The 5 Best Security Apps for Android in 2024 [Detailed List]

Key Takeaways
  • While Google's Play Protect offers basic security, additional security apps can be crucial for non-Google devices, users downloading apps from untrusted sources, visiting risky websites, identifying suspicious links, older devices, and for added peace of mind.
  • Recommended Android security apps include BitDefender Mobile Security, Avast Antivirus and Security, Kaspersky: VPN & Antivirus, Norton360 Antivirus & Security, and Malwarebytes Mobile Security, each offering unique features and levels of protection.
  • When choosing a security app, consider factors like reputation, user reviews, feature range, ease of use, and availability of free versions or trials to find the best fit for your needs.

In an age where our smartphones are central to our daily lives, ensuring their security is paramount. As one of the most widely used operating systems, Android is frequently targeted by malicious entities.

While Google’s Play Protect offers a basic level of defense, more is needed, especially under certain circumstances. In this article, let’s delve deep into why you might need an additional security app and look at some of the best security apps available for Android.

Do You Need a Security App for Your Android Phone?

When it comes to smartphone security, Android users often wonder if an external security app is essential. For most common users, the answer is typically no, especially if you regularly update your phone’s operating system and apps.

Android devices come equipped with Google Play Protect, a built-in safety feature that continuously works to keep your device, data, and apps safe. It actively scans your device for malicious activities and harmful apps, making it a first line of defense against security threats.

Best Security Apps for Android (1)
Best Security Apps for Android

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Why a Security App for Android is Important

While Google’s Play Protect provides a fundamental layer of security, there are specific scenarios where having an additional security app on your Android device is crucial:

  • Non-Google Devices: Devices without Google services, like some newer Huawei models, or those running on aftermarket firmware without Google services, lack the integrated protection that Google offers, making them more vulnerable to threats.
  • Untrustworthy APK Sources: Downloading and installing APKs from sources that are not verified can be risky. These APKs might contain malware that could compromise your device’s security.
  • Risky Websites: Frequent visits to websites that are known to be insecure or disreputable can put your device at risk of malware infections.
  • Identifying Suspicious Links: Not everyone is great at distinguishing safe links from malicious ones. An extra layer of security can help protect against inadvertently clicking on harmful links.
  • Older Devices: Devices that are significantly outdated and no longer supported by Google Play Protect are more susceptible to new and evolving security threats.
  • Peace of Mind: Finally, having a dedicated security app can offer peace of mind. Knowing that your device has an extra layer of protection can make you feel more secure about your data, especially when engaging in sensitive transactions or handling important information.

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Best Security Apps for Android

There is a wide range of security apps available on the market; we’ve compiled a list of the best security apps for Android after extensive testing. Here they are:

1. BitDefender Mobile Security

BitDefender Mobile Security
BitDefender Mobile Security

Bitdefender Mobile Security is a notable contender in the realm of Android security apps. Its setup process is straightforward – simply agree to the terms, sign in, and the app is ready to use. This ease of use is a significant plus for users who prefer a hassle-free experience.

The app’s feature set is extensive, offering comprehensive app scanning and app anomaly detection, which are effective in identifying malicious app behavior. The inclusion of 200MB of VPN data per day adds value, especially for users conscious of online privacy.

Additional tools such as an app lock, Wi-Fi scanner, anti-theft features, and data-breach notifications enhance the app’s utility. Bitdefender also includes Reports and Download scans which provide an extra layer of security. The Web security function, in particular, is effective, as it alerts users with a full-page popup when a suspicious link is detected.

BitDefender Mobile Security
BitDefender Mobile Security

Another standout feature is the account privacy tracker, which successfully identified four instances where data breaches were linked to my account. The anti-theft features, including the ability to take a photo of a person attempting multiple invalid unlock attempts, offer a sense of security in case of lost or stolen devices.

The Scam Alerts are especially useful, offering protection against text scams and link-based mobile attacks. However, it’s important to note that many of Bitdefender’s advanced features are reserved for the premium plan. Users seeking the full range of capabilities must consider subscribing to this plan.

In conclusion, Bitdefender Mobile Security offers a comprehensive suite of security and privacy tools. While it provides robust protection against various threats, the full breadth of its features comes at the cost of a premium subscription.


  • User-friendly setup process.
  • Comprehensive app scanning and anomaly detection.
  • Effective web protection and scam alert features.


