The best Android antivirus apps for 2024

Installing an antivirus app on your Android smartphone or tablet is a no-brainer. We use our Android devices to do everything from mobile banking to online shopping—which means trusting them with some seriously sensitive personal information. So, ensuring that your device, and your identity, stays safe from malware should be a top priority.

Android is the most common operating system in the world, but it pays a heavy price for the privilege—a massive user base is a tempting target for cybercriminals. Fortunately, over the last 15 years, Winkeys experts have put countless antivirus solutions to the test to see which services are proactive about stopping malware in its tracks.

So, in this article, we’ll take a look at ten of the best Android antivirus apps around, comparing their security measures, extra features, and that all-important price tag. The good news is that the majority of our Android antivirus picks are free to use—so let’s dive right in.

The two best Android antivirus at a glance

Looking for a quick answer? Here are the two best antivirus apps for Android right now:

 This update saw no significant differences between our top picks, and no new events in the industry for us to report on. As such, we double-checked the pricing, deals, server locations, and unblocking capabilities to make sure the information on this page was as accurate and up-to-date as possible. 

The best Android antivirus apps for 2024

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Take a look at our top picks, complete with reviews and analysis that digs into why you should subscribe, any reasons to avoid, our test results, and how each antivirus solution stacks up with the competition.

The best Android antivirus overall

(Image credit: Bitdefender)

1. Bitdefender Mobile Security

The best Android antivirus app – packed with features and tight security

Specifications

Maximum devices covered: 1

Stand out features: Anti-theft, privacy advisor, scam alert, remote lock and wipe

Free or paid: Paid

Reasons to buy

+

Excellent antivirus protection

+

Great anti-theft capabilities

+

Clever tie-in with smartwatch

Reasons to avoid

Cloud-based scanning needs active internet connection

Bitdefender Mobile Security packs a serious punch with a single subscription. You’ll get a whole host of features, including anti-theft measures, and top-notch antivirus capabilities that’ll work hard to keep your Android device safe. In fact, Bitdefender scored top marks in the latest AV-Test roundup, and AV-Comparatives (the other major independent antivirus test lab) observed a protection rate of 99.9%, which is seriously impressive.

This mobile security plan gives you real-time Chrome web browser protection, complete with anti-phishing system scans, so you’ll be forewarned about any dodgy links or pages. Bitdefender also has an Autopilot feature, which is capable of making intelligent recommendations for security actions depending on your system and typical usage pattern. Simply put, Bitdefender can help you avoid threats and make proactive choices about your security

Try Bitdefender with a 30-day money-back guarantee

If you’re into your gadgets and have a smartwatch, you might be interested in the privacy advisor tool. It’s a nifty feature that’ll help you find your phone if you happen to misplace it or leave it behind—which happens to the best of us.

Users also get a bundled VPN, but don’t get too excited—the version included in the Mobile Security subscription has its limitations. You’ll be restricted to extremely light use, at just 200 Mb a day, which could still be useful in a pinch. If you really need a VPN, however, there are plenty of free VPNs out there—and some, like Proton VPN, have no data limits at all.

Bitdefender’s theft prevention measures are pretty nifty, too. It allows you to locate your device remotely, or send a message directly to it, which can be a lifesaver if you happen to lose it while traveling. Alternatively, if your device is stolen, Bitdefender allows you to not only lock and even wipe your Android, but it will also take a picture of those who have taken it if they try to access your phone.

With a lot of features, a bargain 1-year plan and even a 14-day free trail which allows you to try before you buy and really test it out before committing to Bitdefender long-term.

The best privacy focused antivirus

(Image credit: Norton)

2. Norton Mobile Security

Provides innovative mobile defenses on the app checking front

Specifications

Maximum devices covered:

Stand out features: App Advisor, anti-theft features, call blocking

Paid or free: Paid

Reasons to buy

+

App checker

+

Great anti-theft capabilities

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Blocks spam phone calls

Reasons to avoid

Full price is rather eye-watering

If you’re looking for an antivirus suite that doesn’t skimp on features, you’ll want to check out Norton Mobile Security for Android. It’s jam-packed with tools designed to keep malware and scams at bay—without being overly taxing on your battery.

