Operating System
OS: Android 7.0
Current issues and symptoms
Sluggishness, app continues to crash frequently on prolonged usage.
Steps taken in order to remove the infection
Ran scans with a dozen AVs.


Level 1
I'm using a Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime, Android 7. Everything was fine, then all of a sudden, since last week, my Instagram app started freezing and then subsequently crashing often, every day, sometimes even twice a day. Then Google started crashing a bit too, not as often as Instagram, but maybe that's because I use Insta more. I had Malwarebytes installed, it crashed too. I went online, did some research, restarted phone, and cleared the specific app caches, uninstalled a bunch of apps to free up storage space. Clearing the cache seemed to have fixed the problem for Google, for now, at least, it has not crashed yet since but maybe I'm not using it as much, but Instagram is still behaving the exact same way.

I have 6 GB free space on my internal memory and over 10 GB on my SD card right now, and my phone has worked smoothly on less than that before, so it doesn't seem like lack of space is a problem. The only other reason, as I could find online, was malware. Even though it's unlikely malware can get on my phone because I'm very cautious with how I use it, never download anything, anything, except google images, never install apps from third party stores, only install vetted apps from Playstore and practise safe browsing, still, you never know, so I ran scans with my installed AV, Kaspersky (free version). Found nothing, however phone seemed to get more sluggish and Instagram crashes continued, so I downloaded every reputed AV I could find on Playstore and ran scans with them. Malwarebytes, Bitdefender, Lookout, ESET, Norton, Avast, Sophos, McAfee, Quick Heal, you name it, I used it. Not a single one of them picked up anything. Which wouldn't seem unusual to me if my phone was not acting up.

Before the problem started, I had installed only one app in the recent past, TrueCaller, which is a trusted and popular app for call monitoring. No other apps in quite a few time.

I'm at wits end now. My apps are all updated, they always are, so I have no idea what is causing this problem. I could obviously do a factory reset, but I don't just want to jump the gun and blindly perform a reset without knowing the exact cause. Because if I do have malware/spyware on my phone, I need to take precautions while doing the reset too, like changing my passwords and all and not restoring from my Google backup.

Are there any other reasons why my phone could be behaving this way with the sluggishness and app crashes? Right now, my primary concern is finding the cause and then going for the solution. I'll perform a factory reset if I have to, but I want to keep it as my last resort after I have exhausted any other potential solutions. I don't want to try and fix something that ain't broke in the first place.

I don't know for sure if I have a malware infection, but the signs point to one.

Any suggestions would be helpful. Thank you very much.