If you’re uncertain about the type of security software your Mac requires or whether it needs one, you’ve arrived at the perfect resource. This article addresses all your queries regarding Apple computers and antivirus software.
More specifically, we provide a curated list of the top antivirus programs available today for your Mac or MacBook. Presently, our preferred choice is Intego’s Mac Internet Security program. However, you’ll discover many options catering to various needs and preferences.
Is antivirus necessary for Macs?
Like many Apple users, you may have believed that antivirus protection is unnecessary for your devices. It has long been a misconception that Macs are immune to malware infections.
However, this notion has gradually eroded over time as the number of Apple product users has increased. Initially, hackers focused primarily on targeting Windows computers due to their more extensive user base and perceived vulnerabilities. But this does not imply that Macs are invulnerable.
While Apple’s operating system, built on Unix, includes internal firewalls that provide some level of protection against viruses, it is undeniable that Macs, like PCs, are not entirely immune to potential cyber-attacks.
Antivirus software is one effective way to prevent malware from infiltrating your Mac. This article presents a ranking of the best antivirus options available today for Mac users.
Best antivirus for Mac in 2023
1. Intego MAC Internet Security X9 for MAC
MAC Internet Security X9 by Intego offers a highly effective solution for combating cyber threats with its robust malware detection and eradication capabilities, supported by active network monitoring and comprehensive reporting.
- Two-way firewall
- Good performance
- Exclusive for Mac environments
- No protection for Windows or Android
Intego’s Mac Internet Security X9 antivirus has earned its position as our top pick this year. This choice has several reasons, starting with its straightforward and swift installation process, although it may not provide explicit guidance on authorizing the necessary kernel modules.
Performing a complete scan of your device takes 30 minutes, notably faster than other antivirus programs we tested at Macworld Spain. The subscription is also quite affordable, even for a year-long commitment.
What impresses us the most is its impeccable virus detection rate. Our tests successfully detected all ten viruses we exposed them to. Moreover, you can schedule antivirus scans at your convenience or let the software handle them automatically.
Read more: Intego MAC Internet Security X9 Review
2. Clario Antivirus 1.5 for MAC
Clario for MAC Provides Malware Protection, VPN, Ad Blocking, and Data Breach Monitoring. Seamless Setup and User-Friendly Interface, Backed by Exceptional Support. Suitable for Users of All Levels of Expertise.
- Reasonable price
- Comprehensive and easy-to-use security
- Easy setup
- Good customer support
- Occasional Slowness Detected When Opening the Software.
Clario 1.5 for Mac surpasses the typical antivirus functionality by offering a comprehensive suite of security products within a single package. It includes real-time and on-demand malware scanning, ad blocking, website trackers, a VPN, data leak monitoring, and round-the-clock live assistance.
The installation process is swift and hassle-free, thanks to a user-friendly wizard that guides you through setting up the essential features. It allows you to evaluate different options and select the ones you wish to activate.
Once installed, Clario provides access to detailed information regarding your Mac’s security status, enabling you to monitor the safety of your online accounts and personal data. The VPN feature automatically activates when an unprotected network is detected. Furthermore, the control panel offers the convenience of initiating a comprehensive virus scan with just a few clicks.
While we experienced some performance issues during the initial configuration phase, the program ran smoothly and efficiently once fully set up.
Whether you’re a novice or an advanced user, Clario is an effective and valuable security program for Mac users.
3. AVG AntiVirus for MAC
AVG Antivirus for Mac is a straightforward yet efficient security program that offers free protection against viruses, spyware, and malware. While it may not possess the advanced functionalities of paid antivirus software, it excels at handling essential tasks with simplicity and efficiency.
- Provides basic essential protection at no cost.
- Quick and easy installation.
- Clean and useful dashboard
- Occasionally, you may receive notifications encouraging you to upgrade to the premium version.
- It lacks protection against ransomware, phishing, and fake websites built into the paid product.
AVG Antivirus for Mac stands out as one of the rare free antivirus options available for Mac users. As expected from a no-cost offering, it provides essential yet effective protection against viruses, spyware, and malware.
Despite its free status, AVG covers all the essential bases by blocking viruses and malware from websites, downloads, and email attachments. It thoroughly scans applications and files, removing any detected threats from your Mac. Furthermore, it automatically updates to protect you against the latest threats.
