Having a virus on your Android phone can be annoying and even dangerous. Viruses can slow down your device, display intrusive ads, steal your personal data, and even gain complete control over your phone. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to detect and remove viruses from your Android device.
How do I know if my Android phone has a virus?
Here are some common signs your Android phone may be infected with malware or a virus:
- A lot of pop-up ads appear, even on apps and sites that don’t normally have ads
- Your browser opens to unfamiliar pages you didn’t search for
- Your home screen background image changed unexpectedly
- You notice unfamiliar apps installed that you didn’t download
- Your battery is draining faster than usual
- Your phone runs slower than normal
- You can’t uninstall suspicious apps
- You notice unexpected charges or premium services you didn’t sign up for
If you notice any of these issues, it’s a good indication your Android phone may have malware or a virus.
How do viruses get on my Android phone?
There are a few common ways viruses can infect an Android phone:
- Installing apps from outside the Google Play Store – Apps from untrusted sources are more likely to contain malware.
- Visiting compromised websites – Malicious sites may automatically download viruses without you clicking anything.
- Opening infected links or files – Clicking a bad link sent via email or text can download a virus.
- Sideloading infected APK files – APK files from unknown sources can inject viruses.
- Physical access – Someone getting physical access to your unlocked device could manually install a virus.
The best way to avoid Android viruses is to be cautious about what you click and install. Only install apps from the official Google Play store, don’t visit sketchy websites, and avoid sideloading random APK files.
How to check for and remove viruses using antivirus apps
One of the best ways to check for and remove any potential viruses is to use a trustworthy antivirus app. Here are some top options:
|Antivirus App||Key Features|
|Norton Mobile Security||Real-time protection, web filtering, app advisor, anti-theft|
|AVG Antivirus Security||Virus scanning, web and app protection, phone cleaner|
|Avast Mobile Security||Virus scanner, web shield, app locking, firewall|
|McAfee Mobile Security||Device security, web protection, app privacy advisor|
To use antivirus apps to remove a virus:
- Download and install a trusted antivirus app like one of the options above.
- Open the antivirus app and run a scan. This will check for any potential malware or viruses.
- If a virus is detected, the antivirus app will typically either automatically remove it or prompt you to delete the infected file.
- Follow any additional prompts to quarantine or delete the virus. Restart your device.
- Run regular scans with your antivirus app to help catch any new viruses that may have entered your device.
Using a quality antivirus app can help protect your Android phone from existing and future malware threats.
How to remove a virus manually
If you don’t want to use a third-party antivirus app, you can attempt to manually remove a virus from your Android device:
- Boot into Safe Mode – Restart your phone and hold the Volume Down button as it boots up to enter Safe Mode. This disables third-party apps.
- Uninstall suspicious apps – Open Settings > Apps and look for any apps you don’t remember installing. Uninstall them.
- Scan with antivirus tools – Google offers a free virus scan tool called Google Play Protect. Run a scan to find issues.
- Reset app preferences – Go to Settings > Apps > Reset App Preferences to reset all app settings to their defaults.
- Clear cache and data – For stubborn viruses, go into Settings for each app and choose to clear cache and app data.
- Factory reset – If all else fails, back up your data and do a factory reset to wipe your phone. This will remove any viruses.
Manually looking for suspicious apps and services can help purge a virus, but it takes more effort than using an antivirus app.
Tips to avoid getting viruses on your Android phone
Here are some tips to help prevent viruses in the future:
- Only install apps from the official Google Play Store
- Don’t sideload APK files from unknown sources
- Avoid clicking links in messages from suspicious numbers
- Don’t open email attachments from people you don’t know
- Watch out for fake or mimic apps in the Play Store
- Check app permissions and only allow what’s necessary
- Keep your device’s software up to date
- Use secure passwords and fingerprint unlock when possible
- Use a trusted antivirus app and run occasional scans
Following basic security practices goes a long way in keeping your Android malware-free. Be thoughtful about what you download and proactive with scanning your device.
Catching a virus on your Android phone can be alarming, but thankfully there are straightforward ways to find and remove malware. Using a trustworthy antivirus app provides the easiest and most thorough protection. But even manually scanning for suspicious apps, resetting app preferences, and clearing app cache/data can purge basic viruses.
Prevention is also key. Only install apps from Google Play, avoid sketchy websites and links, and be cautious about sideloading APKs. Virus creators are always inventing new ways to infiltrate devices, so continue using common sense and keep your antivirus app updated.
With a few prudent habits, you can enjoy your Android device and not have to worry about performance degradation or data theft from sneaky malware. Be vigilant and take action as soon as you notice any odd behavior on your phone.