Sam is a cybersecurity researcher working in the field of hardware security and AI-driven penetration testing. He has spent the last few years contemplating some…
Amy Clark is a quality-driven managing editor who has extensive knowledge of the SaaS market. She started her journey managing and supporting the content at…
Having the best antivirus for Mac is critical for keeping your device secure. There’s a myth that Apple devices don’t get hacked, but it’s far from true, and security tools are essential today.
We’ve researched the best antivirus for Mac to bring you a comprehensive guide to macOS protection tools, which includes top security products like TotalAV, McAfee, and Norton.
Each of our top Mac antivirus providers has been tested and verified as being highly effective. Check them out below for their unique protection features:
Here’s a quick head-to-head comparison of the best Mac antiviruses to help you narrow down your options and find the one best suited to your needs and budget:
We’ve reviewed each of the best Mac antiviruses below to help you find the one best suited to your needs and budget. Apple products need an antivirus today and these are your best options:
TotalAV tops our list as the best antivirus tool for Macs. The platform’s core antivirus functions are speedy and thorough, and it’s a package that’s easy to download and install.
Once installed, it can perform a full scan within minutes, and its real-time scans get very high marks for positively identifying malware under testing, with few false positives.
In addition to its Smart Scan feature, TotalAV provides real-time malware protection. Malware files downloaded on your machine are compared against known threats from 25+ million devices in TotalAV’s cloud database and are then automatically removed before they can run.
It’s not just a powerful antivirus program for Mac, either, as it’s also a complete privacy protection solution. You’ll get access to a secure VPN and cloud file scanning to ensure no nasty files are lurking on your cloud host.
The fact that the antivirus app is compatible with iOS and Android devices means you can take full advantage of the multi-device coverage available on even the cheapest plans to run an iPhone virus scan and ensure your device is clean.
The WebShield extension, meanwhile, is available for a range of browsers, including Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Edge, to ensure you’re always protected, and the SafeSearch tool can help ensure your device isn’t exposed to harmful websites.
Overall, TotalAV tops lists like these time and time again as it provides complete peace of mind in a single package for both beginners and advanced users – it’s a great product for Mac security. It’s also known for being among the best Android antiviruses, and it tops the charts for Windows, iOS, and even server protection.
AV-Test: TotalAV is AV-Test Certified and was awarded 6 out of 6 for usability, protection, and performance. It scored 100% for the detection of widespread and prevalent malware and above industry average results for limiting its impact on the speed of applications launching and copying files.
AV-Comparatives: TotalAV blocked 97.7% of malware in its latest test and earned 3 of 3 stars for performance and malware protection, blocking malicious software and very rarely throwing up false positives.
In its latest testing, AV-Test found TotalAV had 0% impact on common app download speeds, a 1% impact on standard app launch speeds, 2% slowing of copying files, and a 15% slowdown on the installation of common apps, with the first three values at industry average or better.
AV-Comparatives gave it 3 out of 3 in its latest performance test, though this wasn’t specifically for Mac.
TotalAV has several different plans, with an increasing range of features. The premium packages are tailored to VPN users, so if you only need antivirus protection, you can stick to the basic “Pro” package.
The core package, which has a fantastic introductory price of $29/year, makes TotalAV one of the most affordable providers on our list. After this introductory offer expires, it’s only $10/month, charged annually for the best virus protection for Mac.
We recommend buying the Total Security package if you’re looking for extra device coverage – in our book, it’s better than Norton Antivirus for Macs. The Total AdBlock feature makes this subscription worth it, and to sweeten things further, it lets you cover up to six devices with both the antivirus and VPN services.
Surfshark is among the best VPN app providers as well as providing first-class antivirus functionality. The Surfshark One bundle offers unlimited VPN connections for your devices, with five devices covered by the Surfshark Antivirus suite.
The service allows you to run scheduled and manual scans, and it will also test new files to ensure they’re safe. Surfshark One is generally found to be pretty speedy under testing when scanning Macs, and it’s among the best for blocking ads and known malware distributors.
To sweeten things further, there’s also a dark web monitoring tool to alert you immediately if your details have appeared online. With a new identity theft victim every 22 seconds, it’s a welcome addition to Surfshark’s overall security package.
Surfshark is a generally lightweight tool, and the combination of a VPN and antivirus means you can use the internet privately and securely using the platform’s extensive worldwide network of servers.