While it may lack the advanced features of paid antivirus products, AVG performs its core tasks smoothly and efficiently. However, if you encounter any advanced issues requiring additional support, upgrading to the full software version is necessary (with a 60-day free trial available).
Despite its basic nature, AVG Antivirus for Mac is a remarkable option. It provides more than you would expect from a free antivirus solution, offering solid protection for your Mac.
Read More: AVG AntiVirus for MAC Review
4. McAfee Total Protection Antivirus
McAfee Total Protection is an advanced antivirus solution that monitors software and unauthorized activities across your devices. With its user-friendly interface and straightforward configuration process, it offers seamless protection. Additionally, it provides a multi-device subscription that enables you to safeguard not only your Mac but also iPhones, Android smartphones, and Windows computers.
- Affordable price for multiple devices
- Automated and simple operation
- Lack of detail in activity reports
- Occasional performance impacts
McAfee Total Protection antivirus is a robust security tool that monitors your Mac for unauthorized software activity, including malware or installing undesirable programs.
With its user-friendly interface, McAfee Total Protection is effortless to use. Once you grant the necessary permissions for it to operate in the background, you can leave the software to safeguard your system automatically.
Occasionally, we have observed a slight performance impact when running in the background, but this is generally not a significant concern. McAfee Total Protection also offers the advantage of protecting other devices, including smartphones and Windows PCs.
Read More: McAfee Total Protection Antivirus Review
5. Norton 360 Deluxe for MAC
Norton 360 Deluxe delivers robust protection against malware behavior and includes valuable features to enhance Mac performance. However, it is disappointing that the Mac version lacks access to the standard cloud storage provided by the software.
- Easy to use and effective
- Multi-device licensing
- Minimal impact on performance
- No backup feature on macOS
- Does not detect threats in zip files
Norton 360 Deluxe, developed by Symantec, is a comprehensive security product that provides robust protection for your Mac, ensuring it remains free from threats such as browser or search engine hacks and real malware.
While its primary focus is identifying and addressing unwanted software, Norton 360 Deluxe offers valuable additional features. These include a VPN to safeguard personal data during internet browsing and a password management tool to securely store sensitive information, such as passwords and banking details.
With three different versions available, Norton 360 Deluxe allows you to protect not only your Mac but also an iPhone, an Android smartphone, and a Windows PC. Our tests found that it consistently maintained performance without any noticeable negative impact.
Read More: Norton 360 Deluxe for MAC Review
6. Avast Premium Security Antivirus for MAC
Avast Premium Security for Mac offers reliable protection against digital threats, including ransomware attacks and fake websites.
- Does not have an impact on performance
- It caught all the trouble we threw at him
- Slow manual scanning
- It does not fulfill everything it promises
Avast Premium Security for Mac performs well overall. While it has some imperfections, like its attempts to promote the purchase of Cleanup Premium and the potential performance impact caused by File Shield, it remains a well-equipped program that offers comprehensive protection against various threats.
Avast Premium Security effectively safeguards you while browsing the internet, defending against ransomware, remote viruses, and other malicious elements. It diligently scans for unwanted programs and malware threats to ensure the security of your Mac.
The program offers the convenience of scheduling scans, although automatic monitoring coupled with occasional manual scans is usually sufficient. Avast Premium Security also actively monitors your Wi-Fi network and protects against fake websites attempting to deceive users by impersonating legitimate banks or online stores.
7. Bitdefender Total Security Antivirus
Bitdefender Total Security is a highly efficient solution for ensuring the safety of your devices, regardless of whether you use a Mac, Windows PC, iOS device, or Android. While the included VPN may have limited features, the rest of the toolkit is both effective and straightforward to manage.
- It doesn't slow down your Mac
- Effective real-time protection
- Discreet browsing protection
- No FREE Password Manager
- Very limited VPN
- No identity protection
Bitdefender Total Security proves to be a highly effective tool for protecting your Mac, with compatibility extending to Windows PCs and iOS and Android devices. While it does provide a VPN, it should be noted that the included VPN is basic and comes with a daily limit of 200MB.
