5 Best Android Antivirus Apps in 2023 (Surprising Winners)
While testing different antiviruses to see which one can best protect my Android, I was shocked to learn that the Google Play Store is full of bad antiviruses. Many fake antiviruses seem legitimate, and most legitimate choices are terrible at detecting and blocking threats.
To keep you safe, I tried 30 different antivirus apps from the Google Play Store and found the best ones for Android phones and tablets in 2022. These apps offer excellent malware detection, WiFi protection, VPNs, SMS security, and more.
Of all my choices, Norton Mobile Security comes out on top. It offers perfect malware detection, effective web filtering, and a helpful App Advisor. Plus, you can try Norton completely risk-free for 60 days thanks to its money-back guarantee.
Quick Guide: Best Android Antivirus Apps in 2023
- Norton Mobile Security — #1 Android antivirus, which offers 100% malware detection and various extra features.
- TotalAV Antivirus & VPN — Offers a built-in VPN to keep you safe online, but the customer support is slow.
- McAfee Mobile Security — Detects all malware on Android devices but can slow down performance sometimes.
- Bitdefender Mobile Security — Fast scans with minimal impact on Android performance, but isn’t as feature-rich as its Windows app.
- Panda Dome — AI-powered protection that detects the latest threats but doesn’t have a web filter.
The Best Antiviruses for Android Devices — Full Test Results in April 2023
1. Norton Mobile Security — Top Antivirus With Flawless Malware Detection and Various Security Features
- Detects and eliminates all threats on Android devices
- Comes with a VPN, WiFi scanner, App Advisor, and more
- Works on Android 8.0 and up
- 24/7 live chat support, phone support, and other customer support channels
- 60-day money-back guarantee
Norton Mobile Security is my top Android antivirus thanks to its perfect malware detection and variety of extra security features. Not only does it detect all viruses, but it also offers a WiFi scanner, a vulnerability scanner, and more to secure your Android.
I especially like Norton’s App Advisor, which scans apps on the Google Play Store before you download them, thus preventing you from accidentally downloading malware. During tests, Norton detected and removed 100% of the malware on my Android device. Also, it didn’t highlight any false positives and took under a minute to complete scans.
Norton offers a wide variety of security features to safeguard your Android devices, some of which include the following:
- Vulnerability Scanner — Checks your device for vulnerabilities like untrusted certificates and KRACK vulnerabilities that attackers can exploit.
- WiFi Scanner — Constantly monitors your WiFi to detect any threats and vulnerabilities.
- SMS Security — Monitors your text messages to detect any malicious links.
- Protection Report — Provides insight into your Android device’s overall security status over 30 days.
There’s also a built-in VPN in Norton’s app that you can use to safely and anonymously surf the web. Norton’s VPN provides fast connection speeds and 28 different servers you can choose from. Plus, it includes useful features like a kill switch, ad tracker blocking, and split tunneling for when you want to use the VPN only with specific apps.
I was also quite pleased with Norton Mobile Security’s web protection. Once you’ve set up Norton’s Internet Security feature, you can browse the web with complete peace of mind. Norton will promptly alert you if you’re about to visit a dangerous website, and there’s even a Safe Search feature that provides additional protection.
Norton offers a variety of different plans. If you want its mobile security app on 1 device, you can subscribe to the Norton Mobile Security plan. However, Norton also offers the following options:
- Antivirus Plus — The most basic plan, which protects 1 device, offers Norton’s core antivirus features, 2GB of cloud backup, a firewall, and a password manager.
- Norton 360 Standard — Protects up to 3 devices and offers all of the features in Antivirus Plus and Norton’s VPN and Dark Web Monitoring.
- Norton 360 Deluxe — Includes all the features in 360 Standard and protects up to 5 devices while also providing Norton’s Privacy Monitor and 50GB of cloud storage.
- Norton 360 with LifeLock Select — Can protect up to 10 devices, offers everything in 360 Deluxe, and includes Norton’s ID Theft protection and 100GB of cloud storage. Note that Lifelock Select is only available to US-based customers.
Each plan offers great value for money, and you can subscribe to Norton Antivirus Plus for as low as $19.99. I advise getting the Norton 360 Deluxe plan, though, because it offers more cloud storage, and you can use it to protect 5 devices simultaneously.
You can try Norton completely risk-free, as it comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee. I tested this guarantee by requesting a full refund via live chat support, which was processed immediately. Later, I had the money back in my account within the same week.
2. TotalAV Antivirus & VPN — Keeps Your Android Protected in Real Time and Provides a VPN for Safe Online Browsing
- Reliable antivirus with effective virus scans and real-time protection
- Safeguards your network with a built-in WiFi Scanner
- Compatible with Android 5.0+
- 24/7 live chat and email support
- 30-day money-back guarantee
TotalAV is effective at keeping your Android devices safe with its thorough virus scans. Plus, having the security app running in the background as I used my phone made me feel much safer because it provides reliable real-time protection.
