The Best Antivirus for Mac in 2024 Compared

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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 looked for the best antivirus Mac users can find to create a comprehensive guide to macOS protection tools, including top security products from providers like TotalAV, McAfee, and Norton.

The Best Mac Antivirus Services

Editors' Choice

TotalAV – Superb antivirus software for complete, real-time protection

TotalAV – Superb antivirus software for complete, real-time protection

  • Starting From $19.00/year
5 Stars

Norton – PC antivirus with a virus protection promise

Norton – PC antivirus with a virus protection promise

  • Starting From $29.99/year
4.5 Stars

NordVPN Threat Protection – Antivirus Software with a global VPN network

NordVPN Threat Protection – Antivirus Software with a global VPN network

  • Starting From $53.87/year (2-year plan)
4.5 Stars

Surfshark Antivirus – Great value antivirus protection with a VPN

Surfshark Antivirus – Great value antivirus protection with a VPN

  • Starting From $37.57/year (2-year plan)
4.5 Stars

Intego – Beginner friendly antivirus solution for macOS users

Intego – Beginner friendly antivirus solution for macOS users

  • Starting From $39.99/year
4.5 Stars

Avast – Free Antivirus Software With Smart Scan Functionality

Avast – Free Antivirus Software With Smart Scan Functionality

  • Starting From $35.88/year
4.5 Stars

McAfee – Reliable antivirus software for Windows 10 users

McAfee – Reliable antivirus software for Windows 10 users

  • Starting From $39.99/year (2-year plan)
4.5 Stars

The Best Mac Antivirus Products at a Glance

  1. TotalAV — Best antivirus for Macs for real-time protection
  2. Norton Antivirus — Best antivirus for Mac with a virus protection promise
  3. Nord Threat Protection — Best Apple antivirus for secure, private browsing
  4. Surfshark Antivirus — Best high-speed VPN with a macOS antivirus
  5. Intego — Best specialist Mac antivirus software
  6. Avast — Best free antivirus for Macs
  7. McAfee — Best Mac antivirus for its range of security tools

Best Antivirus for Mac Options Reviewed

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 – with a Mac malware protection review for each.

1. TotalAV — Best Mac Antivirus Software for Real-Time Protection

TotalAV Logo

Best For Best Mac antivirus for real-time protection
Cheapest Plan $19/year
Best Features Real-Time Protection, Malware Cleaner, Advanced Cloud Scanning
Free Trial Free Scan
Max Devices Supported 8
Firewall / Malicious URL Blocking ❌ / ✅
Testing Results 18/18
Why We Picked It

TotalAV is one of the best antivirus tools for Macs, and we rate it as the best for real-time protection. The platform’s core antivirus functions are fast and comprehensive, and it’s a package that’s easy to download and install.


Once installed, TotalAV 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 on your system and for downloads. 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.

It’s not just a powerful antivirus program for Mac, either, as it’s also a complete privacy protection solution. You’ll also get access to a secure VPN and a password manager for multi-level security.

The antivirus app is compatible with iOS and Android devices so you can take full advantage of the multi-device coverage available with 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.

Lab Tests

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.

Performance Impact

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 come with a VPN and password manager, so if you only need antivirus protection, you can stick to the basic Pro package.

TotalAV Antivirus Pro $19/year
TotalAV Internet Security $39/year
TotalAV Total Security $49/year

The core package, which has a fantastic introductory price of $19/year, makes TotalAV one of the most affordable providers on our list. After this introductory offer expires, it’s less than $9/month, charged annually for perhaps 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. To sweeten things further, it lets you cover up to eight devices with both the antivirus and VPN services.

Who It's Best For

TotalAV frequently appears at the top of lists for the best anti-virus software for Mac. It provides complete peace of mind in a single package for both beginners and advanced users – and it’s a great product for Mac security for individuals and families alike.

It’s known for being among the best Android antiviruses, and it also regularly tops the charts for Windows machines.


  • Ideal for users on a budget
  • Comes with a free trial version
  • Protects both desktop and mobile devices
  • Best antivirus for macOS real-time protection


  • Some providers have better phishing protection
  • Price increases with renewal

2. Norton Antivirus — Best Antivirus For macOS with a Protection Promise, Plus Unlimited Device Support

Best For 100% detection
Cheapest Plan $29.99/year
Best Features Online Threat Protection, Cloud Backup, Smart Firewall
Free Trial 30 Days
Max Devices Supported Unlimited
Firewall / Malicious URL Blocking ✅ / ✅
Testing Results 18/18
Why We Picked It

Norton Antivirus is a leading provider that’s known for its powerful and comprehensive security services – one of several reasons it’s landed on our list of the best Mac antiviruses.

Notably, it also has a virus protection 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.


Norton provides comprehensive protection against malware attacks, ransomware, and hacking attempts. It generally registers 100% protection rates against malware samples under testing.

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.

Norton also comes with handy add-ons bundled in such as one of the best parental control solutions on the market, a solid VPN, and one of the best password managers. Of course, that’s not to mention the fact that higher tier plans provide cover for unlimited devices.

Lab Tests

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.

Performance Impact

Norton got full marks for performance from AV-Test with above-average results in three out of four categories and a 0% or 1% impact on app downloads, launching apps, and copying files, and only a slight slow-down on installing apps. AV-Test gave Norton full marks for performance based on this.


Norton has various plans depending on the features you need. 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.

Norton AntiVirus Plus $29.99/year
Norton 360 Standard $39.99/year
Norton 360 Deluxe $49.99/year
Norton 360 with LifeLock Select $99.99/year
Norton 360 with LifeLock Advantage $191.88/year
Norton 360 with LifeLock Ultimate Plus $299.88/year

Standard adds a VPN and dark web monitoring. 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 packages add up to 500GB of cloud storage, protection from identity theft, and reimbursements of up to $1 million of stolen funds. Should you install Norton on your Mac? It might just be the best decision you’ll make today.

Who It's Best For

Overall, Norton offers a solid solution for complete device protection. Many users rate Norton as delivering a great package of features, going beyond what’s offered by other providers.

Its protection guarantee and support for unlimited devices, meanwhile, make it stand out from the crowd as a great option for families.


  • Comprehensive virus database
  • Can run on multiple devices
  • Minimal impact on performance
  • Extra VPN option as well as parental controls and a password manager


  • Can take time to learn all the tools
  • Full system scans can be slow

3. NordVPN Threat Protection — Mac Antivirus with a Top-Tier VPN

A logo of NordVPN

Best For Secure and private browsing
Cheapest Plan $53.87/year
Best Features Double VPN, Meshnet, Dark Web Monitor
Free Trial 7 Days on Android and iOS
Max Devices Supported 10
Firewall / Malicious URL Blocking ❌ / ✅
Why We Picked It

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. The security and VPN privacy tools combine to offer robust online protection at an affordable price, so you can keep your Mac secure


NordVPN 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 to NordVPN, ensuring you’re protected 24/7. 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’s been proven to be secure by third-party audits. The VPN has a huge global network of 6,300+ servers in 110+ countries.

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 NordVPN Threat Protection will stop you from being exposed to malware.

Performance Impact

Under testing, Nord Threat Protection is generally seen to have a very limited impact on CPU usage, though some users have reportedly noted CPU spikes.


NordVPN has several subscription plans. Threat Protection is available with the Plus and Ultimate plans alongside the core VPN app.

24 months + 3 free 12 months + 3 free 1 month
NordVPN Plus $3.99/month $5.49/month $13.99/month
NordVPN Ultimate $5.99/month $7.49/month $15.99/month

These plans also give you a data breach scanner for identity theft protection and one of the best password managers around.

Additionally, the Ultimate plan also comes with an impressive 1TB of cloud storage as well as identity theft and cyber extortion coverage.

Who It's Best For

NordVPN Threat Protection is a great browser security tool and the fact that it comes with a password manager and data breach monitor only improves the deal. Of course, that’s not to mention the fact that it also includes a high-speed VPN with an extensive global server network.


