Dec 21 AT 4:41 PM Edgar Cervantes 82 Comments

avast! Mobile Security out of Beta, completely free


Android smartphones are indeed powerful devices. Owning one can also mandate many responsibilities. We tend to have our whole lives linked to these gadgets: bank accounts, email accounts (work and personal), social networks, Paypal, contacts, and the list goes on. The avast! app has been available in Beta for a while, but it’s now fully available and completely free.

We have recently touched on the idea that Android devices are not really in need of anti-virus applications. A Google employee mentioned that companies making these apps are “playing on your fears to try to sell you BS protection software for Android, RIM and iOS.” While the risk of viruses may not be as huge as it is for computers, there is still a small risk if you aren’t careful.

Android continues to grow, with 700 thousand activations a day, and is becoming one of the largest targets for the “bad guys.” This small risk might be becoming a big one soon enough. The guys from avast! do realize that mobile security is not solely focused on virus and malware, though. Android security is about many other things, like anti-theft (made possible by the acquisition of Theft-Aware) and parental controls, among other features.

I had the chance to attend a presentation held by avast! last week. I must say that I was much more impressed than I thought I would be. The Czech company has gone out of its way to cover every type of security issue that an Android device could have. It’s definitely one of the fullest security apps we’ve seen.

Some of the best features include anti-virus protection, privacy report (lets you know how many/which apps access your application permissions), browser protection, call and SMS filtering, and anti-theft solutions (including remote text commands, tracking, as well as locking and wiping). It even includes an app manager and, check this, root features.

Root features include a Firewall, which allows you to block any app of your choice. You can even install avast! software deep within your device’s guts. If you so choose, you can install the avast! software in the System files, which would allow you to keep tracking your device, even after a factory data reset. Impressive, right?

This should bring some good competition to current Android anti-virus solutions in the market. With more features than the competition for a much better price (free), you can’t go wrong. Check the comparison posted below to see how avast! is different in features and pricing:

When a smartphone is stolen, the owner’s number one desire is to get their device back intact and, secondly, to secure their private data. We’ve developed our avast! Free Mobile Security with these needs in mind — and at a price everyone can afford.Ondrej VlcekCTO of AVAST Software

Theft Aware is currently transferring their web remote features to work on its new mobile anti-virus app. So this part of the app is not quite ready yet. avast! assures us that it will be available during Q1 2012, though. So you won’t have to wait very long.

There’s much more to say about avast! Mobile Security, so expect a full review soon. If you want to go ahead and check out this software before we post our review, go ahead and download it. It doesn’t cost a penny to try it, and it’s definitely worth it.


Let us know what you think. If you have any questions or complaints, let us know, and we will contact the avast! team and cover everything we can in the full review.

Source: Avast Software

Hello, I am Edgar Cervantes. I am an avid Android fan, and keeping myself updated on the topic is part of my daily life. I will always work hard to give the best of me to our community of Android enthusiasts, and I am very honored to be part of this ship. Hopefully we can all enjoy sharing our knowledge and opinions!

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  • stenzor

    Nice, I’ve been using Avast! for a long time on PC, this will be a good addition to my app arsenal

    • twugd

      The PC edition of Avast has been great at keeping virus and malware at bay. With the Android version, they step into the mobile game as well. Good going Avast!! and Merry Christmas.

    • Emmanuel Rodriguez

      I use it on the PC too. It has saved me many times.

      • mr 1338

        same for me, glad to have my phone secure

        • tmihai20

          I am more interested in their firewall, I don’t download apps from unknown sources. I am also being very careful with what I do with my SMS or MMS. Can someone tell how it affects battery life?

    • cthonctic

      So my question is, is the cost-benefit tradeoff really worth it on a smartphone?
      The feature list reads nicely and the app provides functions that are probably nice to have even when the actual virus/trojan/malware threat isn’t nearly as large as the antivirus providers make it out to be.

      BUT! Such an app’s service(s) need to run constantly or at least frequently, right? So how big is the drain on resources (mostly battery life) in practice, and do you guys who use the app feel it’s worth it?

      • TaoRenCe

        Battery drain would be my major concern as well.

        • Allymg

          Having used it for the past 2 days, I haven’t noticed any difference in battery life. Granted I don’t have every feature running. Would be interesting to see how each feature effects the battery life, because the general protection has little effect on it.

