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The 5 Best Antivirus for Android Phones (2023 Update)

By Tibor Moes / Updated: March 2023

Do you need an antivirus app on your Android phone and tablet? Yes, but one that includes an unlimited VPN.

  • Apps can be full of malware. Good antivirus apps will tell you which apps are safe and which are not. They can scan the apps on your phone and those you might download from the Google Play Store.
  • Public Wi-Fi networks aren’t safe. When you surf the web on a public Wi-Fi network, hackers can easily see the information you’re sending and receiving. A VPN will encrypt your data and keep it safe.
  • Your data can be traded on the dark web. The best antivirus apps for Android have a Dark Web Monitor. This feature will track whether your data, like credit card details, are sold on the Dark Web.

Don’t take chances online. Android antivirus apps aren’t expensive and can save you a lot of trouble.

Short on time? This is the best antivirus for Android

Norton - The best antivirus of 2023

Norton Antivirus

Ranked #1 of 20 antivirus software

  • Device Security 100% 100%
  • Online Privacy 100% 100%
✓ Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS
✓ 60-day money-back guarantee
✓ VPN: Free and unlimited

Trusted by 50 million users around the world

Reviews of the Best Antivirus for Android of 2023

We have tested and reviewed Android antivirus software since 2014. Below, we have selected the top 5 from 20 paid and free antivirus apps for Android.

These are excellent antivirus for smartphones by Motorola, Samsung, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, Huawei, Realme, Amazon, Google, and any other manufacturer using Google’s mobile operating system Android.

Click the links or scroll down for more.

Norton Mobile Security

Norton Mobile Security

Ranked #1 out of 20 Antivirus

Norton Mobile Security for Android Review

Norton Mobile Security for Android Review – Summary

Norton Mobile Security is the best antivirus app for Android of 2023. It ticks all the boxes by combining anti-malware, web protection, an identity theft scanner, and an unlimited VPN.

On top of that, it has a range of bonus features, including an app advisor, WiFi scanner, vulnerability scanner, anti-tracker, and SMS security checker.

Most importantly, its VPN doesn’t have a data limit. By contrast, all other antivirus apps have a VPN limited to a few hundred MB / day. When you frequently surf on public Wi-Fi networks, Norton’s unlimited VPN will keep you safe on those unsecured connections.

We, therefore, highly recommend Norton for anyone who spends a lot of time surfing, socializing, shopping, or banking on their phone. It is, with some distance, the best antivirus for Android smartphones and tablets.

Full Review

There are 4 things you need to know about Norton’s Android antivirus app:

  1. The Security Features
  2. The Privacy Features
  3. The Identity Features
  4. The difference between Norton Mobile Security and Norton 360

Let’s dive in.

Security Features

Norton packs a lot of security features into its Android app. Outside of the big yellow “scan now” button at the top, which scans your mobile phone for malware, there are five security features:

  • App Security: Set up the App Advisor, which tells you which apps are safe to download from the Google Play Store. It also scans your existing apps for suspicious behavior (a classic indicator of malware), privacy risks, and intrusive ads.
  • Internet Security: Install the Safe Web Browser to block fraudulent websites. You can also add Norton Safe Search to your home or notification screen. This is Norton’s custom search engine, in partnership with Ask.com, that filters malicious websites out of the search results.
  • Wi-Fi Security: Scan your Wi-Fi network’s password strength and encryption standard and get notified if the network is unsafe.
  • Device Security: Check your smartphone for multiple security risks, such as untrusted certificates, KRACK vulnerabilities, USB debugging, and whether you have correctly set up your lock screen and fingerprint scan.
  • SMS Security: Allow Norton to check your text messages for phishing links that try to steal your data.


Norton’s Android antivirus app offers you two outstanding privacy features:

  • VPN: A VPN (Virtual Private Network) hides your IP (Internet Protocol) address and encrypts your internet connection. This makes you anonymous online and safe on public Wi-Fi networks. Norton is the only antivirus app that includes an unlimited VPN.
  • Ad Tracker Blocking: By blocking and removing tracking cookies from your devices, Norton ensures that marketing and data companies can’t follow your movements around the web.


Norton’s identity protection feature, Dark Web Monitoring, does what its name suggests: It scans the Dark Web for your data and will inform you if any of it is being traded. It searches for your home address, driver’s license, insurance information, email accounts, credit cards, bank accounts, and phone numbers.

Note that this feature is not part of the actual app. To access it, you can either log in to your account at my.norton.com or download Norton’s separate app called Norton LifeLock Identity.

