AVG AntiVirus software uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology to recognize the operating patterns and warning signs of malware on your computer and online. It detects and blocks viruses, spyware, ransomware, adware, and other damaging programs that can infect your hard drive and leave you open to identity theft. Online, it can warn you of potentially harmful links and scan websites for malware.
2021 AVG Antivirus Free Review
AVG works in the background anytime your computer is turned on, and when the program discovers a threat, it alerts you and places the infected files into quarantine so you can't accidentally access them. You can then remove the files with just a few clicks. AVG doesn't work with mobile iOS devices, but it does work with Apple computers, PC, and Android devices.
Avast has since severed ties with Jumpshot, though we have to recommend this software cautiously because of its history. Read our best antivirus and antimalware software guide to learn more about our top picks.
Pricing and plans
AVG AntiVirus FREE is the company’s basic plan. You can get the free download that includes a limited amount of security features:
- Stops viruses, ransomware, spyware, and other malware
- Blocks unsafe links, downloads, and email attachments
- Scans for PC performance problems
- Gives real time-security updates
To get more, you'll need to upgrade to the AVG Internet Security package for $69.99.
Compare AVG AntiVirus FREE to AVG Full Internet Security
Info current as of 06/28/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
Features and usability
AVG's AntiVirus FREE has plenty of useful features that are usually reserved for paid subscriptions, and its customization options allow you to choose how and when your virus scans happen.
No parental controls
Unlike other antivirus software offerings, AVG's program doesn't include options for parents to block certain websites or content on kids' devices. Here are our top picks for parental control apps.
If you already have a built-in antivirus program on your computer, you can still download AVG as a backup. Its passive mode allows it to run as backup protection while not interfering with your primary antivirus program. If AVG catches something the primary program misses, it will alert you.
AVG AntiVirus FREE comes with a file shredder that lets you permanently wipe files using the same technology as the US Department of Defense.
AVG lets you customize how it conducts scans. You can schedule scans for specific times, adjust the intensity of the scans to minimize impact on your computer speeds, and even exclude specific files from being scanned.
Dark user interface
When you run AVG, you'll see a black background with green text. Not everyone likes the dark color scheme.
No quick scan option
Unlike other free antivirus software, AVG AntiVirus doesn't have a quick scan option, but it does take less time to scan your drive each time you use it.
No automatic USB scan
You can run scans on USB drives when you plug them in, but you'll have to do it manually, as there's no auto-scan option.
Download and installation
AVG's AntiVirus FREE has many useful features that are usually reserved for paid subscriptions, and its customization options allow you to choose how and when your virus scans happen.
Our download of the free AVG program took just three minutes from start to finish.
AVG provides easy instructions for downloading and installing the system, making it simple enough for anyone to do it.
When we had some issues with the program on our Mac, we went to the website first to find solutions on the message boards. We found the site counterintuitive and difficult to navigate. We recommend registering on the website so you can contact the help desk directly with any questions you may have.
Protection and performance
AVG AntiVirus FREE holds its own against pricier antivirus software in independent testing, but Mac users beware—AVG AntiVirus is clearly designed for the PC crowd.
AVG recognizes that new malware pops up on the internet daily, so it not only blocks new threats when they attack; it also sends them to the AVG online lab for analysis. AVG then updates all its users with the new info.
PC users report minimal impact to computer speeds when running the AVG free antivirus scans, so your computer’s regular operations still run smoothly while you’re scanning it for malware and viruses.
Independent testing group AV Comparatives awarded AVG's antivirus rating three out of three stars in 2021 tests. AVG Antivirus FREE got top marks in both performance and protection.
AVG FREE security products haven’t always played well with Apple products. Thankfully, the company figured things out. Its antivirus software is now compatible with computers running iOS.
Not available for mobile iOS
AVG has software for your iPhone or iPad, but it isn’t antivirus software. Instead, you can get a VPN program for a small monthly fee on your iPhone or iPad. VPNs make it harder for threats to find you so you can safely browse the web in public. Check out our Best VPN Services to learn more.
Is AVG Antivirus safe? December 2019 data breach
In 2019, Avast reached far beyond their tool’s performance needs to collect user data such as browsing history and activity. While Avast claims all data was anonymized and the company cut ties with subsidiary Jumpshot (responsible for the breach), we still hesitate to recommend the software.
AVG AntiVirus FREE performs well in independent testing, and PC users are very happy with it. If you're looking for a simple way to beef up the security on your PC using an antivirus program, the AVG AntiVirus Free is a great choice. If you want to protect all of your devices from malicious software, no matter who is using them, then AVG Internet Security can give you added peace of mind.
But words of caution: If you're a Mac user, you should probably look elsewhere for antivirus protection. And we’re also wary to recommend the brand after its 2019 data breach.
How we reviewed AVG AntiVirus FREE
We created our AVG AntiVirus review by studying its software, reading others' reviews of the program, and downloading and trying the program for ourselves. Please read our methodology to learn more about how we review products.
It depends—AVG Internet Security is better for those who spend a lot of time online, with enhanced firewall protection and protection against fake websites. The upgraded program also covers all devices used by you or your family, and it includes the AVG AntiVirus Professional for your Android device.
When you complete a full computer scan using AVG AntiVirus FREE, you might get alerts about junk files, cookies, etc., but you can only fix these problems using a different AVG program called AVG PC TuneUp. AVG PC Tuneup identifies unnecessary files that are using up memory and outdated programs that are causing your PC to run slowly. It automatically updates your software, clears up memory space, and plugs holes in your security. It costs $69.99 per year.
Yes, it does gather data from your usage history. But after installing the program, you can opt out of data collection under the privacy settings.
Software security experts recommend cleaning up and defragmenting your hard disk and uninstalling any unnecessary software before installing an antivirus program. Leaving at least 20% of your disk free allows your antivirus program to run without slowing down your computer. Be patient and allow the antivirus software to do its job, even if it does create lag in normal computer operations.
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