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While using an antivirus on Windows is a must, security on a smartphone is more of a gray area Does Your Smartphone Need Security & Antivirus Software? Does Your Smartphone Need Security & Antivirus Software? Does your Android phone need an antivirus? What about your iPad? Your BlackBerry or Windows Phone? The answer is actually a bit complicated. Let's take a look at your options. Read More . On Android, it’s not a bad idea to use an antivirus if you regularly download apps from unknown sources. On the other hand, normal users probably won’t ever run into a virus Has Your Android Phone Been Infected with Malware? Has Your Android Phone Been Infected with Malware? How does malware get on an Android device? After all, most users only install apps through the Play Store, and Google keeps a tight watch over that to make sure malware doesn't squeeze through, right?... Read More  and might be better off forgetting the antivirus app to save resources.

360 Security (previously known as 360 Mobile Security), from Chinese security company Qihoo, is a visually attractive antivirus app that promises to fulfill your security needs if you choose to use a mobile security solution. Let’s take a look at what the app offers.

Note that we’re only looking at the app’s features and won’t consider the virus detection rates. For more info on antivirus performance, check the AV Test results for Android security apps.

Meet 360 Security

Once you’ve downloaded 360 Security from Google Play, you’ll find that it doesn’t require any setup. Simply pop open the app, and you’ll find its three home tabs — Boost, Clean, and Antivirus.

The Boost section contains the usual “performance boosting” tools of RAM boosting apps on Android. These tools are useless at best and harmful at worse Why RAM Boosters And Task Killers Are Bad For Your Android Why RAM Boosters And Task Killers Are Bad For Your Android At first glance, RAM boosters and task killers sound incredibly useful, but a closer look shows that they could actually be harming your phone instead. Read More , so we recommend that you ignore this part of the app. Your phone does a fine job of managing RAM on its own and doesn’t need an app to kill processes.

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Under the Clean tab, you’ll find a typical file cleaner. After a few seconds, it locates “junk” in Android files, installed app files, and leftover files from uninstalled apps. While this can help free up space on your Android device, some of the items under “Google System Junk” are a bit worrisome.

You probably don’t want to clean System caches, as this will just slow down apps you often use until the cache is rebuilt. Use this file cleaner with caution. We recommend a less invasive cleaning app that isn’t loaded with garbage, like the great CCleaner. Our guide to an Android spring cleaning The 1-2-3 Guide to Spring Cleaning Your Android Smartphone The 1-2-3 Guide to Spring Cleaning Your Android Smartphone If your Android phone has started slowing down after a bit of time, here's how you can speed it up again! Read More will clean up your device more than this all-in-one tool will.

To test the Antivirus, I ran a full scan on my phone. The scanning screen contains a radar-like circle with the percentage completion, while random app icons from your device show below the scanner. The app found two “issues” with my device.

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One of these was a privacy risk 9 Ways To Protect Your Privacy on Android 9 Ways To Protect Your Privacy on Android Android offers various privacy-friendly features, but Google doesn't always make it clear how we should use them. Let us take you through some of the best ways to protect data on your Android. Read More , claiming I should lock WhatsApp and several other apps to protect my privacy. The other was a fraudulent messaging broadcast vulnerability, insisting that malware on my phone could send fake text messages impersonating people whom I trust. I declined to “repair” any of these since I trust all of my apps.

More Tools and Features

While the three main tabs of 360 Security contain its headline features, there are several other tools within the app.

Wait… These Aren’t Features

In the top-right, you’ll find a Market icon. This isn’t worth your time at all — it’s a collection of “recommended” apps and ads that are likely only present to keep the app free.