Norton Mobile Security vs. Norton 360

If you buy Norton’s Android app on their website or in the Google Play Store, you will get Norton Mobile Security. This app allows you to protect a single Android phone or tablet. For most users, this is the perfect solution.

However, there is another version available called Norton 360. This is the Android app you will get if you buy one of Norton’s 360 products; Standard, Deluxe, or Premium.

Norton Mobile Security and Norton 360 are nearly identical, with two exceptions:

  • Norton Mobile Security does not include the password manager, which Norton 360 does.
  • Norton Mobile Security’s VPN automatically selects a VPN server for you; it does not allow you to choose a server location. The VPN included with Norton 360 does offer the sever selection option.

As Norton Mobile Security is cheaper, it is the best option to protect a single Android phone or tablet. If, however, you want to protect multiple devices, we recommend Norton 360 Deluxe. It protects up to 5 gadgets (Android, iOS, Windows, or macOS) and offers you access to the full-featured VPN and password manager. We believe it’s the best antivirus software of 2023.

Is Norton Mobile Security the best antivirus app for Android?

Yes, we believe so. Although we miss the anti-theft features other brands offer, Norton makes up for it by including an unlimited VPN, which its competitors don’t.

We highly recommend Norton for Android devices. For more information, read our review of Norton 360 Deluxe.

Kaspersky Internet Security

Kaspersky Internet Security

Ranked #2 out of 20 Antivirus

Kaspersky Internet Security for Android Review

Kaspersky Internet Security for Android Review – Summary

Kaspersky is one of the best Android antivirus apps that we’ve tested. Although its VPN is limited to 300 MB / day, whereas Norton’s VPN is unlimited, Kaspersky compensates by having a complete feature set and a slightly lower price.

It covers all the core features, including anti-malware, web protection, anti-theft tools, an identity theft scanner, a VPN, and a range of bonus features. These include a call filter, safe messaging, app lock, settings scan, parental controls, and app permissions scan.

If you frequently surf on public Wi-Fi networks, we believe Norton is the better security app because its unlimited VPN will protect you on those unsafe networks. However, we believe Kaspersky is an excellent choice if you don’t frequently use public Wi-Fi or value anti-theft tools significantly.

We highly recommend Kaspersky for Android devices.

Full Review

Kaspersky’s security app is one of the best Android antivirus apps. It is both beautifully designed as well as incredibly complete.

Let us talk you through the feature set:

  • Scan: Run a quick, custom, or full scan of your phone or tablet.
  • Update: Manually update the malware database of the antivirus app and directly run a quick scan after.
  • Real-Time Protection: Turn adware detection on or off and get an update on the security status of your device.
  • Call Filter: Block phone numbers so they can’t reach you.
  • Anti-Theft: Lock and locate your phone if it gets stolen. You can also trigger an alarm, take a photo with the front camera, or wipe the device’s hard drive. All remotely from Kaspersky’s website.
  • App Lock: Set a four-digit code to specific apps on your phone, ensuring that no one but you can access them.
  • Safe Messaging: Let Kaspersky scan your text messages for phishing links that try to hijack your data.
  • Internet Protection: You can add a layer of protection to your browser to block dangerous websites known for phishing, spoofing, and other forms of cybercrime.
  • Data Leak Checker: Instruct Kaspersky to scan the Dark Web for your data, such as email addresses, credit cards, and social security numbers.
  • Weak Settings Scan: Check your device for vulnerable settings that can cause security risks.
  • My Apps: Check what apps can access your calendar, camera, contacts, location, microphone, and more.

And if that wasn’t enough, you can install Kaspersky’s other security apps as well:

  • VPN: A VPN will encrypt your internet connection and hide your IP address, making you anonymous online and safe on public Wi-Fi networks. You’ll get 300 MB / day for free.
  • Safe Kids: Monitor and protect your children online with a basic version of Kaspersky’s parental controls.

The unlimited versions of the VPN and Safe Kids apps are available as separate purchases or as part of Kaspersky Security Cloud, which will also include the excellent password manager.

Is Kaspersky Internet Security the best antivirus app for Android?

It depends. If you frequently surf public Wi-Fi networks, Norton beats Kaspersky due to the inclusion of the unlimited VPN. However, we believe Kaspersky is the best Android antivirus app if you prefer anti-theft features over an unlimited VPN.

We highly recommend Kaspersky for Android devices. For more information, read our review of Kaspersky Internet Security.