AV-Test gave Surfshark’s Windows product 4.5 out of 6 for performance, with numbers generally better than the industry average but some impact on slowing down the installation of common apps.
Surfshark has one subscription package if you want the bundled antivirus features, but the cost per month goes down if you subscribe for longer periods. With these, Surfshark is one of the cheapest antivirus products on our list.
Norton Antivirus is a world-renowned provider known for its powerful and comprehensive security services – one of several reasons it’s landed on our list of the best Mac antiviruses.
It provides comprehensive protection against malware attacks, ransomware, and direct hacking attempts. It generally registers 100% protection rates against malware samples under testing.
In addition, Norton has a 100% virus detection promise. If, after conducting a full scan, there’s still malware on your device, you’ll be referred to a Norton Expert for free one-to-one advice on removing it.
You’re also entitled to a full refund on your subscription if the Norton Expert can’t remove the malware for you. That said, one of the key complaints against Norton in the past was a difficult uninstall process.
We tried it out for ourselves and found that while you need to download a separate tool to uninstall Norton, this process was relatively painless.
As well as first-class identity protection tools, Norton provides a firewall and cloud backups. There’s also a notable SafeCam feature, which protects your device’s camera from being accessed by hackers – perhaps one of the most alarming forms of cyberattacks today.
Overall, Norton offers a solid solution for complete device protection, and it even comes with handy add-ons, such as one of the best parental control solutions on the market, a solid VPN, and one of the best password managers, all bundled in.
Many users rate Norton as delivering a great package of features, going beyond what’s offered by other providers like McAfee – and its 100% protection guarantee certainly makes it stand out from the crowd.
AV-Test: Norton Antivirus is AV-Test Certified, and it was awarded a full 6 out of 6 for protection, performance, and usability.
It scored 100% for the detection of widespread malware and better than industry average results for its impact on the speed of installing applications, launching applications, and copying files. That means it should have a minimal impact on the performance of your MacBook.
AV-Comparatives: Norton Antivirus blocked 99.6% of malware when last tested, earning a two-star advanced real-world protection award. Under its latest testing, it was also awarded 3 out of 3 stars for malware protection and performance.
Norton got full marks for performance from AV-Test with above-average results across the board and a 0% or 1% impact on app downloads, launching apps, and copying files, and only a slight slow-down on installing apps.
Norton has various plans depending on the features you need. The Antivirus Plus is the cheapest plan and comes with all the standard malware protection you’d expect, along with 2GB of cloud storage, a smart firewall, and a password manager.
Standard adds a webcam manager, basic identity theft monitoring, and bumps the cloud storage up to 10GB. Deluxe is ideal for concerned parents as it lets you manage multi-device households, increasing the device limit to five, and adds parental controls and privacy monitoring functions.
The Lifelock package adds 100GB of cloud storage, protects you against identity theft losses of up to $25,000, and gives you access to up to $1 million in legal aid should your identity be stolen. Should you install Norton on your Mac? It might just be the best decision you’ll make today.
NordVPN is one of the best VPNs around, and it comes with threat protection functionality to keep you safe from malware, ads, and other malicious programs and software. Nord Threat Protection and NordVPN combined offer robust online security at an affordable price, so you can use the internet with confidence.
Nord Threat Protection scans downloaded files to ensure they don’t contain malware, and it can warn you of harmful sites. It can work even when you’re not connected through NordVPN, ensuring you’re protected 24/7 when using Threat Protection. There’s even a password manager bundled in.
It’s a popular option as you get all these premium security features included with NordVPN – an internationally recognized VPN solution that has been proven to be secure by third-party audits.
Besides keeping you safe from malware and malicious ads, Nord opens a world of opportunities for unblocking geo-restricted content on sites and services like Netflix and Amazon Prime.
You can access remote LAN connections, and advanced features are also available, such as split-tunneling, prioritizing your traffic, and MeshNet, to create an encrypted private network.
This is, hence, a great option for browsing privately and securely while being confident that Nord Threat Protection will stop you from being exposed to malware.
Under testing, Nord Threat Protection is generally seen to have an impact of less than 1% on CPU usage, though some users have reportedly noted CPU spikes.
NordVPN has several subscription plans, but Threat Protection is available by default with every plan alongside the core VPN app.