Sliding out the menu on the left side of the screen reveals many more utilities. The Notification Manager allows you to hide unwanted notifications. However, this really isn’t necessary, as modern versions of Android allow you to turn off notifications from any app How to Disable Notifications from Any App in Android How to Disable Notifications from Any App in Android Getting annoying ad notifications on your Android device? Turn them off quickly and easily. Read More . It’s uncommon, but if you’re seeing ads in your phone’s notification drawer, you can identify and remove them How to Block Notification Area Ads on Android Phones How to Block Notification Area Ads on Android Phones Have you ever seen an advertisement in Android’s notification area? Some apps abuse their notification permissions to display advertisements when you aren’t even using them. The good news is that you can determine which apps... Read More .

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AppLock wants to “protect your privacy” by locking recommended apps like Chrome, YouTube, and Gmail. It does this by adding a PIN or pattern code Which Is More Secure, A Password Or a Pattern Lock? Which Is More Secure, A Password Or a Pattern Lock? Our smartphones carry a lot of personal information. All of your text messages, emails, notes, apps, app data, music, pictures, and so much more are all on there. While it's a very great convenience to... Read More to the apps. This is redundant, as you should secure your phone with a passcode Smartphone Privacy Settings You Need To Activate Today Smartphone Privacy Settings You Need To Activate Today Smartphones ship with plenty of default settings that could be leaking your info. Let's dive in and tweak them. Read More anyway. If you need to lock certain apps beyond your phone’s password, check out HexLock How To Lock Individual Apps on Android Using Hexlock How To Lock Individual Apps on Android Using Hexlock It can be time consuming and annoying to keep a PIN or password lock on your phone all the time. That’s where Hexlock comes in. Read More , which offers much more functionality.

Phone Cooler is a joke; it offers to “cool down” your phone’s “fever.” This is essentially the same as killing tasks, and you should avoid using it as well. Be sure to open this once to prevent it from running in the background, as it won’t actually prevent your phone from overheating How to Prevent Your Android Phone from Overheating How to Prevent Your Android Phone from Overheating If you've ever had your Android phone get way too hot, we have some solutions you could try out. Read More .

More Useless Junk

Next is the Game Boost option. This tries to find all the games on your phone 10 Best Free Android Games of the Year 10 Best Free Android Games of the Year Did you miss out on an Android game that you should be playing? Our end-of-year roundup is a handy checklist to know what your thumbs should be tapping on. Read More and lets you start them in “boosted” mode. What this actually does isn’t clear — perhaps it devotes extra system resources to the game. Either way, it’s another unnecessary feature, and if you’re struggling to play games on your phone, you probably need a new phone You Might Need to Upgrade Your Phone for Pokemon Go You Might Need to Upgrade Your Phone for Pokemon Go Will your phone be able to handle Pokemon Go? Read More .

The App Manager duplicates your phone’s functionality to uninstall apps How To Remove Unwanted Apps From Your Android Device How To Remove Unwanted Apps From Your Android Device Are there some Android apps on your device that you really want to delete, but can't? Check out these options for getting rid of them. Read More . It also allows you to install or delete APK files on your device 4 Useful Ways To Manage Your Android APK Files 4 Useful Ways To Manage Your Android APK Files Managing the Android APK files yourself means you get more support and flexibility. Read More , and move apps to your SD card if present. Again, these are all functions that your phone’s default tools or other apps do better.

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The rest of these tools are all the same story. Find My Phone is a copy of Android Device Manager Find My iPhone for Android? Meet Android Device Manager Find My iPhone for Android? Meet Android Device Manager Jealous of the iPhone's Find My iPhone app? Well, lucky for you there's an equally awesome app for Android called the Android Device Manager! Let's take a look at it. Read More . We’ve shown the best apps for blocking calls and texts How to Block Unwanted Calls and Texts on Android for Free How to Block Unwanted Calls and Texts on Android for Free Sick of spammy calls and texts on Android? Here's how to take control and block them for free and without rooting your device. Read More that have more options than the Call & SMS Filter here. Android already has a built-in Data Monitor.