Powered by Norton Mobile Insight, the antivirus alerts you about anything suspicious before it has a chance to turn into a problem. For example, you’ll be warned about any vulnerabilities in your operating system, giving you time to take a proactive approach and resolve them before they can be exploited by cybercriminals.

Try Norton Mobile Security with a 60-day money-back guarantee

Norton also keeps you safe by vetting apps on the Google Play Store. There are so many apps available to download and not all of them will be trustworthy—sometimes on purpose, sometimes not. Norton helps combat these dodgy apps by scanning them before you download them, checking for privacy risks like intrusive adware and malware, meaning you don’t have to find out the hard way whether your newest app is trustworthy or not.

AV-Test gave Norton top marks for its antivirus engine, and I’m impressed that the suite can block cyber threats from every angle. In addition to scanning apps and websites, Norton also filters out spam SMS messages that could be hiding phishing attempts, meaning you’re less likely to get wrapped up in a scam.

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This peace of mind extends to your browsing, too, thanks to Norton’s Wi-Fi security tools. You’ll be alerted if you happen to join a potentially harmful network—one that’s unsecured or under attack—which means you won’t be placing your sensitive information within the reach of cybercriminals. This also keeps you safe from the potential harms of using these dangerous networks, like having your sensitive information (e.g. login credentials, logins, and financial details) stolen. Once you’re online, Norton will even block fraudulent websites for you and help you pinpoint potential scams with a handy threat report card.

The innovation doesn’t stop there, either, as Norton recently announced that an AI-powered chatbot designed to spot scams is in the works. So, with all of this functionality (and new features on the horizon), you might be wondering where the downsides are. Well, Norton apps are pricey, but you can take the tools for a test drive with a pretty generous 60-day money-back guarantee.

The best free Android antivirus

(Image credit: Avast)

3. Avast Mobile Security

A great free Android antivirus offering, but it does show adverts

Specifications

Maximum devices covered: Unlimited (free app)

Stand out features: Anti-theft, Wi-Fi security, junk cleaner

Paid or free: Free

Reasons to buy

+

Lots of features

+

Performance boosting capabilities

+

It’s free!

Avast is well known in the world of antivirus and for good reason—its products typically go above and beyond mundane scanners, and Avast Mobile Security is no different. The service picks up threats quickly, is highly rated by independent test labs, and comes with a great roster of features for free. The only downside is that although you will need to deal with its ads.

With Avast, its scans catch viruses and malware in real-time, so if you have an existing infection, one tap of the ‘Scan’ button will prompt Avast to comb through your device (and any microSD cards), picking up on any nasties that might be affecting your device. You’ll be alerted if the scan picks up on a threat, making it incredibly easy to detect vulnerabilities and resolve them before they do major damage.

Try Avast Mobile Security for free

As you’d expect from an Avast product, Avast Mobile Security also excels at combating malware—and aced two back-to-back AV-Test evaluations. The solution came top of the class in January 2022 without delivering false positives or misidentifying safe software as a threat. Some of the biggest names in the industry can’t say the same, so you can rest assured that Avast Mobile Security is thorough and accurate, and won’t have to second-guess its alerts.

I particularly like that Avast Mobile Security can help you sniff out untrustworthy apps. It only takes a minute to grab something from the Google Play store, meaning it only takes a minite for a dodgy app to infect your device and allow the hackers that put it there to gain access to your sensitive information. Thankfully, Avast Mobile Security will let you know if you’re about to download a threat before. Plus, if you have any unwanted or unsecure apps already on your device, the solution can help you get rid of them. Other useful features include an anti-theft system, which allows you to track and remotely lock (or wipe) your Android device if it’s stolen, or if you lose it.

