Do you need antivirus for mobile phones

When smartphones came into the scene, people assumed that they were a replacement for desktop computers. It could be true given the fact that mobile devices can now accomplish most of the tasks which were traditionally exclusive to desktop computers. Ignoring their capabilities, are mobile devices as susceptible to viruses and malware threats as their desktop counterparts? In other words, is antivirus for mobile phones essential?

Android and iOS are the two most popular mobile platforms in the world today. The architecture of these Operating Systems is designed to independently deter virus and malware without necessarily obliging the user to install antivirus software. Users should note that there is a huge difference between the unpopular viruses which gave headache to Mac and PC users and malware. While viruses spread themselves, it is not possible for malware to reside on your device unless you install in on your own accord. App repositories like Google Play and Apple’s App Store censor apps before they are available for download by users. It therefore follows that as long as you download your apps from trustworthy sources, you should be safe.

Many antivirus companies are spreading the idea that Google Play has a lot of malicious applications. This is not true considering the strategies Google has kept in place to ensure the safety of Android users. The companies just want to you to get anxious about something bad happening to your mobile phone which will of course prompts you to purchase their software. So let’s get back to our question.

Do you need antivirus for your mobile phone?

Whether or not you need to protect your phone using antivirus depends on how you intend to use it. If you won’t use it to store most of your personal information and do not intend to install applications from untrusted third party sources, you can do without antivirus software. If you are more after keeping safe from people who might want to intrude into your privacy, consider VPN solution or protection software like Avast Mobile Security which deters any data theft attempts.

Are there downsides to installing antivirus software on your mobile phone?

Most experts agree that there are no benefits whatsoever to antivirus software package on your mobile phone unless you want safety from data theft and other threats of the kind. Android and iOS operating systems have sufficient security; installing an antivirus has the following downsides.

Powerful antivirus software or deemed so can never be free. If you are going to install it, you will have to pay yet it is not of such a great significance unless it comes with additional features like anti-theft and data-backup.

Apart from inevitable cost, antivirus software is expected to always run in the background. This of course takes away some of your device’s processing power.

Another problem with antivirus software on mobile devices is that most give false positives. This is to say that your antivirus could continuously warn you of an app containing malicious code even though it is legitimate.

Anti-virus for mobile phones is not a dire necessity unless it is bundled together with anti-theft and backup packages.

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39 Responses

  1. GenevB says:

    I don’t we should waste our phone resources on antivirus as what’s out on the market yet is simply left behind. If someone who knows a little about hacking really wants to get access to your smartphone, it shall find a way even if you have an antivirus or not. So if you ask me it isn’t worth the time. Only when there will be only smartphones with resources like computers have nowadays, we could talk about security on them, they would have the necessarily resources in order to run smooth with a very good developed antivirus program running in background.

  2. Vari says:

    I do not even have antivirus on my computer. In my opinion, antivirus programs and initiatives only serve to slow the computer down, and baby the person who is using it. The best antivirus program out there is common sense. Don’t download or install something that looks suspicious. Be smart. Use your head.

    • Shekia says:

      I agree, although somethings may not seem so “suspicious”. It may seem innocent as possible, you’re right though. Some people need to be careful with what they download.

  3. Jasmine2015 says:

    I wouldn’t worry about an anti virus protection. I could see if it was for business reasons but I don’t own a business. All I have is basic contacts and games like Candy Crush. I have never had my info hacked before. As a matter of fact in order to download apps outside of Google Play, you would have to go into your settings and change it .

    • Kavon says:

      That’s pretty bold to not be using any antivirus software. If you don’t have any important information on your phone and you’re just using it to play games, then perhaps you don’t need it. But be aware that there are many types of malware that can very easily steal passwords of your accounts. For example, social media accounts that you’re accessing with your phone. Why not just download free software like Malwarebytes? You can just keep it on your phone and do some scans once in a while, just to be sure.

  4. adees26 says:

    Well an antivirus would be great for a smart phone. Let me rephrase that, it is great for an android phone. With the I-phones Apple keeps such a tight control on who is allowed on the app store that it would be near impossible to get a virus. Near impossible to get a virus on an I-phone does not mean it is not possible, but highly unlikely. Now on Android devices, they are more like a computer and can be manipulated in many way. That is why I feel they should have an anti-virus.

