I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Today's smartphones are basically small, handheld computers that just also happen to make phone calls. Anything you can do on a large desktop or laptop, like gaming, E-mail and even Web browsing, you can also do on your smartphone, albeit on a smaller screen. However, there's something else computers and smartphones have in common: viruses.

While not as rampant as computer viruses, smartphone viruses can infect your device in the same manner: either by opening a bad file or application via E-mail, or downloading a application from a less-than-reputable source. And just like computer viruses, these smartphone viruses can wreck havoc on your device and even spread itself to others in your contact list. If you spend a great deal of time browsing the Web on your mobile device, you need virus protection. So here are some of the best anti-virus apps you can get for your smartphone.

But before we get into the apps, please note that unlike most apps,  these apps are not one-size-fits-all. Many of these anti-virus apps are designed to work with only one or two different operating systems, like only iOS or only Android phones. Before you download any anti-virus app, make sure that it is compatible with your phone.

BullGuard Mobile Security

If you're looking to cover all your bases, BullGuard has the most comprehensive set of features to protect your phone on all fronts. It doesn't just protect against viruses, it creates its own Firewall on your phone, keeps your kids and your phone safe with solid parental controls, and in the event of your phone being stolen, it can even wipe your information off your phone remotely, keeping your personal info safe from hackers and thieves.


Lookout is one of the few anti-virus apps that can run on both iOS and Android, and is also one of the most effective. In addition to providing solid protection against viruses, spyware, malware, and other such "bad-ware," Lookout can also protect your privacy by scanning all of your apps and providing you with a detailed list of which apps have access to your personal information.

McAfee Mobile Security

One of the best things about this app is the unlimited cloud storage it offers. Your personal data can be stored securely in the cloud, and if need be, you can restore all that information to a new device if your phone happens to be stolen or falls victim to a virus. However, the lack of parental controls and the super-specific requirements for the app (it will not run on iOS and only on specific version of Android) may be a turn-off for some.

Along with these apps, there a few additional steps you can take to keep your phone safe from viruses. All it takes is a few precautions that you should already be taking on your computer:

  • Avoid opening any suspicious looking E-mails or applications on your phone.
  • Only download apps from a trusted source, and stay away from any pirated apps. If you don't know where it came from, you probably shouldn't be opening it.
  • Whatever anti-virus app you decide on, make sure to schedule regular virus scans for your device and keep your anti-virus software up to date.