Upgrading from the free plan grants access to a VPN—which is a useful tool to have in your pocket. The VPN does a decent job of hopping across digital borders, thanks to servers in 34 countries, and should help you unblock streaming services, social media platforms, and news outlets that might be currently inaccessible thanks to your work, ISP, or even your government.

The benefits of upgrading to a monthly or yearly premium plan are pretty tempting—namely, getting rid of ads. Avast Mobile Security’s free subscription is supported by them, and while it’s great that the solution doesn’t cost a penny, the ads can get annoying very quickly.

The best Android antivirus for removing malware

(Image credit: AVG)

4. AVG AntiVirus Free

Hugely popular Android antivirus app

Specifications

Maximum devices covered: Unlimited (free app)

Stand out features: Anti-theft

Paid or free: Free

Reasons to buy

+

Quality virus protection for nothing

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Impressive anti-theft measures

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14-day trial of a host of Pro features

AVG AntiVirus Free is another high-quality app for your Android device, and it delivers an impressive level of protection at no cost whatsoever. In fact, it uses the same well-liked antivirus engine as Avast above (remember that Avast bought AVG back in 2016).

This isn’t the same product, though, and it doesn’t have some of the features you’ll find in Avast’s freebie offering. It is, however, still built around very robust core antivirus protection, plus anti-theft features that allow you to locate, lock, or wipe a stolen (or lost) phone—which could prevent you from losing your credentials as well as your device. Also like Avast, this app is ad-supported, but by upgrading to the premium version you can get rid of them in short order.

Like our other top picks, the AVG scan capabilities can check for hidden threats on your phone and help you resolve them. If any threats are lurking, the Malware Force Uninstaller makes sure it’s removed from your device—no matter how persistent it might be—so you can reclaim your peace of mind.

The paid Pro version of AVG comes with a whole load of extra features, including extended anti-theft capabilities (such as the device locking itself if the SIM card is replaced, as well as sounding an alarm) and a Photo Vault to secure your photos and keep all of your memories out of the clutches of cybercriminals. I like how proactive AVG is about alerting you to potential threats—the solution can even help you block callers and steer clear of unsecured Wi-Fi networks, helping you avoid threats before they impact you.

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There are also a host of other features such as performance enhancement measures, which aim to kill unnecessary processes, turn off battery-draining configurations, as well as deleting junk files such as those commonly found in temp and cache folders. These tools can come in handy if you feel as though your phone has been running slowly, recently, and get rid of potential vulnerabilities that a hacker could exploit.

Note that you can try out all these Pro features for free, at least for the first two weeks when using AVG AntiVirus Free; but after that, you have to pay. With so many features bundled in the Pro version, it’s no wonder this app is the most popular antivirus in the Google Play store.

The best of the rest

(Image credit: Trend Micro)

5. Trend Micro Mobile Security

Superb antivirus protection and feature-rich

Specifications

Maximum devices covered: 1

Stand out features: Pay Guard, social network privacy, parental controls

Paid or free: Paid

Reasons to buy

+

Stuffed with features

+

Pay Guard banking and shopping protection

+

Currently top-ranked for malware defenses

The Trend Micro Mobile Security app not only scans new apps for malware before they are downloaded and installed, it prevents newly installed apps from accessing other applications, which can be useful for device admins and parents.

There’s also a built-in privacy scanner for Facebook which warns you if your profile configurations are displaying sensitive personal information. Indeed, there are a huge number of features here, which include web protection, anti-theft, a Wi-Fi checker for making sure any wireless networks you connect to are safe, plus system tuning utilities, a full suite of parental controls, and Pay Guard ensures that any online banking or shopping transactions are fully secure.

Furthermore, both independent testing labs rated Trend Micro Mobile Security as protecting against 100% of threats, making it top of the tree in this respect at the time of writing.

There’s a lot to like here, then, but the downside is that the asking price is rather steep compared to many of the alternatives on this page. That said, you’re getting a lot for your money, and there’s a free version of the app which allows you to have the full run of all features for seven days, so you can try it all out before having to purchase a license.


