The 5 Best Free Antivirus Apps for Android Phones

Secure your files and protect your privacy right from your phone

Illustration representing malware or viruses on a smartphone device
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An antivirus app for your Android device can clean up viruses, Trojans, malicious URLs, infected SD cards, and other kinds of mobile malware, as well as protect your privacy from other threats like spyware or improper app permissions.

Fortunately, a really great free antivirus app doesn't also have to hit you with performance issues you might expect from tools like these, like bloated RAM usage, excess bandwidth, etc. We've selected these particular antivirus apps because they excel with respect to usability, system resource requirements, user reviews, and feature set.

Tip: Need antivirus protection on your other devices? Check out our free Windows antivirus programs and best free Mac antivirus lists too!

Here are the five best antivirus apps for Android, each of which have their own unique advantages:

Screenshot of the Android antivirus app from Avira called Antivirus Security Free
Avira Antivirus Security Free.

Avira’s Antivirus Security app for Android does what all antivirus apps should do: Automatically scans apps for malware, checks for threats in external storage devices, shows which apps have access to your private information, and is extremely easy to use.

Avira can scan each time you disconnect from a computer as well as start scheduled scans once a day, every day. If that isn't enough for you, you can always start a manual scan whenever you want to check for malware like adware, riskware, ransomware, and potentially unwanted programs.

When threats are found, you'll be alerted of the threat type (riskware, PUP, etc.) and will have the option to ignore them or delete them on the spot.

Here are some other things the Avira Antivirus Security app is capable of:

  • Updated apps are re-scanned when they're finished updating, to ensure that any new files aren't infected
  • You get to define whether files and/or apps are scanned
  • The app can be set up to only show notifications when threats are found, which is really handy so you aren't bombarded with messages each time Avira finds your device clean
  • There's also an anti-theft tool that lets you find your device remotely, or even lock it or wipe it, via your Avira Connect account
  • When checking which apps have privileged access to your information (as well as what access they have), they are categorized as being high risk, medium risk, or low risk but you can always "trust" any of them to remove them from being labeled as a risk
  • An Activity section shows a history of what Avira has been doing and what it finds; it's easy to sift through since threats are marked in red
  • Overcharge Protection can remind you to unplug the device when it’s fully charged
  • You can use the blacklist feature to prevent certain phone numbers from reaching you; it works with any number you enter but you can also blacklist all private numbers and/or all callers that appear as unknown

Download Avira Antivirus Security Free

This free version of Avira Antivirus Security is very much like the profession edition you can buy except that the pro version doesn’t contain ads, will update its definitions every hour, and supports the secure browsing feature that helps your device stay clean when browsing the web, downloading files, and shopping online. More »

Screenshot of the Security Master antivirus and junk cleaner app for Android
Security Master.

Security Master (previously known as CM Security) is an incredibly popular app that integrates an antivirus scanner with a suite of other tools.

This app checks for viruses, malicious ads, Trojans, vulnerabilities, hacking tools, and more.

It not only makes checking for all sorts of malware just one tap away, but also provides various privacy, security, and performance related tools to keep your phone in tip-top shape.

Here's a list of other features found in Security Master:

  • Auto scans for malware as apps are installing, and automatically blocks any threats
  • Lets you perform a malware scan at any time
  • Can connect you to the internet through a VPN that provides 200 MB of free data every day; it can even be set up to only turn on when you're using apps with security risks
  • A cleaner helps restore storage used by unnecessary things like caches and junk files 
  • Includes various privacy protection tools like a password to open any or all of your apps
  • An intruder selfie option takes a photo of anyone who incorrectly enters a password
  • Push notifications can be censored for specific apps to provide privacy on incoming alerts
  • A safe browsing tool makes it simple to delete your browsing history after using the browser built-in to Security Master
  • The app can identify the phone's temperature and report if it's normal or not; it gives a list of apps that are currently using system resources and lets you shut them down to cool off the phone
  • A power usage analyzer shows which apps can be hibernated to save battery, and even estimates how much battery life you'll save by shutting those apps down (which you can do with one tap)
  • The Wi-Fi Security tool easily shuts down apps that are using the most bandwidth; it also tests the internet speed and the security of the network you're on as well as has an option to remove the ability for your phone to access insecure networks (there's also a way to find public hotspots with this app)
  • Use the Caller ID & Blocking section to block private numbers, numbers not in your address book, any number you choose, international numbers, numbers that start with at least two numbers of your choosing (e.g. block 800* numbers), and/or all calls within a select time period

Download Security Master

Security Master is clearly a... master of security. If that's what you're after, then great. If not, you might find all these extra tools to just be in the way.

However, it's important to note that regardless of all these options and capabilities in Security Master, nearly everything is accessible with a large button, so most things are just one or two taps away and are categorized in their own areas. More »

Screenshot of the Bitdefender Antivirus Free app for Android
Bitdefender Antivirus Free.

The two already mentioned antivirus apps for Android are clearly stuffed with features and that's where Bitdefender's AV app differs: it's completely free from clutter and includes only an antivirus tool.