  • Many features, including the full VPN service, require a subscription.
  • Limited VPN data on the premium plan.

2. Avast Antivirus and Security

Avast Antivirus and Security
Avast Antivirus and Security

Avast Antivirus and Security offers a free version for Android users, blending basic security features with the presence of ads. The free version allows for comprehensive device scanning, effectively identifying and mitigating potential threats.

A standout feature is the Hack Alerts system, which keeps an eye on data breaches using the user’s email, providing timely notifications if accounts are compromised. The app also includes a Wi-Fi speed test monitor, not only useful for checking internet speed but also for assessing Wi-Fi network security.

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Another useful component is the ability to identify and clear junk files, aiding in maintaining device performance. However, it’s notable that automatic scanning is exclusive to the premium plan, which might be a limitation for some users.

Avast Antivirus and Security
Avast Antivirus and Security

The Web protection feature in the free version enhances online security, a welcome addition for safe browsing. For users opting for the paid version, Avast offers an unlimited VPN, app lock, and advanced scam protection, catering to those requiring more comprehensive security features.

The App Insights section is a significant addition. It efficiently identifies which apps have access to specific permissions on your device, enhancing user awareness and control over their data privacy. The photo vault feature, which allows users to securely store private pictures, along with an email guardian, adds further to its appeal.

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Avast’s user interface is praised for its clarity and ease of navigation, contributing positively to the overall user experience. However, the presence of ads in the free version can be intrusive for some users, slightly diminishing the app’s usability. In conclusion, Avast Antivirus and Security stands out as one of the best free security apps available for Android users.


  • Offers basic protection like device scanning and web protection without cost.
  • Provides notifications for email breaches and account security.
  • Useful tools for both security and device maintenance.
  • Easy to navigate and user-friendly.


  • The presence of ads might be disruptive for some users.
  • Features like automatic scanning are exclusive to the premium version.

3. Kaspersky: VPN & Antivirus

Kaspersky Mobile Security
Kaspersky Mobile Security

Kaspersky Security and VPN for Android presents a range of options, with its free tier, as well as Kaspersky Plus and Standard versions. While the premium features are largely reserved for paid plans, the free version includes essential services like device scanning and a Secure QR scanner, accompanied by a free VPN service.

The safe messaging feature is a highlight, effectively blocking dangerous links, which enhances the overall security experience. The inclusion of a VPN service, with a daily cap of 200MB on the free plan, adds value by offering secure browsing capabilities. Additionally, the app aids in monitoring potential online data leaks from personal accounts.

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A standout feature is the smart home monitor, designed to analyze and secure Wi-Fi networks. This tool is particularly useful for users conscious of network security. Kaspersky manages to strike a balance between offering comprehensive protection and maintaining user-friendly simplicity, making it suitable for those who prefer essential features without complexity.

Kaspersky Mobile Security
Kaspersky Mobile Security

Further enhancing its utility, Kaspersky allows users to perform various types of scans, including a quick scan of installed apps, a full scan of all files on the device, or a selective scan. The My Apps section is a practical addition, where users can manage rarely used applications, review app permissions, and more. The call filter feature, which enables blocking calls from specific numbers, further contributes to its appeal.


  • Allows basic scanning without a subscription, including a free trial.
  • Monitors and secures your Wi-Fi network against unidentified devices.
  • Comes with a VPN service, capped at a 200MB daily limit.
  • Capable of blocking dangerous links received in messages.


  • Most sophisticated features are accessible only with a paid subscription.
  • For those seeking highly comprehensive security tools, Kaspersky might appear somewhat limited.

4. Norton360 Antivirus & Security

Norton360 Antivirus & Security sets itself apart in the Android security app market by not offering a free version. Access to the app’s features requires either a subscription purchase or opting for a free trial.

User feedback often cites Norton Mobile Security’s effective detection of suspicious files, frequently identifying more potential threats than other tools. One of the key features, the App Advisor, proactively safeguards smartphones against a range of mobile threats, including malware, ransomware, adware, and privacy leaks.

Norton 360 for Android
Norton 360 for Android

Norton Mobile Security also includes a variety of additional protective features. The Web Protection is crucial for safe browsing, shielding users from online threats. SMS Security enhances text messaging safety by screening and blocking potentially dangerous content.

