Best Antivirus for Mac

By Luka Arežina July 10, 2020

Are Apple’s MacOS computers immune to viruses?

Judging by news reports, it’s a fair question. Windows PCs outnumber Macs nine to one worldwide, and that has made Windows an irresistible target for hackers. You don’t hear about many viruses targeting the Mac, possibly because the OS accounts for just 9.5% of the market.

But that doesn’t make the Mac immune. Of course Macs can be infected with viruses, Trojans, ransomware, and other malware. So if you use Apple products, you need to check out the best antivirus for Mac.

Best Antivirus for Mac in 2020

  • Fast scans
  • Easy to install
  • Free 30-day trial
  • High CPU and resource usage
  • Lacks device optimizer
Price $$29.99/year
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  • Ensures privacy
  • Easy to navigate
  • Fast virus detection
  • Basic package is limited
  • Allows you to download or unzip infected files
Price $59.99/year
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  • Free version
  • Password manager
  • Ransomware system monitoring
  • Web shield can slow down your system
  • Limited folders protected from ransomware
Price $69.99/year
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  • Advanced privacy features
  • Dark Web monitoring
  • Parental control system
  • Reboot is time consuming
  • Limited dashboard
Price $89.99/year
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  • Fast account management
  • Performance optimization
  • Phishing protection
  • Clunky interface
  • Resource-intensive
Price $29.99/year
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  • Modern interface
  • Fast scanning
  • Free version
  • Lacks ransomware protection
  • No parental controls
Price $39.99/mo
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How we evaluated the best antivirus for Mac

A growing malware threat facing Mac users has contributed to the development of more sophisticated antivirus software.

Numerous vendors offer comprehensive software suites that secure your device from viruses, detect malware, and protect you from rapidly growing ransomware attacks. In order to narrow down the selection of antivirus software, we created an objective, feature-based evaluation methodology.

Pricing

There is no shortage of providers that offer free antivirus for Mac. One of the more prominent is the Avast free antivirus software that many of us have used at one point in time.

We evaluated the best antivirus programs based on the pricing plans they offer. We looked at the most affordable options that include the best features. We looked at scalable packages and assessed whether they provided protection for multiple devices. We searched for Macintosh antivirus software that was on sale at a discount price and we noted special offers. In most cases, discounts are available only for new customers and for the first year of the contract.

Most of the vendors on our list offer a free trial that lets you test the product before signing up for a paid package.

Ease of use

Virus protection software has to be easy to use because a lot of customers aren’t tech-savvy. They purchase software to protect their personal information and they are looking for a system that isn’t too complicated to install and use. This is also one of the reasons we evaluated antivirus software for Mac that conducts its scans in real-time. Of course, you have the option of setting your own schedule or scanning your device on-demand.

The simplicity of the dashboard was also essential in our evaluation. Modern antivirus software must have a well-designed interface where you can monitor the system’s health.

We evaluate each package’s account management features. This is important for users with multiple devices to protect. Only the best antivirus vendors allow users to monitor all accounts from one single device.

Bear in mind that the best MacBook antivirus software usually requires the newest versions of macOS.

Features

The Mac virus scan is a basic tool that is at the center of every product on our list. As soon as you start running your antivirus system, it will scan your computer for threats. After the scanning is complete, the software will show you which files are infected. Since you can easily come across viruses while browsing the internet, the best thing is to enable the system to work continuously so they never wind up on your Mac in the first place.

Some antivirus software will not allow you to download or unzip infected files. And even if they do, the best security for Mac will not allow you to run infected apps.

The Mac can serve as carriers for viruses that attack Windows PCs, so vendors worked on software solutions that recognize malware that threatens both Macs and Windows systems.

The next thing we looked at is ransomware protection. Ransomware blocks access to the victim’s data until a ransom is paid. Ransomware attacks have grown rapidly in the last few years, leading antivirus companies to develop an extra layer of protection against this threat.

Another threat Mac users face is phishing – a fraudulent action where hackers use social engineering methods to steal personal data like credit cards and passwords. We took a hard look at the latest antivirus for MacBook Air and other Apple devices, making sure the products possessed the proper protection against phishing.

Next on our list of requirements is a VPN connection. The virtual private network protects your privacy online and helps you get access to geo-restricted content.

For many users, the best antivirus software must have a parental control system. This feature is popular among parents who wish to shield the younger family members from potentially harmful and inappropriate online content.

Of course, each program on our list includes a password manager – a tool that helps users save and protect their passwords.

Dive into our reviews of the best antivirus protection for Mac

Whether you have a Mac laptop or desktop PC, our list will help you find the right software. We focused on products that scan the Mac for a virus in real-time, block access to malicious websites, delete malware, and eliminate other threats.

Some of these threats come in the form of ransomware attacks. That’s why you need to employ modern software that protects you from this malware by blocking phishing apps and sending alerts when it spots your personal information on the dark web.

Check out our reviews to make sure you choose the virus protection for Mac that best suits your needs.

1. Bitdefender

" Best value "

  • Number of devices
    3-5
  • Renewal
    Annually

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Fast scans
  • Easy to install
  • Free 30-day trial
  • High CPU and resource usage
  • Lacks device optimizer

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Fast scans
  • Easy to install
  • Free 30-day trial
  • High CPU and resource usage
  • Lacks device optimizer
  • Number of devices
    3-5
  • Renewal
    Annually

Bitdefender antivirus products are highly regarded and widely used all around the world. The company has developed a strong candidate for overall best Mac antivirus software. The system is available for macOS X Yosemite (10.10) and later versions. It is straightforward and easy to install. 

One of the program’s more impressive characteristics is that it works automatically. As soon as the installation process is complete, the system will ask to enable the Safe Files feature. This powerful engine protects valuable files from ransomware and other malicious software. You can create a folder for the files you wish to protect and prevent all other apps from accessing them and making changes.

Bitdefender’s Mac virus scanner is among the fastest on the market. This antivirus software for Mac begins scanning your device by default. Deep scanning takes less than 30 minutes on average. 

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac implements real-time protection, which enables continuous scans and removes malware instantly. The system identifies Mac viruses while protecting against threats to Windows. This is a crucial feature because your Mac can play host to viruses that are harmful to Windows PCs. 

An annual subscription to Bitdefender Mac antivirus is $29.99. This MacBook antivirus package covers a total of three devices. It protects you from malware, ransomware, and phishing attacks and offers up to 200MB/day of VPN. The VPN guarantees online anonymity and protects you from unsecured Wi-Fi connections. 

Bitdefender for Mac also features a Traffic Light browser extension – powerful protection against viruses that activates when you access dangerous websites. This can be very useful to online shoppers who unknowingly access web pages with contagious content. 

In addition, this antivirus software for Mac has an Anti-tracker extension for browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer. Anti-tracker protects your privacy by blocking sites that collect information. For instance, some trackers monitor website traffic and analyze your online behavior so they can tailor ads to your preferences. 

In short, Bitdefender offers the kind of security for Mac that is affordable and comprehensive – a complete set of tools for protecting your systems. 

2. Kaspersky

" Best parental control "

  • Number of devices
    1-5
  • Renewal
    1-3 years

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Ensures privacy
  • Easy to navigate
  • Fast virus detection
  • Basic package is limited
  • Allows you to download or unzip infected files

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Ensures privacy
  • Easy to navigate
  • Fast virus detection
  • Basic package is limited
  • Allows you to download or unzip infected files
  • Number of devices
    1-5
  • Renewal
    1-3 years

Kaspersky is a Moscow-based cybersecurity and antivirus provider with more than 20 years of experience. It offers some of the best antivirus software solutions for a broad range of operating systems. In recent years, the company’s Mac virus protection system has been gaining popularity among Mac users. 

Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac is the perfect choice for users who are looking for advanced protection. The software can detect and eliminate both Mac and Windows viruses, ransomware, and other malware. It also includes tools that ensure your privacy and security while you are browsing the net.

Kaspersky antivirus for Mac scans your device for malware without slowing down your computer. The system allows you to connect external devices to your Mac and scan them too. 

One big reason Kaspersky made our list of the best antivirus software for Mac is the product’s dashboard. It’s easy to navigate and it lets you know if you need updates or scans. There are several buttons, including Scan, Update, Privacy, and Safe Kids. The dashboard allows you to see which features are activated and which you can add. For instance, Kaspersky for Mac allows you to install a VPN with limited bandwidth.

Kaspersky also includes parental controls that protect your child from inappropriate online content. This is why many parents consider it the best Mac security software

Moreover, Kaspersky’s virus protection prevents unauthorized surveillance and safeguards your privacy. With just one click, you can block all apps from accessing the Mac’s webcam. But there are no exclusion settings for specific applications, and if you enable this feature, you will be blocking access to the camera for all programs, including Skype and Zoom.This product’s main downside is the price. A single licence costs $59.99. This might be too pricey for some users, especially since features like password management and file backups aren’t included in the standard package of Kaspersky’s antivirus for Mac. To get access to these features, you’ll need to upgrade to Kaspersky’s premium package.

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3. Avast Premium Security

" Best payment security "

  • Number of devices
    Up to 10
  • Renewal
    Annually

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Free version
  • Password manager
  • Ransomware system monitoring
  • Web shield can slow down your system
  • Limited folders protected from ransomware

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Free version
  • Password manager
  • Ransomware system monitoring
  • Web shield can slow down your system
  • Limited folders protected from ransomware
  • Number of devices
    Up to 10
  • Renewal
    Annually

Millions of users worldwide believe that Avast publishes the best free antivirus for Mac. The company’s free antivirus software provides basic protection for both PCs and laptops. It’s easy to install and it doesn’t require any sophisticated maintenance.

In addition to protecting your systems from viruses, the software also includes free malware removal. However, the free version doesn’t come with any advanced features.

For a greater degree of protection, you can turn to Avast Premium Security, which is also easy to set up. But this antivirus software requires 500 MB of hard disk space and macOS 10.10 (Yosemite) or later. For $69.99, you get a license for a single device. If you want to protect multiple devices, you’ll have to dish out $89.99 for an annual subscription. This Mac antivirus software can protect as many as 10 devices running a mix of operating systems. Managing your accounts isn’t complicated, and you can easily remove and add devices.

Avast offers real-time antivirus protection that blocks malware, detects spyware, and identifies apps that collect your data. 

There is at least one Avast for Mac review online that claims the Avast web shield extension for Chrome can slow down your computer. But this is still the most reliable protection against phishing threats. In addition, Avast sends you notifications and alerts when you access a suspicious website. 

The best part is that you don’t need to worry whether your transactions are safe. The software provides a completely new layer of security for online shopping that works equally well on mobile devices and the desktop. This great security software for Mac protects you from website spoofing and redirects you to legitimate sites where you can safely make your purchases.

In a bid to address the growing threat of ransomware attacks, Avast has developed an advanced ransomware protection system. The system is constantly on, and that’s why this is the best Mac malware protection tool for users who must protect sensitive content. 

4. Norton 360 Deluxe

" Most advanced features "

  • Number of devices
    Up to 3
  • Renewal
    Monthly and annually

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Advanced privacy features
  • Dark Web monitoring
  • Parental control system
  • Reboot is time consuming
  • Limited dashboard

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Advanced privacy features
  • Dark Web monitoring
  • Parental control system
  • Reboot is time consuming
  • Limited dashboard
  • Number of devices
    Up to 3
  • Renewal
    Monthly and annually

Norton is an American software company that offers a broad range of cybersecurity services, including antivirus products for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android platforms. In our Norton antivirus review, we evaluated the Norton 360 Deluxe package. This is a highly popular antivirus for MacBook pro security solution that works just as well with other Apple products. 

The installation process is fairly simple, and an annual subscription of $89.99 will allow you to install the software on as many as three devices. 

The dashboard is easy to use. It tells you the last time your computer was scanned and when the last updates were made. On the bottom of the screen, you can navigate through features and tools that remove malware from your devices.

This antivirus for Mac is widely used by those who are looking for something more than just a basic level of malware threat detection and removal. Of course the software protects your files from spyware, virusts, and other malware. Another notable feature is a powerful AI system. The package also includes a self-sufficient firewall, a webcam blocker, parental control system, and no-limits VPN. 

Regarded as an ideal antivirus software for MacBook laptops, Norton 360 comes with a distinctive dark web monitoring feature. This is a system that alerts you if it finds any of your personal information on the dark web. Out of the box, Norton 360 Deluxe searches only for your email address, but you can add other personal details that you want the software to monitor. Although this MacBook virus cleaner has an excellent backup system that can store up to 500MBs of your valuable files on the cloud, the system is only available on the Windows version.

5. McAfee Total Protection

" Best for families "

  • Number of devices
    Up to 10

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Fast account management
  • Performance optimization
  • Phishing protection
  • Clunky interface
  • Resource-intensive

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Fast account management
  • Performance optimization
  • Phishing protection
  • Clunky interface
  • Resource-intensive
  • Number of devices
    Up to 10

If you are looking for robust antivirus software to protect the entire family, look no further than McAfee. The provider offers the best virus protection for Mac users who need an antivirus system for multiple devices. 

Once you activate McAfee, you can manage all your accounts from a single platform. The system monitors the activity of all computers, scans them, and quickly removes malware. 

McAfee’s low price makes it very affordable. You get premium antivirus protection, VPN extension, protection for web browsing, IP protection, and password management for $29.99. 

If you upgrade to an annual subscription of $49.99, you can protect up to 10 devices. That’s why this Mac security software is an ideal solution for the entire family and for shielding their devices from malware, spyware, and ransomware. You can also choose a package that protects five devices for $39.99 per year. 

The software is easy to install and use. But according to online reviews, many users aren’t thrilled with the clunky interface. While other software allows you to start scanning your devices with a single click, McAfee requires you to go through several stages before the software starts scanning. 

On the other hand, this antivirus protection for Mac is equipped with great tools that allow users to manage their accounts and schedule scans. The system can work in real-time, monitoring your devices around the clock without slowing down your computer. You can also choose on-demand scanning or select the times when you want to run the antivirus.

In addition, McAfee has identity theft protection for both iPhones and desktop apps. This is an important feature for protecting personal data. Unfortunately it isn’t available with the basic package. 

The software handles internet security for Mac by protecting your online communication with advanced firewalls that block malicious websites. Moreover, the system helps minimize bandwidth usage by blocking auto-play videos.

6. Malwarebytes

" Best for fast scanning "

  • Number of devices
    1
  • Renewal
    Annually

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Modern interface
  • Fast scanning
  • Free version
  • Lacks ransomware protection
  • No parental controls

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Modern interface
  • Fast scanning
  • Free version
  • Lacks ransomware protection
  • No parental controls
  • Number of devices
    1
  • Renewal
    Annually

Malwarebytes might be the last entry on our top antivirus for Macs list, but that doesn’t mean it’s less effective in cleansing your device than other providers. 

It has a real-time tracker that scans Macs for malware, removes infected files, and blocks malicious websites. It helps you avoid spam emails and protects you from harmful websites and downloaded files. The software also has a convenient adware blocker for users who don’t like annoying ads and popups. 

There is a free 14-day trial period that includes access to free virus scan and fast malware removal. After the expiration date, you can use the software to clean already infected devices, but you won’t be able to protect your computer from attacks in real-time. 

This is an excellent antivirus for MacBook Pro and all other Mac systems not older than macOS 10.11. According to Malwarebytes for Mac reviews, users appreciate this software because of its efficiency. It can complete a scan of your disk image within 30 seconds without jeopardizing your workflow. The system runs smoothly in the background, and you won’t even notice it’s working. Of course, you get to manage the scanning schedule and decide the most convenient time to run the Mac malware scanner.

Malwarebytes has a modern interface that displays the current health status of your computer. Managing the software is easy and fast. You can enable Mac malware protection with a single click. 

The premium version of this Mac antivirus will cost you $39.99 for one device. But this package doesn’t include features like VPN or parental controls. The biggest defect is the absence of tools for ransomware detection, which is provided by most competing products.

FAQ

Do I need antivirus software on a Mac?

Yes, you do need virus protection for Mac. Even though Apple users are safer than those using Windows, they aren’t entirely immune to cyberattacks. Apple devices are increasingly vulnerable to malware, ransomware, and spyware. Antivirus providers have responded to the growing threat by creating antivirus software and security systems especially for Mac devices.

Does Apple recommend antivirus software?

Yes, Apple recommends the use of antivirus software as an extra layer of protection. If you haven’t secured your Mac yet, we strongly suggest checking out some of the antivirus for MacBook solutions on our list.

Can iPhones get viruses?

iPhones don’t offer a convenient environment for viruses and malware. However, no device is immune to attacks from hackers, so even an iPhone can be compromised. In our antivirus software review, you’ll find comprehensive protection for MacBooks and iPads and an antivirus for iPhone.

Is Norton good for Mac?

Yes, Norton 360 Deluxe is a good antivirus system for Mac. The software employs an extraordinary AI system and machine learning technology for protecting data from malware, ransomware, and spyware. Due to excellent features like a VPN browser extension and parental controls, Norton antivirus for Mac is one of the most popular software solutions for Mac users. In addition, this Mac virus cleaner comes with a tool for dark web monitoring, and if it recognizes your personal data on a malicious website, you are instantly notified.

Is Avast good?

Avast antivirus for Mac is an exceptional product. The software has a free version, but a growing number of users are upgrading to Avast Premium Security. This is largely due to its robust security tools for online shopping. Our Avast antivirus review outlines the many advanced features that this product delivers beyond simple malware removal for Mac. Some of them allow you to make secure payments and online transactions, while others detect malicious websites. The only downside is the price. The least expensive annual subscription costs $69.99.

Is Malwarebytes safe?

Yes, Malwarebytes is safe for Mac. This vendor offers affordable security for Mac, allowing users to have the fastest virus scan for Mac. Malwarebytes has a powerful system that protects users from malware by blocking access to malicious websites. Malwarebytes has a powerful Mac virus cleaner in case your device gets infected with a virus. It’s also a great ad-blocker.

What is the best antivirus for Mac?

There are many great products to choose from when selecting an antivirus system for your desktop and mobile devices. Deciding which one is the best depends on your needs. For example, Kaspersky has the best parental control tools, while Norton Deluxe 360 offers additional features for an extra layer of protection against hackers. If you are looking for cheap antivirus software, you might consider Bitdefender. But if you are a fan of a clear and straightforward interface, you should get McAfee.