Avast Premium Security for Mac is a security product that monitors activity and files on your Mac, looking for a wide range of potentially unwanted behaviors and threats, including the activity of Ransomware, as good as hacks from the browser and truly unwanted programs, and protects against attacks from Ransomware and also keep an eye on your wifi network.
It does all of this in the background, and scans can be run manually to find specific places on your Mac or all of your storage. Suspicious items are quarantined in a so-called “virus vault” for further analysis or simply deleted.
Most of the protection features are in the “Core Shields” section. The “File Shield” function analyzes files that are copied or opened on the Mac; the ‘Web Shield’ function is dedicated to blocking attacks scenarios and dangerous downloads; The ‘Email Shield’ function keeps an eye on insecure attachments; and the “Real Site” feature protects you from fake websites posing as legitimate banks or shopping portals.
The “Ransomware Shield” feature is listed separately from the “Core Shield” items. By default, it protects the ‘Documents’ and ‘Pictures’ folders (other locations can be added) from changes made by Software which is unreliable.
Besides having the different “shields” to detect problems while you work, you can run different types of manual scans.
Smart Scan ‘Smart Scan’ is the default and examines specific areas of your Mac where problematic files are most likely to be found.
Click the magnifying glass icon next to it (yes, it sure looks more like a “search” function) and you can also choose “Deep Scan” to check the entire Mac, “Targeted Scan” to scan any where, ‘USB/ DVD Scan’ to analyze removable volumes and ‘Open Now’ which, despite its title, is used to schedule analyses.
These options are ‘Targeted Scan’, ‘Deep Scan’ or ‘Mac Scan’.
Although Premium Security can scan inside archives (and Deep Scan, Targeted Scan and Removable Volume features have this option enabled by default), it should be noted that protected ZIP files have not been scanned by password.
Usability and performance
Avast did well in finding problematic files and apps, which is consistent with its strong scores from AV Comparatives, an independent testing organization.
Scans can take a while, especially the “Deep Scan” option. It took just under four hours to test the SSD in our test MacBook Pro, but thankfully during this test there was relatively little impact on Mac performance.
However, the background monitoring of “File Shield” slowed down file copying a bit.
When the background scanning process finds something it considers a possible threat, it tries to fix the problem itself and notifies you.
When this happens, a moderately large window opens that floats above all other windows and appears regardless of whether the app is hidden or not, so you don’t miss what’s been done. It would be less annoying to get a normal macOS notification, but it’s also easier to miss it.
One thing we weren’t so keen on with this paid product was how users are prompted to purchase additional products, especially as part of the scan and fix process.
Running Avast’s “Smart Scan” feature ends with a list of “performance issues” and a “Resolve All” button that leads to an additional paid service. This is what is expected when running a Software Free, but not if you already pay.
Most users will want to keep the Software security active at all times, but in our case we sometimes wanted to temporarily disable Avast protection while we were working. This proved to be quite difficult, requiring us to completely uninstall it to do so.
Price and availability
Avast Premium Security costs $44.99 per year for 1 device, and you can pay a little more, $59.99, to have protection for 10 devices.
If you opt for the 10 device option, you will be able to use it on non-Mac devices, as well as your Windows, iOS, and Android devices.
Whether you have one or more Macs to protect, know that there are less expensive options. You will find our recommendations in our selection of the best antiviruses for Mac.
Avast Premium Security did its job well, detecting our problematic files and applications without any performance impact.
However, it’s not perfect. When we wanted to take care of specific things, it was a bit confusing and unwieldy at times, and the alerts were quite annoying.
If you like to run the Software Out-of-the-box security is a good option, but if you want more hands-on control, consider alternatives like Intego’s Mac Internet Security X9.
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