Avira Free Antivirus guards against malware without putting a strain on your Mac.
Clean interface: Avira Free Antivirus for Mac's minimalist dashboard presents a handful of controls for scanning your hard drive. You can initiate a new scan, schedule scans, view suspicious files, discover other Avira products, and customize security settings. The app also uses OS X's Notification Center to keep you informed of Avira activity.
Setting controls: Avira lets you decide when to delete performance-draining system activity logs. It also lets you set which files to scan, how aggressively to hunt down possible viruses, and the level of threat to identify -- from annoying to malicious.
Free: The Mac version of Avira's antivirus software is free. Avira's other security apps for Windows and mobile devices come in free versions and paid editions with a fuller slate of features.
Snappy: Past reviews dinged the app for lengthy download times and sluggish performance, but the latest version downloaded quickly and scanned and automatically updated its antivirus definitions imperceptibly.
At times too minimal: The icons along the left of the dashboard could do a better job of representing the capabilities contained on the tabs, and information on the tabs could be more descriptive. For example, the Real-Time Protection tab lets you toggle file protection on and off but offers no explanation of how the choices impact your Mac's security.
Avira Free Antivirus for Mac is a worthy component of the company's respected antivirus software line, and according to independent testing lab AV-Test, the Mac version of Avira is a top security package. While Mac users can argue about whether Macs need malware protection, Avira Free Antivirus for Mac, with its austere interface and indiscernible hit on performance, is a low-risk guard against malware for OS X.