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How to remove a virus from Android

Dec 06, 2019 · 3 min read

How to remove a virus from Android

Is your phone or tablet acting weird? Does the battery drain suspiciously fast? Maybe some apps on your phone have suddenly started crashing. These might be signs of Android malware. It’s no secret that Android devices can be quite vulnerable to various cyberthreats around the web. Fortunately, most Android malware is easy to remove — just read our tutorial below.

What is Android malware?

While the words virus and malware are often used interchangeably, they do have different meanings. Viruses are programs designed to spread themselves to other devices. Malware includes all kinds of malicious software including viruses, spyware, trojans, adware, and so on.

Usually, you can get malware on your phone by downloading infected apps from unreliable sources. It can be apps from third-party stores, opening phishing emails, using unsecured Wi-Fi, or browsing untrustworthy websites. On rare occasions, some malicious apps can get past Google Play’s filters, so be sure to research the app before installing anything.

What are the signs of malware?

Some of the signs of malware on your phone are:

  • Poor device performance
  • Apps unexpectedly crashing
  • Sluggish internet connection
  • Battery drains too quickly
  • Unexplained data usage
  • Weird charges on phone bills
  • Barrage of pop-up ads

You should keep in mind that some of these symptoms can just mean your device is simply overloaded with junk. Try to get rid of the apps you’re not using and clear your browser and app caches to improve performance.

You can also perform an android virus scan to check if it’s malware. But just like with any other app you’re about to download onto your device, we recommend doing some research so you don’t wind up downloading malware instead!

How to remove malware from your Android device

Getting an Android virus removal app can make things easier, but before downloading more stuff onto your phone, you can try to do it yourself. Here are the steps to remove malware from your phone, but keep in mind that some steps may vary depending on your device:

  1. Restart your phone in safe mode. The instructions might be different for every phone, so if you don't know how to do this, consult your manual or the internet.
  2. restart-phone-in-safe-modesafe-mode

  3. Find the suspected malicious app in your Settings menu.
  4. go-to-settingsgo-to-apps

  5. Uninstall the app.
  6. uninstall-the-app

  7. If you find any apps you don’t remember downloading, uninstall them too, since they might be infected.

Some malware is more cunning, so in some cases it will give itself administrator rights. Don’t worry, you can fix this with a few short steps:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Choose Biometrics and security.
  3. biometrics-and-security

  4. Choose Other security settings.
  5. other-security-settings

  6. Tap Device admin apps.
  7. device-admin-apps

  8. Untick the box next to the malicious app.
  9. how to delete android virus 718x404 admin rights 4

Should the malware problems persist, you may need to restore your device to factory settings. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Go to your device’s Settings.
  2. Tap on General management.
  3. tap-general-settings

  4. Choose the Reset option.
  5. tap-reset

  6. Tap the Factory data reset button.
  7. tap-factory-reset

How to prevent malware in the future

The fact that your phone survived this malware does not mean that the next malicious app on your phone won’t do more damage. Follow these tips in the future to avoid doing any real damage to your device:

  • Keep Android OS up to date. Developers find and patch new vulnerabilities every day before cybercriminals can do significant damage. Yet many devices still get exploited just because the operating system is not up to date.
  • Avoid rooting your phone. While rooting your phone — gaining root access to your android device — can seem handy, it can also leave your device seriously vulnerable.
  • Don’t download apps from third-party stores. Google Play is the safest place to download from, since the apps are rigorously checked before becoming available.
  • Do your research. Some apps do slip past the Google Play filters, so research what you install on your device beforehand.
  • Check app permissions. Whether you’re downloading from Google Play or a third party service, always check what kind of access the app needs on your device. If a weather app needs permission to access your contacts, chances are something fishy is going on.
  • Use NordVPN. NordVPN safeguards your internet connection. It also has a CyberSec feature, which will prevent you from visiting websites known for malware.
  • Install an Android malware scanner. Get a trustworthy app that will keep tabs on the latest security vulnerabilities for you. Especially if you’re one to surf the web on the darker corners of the internet.

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Sybil Andrea
Sybil Andrea successVerified author

Sybil spends her days browsing the net, which is where she started to learn about cyber security. She believes that everyone should have the right to go online safely, so now she shares her insights as a NordVPN content writer.

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