  5. HayheySnall says:

    I don’t really feel like my phone would need any anti-virus. I can understand for computers where there’s more risk online, but I feel like phones are safe enough unless you’re doing something you shouldn’t be.

    • Kavon says:

      A lot of people don’t use antivirus software until after they have an account password stolen, or something similar. Did you know that you can have malware installed on your phone just by opening an email? I think that in this day and age, everyone should be using some form of anti-virus software. Users of Android phones should definitely be using such software, but IPhones are also vulnerable.

  6. michaelrydell says:

    I can see if someone had a modded phone where you could download apps that have not gone through any type of security clearing. I would be a little concerned about having my data intercepted, from something like a credit score app, or maybe something else. Banking apps must have their own security built in, but how long until someone develops a key logger feed through a bad app, possibly a link? I’m jot really sure, but maybe the need for mobile security will increase. I like the idea of it being bundled anti theft and backup packages like the author stated.

  7. troutman says:

    Most users don’t necessarily need antivirus protection on their phones, however; certain security measures should be taken nonetheless. An individual should avoid installing third-party applications from untrusted sources, and it never hurts to encrypt a device for added protection. Perhaps even more importantly, a user should never open texts from an unknown sender, and malicious websites or emails should be avoided on mobile, too.

  8. cnunamaker1 says:

    I do not think that I need an antivirus program on my phone. I can understand why computers use antivirus programs because they are used for a lot more than a phone. Computers are more heavily used for searching and looking on random websites, where phone are not. So with that being said maybe it depends on what you use your cellphone for. Phones were basically built to protect your information unless you are using it the wrong way.

  9. Marzung says:

    I for one do not have an antivirus for my phone. In my opinion it is not needed as much as you said in your post most phones already have it built in but than again I try not to do many online purchases or banking activities on my phone nor do I have any business related activities to do on it. Like a user said above one of the best antivirus is common sense. Dont download anything that looks fishy.

  10. Drecraw says:

    I would never even consider getting anti-virus software for my phone because I’ve never known phones to even get viruses. Even after reading this article I still wouldn’t consider getting anti-virus software for my phone. I don’t even like getting the software for my computer because it’s extremely expensive and unnecessary. In my opinion, I just don’t like anti-virus software, I know it has a job to do and it serves a purpose but it’s far too expense for my taste.

  11. Tipes says:

    I’m not really worried about antivirus very much. Maybe for my computer and laptop, but not for my phone. The reason is simply because I don’t do much with it other than call, text, and maybe email. On occasion I’ll download a game or two for entertainment, but even those I make sure to read reviews. Plus, I use play store so I don’t think I’m at a high risk of getting spam. I mean those that do get virus on their phone is probably through the internet or are using the black market type of play store. Then that is not using your head and you will probably get arrested, if caught. Also, I agree with the lot of you that antivirus does slow down your computer. You are better off with you computer firewall up and checking occasionally for hackers.

  12. lachris15 says:

    I was just thinking about this. I always see ads for different mobile antivirus products but I do not really think it is necessary. I tried a free one and I hated it. Maybe because it was free and it did not really do anything. It keep blocking me from getting on a lot of sites that I normally do that. I compared it to the one I have on the computer, which I also hate, but it seemed like a lot of work. I agree that it will bring down the battery and make it slower, even the paid one, because it will always be running. I do not download outside apps so I do not think that I have to worry that much.

  13. Nox says:

    I completely agree, anti-viral software unless bundled with an additional feature like anti-theft technology is a waste of storage space on a mobile phone. While I have heard of instances where individuals had “issues” with malware, these were all relatively minor cases. This article was a great overview on the topic, who knows maybe it was because it solidified everything I thought I knew about the matter 🙂

  14. martindrox says:

    I don’t think anyone should get antivirus on their phone because phones aren’t targeted by viruses as much as laptops. And how you’re gonna get a virus on your phone, it’s kinda hard to get such things on phones, and yes antivirus may take a lot of your RAM which will cause to slow the phone and no one wants that.