Smart Lock is more snake oil. It kills apps when your phone is charging, and gives a useless message when charging is complete “to prevent overcharging.” Modern phones are smart enough to manage their own batteries 10 Popular Smartphone Myths That Aren't True 10 Popular Smartphone Myths That Aren't True We're going to tackle 10 of the most prevalent smartphone myths today and see if we can't do our part in ending the misinformation surrounding today's smartphones. Read More , so you don’t need this. Even worse, this feature also displays ads, so you shouldn’t have any reason to use it.

Look and Feel

The app has a clean, material design theme Exploring Android L: What Exactly Is Material Design? Exploring Android L: What Exactly Is Material Design? You may have heard about Android L and Material Design, but what exactly is this new design philosophy and how will it affect Android and other Google products? Read More . Each of the three main tabs turns blue to indicate all-clear, and yellow or red when an aspect needs your attention.

What’s not great is the persistent notification 360 Security adds to your notification drawer. Toolbars are annoying enough on the desktop 4 Annoying Browser Toolbars & How To Get Rid Of Them 4 Annoying Browser Toolbars & How To Get Rid Of Them Browser toolbars just don't seem to go away. Let's look at some common nuisances and detail how to remove them. Read More , and this is essentially the same thing for your phone. This bar allows you to apply the “boost” to your phone with one tap. You can also tap its arrow to slide out a quick-toggle menu that duplicates the functionality of your quick settings panel 8 Best Apps for Customizing Nougat's Quick Settings Panel 8 Best Apps for Customizing Nougat's Quick Settings Panel This is how you can customize the Quick Settings panel in Android 7.0 Nougat, and the eight best apps for it (that's right, you can put apps in your Quick Settings panel). Read More .

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You can already toggle data, airplane mode, and the brightness by pulling down twice on your shade. I’d say you’re best off disabling this toolbar in the settings.

360 Security Lite Version

For those with older phones 10 Creative Ways to Use Your Old Smartphone 10 Creative Ways to Use Your Old Smartphone Why sell or throw away your old smartphone when there are so many ways for you to reuse it? Some of those reuses might be more creative than you thought. Here are some ideas. Read More that have 1 GB of RAM or under, Qihoo provides a lite version of 360 Security. It’s basically the same core app, but smaller in size and optimized for low-end devices. Thankfully, the lite version doesn’t feature all the garbage features like the App Manager and Phone Cooler.

If you’re going to use this app, you should download the lite version even if your device is powerful. However…

You Really Shouldn’t Use This Security App

When we examined 360 Mobile Security a few years back, we praised it for its good looks and simple security. While the app is still aesthetically pleasing, and the virus detection might be great, it’s become so loaded with junk Do Not Install These 10 Popular Android Apps Do Not Install These 10 Popular Android Apps These Android apps are extremely popular, but they also compromise your security and privacy. If you have them installed, you'll want to uninstall them after reading this. Read More that we can’t recommend it to anyone.

Half of the “features” this app offers are duplicates of default Android tools or half-baked versions of superior apps The Best Android Apps The Best Android Apps Looking for the best apps for your Android phone or tablet? This is our comprehensive, hand-picked list of the best apps for Android. Read More . The other half are snake oil that we wouldn’t want anyone to put on their phones. As soon as I finished testing this app, I removed it from my device immediately.

While you don’t necessarily need an antivirus app on Android, if you do want to use one for peace of mind, you should look elsewhere. Two great ones to try are TrustGo and Malwarebytes. They’re free, don’t contain ads, and aren’t loaded with garbage you’ll never use.

Looking for more Android security? Check out the best Android security apps to consider using 6 Android Security Apps You Should Install Today 6 Android Security Apps You Should Install Today Android security apps - capable of blocking malware and phishing attempts - are necessary if you wish to run a safe and secure smartphone. Let's look at some of the best Android security apps currently... Read More .

Do you use an antivirus on your Android device? Let us know if you’ve tried 360 Security, or if you prefer another app!

Originally written by Erez Zukerman on August 13th, 2013.

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