Antivirus for Mobile Devices: Is It Really Necessary? [Poll]

Identify a fake antivirus program

There’s no doubt that antivirus programs are necessary for desktop computers, but what about mobile devices? We like to think they are safe from malware, adware, and the like, but are they really? Are antivirus programs for mobile devices really necessary?

We don’t normally think of adding an antivirus program to our mobile phones and tablets. And some believe that as long as you only download apps from Apple’s App Store and Google Play Store that you’re fine, as those apps are approved and clean. Then after that, you just have to make sure your device doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, and most devices have protection in place to keep the device locked up. Yet a quick look through some of the top antivirus software that advertises that it adds security to mobile devices seems to show that it adds the same protection that already seems to be built into most devices.

Are mobile devices really at threat from damaging malware, adware, and viruses? We keep being told that it’s on the rise and that we need to protect our devices, but if we follow common sense with the devices and use all the protection that it’s shipped with, are we safe anyway?

Are antivirus programs for mobile devices really necessary?

Laura Tucker Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.


  1. Yes, they are very necessary because the O/Ss they run are not as robust as Windows, OS/X or Linux and the users do tend to download apps willy-nilly. Though the question begs itself How robust will the A/V apps be?

  2. People are only confused because they forget that today’s phones are actually powerful computers that happen to also make calls. Compound this fact with the habits of phone users, downloading many apps, browsing as they would on a computer, and the multiple ways phones communicate: gsm, WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC – making security of utmost importance.
    A/V software, and even a firewall are important components of smartphones and tablets.

  3. It depends also on the operating system. Android and IOS (both based on Linux) are open to the same sort of malicious content as their parent. More so, as there is a very large gobal population for the malicious to target.
    Windows phone (MS insist) runs each app in its own ‘sandbox’, whether its true or not I haven’t a clue, but there’s certainly a lack of AV products for WP.

  4. Today’s world, is the world of the hacker and malware. It is vital, for you protection, to have an A/V program, on your Smartphone or Tablet, for your protection! I not only have an A/V program, but, I also, have Malwarebytes on my Smartphone. As careful, as I am when using my Smartphone, it is so easy, to accidently “hit” on the the ads, on the apps, I have on my phone. I don’t have a lot of games, but, I do have some FREE apps, that always come with “ads”, that are so annoying.

  5. The biggest problem from mobile apps is excessive privilege and data leakage. Unfortunately, while malware apps can help indicate the risk associated with permissions for apps installed on your device, many apps require more permissions than strictly necessary, which doesn’t make them malware in the traditional sense. In each case, you need to decide whether you’re willing to share the information requested by the app with the developers.

  6. The need of an AV program for your mobile device, depends heavily on what you do with your device. Whether is an Android or IOS the fact remains that no OS is 100 % safe from malware, adware, spyware etc. Having said that, however if you are careful whenever browsing the web and only use trusted apps you should have no need for an AV.

    I chose (B) although I would prefer: “No, but it does not hurt to have one whenever I download freebies “

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