Total AV antivirus review
Total AV is a competitively priced antivirus option for Mac users, with some handy additional features, but it isn't without its downfalls. Here we bring you our full review of Total AV and compare it with those in our round-up of the best antivirus for Mac.
At £22.80 per year for up to three devices (currently discounted to £19.95) Total AV is certainly competitively priced. It's worth noting, though, that it will automatically renew after a year and the renewal price is £99 rather than the lower price offered for the first year.
Installation of the app was easy and notably there wasn’t any requirement to install a kernel module. By default, macOS Sierra blocked third-party kernel modules unless the user approves them. Antivirus apps usually require kernel module. This proved to be important later on.
Once the app was up and running we opted for a System Scan, and after around 15 minutes Total AV reported that it had found six of our malware samples – Renepo, Clapzok, KoobFace, FileCoder, Macarena and WeaponX. We were offered the option of quarantining, removing or doing nothing with each. We chose to remove them.
During the main scan it missed Inqtana, MineSteal and XcodeGhost, again probably because these were contained within archive files. However, it also missed BadBunny, which is a simple Ruby script file.
It was when we came to extract our virus samples from their password-protected archives that we spotted a fairly large limitation with Total AV. It has to be running with a Dock icon for protection to be effective. In other words, unlike most of the other apps reviewed here, the app can’t minimise to a menu bar icon (although Total AV does have one of these via which some functions can be accessed).
We left the app open and then extracted all our malware samples again. Nothing happened. The malware samples weren’t detected, or deleted. Evidently Total AV’s real time protection doesn’t work – or at least it didn’t work when faced with our ten malware samples, six of which it had detected in a system scan earlier.
This might be why we weren’t prompted to install a kernel module during installation. Total AV doesn’t actually do always-on scanning. It just pretends to.
What about XcodeGhost that was missed during the System Scan earlier? As with the other apps reviewed here, ordinarily we’d open the DMG and ask the app to scan the contents. Unfortunately Total AV only offers Quick Scan and System Scan options. There’s no way to perform a custom scan where you tell it to scan just a particular file, folder or storage device.
Also included in the bundle is a System Boost tool that can prune startup programs and uninstall apps, and a Disk Cleaner tool that scans for duplicate apps. There’s also an ad-blocker for browsers but Safari isn’t included in the list of browsers – only Chrome, Firefox and Opera are. A firewall tool seemed to do little more than just turn on macOS’ own firewall. A handful of other features were offered, such as a VPN and a password manager, but all were paid-for extras.
While affordable with some interesting features, Total AV only caught six out of ten of our viruses and had some trouble with its always-on malware scanning. It's a cheap option for the first year that offers some protection for your Mac, but at £99 for year two we'd recommend looking elsewhere at that point.