          • Tony

            This sounds really promising. If it won´t drain the battery.

            I have 2 questions though:

            1) IS THE APP THOROUGHLY TESTED? I mean, is it as good as we want it to be? As good as on pc? Several anti-virus apps have been tested i Sweden and the outcome was really bad. Many of them were useless. In fact, the most popular one discovered none of the threts it was tested for. The specifications can look good on paper but it´s different in real life…

            2) WILL IT BE USEFUL ON GOOGLE GALAXY NEXUS (ICS)? In a YouTube clip (MobileBurn or PhoneArena) I saw the option to check an encryption box. All data automatically encrypts to protect you from bad code and so on. Does anyone know if this feature lies within the phone or in Ice Cream Sandwich? So, will I need the Avast app as a Nexus owner?

            /Greetings from Sweden

          • Tony

            Another question from Sweden :)
            The Google Galaxy Nexus has a feature to alarm when a preset data volume is reached. You can also see what has drained the battery in a certain period.

            Q: Does the Avast app have this consumption settings as well or does the app implement this sort of info together with the phones settings.
            (can you see wihch setting in the app that drains the most from the phones menu or can/must you look it up from the app´s settings)

          • Tony

            Here is the encryptions clip.

  • zyphbear

    I’ll give it to Avast, going the free route really would make people feel much more comfortable about having to put that on their devices, especially when it also locates the device. Go Avast!

    • Thomas Biard

      I wonder if this will gain the immediate popularity that the “Killer” app gained? That app started as great and then was strongly suggested not to use on Froyo and Gingerbread. I’ll try Avast for sure becasue they’re quite reputable.

    • LukeT32

      I was lucky enough to win the free premium subscription to Lookout last year from Android and Me, but the fact I can bury this deep in system files just incase my phone does get stolen/wiped is a huuuuuge plus. I don’t see anyone stealing my OG droid soon, but my Nexus (upgrade time in Jan) is more prone.

      • R.S

        I was one of the lucky winners as well. I’ve had no complaints with Lookout but since I’ve neither lost my phone nor had it stolen, I never had the need for several of the features that come with the Premium version. That’s not to say that they aren’t good features, just that I was lucky enough to not need them.

        Since my subscription runs out next week, I am definitely going to give Avast a try.

      • Sean the Electrofreak

        Yeah it’s the root support that just made me replace Lookout with Avast.


    the more options the merrier

  • staryoshi

    I’ve had good experiences with Avast! in the past, I’m willing to give them a shot with my Android devices – especially when the asking price is “free.” :)

  • Anne A

    I currently use Mobile Defense as a system app (rooted Sensation), but it doesn’t offer as much features as Avast! so I’ll definitely give this a shot. FREE is such a powerful word :P

  • Bryan Stoner

    Ooo baby~ I’ll be downloading this as soon as I get home. Great find guys!

  • Steve Heinrich

    I think mobile security apps like these are going to become much more pivotal as the market grows. I will be trying this out!

  • cwjones4

    While I’ve always thought that properly researching apps and avoiding sketchy websites on my phone was enough to avoid many of the major complaints, there really isn’t a reason to no try this since it’s free. I’ll let you know what I think.

  • Billy

    Ummm … No. I prefer common sense and staying up to date. There may be a reason someday for these apps but right now I feel comfortable without it.

    Facial recognition on ICS keeps my data safe from thieves!! lol … :-p

    Nonetheless I am glad for the options.

    • LukeT32

      To be honest its not about the viruses/spyware. Its all about remote lock/wipe if your device is lost.

      • Futureboy

        Don’t forget recover/locate. You can SMS to locate or it can auto-send an SMS with GPS location upon SIM change. However there are limitations.

        In looking at the Theft Aware documentation, it looks as if you can use it to auto-enable GPS on Android 1.6-2.2 non-rooted devices. If I’m reading this correctly, if your device is rooted, and Theft Aware is installed as a system application, it will be able to enable. As Theft Aware is part of the Avast app, I’m guessing it would work as long as Avast was installed as a system app.

        From the Theft Aware Manual:
        Auto-Enable GPS

        If enabled, Theft Aware will try to enable GPS on non-rooted phones if GPS is disabled in the system settings. This only works from Android 1.6 up to Android 2.2 (in Android 2.3 Google removed the interfaces to implement this functionality) and might cause unwanted popup dialogs to occur depending on the device model. If Theft Aware is installed as system application, GPS will be automatically enabled regardless of this setting.

