Best Free Antivirus Apps for Android Android Central 2020

Viruses and malware are everywhere online - and it can be a pain to get rid of if your device isn't protected. If you don't mind the ads, free antivirus apps are an excellent way to stop malware attacking your Android cellphone or tablet. We tested several apps on both lab and personal devices. Here are some of the better options available.

Best overall: Security Master

Staff pick

Security Master stops threats before they attack your device and helps remove junk files, so your phone or tablet runs fast. The app lock plugs up privacy holes in programs like Facebook, Instagram and web browsers, and secures files, like photo galleries from hackers and snoops.

Free at Google Play

Data shield: Avast Mobile Security

This mobile security program has a data shield to protect photos, contact information, and other sensitive files from being seen or swiped by unauthorized apps and hackers. It stops malware before it attacks your device and blocks phishing schemes.

Free at Google Play

Scheduled scans: AVL Pro

You can schedule virus scans with this Android app, which is a plus in keeping your device malware-free, and it gives you insight on which apps are accessing your data and using the most resources. Though scans do take some time, and it causes some device slowdown, overall AVL Pro is a decent solution for free malware protection.

Free at Google Play

Basic protection: Bitdefender Free Antivirus

All this app does is scan your device for malware that may have made it onto your phone or tablet. There isn't a safe browsing feature or phishing filters to stop attacks, but its autopilot mode scans your device often enough to catch threats before they become a problem.

Free at Google Play

Anti-theft: Lookout Security

The free Lookout app frequently scans your phone for any malware and helps you remove it. It also shows you which apps are running in the background and draining your device's battery. Its anti-theft tools help you locate your lost phone and also remotely access and wipe sensitive data.

Free at Google Play

Adware removal: Malwarebytes

This basic antivirus app won't stop malware infections but does an excellent job rounding up malicious files, including adware, already on your device. It doesn't use a lot of resources, so you won't have slowdown while Malwarebytes is running.

Free at Google Play

No slowdown: McAfee Mobile Security

This antivirus app's secure browsing stops malware from downloading and blocks phishing schemes without slowing down your device. It monitors Wi-Fi connections and comes with anti-theft tools to help locate and manage your data remotely.

Free at Google Play

Spam blocking: PSafe DFNDR

DFNDR's anti-hacking tools block fake news and spam and alerts you of malicious links in IM apps like Facebook Messanger. This app scans for programs running in the background that tend to slow down your phone, use up too much battery power or cause your device to overheat.

Free at Google Play

QR Scanner: Sophos Mobile Security

This app blocks calls and filters text messages for malicious links. Its secure QR scanner checks each link to make sure they are safe before connecting you. Sophos' anti-theft tools let you remotely access stolen phones to wipe data or reset passwords, send text commands to the thieves and track where your phone is.

Free at Google Play

Our final thoughts

360 security

While cellphones are still pretty secure, there is more and more malware being developed explicitly targeting mobile devices. Security Master is our top pick for the best free antivirus app for Android because it stops malware attacks rather than merely scanning for threats that have made it on your device. It didn't cause a slowdown on our test device, plus it comes with an impressive list of features for a free program. These include removing junk files to help keep your device running fast and anti-theft tools that remotely locate, secure, and wipe sensitive information.

We also like Sophos Mobile Security. This app also has several great tools like a link checker and system scanner and isn't as ad-heavy as other Android antivirus apps. It's QR code checker is impressive since no other antivirus app we tested has one. Sophos did cause a noticeable lag on our phones, which was frustrating and the reason we recommend Security Master more.

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