Google has been pretty strict when it comes to the security of Android devices over the years. The search giant has taken several measures to ensure that the Play Store is free of malicious apps. However, this does not mean that the Android ecosystem is free from viruses. You can still find instances of users reporting viruses or malware on their devices. If you are facing similar issues, it’s easy to remove a virus from an Android phone.
Symptoms indicating your device is infected
Despite constant improvements to Play Protect, malicious apps somehow make their way into the Play Store occasionally. Apps on third-party sites are more likely to pose a security threat as Google does not purge these apps. Malware or viruses that come in such apps affect the performance of the phone. Such apps are a threat to your private data as well, such as credit card information, passwords and more.
You can use security and antivirus apps as well, but there is no 100% surety. These tools are useless if your device is already infected. Malicious apps often pose as free software, such as a new game or porn to encourage users to install them.
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Often users may not know that their device got infected, and slowly, the malware takes over. Symptoms that your device is infected with virus or malware include if your device is using too much data, working too slowly, serving up more ads than usual, draining the battery faster, and showing corrupted data. Unauthorized in-app purchases are also a sign of an infected device.
If your device displays one or more of these symptoms, then you should move fast to remove the viruses from your Android phone. Two ways to remove viruses from your Android phone are discussed below.
How to remove a virus from an Android phone
The easiest and the safest way to remove a virus from an Android phone is to reboot your smartphone in safe mode. Thereafter, you should uninstall the apps you think you haven’t installed. To reboot the phone in safe mode, press and hold the Power button and then hold Power off. Then on the “Reboot to safe mode” screen, tap “OK.”
Now that you have rebooted in safe mode, you should uninstall the unwanted apps.
- To do so, in safe mode, go to Settings and then Apps.
- Go through the apps list and look for apps that you didn’t download or that look suspicious. To remove an app, tap “Uninstall.”
- If the “Uninstall” button is greyed out, it means the app has administrator access. To remove admin access, go to Settings > Security > Device administrators. Deselect the apps you believe should not have admin access, and then uninstall those apps.
Hopefully, all the viruses and malware will be gone now. To exit safe mode, restart your device.
Surefire way to remove viruses
If even after using the above method, you feel your device still has malware, then your only option is to perform a factory reset. However, resetting the phone is not an easy thing as you will lose all your data and apps. Nonetheless, it’s your only other option, and it works against stalkerware as well. Stalkerware is a malware that is hard to detect.
Before you do a factory reset, it is recommended that you take a backup. Now follow these steps to do a factory reset:
- Go to the Settings app.
- Tap “System,” and then “Reset options,” followed by “Erase all data” (or factory reset). For some Android users, this option could be under Backup & reset.
- Enter your passcode and confirm your decision.
Your phone will now be factory reset. Once the process is done, restart your phone. You will have to restore the data and download all your apps again.
Precautions to keep your device safe
Now that you have performed a factory reset, your phone is as good as new as far as the software side is concerned. Therefore, you should take steps and precautions to keep it safe from new malware. Here are the measures you can take to keep your phone safe:
- Always keep your phone updated. You can check for new security updates in the Settings app.
- Make sure that Google Play Protect is enabled. To check, go to Settings > Google > Security > Google Play Protect.
- You should also enable the option “Scan device for security threats.”
- You can download an antivirus app for additional security. However, make sure that you download an antivirus app of a top-rated security company. The Play Store has many free antivirus apps.
- Be cautious when installing new apps. Hackers often introduce apps that closely resemble legitimate apps. Thus, it is recommended that you verify the app maker before downloading an app.
- Always use the Play Store to install an app, and not any third-party service.
You can refer to the below video as well: