2021 AVG Antivirus Free Review

We tested AVG AntiVirus Free to find out if it's the right antivirus software to make your digital life more secure.
AVG AntiVirus Free
AVG
AVG AntiVirus Free
4 out of 5 stars
4
  • Pros
    Daily updates
  • Pros
    Passive mode
  • Cons
    No parental controls

Info current as of 09/22/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Kasey Tross
Researcher & Writer
Read More
Published on September 22, 2021

Antivirus software 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 deep scan websites for malware.

AVG AntiVirus software uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology to recognize the operating patterns and warning signs of malware on your computer and online.

AVG antivirus software works in the background anytime your computer is turned on, and when the program discovers a cyber 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.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Easy download and installation
Pro Bullet User-friendly interface
Pro Bullet Minimal impact to computer speeds
Pro Bullet Excellent malware protection
Pro Bullet Useful extra features
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Not compatible with iPhone
Con Bullet No parental controls
Con Bullet Not Mac-friendly
Light Bulb
2019 data breach

In December 2019, Avast collected unnecessary user data such as browsing history and activity through Avast subsidiary Jumpshot. Its privacy policy defends storing user data since it’s anonymized, but the company offered no clear policy on length of data retention.

Avast has since severed ties with Jumpshot, though we have to recommend this software cautiously because of its history. Read our best antivirus and anti-malware 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:

  1. Stops viruses, ransomware, spyware, and other malware
  2. Blocks unsafe links, downloads, and email attachments
  3. Scans for PC performance problems
  4. Gives real time-security updates

To get more than the free version offers, you'll need to upgrade to the AVG Internet Security package for $69.99.

Compare AVG AntiVirus Free to AVG Full Internet Security

Product
Annual price
Performance scan
Real-time updates
Ransomware protection
Webcam protection
Enhanced firewall
Fake website protection
Learn more
AVG antivirus logoAVG AntiVirus Free
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
AVG antivirus logoAVG Full Internet Security
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes

Info current as of 09/22/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

AVG 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.

Passive mode

If you already have a built-in antivirus app on your computer, you can still download AVG as a backup. Its passive mode allows it to run as backup virus protection while not interfering with your primary antivirus program. If AVG catches something the primary malware detection program misses, it will alert you.

File shredder

AVG AntiVirus Free comes with a file shredder that lets you permanently wipe files using the same technology as the US Department of Defense.

Scan controls

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.

AVG 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.

Fast download

Our download of the free AVG program took just three minutes from start to finish.

Simple installation

AVG provides easy instructions for downloading and installing the system, making it simple enough for anyone to do it.

Confusing website

When we had some issues with the program on our Mac, we went to the AVG 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.

 

AVG 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.

Daily updates

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 virus definitions.

Minimal impact

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.

Excellent scores

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 basic protection.

Mac compatible

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 security 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 mobile device. VPNs make it harder for threats to find you so you can safely browse the web in public. Check out our best VPN services review 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.

Final word

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 online threats, 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.

FAQ

It depends—AVG Internet Security is better for those who spend a lot of time online, with enhanced firewall protection and protection against malicious 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.

Yes, but unfortunately, it’s not free. AVG has a VPN service available for iPhones and iPads.

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.

Kasey Tross
Written by
Kasey Tross
Kasey is a trained Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member and a freelance writer with expertise in emergency preparedness and security. As the mother of four kids, including two teens, Kasey knows the safety concerns parents face as they raise tech-savvy kids in a connected world, and she loves to research the latest security options for her own family and for SafeWise readers.

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