Macs seem to be less vulnerable to hackers’ attacks. The reason is quite simple: Macs are used by a smaller number of users than Windows and thus, this OS is less attractive for hackers.
However, it doesn’t mean that Macs are totally secure and you may rest in peace if you are a Mac addict. Macs also get infected by ransomware, Trojans, adware, they are vulnerable to password theft. In fact, experts admit that Mac malicious programs appear much more often than they predicted just several years ago.
Therefore, it is not too smart to ignore safety issues even if you have been utilizing Mac for ages and never heard anything about attacks on the users like you. Moreover, you need a special type of antivirus software to defend your machine. The good news is that a lot of top rated antivirus providers have offers for Mac users (here is the best antivirus), you just need to pick the one that fits your likes and preferences.
Best Mac Antivirus Software for 2020
The majority of antivirus providers have special offers for Mac users. Usually, these are security and/or antivirus subscription plans. Sometimes additional features are also available. Below is our list of strong antivirus for Mac.
Here is our top of antiviruses for Mac:
- Intego – the best antivirus for Mac (review);
- Norton – top for multi-device protection (review);
- Bitdefender – the best paid antivirus for Mac (review);
- Kaspersky Antivirus – best anti-phishing (review);
- Avast Antivirus – the best free antivirus (review).
1. Intego – The Best Antivirus For Mac OVERALL
Intego Antivirus has been providing security for Mac since 1997. In fact, it has several security products for Macs which is not common for other antivirus providers. However, the company does not participate in AV tests as often as their Windows counterparts. The tests Intego passed earlier showed good results in detecting viruses and Mac malware but not the ones targeted at Windows.
In general, Intego Mac antivirus scans all files, emails, USB drives on your computer. It also provides solid anti-phishing protection that allows noticing unsafe emails. But there is no single word about ransomware protection in descriptions of Intego products. Also, Intego is not very rich with additional features. However, the variety of paid options countervails that well enough.
Basically, all the Intego packages are a mix of 5 components that allow for better protection of your mac: an antivirus itself, a two-way firewall, a parental control, a cleanup tool, and automatic files backup. The most expensive package, Intego Mac Premium Bundle X9 have them all. A yearly subscription for 1 Mac will cost you only $59.99 with our special 30% discount. If you don’t need some of the features, just pick a different package.
We should say that in terms of pricing, Intego is quite affordable. Its basic Internet Security X9, which comes with malware protection and firewall, will cost you $34.99/year for one device instead of $49.99 with our discount.
Prices for both the Content Barrier and Washing Machine packages start at $59.99/year. In the first case, you’ll get a parental control feature, while with the second option the cleanup tool will be at your disposal.
You may choose to protect 3 or 5 devices to save some cash if you have several Macs to protect.
If you want to test some antiviruses, just read about the best free antivirus.
If you prefer browser plugins over comprehensive antivirus software and want a feature-packed product, Intego won’t be your cup of tea. On the other hand, it excels in real-time protection; plus, it is fantastic at anti-phishing protection, which is very important for a Mac. Besides, as mentioned, it offers not one, but several options for Mac users, which is a rare thing to witness these days.
- This Mac-exclusive antivirus offers free trials for every single product;
- You will be required to provide your first and last name, along with a valid email;
- No credit card info is needed for the trial version.
2. Norton Security Premium – Best Firewall, Top for Multi-Device Protection
AV Test’s and AV-Comparatives trials results outlined that the antivirus is able to detect and stop 99 to 100 percent of online threats. Its off-line protection rate appeared lower through – 81.5% only.
Norton’s interface is easy to understand. It allows running several kinds of scans, optimizing your hard disk and making backup copies of your files.
All Norton antivirus packaged are designed to protect Macs, PCs and mobile devices. The Deluxe plan covers up to 5 devices and offers some valuable extras such as parental control and 50GB of safe storage for files backup. If you only need efficient malware protection with a firewall for 1 Mac, Norton 360 Standard package would be your best pick. You will get 10GB of storage, but no parental control.
Currently, the company offers a 40% discount for its Norton 360 Deluxe package. If you decide to subscribe for one year, it will cost you $59.99. The standard package will only cost you $49.99. The company also gives its word that it will make a refund if it fails to protect you.
Norton Antivirus Verdict
This user-friendly antivirus is quite feature-packed and can even be used for PC optimization. Plus, it’s quite good at real-time protection (not as great at offline protection, though). As a healthy alternative to Kaspersky and Bitdefender, Norton is a solid pick. Its pros include top-notch customer support, multi-platform support, and even secure online file storage.
