AVG For Mac, or AVG AntiVirus For Mac as it’s officially known, is AVGs first free antivirus solution for Mac. AVG is already a big player in the PC market and so users familiar with it often want to go with the same brand on Mac. While viruses are still incredibly rare on Mac compared to PC, the increasing popularity of Macs has resulted in a rising number of malware threats which AVG for Mac is designed to protect you from. While we don’t consider virus software essential on Mac as OS X as long as you keep your version of OS X updated, malware and adware (software that seeks to steal data or more commonly, plague your Mac with pop-up ads such as Flashmall) is certainly on the increase on OS X. AVG for Mac is designed to protect you from both viruses and malware so we took a a closer look at whether it really works. Note that AVG AntiVirus for Mac should not be confused with AVG Cleaner for Mac which is simply a hard drive cleaning tool and is only available on the Mac App Store.
AVG For Mac Review
The first thing to note about AVG Antivirus For Mac is that it only works with OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion or later including OS X 10.9 Mavericks and OS X 10.10 Yosemite. OS X 10.7 Lion users are out of luck. The second important thing to note is that according to the AVG Mac homepage, you can only download it from CNET. The irony of downloading an antivirus software this way is that download sites such as CNET often bundle downloads with other software that you may not want on your Mac in the first place. However, you can actually download AVG for Mac directly here from the AVG website although its not exactly easy to find on their site.
During the installation, you’ll be required to enter your Mac admin password which is normal with antivirus software as it requires root access to your system in order to protect from problems. Be warned though that AVG for Mac installs itself as a startup item so that it launches automatically when you start your Mac. This is obviously designed to ensure that your Mac is protected at all times although it would be preferable if you were given the chance of accepting it or not. Before taking to you the main interface, AVG will also prompt you if you want to perform a full scan of your Mac. This should find any malicious files on your Mac although on a MacBook Pro, we found it took over an hour to complete with no threats found. However, you can leave it running while you explore the rest of the interface.
It’s no frills but functional
Once installed, the first thing you’ll notice about AVG is that it has a very simple interface, especially compared to the Windows version which has buttons and features all over the place. There are only two panels – the one on the left allows you to drag and drop files into to scan for viruses. There’s also a “Scan Mac” button which instantly scans your Mac for problems. The panel on the right meanwhile simply shows whether real time protection is on or off. When it’s switched on, AVG is constantly protecting your Mac from potential online threats. According to AVG, this threat extends to Android and PC protection too to prevent you infecting other devices with an infected file sent, shared or synced from your Mac. So for example, if AVG detects an infected Android or Windows files on your Mac, it will flag it so you don’t accidentally infect another device by syncing or email files with it. The antivirus database automatically updates in the background to keep it updated with the latest threats although there’s no way to force it to update at a specific moment if you want it to.
We got paranoid and threw malware at it
Unless your Mac is riddled with adware or malware already, you probably won’t notice anything flagged by AVG. We certainly didn’t and it was hard to know at times whether it was even working or not but the presumption was “no news is good news”. AVG simply sits quietly in your Menu Bar and won’t highlight anything unless it finds a threat or something wrong. But just to ease our paranoia, we downloaded a malware test file from the European Expert Group For IT Security and sure enough, after dragging into the file scanner, AVG immediately flagged it as malicious.
AVG includes protection for browsing in Safari so any malicious sites you try to access in Safari will be automatically blocked. However, this protection doesn’t work for either Firefox or Chrome which seems a massive oversight considering these are by far the two most widely used browsers on the market. Most importantly though, there was no noticeable slowdown in either internet browsing or general functioning of OS X while using AVG for Mac.
Note that if you don’t want to keep AVG AntiVirus on your Mac after trying it, don’t just drag the Dock icon to the trash because it won’t fully remove it. To uninstall AVG for Mac you need to run the uninstaller which is provided with the original download.
So would we recommend AVG for Mac? If you’ve just switched to Mac from Windows and if it makes you feel safer, AVG is one of least intrusive and simplest free antivirus solutions we’ve tried. It ticks all the right boxes i.e. it’s simple to use, it doesn’t slow down your Mac and when you throw a malicious file at it, it seems to catch it. It does feel a little bit too basic as there are no advanced customization features but as long as its doing a job, who cares really? Malware is definitely increasing on Mac although its not until new threats have been found out in the wild that we’ll find out whether AVG is really up to the job of instantly protecting users from them.
If you’ve got any problems or issues with AVG AntiVirus For Mac, let us know in the comments below. And if you still think your Mac is infected with adware after using AVG on Mac, don’t forget to read our article on How To Remove Adware From Mac.