Throughout my testing, TotalAV delivered near-perfect results. It gave 1 false positive, so its results weren’t as good as Norton’s, but TotalAV still impressed me by detecting all malware on my Android. Also, the scans never slowed down my device while running, which is a major highlight.
I also like that TotalAV offers an unlimited built-in VPN to safeguard your browsing activity. The VPN offers industry-standard AES 256-bit encryption and reliably hides your identifying information like location and IP address. Plus, it’s effective at unblocking streaming platforms like Netflix. Its connection speeds are also quite fast, even though they aren’t on the level of the best standalone VPNs.
TotalAV comes with a variety of other helpful security features as well, such as:
- WiFi Checker — Scans your network to see if there are any vulnerabilities or other issues.
- WebShield — Detects malicious websites before you even open them to keep you safe online.
- Data Breach Check — Checks and informs you if your credentials are leaked in a data breach.
Alongside providing great security for Android devices, TotalAV comes with affordable plans for your other devices. Its main plans include the following:
- Antivirus Pro — Offers TotalAV’s core antivirus features and web protection, and protects up to 3 devices.
- Internet Security — Has all of the features in Antivirus Pro and includes TotalAV’s unlimited VPN while offering protection for up to 5 devices.
- Total Security — Includes all the features in Internet Security, lets you protect up to 6 devices, and also includes TotalAV’s AdBlock and password manager.
You can subscribe to TotalAV Antivirus Pro for as low as $19.00/month if you want great security at the lowest price. However, I advise that you get the Internet Security plan because it provides the best value for money. Regardless of your plan, you can try TotalAV risk-free as a 30-day money-back guarantee backs it. I tested the legitimacy of this guarantee by asking for a refund via email. While it took a few days to get a response, I did eventually get my money back a week later.
3. McAfee Mobile Security — Successfully Removes Malware From Android Devices and Protects You Online With Its Web Filter
- Successfully detects all threats on Android devices via its scans
- ID monitoring lets you know if your personal data gets leaked
- Supports Android 8.0 and later
- Offers helpful 24/7 live chat support
- 30-day money-back guarantee
McAfee Mobile Security is a reliable Android antivirus with various useful tools. It isn’t the most feature-rich Android antivirus, but it provides impressive protection. Also, it has an excellent Safe Browsing feature that keeps you safe online by informing you about dangerous links.
I was impressed with McAfee’s virus scanner during tests as it detected all malware on my device. Also, there were no false positives during any of the scans, which took just over a minute to complete. The scans aren’t as fast as Norton’s, which usually takes just under a minute, but I was pleased with McAfee’s performance nonetheless.
With McAfee, you also get a variety of other helpful features that protect your device. Some of its key security features include the following:
- Protection Score — Lets you know how secure your device is and how you can improve security even further.
- WiFi Scan — Scans every network you connect to see if it’s safe or has vulnerabilities.
- Built-in VPN — Lets you surf the web safely and anonymously.
I also like that McAfee Mobile Security comes with a built-in data breach checker. You can enter your email in it and easily check if it’s been involved in any past breaches. Plus, you can set up active monitoring for your email, and McAfee will instantly inform you if it’s involved in a breach later on.
McAfee offers multiple affordable plans for your Android device:
- Antivirus Plus — Provides McAfee’s antivirus and web protection features for 1 device.
- Total Protection Basic — Has all the features in Antivirus Plus and also comes with McAfee’s ID Monitoring and VPN.
- Total Protection Plus — Offers the same feature set as Total Protection Basic but protects up to 5 devices.
- Total Protection Premium — Adds McAfee’s Personal Data Cleanup to the above-mentioned list of features and protects unlimited devices.
- Total Protection Advanced — Has all of Total Protection Premium’s features as well as McAfee’s security freeze, ID Theft coverage, and lost wallet protection.
McAfee’s plans are quite affordable in the first year, but I want to highlight that there’s a significant price increase after your initial year. You can get McAfee Antivirus Plus for as low as $39.99/month. However, I suggest getting the Total Protection Plus plan as it delivers the best value.
Of course, you can try McAfee completely risk-free as it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, thus giving you a whole month to test it. It’s also effortless to claim this guarantee — I requested a refund over live chat, which was immediately approved, and I had the money back a week later.
