- Simple and straightforward interface
- Powerful on-demand scans
- Useful additional features
- Free, unlimited antivirus
- Generous discounts for buyers of bulk
- Free trial and money-back guarantee
- Security issue with real-time file scans
- Subpar value for money
- Pay-only internet security features/apps
There are many internet security solution providers out there, but none of them have been more synonymous with the protection of computers than Avast. Although the company’s main profile is providing various security apps for PCs running Windows, it also offers specialized solutions for Mac enthusiasts who want to make their devices an impenetrable fortress against cyber attacks. Avast Security for Mac is one such tool that, although mostly an antivirus with additional internet security features, provides sufficient protection against all sorts of issues, whether that is related to malware, vulnerable networks, or the safeguarding of important files. Admittedly, this doesn’t seem too much when compared to what other Mac security companies put into their internet security suites, but Avast became a market leader for a reason. As such, Avast Security for Mac can be enjoyed with all the benefits that other Avast products come with, such as the outstanding discount policy – which relies on a more-the-merrier philosophy – the 60-day free trial of the Pro version, and a money-back guarantee that ensures that nobody is left unsatisfied.
One of the main charms of Avast products is that they are ridiculously simple to operate thanks to their straightforward interfaces – a feature that’s also present in Avast Security for Mac. In fact, the software is tailored to simplicity to such an extent that, once it’s installed, it can be used with the default settings quite comfortably, while the installation process itself that doesn’t take long and only requires the provision of your Mac’s password once. Truth be told, there isn’t much to do with the software aside from using and customizing the built-in internet security features, managing the software and virus definition updates, and setting up the pop-up alerts.
What’s most appreciated, however, is how Avast Security for Mac also allows users to download Avast’s VPN and password manager without the need to visit the company’s website. This option is also present for Avast’s two browser plugins, Online Security and SafePrice, both of which are available for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari browsers. However, only Online Security is worthwhile, because it has anti-tracking and website safety monitoring features.
It’s obvious from the get-go that Avast Security for Mac’s main profile is antivirus protection. Not only does it occupy the first four tabs in the software, but it’s also the only function that’s available without paying. Feature-wise, however, there is nothing unusual in Avast’s Mac antivirus. There are various scans to choose from, although customization options are limited to only a handful of things, such as getting reports on potentially unwanted apps, excluding certain paths, and including removable volumes or even Time Machine backups within the scans. Quick comprehensive scans are sadly not available – leaving users to choose between full or custom scans – but the lack of this feature is compensated by the easy handling of scan scheduling and the inclusion of network scans.
Thankfully, whichever of these are chosen, cyber attacks will still be detected at all times – at least in the case of on-demand scans. In that regard, the network scanner correctly identified issues with our test router while the file scans easily busted the EICAR test malware files, whether those were hidden on a computer or a removable drive. Admittedly, the default full system scan may take 10-15 minutes and result in heavy CPU usage, but at least it’s infallible unlike the real-time file shield, one of Avast’s first lines of defense.
In fact, the file shield made the inexcusable mistake of letting us download and open the four EICAR files, something that not even the web and email shields allowed. Simply put, this means that the manual scanning of mounted external drives is a necessity, otherwise malware may easily fly under Avast’s radar.
Aside from its antivirus features, Avast only comes with two additional features: a ransomware shield and a Wi-Fi inspector. Out of these two, it’s the ransomware shield that’s easiest to operate since the only things users have to decide are which folders should receive extra protection and the applications that are allowed to make modifications to the chosen folders.
The Wi-Fi inspector, on the other hand, is much more interesting. At its core, the tool looks for any vulnerabilities in your Wi-Fi’s settings the same way that on-demand network scans do. However, there are a few key differences. For starters, there is the option to perform a deeper network scan with which even the most hidden of Wi-Fi issues can be discovered.
In addition to that, the Wi-Fi inspector provides real-time security monitoring, meaning that the moment something threatens your home network, you will be duly notified. This is in fact the most prominent feature of this tool, since it also creates a list of all the devices connected or trying to connect to the Wi-Fi, giving users an effective tool to keep unwanted ‘guests’ out of their network.
Note, however, that neither of these features are provided in the basic version of the software. As such, the only way to enjoy them is to purchase a license for Avast Security for Mac Pro right away or after the expiration of the 60-day free trial.
Due to Avast’s freemium nature, certain Mac security solutions can only be downloaded as separate programs, all of which require a license. One such app is SecureLine VPN, Avast’s solution for users who want to mask their activities and/or pretend to be at another location, including – and this is not a joke – Batman’s Gotham City. Then there is Avast Cleanup Pro, a Mac optimizer that despite its basic features and appearance is still an optimal solution for decluttering Macs filled with junk data. It’s worth adding that both of these apps can be tested for free but with limitations; where the VPN applies a time limit – seven days to be exact – the Mac booster limits users to just scans.
The password manager, however, doesn’t require a license at all. Granted, upgrading to the Pro version for $19.99 a year unlocks the advanced password evaluation tool, real-time breach monitoring, and the unique one-touch login option, but everything else – including the unlimited syncing of data between an infinite number of devices – can be enjoyed without paying a single dime.
Without a doubt, Avast’s biggest appeal is that many of its solutions are available for free. This is also true for Avast Security for Mac, but to have a more bespoke protection for your Mac on top of a rather basic antivirus, an upgrade is a must. However, considering what is included in Avast Security for Mac Pro, the annual fee of $59.99 for the protection of a single Mac is downright ridiculous. What’s worse is that the total can easily reach even higher if SecureLine VPN and Cleanup Pro are also included, which cost $39.99 per year and $59.99 per year respectively.
The good news is that Avast offers various ways to significantly reduce subscription fees. In that regard, there is an option to subscribe for longer license renewal periods, but to achieve the biggest savings – up to 83% – it’s better to buy licenses in bulk. In addition to that, all solutions come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, as well as a 60-day free trial, both of which require users to contact Avast and cancel their Pro subscriptions in time should they want to avoid being billed for something they don’t wish to use anymore.
Any user who wants to contact Avast’s staff will be disappointed because it’s a task that’s near to impossible. The main reason for this is because Avast maintains neither phone support nor the option to send in an enquiry that is not related to retrieving or cancelling a license. This doesn’t mean that interaction with Avast is out of question, though: staff members can still be contacted via the forum, whereas phone support is provided for those who need help for more complicated issues – albeit for a $79 fee.
The on-demand help options are much better, however. For starters, there is a support page that not only contains information about product activation, billing, and refunding, but also has dedicated subpages with descriptions and FAQs related to each product. Additionally, users can learn about different cyber security threats in Avast’s academy or visit the company’s blog for more casual topics.
We would be lying if we said that Avast Security for Mac Pro isn’t kind of a disappointment. Don’t get us wrong, as an antivirus with additional benefits it’s quite a powerful tool capable of averting various threats that may harm your Mac. However, the severe security issue with real-time file scans or the exceptionally appalling value for money are things that Mac enthusiasts worried about their device’s overall safety will definitely not appreciate.
Still, we wouldn’t discourage you from using Avast Security for Mac, because if all its problems are put aside it’s actually quite a decent solution. In fact, if we also take into consideration that the software’s basic version is completely free and that the Pro version comes with various discounts and trial options, Avast Security for Mac is at least worthy of being given a chance at proving that it’s actually more than meets the eye.
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