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  1. Avast For Mac 10.6.8
  2. Avast Security For Mac Download
  3. Avast For Older Mac Computers
  4. Avast For Older Mac

Pro Antivirus also has a command line scanner and a script blocker. Avast is a multiple recipient of the Virus Bulletin VB100 Award, for detection of 100% of ‘in-the-wild’ viruses, and is a past winner of the Secure Computing Readers’ Trust Award. Avast Free Antivirus is an antivirus developed for Windows and Mac OS X platforms that not only detects and destroys a wide variety of known viruses, but can also detect traces of the modifications produced by unknown viruses.


  • Pros
  • Certified by one independent testing lab. Speedy full scan. Excellent phishing protection for Chrome and Firefox. Network security scanner. Password manager. Website rating. Active Do Not Track. Free.
  • Cons
  • Poor phishing protection in Safari. Password manager includes only basic features.
  • Bottom Line
  • Avast Security (for Mac) delivers effective malware protection along with unusual bonus features. Phishing protection only works well in Chrome and Firefox, but this free utility is still worth a look.

For years, Mac users basked in the mystique of virus-free computing. It wasn’t true, alas, and as time goes on we see more and more Mac-specific malware attacks. The situation may not be nearly as bad as for Window or Android, but prudence still dictates that you install antivirus protection on your Macs as well. Avast Security offers Macs protection against malware along with advanced features including a password manager and a network security scanner, all for a cost of exactly nothing.

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Installation went quickly, though I did find I had to separately activate the password manager and the Online Security browser extension from the Tools page. You’ll also find Avast’s SecureLine VPN on that page, but it’s not free like the others. When you click to activate, you get a choice of signing up for $2.99 per month or starting a 30-day trial.

The product’s spacious main window features a large status indicator centered in an otherwise-empty white region, with a menu down the left side. It’s a very different appearance from Avast Free Antivirus on Windows, which uses pops of purple and green on a dark gray background.

Like Bitdefender and Kaspersky, Avast supports macOS versions back to 10.9 Mavericks. If you have an antique Mac that for some reason can’t even run Mavericks, consider ESET Cyber Security (for Mac), ProtectWorks, or ClamXAV (for Mac) all of which support versions from 10.6 (Snow Leopard) on. At the other end of the spectrum, Avira, Trend Micro, and Symantec require macOS 10.11 (El Capitan) or better.

Like Sophos and Avira, Avast offers full antivirus protection for free. Avast Security Pro (for Mac) costs $59.99 per year for one license or $69.99 for three. The Pro edition adds ransomware protection and real-time notification when new devices connect to your network. The free edition is strictly for non-commercial use; in a business setting, you must pay up.

When reviewing a Windows antivirus utility, I report how it scored with four independent antivirus testing labs. The very best products earn top scores from all four labs. But even if no test results exist, I can run my own hands-on tests using real-world malware and malware-hosting URLs.

It took years to develop my hands-on tools and tests for Windows. Most of them don’t carry over to the macOS platform. Hence lab results become extremely important for my Mac antivirus reviews. Two of the labs I follow, AV-Test Institute and AV-Comparatives, test Mac antivirus, and Avast participates with one of them.

Experts at AV-Comparatives test Mac antivirus products using the latest macOS malware. They also evaluate each product’s ability to detect Windows malware. Why? While a Trojan written for Windows wouldn’t run on a Mac, the Mac could serve as a carrier.

Avast managed 99.9 percent protection against Mac malware. That’s very good — better than most. However, Bitdefender and Kaspersky exhibited 100 percent protection. In the Windows malware test, Avast detected 100 percent of the samples. Most competing products also took 100 percent. However, Webroot only caught 75 percent, and Intego Mac Internet Security X9 got just 18 percent. Like most tested products, Avast received certification from AV-Comparatives for Mac antivirus protection.

Having one certification is good; having two is better. Bitdefender, Kaspersky, and Sophos are among the products that received certifications from both labs for Mac malware protection.

Avast offers several scans to improve your Mac’s security. A full scan on the Apple MacBook Air 13-Inch that I use for testing took 14.5 minutes, just a hair over Intego’s 14 minutes, and quicker than the 18 minutes required by Avira. The average for recent products is 24 minutes, so Avast proved quite speedy. Norton is the current speed champ, completing a full scan in 10 minutes.

