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How to detect spyware on an Android phone or tablet
Spyware is hidden by design, which makes it hard to detect. You aren’t going to see an icon on your list of apps titled “Spyware.” But there are other signs of infection that will help you locate spyware on Android devices.
To find out if your phone is tapped with a hidden spy app, look for:
- Unexplained slowdowns or crashes. Apps take longer to load, your OS seems buggy, apps freeze, or your phone seems slower in general.
- Battery and data drain faster. Spyware software runs quietly in the background, aiming to stay hidden, but it uses a lot of extra battery and data (when you’re not on Wi-Fi) in the process, which can result in a higher phone bill, too.
- New or different apps or settings. Apps you don’t recall installing (including hidden Android apps), or changed settings like a new homepage or constant pop-ups, can indicate an infection.
- Constant overheating. Normal phone usage causes some warmth, but malware can cause your phone to overheat much more than usual.
It can be tricky to diagnose the precise cause of these issues, because they could be due to another form of Android malware that needs to be removed. To make sure your phone isn’t infected with Pegaus spyware, follow our dedicated guide to Pegasus.
How to remove spyware from Android
If you suspect you have an infection, you should proceed with Android spyware removal right away. You want to remove spyware before it has a chance to expose your personal data to cybercriminals. Luckily, learning how to remove spyware from an Android phone isn’t too difficult — and you have a few options.
Option 1: Use a spyware removal tool
Unless you’re a malware expert, using a spyware removal tool is the best way to root out hidden spies and make sure you remove all traces. But be careful — you shouldn’t just go to the Google Play Store and download any old antivirus app.
There are many fake apps out there that are actually malware in disguise. Make sure you use a legitimate mobile security app from a reputable developer.
The free Avast One app includes one of the best spyware removers for Android in our free Avast Mobile Security app. It detects and removes all types of malware and prevents future infections. Here’s how to scan for spyware on your Android:
- Download and install Avast One.
- Run an antivirus scan (Smart Scan) to detect spyware or any other forms of malware and viruses.
- Follow the instructions from the app to remove the spyware and any other threats that may be lurking.
That’s all it takes to become spyware-free!
Option 2: Manually remove spyware
If you want to root out the issues on your own, here are the steps to take. First, you’ll need to reboot your phone into safe mode. Safe mode prevents all third-party apps from running, so you’ll be able to verify that your phone’s strange behavior is coming from spyware rather than a different issue.