  • Offers excellent split tunneling
  • 24/7 customer support
  • An effective Kill Switch
  • Covers 6 devices


  • Not available as a standalone product
  • Doesn’t include on-demand and real-time scans
NordVPN Threat Protection

4. Surfshark Antivirus — Best Mac VPN with Antivirus for Privacy

A logo of Surfshark VPN

Best For Lightweight tool with VPN
Cheapest Plan $36.32/year
Best Features Real-Time Protection, VPN, Device Scanning
Free Trial 30 Days
Max Devices Supported 5
Firewall / Malicious URL Blocking ❌ / ✅
Why We Picked It

Surfshark is among the best VPN app providers around, and the company also provides first-class antivirus functionality. The Surfshark One bundle offers unlimited VPN connections for your devices, with five devices covered by the Surfshark Antivirus suite.


Surfshark allows you to run scheduled and manual scans, and it’ll also test new downloads to ensure they’re safe. Surfshark One is generally found to be fast 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.

Performance Impact

AV-Test gave Surfshark’s Windows product 4.5 out of 6 for performance, with numbers generally better than the industry average. However, there was some impact on slowing down the installation of common apps.


Surfshark has two subscription packages if you want the bundled antivirus features, but the cost per month goes down if you subscribe for longer periods.

24 months + 2 free 12 months + 2 free 1 month
Surfshark One $2.89/month $3.49/month $15.95/month
Surfshark One+ $4.49/month $5.49/month $17.95/month

With longer-term subscriptions, Surfshark is one of the cheapest antivirus products on our list.

Who It's Best For

Surfshark is a 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.

Like NordVPN, it offers fast connections, but it offers more tools to ensure your online privacy as well as a more comprehensive toolset to protect the security of your device.


  • Data breach monitoring
  • Excellent VPN
  • Realtime protection
  • Affordable option


  • No firewall
  • P2P behavior can be erratic
Surfshark Antivirus

5. Intego — Best Mac Antivirus and Malware Remover Built for macOS

Best For Specialist Mac antivirus software
Cheapest Plan $37.50/year
Best Features Internet Security, Content Barrier, Washing Machine
Free Trial 30 Days
Max Devices Supported 5
Firewall / Malicious URL Blocking ✅ / ✅
Testing Results 16.5/18
Why We Picked It

Intego has a proven record of providing quality software products for macOS, which earns the firm a place on our list of the top antivirus products for Mac.


Intego 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.

The Intego Mac Internet Security package 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 get updated if 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.

Lab Tests

AV-Test: Intego is AV-Test Certified and was awarded 6 out of 6 for usability in its most recent tests. It detected 99.2% of widespread malware and had zero false warnings, though it did slow down the installation of applications. The provider got a perfect score in two of the last four most recent rounds of testing.

AV-Comparatives: Intego earned an approved certificate from AV-Comparatives, scoring 99.4% for Mac malware protection and 97% for tackling Potentially Unwanted Applications.

Performance Impact

In its most recent testing, AV-Test found Intego had 0% impact on slowing app download speeds, and just an 8% impact on slowing down application launcing. Intego performed relatively poorly for slowing down the copying of files, though, with a 15% impact and an 82% slowdown on installing common applications.


Intego’s core antivirus products offer discounts for adding additional devices and for longer-term subscriptions.

For example, the top-tier offering is available at a lower cost per device than the cheapest plan if you get a three-device plan ($38.33/year per device), and it’s even less if you sign up for five devices for two years ($24/year per device).

1 year, 1 device 2 years, 1 device 1 year, 3 devices 2 years, 3 devices 1 year, 5 devices 2 years, 5 devices
Mac Internet Security X9 $39.99/year $37.50/year $54.99/year $50/year $69.99/year $62.50/year
Mac Premium Bundle X9 $69.99/year $65/year $94.99/year $87.50/year $119.99/year $110/year
Mac Premium Bundle + VPN $89.99/year $75/year $114.99/year $97.50/year $139.99/year $120/year

Intego’s plans are 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.