(Image credit: McAfee)

6. McAfee Mobile Security for Android

Another well-featured free antivirus app

Specifications

Maximum devices covered: Unlimited (free app)

Stand out features: Anti-theft, privacy checker

Paid or free: Free

Reasons to buy

+

Polices installed apps for data leakage

+

Several performance boosting utilities

Reasons to avoid

Free version has adverts

Premium upgrade is pricey

McAfee is another well-known name when it comes to antivirus software, and this Android app—McAfee Mobile Security for Android—doesn’t disappoint. Besides the Android antivirus scanner itself, the free version gives you quite a lot, including anti-theft features and the ability to track a lost device, or lock it (or wipe your data) remotely.

Other highlights include the ability to scan apps to check if they leak sensitive information, and lock them if necessary. McAfee also evaluates the security of any Wi-Fi networks you connect to, and comes with several features to help your phone run better, including a storage cleaner, plus a memory and battery booster.

Note that the free app, as with many, shows the user adverts, but you can get rid of these by upgrading to the premium version. That also gives you phone support, plus some extra features like Safe Web protection for added security when surfing the web. However, bear in mind that the paid app is a relatively pricey proposition.


(Image credit: Sophos)

7. Sophos Intercept X for Mobile

Free antivirus app with no ads and some unique features

Specifications

Maximum devices covered: Unlimited (free app)

Stand out features: QR Code Scanner, authenticator, anti-theft

Paid or free: Free

Reasons to buy

+

Free and also no ads

+

Lots of smart extra features

Reasons to avoid

Not evaluated recently by independent labs

Isn’t the most user-friendly app

Sophos Intercept X for Mobile antivirus app is completely free, yet it doesn’t contain any adverts, unlike many freebie apps. So while Sophos Intercept X is certainly impressive in that respect, there is a slight question mark over its malware protection chops in that the app hasn’t been tested by the major independent labs this year. That said, it scored full marks for antivirus protection throughout AV-Test’s reports in 2019.

Sophos scans apps for malware or otherwise harmful content as they are installed and further alerts you if they might leak any sensitive information. The antivirus scanner can be scheduled to scan files and folders periodically, too.

Another nifty feature is the Secure QR Code Scanner, which as the name suggests will check any target URL for possible threats when you scan a QR code, ensuring that you can use these safely. Intercept X also benefits from an authenticator which you can use for multi-factor authentication with any app that supports Google Authenticator, and you can manage all these 2FA accounts from this central hub.

As well as some of these more unusual features, the standard anti-theft functionality is present here, so this is a well-featured effort overall. It isn’t the most intuitive or user-friendly app, mind, and the fact that it hasn’t been recently evaluated by either of the main independent test labs might be a slight concern for some (and we hope that situation changes soon).

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(Image credit: AhnLab)

8. AhnLab V3 Mobile Security

An antivirus app that runs well even on older Android devices

Specifications

Maximum devices covered: Unlimited (free app)

Stand out features: Privacy advisor, performance booster

Paid or free: Free

Reasons to buy

+

Works well on lesser spec hardware

+

Strong on the privacy front

+

High malware detection rates

AhnLab V3 Mobile Security, from South Korean AhnLab, might not be the most well-known app on my shortlist, but that doesn’t mean it’s not impressive. AhnLab boasts very high Android malware detection rates, according to AV-Test, and managed to pinpoint 100% of threats. These results put the app on par with some of the best performers on the market—though it’s worth noting that AV-Comparatives hasn’t checked out AhnLab since 2015.

Some antivirus solutions struggle on older Android devices – but not AhnLab. I found that the app is pretty undemanding when it comes to system resource usage, and even has a built-in booster that can speed up your phone’s performance.

Other handy features include a privacy cleaner to securely clear your browsing history, and a privacy advisor that vets the apps installed on your device, ensuring they aren’t compromising any of your sensitive details. AhnLab also offers a hidden gallery for personal photos, making it clear that security is a priority.

