Avira Free Antivirus for Mac Review: You Can Do Better

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Free Antivirus for Mac

Best Mac antivirus with free VPN and password manager included

  • Award-winning antivirus – blocks and removes all malware
  • Real-Time-Protection – safely shop, browse, and download
  • Private – protects your data with encrypted VPN

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Downloaded by millions.

And awarded by leading testing institutes for its security, performance, and usability.

Macs also need protection

With an ever increasing number of threats detected on macOS, it’s time you equipped yourself with proper defenses.

Avira Free Security protects you from millions of threats, including ransomware, spyware, and adware.

Graph about antivirus engine sizes in MB

Fast and light

Avira Free Security doesn’t slow you down nor drain your system’s resources.

Avira’s engine is one of the fastest and most efficient in the industry – and as Free Security is newly built on native Mac technology, it’s fully optimised and runs smoothly on macOS.

Avira Free Security for Mac Product Screenshot

Powerful Antivirus Scan

Avira Free Security’s Smart Scan detects security, privacy and performance issues on your Mac all at once – with just one click.

So much more than antivirus

Avira Free Security also includes a range of privacy and performance tools, including a free VPN (500 MB/month for free), a Password Manager, and a junk file cleaner.

Take our product tour

Click on the features to discover Avira Free Security for Mac.

Security

Privacy

Performance

Your antivirus protection is ON

Last Update: 1 hour ago

Security

Privacy

Performance

Start a Smart Scan to check for security, privacy and performance issues

Start Smart Scan

See what Avira Security has done for you

Today

You got the latest version of Avira Security (version 1.5.1)

1 hour ago

Scan your devices for threats

Quick scan

Scan the most vulnerable areas of your device

Full scan

Scan your entire device for viruses

Custom scan

Choose or drop here what you want to scan

Choose your core barriers against viruses

Real-time Protection

Check every new file for threats

All threats are safely contained here

Scan your device for threats

Quick Scan

Scan the most vulnerable areas

Full Scan

Check your entire device for viruses

Stay private wherever you go

  • Browse in full privacy, and protect your IP address
  • Stay safe on public Wi-Fi
  • Access the content you want, whenever you want it
  • Leave no trace. No one will monitor your activity

Open Avira Phantom VPN

Remember only a master password

  • Access all your websites and apps with just one master password
  • Create strong and unique passwords for your accounts
  • Sync your passwords on all your devices

Go to Avira Password Manager

Clean your Mac from trackers

  • Delete all your advertising trackers
  • Stop websites from following your behaviour
  • Clean up your browsing digital footprint

Get Prime to remove your trackers

Curious how much space you can clean?

  • Safely delete unneeded files with one click
  • Get rid of files that take up space
  • Fine-tune your Mac’s performance

Scan for Junk

See what Avira Security has done for you

Today

Smart Scan

A Smart Scan was done on your device

5 mins ago

You got the latest version of Avira Security (version 1.5.1)

1 hour ago

Schedule your scans at your convenience

Smart scan

Routine Smart Scan

Starts the 13th of every month at 12:00

Virus scans

Routine Quick Scan

Starts every Tuesday at 00:00

Remove apps and all their related files

  • Uninstall applications correctly
  • Clean leftovers from uninstalled apps
  • Remove widgets and browser extensions easily

Get Prime to uninstall apps properly

Product features

REAL-TIME PROTECTION

Analyze all files you click on or use for potential threats before they can harm you.

CONFIGURATOR

Configure your antivirus easily, optimizing it for your needs.

QUARANTINE MANAGEMENT

Manage suspicious files that have been quarantined for your safety.

VIRUS SCANS

Scan your Mac for malware with a quick or full system scan.

PROTECTION CLOUD

Automatically send suspicious files to be analysed in the cloud.

SMART SCAN

Check for security, privacy and performance issues with one click.

NEW TECHNOLOGY STACK

Benefit from an app built on the latest technologies released for Mac.

PasswordS

Automatically generate secure passwords you don’t need to remember.

Free VPN

Encrypt your web browsing with VPN – 500 MB limit per month.

Junk Remover

Free up space on your Mac by deleting unwanted junk files.

Easily switch between dark & light modes

Avira integrates smoothly into your environment and provides an intuitive user experience.

Private by design: We don’t sell your data.

Unlike most security vendors, Avira doesn’t sell your data and never will. Nor do we share your data with 3rd parties such as government, Big Tech or advertising networks.

