As the name suggests, Avira Free Security is a free antivirus. There is a paid version, Avira Prime, with more features, but we were curious to see if the free version was really worth it. Does it live up to the occasion or is it just a way to advertise the paid version?
It turns out that this free version offers all the features you could possibly need.
You can get Avira Free Security for your Mac here.
These characteristics are grouped into three sections: “ Security ”, where the control of the anti-malware and of Software undesirable; “Confidentiality”, where you will find the VPN and password management; and “Performance”, where the “Junk Cleaner” is located.
Ok, to be more precise, some of these are standalone apps that can be configured and managed from these buttons. There are also a few caveats.
For example, the free VPN is limited to 500MB of traffic per month. Not a day. Per month. If you only need a VPN every now and then, that can be fine, but if you don’t, it’s always a worthwhile way to test it out.
The “Cookie Cleaner” also appears in the “Privacy” section, but this is only in the paid edition.
There are three types of scans that can be performed: Quick, which scans the areas most likely to have Software
The “Quick Scan” is already configured to run once a week without the need to enter more data. Our system’s default schedule was Weekly Sunday at 10:28 PM, which may be related to the install time, but it’s safe to assume your Mac will be running at that time.
This can of course be changed and the frequency options are daily, weekly and monthly. The full scan also has a schedule option, but it is not configured to begin. Custom scans of specific cases can also be scheduled, in case you want to be this granular.
Some options shown on the main screen have a “ Get Prime ” button next to it, which points to the paid edition of the Software. One of them is the automatic scanning of USB drives when plugged in, as well as the aforementioned cleaning of browser cookies.
We’re glad these aren’t boring ads; You can decide for yourself whether you want these functions.
User-friendliness and performance
Our selection of “Software Junk “ranges from basic browser search engine hacks and dodgy scripts to less common but riskier Trojans and real viruses.
Avira Free Security does not scan inside zip files or disk images, and aside from choosing between Quick, Full, and Custom scans, there are no customization options.
But it’s fast and with real-time protection turned on, it detects and removes threats as soon as they appear. The ones it can’t clean, it puts them on a quarantine list for you to restore or delete.
There are no speed-up commands for scan operations, but on our current Mac benchmark, Avira Free Security did not cause any noticeable issues when running in the background. There was a slight drop in performance when monitoring data while writing files, but this was only widely noticeable with a stopwatch.
The independent organization AV-Test.org also noted some performance drops for operations involving writing many files, but notes that it was better than the industry average and gave it top marks in its three tests of protection, performance and utility.
Junk Cleaner feels a bit separate from the main event, but it’s still useful for digging up unwanted cache and log files and listing potential clutter in your Downloads folder. On our test Mac, in its current configuration, it recovered an impressive 62.88 GB of space.
Junk Cleaner doesn’t check for duplicate files, but on a busy production Mac, they’re just as likely to be legitimate and wanted as they are not.
Pricing and availability
Avira Free Security is of course free; there is no annual subscription fee. He managed to spot our selection of Software problematic at the time it was extracted from zip files or disk images.
It doesn’t have all the capabilities of the Avira Prime or other payment security utilities, but it covers the basics well. If you need security on a tight budget, this is a good option.
For alternatives, check out our roundup of the best antiviruses for Mac.
Avira Free Security breaks with the trend of annual subscriptions by being completely free. It does a good job of detecting and removing Software junk, although it does not have all of the tuning options of its commercial competitors. It is easy to use and does not affect the performance of the Mac in any way.
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