How to Get Rid of an Android Virus From Your Phone

Learn how to tell if your phone has a virus and what you can do about it

This article explains how to remove a virus from an Android device. The information below should apply no matter who made your Android phone (Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc.).

Does My Phone Have a Virus?

While Android viruses are relatively rare, malicious apps occasionally make their way onto the Google Play store. Apps on third-party sites are more likely to pose a security risk since Google does not vet them. Malicious apps affect the performance of your phone and expose your private data, such as passwords or payment information.

If your phone has a virus, it may suddenly become slow or have an unusually high amount of data usage. Or, you could discover unauthorized in-app purchases. If your phone has a virus, it won't alert you to the situation and offer help.

It's relatively easy to remove a virus, and in most cases, you won't lose any data. Nonetheless, it's a good idea to keep your data safe and back up your smartphone regularly.

Beware of ads that look like error messages that prompt you to download an app to fix your phone. Many times these links lead to malicious websites or apps.

How to Get Rid of a Virus on Your Phone

To remove a virus, reboot your smartphone in safe mode, and then remove any apps that you don't remember installing.

  1. Press and hold the Power button on your smartphone, then tap and hold Power off. In the Reboot to safe mode screen, tap OK.

    If that doesn't work, press and hold the Power button and tap Power off. Next, press the Power button until the manufacturer's logo appears, then hold the Volume down button until the device is powered up and Safe mode displays at the bottom of the screen.

  2. In safe mode, go to Settings > Apps.

  3. Look through the list for apps you didn't download or that look suspicious. Tap the app you want to remove, then tap Uninstall.

    If the Uninstall button is grayed out, the app has admin access. To remove admin access, go to Settings and search for Device admin apps. Deselect any apps that shouldn't have access, then uninstall those apps.

    Safe Mode, Apps, and Uninstall in Android app settings
  4. To exit safe mode, restart your phone. Press and hold the Power button, then tap Restart.

Perform a Factory Reset

If all else fails, you can factory reset your Android, restoring your device to the condition it was in when you first got it. If you go this route, you'll have to redownload most of your apps, and you'll lose any data that's not backed up.

Tips to Avoid Viruses on Android

Here are a few ways to avoid getting viruses on your Android device:

  • Install Android updates as soon as they're available to make sure you have the latest security patches.
  • Enable Google Play Protect to regularly scan your phone for malware.
  • Avoid app clones that resemble legitimate apps but have a different developer's name.
  • Download an Android antivirus app from a top-rated security company.

Avoid Installing Apps Outside of the Google Play Store

One of the best ways to prevent Android viruses is to avoid sideloading apps from outside of the Google Play Store. If you want to use an app that's not available on Google Play, make sure to download the APK file from a legitimate source.

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