        To see the manual you can use this Google search, as the Theft Aware site re-directs back to Avast’s summary page.

    • tmihai20

      Facial recognition is a two way sword. I saw a video of a guy unlocking his phone with a photo of him on another device. It worked flawlessly every time. What if a thief would take a picture of you then steal your phone?

  • Skis03

    Just threw it on my Droid x2, will let you know how it goes.

  • GeauxLSU

    I’m also a long-time user of Avast on my pc. I guess with the name I trust, I may check this one out. I currently have the locate and wipe feature available with Google Device Policy, but if I ever change jobs, it would be good to have these features.

  • BlkSquad

    Ive used Lookout and it slowed the phone too much, is Avast! a resource hog as well or did they pull it off?

  • honourbound68

    loved avast on pc.. good to have them on android :)

  • ArticulateFool

    I like the features of this app even if viruses are not currently a large threat.

    Will download.

  • goncalossilva

    Is there anything Lookout does that Avast doesn’t do? Thinking about switching, considering it’s free and all…

    Good move by Avast!

    • goncalossilva

      Taking a closer look at the table above, ti seems the only feature Lookout has that Avast is missing is contact backup. I guess I’m switching :D

      • Edgar Cervantes

        Well yeah, there is that. I have never used Lookout’s contact backup, though. Google pretty much takes care of that, already…

        • goncalossilva

          Yeah, it’s pretty useless.

    • Edgar Cervantes

      Nope, Avast is pretty much covering everything. Plus, it is free, and it has some more features. :) Go check it out!

      • goncalossilva

        I did… and the SMS control feature is SO AWESOME (and a bit creepy, too!) :D

        Overall, it’s great.

  • ramenchef

    Honestly, common sense + a phone locator is all you need. AVs don’t do much at all on android.

  • vid500

    Avast is my first choice on my PS-s maybe it will be on the android devices to. I’m a bit sceptical if I realy need it, sence the HTC has is own locator and data erasure. And of corse the power point. But otherwise a powerfull choice and the best part for free.:)

  • Chazzers

    I have to agree, the notion of security as a necessity on a smartphone is a bit… strange, but the fact that this is free makes it very alluring. What’s to lose?

  • romy134

    looks good.

  • jamal adam

    All that security for the price of FREE. Can’t get any better than that.

  • Lewis McGeary

    Is it just me who is a bit concerned about the tracking even after a factory reset feature. While this is great for the user trying to track a stolen phone, what about a user who just buys a second hand phone. Someone not in the know could easily be disclosing their whereabouts surely.

  • curtis206

    is it really free…

  • licorne

    The fact that you can install the anti-theft features from within the app and then uninstall it is a huge plus. The anti-theft app that gets installed even has a built-in update checker. Three thumbs up!

  • Lee Swanson

    I know avast! has a good reputation. I’ll give this a shot. Thanks for the article.

  • aranea

    I’ve downloaded it and will give it a try. My current phone is not rooted yet though. So I won’t have all the features.

  • Dboy352

    Very nice to see something like this. Most of the apps out there like this are crappy but this is actually very well thought out and designed.

  • jdawg334

    Will wait on reviews. This app sounds great but says it has call and SMS filtering and I’m not sure if this would mess up or interfere with the Extreme Call Blocker app I already have installed and works great by itself.

  • spintrex

    Funny I was just looking into apps in the case of a lost or stolen phone. Downloaded avast! can only hope for the best! Looking forward to the full review

  • nrajesh

    Eager to see a full blown review. This feature screenshot is directly from their website and doesn’t show the full list of key competitors!

    I feel the anti-virus gig is unnecessary at the moment. Most users would pick up avast for its free anti-theft features. Firewall may not be for everyone; if I feel an app is using too much of data I would rather have it removed and look for alternates.

    The description seem strongly focused on low battery usage as well, which is good (if true). But what about some intuitive features? How does it compare to other advanced apps in the segment (apart from the free tag, that is)?

    • nrajesh

      Just found a ridiculous bug. I went theft aware and decided to hide it from showing up in app list. It required a system reboot. Which I did and voila – it is gone, BUT, avast (name and icon) shows up in the app list; which probably only makes the thief more aware!

