If you’re not running some kind of anti-malware app on your Android smartphone or tablet, then you’re putting yourself at risk of infection from corrupted apps and other kinds of malware.
The good news is that your options are far from limited. The best mobile antivirus apps offer not only top-notch malware detection and prevention, but also a range of privacy and anti-theft features, such as the ability to back up your contacts and other data, track your phone or tablet using its internal GPS chip, or even snap a picture of a phone thief with the device’s camera.
Most mobile security apps have both free and paid versions, but not all freemium antivirus products are created equal. We rounded up apps from the biggest names in mobile antivirus protection — Avast, Kaspersky, Lookout, McAfee and Norton — and rated their apps based on setup, interface, usability, extra features and, of course, their anti-malware chops.
To gauge security protection, we used data from AV-Test, which rates most major security apps based on their ability to detect zero-day malware and other recent threats. We also loaded a Galaxy S4 with the EICAR test virus to test each app’s anti-malware detection. Last but not least, we used the Geekbench 3 app to measure the impact these security apps have on overall performance.
Which Android antivirus app came out on top? Check out our in-depth reviews.