Who It's Best For

Intego offers an impressive range of features and has a lot to offer Mac users. Given that it’s a tool specifically built for Macs, it’s naturally a recommended pick for the platform.


  • Firewall protection
  • Anti-predator chat monitoring
  • VPN, parental controls, and hard drive cleaning tools
  • Mac optimized


  • Complicated UI
  • No mobile apps

6. Avast — Best Free Antivirus for Mac

Best For Long-term support and free plan
Cheapest Plan $35.88/year
Best Features Network Security Scan and Alerts, Pay Guard, Ransomware Protection
Free Trial 60 Days
Max Devices Supported 30
Firewall / Malicious URL Blocking ✅ / ✅
Testing Results 18/18
Why We Picked It

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 include PCs and Macs.

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.

Lab Tests

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 100% 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.

Performance Impact

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 4% speed reduction that’s significantly better than industry averages.


Avast has a slightly complex pricing scheme. While you can download Avast One Essential for free for basic protection, it’s best to upgrade to Avast Premium Security.

Avast Free Antivirus Free
Avast One Silver Individual (for security, privacy or performance) $35.88/year per module
Avast One Silver Family (for security, privacy or performance) – 30 devices $59.88/year per module
Avast Premium Security – 1 device $49.99/year
Avast Premium Security – 10 devices $69.99/year
Avast Ultimate Security – 1 device $49.99/year
Avast Ultimate Security – 10 devices $69.99/year
Avast One Gold Individual $83.88/year
Avast One Gold Family – 30 devices $131.88/year

Avast One covers three 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 macOS antivirus apps on our list. If you want security, privacy, and device optimization tools, you’ll need to subscribe to separate modules or upgrade to Avast One Gold for all three.

The Premium Security subscription will be a better option for many. It offers ransomware protection and network monitoring, telling 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.

Who It's Best For

Avast provides a wide range of plans, so you can pick and pay for the specific tools you need. It also offers a trial, a money-back guarantee, a free plan, and affordable subscriptions, making it the best cheap Mac antivirus and the best free antivirus for Mac.


  • Great free version
  • Ransomware protection
  • Network monitoring
  • Long-term support


  • Plans can be confusing
  • Free VPN limited to 5GB/week

7. McAfee — Best Mac Antivirus for Security Features

Best For Range of security tools
Cheapest Plan $39.99/year
Best Features Real-Time Threat Protection, Protection Score, File Shredder
Free Trial 30 Days
Max Devices Supported Unlimited
Firewall / Malicious URL Blocking ✅ / ✅
Why We Picked It

McAfee antivirus offers extensive options for real-time threat protection, scheduled antivirus scans, and personalized scanning profiles you can set for each family member or user. It also comes with a huge range of excellent security features.


The McAfee antivirus is a part of a suite of security and privacy protection tools designed to make your online life 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, and a firewall. 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 also 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.

Lab Tests

AV-Comparatives: McAfee Total Protection stopped 99.6% of malware in its most recent tests on Windows and earned a three-star real-world protection Advanced+ award. It also earned 3 of 3 stars for malware protection.

Performance Impact

AV-Comparatives gave McAfee 2 out of 3 for performance on Windows, with no impact on file copying, downloading files, or browsing sites, but some impact on 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.

McAfee Essential (two-year plan) $39.99/year
McAfee Premium $49.99/year
McAfee Premium Family $64.99/year
McAfee Advanced $89.99/year
McAfee Advanced Family $119.99/year
McAfee Ultimate $199.99/year
McAfee Ultimate Family $219.99/year

The Essential package covers five devices 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.

Who It's Best For

McAfee is one of the longest-serving antivirus providers in the business and it provides an excellent range of features. If you’re looking for a comprehensive set of security tools for Mac, this is it.


