There are those who install an antivirus everywhere and those who have not touched one for years. If you are part of the first group, we have selected the best 9 free antivirus that are available on Android today. All of them, renowned antivirus.
First, we will reflect on whether or not it is necessary to install an antivirus on the mobile phone, and then we will show you a list of the best, including some options that they don’t need you to install anything add-on, such as Google Play Protect or web-based antivirus, to scan specific files.
Do you really need an antivirus?
It is the question of the decade. Now that root is in the doldrums, Android apps have much more restricted what they can and can’t do, including typical malware behavior like stealing data, spreading to other devices, or doing all kinds of mess. It is common to draw the parallelism of antivirus in Windows to mobile, although they are two completely different systems.
However, Android is far from being a perfect system or invulnerable to threats. More often than we would like, we receive news of malware found inside and outside the Google store, demonstrating that in Google’s ongoing war against malware, some battles are won and some are lost. Is it recommended, therefore, to install an antivirus on the mobile?
Using an antivirus is recommended, although this does not mean that you need to install a suite of 300 tools. Google Play Protect is sufficient for most users
The short answer is yes, but with an important nuance: Android phones already have an integrated antivirus, Google Play Protect. Play Protect serves as a line of defense against known malware and does the basic protection tasks of an antivirus: analyze applications and tell you if any of them are malware. If so, it shows you a warning before you install it, or prompting you to uninstall it, if it is already on the system.
While Google Play Protect is a lightweight option, third-party antivirus offer a more complete suite of tools, adding to the mix analysis of links with phishing, identity protection tools or the possibility of talking to someone in case there is a problem, something that is not in Google Play Protect. In the words of the antivirus creators themselves, they are a security plus over Play Protect.
Some users will prefer a complete suite of security tools, while others will have enough with the lighter Google Play Protect or the selective analysis of suspicious files, such as APK, with specialized websites such as VirusTotal. Is an antivirus necessary on Android? Yes, although this does not necessarily mean installing one, it is enough to activate Play Protect.
The best antivirus for Android
Taking into account the above, we have created a list with the top free antivirus for Android available today. We will take into account the free versions of each one, and it is that most of them have professional versions or subscriptions that add more capabilities.
Google Play Protect
Google Play Protect is the default antivirus for Android. It’s found pre-installed on all mobiles that include Google Play, having become the default security tool for millions of mobiles.
The best thing about Google Play Protect is that does its job without disturbing you. You will not see pop-ups, warnings that “your mobile is in danger” or threats that are not really so, as in other more complex antivirus. Basically, Google Play Protect only becomes known when it encounters a threat on mobile. To access it, you must go to the ☰ menu of Google Play and enter Play Protect.
Avast is one of the biggest names in the antivirus landscape, with more than 25 years of experience. To Android mobiles, it comes under the name of Avast Mobile Security, a suite of tools ranging from the classic scanner to phishing protection, anti-theft protection or VPN connection for extra security, although several of these additional tools are premium features.
Avast warns you of dangerous applications (installed or in APK form), as well as active options on the mobile that could be exploited, such as USB debugging. The free version is ad-supported and includes basic versions of the anti-theft tools, photo vault, or Wi-Fi security scanner.
Avast Antivirus Free – Virus Cleaner
Avast bought AVG in 2016, so it’s no surprise that the mobile versions of both antiviruses are practically identical, if we discount the icon and the name. So, AVG has the same benefits as Avast, the only difference being the interface color.
You therefore have a classic file scanner and applications installed on mobile, a junk cleaner, Wi-Fi network analysis, and limited versions of other features available in the premium version.
AVG AntiVirus Free 2021 – Security for Android
Kaspersky is another antivirus heavyweight that made the leap, many years ago, from the PC to the mobile. The mobile version of Kaspersky make an analysis of your mobile, as in its version for Windows, as well as including a series of additional tools, some of which are available for free.
A positive point of the Kaspersky application is that its interface can be both very simple, showing the percentage of analysis, and showing the details of everything it is doing. It also includes a call filter and anti-theft protection for mobile.
Kaspersky Antivirus Android Free – Security
Avira is another well-known name in the antivirus scene, being a company founded 35 years ago. The Android version allows you to check the security of the mobile in two ways: with a button and now (the smart analysis) or with different types of analysis focused on security, privacy or performance.
In addition to the classic analysis of the applications you have installed, Avira includes a good set of additional tools in the free version, such as identity protection, call blocking, anti-theft protection or network analyzer.
Avira Security 2020 – Antivirus y VPN
- Developer: AVIRA
- Download it at: Google Play
- Price: Free
- Category: Tools
The free version of BitDefender for Android lets you analyze all the files on your mobile and the applications that you have installed in search of the undesirable malware. This analysis takes a while, depending on the power of your mobile and how many applications you have installed.
The main difference between BitDefender and most antivirus for Android is that it is an old-fashioned antivirus and that’s it, without tools, RAM cleaners or other distractions. It is, therefore, a good option for who wants to analyze viruses and nothing else.
Bitdefender Antivirus Free
Malwarebytes is another Windows malware search engine that made the leap to mobile. Its malware finder is available on Android, analyzing in depth all the applications you have installed, and taking a good time doing it.
In addition to looking at malicious applications, it alerts you to system settings that could be exploited (such as USB debugging) and can run a privacy audit, which shows you a summary of what the applications you have installed have access to.
Protección Malwarebytes: Antivirus & Anti-Malware
The mobile version of McAfee analyze all the files on your mobile and applications installed in search of malware and applications that are potentially not of interest to you. As in the previous cases, the free version includes only some of the available tools.
As a free user, you also have available the anti-theft protection, the analysis of the security -or not- of the Wi-Fi network to which you are connected and some typical performance tools such as a storage cleaner or a memory cleaner.
Mobile Security: Secure Wi-Fi with VPN and Anti-Theft
Web antivirus like Virustotal
If none of the above convinces you, or you just prefer a more passive solution, you can always use a web antivirus to scan APK files before installing them. Most web antivirus are adapted so that you can use them from your mobile. Here are some of them: