Avast Security for Mac - Preferences

Access this screen from: MenuPreferences

The Preferences screen allows you to manage various aspects of Avast Security behavior.

General settings

The General tab displays the version number of your Avast Security program and when it was last updated. To manually update Avast Security, click Update Now. You can also manage the following settings:

  • Turn on automatic updates: program and virus definition updates are downloaded and installed automatically on a regular basis. No action is required from you.
  • Show Avast icon in menu bar: allows you to easily access Avast Security from the menu bar on your Mac.
  • Join our beta program: when selected, you will receive new features and updates to try before they are released to all of our users.

Subscription settings

The Subscription tab summarizes your current subscription information and allows you to activate a subscription for Avast Premium Security.

To activate an Avast Premium Security subscription, follow these steps:

  1. Locate the confirmation email you received after you purchased your Avast Premium Security subscription.
  2. Copy the activation code from the email.
  3. Paste or type the code into the Activation Code text box.
  4. Click Activate.

After activating Avast Premium Security, you can view the duration of your subscription in the Subscriptions on this Mac section. If you are using the free version of Avast Security, the text Expires: Never appears.

To purchase an Avast Premium Security subscription, click Upgrade next to Avast Security in the Subscriptions on this Mac list.

Personal Privacy settings

On the Privacy tab you can specify which data collection activities you want to participate in. All options are enabled by default. Untick the box next to any of the following activities to opt out:


  • Share threat data with Avast to improve the security of all Avast antivirus users (Community IQ): tick to contribute to generic security-related information, such as malware attacks detected on your Mac, which helps us immediately identify and react to the latest security threats. Your participation does not compromise any of your personal information.
  • Share app-usage data with Avast to help us with new product development: tick to share unidentifiable statistical data with Avast for the purpose of developing new products.
  • Share app-usage data with Avast to improve this app with 3rd-party tools. To see the tools used for your product, please refer to our Products Policy.: tick to contribute to anonymized analytical data that is used to examine how users interact with Avast Security.


  • Share app-usage data with Avast so we may offer you upgrades or other products: tick to receive offers for relevant Avast products and upgrades. (In the free version of Avast Security, this option is enabled by default and does not appear).

Read more about the Avast Privacy Policy...

Core Shields settings

Avast Security shields actively protect your Mac from threats. The Core Shields tab allows you to manage settings for each shield: File Shield, Web Shield, Email Shield, and Real Site (available in Avast Premium Security). Read more...

Scan settings

Avast Security includes several predefined scans so you can check your Mac for malware. The Scans tab allows you to configure settings for each of the scan types: Smart Scan, Deep Scan, Targeted Scan, and USB/DVD Scan. Read more...

Wi-Fi Inspector settings

The Wi-Fi Inspector tab displays details of Visited networks and when they were last scanned by Wi-Fi Inspector. By default, Automatic scanning and alerts are enabled. To disable this setting, click the slider so that it changes to OFF (red). To adjust other Wi-Fi Inspector settings, tick or untick the box next to:

  • Ask to monitor any new network I join: displays a popup notification to allow Wi-Fi Inspector to actively scan the new network for threats (enabled by default and only available in Avast Premium Security).
  • Show new device popups: a pop-up notification appears when Wi-Fi Inspector detects a new device on your network (enabled by default and only available in Avast Premium Security).
  • Scan for vulnerabilities on all devices: tick the box if you want Wi-Fi Inspector to check all devices connected to your network (time consuming).

Ransomware Shield settings

On the Ransomware Shield tab you can specify apps that are trusted to change or delete files in your protected folders. To add an app to your Allowed Apps list:

  • Click Allow An App.
  • Navigate to the app you want to allow access, then click the app name to select it. Alternatively, press the ⌘ Command + Shift + G keys simultaneously, type the direct app path, and click Go to locate hidden apps. Once you have selected the app, click Open.
  • If prompted, use your Touch ID or enter your Administrator password and click OK.

The app appears in the Allowed Apps list. To remove an app, click its name in the list, then click the trash can icon.

Ransomware Shield protects your personal photos, documents, and files from being modified, deleted, or encrypted by ransomware attacks. You can modify the file types that are automatically protected by unticking the box next to a protected file type. If you want to add your own specific file types for Ransomware Shield to protect:

  • Click Add File Type.
  • Enter the file extension(s) you want to add, then click Save.
  • If prompted, use your Touch ID or enter your Administrator password and click OK.

The file type appears in the Other file types list. To remove a file type, click its name in the list, then click the trash can icon.

Note: Ransomware Shield is a premium feature and is only available in Avast Premium Security.