If you are the type of Mac user who hates the idea of running an antivirus package but is aware of its necessity, Avira Free Antivirus for Mac may be for you. For no money down, this suite offers real-time protection and a firewall. It does not include USB scanning, which is a special feature of the paid version.
What you get is a solid antivirus solution. AV-Comparatives gave Avira Pro for Mac a 99.8 percent protection rating from 585 malware samples. Avira Pro and Free use the same detection engine.
The organization also gave Avira Free a 100 percent detection rate for Windows malicious software on Mac using 500 "widespread Windows samples." The latter is important since it prevents Macs from to become "carriers" of Windows malicious software and infect Windows systems by sharing infected files.
AV-Test had a similar finding with Avira Pro for Mac, giving it a 99.8 percent detection rate in June 2019 from 557 samples for widespread and widespread malicious software (the industry average is 99.9 percent). AV Test didn't see how well Avira for Mac did against Windows malicious software, but over on the Windows side, Avira also did well, with correspondingly high detection ratings from AV Test.
Our own damage testing tests using the Object See archive and Wicar.org were quite good. It detected a Trojan without any problem as soon as we tried to unzip the folder, as did Macransom ransomware. Over at Wicar, there were about 11 "no results" from these tests, which means we tried to open a malicious web-based attack, and we ended up with a blank page. Interestingly, when we installed Avira's free browser add-on, Avira Browser Safety, there were four additional discoveries. We would advise users to install the add-on since the web is a primary vector for attacks.
Interfaces and Features
The interface of Avira is simple but effective. It uses the usual left-rail and primary route design. The first part is the Scanner area. This acts as a sorting dashboard as well as the site for starting a malware scan. At the top it shows if your computer is currently protected or not, there is also a button to start a new scan with options to do a fast, full or custom scan. You can also drag and drop files to this area to scan it for potentially malicious software.
The rest of the elements in the navigation pane are pretty decent. The only thing worth pointing out would be the section Modules that lets you turn on or off certain features, including real-time protection, cloud protection (check the "fingerprint" of suspicious files with Avira's cloud database), firewall and USB scanner ( not available in Avira Free).
If you don't want to pay for an antivirus package, Avira Free is a great option. It offers excellent security and protection against viruses and the worst types of malware. The no-nonsense approach to a free suite makes it easy to navigate and understand, and most importantly, it's your way of doing their job so you can do yours.