- The company offers generous 30-day free trials of Norton Security Deluxe, Premium, and Family Premier;
- You’ll need to download and install the antivirus to get access to the free trial version.
3. Bitdefender – Best Paid Antivirus For Mac, Best Internet Security
Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac is one of the top picks among Mac users. It got high scores from AV-Test and AV-Comparatives for its capability to detect threats. The company updates its software constantly to protect users from the most sophisticated attacks.
Also, the antivirus has strong features to remove malicious software without any significant influence on users’ devices; some features allow file backups. These are Bitdefender Shield, Time Machine Protection, Cross-Platform Malware Detections and a few more. Also, a VPN was added to the package not so long ago.
Bitdefender has a clear interface and it is extremely simple. In fact, the company has just improved the dashboard for Windows and promised to do the same for Macs in the nearest future.
Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac is an affordable product: a subscription for 1 device costs $39.99/year. If you want to defend up to 3 devices, be ready to pay $47.99/year and save 20% on the subscription. You may also choose to purchase a package for 2 or 3 years.
Bitdefender Antivirus Verdict
This product doesn’t need an introduction. And, as we just learned, it is on par with the most secure programs on the market. Add an affordable price-tag, fantastic customer support, and constant updates, and you’ll get a fantastic all-around solution for your Mac. Furthermore, it is highly automated, meaning you won’t have to check the system continually – it will do that for you.
While this isn’t a Mac-only antivirus suite, it is still excellent at protecting your device from online threats. That includes the Windows-exclusive threats, which means you won’t accidentally infect your friend’s Win-run device by sending them a Win virus.
- Bitdefender Antivirus Security for Mac is available with a 30-day free trial;
- To download the installer, you’ll need to provide an email address.
4. Kaspersky Total Security – The Best Anti-Phishing Antivirus
Kaspersky Total Security has been one of the strongest antivirus programs for many years in a row. In summer 2018, it showed the highest results in blocking known threats (AV-Comparatives) and also received the highest marks for the level of security it gives (AV-Test). It will protect your files, store and manage passwords, help you stay private.
When being active, the antivirus does not have any significant impact on users’ devices. In fact, you won’t even notice its presence.
Kaspersky Total Security has a light and convenient dashboard which shows whether your mac is safe or there are issues which require special attention. The antivirus has some useful features, for example, parental control, file backups, and password manager but they are not as many extras as Windows packages offer.
This is one of the priciest security suits: you’ll have to pay $49.99/year for the package. Mind though that it covers 5 devices and thanks to cross-platform compatibility you can use it on Windows and Android along with Mac.
If all you need is basic, but rock-solid protection for 1 Mac, you can go for Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac that will only cost you $23.99 with a special 40% discount.
Kaspersky is just as good at protecting Mac devices as Bitdefender. The biggest downside is the expensive monthly plan (the yearly plans are more affordable). Everything is clearly laid out on the main dashboard, and the software has almost no system impact while in the background. If you’re looking for the ultimate Mac antivirus, this is it!
- Kaspersky Total Security offers a 30-day free trial version;
- The same is true for Internet Security and Security Cloud;
- The users have to download the installation file to get the trial.
5. Avast Antivirus – Good Choice for Mac
Avast Antivirus has been one of the market leaders for many years. Both free and premium versions perform well in detecting online threats and blocking malicious software before it starts to act. However, Security Pro for Mac gives a better ransomware defense and allows finding weak spots in users’ networks.
Avast has a simple dashboard and offers several options to scan your device. In fact, it takes about 14 minutes to conduct a full scan which is an impressive result compared to other antivirus software. AV-Comparatives named Avast the antivirus with the lowest impact on performance. You won’t even notice it working to keep you protected in real time.
However, Avast antivirus for Mac is rather limited in terms of additional features. It offers passwords manager (both free and premium versions), VPN, and a Cleanup Pro tool. Windows users enjoy a larger variety of extras.
Note that it is one of the priciest products. If you decide to buy a package for 1 PC it will cost you $59.99/year; 3 Macs will make $69.99/year. You can also choose to protect up to 10 devices and purchase packages for 2 and 3 years.
Overall, Avast isn’t as impressive as the more expensive and more advanced rivals. But if you’re in the market for an above-average product with a decent free edition, this is your best bet. Fast full scans (~15 minutes), multiple scanning options, and incredibly low system impact are the biggest reasons to consider it as your primary antivirus.
