VPN included as one of the features as well.
It’s a pretty nifty antimalware app that deserves to be better known.
- Includes message security
- Enables VPN connection from within the app
- Contains ads
10. McAfee Mobile Security
McAfee is another popular name in the antivirus industry. The Android free version comes with Wi-Fi security, security lock, and anti-theft features.
The interface is extremely simple that allows good usability. The app has tutorials that explain every included feature, which is great for newbie users.
- Good Wi-Fi security
- Simple interface
- Premium version is expensive
11. DFNDR Security
DFNDR is an obscure antivirus that is only known by users who search for hidden gems. It is a complete package that has robust anti-phishing, anti-malware, and anti-hacking features.
Among its extra features is the bandwidth reduction capability. This can kill apps running in the background needlessly hogging your Internet bandwidth.
The best part? It is all for free.
- Wide range of security features
- Scheduled virus scan
- Too many ads in free version
12. 360 Security
360 Security has millions of downloads and is one of the best rated antivirus apps for Android. It has a strong antivirus protection and comes with real-time protection.
There is an Intruder Selfie feature that snaps a picture if someone tries to break into your phone as well as a fingerprint lock system.
The app can be downloaded for free, but be prepared for a lot of ads.
- Real-time protection
- Intruder Selfie feature
- Displays ads even on home screen
13. TrustGo Antivirus and Mobile Security
TrustGo is a completely free antivirus app for Android. It includes full device scanning as well as the option to scan individual apps.
Additional features include a privacy adviser, data backup, and app manager. However, some extra features like booster and cleaner aren’t really worth anything, so don’t expect anything remarkable in that department.
- Good malware scanner
- Absolutely free
- Extra features don’t function well
14. ESET Mobile Security and Antivirus
ESET is a pretty well-known brand in anti-malware industry. It comes with interesting features such as virus scans, scheduled scans, security audit of apps, and anti-theft.
However, it is requires a lot of permissions during setup and even requires the user’s email address, which is a tad intrusive considering most antivirus apps don’t need emails.
ESET is not completely free. It offers a 30-day free trial upon installation and you’ll need to purchase it to continue using after a month.
- Good malware detection and protection
- Supports anti-theft
- Intrusive setup process
15. Lookout Security and Antivirus
Lookout Security and Antivirus features a great set of security features including app security, system advisor, and phone locator.
These features are unlocked from the get-go in the free version, which is pretty cool.
You can avail additional features such as safe browsing, safe Wi-Fi, privacy advisor, theft alerts, and lock & wipe. All in all, Lookout is worthy antivirus to have for the protection of your Android.
- Provides protection from trojans, viruses, and chargeware
- Includes theft protection
- Occasional app crashes
Now that you know about the best free Android Antivirus apps, I’d reiterate that having one is not an absolute necessity. You need to make the decision for yourself whether you should get one or not.
It depends on your usage style, really.
If you are the adventurous type and are liable to ignore caution when downloading apps and using your Android in general, these apps are sufficiently effective in keeping you safe and protected from malicious an unwanted behavior from Android apps.
I’d like to hear your thoughts regarding antivirus app for Android. Don’t forget to comment below!