All this adds up to a robust offering for a free app, for sure, although I’d like to see AhnLab roll out some anti-theft capabilities in the near future.


(Image credit: Avira)

9. Avira Antivirus Security

Has a smart system of categorising apps on a privacy scale

Specifications

Maximum devices covered: Unlimited (free app)

Stand out features: Identity Safeguard, permissions manager, anti-theft

Paid or free: Free

Reasons to buy

+

Broad range of features

+

Neat Identity Safeguard feature

Reasons to avoid

Web protection only in paid app

Avira Antivirus Security is another security app that gets a big thumbs-up from independent testing labs when it comes to the quality of its antivirus engine. The free version is ad-supported, but has plenty of features, including a Permissions Manager which rates applications based on their privacy, so you can decide whether or not to trust them with your data. This comes in handy if you download a lot of apps from the Google Play store.

The app goes the extra mile for you in other areas, too, and I like that the integrated Identity Safeguard feature will check to see if your email address has been involved in any major data breaches. These scans happen regularly, and you’ll be promptly informed if you’ve been caught up in a leak, allowing you to take action right away.

The raft of anti-theft capabilities are equally impressive, and you’ll be able to locate your phone, remotely trigger an alarm, or remotely lock or wipe your Android device.

Avira’s App Lock is another interesting extra, and can protect your apps (and the sensitive information stored in them) by securing them with a PIN. The integrated VPN adds another layer of security to your data and browsing habits, but it’s worth noting that you only get a tiny amount of data per day.

You’ll get all sorts of perks if you opt for the ad-free premium version of Avira Antivirus Security – like better customer support, automatic malicious domain blocking, hourly updates, and microphone and camera protection that can put a stop to any attempts to use the hardware to spy on you.

Editors’ note: Kaspersky Anti-Virus used to appear on this list. However, considering the current climate, we’ve made the decision to remove the provider. Although much of the company’s core processes now take place in Switzerland, the fact that its headquarters remain in Moscow, and that there are prior allegations around government coercion, it feels prudent to urge caution when considering the provider. What’s more, with so many excellent alternatives to choose from, it’s impossible to wholeheartedly recommend Kaspersky at this time.

The best Android antivirus FAQs

What is the best antivirus of 2023

After putting our top picks to the test, I found that Bitdefender Mobile Security is 2023’s very best Android antivirus software.

The software is incredibly feature-rich—which isn’t always the case with Android antivirus packages. You’ll have everything you need to keep your mobile secure from malware and data breaches and, as an extra cherry on top, Bitdefender won’t have a massive impact on performance.

What does antivirus do? How does virus protection work?

Your antivirus software is the guardian watching over your device—it’ll spot any unwanted intruders, like malware and trackers, and let you know how to deal with threats before they wreak havoc. In addition to this real-time protection, you’ll be able to run manual scans whenever you want or set up automated deep dives.

Antivirus applications use virus ‘definitions’ to catch intruders in the act. Think of these as the fingerprints of malware, and when something tries to creep onto your device that has a matching fingerprint, your antivirus will nab it and put it in quarantine. ‘Heuristics’ are another tool used by antivirus programs to look for files and processes acting suspiciously. As a result, it’s easier to catch new strains of malware that might not be recorded in the definitions database.

If you’re interested in learning more, visit our full breakdown of exactly how antivirus software works.

Is free antivirus enough?

There’s no clear-cut answer to this question, unfortunately, as it’s a ‘yes and no’ situation.

A free antivirus can do a decent job of protecting your Android device, covering the basics, but premium antivirus programs pack a lot more punch. You’re more likely to have access to advanced tools, like parental controls and anti-ransomware, that can be applied to all sorts of use cases.

Some of the best antivirus apps are incredibly cheap—especially when you consider the various deals on offer—so it’s worth checking out an inexpensive premium plan to see what features you’ll be missing out on otherwise.

For more information, head over to our in-depth discussion on whether free antivirus is enough to protect you. 

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