How to Remove Malware from Android Devices: 8 Easy Steps

A smartphone is the most used device. It has become a hub for storing critical information. You store contact details, payment details, and other similar information in it. Thus, it has become equally crucial to protect it from malware attacks.

You’d be surprised at how easy it is to infect your phone with malware. It can come in the form of an email, a pop-up to the wrong website, and many other similar ways.

There’s no need to panic. You have ways to safeguard your phone and prevent future infestation. How’s that? This ultimate guide sums up all the methods, tips, and tricks to help you protect your phone. Here’s how to remove malware from Android devices?

Signs Of Malware Infestation

How to remove malware from android 
- Graphic describing malware in settings

Here are a couple of points for you to check. These are all ‘potential’ signs that you have a malware problem. It could also be adware, spyware, or a similar problem. So, keep your eyes out if: 

  • Your device has started to overheat frequently. Yes, outdated software and lower specs can also lead to this problem. But that’s only while using resource-extensive apps. If your phone is overheating all the time or way faster, this could be a sign.
  • Check for the battery status and see how fast it drains. Has it started draining faster than the software tells you? For instance, it might tell you that the battery will last 5 hours. But, it ends up draining in two hours instead. This could be a malware problem.
  • One of the surefire ways to tell malware or spyware is in your phone is through pop-ups. A phone doesn’t have pop-up ads by default. But, if you see them frequently on various websites, it means something is wrong.
  • Personalized advertisements are acceptable. But do you encounter ads that seem too performance? To the point that they appear borderline creepy. If that’s the case, check for the malware infestation.
  • If your phone isn’t outdated but still performs slower, hangs, or restarts, it could be a malware issue. A decline in a phone’s performance even though it shouldn’t is a sign of malware.
  • Similarly, if apps are taking too long to download or update. If you end up in frequent apps and system crashes, there could be a malware problem.
  • You didn’t subscribe to various plans and packages, but you still get charged for them. This happened without your notice. Specifically, it is related to your phone bills. They are charging you way extra for various packages. This could be a malware problem.
  • Another leading symptom is when the phone is consuming too much data. Either that, or it has significantly slow internet speed. If you have a slower net than your package or consume more data than you initially browse, check for malware.
  • If your device is rooted, you have to be more careful. Otherwise, you will run into problems.

Check Or Change The Phone If:

graphics showing modifications and repairs to a phone
  • You stop receiving updates for the phone, apps, and OS. This happens when you have a ‘too-outdated’ or ‘incompatible’ phone. This shouldn’t be an issue if you recently bought a new phone. But, if you have an older phone, this could be the reason. It is time for you to change the phone or get it looked at.
  • If you’re trying to update the OS but failing for some reason, get the phone checked. Maybe you have the correct specifications and compatibility. Still, you fail to download the OS. This means there could be some foreign agent, like malware, preventing it.

How To Remove Malware On Android Phone (Navigation)

  1. Use Built-In Device Care
  2. Use The Google Play Protect
  3. Use The Safe Mode
  4. Uninstall The Apps You Suspect
  5. Check For The Updates
  6. Use A Premium Mobile Security
  7. Clear The Cache And Other Data
  8. Don’t Visit Shady Or Unfamiliar Links 

How To Check And Remove Malware On Android Devices

1. Use Built-In Device Care

Device care in samsung showing results

Almost every smartphone comes with a built-in device care app. There’s no need for you to rely on third-party maintenance tools anymore. You can use this app to check for the security of your phone. It is not a surefire way, but certainly better than doing nothing:

  • Typically, you will find Device Care in the Settings of your Phone.
  • Once you go to the Settings, you can use the magnifying glass icon. It allows you to search for the Settings.
  • Try to find a Device Care program. If there is one, click on it to launch it. Allow it to scan and configure your phone.
  • See if anything turns up on the device care app.

If not, then you can go ahead and use the Google Play Protect feature.