- Successfully detects 100% of malware on Android devices
- Useful anti-theft feature helps locate your phone if its lost
- Works on Android 5.0 and later
- 24/7 live chat, email support, and phone support
- 30-day money-back guarantee
Bitdefender Mobile Security reliably secures your Android device without slowing down its performance. This is impressive because many antivirus apps can drain a device’s resources, especially during scans. However, I never noticed slowdowns while using Bitdefender, even while scanning my entire phone.
My tests showed that Bitdefender successfully detects all malware on Android devices. Also, Bitdefender never registered even one false positive and blocked 100% of threats in real time. The 5-minute-long scans aren’t as fast as Norton’s, but I’m confident that this security app can keep any Android device safe.
Bitdefender Mobile Security isn’t just limited to virus scans and real-time protection, though. It also offers a variety of other useful security features, including the following:
- Anti-Theft — Helps you locate your device if it’s ever stolen or misplaced.
- Web Protection — Informs you which links are dangerous while you’re browsing the web.
- Identity Protection — Constantly monitors your email to inform you if your credentials ever get leaked in a data breach.
There’s even a useful Scam Alert feature in Bitdefender that informs you if any text messages you receive contain dangerous links. Plus, there’s a secure VPN that you can use to enjoy safe and anonymous online browsing. Unfortunately, the VPN isn’t built into the security app, so you have to download it separately on your Android device.
Unfortunately, not all Bitdfender’s plans support Android devices. Still, the following ones do:
- Total Security — Comes with Bitdefender’s key antivirus features, 200MB/day VPN, anti-theft, parental control tools, and protection for up to 5 devices.
- Premium Security — Includes all the features in Total Security and adds Bitdefender’s password manager while also providing an unlimited VPN.
- Ultimate Security — Has all of Premium Security’s features and also includes Bitdefender’s Identity Theft Protection.
While you can subscribe to Bitdefender Antivirus Plus for $19.99 a month, you need Total Security or above to protect your Android device. However, I instead advise getting Bitdefender Premium Security because it delivers excellent value, especially with the unlimited VPN.
You can try Bitdefender completely risk-free anytime since it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. When I requested a refund via email to test this guarantee, it took 5 days to get a response. Thankfully, there were no follow-up questions, and I received a full refund 5 days later.
5. Panda Dome — Combines Reliable Malware Detection With Useful Features Like a Privacy Auditor and App Lock
- Effectively protects your Android device against malware via scans and real-time protection
- Privacy Auditor lets you know exactly what permissions your apps have
- Compatible with Android 5.0 and later
- 24/7 live chat support
- 30-day money-back guarantee
Panda Dome is a simple yet effective antivirus that provides great protection for Android devices. While it isn’t the most feature-rich or advanced option on this list, it delivers impressive detection rates and will keep your device safe.
During tests, Panda Dome consistently detected all malware on my Android. Its scans can take up to 10 minutes, which is longer than competitors like Norton, which usually take under a minute. Still, there were no false positives, and the virus scans didn’t slow down my Android device, so this security app effectively keeps you safe.
Other than effective virus scanning, Panda Dome includes security features like the following:
- App Lock — Lets you lock and protect apps that contain sensitive information.
- Anti-Theft — Informs you about your device’s location in real time if it’s misplaced or stolen.
- Built-in VPN — Helps you stay safe and anonymous as you surf the web.
Panda Dome’s Privacy Auditor is also a useful feature I often find myself using. The Privacy Auditor shows you which apps have permission to access your camera, microphone, location, and other things. This helps you easily track down potentially dangerous apps and remove them from your device.
Panda Dome currently offers 4 main plans you can subscribe to, which are as follows:
- Panda Dome Essential — Includes all core antivirus features and 150MB/day VPN.
- Panda Dome Advanced — Comes with all the features in Essential and also includes parental controls and ID protection.
- Panda Dome Complete — Has all the features in Advanced but also comes with Panda’s password generator.
- Panda Dome Premium — Provides all the features mentioned above but also includes an unlimited VPN and priority customer support.
Although you can get the cheapest Panda Dome Essential subscription at $23.99/month, I advise getting Panda Dome Complete because it’s the most cost-effective option. No matter which plan you get, though, you can try Panda risk-free for 30 days, as it comes with a money-back guarantee. When I tested this guarantee by requesting a refund via email, I got a response in 3 hours saying it’s been approved. Afterward, I had the money back in 8 business days.
Warning! Avoid These 3 Antivirus Brands
1. AVG and Avast
I cannot recommend AVG or its parent company Avast’s offerings, despite both antiviruses consistently maintaining a 4.5+ rating on the Google Play Store. Avast was caught selling user data to third parties, so your privacy will always be at risk if you choose either of these antiviruses.
2. Lookout Mobile Security
Lookout Mobile Security is a decent antivirus for basic protection, and it even has a helpful device locator. However, its malware scans often miss malware that premium antiviruses wouldn’t. Also, its Safe Browsing feature interferes with VPN connections, so this security app isn’t a good choice.