NordVPN’s extra plans, Plus and Complete, give you a data breach scanner for identity theft protection and one of the best password managers around. Additionally, Complete also comes with 1TB of cloud storage, which is scanned to ensure that it isn’t infected with malware.
Intego has a proven record of providing quality software products for macOS, which earns them a place on our list of the top antivirus products for Mac.
The software runs quickly and has a clean and simple user interface. Internet Security X9 is Intego’s premier malware defense service, which uses a firewall to prevent hackers from accessing your machine.
Intego also integrates real-time malware scanning, scheduled scans, and regular blacklist updates, and there’s a content filter, which makes it ideal for concerned parents looking for a parental control solution.
Beyond this, there’s a VPN service, a Washing Machine feature – keeping your system clean and optimized – and identity theft protection. You can also link Intego to your credit score and be updated whenever there’s a significant change.
This is one of the first major warning signs you’ve been a victim of identity theft, so you’ll want to know as soon as this changes.
This is an impressive range of features – and as a tool specifically built for Macs, it’s a recommended pick.
AV-Test: Intego is AV-Test Certified and was awarded 6 out of 6 for protection, performance, and usability in its most recent tests. It detected 100% of widespread malware and scored better than average results for its impact on installing applications, though it slowed down file copying.
AV-Comparatives: Intego earned an approved certificate from AV-Comparatives, scoring 99.4% for Mac malware protection and 97% for tackling Potentially Unwanted Applications.
In its most recent testing, AV-Test found Intego had 0% impact on slowing app download speeds, and just a 4% impact on slowing app installation, compared to an industry average of 13%. Intego performed relatively poorly for slowing down the copying of files, though, with a 24% impact.
Intego’s core antivirus product doesn’t come bundled with other products, though you can choose the number of devices you want to protect, as Intego only protects one device by default.
They’re a little more expensive than some providers on our list, but if you want software that’s been built for Macs, there’s no better choice than Intego.
Avast has been built to take the smallest toll on your Mac possible, and it’s a great option for Mac for a free antivirus. It’s also lightweight, and the Smart Scan feature has almost no impact on CPU or RAM usage.
Tests indicate Avast has a 100% detection rate for both Mac and Windows-based malware, so you can be confident it’ll protect your devices on networks that cover both Windows and Mac computers.
The product includes quick scans and boot scans, while smart scans can help to surface otherwise overlooked viruses and vulnerabilities. The Behavior Shield, meanwhile, looks out for unusual activity on your system – allowing the service to detect previously unknown viruses.
Avast also offers a secure browser, an ad blocker, malware blocking, and anti-phishing protection to keep the most common attacks at bay. This is vital in today’s world, where a whopping 3.4 billion phishing emails are sent every single day.
There’s even a network analyzer that provides details on all the devices connected to your network, though in slightly less detail than the Windows version.
As well as providing an excellent free antivirus for Mac, Avast notably provides long-term support for legacy Mac operating systems, making it ideal for users who aren’t able to upgrade for whatever reason.
AV-Test: Avast is AV-Test Certified and earned 6 out of 6 for protection, usability, and performance in its latest tests. It scored 100% for the detection of prevalent malware and better than industry average results for impact on the speed of application installation and file copying.
AV-Comparatives: Avast for Mac blocked 99.8% of malware in its latest tests and was awarded three stars and an Advanced+ certificate for real-world protection. It also earned 3 of 3 stars for malware protection and performance testing.
AV-Test gave Avast 6 out of 6 for minimal performance impact, with at or better-than-industry-average results for its impact on downloading, installing, and launching apps and copying files, which generally saw a 0% to 2% speed reduction.
Avast has a pretty straightforward pricing scheme. While you can download Avast One Essential for free, there are also basic and enhanced packages.
Avast One covers five devices by default, which is great if you want to protect your whole household on a budget. This makes it one of the cheapest dedicated antivirus programs on our list.
The Premium Security subscription enhances Avast by adding ransomware protection and network monitoring, which tells you whenever a new device connects to your local network. Best of all, you can try it free to see if it’s right for you.
McAfee antivirus offers extensive options with real-time threat protection, scheduled antivirus scans, and personalized scanning profiles you can set for each family member or user.
The antivirus is one part of a suite of privacy protection tools designed to make your internet browsing safer. Real-time system scans are fast and simple to run, and the Vulnerability Scan will identify any gaps in your defenses, while QuickClean will keep your system optimized.