2. Use The Google Play Protect

Google play protect in Google Play Store showing no harmful apps found

The Google Play Protect is a brilliant security tool. There’s no need for you to use an antivirus if you have it. Well, you don’t need free antiviruses and maintenance tools. Google Play Protect will take care of most things for you. But, if you want to get premium antivirus, go for it. They will always help you out. With that being said, here’s how you use Google Play Protect: 

  • Find and launch the Google Play Store on your Android.
  • Next, you can see your Face Icon or user account in the top-right corner. Click on it. This will open various options, like a Menu.
  • Find Play Protection from the options. Click on it. There should be automatic scanning, and it will show you ‘No harmful apps found.’
  • If you’re unsure, there is a ‘Scan’ button. Right below it, you can click on it. This will scan your phone for any potentially harmful app or content.

Make sure to check that the automatic scanning option is active. For that, click on the gear icon in the top-right corner of Play Protect. In there:

  • Enable the ‘Scan apps with play protect’ option.
  • Enable ‘Improve harmful app detection.’

Both of these options will reinforce your device’s security.

3. Use The Safe Mode

Safe mode option and warning in android device

Yes, there is a safe mode available on your Smartphone. It works the same way as you would know Windows OS to work. You can use it to control any third-party app and service. Thus, you can turn off any of those to check things out.

In a safe mode, your phone will look basic. It won’t be customized or anything like that. The screen and theme will be basic, so don’t worry.

In some cases, widgets and such get removed. Some apps may end up eliminating shortcuts on the home screen. So, you might have to apply these again after fixing the issue.

  • Go ahead and hold the power button of your phone. It is usually at the side of the phone. Wait until you get a prompt to Power Off, Restart, and such.
  • Hold on to the ‘Power Off’ option. As you do so, keep holding it. A new option will open up for you in a few seconds, known as Safe Mode.
  • Click on it and then press OK. This will reboot your phone in Safe Mode. Try again if you don’t see some sign that you’ve launched in Safe Mode (like a watermark).
  • No, go to the Settings of your device. Find the Apps option. Some devices have Apps & Notifications in one. Others come with a separate app section.
  • You will see almost every app installed on your phone. But, it is not currently active. You can go ahead and remove nearly any app. There might even be one or two suspicious apps. You can try and uninstall them as well.
  • If you can’t uninstall the app right away, try the Disable command first. It can ease things up for you.
  • In a rare case, you might not find a way to disable or uninstall the app. There’s a possibility that the app has admin permissions, somehow.
  • Go to your phone’s settings and search for ‘Device Admin Apps.’ In there, you will find all the apps that have admin permissions. Find the suspicious ones, and toggle them off.
  • You can then resume and try to uninstall the apps.

Remember that some phones might have a different way for Safe Boot. You might have to check your phone’s manual, or help and support, to reboot in the safe mode. The power-button method works in most Android phones.

4. Uninstall The Apps You Suspect

Android apps uninstall option

Of course, this is an obvious solution. You have probably tried it already. But there are some pointers, or checklists, that you should consider. These are more like the tips that you can use if you ever run into this problem again. You can also use these points to ensure that you maintain the best security for your phone:

A. Always Do Your Research

It is a wise choice to download from the Play Store. You should always download from an authentic source. But that’s not enough.

Sometimes, apps are hiding even in the Google Play Store that can harm your device.

Ergo, you should always check user reviews, and the time the app was posted. More importantly, check if it is active and receives updates. User reviews are one sure way always to download secure apps.

B. Stay Away From Deceptive Apps

At times, you will come across apps that feel genuine. Often, people download configuration or maintenance apps. Some even download ad blockers and some unknown VPN apps. There are people who even download apps that offer free content like videos, books, etc.

As a result, you end up exposing your phone to the risk of malware, ransomware, and other threats. So, make sure always to stay away from such deceptive apps. They might seem like they are doing the work, but they could be harming your phone, as well.