There’s a separate scan for removable volumes, though you can configure the full scan to include them. I scanned a thumb drive containing my Windows malware collection and found that it quarantined 85 percent of them. For comparison, Avira detected 82 percent of these, while Sophos Home (for Mac) wiped out every single one.

There’s no predefined quick scan, which makes sense given the speed of the full scan. The custom scan settings confused me, though. As with the full scan, you can add file locations to exclude from scanning, and configure it to scan Time Machine backups. But the full scan’s settings include those options, and also let you include removable volumes and network volumes, while the custom scan’s settings do not. Puzzling.

You can schedule a daily, weekly, or monthly scan if desired. Settings for a scheduled scan include two additional choices. You can set it to skip scanning if your device is running on batteries, and you can have it wake from sleep if necessary, to perform its scheduled scan. Avira Free Antivirus for Mac not only offers scheduled scanning, it defaults to a weekly scan with no effort on your part. Sophos skips scheduled scanning, relying instead on real-time protection.

The final scan choice doesn’t look for malware. Rather, it collects information about all the devices on your network and flags any security problems. On my own network, the scan finished in just under three minutes.

The scanner correctly reported that my main router has an open port that could theoretically become a point of attack. It’s true that the port is open, as my ISP uses it to run remote diagnostics when necessary. But that function requires a key that only the ISP has.

More interestingly, it found serious problems with a network storage device (fortunately, one that I’m not currently using). Not only does this device have numerous open ports, it’s vulnerable to a buffer overrun attack. Avast advised updating the firmware; I just unplugged it.

The report also serves as a list of everything that’s connected to your network, identifying each by name and type. It’s similar to the output of Bitdefender Home Scanner. With both products, I found devices with names like unknown6542990b6483 — not much help! Bitdefender includes an option to edit the name and type, and it remembers your edits in subsequent scans. I’d like to see that ability in Avast.

In the Windows realm, one thing that differentiates Avast’s premium product is better protection against phishing sites, those fraudulent sites that imitate secure sites and try to steal your login credentials. The free Windows edition scored very poorly, while the premium edition did an extremely good job. Based on initial round of testing, the Mac product’s phishing protection, both free and Pro, seemed to match that of the free Windows product, meaning it’s not very good.

I learned later that Avast’s phishing protection is not fully functional in Safari. The developers are working on making it completely browser-independent. In the meantime, they advise using Chrome or Firefox. Norton was also having problems during my original test, so I tossed those results and started fresh.

My phishing protection test uses URLs reported as fraudulent, but not yet verified. Typically, these are only a few hours old. That’s important, because phishing sites are ephemeral. Once they’ve been identified and blacklisted, the fraudsters just create new ones.

I simultaneously launch each URL in Safari on the Mac and in a browser protected by long-time antiphishing champ Symantec Norton Security Premium. I also launch each in Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer, relying on the browser’s built-in protection. If any of the five browsers throw an error message, I discard the URL. A true phishing fraud masquerades as a secure site and tries to capture your login credentials. Any URL that doesn’t match that profile also gets junked.

I’ve written a Windows-based tool that handles launching URLs and capturing results. On the Mac, I copy and paste each URL into Safari and manually record the result. When I have enough data, I dump the five reports into Excel for comparison.

The malefactors that perpetrate these phishing frauds are clever. They’re always devising new techniques to get past security software. That being the case, I report results not as hard figures but as the difference between the product under test and the others.

Tested using Safari’s incomplete phishing protection, Avast’s detection rate lagged Norton’s by 32 percent, and Norton itself was having a bad day. All three browsers soundly drubbed Avast. When I retested using Chrome, Avast tied with Norton and beat the detection rates of the three browsers. That’s impressive. Of the Mac security products I’ve tested, only Bitdefender did better, beating Norton by 5 percentage points.

While phishing is browser-agnostic, phishing protection is not. Bitdefender beat Norton by 5 percentage points, but its Windows cousin more than doubled that gap. Even Symantec Norton Security Deluxe (for Mac) didn’t detect many frauds that its Windows edition caught.

Like McAfee AntiVirus Plus (for Mac), Avira, Trend Micro, and several others, Avast marks up results in popular search engines with green for safe, red for dangerous, and gray for unknown. You can click to vote a page up or down. Simple!

