Getting rid of malware on Android is crucial to keep personal data safe and out of the hands of cybercriminals.
All kinds of malicious software can creep onto your Android phone and tablet to steal banking information, spy on your daily activities, take your private files or documents hostage and completely ruin your device. Nobody wants threat actors snooping around on their Android phones, so preventing and removing malware post-haste is a priority.
If your Android device is acting strange and you believe malware is the culprit, read on.
How to remove malware on Android
There are several ways to remove malware from your Android, including by deleting a suspicious app or by downloading an antivirus. You’ll know an app is hiding malicious software if your device is acting strangely (more on that below) or if it consumes battery even though you aren’t using it.
One of the best ways to keep your device safe is to delete the app causing the issues, but you’ll want to do this correctly.
Safely remove an app on Android
- On your Android, press the necessary buttons to turn off your device.
- Tap and hold the Power off icon.
- Press OK to reboot to safe mode. This will restart your device.
- Once restarted, head to Settings.
- Navigate to Apps.
- Select any suspicious apps you wish to remove.
- Tap Uninstall. Restart your device to go back to normal mode.
Clear cache on Android
Clearing your browser and app cache on your Android device will help minimize the effects of malware. Apps and browsers store your online activities, and malicious software like adware can use this to cause more harm. Clearing cache can also help clear up space on your Android, boosting the device’s performance.
- To clear app cache, head to Settings on your Android.
- Select Storage and choose Apps.
- Select an app.
- Tap Clear cache.
Many Android owners use Google Chrome as their default browser. Here’s how to clear cache in Chrome on Android.
- On your Android, open Chrome.
- Tap the three vertical dots in the upper-right corner.
- Select Settings.
- Tap Privacy and security.
- Select Clear browsing data.
- To just clear cache, uncheck Browsing history and Cookies and site data.
- Tap Clear data.
Use antivirus software
Simply put, the best way to get rid of malware is to use the best antivirus software.
There are many free malware removal apps that will dispatch malicious software on your device, but it’s a good idea to make sure these tools are trustworthy, as hackers can also disguise these apps on the Google Play Store to deploy even more malware.
The best antivirus apps come with a suite of security features that can get rid of virus, malware, ransomware, spyware or any malicious software that burrows into your Android. Some antivirus software, such as Bitdefender, offers security subscriptions specifically for Android, making it a more cost-effective option for those that only need Android protection.
We also recommend free apps from known cybersecurity companies, including Avast One, AVG and Malwarebytes Mobile Security. These will detect and remove malicious software on your Android. Check out our thoughts on each antivirus below.
- Norton 360 Platinum review: Security multiplied
- Bitdefender review: All-in-one premium security
- Avast One review: Strong antivirus for free!
Signs of malware on Android
Malware can be hard to spot, as cybercriminals will do everything in their power to hide the malicious software so they can carry out their cruel acts right under a user’s nose. However, there are telltale signs that your Android is under attack, which may include your device’s browser redirecting you to different web pages and installing unwanted toolbars, extensions or plugins. Any malware can also affect your device directly.
- Your device is slower than usual and crashes frequently.
- Your browser is slower than usual and crashes frequently.
- Browsing through websites takes longer.
- You need to recharge your device more often.
- Apps take longer to load.
- There’s an unknown app or software on your device you didn’t download.