3. Super Cleaner Studio’s Virus Cleaner
Even though Super Cleaner Studio’s Virus Cleaner has an impressive 4.5 rating on Google Play, I’ve found that it slows devices down and doesn’t actually protect Android devices. Its scans list various problems and seemingly fix them with one tap. Unfortunately, all these problems reappear when you open the antivirus sometime later, so this app isn’t worthwhile.
Quick Comparison Table: 2023’s Best Antivirus Apps for Android
3 Easy Steps: How to Use an Antivirus on Android
- Subscribe to a top antivirus plan — I recommend that you get Norton because it detects all malware on Android devices.
- Download the official antivirus app — Navigate to the Play Store and install the official antivirus app.
- Login with your credentials — Log into the antivirus using the credentials you subscribed with.
- Wait for the antivirus to initialize — Once you’ve logged in, wait for your antivirus to complete its first initialization.
- Secure your Android device — You’ll now have your antivirus app installed and can use its features to guarantee airtight security for your Android.
That’s all you have to do! After following these steps, your Android device will be safe from all possible threats.
How I Tested and Ranked the Top Antivirus Apps for Android
I tested 30 different Antivirus apps on the Google Play Store using a Xiaomi Mi 10T running Android 12.0. The following are the key factors I looked out for to find the best Android security apps:
- Malware detection — I tested the antiviruses to see if they could effectively detect and remove malware from Android devices.
- Real-time protection — I checked whether or not the antiviruses provided active real-time protection against the latest threats.
- Impact on performance — I analyzed whether the antiviruses slowed down my device’s performance while running.
- Additional security features — I examined the antiviruses’ extra security features to see which provided the most security for my Android devices.
- Value for money — I compared different pricing plans to determine which security apps provide the best value.
- Ease of use — I used the antiviruses to see which ones feel the most intuitive and user-friendly.
FAQs on Antivirus Apps for Android
Do I really need an antivirus app on an Android phone?
Yes, you need a high-end antivirus to protect your Android phone. No matter how careful you are when using your Android device, there are many ways it could get infected. There are various malicious apps online capable of infecting your phone that you can install by mistake.
On top of that, you have to consider that different operating systems have varying security levels. For instance, iOS is much more secure than Android, so for the latter, it’s best to get a high-end antivirus to safeguard your Android device.
Can I get viruses on my Android?
Yes, you can get viruses on your Android if you’re not using a reliable antivirus. It’s one of the most common mobile operating systems, and since it’s open-source, there’s always a chance of getting a virus. Also, various seemingly safe apps are actually malware and can infect your device if you install them by mistake.
Will an antivirus slow down or drain my Android’s battery?
It depends on the antivirus you’re using. However, the premium antiviruses on this list efficiently use resources, so you won’t experience extra battery drain or performance slowdowns.
How to check my Android device for viruses?
You can check your Android device for viruses using the following steps:
- Download and install an antivirus. I’ve found that Norton Mobile Security detects 100% of malware. Plus, you can try Norton risk-free for 60 days.
- Open your antivirus app. Open your antivirus app and navigate to the scan option.
- Run a scan. Scan your Android device and remove any detected malware.
That’s it! These simple steps let you quickly and easily check your Android for viruses.
How can I keep the data on my Android safe?
You can keep your Android data safe with a top antivirus that guarantees airtight security. Any high-end Android antivirus should keep your device and your data safe. However, I personally suggest that you get Norton to protect your data. Norton offers top-tier security and also offers secure cloud storage where you can back up sensitive data.
Can I use a free antivirus on my Android?
Yes, but I don’t recommend it. Some free Android antiviruses offer decent protection but aren’t enough to protect your device on their own. They’re usually missing features like real-time protection, WiFi scanning, and other crucial things. So, it’s best that you try out a top premium antivirus like Norton.
Use a Top Antivirus to Protect Your Android
Even if you’re careful with every app you download and every link you visit, it takes just a single tap to download a malicious piece of software and get your Android device infected. Plus, the Google Play Store has many potentially dangerous apps that mask themselves as legitimate antiviruses.
If you’re like me and use Android devices for everything, the consequences of downloading malicious apps can be devastating. So, I advise using a premium antivirus to keep your phone safe. While all the options on this list are great, Norton Mobile Security is the best at scanning for and removing the latest viruses. Plus, it offers various other security features like its App Advisor.
You don’t have to take me at my word, though. You can try Norton Mobile Security risk-free, as it comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee. Also, it supports all major platforms, so you can protect your PC, Mac, and other devices with it. Norton’s security is airtight, but it’s easy to get a full refund at any time if you don’t like it.