Bitdefender Mobile Security Review

Bitdefender Mobile Security

Ranked #3 out of 20 Antivirus

Bitdefender Mobile Security for Android Review
Bitdefender: Save 60% on this secret page 🔥

Bitdefender Mobile Security for Android Review – Summary

Bitdefender Mobile Security for Android covers all the core features: Anti-malware, web protection, anti-theft tools, an identity theft scanner, and a VPN. However, it can’t match the Android apps by Norton or Kaspersky.

Norton and Kaspersky have a more comprehensive range of security features, a better design, and a higher data limit on their VPN. While Bitdefender’s VPN is limited to 200 MB / day, Kaspersky’s VPN offers 300 MB / day, and Norton’s is unlimited.

Unless you’re a big fan of the Bitdefender brand, we believe Norton and Kaspersky are better Android antivirus apps.

Full Review

Bitdefender Mobile Security for Android isn’t a great-looking app. It certainly can’t match the design excellence of its American rivals, Norton and McAfee. This is a shame. Because feature-wise, it checks most boxes.

Let us walk you through each:


Bitdefender’s first menu item, Dashboard, informs you of the security features that must be installed. These include the Scam Alert, App Lock, Web Protection, and Anti-Theft features. Once all of them are installed and active, the sole purpose of the Dashboard is to inform you that you are safe.

Malware Scanner

The second menu item, Malware Scanner, allows you to scan your phone for malicious apps. It checks visible and invisible apps for a wide range of malware, including ransomware, adware, spyware, or crypto miners.

Web Protection

The third menu item, Web Protection, focuses on browser protection. It will scan your online activities and incoming traffic to shield you from malicious intent. What’s excellent about it is that it works with an extensive range of browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge, Brave, Samsung Internet, Huawei Browser, and Dolphin.

Scam Alert

The fourth menu item, Scam Alert, looks for malicious text messages containing links to scams and phishing attacks.


The fifth and last menu item, More, includes a wide range of features:

  • VPN: A VPN encrypts your internet connection and hides your device’s IP address. This makes you anonymous online and safe on unsecured Wi-Fi connections. You can use the built-in VPN, but we recommend downloading Bitdefender’s separate VPN app, which is considerably better. Note that Bitdefender’s free VPN is limited to 200 MB / day. By contrast, Norton’s VPN is unlimited, and Kaspersky offers a daily limit of 300 MB.
  • Anti-Theft: Bitdefender’s anti-theft feature lets you remotely locate, lock, and wipe your phone. On top of that, the phone will take a photo with the front camera after three failed login attempts.
  • Account Privacy: Similar to the Dark Web Monitor by Norton, Bitdefender checks whether your data, like email addresses, has been compromised and is traded on the internet.
  • App Lock: Protect sensitive apps with a pin code or your gadget’s biometrics scanner (face or fingerprint).

Is Bitdefender Mobile Security the best antivirus app for Android?

No, it’s not. Although it covers all the features you need from an Android security app, its design is disappointing, and its VPN data limit of 200 MB / day is among the lowest in our test.

We believe that Norton, with its unlimited VPN, is the best antivirus app for Android users who frequently surf on public Wi-Fi networks. And for those who prefer anti-theft features over an unlimited VPN, we think Kaspersky is the best security app, as it’s more complete than Bitdefender.

For more information, read our review of Bitdefender Total Security.

McAfee Mobile Security

McAfee Mobile Security

Ranked #4 out of 20 Antivirus

McAfee Mobile Security for Android Review

McAfee Mobile Security for Android Review – Summary

McAfee Mobile Security has a beautiful design and covers most of the core features you need from a security app. It includes anti-malware, web protection, an identity theft scanner, and a VPN limited to 500 MB / day.

But it lacks anti-theft tools, and its bonus features are limited to a Wi-Fi security checker.

We prefer Norton for its unlimited VPN for users who frequently use public Wi-Fi networks. And for users who want an affordable yet complete security app with anti-theft tools, we believe Kaspersky is a great option.

Full Review

McAfee’s Mobile Security for Android is a beautifully designed app divided into three tabs, which you can access at the bottom of the screen.

In the most left tab, McAfee aims to educate (“how can unsecured Wi-Fi affect me?”) and inspire action (“Let’s protect you from risky websites – get safe browsing”).

