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Avast Security Essential Review

Avast Security for Mac detected 100 percent of the Mac malware threats we used in our lab tests, earning it a place as one of the best Mac antivirus programs.

Our Verdict

Avast Security for Mac is good software for detecting both Mac and Windows malware plus offers extra protection with its password manager and VPN.


  • Avast detected every Mac malware threat we used during testing.


  • This program doesn’t automatically scan USB files when you plug drives in.
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Avast Security for Mac detected 100 percent of the Mac malware threats we used in our lab tests, earning it a place as one of the best Mac antivirus programs. When we started to download our zip file of malware samples, Avast quickly moved the entire folder to the Virus Chest, Avast’s name for its quarantine folder. This is impressive since most Mac antivirus software we tested stopped each individual file either during or right after they downloaded and only after the zip file was opened.

Don't have a Mac or unsure of what antivirus is the right one for you? Check out our best antivirus guide.

This antivirus for Mac has an above average detection rate for Windows viruses on Mac machines, which prevents you from accidentally infecting PC users’ computers through email or file sharing. And it detects threats embedded in websites and corrupted online files by using secure browser extensions.

When we first installed Avast, the browser extension in Safari was automatically installed and enabled. We needed to manually install and enable the Chrome extension, but Avast walked us through each step. Once this was done we attempted to access websites we knew were infected with malware. Avast gave us an in-browser warning, a browser pop-up warning, a pop-up warning at the top of the computer screen and a message from the extension icon. It made sure we knew just how serious clicking through to these sites was. And when we used a search engine, like Google or Bing, Avast placed a mark by each result so we knew whether it was safe to visit.

This basic Mac antivirus does come with a password manager to shield your login credentials as you access online accounts. It is also one of the few programs that include a VPN that keeps your online browsing history hidden so it can’t be logged or tracked.

Avast scans USB drives connected to your Mac; however, this isn’t done automatically. Instead the software scans each file as you open them, which keeps viruses from infecting your computer. Also, you can protect Android phones and tablets with Avast’s mobile app, which is available at no charge if you are a registered user. iPhones and iPads can use the compatible password protector and call blocker programs for free.

This program is missing some features found in other antivirus software, including parental controls and dedicated safe banking tools. It also doesn’t have a personal firewall. Most basic antivirus programs don’t have these features, though they are often included with higher priced applications. You can check out our reviews of Mac internet security suites to learn about Mac security programs that may have these advanced protection features.

Avast Mac Security is a decent antivirus program that detects both Mac and Windows threats and extends this protection to other devices, such as cellphones and tablets, with its free mobile protection programs. It doesn’t scan USB drives as you connect them, but it does scan files as you open them to ensure hidden threats don’t infect your computer. Avast doesn’t include some advanced protection features, including a firewall or parental controls, but it does include a password manager and VPN.