Laptop, smartphone or tablet?

Secure all your devices with Avira

Free Antivirus for Windows

Free Antivirus for Mac

Free Antivirus for Android

Free Mobile
Security for iOS

LOOKING FOR PREMIUM ANTIVIRUS?

System requirements

Your device is compatible
Your device is not compatible
Read full specifications

Get the best free Antivirus for Mac now

Get the best free Antivirus for Mac now

The Avira Antivirus for Mac software is our simple and elegant solution for your online security. Easy to use, the Mac virus scan starts with just the push of a button. Your Mac is protected from online threats such as Trojans, viruses, adware, and spyware by our award-winning technology and easy-to-use interface. The Activity Stream displays all security-related information in real-time, showing constantly-updated protection. Our Apple virus scan works silently in the background and won’t slow down your system – carry on working without worrying about online threats.

Simple and effective: The Avira Antivirus for Mac

Your Mac also needs protection, and our Antivirus for Mac blocks thousands of threats each day.

Real-time protection means that your Mac is secure against malicious attack. Put up strong a defense against ransomware that encrypts your private data, spyware that steals your information, and adware that spams you with unwanted ads.

  • Schedule security scans so that they run unobtrusively in the background and update your virus definition database automatically. Your free Antivirus software updates in real-time so you are always protected.
  • Check your Activity Stream and see at a glance all the security-related activities on your Mac, including blocked threats.
  • Unknown files are uploaded to our Protection Cloud and analyzed by AI technology. All our clients profit from protection in real-time. If a new threat is detected, all your devices are protected within minutes.
  • The System Scanner means that you can search for known viruses whenever you wish by, for example, running a scan of the content of your USB drives.
  • Suspicious files are safely quarantined. Open the Quarantine Management Manager to review these.
  • The Avira Browser Safety tool blocks annoying banners on websites, and also protects you from infected sites and phishing attacks. Do what you need to do and browse your chosen content without the interruption of pop-ups. The tool checks for hidden links in social networks and in emails, to stop cybercriminals gaining access to your system.

Get the best free virus scan for Mac

Macs get attacked by cybercriminals trying to encrypt or steal your personal data. Or they might try to use your system as part of a botnet to attack other computers globally. Our Mac OS antivirus software offers the best Mac virus removal and protects your system. Scan your system at the push of a button and repair folders with just one click. Our Apple virus scan software is free. Download it now for your Mac with macOS 10.15 (Catalina) and later versions! For additional features get our Free Security Suite, including free Antivirus for Mac, free Phantom VPN to secure and anonymize your online surfing, Avira Browser Safety (on Firefox) to block ads and browser trackers. For premium antivirus protection, discover the benefits of our Antivirus Pro for Mac now.

Why does my Mac need antivirus software?

Although Macs are considered less vulnerable to malware than Windows devices, they are not totally invulnerable. The independent research institute AV-Test has recorded a significant increase in macOS malware and PUAs (potentially unwanted applications) in recent years. Free antivirus software such as Avira Free Antivirus for Mac helps you better protect your device against malware such as viruses, Trojans, spyware, and ransomware. That’s because Avira’s antivirus tool receives more frequent virus definition updates than macOS’s built-in antivirus, enabling Avira’s solution to detect even the latest threats.

In addition, you can use the free Avira Browser Safety add-on to ensure that PUAs, such as annoying adware, do not get onto your Mac in the first place. Avira Browser Protection helps you detect PUAs like adware hidden in software downloads and offers you a safe download alternative. In addition, you can also block harmful ads and websites, unsafe and phishing websites, online tracking, and prevent browser hijacking.

What makes Avira Free Antivirus the ideal antivirus for Mac?

Avira Free Antivirus for Mac not only helps you better protect your device from malware such as viruses, Trojans, spyware, and ransomware but also includes many other security, online privacy, and optimization features alongside virus protection. Thanks to the integrated VPN, you can enjoy bank-grade security to surf anonymously and encrypt your traffic even on unsecured public Wi-Fi hotspots. The password manager helps you create strong passwords for your user accounts, while the junk cleaner rids your Mac of junk data and duplicate files. The Avira Browser Safety add-on helps you block harmful ads and websites, unsafe and phishing websites, online tracking, and prevent browser hijacking. All these features mean Avira solutions are the perfect complement to the security features built into macOS, providing additional layers of protection.

