Do I Need Antivirus Software on My Android Phone?

Cybercrime often makes you think of stories like the 2017 WannaCry attack. The ransomware crippled the National Health Service in Britain. Experts estimate WannaCry cost the NHS £92 million.

Or you might think of the 2016 DDoS attack that disrupted huge websites like Twitter, Netflix, and Reddit.

You probably don’t think of the criminal activity that can involve your smartphone. But the cost of cybercrime is now around $600 billion a year. And we’d bet you already have antivirus and a firewall on your PC. 

But if you’re asking “Do I need antivirus on my Android phone?” then read on.

What Is a Computer Virus?

A computer virus is a specific type of program that largely works on PCs. It attaches to another program to replicate itself.

So far, no viruses have appeared on Android that behave like these PC viruses.


That doesn’t mean your phone is completely safe from threats. Android phones can and do get infected with malware.

Malware can let someone:

  • control your phone,
  • steal passwords or account numbers, or
  • track your activity.

Worried about malware? Click to learn more about five types that can wreck your Android phone.

How Might Malware Infect My Phone?

There are some extremely useful apps that you need on your phone. But you might also install an app from a less than reputable source.

Sometimes, these apps do behave the way you expect them to. But they’re also stealing your information in the background.

Other users end up with malware on their phones after browsing to infected websites. Visiting the site downloads malware files without your knowledge.

Do I Need Antivirus on My Android Phone?

Yes and no. No, because as we’ve discussed, your Android phone can’t get a ‘virus’.

But yes, because it can get infected by malware. Installing a security app will provide some protection. It’ll scan new and existing apps to make sure no malware ends up installed on your phone.

Make sure your app offers safe browsing. Some malware can infect your device if you land on the wrong website.

Be careful where you download apps from. And if random files appear in your downloads folder that you don’t recognize? Delete them.

How Do I Uninstall Malware?

Higher data usage, overheating or slow performance can suggest malware on your phone. Install a security app and run a scan.

You can also manually remove malware apps. Access Safe Mode because that turns off third-party apps.

Check your list of downloaded apps. Uninstall anything you don’t remember installing.

If the app is greyed out, enter Administrator Mode to remove it.

Be Safe When Installing New Apps

Using apps is what makes smartphones such essential devices. But you need to choose the right apps to get the benefit.

Instead of asking “Do I need antivirus on my Android phone?”, install a security app. Stick to the Google Play store for finding new apps. Be careful what websites you visit.

And why not protect your physical phone with a brand new case?