  15. madbunnyXD says:

    I only use antivirus on my PC. I don’t think it’s necessary on my phone, I just know what stuff to avoid to keep my smart phone safe. I do like the antivirus bundles though most of of them have something like a battery saver which oddly consumes more power.

    The only thing I’m worried about phone security is having my data hacked. Or people accessing sensitive information. I don’t think I need antivirus for that.

  16. Diane Lane says:

    I used iOS for years, and didn’t worry about getting viruses because I’d heard that Apple was vigilant about keeping a lid on security. I recently switched to Android, and have been somewhat concerned about this issue, so I’m glad I came across this article. I don’t need anything to slow down my system, and didn’t really want to purchase anti-virus software, so I’m glad to read that it seems unnecessary at this point in time.

  17. Jose Moreno says:

    The best antivirus is the common sense. Well, it works for me. As long as you only download apps from the Google Play Store and not some “free cracked apk download” store/website, you should be fine.

    Summary: The only vulnerability is the user.

  18. nytegeek says:

    Android, iOS, Linux, OS X, and any BSD are essentially Unix derivatives. Unix derivatives sandbox applications and require permissions settings for access to sensitive data. Malware has an uphill battle to begin with on any of these systems. Don’t root or jailbreak your device and only sideload apps from reliable trustworthy sources if you are going to do it.

  19. Martin says:

    A lot of anti-virus programs nowadays come in bundles, where you can get anti-virus for your computer and phone. Therefore, you would probably also choose to have an anti-virus program for your phone. And in my opinion, this is necessary. Our phones contain more and more personal data like bank accounts and it becoming more dangerous to have an unprotected phone. And no, it is not as simple as “don’t download anything that looks suspicious”.

  20. crissyfit1 says:

    I’ve never ever had an AntiVirus on my phone. I’ve had different brands of smartphones; old and new ones. Just to be 100% careful I do make sure I quickly exit out of pages I see pop up and that I never searched for. If you have average knowledge about smartphones I think you will be fine without it. Now a computer on the other hand, that’s different. I don’t care what anyone says, I think everyone should invest in the most basic of AntiVirus for your computer. You really just have to be careful of what you download.

  21. PhoneHome says:

    I must admit I’ve never had anti-virus protection on my mobile phones although I do use it on both my computers and tablets. This blog post and the comments it’s generated reassure me that I need not worry about it, since my phone’s not rooted and I have very few apps installed. It’s a sad thing, but the phone comes with so many pre-installed apps (most of which I never use) that there’s very little room for anything else. I’ve removed everything I can remove and transferred every thing I can to the memory card but it’s still painful!

  22. Elfprincess says:

    How can an antivirus not be a necessity?
    When I got a new phone, I instantly downloaded avast, but forgot to click on the icon and activate it.
    I’ve used a phone without any kind of protection for over a week. Guess what? I got a nasty virus that used google search as a nest. I spent an entire day trying to remove it.
    I would recommend everyone to download an antivirus. It’s better to be safe than sorry, believe me.

  23. valedevento says:

    Thanks for this information, I have a virus scanner on my smartphone. I run it only once a week or less and I never found a virus. After reading this, I know I don’t have to buy expensive antivirus software. It would only slow the rest of the applications down.

  24. ikarosalpha says:

    While it’s true that decent virus protection for mobile costs quite a bit, the main thing holding me back from protecting my device is the fact that it will always be running in the background.
    I also have a lot of third party apps installed, so it might go nuts. Furthermore, I use specific software to install apps and browse my data, which needs SuperUser access. This might also trigger false alarms.

  25. aquaticneko says:

    Virus protection for an apple device seems a little pointless. So many apps are monitored by the apple store it is almost pointless to even have one. As for android phones, these are completely up to the user. My brother’s phone is actively connected to his computer, he puts stuff onto his phone, its basically, his USB. In his case, I would definitely feel the need to have one, except that he has great knowledge with viruses, etc cleans computers for a living. Therefore, I’m not worried. He knows what he’s doing. This was just as example. It really depends on the user. Often cases, I think it is better to control what computer is connected to your device, since with such poor battery life already, I doubt you want to sacrifice more.