Download Free Antivirus for Mac

Renewal prices for certain annual plans will increase effective August 28, 2023. Review the new pricing here: loading. for Avira Prime – 5 devices

*Important Subscription, Pricing and Offer Details

  • Contract Type: contract for a monthly or annual subscription, starting when the transaction is complete. Click here for our Terms of Sale.
  • Set-up: to get the protection/service started, you must download and install on each device and/or complete set-up.
  • Free Trial: payment method required if signing up for a free trial (credit/debit card or PayPal only). When the trial ends, the paid subscription starts and the first term is charged, unless cancelled before. Special offer(s) may expire.
  • Renewal Cycle: automatically renews each month or each year after the initial term, unless the subscription renewal is cancelled before the day you are due to be charged in your account or by contacting us. Click here to learn how.
  • Renewal Prices: may be higher than the price for the initial term and are subject to change. They are charged up to 35 days before the annual subscription is due to renew, and we send you a notification email with the renewal price before. They are charged up to 5 days before the monthly subscription is due to renew.
  • Cancellation & Refund: you can cancel your contract and request a full refund within 60 days of purchase for annual subscriptions and within 14 days of purchase for monthly subscriptions. For each annual renewal or free trial with paid annual subscription, you can request a full refund within 60 days of being charged , and after the 60 days, a pro-rated refund of the days left in your renewed subscription term, beginning the month after you request the refund . For free trial with paid monthly subscription, you can request a full refund within 14 days of being charged. For details, visit our Cancellation & Refund Policy. To cancel your contract or request a refund, click hereclick here.
  • Updates: your subscription may include product, service and/or protection updates, and features that may be added, modified, or removed, subject to the acceptance of the License & Services Agreement.
  • Usage: for non-commercial household use only. If you have issues adding a device, please contact us.
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        Avira Free Antivirus for Mac Review: You Can Do Better

        Avira may not charge for its Mac protection, but other free options provide better malware detection, system impact and design.

        published 18 September 2017

        Avira Free Antivirus for Mac

        Tom’s Guide Verdict

        Avira Free AntiVirus is a solid option for those looking to protect their Macs without spending money, but it’s not our top choice.

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        Pros

        • + Free
        • + Solid malware protection

        Cons

        • – Notable system impact during full scans

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        The abundance of solid free antivirus solutions available on the Mac means you can be choosy about which one you download. For example, while we can appreciate Avira Free Antivirus for Mac for its relatively low impact during passive scanning when it’s running in the background, that’s not enough.

        Unfortunately, while Avira’s malware-detection score is good, it’s not enough to make it the best Mac antivirus software. For Mac protection without any expense, we recommend Avast Free Mac Security; if you can afford $40 per year, then Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac is an even better bet for its perfect detection rates and parental controls. (We review paid antivirus and free antivirus software for Windows separately.)

        Costs and What’s Covered

        As its name declares, Avira Free Antivirus comes without any price tag. For those who may want technical support and other perks, Avira also offers Avira Antivirus Pro ($44.95 per year), which bundles in software for both Mac and Windows, including some of the best antivirus software. The Avira Prime ($9.99 per month) subscription gives you access to all of Avira’s paid products, including some of the best Android antivirus apps.

        Avira Free Antivirus for Mac supports the most recent two editions of macOS, which at the time of this writing were macOS 10.12 Sierra and OS X 10.11 El Capitan.

        Antivirus Protection

        Avira protects Macs using traditional signature-based malware scanning, as well as behavioral monitoring that scans for patterns commonly seen in dangerous and unwanted files.

        Like most other antivirus products, Avira Free Antivirus for Mac constantly updates its malware-signature database, which receives information from the 100 million users of the company’s Windows, Android and Mac software. Avira stops PC malware on Macs from spreading across external drives and networks.

        In addition to routine background scans, Avira offers both on-demand and scheduled scans, and scans unopened archive files such as ZIPs.

        Antivirus Performance

        Austria’s AV-Comparatives evaluation lab tested Avira’s malware-detection skills and found it offered high, but not perfect, protection.

        In AV Comparatives’ July 2017 studies, Avira Free Antivirus for Mac detected 99.1 percent of malware, which translates to catching 681 pieces of malware and failing to detect six. In comparison, Avast Free Mac Security and AVG AntiVirus for Mac caught 99.9 percent of malware (686 out of 687).

        Among paid options, Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac and Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac, detected 100 percent of both Mac and Windows malware.

