While Google’s Play Store has a built-in virus scanner that weeds out most malware from the Google Play Store, you can always use an extra line of protection. To scan your existing (and future) Android apps, you’ll need to download an antivirus program; “AVG Antivirus” and “Lookout” are both excellent options with free versions, with the former boasting the ability to monitor and regulate smartphone-slowing apps/processes autonomously and the latter supplying regular scans/contact back-ups.
EditPreparing Your Android to Scan
- Tap the “Settings” app to open your phone’s settings. Before you download any antivirus software from the Google Play store, you’ll need to ensure that your phone is incapable of downloading third-party apps masquerading as legitimate antivirus programs.
- Tap the “Security” tab. This will open the Security section of your Settings.
- Tap the “Device Administration” tab. You’ll need to find the “Unknown sources” checkbox in this menu.
- Make sure the “Unknown sources” option isn’t checked. Allowing your Android to download from unknown sources–e.g., apps outside of the Google Play store–is necessary for certain apps to function properly (for example, most of Amazon’s App store’s apps), but you shouldn’t need it to download antivirus software. Leaving this option unchecked will ensure that the antivirus program you download is legitimate.
- Tap the “Google Play” app to open the Google Play store. This app should be on your homescreen; it resembles a multicolored triangle.
- Tap the “Search” bar at the top of your screen. This will allow you to search for the antivirus app of your choosing. Your Android is ready to download an antivirus app for scanning!
EditDownloading and Scanning with Lookout
- Open the Google Play store and tap the “Search” field. You’ll need to search for “Lookout”. Lookout’s security suite specializes in protecting your contacts in addition to the standard security scans you can expect from AVG and other antivirus protection. Common criticisms of Lookout include an overly-expensive paid version and a fairly restricted free version–though the basic security features and contact back-ups are both included in the free version.
- Type “Lookout” into the search field. This should bring up a list of apps that match what you’re typing; Lookout’s antivirus app should be at the top.
- Tap the “Lookout” option. This should take you to Lookout’s download page.
- The app manufacturer should be listed as “Lookout Mobile Security”.
- Tap “Install”. This should be in the right-hand corner of the “Lookout” app page.
- Accept the Terms and Conditions of your download when prompted.
- Wait for Lookout to download. This may take a couple of minutes depending on your wireless connection type.
- Tap the “Lookout” app to open Lookout. Doing so will provide you with the option of scanning your phone for viruses and other malware.
- Tap “Security”. This will open the scan menu.
- You can also click “Menu”, navigate to “Settings”, and find the “Security” tab to set up scheduled scans.
- Tap “Scan now”. Lookout will begin scanning your phone for viruses and other threats. This may take a few minutes.
- Review the results of your scan. If you have any threats or viruses in your apps, Lookout will alert you to them; you can delete the apps from there.
- Depending on the nature of the infected app, you may be able to delete it from within Lookout.
- Lookout will also let you know if your device is clean. If so, you can close Lookout.
- Run Lookout once a week. This will ensure that your device stays up-to-date on virus protection.
- The “AVG free” app will also automatically scan new apps that you download for threats, though running “AVG” all the time may not be worth the toll this will take on your battery life.
- AVG and Lookout have paid versions as well, but you should be able to use the free versions thereof indefinitely.
- Unless you explicitly know what you’re doing, you should avoid rooting your phone. Doing so will open your Android OS up to all sorts of potential viruses and infections that Google’s scanning services will be unable to filter.
EditSources and Citations
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