  26. lgmini93 says:

    I do not afraid of viruses as in spying on me, or stealing my contacts. More like my phone is keep freezing and full of unnecessary files, amongst them viruses too, i guess.

    I usually us clean-master, maybe I should try the antivirus from them.

  27. Fermin420 says:

    I’ve found haven an antivirus is great if you’re a developer constantly installing custom ROMs and other kinds of unofficial software. Of course there won’t be a risk of getting malware if you’re only downloading from google play, but that’s not the case of the vast majority of tech savvy android users who gravitate toward developing and all sorta unofficial software using.

  28. Snarya says:

    I’ve always been careful about the informations I keep on my mobile phone so I haven’t feel the need to install an antivirus on my device. I feel an antivirus would only slow down my phone without really protecting my data, I think that if a good hacker is set upon hacking my phone, he could do it with or without antivirus. I follow some basic rules to ensure my digital safety: I never visit shady websites, I make sure to not type any password or any personal data if I’m using a public wi-fi network, I always make sure to verify the source of any file I open and I download apps only from the official stores. I think that as long as I will continue to do so, my phone and my precious data will be safe. My desktop on the other hand is heavily protected with antivirus and antimalware, I keep some sensitive data on it and I think it’s better to be safe than sorry.

  29. Novelangel says:

    I think that anti-virus apps only take up memory on mobile devices and should pretty much be left alone. In my opinion, however, you really can’t do everything on a phone that you can do say, on a desktop. Typing, for one thing, if you do a lot of that, is very slow if not nearly impossible on those tiny keyboards, using our fat fingers to tap out the words. For this reason alone, I do most of my internet work on my desktop computer, and save the phone for random emails and searches. I just don’t see how an anti-virus program would be overly beneficial to a smart phone internet user.

  30. Smithee says:

    Someone I know who was terrified that his device would be infected with malware and viruses, downloaded an anti-virus and installed it on his android device. Thing though is he didn’t get the app on Google Play. The app had been bundled with ransomware which locked his phone. He had to uninstall the OS and from then on he hardly ever installs any apps on his android device.

    I believe that if someone downloads only apps which “everyone else uses” from Google Play, viruses shouldn’t concern them. I’ve never installed an anti-virus on my phones and not once has any of them been infected.

  31. wameyo says:

    Thanks for the heads up on this. I actually though that a smart phone has to have an antivirus for maximum protection. For now I’ll keep the antivirus just because it has an anti-theft feature but the next time my phone hangs I know which application I can do away with first.

  32. pyral says:

    Mostly it depends on what kind of phone you have. If your running IOS I wouldn’t be concerned as its built-in security is pretty air-tight (although if you do a lot of banking or something it couldn’t hurt). However, if were talking Android or Windows phones I would say its definitely worth it since these are a bit less secure. Don’t believe the people here saying antivirus isn’t worth it especially since theres free ones out there, its dangerous out there.

  33. arunava2016 says:

    It is absolutely necessary to have a good antivirus installed on your phone and there should be no second thought about it. It is not only necessary to prevent data theft, it is a must have to get your software running smoothly. I have been a victim myself and I had to reinstall my software more than once because of virus affects. So, please have your antivirus and be safe and trouble free.

  34. turnb43 says:

    Personally I don’t bother with an anti-virus on my phone. I believe really as long as you use trusted, known sites you really do not have a great deal to worry about. Not downloading dodgy files is the first and most important step that a lot of people overlook, so far I haven’t had any problems.

  35. FFExplorer says:

    I personally don’t use an antivirus on my phone (Android, Asus Zenfone 2), though the thought has crossed my mind before. I’ve never met anyone who’s phone has been infected by any sort of virus or malware, to be honest, I just don’t see any pressing need.

  36. Lamb0 says:

    True. The important features of an antivirus are only available in pro versions. If you want an antivirus or in need of one because of your online activities, you really would have to pay. But for those who doesn’t want to pay, a free antivirus wouldn’t do much if you are not careful with your online activities.

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