        Security and Privacy Features

        As is often the case with free antivirus solutions, Avira Free Antivirus for Mac is light on extras. Although it comes with a firewall (disabled by default), macOS has its own already. A USB scanner tool can be added on by upgrading to Avira Pro.

        While Avira does offer its SafeSearch Plus tool (free) to help you stay away from infected sites, it doesn’t install the browser plugin during installation.

        Performance and System Impact

        Avira Free Antivirus for Mac had a mixed impact on system performance. We assessed the performance hit with our custom OpenOffice benchmark test, which matches 20,000 names and 20,000 addresses on a spreadsheet and measures how long it takes to finish the task. Our test machine was a Late 2013 MacBook Pro with Retina Display, with a 2.6-GHz Core i7 CPU, 8GB RAM and 70GB of data stored on a 512GB SSD.

        After we installed Avira Free Antivirus for Mac on our MacBook, the OpenOffice test finished in an average of 2 minutes and 24 seconds, 1.5 seconds longer than the same system took before installation. That’s a passive system hit of 1.1 percent, on the lower end of the range we found among the eight products we reviewed.

        During a full-system scan, the OpenOffice test finished in 2 minutes and 41 seconds, signifying a performance dip of 18.25 percent, the highest we saw. AVG’s 12.1 percent was the second highest we recorded, and Kaspersky’s 4.5 percent the lowest.

        Clicking New Scan gives you the option for a Quick scan or a full system scan, as well as a button to start the scan. While we prefer one-click scans, this arrangement is pretty decent and consolidates the screens into a pop-up menu.

        The scheduled-scan page brings a drop-down sheet where you can name the days and times scans should run as well as their type (full, quick) and frequency (weekly, daily).

        The Quarantine button brings you to a view of any files Avira has flagged as dangerous and set aside, while the Activity button shows you a list of your most recent scans. Clicking License lets you enter the Activation Code that an Avira Pro or Avira Prime membership comes with.

        Clicking the option-toggles icon in the menu bar brings you to the Real-Time Protection screen, which allows you to disable file protection (don’t do it) and enable Avira’s Firewall. The profile icon brings you to what I’d call the About screen. Here you can see version info and click links to the Avira Community support page, product videos and other meta-level web pages.

        Installation and Support

        After you click Download, the superlight disk image file containing Avira Free Antivirus’ installer will download. After opening that, the rest of the files are downloaded. In total, it took less than 3 minutes to complete the process.

        Avira’s customer support is limited to its paid customers, so you’ll need Avira Pro or Avira Prime for that. In lieu of that, you can search Avira’s FAQ documents and community message boards.

        Bottom Line

        Avira Free Antivirus For Mac continues to be a good option for protecting your Mac from malware; unfortunately, that’s not enough. Sure, we like its easy-to-use interface, but its malware protection scores aren’t as good as what AVG Antivirus for Mac and Avast Free Mac Security offer. Avast also causes less system impact than Avira, which makes it our top free choice.

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        Avira Free Security for Mac review

        Most Mac security software requires a rolling annual subscription, but there is one option that is absolutely free to use.

        By Lance Whitney
        Macworld JAN 19, 2023 3:25 am PST

        At a Glance

        Expert’s Rating

        Pros

        • Effective antivirus protection
        • Includes a VPN, password manager, and junk file cleaner

        Cons

        • Offers several different tools via its dashboard, but only a few are available in the free version
        • A smart scan promises to boost your PC’s performance, but there’s little you can do in the free version
        • The VPN severely limits the amount of encrypted traffic

        Our Verdict

        Avira Free Security for Mac seems to offer a lot of features for free. But most actually require a paid subscription, so the product’s overall usefulness is limited.

        Some free security programs appear to offer an array of features beyond just basic antivirus protection. But when you dig deep, you find that most of those extra, advanced options actually require a paid subscription. Such is the case with Avira Free Security for Mac. Free for home use, Avira Free Security starts off with antivirus protection but then lists a VPN, password manager, browser cookie cleaner, junk file cleaner, application uninstaller, startup manager, and PC performance booster. All of these features pop up in the program’s dashboard, but only a few are actually accessible in the free product.

        For alternatives, see our roundup of the best antivirus software for Mac.

        Installation and operation

        The Avira Free Security for Mac installation is quick and painless, although, as with all antivirus programs on macOS, however, you have to change some system settings during installation. The process directs you to the specific preferences on your Mac that must receive permission for Avira to install. After the initial setup, the program invites you to run a smart scan on your Mac to check for any security or privacy issues and any performance concerns.