The only manual thing you can do with Bitdefender is start a scan and choose whether or not to include an SD card in the check against viruses and other threats. 

Once the full scan has completed, you'll be protected against any new app installs automatically so that they're blocked before they can do any damage.

If a threat is found, you'll be taken into the results screen where you can easily uninstall the culprits.

Bitdefender is said to be super light on resources since it doesn't download and store virus signatures on the device, but instead uses "in-the-cloud services to check online for the latest safeguards to outbreaks."

Download Bitdefender Antivirus Free

The only drawback to Bitdefender Antivirus Free is when you compare it to Bitdefender's not-free Mobile Security & Antivirus app, which checks your browsing habits in real-time and can lock down or wipe your phone if it's stolen, which are pretty handy features. More »

Screenshot of TrustGo Antivirus & Mobile Security for Android
TrustGo Antivirus & Mobile Security.

TrustGo scans the device for malware like Trojans, spyware, and viruses;  and checks system security, app security, and privacy protection settings to see what, if anything, needs to be done to secure your phone from threats.

You can check all of those things with just one tap. It's also pretty easy to identify which apps store privacy information, and then password protect those specific apps (or any other ones).

TrustGo checks for unofficial apps too, which could compromise your identity or steal your payment related information.

Here are some other features included in TrustGo:

  • Apps and files are scanned in real-time as they're being installed and downloaded
  • Virus definitions are updated automatically, and you can even have them download only when you're on Wi-Fi
  • When apps and/or files are found to be malicious, you can trust them so that they won't be identified as harmful in the future
  • Back up and restore contacts, messages, and/or call logs
  • Check which apps have access to your phone, contacts, SMS, calendar, camera, microphone, location, sensors, and storage
  • Easily list out all of your apps and remove any of them with one tap
  • You can remotely clear the phone's data, locate, alarm, or lock it, through the TrustGo website
  • Find nearby Wi-Fi submitted by other users, and optionally get an alert when you're close enough to connect to a commercial and/or private network
  • You can be notified via email if the SIM card is changed, as well as lock the phone automatically
  • Memory Boost button can immediately close down apps that are slowing down the phone

Download TrustGo Antivirus & Mobile Security

TrustGo unfortunately has ads that show up right after a full scan. While the ads are very likely what keep the app free, they can get annoying after a while.

Also, the battery extender and junk cleaner are not actually included in the app even though it might seem that way. Opening those options will prompt you to download a separate app. More »

Screenshot of the AVG AntiVirus Free Android app
AVG AntiVirus Free.

The AVG AntiVirus app for Android was the very first antivirus app on Google Play that reached 100 million downloads. It protects you from spyware, unsafe apps and settings, unwanted callers, viruses, and other malware and threats.

AVG supports scheduled scans, protects against malicious apps, can scan the files stored on the internal storage device, warns you about apps that other AVG users have reported as a threat, and can treat potentially unwanted programs as malware.

Also, AVG AntiVirus Free protects you while browsing the internet in various browsers like the native Android browser, Chrome, Amazon Silk, Boat Browser, and others.

Much like some of the other Android AV apps in this list, AVG doesn't include just a virus scanner:

  • If you have root access, you can also enable the AVG firewall
  • An internal photo vault can hide select images within the app, protected behind a custom passcode
  • AVG can clean some junk files and caches that you don't need anymore, to free up disk space
  • An internet speed test is built-in to find your upload and download speed
  • Security threats can be found by scanning the network you're connected to, to check for the encryption level and password strength
  • You can improve the performance of your device with AVG by shutting down things that are running in memory
  • A warning can be given when you reach 10%, 30%, or 50% battery life. You can also configure a power save feature that will shut down things like Bluetooth, auto-sync, automatic brightness, and Wi-Fi, when the battery gets too low
  • A call blocker can stop spam callers by blocking all hidden and unknown numbers. It also lets you block custom numbers and contacts
  • Find the permissions all your apps have, categorized into high, average, and low permissions; for example, you might find that one app has access to your payment information
  • Virus definitions can be configured to only download when you're connected over Wi-Fi
  • Free users can remotely lock their device through a web browser that communicates with the AVG app; also supported are SMS commands that are used to trigger a call from your device, a data wipe, a siren or lock request, and more

Download AVG AntiVirus Free

The biggest downfall with this Android antivirus tool from AVG is that it's littered with advertisements. They're on almost every single screen, plus you're always just one tap away from upgrading to the pro version from every area of the app, which is frustrating if you accidentally tap it.

It's also annoying when AVG finds risks that aren't actually malicious. However, if you do like to have those kinds of alerts, even if no files or apps are found to be harmful, then you won't have a problem with that.

For example, after a scan, you might be told that the "unknown sources" option is disabled on your phone that would normally tell you when you've installed an unofficial app that could contain threats.

While that feature should probably always be enabled, disabling it doesn't necessary mean you are currently under attack or have infected files.

App backup, camera trap, device lock, app lock, and no ads, are supported only in the pro version that you can buy from within the free edition. There are also various links to features that you can only get in other apps, so you might find yourself leaving AVG to hit the Play Store when you try tapping those options. More »

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