Although Bitdefender Total Security is effective and user-friendly, a comparison with its Windows counterpart reveals areas where improvement could be made. It lacks features such as a password manager, social network protection, webcam or microphone protection, and other notable functionalities.
Furthermore, Bitdefender falls behind its competitors by not offering identity protection. If your primary goal is to safeguard your Mac against malware, Bitdefender is suitable. However, if you seek a more comprehensive solution, you may find that other options offer a more extensive feature set.
8. ESET Cyber Security Pro For MAC
Cyber Security Pro offers robust protection against malicious software and malware, safeguarding your devices. However, it’s important to note that the software does not include additional features such as VPN usage or identity protection. The “parental controls” provided by the software primarily function as web filters rather than offering comprehensive control options.
- Effective protection
- Full control over settings
- Interface simplicity
- Reduced performance impact
- No VPN feature
- No iOS support
ESET Cyber Security Pro is a valuable security tool that effectively safeguards your Mac from unauthorized software, network intrusions, and other threats. Similar to other solutions, it also offers compatibility with Windows, Linux, and Android devices, though it is unavailable for iPhones.
The extensive range of customizable preferences it provides sets ESET Cyber Security Pro apart from its competitors. This flexibility allows you to tailor the software to your specific needs. Additionally, it offers all these features at a relatively affordable price.
While it may slightly impact background performance, it is generally minor and easily manageable. ESET Cyber Security Pro includes essential features such as a reliable firewall, protection against phishing attempts and spyware, and useful parental control options.
Read More: ESET Cyber Security Pro For MAC Review
9. Trend Micro Antivirus
Trend Micro Antivirus is a commendable program that boasts highly-rated antivirus protection. Users will appreciate its simple and intuitive interface. While individuals seeking additional features may be disappointed with this suite, it does provide solid protection at a reasonable price.
- High malware detection rate
- Monitor ransomware attacks from unknown software
- Does not detect malware in real time
- Few extra features compared to others<br>
Trend Micro Antivirus is a commendable program that boasts well-rated antivirus protection and a user-friendly interface, which users will find straightforward and easy to navigate.
While it may not offer an extensive range of additional features, the software provides solid protection at a reasonable price.
In March 2022, AV-Test awarded Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac an impressive 99% protection score based on 200 samples, indicating its robust defense capabilities.
Our spot checks yielded similarly positive results. When confronted with Objective See’s malware library, Trend Micro effortlessly detected most threats.
However, it should be noted that in some instances, it required a scan to be run before detecting all malware contained in a specific folder.
Read More: Trend Micro Antivirus Review
10. Avira Prime for MAC
Avira Prime offers additional features such as a VPN compared to the free version, Avira Free Security. However, it’s important to note that the level of protection remains the same whether you choose to pay for Avira Prime or opt for the free version.
- Easy to use
- Full VPN
- It won't slow down your Mac
- No configurable scanning options
Avira Prime is comprehensive security software designed to protect your Mac from various threats, including potentially unwanted programs that range from browser redirects to genuine malware infections.
You can conveniently access multiple features within a single window, including device scanning and cleaning. While a few features require a separate panel, Avira Prime can even detect compromised files and installers.
Notably, scanning with Avira Prime is hassle-free and has minimal impact on your Mac’s overall performance. While the free version offers basic features, opting for the annual subscription provides access to more capabilities.
Read More: Avira Prime for MAC Review
11. Kaspersky Total Security Antivirus for MAC
Kaspersky Total Security provides a comprehensive range of useful features, although Mac users may be confused and frustrated during installation.
- High-end antivirus
- Reasonable price
- Set of effective tools
- No dedicated version for Mac
- Confusing installation process for Mac
- Some tools require separate apps
Kaspersky Total Security 2022 introduces many features, including antivirus and anti-phishing protection, ad blocking, private browsing, webcam spying prevention, a VPN, a parental control system with a child locator, screen time management, and a password manager.
However, one area where Kaspersky Total Security 2022 falls short is the installation process on Mac. Mac users encounter frustration as they need to download and install the Internet security product separately from the password manager and Safe Kids tools, unlike the quick and easy installation process on Windows. Kaspersky does not provide clear instructions regarding this separation.
The Total Security package grants access to four primary features: scan, update, privacy, and Safe Kids. The Safe Money feature ensures secure online shopping by protecting your credentials and includes a password manager for added convenience.
