How to Get Rid of a Virus on an Android Tablet

Enter Safe Mode to delete problem apps, or do a factory reset

What to Know

  • Press the physical Power button, tap and hold Power Off, and tap OK to enter Safe Mode.
  • After the tablet reboots, open Settings > Apps > See all apps.
  • Remove any suspicious or unwanted apps and reboot to exit Safe Mode.

This article explains how to get rid of a virus on an Android tablet.

How to Get Rid of a Virus on an Android Tablet with Safe Mode

Safe Mode is the best way to remove an app you suspect is a virus or otherwise malicious. It makes all installed apps visible and lets you remove apps with minimal restrictions.

  1. Press and hold the physical Power button on your Android tablet, then tap and hold the Power Off button which appears on the Android tablet's display.

  2. A prompt will appear asking if you'd like to boot in Safe Mode. Tap Ok.

  3. After the tablet reboots, open Settings > Apps > See all apps.

  4. Scroll through the list of visible apps. Tap any that you wish to remove, then select Uninstall.

  5. Reboot the Android tablet as normal once all unwanted apps are removed.

Using a Factory Reset to Remove a Virus

Removing unwanted apps in Safe Mode is effective against a simple virus, but a complex virus may evade your efforts by reinstalling itself after a reboot, or it may not appear as an app. A virus like this may only be removed with a factory reset of your Android tablet.

Can Android Tablets Get a Virus?

Android is generally secure but can be attacked by a virus. Antivirus watchdog and certification organization AV-Test detected over three million Android viruses in each of the past six years (from 2016 to 2021). This is far fewer than detected on Windows, but more than detected on Apple iOS or macOS.

Remember: any device can get a virus. It's always good to be cautious.

How Do You Know if Your Tablet Has a Virus?

A reputable Android antivirus app is the best way to monitor your tablet for a virus. The app may automatically block or uninstall the virus for you, which means you won't have to manually remove it with the steps above.

Whether you have an antivirus or not, you may have a virus if your Android tablet suffers any of the following issues:

  • A sudden drop in performance
  • Unexplained network usage
  • Installation of apps you didn't download
  • Ads in apps that normally shouldn't display them
  • Your contacts receive messages you didn't send

These warning signs, though common, are not the only sign of a virus. A virus can be designed to lay low until a specific condition is met, so you won't notice it until it's too late. It's wise to scan your Android tablet with antivirus software every few months, even if the tablet is working without issue.

  • How to fix a virus warning pop-up on Android?

    To fix a fake virus warning pop-up on Android, force stop your browser app, clear the cache, and block pop-ups.

  • How do I scan for viruses on Android?

    Enable Google Play Protect to regularly scan your Android for malware, or download an Android antivirus app from a top-rated security company. Avoid app clones that resemble legitimate apps but have a different developer's name.

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