Having to deal with a spyware infection on your phone is an unpleasant experience no Android user looks forward to. Your otherwise functional phone may randomly open strange browser tabs, lose battery power quickly or even become totally unusable. And let’s not even get into potentially getting your personal data stolen.
If you’ve ever found yourself in this situation and want to know how to detect spyware on your phone, the anti-spyware apps can help find and remove pesky malware.
A large percentage of spyware infections come from apps available on third-party stores. However, research reveals that a couple of Play Store apps are also culpable. Apps like Xender, Amber Weather Widget, Z Camera, and Touchpal have been used to spread potentially unwanted spyware in the past.
Some of the most common types of spyware you’ll find in the Google Play Store today are Pegasus, DroidJack, TiSpy, and SpyHuman. Pegasus is the most notorious of them, capable of hijacking your Android device.
The major challenge with spyware is that most antivirus programs hardly detect them as malicious. A dedicated spyware detector is necessary. Here’s our 5 best Spyware detection app for Android that will help you locate and remove spyware from your Android device.
1. Malwarebytes Security
For those who are not willing to compromise on their device’s security, Malwarebytes is the perfect option for you. It is one of the most trusted and reputable names in the security industry. They bring the same top-notch anti-spyware detection and removal that they are famous for on Windows to Android.
The Malwarebytes Setup Wizard makes the process of app installation, device scan and spyware removal simple. The free version will detect and remove all known spyware.
The Premium version will scan incoming messages and immediately blocks malicious URLs. Think of it as immunizing your phone from any future spyware from infiltrating your phone. You can try the premium version for free for 30 days. Afterward, a monthly subscription of $1.3 is required—a reasonable fee for the level of protection from spyware it offers.
2. Anti Spy (SpyWare Removal)
Our most recommended option if you’re looking for the best free anti-spyware app for Android. The major downside to it is the presence of rather intrusive ads. Otherwise, this anti-spyware app for Android gets the job done.
The key feature that we liked the most is that Anti Spy audits apps with access to the Active Device Administrator, which controls the critical functions of your Android devices. It then goes on not only to detect and remove all the malicious spyware but also to whitelist the trusted apps.
3. Incognito – Spyware Removal by Arcane Solutions
If you’re looking to find hidden spyware on your Android, Incognito brings a no-nonsense approach to the table. Its anti-spyware detection is highly specialized. The free version of incognito executes two functions: 1) it finds a malicious file and 2) eliminates it.
The developer, Arcane Solutions, boasts a team of ex-military, government and private-sector cybersecurity experts with more than 50 years of combined experience. At $0.37 per month, you can purchase a pro-version subscription which enables real-time protection against spyware apps. A pro subscription also provides an ad-free experience.
4. Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus
Kaspersky is one of the popular names with many tech users when it comes to cybersecurity. One will, therefore, wonder why it ranks much lower than expected. But as earlier stated, most mainstream antivirus apps have a hard time detecting spyware.
Even though Kaspersky Mobile doesn’t offer an individual spyware detection and removal feature, its standard virus scanning can discover most spyware files. The app allows you to select between three scanning options: quick scan, full scan, and folder scan. For the most efficient results, a full scan is recommended. With a 4.8 rating from more than 3 million reviews on Play Market, Kaspersky is a reliable choice to bank on when your Android device is infected with Spyware. After a one-month free trial, the user can opt for a monthly subscription starting from $1.3.
5. Avast Mobile Security
Another well-known antivirus app, Avast can successfully detect unwanted spyware and viruses. With Avast’s standard scanning, the app, more often than not, can detect all sorts of malware files—spyware included.
Avast’s major strength is in its ability to run seamlessly in the background to eliminate all potentially harmful spyware before they’re downloaded. In AV-Test’s evaluations of Android security products, the app performed better than its competition detecting 100% of the malware threats thrown at it.
The “Ultimate-Multi” plan is feature-rich but will set you back $27.99 every month – which makes it the most expensive solution on this list. However, there’s an alternative “Ultimate” plan which costs $8.49 for the monthly subscription.
Two honorable mentions go to Bitdefender Antivirus and Norton Mobile Security. These two apps are great all-round anti-spyware and anti-virus for your Android device. Bitdefender, in particular, is backed by expert Android cybersecurity authorities. It is well praised for its unparalleled detection and performance. On the other hand, the Norton app is easy to navigate and comes with an additional junk cleaner.
The best way to ensure the security of your Android device is to steer clear of downloading and installing apps from unknown sources. Stick to Google Play Protected apps and use one of the spyware detection and removal apps on our list to keep your Android device free from unwanted malware.