Moreover, the software offers a user-friendly VPN that is easy to set up, and the Safe Kids app, accessible via a smartphone app, provides effective parental controls.
12. Sophos Home Premium Antivirus for MAC
Sophos Home Premium undoubtedly delivers effective protection across various aspects. However, the setup process and reliance on cloud-based features pose some drawbacks. The product would be an ideal choice if the configuration were more straightforward and the software allowed for greater local control.
- Effective protection
- Reasonable price
- Confusing setup process
- To configure it and use scheduled scanners, you need to use the cloud tool
Sophos previously offered a free version of its Home product, providing antivirus and website protection. However, starting in 2021, the free version was discontinued, and Sophos Home Premium became the sole option for personal use.
The installation process of Sophos Home Premium can be confusing. Initially, the software guides you through the setup, but then the process halts, and you must log in to your Sophos Home dashboard to complete the installation. This step may not be clear initially.
Furthermore, there is no program icon in the Dock to launch the software. Instead, an icon is used in the menu bar to access the online control panel, where you can manage the five types of protection offered.
Sophos Home Premium delivers effective protection. However, the setup process and reliance on cloud-based features present some drawbacks. A clearer configuration process and enhanced local functionality would improve the user experience.
Read More: Sophos Home Premium Antivirus for MAC Review
13. Malwarebytes Premium Antivirus
While Malwarebytes Premium effectively detects and removes malware, its Mac version lags behind the Windows edition despite being priced the same. While not a bad product, there are better value-for-money options available.
- Offers all basic security.
- Easy to use.
- Reasonable price.
- Some features are missing in the Mac version compared to Windows.
- No mention or advice about the Malwarebytes browser extension.
The Mac version of Malwarebytes lacks several features available in its Windows counterpart. Malwarebytes Premium for Mac provides essential virus and malware scanning capabilities and the ability to detect potentially unwanted programs (PUPs).
With real-time protection, the software monitors your system, automatically blocking and quarantining any threats that could infect your computer.
However, it does not include direct protection against malicious links and phishing attempts or offer defense against ransomware and zero-day exploits.
While a free version of Malwarebytes is available, it only offers basic virus scanning functionality.
You can initiate manual scans and configure scheduled scans to run at regular intervals through the management console. The detection history feature provides an overview of all quarantined items.
14. MacKeeper 5 Antivirus
MacKeeper 5 is a reliable antivirus software offering comprehensive security and optimization tools, delivering effective results. However, it should be noted that its background processes may slightly impact performance.
- Easy protection management
- Useful range of functions
- Some performance failures
- No throttle controls
MacKeeper 5 represents the latest version of well-established security software available for several years. Shedding the negative reputation of its previous iterations, MacKeeper 5 has transformed into a valuable tool for ensuring the security of your Mac while you work, play, or browse the internet.
The software provides an impressive range of tools and features. In addition to scanning for unwanted software, it includes a memory manager to optimize system performance, an update tracker to ensure your apps are up to date, an intelligent uninstaller for easy removal of applications, and a VPN for secure browsing.
Notably, MacKeeper 5 even offers identity protection by actively monitoring password databases to detect any potential incidents of identity theft. While occasional performance issues may arise, they are not persistent or consistent.
Read More: MacKeeper 5 Antivirus Review
15. Avira Free Security Antivirus
Although Avira Free Security for Mac appears to provide numerous free tools, most require a paid subscription, which limits their overall usefulness.
- Effective antivirus.
- Includes VPN, password manager, and cleaning tool.
- It offers several tools, but only some are available in the free version.
- Smart Scan promises to boost your PC's performance, but it doesn't do much in the free version.
- The VPN limits the amount of encrypted traffic quite a bit.
Avira Free Security for Mac offers a range of enticing free features. However, it’s important to note that many of these features require a paid subscription, limiting the product’s overall usefulness. The constant alerts to subscribe can be bothersome.
You can run a quick scan, check system files and vulnerable areas, or perform a full scan to examine your entire Mac for malware thoroughly. These scans can be scheduled daily, weekly, or monthly, and there is also the flexibility to create custom scans.
