How to Scan Your Android Phone for Viruses

by Ross McKillop on April 21, 2016

This guide will take you each step of the way through scanning your Android phone (or tablet) for many potential security issues – including malware, unsafe settings, spyware and more.

Warning screen for Android malware

Quick background

I’ve tried over a dozen different security/malware Apps for Android, the one we’ll be using in this guide is the hands-down the “best-of” for the following reasons: it’s free (all features), it does not slow down your device and it’s frequently updated for new threats. Another of its best features is that it requires minimal configuration and you can “set it and forget it” – which of course this guide will cover.

Let’s jump it!

  1. First things first, head over to the Google Play Store and download/install Mobile Security & Antivirus. Once the installation has completed, tap its icon to open it up.
  2. Tap Continue to accept the user license/terms.
  3. All set! Yes, it was that easy :) Tap the Scan this device button to begin your first scan.
  4. The App will scan your Android phone or tablet for any and all known issues. How long this process takes will depend on the phone/tablet you have, the number of Apps you have installed etc.
  5. As the scan progresses you’ll be notified of any issues it finds.
  6. Once completed, if nothing was found – congratulations and proceed to step #8 below. If something wrong was discovered, tap the Show threats button.
  7. From here you’ll get a list of all the potential problems that were discovered during the scan of your device. In my case (see the example screenshot below) – two issues were found, both of which are security issues – but they’re settings I’m aware of and intentionally configured. If you find anything and you’re at all unsure of what to do, tap the RESOLVE button. Mobile Security & Antivirus will then fix the issue.
  8. Once you’re done cleaning up any ‘problems’ – tap the “cog” icon (which is the Settings button) from the bottom of the menu on the left side of your screen (see screenshot below).
  9. Now we’re going to set up a “scheduled scan” so that your phone or tablet is scanned for security threats automatically each week. To do so, tap the Protection button.
  10. Now tap Scheduled scan
  11. First you’ll need to toggle the scheduled scan to ON, you’ll find the switch in the upper-right corner of the App.
  12. Now select a time and date for your weekly scan.
  13. That’s it, you’re all done! Each week Mobile Security & AV will scan your device to make sure it’s healthy. NOTE: all of the other features provided in this App are, by and large, useless. This is a wonderful App when it comes to identifying security problems, everything else is (mostly) an attempt at getting you to spend money. Don’t.