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Is your Android phone suddenly glitching and unbearably slow? Do you suspect that a virus or malware may have infected it? If the answer is yes, you might find the following information helpful.
Smartphones have slowly taken over from laptops, desktops, and tablets when it comes to usage and storing personal information. Stored data may include photos, scanned documents, contact details of family members and associates, text messages, and even credit card information.
With the increasing rate of cybercrime today, malware is more common than ever. Once you install programs or apps containing malware, perpetrators gain access to data on your device and monitor your online activity. Culprits may even use the personal data retrieved for more extreme offenses like identity theft.
In this guide, we will focus on Android devices and shed light on malware, how to check if your phone has a virus, and how to manually remove the virus from your Android phone.
What Is Malware?
Malware is malicious software created to cause harm or steal sensitive data from devices; data later used to make revenue. Malware may come in through apps downloaded on a device or from ads and web pages visited.
There are different types of malware such as viruses, Trojan viruses, spyware, ransomware, worms, browser hijackers, and overwrite viruses. Malware types differ depending on the specific aim they were created to achieve. We will focus on removing viruses from Android phones because they are the most targeted mobile devices.
Viruses are common on mobile devices as they can multiply themselves and easily transmit to other devices. Google has taken some steps to reduce the rate at which apps containing viruses and other malware are made available on the PlayStore by taking such apps down.
Suppose you don’t detect malware early enough on your Android device. In that case, the perpetrator, over time, can gather sufficient information that could enable them to access your bank accounts. Nobody wants to be in that situation, so it’s vital to learn how to detect if your Android phone has a virus.
Common Android Virus Symptoms
If you constantly use an Android phone, you will notice a decline in its performance when there is a virus.
Some Android virus symptoms you may notice are:
- Slow speed and reduced performance of the phone
- Strange apps you do not remember downloading
- Increased battery drainage
- Presence of adware and unsolicited web pages
- Constant app crashes
- Excess data consumption
- Increased phone bill
- Frequent overheating from malware constantly running in the background
How to Check if Your Android Phone Has a Virus
After you notice any Android virus symptoms, the next step should be confirming that these symptoms are the effect of a virus.
Conduct an Antivirus Scan
The most common and effective way to check for viruses on an Android phone is to run an antivirus scan with antivirus software that’s compatible with your system.
Antivirus software may be free or paid, depending on the features and effectiveness you’re looking for. Paid options tend to be more practical because they have added features that ensure the software doesn’t overlook any vulnerabilities while performing scans. Good antivirus software not only scans but also removes detected viruses.
You can either conduct research or speak to a professional when deciding on the most compatible antivirus software to purchase. Incomplete scans will still leave your Android phone vulnerable and give you an unrealistic sense of security. If antivirus software is not an option, don’t panic; later we will explain how to get rid of viruses or malware on Android.
Check Your Phone’s Battery Consumption Details
Battery consumption shows how much battery life goes into the use of each app. Where an unused app shows high battery life consumption, the chances are it has a virus running in the background and should be uninstalled. If you recently or fully charged your device, it’s best to check your battery consumption an hour or two later.
On your Android phone, go to Settings, then Device care, and then Battery.
Check Your Phone’s Data Consumption
Data consumption will likely increase once a virus or malicious apps are running in the background. It would be best to uninstall any suspicious apps with high data consumption rates.
On your Android phone, go to Settings, click on Connections and tap Data usage, then Mobile data usage / Wi-Fi data usage.
Now that you know how to check if your phone has a virus, the next step is learning how to remove the virus from Android manually.
How to Remove Viruses From Your Android Phone Manually
Once you have identified the cause of the issue, you can move on to the following options:
Option 1: Clear browser cache
Cache clearing is effective for pop-up ads on browsers and other apps. The steps to follow are:
Step 1: Launch the browser on your Android phone, for example, Google Chrome.
Step 2: Click on the three dots at the top-right corner of the screen, select Settings, select Privacy and security, clear Browsing data, check the box that says Cached images and files, and click Clear data.
Option 2: Application uninstallation in safe mode
When an Android device goes into safe mode, all third-party apps and malware become disabled and stop running. For this option, you will need to follow the steps below.
Step 1: Switch the phone to Safe mode by pressing and holding the Power button to reveal the Power off option.
Step 2: Long-press the revealed Power off option for about two seconds.
Step 3: Tap OK when prompted to confirm reboot to Safe mode.
Step 4: Once in Safe mode, confirm that the issues noticed before the reboot are no longer detected. If your device works faster than it did before the reboot, it’s further confirmation you should remove the virus from your Android phone manually.
Step 5: Go to Settings, then Apps to uninstall any suspicious apps downloaded since you noticed the Android virus symptoms. Some malicious apps will disable the Uninstall button, which can be resolved by removing the app’s administrative privileges.
Step 6: Go to Settings, then Biometrics and security. Click on Other security settings and then Device admin apps. The path might differ depending on the Android OS version or device, but the goal is to find the Device administrator option. On most Android devices, you could search for device administrator in the settings menu. If the suspicious app is listed amongst the administrators, make sure the box beside it is unchecked, then select Deactivate.
Step 7: The Uninstall button of the malicious app should now be responsive, and you can go ahead and uninstall the malware.
Step 8: Go to your Downloads folder, find and delete the malicious app’s .apk installation file.
Step 9: Restart your phone normally and confirm that the Android virus symptoms have been resolved.
Option 3: Reset your Android phone
Restoring your phone to factory settings can also help remove viruses. A factory reset restores the Android phone to its initial state. All apps and app data will be deleted after the reset is done, so it is advised that you perform a backup of files before proceeding.
Step 1: Go to Settings, find the General management button and click Reset. Then find Factory data reset and tap Reset Device.
Step 2: Enter the device password when prompted.
Step 3: Reboot the device (the reboot should start automatically after inputting the device password) and complete the phone setup.
Step 4: If you consistently backed up your phone before you began to clean the phone of viruses, you might want to restore the last backup you did before noticing the symptoms.
Android phones have been among the most targeted devices by cybercrime. Users should practice more caution, always install antivirus software on their phone and be mindful of the sources of apps they download. Google PlayStore is your safest bet for downloading apps but make sure to read the users’ reviews.
You should also exercise caution with the web pages you visit and links you click on. Links too can be infected, so pay close attention to their spelling and even letter cases, especially with visually similar characters.
When sharing files, devices can infect one another, so it is best to ensure that the devices you receive or transfer files to are virus-free. In this article, you may have learned how to remove viruses from Android manually, but you still should practice caution.