The Wi-Fi Security feature is especially beneficial for those often-using public networks, as it helps prevent unauthorized access and data breaches.

The app’s user interface is simple and clean, making navigation and usage straightforward. Norton Mobile Security also identifies apps that drain battery life and offers SD Card scanning. However, you note that canceling scans can be slow, which might be a point of improvement for the app.

The notifications for insecure networks are a useful feature, enhancing user awareness of their connection’s security. Additionally, Norton offers a VPN and a password manager, though these are provided as separate applications, which might be a consideration for users seeking an all-in-one solution.


  • Recognized for its ability to detect a wide range of suspicious files.
  • The App Advisor feature offers advanced protection against various mobile threats.
  • Includes Web Protection, SMS Security, and Wi-Fi Security for a comprehensive safety approach.


  • The absence of a free version means users can’t try before they buy.
  • Access to features is contingent on a subscription or opting for a trial, which might not be suitable for everyone.
  • Lacks a built-in VPN service.

5. Malwarebytes Mobile Security

Malwarebytes for Android takes a thorough approach to security, offering deep scanning capabilities that meticulously search the device for concealed malware. This feature is particularly beneficial for users concerned about deep-rooted cyber threats.

It’s important to note that Malwarebytes differs from many other security apps by not offering a standard free plan. Instead, it provides a 7-day free trial, allowing users to evaluate its features before committing to a subscription. The inclusion of a VPN service in its suite of tools aims to enhance online privacy, which is a valuable addition for users concerned about their online footprint.

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The app’s ransomware and spyware protection functionalities are tailored to defend data against various cyber threats. Additionally, the spam blocker feature is useful for filtering out unwanted and potentially hazardous communications.

Malwarebytes Mobile Security
Malwarebytes Mobile Security

Malwarebytes allows users to schedule scans at daily, weekly, or other regular intervals, which is a convenient feature for maintaining consistent security checks with minimal manual intervention.

However, there are some significant drawbacks. Users cannot log in without a subscription, which might be a barrier for those looking to test the app’s full capabilities. The app’s user interface appears outdated, which could detract from the overall user experience. Moreover, compared to other security apps, Malwarebytes lacks a broad range of features.

While it can block the installation of unwanted programs and stop third-party ad trackers from collecting data, these features might not be enough to stand out. The premium subscription does include a VPN and has limited anti-theft features, such as the ability to lock the screen remotely, but these offerings are not unique in the crowded security app landscape.

In conclusion, while Malwarebytes offers some solid security features like deep scanning and VPN services, its limitations in terms of user experience, feature range, and accessibility may lead users to consider other alternatives in the market.


  • Effective deep scanning for malware.
  • Capable of removing detected malware efficiently.
  • Ransomware and spyware protection.
  • Spam blocker feature.


  • No permanent free plan, only a 7-day free trial.
  • Outdated user interface.
  • Limited features.


For most people using Android phones, you might not need an extra security app if you’re just doing normal stuff on your phone and keeping everything updated. But if you feel like you want more protection, we think Bitdefender is a really good choice.

Bitdefender has lots of great features, and it does a really good job of keeping your phone safe. It’s easy to use, whether you know a lot about tech or not, and it gives you a bunch of helpful tools like malware protection and a VPN. It’s like getting a lot of security stuff in one package.

There are other good security apps out there too, each with their own cool things. But if you’re going to pick one, Bitdefender is great because it’s reliable, easy to use, and gives you a lot for what you pay. So, if you’re thinking about getting an extra security app for your Android phone, Bitdefender is worth considering.


How do I choose the right security app for my Android device?

When choosing a security app for Android, consider factors like the app’s reputation, user reviews, range of features (like malware protection, anti-theft, and privacy tools), ease of use, and whether it offers a free version or a trial period.

Are free Android security apps reliable?

Free Android security apps can provide basic protection but often come with limitations compared to paid versions. It’s important to choose apps from reputable developers. One reliable free option includes Avast Mobile Security Free.

Do Android security apps impact device performance?

Security apps can impact device performance, especially during scans or if they offer real-time protection features. However, many modern apps are designed to minimize impact on system resources.


Kamil Anwar

Kamil is a certified MCITP, CCNA (W), CCNA (S) and a former British Computer Society Member with over 9 years of experience Configuring, Deploying and Managing Switches, Firewalls and Domain Controllers also an old-school still active on FreeNode.