How to Scan and Clean your Android Device from Adware, Virus & Malicious Apps

Last updated on July 21st, 2016

Nowadays many developers provide free applications for the Android platform, but the cost of the Free application are the Ads (advertisements) which are displayed while using your Android device. By doing that, the developer offers you his application for free, but he gets an income from the Ads publisher that helps keep him active in business and productivity. But applications that are offered for free are not always trustworthy and may contain malicious code in order to always display annoying Ads in every application you open in your Android device or to compromise your privacy. For that reason, a good precaution is to periodically check your Android device for malicious software, to remove all unwanted or unrecognized apps and to clear the browser's history and cache (Temporary files).

In this tutorial I will show you how to scan and remove malicious software (e.g. Adware, Ransomware, Screen lockers, etc.) from your Android device, plus some protection tools and precautions to keep your device clean and protected.


How to Remove Adware & Malware Apps from Android (Including FBI Police virus).

ATTENTION: If your Android device is heavily infected with malware (e.g. if it is blocked from a ransomware virus or it freezes), then you have to enter Android in Safe Mode before performing the steps below. The instructions on how to boot Android in Safe Mode can be found in this article: How to Boot your Android device in Safe Mode.

Notices for devices infected with the Android FBI-Police Screen Locker virus:

1. Keep in mind that in some cases the Android FBI FBILock-APolice) scam message virus cannot be removed from some devices by using the steps described in this article. In these cases – unfortunately – the only way to get your Android device back to normal operation is to reset your phone to factory settings (factory defaults). Before doing that, first ensure that you don't have any important files on your device because all your files and settings will be erased.

2. Before performing a factory reset, give it a try and perform every step of this article. If you cannot perform a step, then continue to the next one.

3. For Amazon Kindle owners: The only way (as I know) to remove the FBI-Police screen-locker virus is to reset your KINDLE device to factory defaults settings (in Safe Mode).

Step 1. Stop all recently used applications on your Android device.

First of all, you have to close all recently used (open) apps. Depending on your phone's model, the way to do that varies. For example:

  • On an HTC One: While on home screen, tap the ‘Home’ image key twice. Then, tap an application and swipe up to close it. Repeat this, for all open Apps.
  • On an LG G3: While on home screen, tap the two stacked boxes next to the home button. Then press the “Clear All” button to remove them all.
  • On a Samsung Galaxy S3 or S4: While on home screen press & hold down the “Home” menu button on your device. Now, press the ‘Close All’ icon image on the bottom right corner to close all open apps (or tap an application and swipe left or right until the application's  thumbnail disappears. Do the same for all running applications).
  • On a Nexus 4 or Galaxy Nexus, press the multitasking button. Then, tap an application and swipe left (or right) to close it. Repeat this, for all open Apps.


* Note: If you don’t know how to close the recently used apps, just restart your phone and then continue to the next step.


Step 2: Close Running Applications from Application manager.

Now, you have to close all applications that are still running in the background (e.g. Internet Explorer, Chrome, etc.).

1. Go to Apps.


2. Tap Settings.


3. Tap to open Application Manager or Apps menu. *

* Note: In Samsung S3 and other devices, the Application Manager (Apps) can be found under the More menu (on the top).



4. While in Application Manager, swipe to ‘Running’ tab to display all running applications.


5. From ‘Running’ applications list, tap to open and then stop (Force Stop):

  1. Any related Internet Browser app (e.g. Chrome, Internet Explorer, etc.)
  2. Any unrecognized or non system essential application that is still running .




6. When finished, go back to to Application Manager's main screen and continue to the next step.


Step 3: Uninstall all the recently downloaded or unrecognized apps from your Android device.

(While on Application Manager)

1. Swipe to “All” apps (listing) menu.


2. Review all installed applications and uninstall:

  1. Any unwanted or unrecognized application or plugin (like: BaDoink, Porn-player, Browser update 1.0, Flash Player, Porn Droid, System Update etc.)
  2. Any application that you recently installed on your Android device.

– To completely remove/uninstall the malicious android application:

  • Tap the application that you want to remove from your Android device.
  • At App's Info screen:  If the app is currently running press Force stop.
  • Then tap Clear cache.
  • Then tap Clear data.
  • Finally tap Uninstall.*




* Note: If the Uninstall option is grayed out (commonly after the Android Screen Locker virus infection) then go to:
1. Settings > Security > Device administrators.
2. Tap the app that you cannot uninstall.
3. Choose "Deactivate" > “OK” and immediately shutdown (or remove the battery from) your device.
4. Start your device again and then uninstall the malicious app.



7. Repeat the above procedure to uninstall all unwanted or unrecognized apps.

Step 4. Delete Junk files.

Now it's time to remove all junk files from your Android device (e.g. temporary Internet files, applications cache, etc.). This step is very important to maintain your Android device clean and safe. Some Android users have also reported that after clearing the browsing history and cache content, they managed to disinfect and remove the scam (fraud) Police lock screen message from their Android device.

To Clear Internet history and cache on Android:

1. Open your Internet browser (e.g. Internet Explorer) and tap the Option menu key (button) . samsung-s3-option-button

2. Tap Settings. Internet-browser-settings

3. At Settings tap Privacy and security. android-privacy-securoty

4. Tap Clear cache to clear the cashed content and databases history. android-clear-cache

5. Tap Clear history, to clear your browser's navigation history.




To clear Applications Cache data on Android:

For this task I prefer to run CCleaner app for Android. CCleaner is a power freeware tool that can help you keep your Android device clean and safe because it can easily remove all junk files that slow down your device's performance.

– How to download CCleaner for Android –

1. Open Google Play store.

2. In the search box type “ccleaner” and tap the search icon.


3. Tap “CCleaner” to open it and then tap “Install”.


4. Read carefully the application requirements and if you agree, press “Accept”.


5. Wait for “CCleaner” to be installed.


– How to clean junk files from Android with CCleaner –

1. Tap on CCleaner app to open it.




3. When analysis is completed, tap to mark the checkboxes next to “Browser History” & “Cache”. Also check any other application that your want to delete its cached content.


4. Finally tap CLEAN.




Step 5. Detect & Remove Malware Apps with MalwareBytes Anti-Malware for Android.

One of the most popular & reliable anti malware programs for Windows platforms is now available for your Android device. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware for Android helps you protect your device from malware, suspicious apps and more.

– How to download MalwareBytes Anti-Malware for Android –

1. Open Google Play store.

2. In the search box, type “malwarebytes” and then tap the search icon.


3. Tap ‘MalwareBytes Anti-Malware’ and then tap “Install”.



4. Read carefully the application requirements and, if you agree, press “Accept”.



5. Wait for “MalwareBytes Anti-Malware” to be installed.


– How to scan your Android device for malware & suspicious apps with MalwareBytes Anti-Malware –

1. Open MalwareBytes Anti-Malware app.

2. Wait until MalwareBytes Anti-Malware scans your Android device for malware.


3. When the scan is completed, tap “VIEW RESULTS”.


4. If MalwareBytes Anti-Malware scan has found suspicious apps on your device, then choose the recommended action by the program.



How to protect your Android Device and yourself from Malware.

  • Avoid the installation of applications that come from unknown sources. To take care of that uncheck the "Unknown sources" option found under Settings > Security > Device Administration.
  • Before downloading an application, always read the reviews and rating.
  • Always check the permissions and locations that an application wants to access when downloading.


If this article was useful for you, please consider supporting us by making a donation. Even $1 can a make a huge difference for us in our effort to continue to help others while keeping this site free: