“In 2018, the average monthly infection rate in mobile networks was 0.31%. This implies that in any given month, one out of every 300 mobile devices had a high-threat-level malware infection,” according to Nokia’s Threat Intelligence Report.
The report further stated, “Android devices were responsible for 47.15% of the observed malware infections, … and iPhones accounted for less than 1%.” Given these statistics, there is a pressing need to secure your smartphone, especially if you’re using an Android device.
There are mobile security apps designed to protect your mobile device, whether it runs on Android or iOS. However, choosing one can be challenging due to their varied features, interfaces, and compatibility with different mobile operating systems.
In this article, I have compiled a list of the best mobile security apps based on their user interface, security features, and reputation. Let’s explore them.
Note: As this post discusses cross-platform mobile security solutions, you may find that a feature you like is missing in your preferred solution on your chosen platform.
5 Best Apps to Recover Lost or Stolen iPhones
A list of best apps to track and recover your iPhone in case it gets lost or stolen. Read more
1. Avast Antivirus
Avast Antivirus is an exceptional mobile security solution, renowned for its performance and security features. According to AV-TEST, it exceeds the industry average with a 99.8% malware detection rate on Android.
Despite offering a premium tier, the app provides an impressive array of free features. For example, its Junk Cleaner effectively cleans cache, residual, and trash files to free up more storage space. Additionally, Power Save, a battery optimization feature, manages Bluetooth and Wi-Fi usage to reduce battery drain.
The app also offers valuable premium features such as Camera Trap, a tool designed to capture audio and video of potential intruders or thieves. Its App Lock feature allows users to secure apps with a password, providing an extra layer of protection for messaging or other private apps.
Finally, the Last Known Location feature can be incredibly useful if your device is lost or out of power.
- Photo Vault encrypts your sensitive photos and videos with fingerprint or password protection, securing them from prying eyes. A
- App Insights provides comprehensive information about your app usage habits, similar to the features provided by Digital Wellbeing in Android 9.
- Wi-Fi Security scans public wireless networks and incoming emails to protect you from potential malware or Trojan attacks.
- VPN allows you to maintain online anonymity by masking your web presence and changing your location to access streaming services.*
Download Avast Antivirus for:
2. Kaspersky Antivirus
Kaspersky is another well-known antivirus solution with an excellent track record. According to AV-TEST, it surpasses the industry average rate in malware detection – its rate is 100%, which is slightly better than Avast’s.
The free edition of Kaspersky offers a modest set of features, in contrast to Avast. Its Anti-Theft feature allows you to wipe your device if it’s lost or stolen. Additionally, its Find My Phone feature helps you locate your phone if it’s misplaced or stolen. Lastly, it’s an easy-to-use application, thanks to its straightforward interface and intuitive features.
- Web Filter ensures that your web browsing experience remains safe from malicious links and websites spreading malware.*
- App Lock allows you to secure your apps as well as sensitive data, photos, and videos behind a passcode to keep them safe and secure.*
- Find My Phone helps you locate your lost or stolen device and lock it.
- The app does not provide a background virus scanning feature in its free tier, requiring you to manually initiate the scans, unlike Avast.
- App Lock is somewhat buggy – it even locks a current app when it’s being rotated or quickly switched, according to reviews from a few users.
- It lacks advanced features like Camera Trap and VPN, unlike Avast.
Download Kaspersky Antivirus for:
3. Norton Mobile Security
Norton is one of the original giants in the security market. It provides a top-notch malware detection service, which demonstrated a 100% malware detection rate in tests performed by AV-TEST, thus surpassing the industry average.
It boasts essential features such as Safe Search, which flags suspicious links and websites in your search results. Additionally, its anti-theft features help track lost or stolen devices by displaying their last known location and sounding an alarm.
- Call Blocking allows you to block unwanted calls and automatically blocks and notifies you about calls from spam numbers, fraud callers, etc.
- Wi-Fi Scanning protects you from potential malware threats exposed through hotspot networks in public places such as cafes or public libraries.
- App Advisor inspects apps for intrusive behavior, high battery usage, and other potential risks related to the health of your device.*
- Sneak Peek captures pictures of the intruder or thief using your phone’s camera if you report the phone as lost or stolen.*
- Its free tier offers just a few features and lacks some essential features like App Advisor and Web Protection, similar to Kaspersky Antivirus.
- A few users have reported heavy battery drainage, similar to Avast Antivirus.
Download Norton Mobile Security for:
4. McAfee Mobile Security
McAfee is another excellent security product known for its antivirus and malware protection. It boasts a slightly lower malware detection rate at 99.1%, according to AV-TEST, than a few of its counterparts like Kaspersky and Norton. However, it compensates for this rate difference by providing a host of features.
Its free tier includes a long list of features, making it highly competitive with other solutions on this list. For example, its Anti-Theft feature locks down the device after three failed passcode attempts. Additionally, its Anti-Theft Uninstall Protection prevents intruders from removing it to bypass its safeguards.
- Its performance features help boost phone memory, eliminate junk files, and prevent resource-hungry apps from hindering performance.
- The Safe WiFi Scanner helps protect your data on unsecured hotspots.
- WiFi Guard VPN encrypts your online traffic to prevent prying eyes from accessing your online usage and personal data.*
- App Privacy Check investigates and reports the apps that may harm or misuse your personal data by collecting or leaking crucial data.
- App Lock and Guest Mode help protect your sensitive apps and data from guest users, allowing you to share your device worry-free.*
Download McAfee Mobile Security for:
5. MalwareBytes Security
MalwareBytes is less feature-rich than other solutions – significantly so when compared to Avast or Kaspersky Antivirus. It prioritizes doing one job well, rather than offering a large set of interesting but half-baked features.
MalwareBytes is perpetually ad-free, which sets it apart from all other solutions on the list. However, it does offer a premium subscription with additional features. Furthermore, in its free tier, it includes privacy audit features in addition to malware detection, which helps protect your privacy.
- Detects and combats most types of common malware such as adware and ransomware, similar to other apps on this list.
- Features a privacy audit that checks apps for any unwanted or suspicious activities and reports them to help protect your personal data.
- Provides a safer browsing experience by detecting phishing and other malicious links and notifying you to help avoid them.
- Has the least effective anti-malware engine among the apps on this list, with a malware detection rate of just 98.4%, according to AV-TEST.
- It isn’t as feature-rich as its competitors, lacking common features such as an app lock, call blocker, or other such tools.
Download MalwareBytes Security for:
As has been mentioned multiple times, Avast Antivirus offers the best free features along with a competitive anti-malware engine that boasts a 99.8% detection rate. Although a few other apps such as Kaspersky and Norton provide a more powerful anti-malware engine, they offer significantly fewer features in their free plans compared to Avast Antivirus.