        The first time I ran the smart scan on my Mac, Avira caught 44 tracking cookies and informed me that my email was not being monitored for phishing attempts. It also promised that it could free up 2.6GB of disk space. Further details identified one of the privacy issues as tracking cookies in Chrome and the disk space clutter as cache files, logs, and general trash. I could check or uncheck any of these options and then tell Avira to fix the issues.

        However, here’s where the first sales pitch kicked in. The free version of Avira identified the issues found in the smart scan. But to actually clean up anything beyond the junk files would have required one of the paid editions—Avira Internet Security at $34.99/£22.99 for the first year or Avira Prime at $59.99/£51.99 for the first year.

        Avira Free Security for Mac review 1

        Features & Interface

        The user interface of the free version lists the functions of the paid version, which can be a little confusing as only half of the listed functions can actually be used. However, the free version offers all the important scan functions, including “Quick Scan” which checks the most vulnerable areas in a few minutes, and the complete scan or manual and timed scan.

        Though the smart scan’s usefulness is limited unless you plan to upgrade to one of the paid editions, the program’s dashboard seems to offer access to a variety of impressive tools, all organized into three main categories: Security, Privacy, and Performance.

        Under Security is virus scanning. Here, you can run a quick scan to check out system files and other vulnerable areas or a full scan to analyze your entire Mac for malware. With both types of scans, you’re able to schedule a scan to run daily, weekly, or monthly. Plus, you can create a custom scan to look only at certain folders.

        By default, the real-time virus protection scans any new file saved to your computer as well as files downloaded from the internet. Scanning USB drives is listed as another option, but that requires one of the paid Avira products. Any malware discovered is automatically quarantined for you to inspect it. Clicking the name of a piece of malware takes you to the Avira website with a helpful analysis of the file.

        Avira Free Security for Mac review 2

        Under Privacy are the VPN, password manager, and cookie cleaner. To use the VPN, you must download a separate and free tool called Avira Phantom VPN and WiFi Proxy from the Mac App Store. Manually turning on the VPN uses your nearest location for the network. With the free version of Avira, you’re limited to just one network location chosen automatically. Plus, your monthly quota of encrypted traffic tops out at 500MB, which won’t last very long.

        Avira Free Security for Mac review 3

        A free password manager is also included, but for most users, Apple’s password manager is probably the more convenient solution. The password manager Avira PWM for Safari works just as a Safari extension. Avira PWM meets the basic functions of a password manager, creating and storing secure passwords, applying them at the associated websites, and requiring you to devise a master password to protect the information. Next on the list is a Cookie Cleaner, but this is yet another feature that requires the paid Prime edition of Avira.

        Finally, the Performance category lists three tools—a junk cleaner, an uninstaller, and a startup app manager. Among these, the junk cleaner is available in the free version of Avira and will scan and remove junk files and other unnecessary files clogging up your system. The uninstaller and startup app manager both require the Prime edition of Avira.

        Avira Free Security for Mac review 4

        Performance

        Avira was effective at detecting and stopping malware. The program easily caught and quarantined the different EICAR test files that I tried to download, including the eicar.com file and the eicar text file. It didn’t scan the eicar.zip file when I downloaded it. But when I tried to open the file, Avira caught and quarantined it.

        The paid version of the product–Avira Internet Security–received top marks in a September/October evaluation from AV-Test for protection, performance, and usability. A 2016 review of Avira Free Antivirus by AV-Comparatives gave the program good grades overall, while a May/June 2022 review of macOS security products awarded high marks to Avira Antivirus Pro.

        Verdict

        One benefit compared to Avira’s free-to-use competitor Avast is that while Avast advertises quite intrusively for the paid version in its free version, Avira is much more moderate with its advertising.

        The most frustrating part of Avira Free Security is the sheer number of tools that require one of the paid editions. I don’t necessarily fault Avira for this type of trickery; it’s a game played by a lot of free products. But listing each tool in the program as if it were available felt deceptive to me. Ultimately, the old adage of “you get what you pay for” is certainly true with Avira Free Security. Take away the tools that require a subscription, and you’re left with the antivirus feature, a limited VPN, a password manager that works only in Safari, and a junk file cleaner. On the surface, that’s not a terrible mix for a free product. But you can do better with other free standalone products.