  • User friendly
  • 24/7 support available
  • Identity protection included
  • One of the best Reddit antivirus recommendations


  • Some strong features require upgrades
  • VPN could have more features

Best Antivirus for Mac Picks Compared

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:

Provider Name Best For Cheapest Plan Best Features Free Trial Max Devices Supported Firewall / Malicious URL Blocking
TotalAV Best Mac antivirus real-time protection $19/year Real-Time Protection, Mac malware scanner, Advanced Cloud Scanning Free Scan 8 ❌ / ✅
Norton Antivirus 100% detection $29.99/year Online Threat Protection, Cloud Backup, Smart Firewall 30 Days Unlimited ✅ / ✅
Nord Threat Protection Secure and private browsing $53.87/year Multihop VPN, Meshnet, Dark Web Monitor 7 Days on Android and iOS 10 ❌ / ✅
Surfshark Antivirus Lightweight tool with VPN $36.32/year Real-Time Protection, VPN, Device Scanning 30 Days 5 ❌ / ✅
Intego Specialist Mac anti-virus software $37.50/year Internet Security, Content Barrier, Washing Machine 30 Days 5 ✅ / ✅
Avast Long-term support and free plan $35.88/year Network Security Scan and Alerts, Pay Guard, Ransomware Protection 60 Days 30 ✅ / ✅
McAfee Comprehensive range of security tools $39.99/year Real-Time Threat Protection, Protection Score, File Shredder 30 Days Unlimited ✅ / ✅

How We Review And Test Antivirus Software

15 Antiviruses Tested

20 Datapoints Measured

300+ Hours Testing

500+ User Reviews Read

We base our recommendations on first-hand experience and in-depth testing. All the Antivirus products we suggest, have been tested based on the following criteria:

  • Core Security Features: We make sure that the antivirus software is fully equipped with features like real-time protection, scanning, a firewall, web protection, and more.
  • Malware Detection Rates: We test malware detection rates ourselves by running both in-depth and quick scans on our devices. Additionally, we check independent lab tests.
  • Compatibility: We check which devices and operating systems the antivirus software is compatible with. Often, different-looking dashboards and slightly different packages of features may be available.
  • Performance Impact: A reliable and functional antivirus should not slow down your device significantly. So, we examine our device performance with and without the antivirus running.
  • Customer Experience: Alongside our own experience, we are curious to know what real users have to say regarding the services. So, we’ve scoured the web for feedback on each of our tested antiviruses.
  • Value for Money: We always consider value for money and how much each product is offering for the set price point.

Do I Need an Antivirus for Mac? Can Macs Get Viruses?

Does a Mac need antivirus? There has long been a misconception that Mac devices don’t get viruses. While there might once have been fewer viruses targeting Macs, there are now thousands of malware tools developed exclusively for Apple devices.

The increasing share of domestic users switching to MacBooks and the increasing popularity of Macs in business and enterprise settings has encouraged hackers to build ransomware and spy programs for the Apple ecosystem. Indeed, there’s little argument that Macs can get viruses today.

Although macOS has strong security features by default, all it takes is one click on a malicious website or an unwise download and your computer could be wrecked and your data lost forever.

What macOS Malware Threats are Prevalent Today?

No matter what operating system you use, you’ll encounter online threats when you’re using the internet, and just like Windows malware there are a wide range of malicious programs targeting Mac users.

In the past, Apple users believed they generally didn’t need to worry about viruses – but malware for Macs is widely prevalent today.

Apple users face a wide range of threats today, including:

VirusesRansomware programsAdwareKeyloggersSpyware


Viruses, such as worms and Trojans, are types of malware that seek to infect a device and replicate themselves using system flaws and camouflaged software.[/su_spoiler]

Ransomware programs

Ransomware programs lock your Mac, so it’s unusable until you pay a ransom. Hackers will often demand untraceable cryptocurrency and will threaten to delete the data if you don’t pay up. This can be particularly damaging for businesses and organizations like schools and hospitals, which have irreplaceable data – but it’s just as painful for private users.[/su_spoiler]


Adware, which can hijack your browser, generate pop-up ads, and track your activity. These programs may also download other malware and further infect your device.


Keyloggers, which track your Mac data inputs and 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 spent years using a single social security number to impersonate unwitting victims.


