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How to Scan For a Virus on Android

It’s no secret that there are lots of Android viruses around. In fact, that’s a bit of an understatement. In 2021, AV-Test recorded almost 3.4m new pieces of malware for Android alone and has already seen 425,000 in 2022.

You’d imagine that your phone is pretty safe from these because you’re careful not to tap on links in messages or emails without checking them first, and you install apps only from the Google Play Store.

Unfortunately, Google isn’t as good at weeding out virus-ridden apps as you might expect. Add to this the fact that so many people assume phones are immune to viruses, and it’s a recipe for disaster.

Not only can viruses cause havoc with your phone: they can also secretly spy on you, steal your personal details and financial information. Put simply, if you have an Android phone, you should install a trusted, effective antivirus app that will keep a constant lookout for malicious apps and dangerous links.

Don’t worry, though. If there’s no antivirus app already installed and you suspect there may be malware on your phone, it isn’t too late: you can install one now and get it to scan your phone for any nasties.

How to use an antivirus app on Android

Scanning for a virus or any other type of malware is simple. Just install an app and it will almost certainly perform a scan when you first launch it. This applies to all Android phones including those made by Samsung, Google, OnePlus and other brands.

Even better, there are excellent free apps which can do this, such as Avast One, which we’re using here. It’s available for Windows, macOS and iOS, too, so you can run it on all your devices if you want.

  1. Go to the Google Play Store and search for Avast One.
  2. Install it – it’s free to do so – and launch the app.
    How to scan for a virus on Android
  3. Tap Get started (marked 2, above)
  4. After the series of messages, tap Continue with free version, unless you want to pay for the Premium version.
  5. Tap Run Smart Scan. This will check for viruses, as well as junk files and any other issues.
  6. How to scan for a virus on Android
  7. The scan will check all installed apps, as well as your phone storage for viruses and other malware.
  8. How to scan for a virus on Android
  9. After a couple of minutes, you will see the results of the scan. Hopefully it will show No threats found, but if any are spotted, follow the prompts to remove them.
  10. How to scan for a virus on Android
  11. The rest of the smart scan shows any space that can be freed up, as well as other ‘issues’ – most of which are really just excuses to prompt you to pay for Avast One Premium,  though there are benefits, such as the unlimited VPN service.

For alternative methods, see our separate tutorial on
removing Android viruses.

What’s the best antivirus for Android?

There’s a wealth of choice when it comes to Android antivirus, including free and paid-for apps.
Avast One is a great choice, as is
Norton 360 Deluxe – especially if you have Windows devices and Macs that also need protection.

You’ll find more recommendations in our roundup of the
best antivirus for Android, and the
best antivirus software for  all your devices.

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