In the second tab, the security elements appear. These include five components:

  • Antivirus Scan: Scan your apps, files, photos, and videos for malware and dangerous apps.
  • Identity Protection: Give McAfee your email addresses, credit card details, and other personal data to scan the Dark Web for these.
  • Secure VPN: Activate the VPN to surf anonymously and privately across the web. McAfee’s VPN is limited to 500 MB / day, which is more generous than Bitdefender’s 200 MB / day and Kaspersky’s 300 MB / day but falls short of the unlimited data provided by Norton.
  • Wi-Fi Security Scanner: Test your Wi-Fi network’s encryption and password strength.
  • Safe Browsing: Add anti-phishing protection and a web advisor to your browser.

Is McAfee Mobile Security the best antivirus app for Android?

No, it’s not. Although the design is excellent, and its VPN data limit of 500 MB / day is generous, there are better options.

For privacy-minded users, we recommend Norton for its unlimited VPN. And for users who worry about theft, we prefer Kaspersky due to its excellent anti-theft features.

For more information, read our review of McAfee LiveSafe Antivirus.

Panda Dome Antivirus

Panda Dome Antivirus

Ranked #5 out of 20 Antivirus

Panda Dome Antivirus for Android Review

Panda Dome Antivirus for Android Review – Summary

Panda covers some core security features we like to see, including anti-malware, a VPN, and anti-theft features. But it misses web protection and an identity theft scanner.

However, it features a few additional bonus features, like a call blocker, app locker, and permissions scan. Especially the last one, the permissions scan, is a rare and valuable feature we would like to see more often in other antivirus apps.

On the plus side, the core of Panda’s offering (anti-malware, VPN, anti-theft, and the permissions scanner) is available in the app’s free version. This makes Panda the best free antivirus app of 2023 in our test.

However, if you’re willing to part with a few dollars, we believe that Norton offers better protection for users who frequently use public Wi-Fi networks, thanks to its unlimited VPN. And should you desire an affordable yet full-featured security app, we believe that Kaspersky also beats Panda.

Full Review

Panda offers two versions of its antivirus app for Android, a free and paid version. And although the paid version offers a few extra handy features, we think most of the value is provided by the free app. So let us talk you through the characteristics of each.

Panda’s free antivirus app includes the following:

  • Antivirus: Scan your apps, files, and SD cards for malware, either manually or automatically, at regular intervals.
  • VPN: Hide your IP address and encrypt your internet connection to restore online anonymity. Panda’s VPN is limited to 150 MB / day, the lowest data limit in our test.
  • Privacy Auditor: Scan the permissions of all apps on your phone to see which can track your location, access your media files, and more. You can delete any overly intrusive apps from within Panda’s app.
  • Anti-Theft: Locate and lock your phone when lost or stolen. You can also remotely erase all the data on your hard drive.

Panda’s paid antivirus app includes everything above and adds the following:

  • Advanced Anti-Theft: Remotely trigger an alarm or take a photo using the front camera of your phone or tablet.
  • Call Blocker: Block specific, unknown, and hidden phone numbers from reaching you.
  • App Lock: Add an extra layer of security to your most sensitive apps in the form of a 4-digit pin code.

Is Panda Dome Antivirus the best antivirus app for Android?

It depends. If you want a free antivirus app, Panda is a compelling offer. For free, you can get the core of its features, including anti-malware, VPN, basic anti-theft, and permissions scan. We, therefore, think that Panda is the best free antivirus app for Android in our test.

If, however, you want the best protection, it’s not found in a free Android security app. Instead, the paid options by Norton and Kaspersky are both considerably better. In addition, each offers more security features, such as anti-phishing web protection and a higher VPN data limit.

For more information, read our review of Panda Dome Antivirus.

Comparison table of the best antivirus software 

Starting Price
$ 15 / year
$ 11 / year
$ 15 / year
$ 20 / year
$ 5 / year
Malware Detection Rate
Internet Security

Dark Web Monitor

Free VPN Data Limit
300 MB / day
200 MB / day
Unlimited (if auto-renewal is active)
150 MB / day
Money Back Guarantee
60 days
30 days
30 days
30 days
30 days

How do we test the best antivirus for Android?

In 2023, antivirus protection for Android is about more than malware detection. The best antivirus for Android protects from a wide range of cyber threats, including data breaches, malware attacks, phishing attempts, privacy invasions, ransomware attacks, spyware infections, zero-day attacks, and more.

Therefore, the best security suite includes an antivirus scanner that consists of an app scan, VPN, security audit, identity theft protection, anti-theft protection that can remotely lock and wipe the phone, system optimization tools, and anti-phishing protection that blocks malicious links that lead to infected websites.

