4. Avast Premium Security & Avast Free Security
There are four Mac antivirus products from Avast. The paid for Avast Premium Security for Mac and Avast One, and the free Avast Free Antivirus and Avast One Essential. If you want just a virus scanner, Avast’s Free Antivirus, which is the free version of Avast Premium Security, gets our recommendation. Avast One Essential is the free version of Avast One, and offers some additional functions compared to Avast Free Antivirus. It includes options such as ransomware protection, privacy protection, recommends cleaning up the hard drive without being asked, and searches for data leaks. There’s also a free VPN service with 5GB data volume per week, but, you can only select the location in another country for an additional charge.
Avast Premium Security for Mac does its job well overall. It’s a well-featured suite that will protect from all sorts of nasties including watching for browser script hacks, potential ransomware and other remote attack activity. It will, of course, also scan for potentially unwanted programs and actual malware threats, whether on your Mac or your removable media or in email attachments.
Custom scheduled scans can be set up, although the automatic background monitoring teamed with occasional specific manual scans is likely to be enough for most requirements. Wi-Fi network monitoring for vulnerabilities is another feature this software offers, and the Real Site option watches for fake sites pretending to be legitimate shopping or banking sites, a serious risk that goes beyond just watching for unwanted files on your own Mac. It is very effective at all these things, although we found that customizing its behavior can be a little fiddly.
There are a few niggles such as the fact that the File Shield monitoring slows down file copy times a bit and the unwanted upselling for Cleanup Premium and. If you are using the free versions of Avast’s apps expect even more upselling!
If you’d prefer to save your money, or get an idea of what’s on offer before parting with your cash, you might like to try the two free Antivirus for Mac solutions from Avast.
Just because they are free doesn’t mean these solutions are ineffective. In a test by AV-Comparatives in June 2023, Avast’s Free antivirus for Mac was among the best products, detecting 100 percent of Mac malware, 99 percent of potentially unwanted applications and 100 percent of Windows viruses. Avast also performed well in AV-Test’s investigations in June 2023, scoring full marks for protection, performance and usability.
When we ran the free version of Avast we experienced no slowdowns and no negative effect on system performance. One of the biggest challenges was installation. In order to be able to check files, a virus scanner must install some background programs and needs access to the file system, so you will have to jump through some hoops to allow access. None of this is Avast’s fault, of course.
As for the interface, we found the three-column overview with all the listed functions to be very cluttered and a bit overwhelming, but by far the biggest annoyance was the exaggerated warnings about alleged security gaps, with Avast One classifying our home WLAN as insecure and recommending the use of a VPN.
Read our full Avast Free Antivirus and Avast One Essential for Mac review