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Run an Android Antivirus App That Won't Slow Your Phone

Find the best lightweight antivirus app that guards against malware without taxing resources.

Apps in this Guide

You can find an Android security app that does it all, but sometimes those full-service slow your Android phone or demand constant attention. The solution: a lightweight antivirus app that protectsmore

You can find an Android security app that does it all, but sometimes those full-service slow your Android phone or demand constant attention. The solution: a lightweight antivirus app that protects against malware without taxing resources -- yours or your phone's. And the good news is, a handful of the top-rated antivirus apps are available in free versions and are more than up to the task for guarding your phone.

How Else Can I Keep Malware Off My Phone?

If you stay away from third-party app sites and only download from the Google Play Store, you've taken the most important steps. Also keep your apps up to date.

What Else Can a Security and Privacy App Do?

Most Android security apps go beyond guarding against intrusions, offering a variety of services, from antitheft controls to call blocking. While many of these functions are also built in to the Android OS (Google's Android Device Manager can help you locate a lost device, for example), it can be convenient to have all the capabilities in one app.

What Should I Look for in a Lightweight Antivirus App for Android?

Security apps can offer a wealth of services on top of malware protection: antitheft tools, memory cleansing, call blocking, private networking, data backup, encryption for individual apps or your entire drive, even alarms and flashlights. Those are all useful, but we wanted to find an Android antivirus app that did one thing well: protect us from malware without a lot of fuss.

Our picks for lightweight antivirus apps for Android

Pick an antivirus app that accurately detects malware without a lot of fuss or strain on system resources.

Bitdefender Antivirus Free

Bitdefender Antivirus Free

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Watching out for malware is all the Bitdefender Antivirus app does. Open the app and tap Scan to start the malware hunt. At the end of a scan, the anti-malware app offers other security help but otherwise does this one thing well. The free Android antivirus app automatically scans new apps you download; otherwise, you initiate scans. A paid version offers additional security tools but uses the same malware-scanning engine as the free version.


Avast Mobile Security & Antivirus

Avast Mobile Security & Antivirus

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It doesn't get any simpler than this: Open Avast Mobile Security, and you're on the virus scan screen. Tap Scan This Device to check your files and apps for malware. The free app offers clear explanations of potential problems.

For additional security checks, swipe right from the scan screen, and you can have Avast check the safety of your Wi-Fi connection. Swipe right again to see Avast's other security tools, including for app locking and call blocking. Swipe left to find links other Avast tools (such as Avast SecureLine VPN) in the Google Play Store.


G Data Internet Security

G Data Internet Security

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G Data Internet Security for Android checks takes an understated approach to protecting your phone. The free Android antivirus version offers calm protection. A paid version gives you full-service security.

Sophos Mobile Security

Sophos Mobile Security

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Sophos's Mobile Security app for Android guards your phone and protects your privacy, for free. The app earns top marks for malware detection, and we especially appreciate the app's understated approach to notifying us of security issues.