Furthermore, real-time scans are available to analyze new files saved on your computer or downloaded from the internet. However, it’s worth mentioning that scanning USB drives requires a paid subscription.
Any detected malware is automatically placed into quarantine, and during our testing, Avira successfully detected and halted malware threats.
The free version of Avira includes a cleanup tool that identifies issues through an intelligent scan, but payment is required to clean up anything beyond junk files.
When excluding the subscription-based tools, the remaining features in the free version include antivirus protection, a limited VPN, a password manager that works exclusively in Safari, and a junk file cleanup tool.
Read More: Avira Free Security Antivirus Review for MAC
16. F-Secure Total
The F-Secure Total package for Mac offers various beneficial features; however, it falls short in some crucial regions, particularly virus scanning options. Considering its price of €49.99 per year per device, even with discounts, the Mac version appears underwhelming, especially compared to its Windows equivalent.
- Includes virus protection, safe browsing, ID monitoring, VPN, and password manager in one package.
- Effective and flexible VPN
- Key features such as rapid virus scanning and scheduled scanning are missing.
- Certain options are not available on the Mac version vs. the Windows version.
- No notification of malware infections
- No way to view malicious or quarantined files
F-Secure Total is a user-friendly security software that offers protection across multiple platforms, including macOS, iOS, Windows, and Android. It effectively safeguards your data from potential threats, ranging from browser hacks to more complex and dangerous attacks like malware and ransomware.
While F-Secure Total performs well overall, it’s worth noting that real-time scanning, an essential feature in any antivirus software, impacted the overall performance of the Mac we tested it on.
Regarding pricing, F-Secure Total may not be considered affordable, and its password manager lacks compatibility with Safari. Additionally, there are areas within the interface that could benefit from improvement. While F-Secure Total is a capable security tool, it may not be on par with other competing products regarding overall performance and features.
Read More: F-Secure Total Software Review for MAC
How to Choose an Antivirus for Your Mac
When selecting an antivirus for your Mac, consider the following factors to ensure comprehensive protection:
- On-Demand vs. Always-On Protection: Antiviruses offer on-demand protection, where the user initiates scans, or always-on protection, which actively detects and eliminates threats in real-time. Both approaches have their merits, and the choice depends on your preferences and needs.
- Scan Speed and CPU Impact: The speed at which an antivirus scans your Mac is crucial. Lengthy scans that excessively burden your CPU can be impractical and inconvenient. Opt for an antivirus that strikes a balance between efficiency and scan duration.
- Malware Detection and Notifications: Look for an antivirus that detects known malware and provides informative notifications when threats are found. This ensures you stay informed about potential security risks.
- Ransomware Protection: Consider an antivirus that includes ransomware detection and prevention features. These safeguards prevent unauthorized applications from modifying critical folders unless authorized, safeguarding your important files.
- Virtual Private Network (VPN): Some antivirus solutions come bundled with a VPN that encrypts your internet connection, enhancing security when using public Wi-Fi networks. While these built-in VPNs may not offer advanced features like content unblocking, they are beneficial for basic protection.
- Additional Tools and Pricing: Antivirus software often offers additional features such as password managers, parental controls, and cloud storage. However, these extras typically come at an added cost. Evaluate whether these tools align with your requirements to avoid unnecessary expenses.
- Price and Subscription: Consider the price and subscription model of the antivirus. Most antiviruses operate on an annual subscription basis, with discounts often available for the first year. Be prepared for the full renewal price, typically double the discounted price. Multi-device subscriptions can provide added value if you need to protect multiple computers, smartphones, and tablets.
How Antivirus Software is Analyzed
Analyzing antivirus applications involves considering factors like scan speed and CPU impact. Testing is performed on common Mac systems to assess the performance of always-on protection. Malware samples are used in controlled environments to evaluate an antivirus’s ability to detect and remove threats effectively.
For instance, a virtual Mac is created using software like VMware Fusion, ensuring a secure testing environment. Malware-infected documents are placed on the virtual Mac’s drive, allowing the antivirus to isolate or remove them. Results are cross-referenced with databases like VirusTotal to gather comprehensive information about malware and security software.
It’s worth noting that antivirus rankings serve as guides rather than definitive lists, as the market offers a wide range of options to cater to individual needs and system configurations.