Then there’s credit monitoring, a VPN, identity theft prevention, a home network analyzer, online data cleanup, a firewall, and a “kill switch” for your vital online accounts in case you suspect fraud. You’ll be able to shut down access to your bank account, bill services, and credit cards instantly through McAfee’s security freeze service.
McAfee even has ransomware protection. Attempts to encrypt your files will put the system on alert and will automatically result in the creation of a protected backup – thwarting would-be attackers.
If you’re looking for a comprehensive set of security tools, this is it.
AV-Comparatives: McAfee Total Protection stopped 99.4% of malware in its most recent tests and earned a three-star real-world protection Advanced+ award. It also earned 3 of 3 stars for performance tests and malware protection.
AV-Comparatives gave McAfee 3 out of 3 for performance, with no impact on file copying, downloading files, or browsing sites, and minimal impact on installing and launching applications – though these tests weren’t run on Mac.
Is it worth having McAfee on Mac? Absolutely. McAfee is an impressive antivirus tool and it offers various plans, depending on the features you need.
The Basic package covers a single device and is competitively priced. Though identity theft prevention features come with the relatively expensive advanced package, dark web monitoring, for example, is included with the basic plan.
Does a Mac need antivirus? There has long been a misconception that Mac devices don’t get viruses. This isn’t true. There are thousands of examples of potent malware tools developed exclusively for Mac devices. However, there’s a grain of truth to this falsehood.
In the past, fewer hackers focused on developing malware for Mac devices because they weren’t trendy in industrial or enterprise settings. This has changed in recent years.
The increasing share of domestic users switching to MacBooks over regular laptops has encouraged hackers to build ransomware and spy programs for standard Mac computers. So, Macs are undoubtedly susceptible to attacks in the modern day.
No matter which operating system you use, you’ll encounter some ever-present online threats when you’re using the internet.
Although macOS has strong security features by default, all it takes is one accidental click on a malicious website or an unwise download – let alone an unknown zero-day attack – and your computer could be wrecked and your data lost forever.
In the past, Apple users believed they generally didn’t need to worry about viruses – but malware for Macs is widely prevalent today.
There are several main types of malware Apple users can face, ranging from adware and unwanted tracking all the way to ransomware. Ransomware programs lock your computer so it’s unusable until you pay a Bitcoin ransom – with the threat that they’ll delete the data if you don’t pay up.
This can be particularly damaging when targeting businesses and organizations like schools and hospitals but is equally devastating for private users.
Other attacks seek to steal your personal information, such as credit card details and passwords, Once your details have been stolen, you’re constantly at risk of identity theft. In some cases, hackers have been known to spend several years using the same social security number to impersonate unwitting victims.
All of this means that it’s critical to get internet security software in place and scan for viruses on Mac.
Even the best Mac antivirus freeware can be more of a headache than it’s worth. Firstly, you need to ensure the antivirus you’re downloading is from a reputable vendor.
There are plenty of providers who will masquerade as a legitimate antivirus platform and then sell your information or access to your computer – so it’s best to stick with our recommended options.
The providers we’ve highlighted in our list are all trusted antivirus providers who sometimes offer free trial versions alongside their main product. For example, TotalAV gives you access to the core antivirus functions for free on unlimited devices.
Mac free antivirus options generally come with limited features and functionality, though, and can’t provide the same level of comprehensive cover you really need to put your mind at ease – even if you get the best free antivirus for Mac.
And unfortunately, digital threats in the modern world extend far beyond someone installing malware on your computer. Identity theft is often the most damaging digital theft the average person can experience.
No antivirus solution has a totally free, foolproof program to help you tackle identity theft, so you’ll have to buy a subscription if you want features such as being able to monitor deep-web hacker sites for your details.
One alternative is to use free trials to test out a product before you pay up. TotalAV offers a 30-day free trial, which is one of the best free antivirus offers you’ll get, and the product we rate as the best free antivirus for Mac.
When putting together our guide on the best antivirus for Mac users today, we kept detection rates, performance, and usability front of mind, comparing tools to one another and industry benchmarks.
We’ve created a wide range of cybersecurity guides on tools like the best Windows antiviruses, so have plenty of experience in evaluating antivirus tools and identifying key differentiators.
Speed is essential, for example, but you should bear in mind this is often limited by hard-drive speed. The best Mac antivirus tools will take advantage of the faster SSDs in newer Macs, reducing the time spent scanning your computer.