- Mac users can’t get a free version with Avast;
- But, they do have access to a free trial version.
How We Test
While third-party test results are very helpful and vital, in most cases, in-house tests create a better picture of a program’s performance. Our team of experts always runs a series of real-world tests to find the most secure and reliable antivirus on the market. We have a collection of dangerous Mac malware and unleash it on the OS, letting every antivirus handle it on its own.
The collection consists of 170+ malware samples in a zipped archive; when opened, it lets the threats out. One of the defining things about the antivirus is how fast it reacts to incoming threats. The faster it reacts, the less chance the infected files have at taking over the system. Good news: most solutions in today’s list managed to eliminate every single piece of malicious code before it could cause any harm.
Some of them quarantine these files instead of deleting them, letting the user decide what to do with them. These tests allow us to monitor the CPU and RAM activity and see precisely how each antivirus effects performance. If it makes the OS lag during a full scan, that means you won’t be able to use your mobile device until the scan is over. Thankfully, the majority of modern-day Android antivirus products don’t require all of your phone’s resources to run.
Do Macs Need an Antivirus?
Have you been asking yourself – do I need antivirus security for Mac? This is a common question among MacOS users. Since Windows is still the most popular operating system, it also has the biggest target on its back. However, that doesn’t mean all the other platforms (including Mac) are completely safe from any online threats. The Mac is vulnerable to adware, ransomware, spyware, Trojans, and all kinds of other malware.
But, its security model is very different from Windows, which is why it’s harder for cyber criminals to crack it. According to the experts, adware is the most common threat for a Mac system. This is important: most antivirus solutions for Mac are heavily based on the original Win versions. And while they come with large malware databases for the Microsoft OS, they don’t include any Mac malware.
And remember that you need install the best antivirus for iPhone to protect it too.
Besides, these ported antiviruses work much slower on MacOS than on Windows. As a general rule, antivirus software that runs regular checks in the background is not recommended for Mac, as it tends to slow the system down. Still, the answer to the question – should I use antivirus on Mac – is yes, you definitely should. That’s especially true if you’re constantly sending emails to Windows owners (their devices will be more vulnerable to Mac-exclusive threats).
How to Pick the Best Antivirus for Mac?
When choosing antivirus software for your Mac stick to the following criteria:
- Effectiveness at noticing threats. You may visit malicious websites, receive attachments with viruses, get malware through USB drive without even knowing that. Your antivirus should be able to identify threats. To find out which antivirus performs better you may refer to AV-Test results.
- Ability to neutralize a threat before it does any harm to a computer. This means that your antivirus should be able to stop malicious programs from downloading, installing, and executing. The best antivirus software can easily detect any changes in the computer’s system and take measures.
- System impact. A good antivirus should not use much of your Mac’s resources. You should be able to work normally with your antivirus operating in the background.
- Interface/ simplicity of use. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to use an antivirus – the simpler and user-friendlier it is the better.
- Extra features. In addition to protection capabilities, it won’t hurt if your antivirus has such features as parental control, anti-tracking, password manager and other.
Mac Antivirus: What’s The Effect On Performance
As we just said, antivirus software has a stronger negative effect on Mac systems than on the Windows OS (if you use Windows 10 you need to read about the best antivirus for Windows 10). The good news is – contemporary Mac devices can handle even the most system-heavy programs just fine. For example, Kaspersky only requires ~600MB of hard-drive space and 1GB of RAM. Bitdefender also needs 1GB of RAM, but it will get by with 400MB of space on your hard drive.
Check the best antivirus software overall.
So, as you can see, you won’t even need an up-to-date Mac computer to be able to run the best antivirus suits. We do, however, have to warn you that during tests, antivirus software tends to take up a lot more of the available system resources compared to when it’s working in the background. Kaspersky and Avast are considered to be one of the least-demanding products regarding resources. Keep that in mind if you own a relatively old device.
Macs seem to be less vulnerable to numerous threats. In fact, many users ignore the necessity to get solid protection for their machines. Finally, a majority of antivirus providers offer an extremely limited set of protection features for Macs.
Nevertheless, Macs do need protection. Even though they are not hackers’ main target, they can be damaged seriously. In any case, it is better to be a step ahead than regret you relied on the assumption that Macs are not attractive for cyber criminals.
The good news is that it is not difficult to find an antivirus for Mac. And you don’t have to spend a fortune to defend your computer.
Take simple steps to keep your Mac safe!