Viruses and malware are persistent issues across all digital devices, including Android smartphones. If your phone starts behaving strangely, displaying pop-up ads, or experiencing unexpected battery drains, you may be dealing with a virus or malware. Before you consider a factory reset, which deletes all data on your device, there are other methods to clean your phone. Here’s a guide on how to remove virus from your android phone without resorting to a complete reset.
Guide to Remove Virus from Your Android Phone Without Factory Reset
Enter Safe Mode:
- First and foremost, switch your phone into Safe Mode. This boots your device with a minimal set of system resources and prevents third-party apps, including potential malware, from running.
- For most Android devices: Press and hold the power button, then tap and hold on the “Power off” option. You’ll get a prompt to reboot into Safe Mode.
- If your phone doesn’t support the above method, you might need to check the specific method for your device brand and model.
Identify the Suspicious App:
- Once in Safe Mode, go to ‘Settings’ then ‘Apps’ or ‘App Manager.’
- Scan through the list of installed apps and look for anything unfamiliar or suspicious. Pay attention to apps you don’t remember downloading or that have unusual permissions.
Uninstall the Malicious App:
- If you identify an app that appears to be the source of the problem, click on it and choose the ‘Uninstall’ option.
- Note: Some apps may have the ‘Uninstall’ option grayed out. This typically means the app has administrator privileges.
- To remove these rights, go to ‘Settings’ -> ‘Security’ -> ‘Device administrators’ and deactivate privileges for the suspicious app, then proceed to uninstall it.
Use a Mobile Antivirus App:
- Download a reputable antivirus app from the Google Play Store, like Avast, McAfee, or Bitdefender.
- Run a complete scan on your device. If any viruses or malware are found, the app will typically give you the option to quarantine or delete the threat.
Clear Browser Data:
- If you’re experiencing issues like pop-up ads or redirects in your browser, it might be a browser-hijacking malware.
- Open your browser, go to ‘Settings’ -> ‘Privacy’ -> ‘Clear browsing data’. Make sure to select ‘Cookies and site data’ and ‘Cached images and files’ before clearing the data.
Check for System Updates:
- Malware often exploits system vulnerabilities. To ensure your phone’s operating system is protected against known threats, regularly check for and install system updates.
- Go to ‘Settings’ -> ‘System’ -> ‘Advanced’ -> ‘System update’ to check if any updates are available.
Re-evaluate App Permissions:
- Often, the problem isn’t a virus but an app with intrusive permissions. Go to ‘Settings’ -> ‘Apps & notifications’ -> ‘App permissions’ and review the permissions of each app. Revoke any unnecessary permissions, especially from apps you don’t trust.
- Always download apps from trusted sources like the Google Play Store and be wary of granting apps unnecessary permissions.
- Regularly backup your data, which ensures that even if something goes wrong, you won’t lose essential files.
How to Stay Safe From Android Viruses in Future
The Android operating system, used by a vast majority of mobile devices worldwide, has always been a magnet for hackers and malicious software developers due to its open nature. Over the years, viruses, malware, and adware targeting Android devices have become more sophisticated, making security paramount for every user. Here’s how you can safeguard your Android device from potential threats in the future:
- Google frequently releases security patches for Android. Ensure that your device’s software is up-to-date. If you’re using a device from a manufacturer other than Google, keep an eye on their update schedule as well.
Download Apps from Trusted Sources:
- Stick to the Google Play Store when downloading apps. Even then, be cautious as some malicious apps occasionally slip through Google’s screening. Avoid third-party app stores unless you’re sure of their credibility.
Check App Permissions:
- Be wary of apps that request unnecessary permissions. For instance, a simple notepad app shouldn’t require access to your contacts or location. If something feels off, trust your instincts and deny the permissions or uninstall the app.
Use a Reliable Antivirus:
- While Android is designed to be inherently secure, having an extra layer of protection can be beneficial. Invest in a reputable antivirus application that offers real-time scanning and regular database updates.
Beware of Phishing Attacks:
- Be cautious about clicking on links from unknown sources, especially those received through SMS or email. Phishers are getting craftier, making it essential for users to be vigilant.
- Regularly back up your data either to a cloud service or an external storage device. In case your device gets infected, you won’t lose valuable information.
Encrypt Your Data:
- Modern Android devices come with encryption options that ensure your data remains inaccessible even if your device falls into the wrong hands. Make sure you’ve turned on this feature.
Use a Secure Wi-Fi Connection:
- Avoid connecting to open Wi-Fi networks in public places. If you must use public Wi-Fi, consider using a VPN to encrypt your connection, making it harder for hackers to snoop on your activities.
Avoid Rooting Your Device:
- While rooting can offer more control over your device, it also makes it more vulnerable to threats. If you’re not an advanced user with a specific need for rooting, it’s best to avoid it.
Limit Web Exposure:
- Use web browsers that offer security features like sandboxing, anti-phishing, and malicious website warnings. Regularly clear your browsing data, including cookies and cached files.
Be Wary of USB Debugging:
- This developer option can allow malicious software to be installed on your device without your knowledge. Ensure it’s turned off unless you have a specific need for it.
If after all these steps, you’re still experiencing issues, a factory reset might be the last resort. Remember, always backup your data before doing so. The digital age comes with its set of challenges, but by being vigilant and proactive, you can ensure your device remains secure and efficient.