While it's common practice to protect your desktops and laptops with antivirus software, it is much less common to similarly protect your smartphone or tablet. However, as more of us rely heavily on our mobile devices and store personal information on them, it is imperative to ensure they are protected with antivirus and security software.

Most cell phones include basic security options, such as the ability to set a PIN to lock the device. While this measure may be enough to deter your friends from looking through your phone, a simple passcode won't protect your phone from viruses or knowledgeable hackers.

For our buying guide, we selected the best mobile security software that steps security up from your phone's basic security settings. These programs give you the ability to lock your phone and SIM card remotely, wipe important information from your memory card and activate your phone's built-in GPS chip to locate your device.

In this buying guide you will find recommendations for the best Android anti-malware, the best iPhone anti-malware and the best mobile device security for parents to add to their children's phones. For more information about how you can protect your devices, visit our learning center to read additional articles related to mobile phone virus protection.

Best Security for Android

Android is an open source program, and because of this, it is especially vulnerable to malware and hackers. Furthermore, as Android phones become more popular, they are an even bigger draw for cybercriminals.

Threats to your security include virus apps and active hackers. With potential digital danger around every corner, it is important to use mobile security software designed for Android operating systems –  we recommend Lookout mobile security.

Lookout offers physical and digital protection for your devices. If you lose your phone or someone steals it, you can activate the Find My Phone feature. You can also back up your data to the cloud and then completely wipe all information from your phone so it isn't vulnerable. In addition to these features, Lookout scans all of your apps to alert you to potentially dangerous downloads and protects the information you have on your phone against hackers with its Privacy Advisor.

Lookout Premium

Android devices face an onslaught of threats. There are application-based threats designed to appear safe enough for you to install them. However, they can contain malware that robs you of control over your phone. Application-based threats can also consist of spyware and other privacy threats. And hackers can also exploit some vulnerable applications for nefarious purposes. Malicious QR codes are also on the rise, so Lookout Premium examines them for threats as well.

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Best Security for iPhones

Protecting the data on your phone is vitally important, especially as mobile wallets like Apple Pay are used more frequently. While Google's Android is open source, Apple uses an explicitly closed source operating system. The closed source operating system Apple implements makes it a safer option than its Android counterparts; however, it is not invincible and is vulnerable to experienced hackers.

Since you are storing personal and credit card information on your phone, you should consider iPhone anti-malware software; we recommend McAfee Mobile Security. Both the iPhone and iPad version of McAfee automatically encrypts your files and pictures, backs up your contacts and alerts you whenever someone tries to hack your information. This alert lets you reset your passwords before they are cracked, keeping you one step ahead of cybercriminals.

McAfee Mobile Security

There are millions of Android devices in use. With that much data floating around, there are people looking to exploit it. Without mobile phone virus protection, you are at risk. To regain control over your privacy, you could install McAfee Mobile Security.

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Best Security for Your Child

The internet can be a scary place, especially if you are a parent who has given your child a smartphone. If you like the security of knowing that you can contact your child at any time but worry about giving them free reign, F-Secure lets you control what they can view and download.

Like other mobile security and antivirus software in our buying guide, F-Secure protects your phones against hackers, viruses and spyware. However, in addition to these functions, you get web-surfing filters, and you can prevent apps from being downloaded. This gives you more control of your child's phone. Furthermore, you can add numbers to a block list so your child's phone will not receive texts or calls from these numbers.

F-Secure Mobile Security

The F-Secure Mobile Security app is a capable antivirus software app for mobile products because of its performance, usability and feature set. It performs its functions well and offers most of the tools you need to effectively protect your phones.

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Usability & Support

Even the best mobile security platform is useless if you don't know how to effectively use it. Installing mobile antivirus software on your phone should be simple: You upload the application directly to your phone or sync to a PC. The application should then receive updates automatically.

If you do have issues, help and support should be provided in several formats. This includes online help found in a learning center on the company's website, with instruction manuals and answers to frequently asked questions, and personal support over the phone, or via live chat or email.

Security Settings

While mobile phone security software is essential to your phone's safety, you should not rely on software alone. iPhone and Android platforms both offer built-in security functions.

The best way to protect your phone against digital threats is to utilize these built-in security settings in conjunction with mobile security software applications. Check out our buying guide to learn more about the best mobile security software.