      • nrajesh

        Which btw is nice, ’cause we can simply uninstall the rest of the clutter and keep just the theft-aware part of it :D

  • ndub21

    Sounds cool, but I’m not really interested in security software for Android. I do like Avast though, so I may end up trying it out.


    Im going to finally put some security on me phone! :)

  • Adam Clark

    how do they make money if its free?

    • DroidPower

      it’s in “beta” right now, so they probably ask you if they could collect anonymous usage data to help them improve the software. Once it’s all ready and set, they might start charging or push out a “pro” version like they do with their computer softwares. The “beta” helps them get customers to become familiar with the software (and depend on it). I don’t mean to make them sound bad or anything. It looks like a solid piece of work.

      • amgala

        The article says it is out of beta

        • DroidPower

          Got it. My bad, read the title too quickly…

          Then, not sure how they make money, maybe advertising? Or a pro version later on?

  • Adryan maldonado

    Ive seen avast before but never really used. I dont like antivirus on my smartphone but good for avast for making it free. It will be really nice for those who want it

  • lokidokie

    Sorry, is this really necessary??

  • Escobarretje

    This is handsdown the best solution I’ve seen on Android phones till now! While Anti-virus isn’t really needed as stated by Google, I guess it can come in handy for users who (unfortunately) download apps from shady websites. The Anti-Theft part in this app is just genius, it has an awesome root integration and almost every feature is there. Custom lock text, a lot of commands, invisibility in the launcher, remote GPS enable, forward incoming or last SMS messages. You can even let your phone call you back so you can hear the thief!

    Will be using it from now on and see what it does to speed and if there are any bugs. Thanks for the article Android and Me!

  • Richtone


  • donger

    how does this affect battery life?

  • HogFan77

    I’ve seen a few people ask about battery life, can anyone report back yet?

  • alxrock

    I won a free premium subscription to Lookout last year, that just ended yesterday, so this article was perfect timing for me.
    I installed Avast! and found it to be a bit more complicated of a setup, so I couldn’t recommend it to someone that’s not tech savvy. With all the features it offers, it’s worth the extra setup time though.
    I probably would’ve tried out Cerberus next if I didn’t see this.

  • Louis A

    Wow, with the different free protections that you get with avast, it’s a no brainier!

  • amgala

    Anyone else getting Server Overload errors while trying to install this?

    • mark

      yeah, I’ve retried a few times but no success so far. I’ll try again later.

  • http://None Javier Bastardo

    That’s one impressive list of features for the price of Free. I personally use Microsoft Security Essentials, giving it a try after being a long-time Avira user on Windows. I use ClamAV on Ubuntu and until recently I had hooked my Android and the rest of PCs/Laptops in my house with AVG Free, which I found reliable and had a nice set of features.

    I remember one time I had avast! on my PC and I wasn’t particularly fond of it, but this mobile version just sounds amazing, can’t wait to try it.

  • humidity

    I’ve never really thought about putting an anti-virus on my phone but why not for free!

  • psipher

    I’m going to try this out….not so much for the Anti-virus, but for the Anti-theft features.

  • Marcus

    I just downloaded it and all I can say is wow… This app is amazing!

  • Lee Swanson

    So far, so good! Does’t appear to be a battery drainer.

  • Kevin Amundson

    I’ve used lookout in the past, but I’ll be giving this a try for it’s features.

  • nivekkev

    Very interesting, looking forward for the full blown review. Still have Lookout for a while yet so I have a some time to check this out.

  • kenman

    My biggest worry about apps like this is the battery usage. but judging from some comments, it doesn’t appear to be that big of an issue.

  • Devesh Yamparala

    Anti-theft seems to be draining my battery like crazy. I hope this is a bug and they solve it soon.

  • yshai

    Nice work but i am keeping my AVG antivirus Pro application

  • stephen

    When I had theft aware I was not able to enter the “settings” when I enabled it on theftaware. The “stealth” also worked. I’ve had two different phones under Avast and with both phones I’ve been able to enter the “settings”. Therefore someone can take my phone, go to settings, then to device manager and deactivate Avast. Not having someone to be able to get into “settings” and having “stealth” was the most important parts of theftaware to me. I don’t see these on my phones under Avast.