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How to Remove an Android Virus

Aside from sluggish performance, one of the most commonly cited symptoms of an Android virus is that the web browser is redirecting to a porn site or you are experiencing dodgy pop-ups. In such instances the best thing to do is clear your browser cache, either within the browser’s own settings menu or by going to Apps & Notifications > Chrome > Storage > Clear Cache.

This is much less drastic than performing a system reset, which is the other surefire way to get rid of an Android virus, and possible via the Settings > System > Reset Options > Erase All Data menu. But what if there are other things going on in the background that you don’t know about?

Truth be told, Android viruses are incredibly rare. A misbehaving device is not usually caused by malware, but rather the ever-growing build-up of junk files, which will eventually cause the whole system to slow down (something a factory reset can also help). But Android viruses do exist, and it is possible that your phone or tablet is suffering from a malicious software infection, usually brought about by the installation of a dodgy app from outside the confines of the Google Play store.

With this in mind, Android antivirus apps such as Bitdefender Mobile Security are not necessary, but they can promote peace of mind by keeping tabs on your activity at times, especially when you’re relaxing and have let down your guard. There are other options, too, and we’ve rounded up some of our favourites.

Such apps might be able to pinpoint and remove an infection for you, but if you know when all the trouble began you can manually remove the malicious app. You’ll need to enter Safe mode first, which stops any third-party apps from running. If you don’t have an option to access Safe mode in the Power options menu, try holding volume-down as you reboot the phone. You’ll know it’s worked if you see Safe mode in the bottom left corner of the screen.

Open Settings and select the Apps & Notifications menu, then scroll down the list and be on the lookout for any suspicious apps that could be behind all the drama – anything you don’t remember downloading or that doesn’t sound like a genuine Android service. Click the app’s name to open its dedicated App Info page.

If this is not a preinstalled app you should see an Uninstall button at the top of this page. Press this if you can. If it’s greyed out then it’s likely the app has given itself administrator rights, which you can remove in Settings > Security & Location > Device Admin Apps. 

With the virus now off your Android phone or tablet, all you need to is restart the device to take it out of Safe mode.

Supposing you’ve done all the above and your device is still slow, consider that it may be a case of old age or a new software update that doesn’t play nicely slowing things down. Check out our guide on how to speed up Android. Also read on below for how to avoid becoming a victim to Android malware once again.

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