C. Uninstall Any Unknown App

If you want to secure your phone, it is a good habit to check the Apps once in a while. Make it a practice to check the app list. If you find any app, you don’t remember downloading. It is time to get rid of it.

There’s a huge possibility that the app is malware waiting for you to use or extract. If you ever encounter an unused or unknown app that you don’t remember downloading, remove it.

D. Uninstall Any Unwanted App

Many phone companies have started to use a method where a phone downloads some apps with updates. These are to make the phones more affordable. But, if you see that your phone is downloading too many unwanted apps, delete them. You might also want to change the permission for the phone. It is a good practice to prevent any unwanted or insecure app from installing on your phone.

E. Remove The Apps Barely Used Or Updated

Apps receive updates not just to improve features but to enhance security. If there’s an app you have not used in a long time, it is time to uninstall it. Mainly because you’re not going to use it anytime soon for any reason. If you feel the need, you can always install it later.

Similarly, if you run into an app that hasn’t been updated in a good while, uninstall it. That’s because there should’ve been some security patches and changes. Even if in a couple of months, there should be some updates for the app. If there aren’t any, it might not be active.

It could even lead to potential security breaches. So, make sure to uninstall such apps.

5. Check For The Updates

Downloading android update patch for January 1, 2022

There’s one surefire way always to remove malware from androids and prevent them. Your Android OS and apps undergo frequent updates. A lot of these might seem unnecessary. Most are to help you fix errors, bugs, and glitches. But, most also come with security patches.

This is especially true for Android OS. There have been significant improvements in Android security. Android 11 and the other latest OS are all about improved security. So, if you ever want to prevent malware, spyware, ransomware, and other contents, update.

Whether you have active Wifi connectivity or not, check for the updates. Ensure that you have the latest Android OS and up-to-date apps. These will prevent and take care of most malicious content for you. You won’t have to worry about anything else much.

6. Use A Premium Mobile Security

Searching for antivirus on Google Play Store results

Your Device Care, Google Play Protect, and updates should take care of the security. But, it doesn’t mean that your mobile is impenetrable. You can still reinforce the security of your device. For this, start with getting premium mobile security.

Much like your PC, your mobile can also use an antivirus. Yes, there is authentic antivirus available from credible companies. You can visit any of these and their official website to download them and use them. There can be a free trial, but make sure to subscribe to the premium-grade services. Otherwise, there’s no reason.

Free antivirus services are good only for essential protection. If you are installing an antivirus and anti-malware program, make sure to make it worthwhile. For that, subscribe to their premium packages.

  • If you can’t afford an antivirus program by yourself, ask a friend. Often, packages come with multiple device uses. So, you can share the cost with a friend or family to make it affordable.

7. Clear The Cache And Other Data

YouTube Music App Data Cache Total information for users to clear or delete

Almost every app has a cache and other stored data. If you can’t delete it or suspect it, you can delete the data. Deleting the data can often secure your phone. This way, if the app is the only one infected, it won’t spread to other parts of the device. 

  • In most androids, you can access extra information by long-pressing the app. When you do it, there will be an option to open app information. It is usually the small ‘i’ icon.
  • You can also go to the Settings > Apps of your device and click on any app.
  • You will see Cache Data and Storage Data, among other things.
  • Go ahead and click on Clear Cache and Clear Data buttons. Remember that using these will mean you will have to redownload or reprocess the data.
  • This is an excellent step to take once in a while, especially if there is some app messing with your system.

You can also follow these steps for your web browser. Go to the settings of your web browser and clear the browser data. By doing so, you will reinforce the security of your device. In most cases, this will prevent random popups, adware, and other similar elements.

8. Get Rid Of The Downloads

Downloads in an android device

You can download almost anything on your Android device. There are plenty of websites available. Nearly every app also downloads the content to your Android. As a result, you might not know when malware slips through.

It is a good practice to clear cached data and other stored data. But, you can also check the downloads on your mobile. There’s a separate download folder. You can go there and check for any unwanted downloads. If you find any, delete them.

