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 logo
4 out of 5 stars
4
  • Daily updates
  • Minimal impact
  • Passive mode
  • File shredder

AVG AntiVirus FREE Quick Overview

AVG AntiVirus FREE
computer screenshot of AVG AntiVirus on laptop
Best for Complete Protection
  • Daily updates
  • Minimal impact
  • Passive mode
  • File shredder

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.

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

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.

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 still hesitate to recommend the software.

Pricing and plans

AVG AntiVirus FREE is the company’s basic plan. AVG Internet Security is the next step up, with additional features and an annual cost.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Free internet security trial
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet No parental controls

Free internet security trial

AVG offers a free one-month trial of AVG Internet Security with no credit card required. After the month is up, if you choose not to continue with the upgraded package, you'll automatically revert back to the free version.

No parental controls

Unlike other antivirus software offerings, AVG's program does not include options for parents to block certain websites or content on kids' devices.

AVG AntiVirus Free

AVG Internet Security

Annual Price

$0

$69.99

Scans for Performance Issues
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Real-Time Security Updates
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Extra Ransomware Protection
Icon No  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightYes
Webcam Hacking Protection
Icon No  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightYes
Enhanced Firewall
Icon No  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightYes
Fake Website Protection
Icon No  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightYes
Learn More

Prices as of 11/10/2020, data and rates subject to change.

Features and usability

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.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Passive mode
Pro Bullet File shredder
Pro Bullet Scan controls
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Dark user interface
Con Bullet No quick scan option
Con Bullet No automatic USB scan

Passive mode

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.

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 has a variety of options to 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 does not 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.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Fast download
Pro Bullet Simple installation
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Confusing website

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 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.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Daily updates
Pro Bullet Minimal impact
Pro Bullet Excellent scores
Pro Bullet Now Mac compatible
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Not available for mobile iOS
Con Bullet Known data breach

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 info.

Minimal impact

PC users report minimal impact to computer speeds when running the antivirus scans, so your computer’s regular operations still run smoothly while you’re scanning it for viruses.

Excellent scores

Independent testing group AV Comparatives awarded AVG three out of three stars in April 2018 tests, giving AVG top marks in both performance and protection, citing its ability to block 99.6% of malware and its low rate of false alarms.

Now Mac compatible

AVG hasn’t always played well with Apple products, but now it’s 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.

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.

FAQ

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 $49.99 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 for $6.66 per month or $79.99 per year.

The bottom line

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, 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.

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
Con Bullet Known data breach

How we evaluated AVG AntiVirus FREE

We created our AVG AntiVirus review by studying its software, reading others' reviews of the program, and downloading and trying out 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.