Clicking the Online Safety toolbar button displays the status for the current page. It also lists all the elements on the site that can track your online activity, including analytics, social media, ad trackers, and more. By default, it doesn’t do anything, but you’re free to block any tracker or category. Websites are free to ignore the official Do Not Track header sent by your browser, but Avast’s active Do Not Track feature has teeth. Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac offers a similar active Do Not Track feature.

Digging into the settings for Online Safety reveals a hidden gem: SiteCorrect. If you mistype a site name, this feature offers to change to the correct name. You can even set it to automatically make the fix, with no prompt. However, in testing, I couldn’t tease it into action. I tried,,,, and many others, with no reaction from SiteCorrect.

Like Avast’s Windows antivirus, this product includes a password manager. Where the Windows product invites you to install on Android, the Mac one suggests adding password management to your iPhone. On Windows, the password manager is integrated with the antivirus; under macOS, it’s a separate app.

There’s no limit on the number of devices, and you can sync your passwords between them all, macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android. Avast doesn’t keep your passwords in the cloud. Rather, it uses your Avast account to authorize syncing data that’s stored locally on your devices.

Once you’ve enabled syncing on a device, that device becomes an authenticator for adding more devices. The new device displays a numeric code, and the existing device gets a notification with the same code. If the numbers match, just click to approve. What if you lose all your devices? On installation, Avast sends an email with a recovery link; don’t lose that email!

On each of your devices, you create a master password to protect the local password stash. The master passwords need not be the same, but who’d want the confusion of making them different? Avast offers advice on creating a strong password, with a color-coded line representing the strength of what you’ve typed. It’s not easy to get all the way to green, but Avast doesn’t require it. In fact, it accepted ‘Password’ as a master password.

Avast offers browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. When you log in to a site, the extension offers to save your credentials. If you come back to the site, it fills your saved credentials. Clicking the key icon in one of the fields brings up a menu showing all the credentials you’ve saved. And it handles two-page logins like what Google uses.

Avast doesn’t use the typical menu of logins attached to its toolbar button. Rather, you click the button and launch the main application. Unlike the Windows edition, this is a separate app, not integrated with the main antivirus. Its main window is seriously tall and skinny, like something you’d find on a smartphone, and you have only limited control over its size. Clicking an item opens its details, with a link to open the site itself.

You can also use the password manager to sync and share secure notes between your devices. These are simple, unformatted text snippets, suitable for saving such things as locker combinations and non-digital passwords.

The left-rail menu offers simple icons to manage passwords and secure notes, and one to bring up the password generator. By default, it generates 18-character passwords using all character types. You can set the length anywhere from four to 30 characters using a slider.

Avast analyzes the strength of your master password when you first create it, but not when you update it. Avast Pro Antivirus on Windows can analyze your passwords, flagging any weak or duplicate ones. The free Windows edition used to include this feature, but it was recently enhanced and redefined as a Pro-only feature.

This password manager handles all the basic tasks and no more. Fancy features like secure sharing, two-factor authentication, and password inheritance aren’t here. But you do get it along with the antivirus, at no charge, so if it does enough for you, go ahead and use it.

AV-Comparatives certified Avast Security as an effective Mac antivirus. Impressively, it offers a network scanner and password manager, features often reserved for full security suites. On the other hand, the password manager handles basic functions only — nothing advanced. And while Avast earned great stores in my hands-on antiphishing test, that function currently works well in Chrome and Firefox, but not Safari. But the pros outweigh the cons. If you’re looking for free Mac antivirus protection, give it a try, along with Sophos and Avira, and see which you like best.

For truly top-notch Mac security, you’ll need to lay out some cash. Our Editors’ Choice products in this realm are Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac and Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac. Both received certification from two labs. Both scored well in our hands-on antiphishing test. Bitdefender’s AutoPilot mode means you can set it and forget it. And Kaspersky goes above and beyond feature-wise, with full-scale parental control, protection against webcam peeping, a network attack blocker, and more.

Bottom Line: Avast Security (for Mac) delivers effective malware protection along with unusual bonus features. Phishing protection only works well in Chrome and Firefox, but this free utility is still worth a look.

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