We also considered secondary security tools like VPNs, password managers, ad blockers, parental controls, and dark web monitoring, which add additional value to Mac antivirus packages.
Many antivirus tools come with free trials, so you can test them before subscribing, and we considered trials, guarantees, customer support, and value for money in our rankings.
Whether you’re researching Malwarebytes for Mac, looking for an antivirus tool for macOS, or want a Mac antivirus free of charge, these are all important factors to keep in mind to make sure you find the right tool for your needs.
Installing and setting up an antivirus tool on a Mac is straightforward. Let’s use TotalAV as an example:
Head to TotalAV’s website and browse their Mac antivirus section. You don’t need to sign up for a subscription to download and try it. Once you’ve downloaded the TotalAV.pkg, it’s just a matter of double-clicking to install it.
Once you’ve opened the install wizard, it’s easy to get through the installation process. You’ll need to select where you want to install TotalAV and which type of installation you’d prefer.
TotalAV uses system-level tools, which require permission from the administrator to install. In most cases, this is as simple as putting in your username and password.
Now you’re up and running with TotalAV, and you can scan your Mac for viruses. There’s an automatic update service, so you’ll always be updated with the latest malware definitions.
Check out our other guides for antivirus services for a range of different use cases going beyond Mac malware removal.
TotalAV is our pick for the best antivirus for Mac in 2024. It’s relatively inexpensive, and it works quickly and extremely well under testing. Some of our other providers offer more specialized services, but TotalAV leads the pack for overall value.
What’s more, you can try the best antivirus software for Mac now with its 30-day free trial, meaning there’s absolutely no risk to you.
Antivirus programs scan the files on your device, comparing them to files known to spread malware. If the file hashes match, the antivirus program will typically quarantine it and line it up for deletion. Antiviruses will typically also monitor the software on your device for unusual behavior and will include a firewall to stop new malware programs accessing your system.
Apple regularly updates macOS to protect against hacking, but this isn’t foolproof, and new attacks are constantly being developed, so Macs and Apple software are not virus-proof today. Antivirus packages also offer lots of additional security-enhancing features, so an antivirus for Macbook can deliver plenty of value. TotalAV, Nord, and Norton provide some of the best antivirus software for Macs.
Our research found TotalAV to be the best antivirus for macOS, thanks to its speedy scanning, high malware detection rates, and overall usability. In addition to TotalAV’s core functionality, it has a great identity protection suite for monitoring the illicit use of your personal information. All of this makes it the best Mac antivirus software available today.
The best free Mac antivirus is Avast. It offers a reliable firewall and virus scans with its free-forever plan, making it a great free antivirus for Mac. TotalAV is a close runner-up for best free antivirus software for Mac with a great trial offer, which allows you to access all its antivirus functionality.
When you run a particularly intensive disk scan, you may find your Mac slightly slows down. However, most antivirus programs are built to be lightweight, and we’ve weighted our reviews for performance impact under testing. Many of the providers on our list also provide smart scans, which only check the most recently updated files and popular locations and will rarely impact your Mac’s performance.
MacOS gets regular security updates, and its native antivirus tools are reasonably robust. That said, the best antivirus solutions go further and can run fast, comprehensive scans, block malicious software and sites, and catch unwanted tracking programs. They also come with additional tools like VPNs, password managers, and dark web monitoring features to detect whether your details have been compromised.
Norton Antivirus is a great option for Macs and offers a wide range of security tools to keep your Apple devices safe. The package covers unlimited devices and offers online threat protection, a smart firewall, and a 100% detection promise.
The best way to check your Mac for viruses is to install an antivirus software package and run a full virus scan for Mac on your files and system. We recommend TotalAV for the best malware removal for Mac. It offers a wide range of features, including real-time protection and malicious URL blocking to block harmful sites.
Apple arguably has better built-in antivirus tools than Windows, but experts recommend subscribing to an antivirus service for the best antivirus protection for Mac. These products typically offer tools like full-system scans, firewalls, and malicious site detection – as well as add-ons like VPNs, password managers, and breach detection, so you can use your device with confidence.
Sam is a cybersecurity researcher working in the field of hardware security and AI-driven penetration testing. He has spent the last few years contemplating some of the ways in which computers have been built wrong, and how we can possibly detect those flaws. When not stressing out over arcane details of computer hardware, Sam can be found advocating for data privacy in his spare time.
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