Similarly, make sure to visit the download directory of your browsers for mobile. Even they might have the downloads you didn’t intend for. These can be suspicious, and it is better to get rid of them.

Tips To Help Keep Your Device Secure From Other Viruses

You’ve learned how to find and remove malware from your android device. But, there are still some other things for you to do. These pointers will help you reinforce the security of your device. You can further prevent future infestations if you keep these in mind.

These are in addition to the points given above. For example, keeping your device up to date and using antivirus is necessary. Apart from those, here are some other points that can help you out:

1. Use A VPN Service

VPNs help in reinforcing your internet security. They add anonymity to your connections. Many come with brilliant features and security additions. You can get extra encryption, instant internet cut, and much more. These help in keeping your device secure much more than you can think.

2. Set Secure Passwords

Try to set a password for the apps that are crucial for you. These can be the payment apps or the apps that have your financial information. If there are apps that use your card details, password-protect them. There are many other authentications like the latest two-step authentication. These will help reinforce the password and security of your devices.

3. Use A Password Manager

A password manager can help you keep track of most passwords you create. This is a good addition if you use different passwords for almost everything. A password manager is often secure and has a lot of security layers for any malware to infest.

Like that, you can prevent many apps from harming something essential for you.

4. Always Check App’s Permissions

The latest android OS comes with ease for you to control an app’s permission. You can go to the Apps section in the Settings. There, you can access each app and check the permissions it has.

You will get details of anything from a camera to a microphone. If permissions don’t make sense, you can change them. This is one of the best ways to keep security in check. It prevents malware, as well.

5. Don’t Connect To Unsecured Network Connection

Try to avoid connecting to publicly available wifi that doesn’t have passwords. Almost any hacker or third-party device could connect to these. Even if your device doesn’t have malware, someone else could have these.

So, try always to connect to secure network connections. This also applies to connecting with Bluetooth devices or accepting file transfers. Try to stick to secure options wherever possible.

6. Don’t Visit Shady Or Unfamiliar Links

Some people end up browsing content not allowed in their country. Others could even visit pirated or third-party websites. Often, these platforms are a hub for malware, adware, and other content. As a result, you will end up in more problems than you’d think.

Try to reduce your visit to such platforms and websites. Don’t give these websites any permissions, either. Go to your browser’s settings to ensure you didn’t allow any of these websites to do something.

Conclusion – How To Scan For Malware On Android?

This marks the end of the ultimate guide to scan and remove malware for android. You can also use these tips for other harmful content. Always try to keep your security up to date. For that, update your device and apps regularly. Don’t go too long without the updates.

Apart from that, invest in a credible security program. There are many available for you online. Make sure to subscribe and only download or use trusted websites. With that being said, have a secure experience.

After all, online security and android device security are more fragile than you think. Try always to make sure that you have the safest browsing experience. 

FAQs – How To Remove The Phone Malware

How To Check For Malware On An Android Tablet?

Almost every android device follows the same layout and methods. You can go to Google Play Protect or use the built-in device care option. If none of them work, you can use a premium antivirus tool. One of these options will work for malware. The symptoms of malware infestations are also the same. 

Can Android Phones Get Viruses?

Yes. Android phones can quickly get viruses. Mainly because they are not as well-protected as Windows. After all, people invest more into protecting the PC. But, they forget that even android devices are like computers. Thus, you will have to find a way to keep them protected, as well. 

How To Have A Safer Browsing Experience?

The best way to have a safer browsing experience is by getting a premium VPN service. Apart from that, use a trusted web browser. Always connected to secure Wifi and network connections. Don’t visit shady or untrusted websites. If you keep these points in mind, you will have a safer browsing experience. 

How To Manage Consent Settings?

Consent settings are the same as app permissions. The consent you give any app to access or make changes will be available in the app section. You can access the app section by going to the device’s settings. In there, you will find permissions for each app. You can go ahead and change them if needed.

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