Spyware may include keyloggers, but other Mac hacking tools allow malicious individuals to access your camera and microphone, find your location, and take over your apps.

All of this means that it’s critical to get internet security software in place and scan for viruses on Mac.

Best Free Mac Antivirus vs. Paid Solutions – Which is Best?

Even the best Mac antivirus freeware can be more trouble than it’s worth. There are plenty of operators that will masquerade as legitimate antivirus providers but will actually sell your information or track your activity – so it’s best to stick with reputable, recommended options.

Several of the providers on our list offer free trial versions and free plans alongside their main product. For example, TotalAV gives you access to free antivirus scans, while Avast One includes a free antivirus with ransomware protection and a limited VPN.

Mac free antivirus options generally come with limited features and functionality, though, and don’t provide the same level of comprehensive cover you really need to put your mind at ease.

Identity theft is among the most damaging digital attacks the average person can experience today. Free antivirus Mac products don’t provide the multi-layered protection needed to detect and prevent these attacks, however. So – is it safe to use a free antivirus on Mac? Not really.

Indeed, given all this, it’s a good idea to get the best antivirus Mac devices can run. One of the best free antivirus offers you’ll get is to use free trials to test out a product before you pay up. TotalAV also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can ensure you’re happy with the product before fully committing.

How to Choose Mac Antivirus Software – What Features Should You Look For?

Shopping for anti-virus software for Mac computers can be a confusing process, with the wide range of features and functionality on offer. Indeed, whether you’re looking at a virus scanner for Mac or identity protection tools, it can be tough to know what really matters.

Here’s our advice on the key features to consider, whether you’re considering Trend Micro antivirus or Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac:

SecurityAdditional featuresDevicesValue for money


Naturally, you want the best malware protection for Mac. Make sure that the anti-virus for Macs you pick can detect and block malware and provide real-time protection – and it will ideally have independent testing stats to prove its performance.

Additional Features

When buying an antivirus program for Mac, additional security tools act as important differentiators. They can include everything from VPNs and password managers to ad blockers and data breach monitors.

If it’s a point of concern, you might also look for specific anti-phishing, anti-ransomware, and webcam protection tools.


Your digital ecosystem likely includes a range of different devices and the best antivirus for macOS will protect more than just one machine. It’s also worth checking how many devices you can add to your subscription and what hardware and operating systems it supports.

Value for Money

Many people will be tempted to buy the cheapest antivirus software or to opt for free solutions, like the Avira free antivirus. However, this may be poor value for money if it provides inadequate security.

The best macOS antivirus should be affordable while ensuring you’re protected at all times.

How Do I Scan My Mac for Viruses?

Installing and setting up an antivirus tool on a Mac is fairly straightforward, but it can sometimes be confusing. We’ll use TotalAV as an example for a Mac anti-virus how-to.

  1. Download and Install TotalAV

    Head to TotalAV’s website, sign up for an account, and download the software. Once you’ve downloaded the TotalAV.pkg, it’s just a matter of double-clicking to install it.

    <strong>Download and Install TotalAV</strong>
  2. Click Continue to Install

    Once you’ve opened the install wizard, it’s fairly straightforward to get through the installation process. You just need to select where you want to install TotalAV and which type of installation you’d prefer.

    <strong>Click Continue to Install</strong>
  3. Complete the Installation

    TotalAV uses system-level tools, which require permission from the administrator to install. In most cases, you just need to enter the username and password to confirm this.

    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 to keep your iMac antivirus best-in-class.

    <strong>Complete the Installation</strong>


How does a Mac antivirus work?

Do Macs need an antivirus?

Which is the best antivirus for Mac?

What’s the best free Mac antivirus?

Do antiviruses slow Macs down?

Is the Mac built-in antivirus good?

Is Norton Antivirus good for Mac?

How do I check my Mac for viruses?

Does Apple have a better antivirus than Windows?

Which Mac antivirus has the best ransomware protection?

How much does Mac antivirus cost?

Sam Dawson
Technology Expert
Sam Dawson
Technology Expert

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.