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Scenario: You have one antivirus installed on your phone. You suspect that your phone might have malware on it so you do a system scan and your AV doesn't find anything. So you decide to download another AV to see if it finds something on your system. You install the second AV while you still have the first AV installed on your phone, so now you have two antivirus programs installed on one phone. You do a system scan with the second AV and it doesn't find anything.

So what I'm asking is, if you already have one antivirus installed on your android, will installing a second one cause problems? Will the first AV stop the second AV from working properly and vice versa? If the first AV wasn't capable of detecting some malware on your phone, will the second AV be capable of doing it if you have two antivirus programs installed? Even if the second AV is better at detecting malware than the first AV, will having both of them installed at the same time cause the second AV(the better one) to not work properly? On computer they say you shouldn't have two AV's, does the same thing apply for Android? Also does it matter if you did the scan right after you installed the second AV, the reason being if they both cause conflicts to eachother, the sooner you do the scan the smaller the chance of them interfering with eachother?

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  • In the end if you have one or two useless anti virus apps installed doesn't make a big difference. Anti virus apps don't have special privilege on Android so they are sand-boxed like every app and can not do anything to prevent an infection.
    – Robert
    Jan 15 at 21:59
  • @Robert what do you mean useless antivirus apps? are talking about some specific anti virus apps or? are you saying AV cant detect anything?
    – jimzay
    Jan 15 at 22:02
  • Related: android.stackexchange.com/q/53862/39930
    – Chenmunka
    Jan 15 at 22:23
  • Av software on Android may some time detect an app as malicious a little bit before Google does but the more important fact is that it can not prevent anything. On other OS AV software can prevent access to malicious files and programs before they are executed. On Android it doesn't have this privileged permission. Therefore in general AV software is considered of very little use on Android.
    – Robert
    Jan 15 at 22:32
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    Does this answer your question? Are two anti-virus better than one in protecting your computer?
    – galoget
    Jan 17 at 0:40

1 Answer 1

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You can absolutely have as many AVs as you want on your smartphone but if you have a working Google Play installation along with Google services and you only install applications from Google Play having any AVs installed makes very little sense aside from giving you a false sense of security.

The other answer about "intercepting system calls" does not apply to Android and is patently wrong. Android does not allow apps any low level access to the system, so you can install all the existing AVs in the market but again it makes zero sense if your system is properly configured and you don't download and install random APKs from the Internet.

If you do, a much better idea would be to run them through https://virustotal.com/

In Windows, yes, that's a whole different issue as Windows AVs install low-level kernel drivers and having more than one of them installed may lead to a system malfunctioning.

TLDR: Android by default (from a certified vendor) is a secure OS which does not need an AV (as long as it's still supported). If it's not supported and not updated then no AV will protect you from various low-level vulnerabilities, e.g. vulnerabilities in the Linux kernel, or low level Android libraries.

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  • thank you for the answer and the explanation, so in short, If I have two different AV's installed on my android they wont stop eachother from working properly and detecting malware? They will work perfectly without a problem?
    – jimzay
    Jan 16 at 15:59
  • Yes, they will work perfectly. You may install all 150 in the market if you'd feel better. Again, running APKs though virustotal.com is better and safer. Again, Android AVs will not protect you from OS level vulnerabilities. Jan 16 at 16:01
  • OS level vulnerabilities are fixed through software updates?
    – jimzay
    Jan 16 at 16:04
  • @jimzay They are fixed using (normally) automatic Google Play updates i.e. when you update Google Chrome and when your ROM receives updates. Jan 16 at 20:07

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