Avira Antivirus for Mac review

Avira has perhaps has the best logo of any antivirus we've reviewed: an umbrella. What better symbol to indicate protection against the rainy day of a virus infection? Here, we review the Aviria Antivirus Pro for Mac. You'll find more options in our round-up of the best antivirus for Mac here.

Pricing for Avira’s antivirus products is nice and simple at £29.99/USD$44.99 per year for up to five installations across Windows or macOS.

A nice feature is that you can download ready-licensed installers, so could for example send one of these installers via email or message to a family member. All they would need to do is install the package without any need to enter registration details. Once installed their computer shows up on your online console, where you can monitor the results of any scans.

Installation was easy and we were walked through the process of enabling the all-important kernel module at the end. Weirdly, real-time protection wasn’t turned on immediately although after around 30 seconds it turned itself on and then remained on.

After opting to check to ensure the virus definitions were up to date, which needs to be done via the update option on the pop-out menu bar menu because there’s seemingly no option within the main app interface, we opted for a Computer Scan. This is Avira Antivirus for Mac’s equivalent of a full scan.

The scan took around 30 minutes and although the dialog box reported the number of infections, it didn’t tell us what they were – or where.

Clicking the Activity icon in the main program interface revealed that the scan had quarantined Clapzok, Renepo, FileCoder, KoobFace, Macarena, WeaponX, BadBunny, Inqtana, Minesteal. The same viruses were caught immediately when we tried to extract them from their password-protect archives.

Alas, this means Avira Antivirus for Mac missed XcodeGhost. Sadly, choosing to mount the XcodeGhost DMG and scan it manually didn’t reveal the virus infection. This surprised us so much that we repeated the test but, nope, Avira Antivirus for Mac has evidently never heard of this major malware. That makes it the exception amongs other antivirus options we've reviewed.

Digging into the app’s settings revealed that you can scan for quite a lot of items in addition to just malware, including games and “"joke" apps (apps that don’t pose a threat but exist simply to deliver humour). Neither of these options weren’t activated by default, though, and this is probably for the better on an average system. Still it offers parents a chance to control what happens on their kids’ computers.

Avira Antivirus for Mac gives the impression of offering a firewall component, although it transpires this is simply a switch that controls the Mac OS firewall. There’s also a feature, deactivated by default, that scans USB storage devices when they’re attached.

Other than that, however, there’s not much else to talk about. You’re able to control when scheduled scans take place, with the default being 12am on a Monday. Other times can be added.

It’s not clear if Avira scans at boot time, or during idle periods, but we didn’t see any evidence of this. The user interface is admirably compact and clutter-free, and most of the time the app stays out of the way, minimised to its menu bar icon.

We’ve saved the best news until last. If you need it for only one computer, and are prepared to forgo scanning of USB devices, then you can get Avira Antivirus of Mac for zero cost. This is a pretty good deal for capable always-on malware protection, although the fact the app entirely missed XcodeGhost is something of a concern.

OUR VERDICT

Avira Antivirus for Mac is overall a great option, offering clean and simple scanning to protect your computer. It did, however, fail to catch XcodeGhost which rings alarm bells. With a free option available, and an otherwise reasonably cheap paid-for option with some extra features and the ability to add to more devices, it's one to consider.

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