Best Mac Antivirus for December 2023

2. Avast Premium Security & Avast Free Security

  • AV Test, September 2023: 100%
  • AV Comparatives, June 2023: Approved

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, is a good option. 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 a great job keeping your Mac secure. 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. Avast Premium Security offers various modules: Virus Scans, Core Shields, Traffic Monitor, Network Inspector, Email Guardian, Ransomware Shield, and Quarantine. These are all easily accessed from the home screen.

Virus scan options include Smart Scan, Deep Scan, Targeted Scan, or External Storage Scan. Once suspect files are found, they can be readily quarantined and/or deleted. The Traffic Monitor shows how much data you’re using and where your bandwidth is going. Network Inspector scans the network you’re on, gauges its safety, offers a list of which devices are on the same network, and alerts you as to when an unfamiliar device joins the network.

We tested the Core Shields feature with a fake website that spawned from a random text message regarding an undelivered package. Avast’s Real Site feature prevented the site from loading and triggering software.

The software installed quickly and ran well on macOS Sonoma. It’s frustrating that it’s necessary to grant the program full hard disk access and permission to filter network content, but that is standard with AV software.

The main frustration is the subscription-based model, but again, that tends to be standard these days. There are some features that are only available on the Avast Ultimate subscription tier.

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.

You can get Avast Premium Security for Mac here. Also consider Avast One, Avast Free Antivirus and Avast One Essential.

Read our full Avast Free Antivirus and Avast One Essential for Mac review


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