To discover which antivirus provider is worth your money, we have put them through 15 tests:

> Test 1: Anti-malware protection test

Malware encompasses a range of online threats, including viruses, trojans, keyloggers, ransomware, spyware, adware, and more. Most of these threats are known to cybersecurity companies, but new, unknown malware poses a significant challenge.

Traditional real-time protection utilizes virus definitions to detect threats by scanning code against a database of known malicious code samples. However, this approach is ineffective against new threats. Therefore, modern antivirus software uses heuristic analysis or behavior monitoring to detect suspicious patterns and identify unknown threats.

To assess the best anti-malware software, we conduct our tests and examine independent antivirus testing labs, such as AV-Test, SE Labs, and AV-Comparatives. Our preferred source is AV-Test, where we average Windows’ historical protection test results since 2016 to determine the most effective malware removal software.

> Test 2: False positives test

A false positive happens when antivirus software mistakes legitimate software for malware, confuses a harmless file for malicious code, or stops a safe website from opening. It happens to every antivirus program and isn’t a cause for concern.

But when it happens in large numbers, it can become quite annoying. So AV-Test runs a large-scale analysis of false positives in its usability test. We use their findings to guide our writing.

> Test 3: System performance test

It’s important to surf the web safely. But it’s a problem if the antivirus software uses your smartphone’s resources entirely. We measure the CPU load while the antivirus software runs quick and complete system scans. If the security software requires fewer system resources, you will have more of your computer’s performance left for other tasks.

We also look at the results of AV-Test’s performance section, which measures the slow-down caused by antivirus software on opening websites and downloading, installing, and launching software. These are the best proxies to measure the impact on a device’s performance.

> Test 4: Virtual Private Network (VPN) test

When you use a VPN, your data is sent through an encrypted VPN tunnel to a VPN server before it reaches the web. This makes you anonymous online and safe from man-in-the-middle attacks on public wi-fi networks. The price you pay is a slightly slower internet connection (about 10%).

We test whether the built-in VPN is secure (encryption strength and VPN protocol), private (log policy), and fast (download speed). Whether it works with popular streaming services like Netflix, Disney Plus, and Amazon Prime. Whether it offers unlimited data (unlimited VPN access). And whether it allows downloading via peer-to-peer networks and torrent clients.

> Test 5: Anti-phishing protection test

Malicious websites and phishing emails attempt to steal your sensitive data by tricking you into filling out fake forms. Many antivirus programs include a browser extension that blocks phishing sites before they can open. We test this web protection feature by installing the antivirus browser extensions and attempting to visit the dangerous URLs.

> Test 6: Ownership and reputation test

Not all antivirus companies are trustworthy. For instance, Avast tracked and sold the browsing habits of millions of its users. It collected this data via its Online Security browser extension and sold it via its subsidiary, Jumpshot. Although it claims to have stopped these activities and has been sold to Norton, the reputation lingers.

We analyze whether the cybersecurity companies in our test have a poor reputation, especially concerning customer data. To find this out, we spend a fair amount of time reading press releases, news articles, and privacy policies (especially of browser extensions and VPN services).

> Test 7: Interface test

For many users, cybersecurity is not a fun subject. Therefore, antivirus software must be quick and easy to install, and intuitive to use. We test the installation speed of every program, their ease of use on default settings, and the complexity of adjusting the advanced settings.

What antivirus software have we tested for 2023?

We have tested a wide range of products from 20 different antivirus companies. Where it made sense, we tested the free Android antivirus programs and the paid versions.

The free programs usually offered decent malware removal and protection, but not much more. The paid versions were always much better than the free trial and free software.

From all the software above, we believe that Norton is the best.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best antivirus for Android?

Norton is the best antivirus software for Android. It is the only antivirus app for Android that combines excellent security features with an unlimited VPN.

Do you need antivirus on your Android phone?

Yes, you do. We recommend getting an antivirus app, like Norton, that also includes an unlimited VPN to safely use public Wi-Fi networks.

Author: Tibor Moes

Author: Tibor Moes

Founder & Chief Editor at SoftwareLab

Tibor is a Dutch engineer and entrepreneur. He has tested security software since 2014.

Over the years, he has tested most of the best antivirus software for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS, as well as many VPN providers.

He uses Norton to protect his devices, CyberGhost for his privacy, and Dashlane for his passwords.

This website is hosted on a Digital Ocean server via Cloudways and is built with DIVI on WordPress.

You can find him on LinkedIn or contact him here.