Home Reviews Best Antivirus for Mac, Our Top Recommendations

Best Antivirus for Mac, Our Top Recommendations

Even Macs Need Antivirus Protection

“PCs get infected by malware, but Macs don’t”, you must have heard that, right? That old belief was not true, but for quite some time Mac users did have a lower likelihood of an attack. However, the latest Malwarebytes reports indicate that Macs are more vulnerable than PCs at present, not less. According to their report, malware detections per macOS endpoint surpassed more than double to that of last year. Thus, if you don’t already own a trusted antivirus on your Mac, you’re still in the past. Check out our review now and pick the antivirus that suits your Mac the best – don’t wait!

Macbook Touch Bar
Image Courtesy: Apple

With macOS Mojave coming out, Apple advanced security in multiple ways, including tracker blocking in Safari, inbuilt password manager, and a tighter rein on AppleScript. As macOS Catalina came out last year in WWDC 2019, it strengthened on even more security features, with enhanced control over permissions regarding data-access, weak password warnings, a strengthened anti-malware gatekeeper, and more. Apple even loads recent macOS builds with an extra T-series security chip. Even after all that though, nothing we’ve seen still suggests that only upgrading to macOS Catalina obviates the need for an external third party antivirus utility.

Apple T2 Security Chip
Image Courtesy: Apple

The Best Mac Antivirus Software You Can Get

1. Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac

The best antivirus for Macs: light, secure, fast and a breeze to use

Bitdefender Antivirus
Image Courtesy: BitDefender

Pros:

  • Perfect malware detection
  • Ransomware protection
  • Clean, easy-to-use design
  • Imperceptible system impact

Cons:

  • Automatically installs VPN client, but costs extra for unlimited full access
  • Not as many features as some competitors offer

Bottom Line: Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac gets top ratings from multiple independent labs and even in reviews from multiple happy users. It has a handy Autopilot mode, which you can set and forget, still having confidence that your Mac is protected against malware. Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac gets flawless malware-detection and it even has a nearly nonexistent impact on system performance. We only wish that it didn’t keep trying to upsell us to Bitdefender’s unlimited VPN service. If you can ignore these though, it’s nearly the perfect Mac antivirus program and our choice for best Mac antivirus software.

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2. Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac

Offers the best parental controls in any antivirus product made for MacOS

Kaspersky Antivirus
Image Courtesy: Kaspersky

Pros:

  • Perfect malware detection
  • Useful privacy tools
  • Great parental controls
  • Plenty of features

Cons:

  • Heavy system impact during scans
  • Password manager, VPN are teasers
  • User interface won’t be to everyone’s taste
  • Safe Kids and VPN require an additional subscription for full functionality.

Bottom Line: Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac excels in independent lab testing. It even goes far beyond being just an antivirus, offering protection against network attacks, privacy protection, parental control, and many other useful features. It can even toggle off the webcam on a MacBook, a feature that Apple itself doesn’t offer, and the program’s interface is detailed yet easy to use. There are some drawbacks though like the included password manager is limited to 15 entries unless you pay an extra premium. Likewise, the VPN service gives you only 300MB of data per day(At least Kaspersky doesn’t persistently try to upsell you on them.) The malware-detection engine also takes a somewhat heavy toll on system performance during scans.

3. Norton 360 Deluxe

The versatile one among Mac antivirus programs and includes unlimited VPN

Norton Antivirus
Image Courtesy: Norton Antivirus

Pros:

  • Excellent malware detection
  • Low impact on system performance
  • Unlimited VPN service, password manage
  • Covers a range of devices

Cons:

  • Rather pricey
  • Parental controls, cloud storage don’t work on Macs
  • Can impact the speed of your system.

Bottom Line: Norton 360 Deluxe delivers excellent Mac antivirus protection that is certified by testing labs. It offers that, along with a two-way firewall, a password manager, and a full-blown VPN. You’ll pay a lot for these luxuries, however, although the five-device license lets you spread out the cost over several Macs. The interface, while very detailed, is also a little complicated but that is due to the extra feature set. We just wished that the parental controls, webcam protection and backup software, which come built into the Windows version of Norton 360 Deluxe, worked for Macs as well.

4. Intego Mac Internet Security X9

Software from the Mac experts

Intego Antivirus
Image Courtesy: Intego

Pros:

  • Accurate virus scanning
  • Firewall protection
  • Certified by two labs for Mac malware protection.
  • Detects Mac, Windows, and Linux malware.
  • Personal backup

Cons:

  • Somewhat limited features
  • Poor detection of Windows malware.
  • No protection against malicious or fraudulent websites.
  • No VPN protection

Bottom Line: Intego Mac Internet Security X9 scores well in lab testing which used Mac malware and offers firewall protection. It does have a significant failure rate against Windows malware and lacks you any protection against dangerous URLs. In AV-Test’s latest report, Intego scored top marks for protection, usability and performance, so it is expected to not slow down your Mac. 

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5. Avast Free Mac Security

Strong all-round protection for your Mac, and your best free bet

Avast Free Security
Image Courtesy: Avast Protection

Pros:

  • Nearly no system impact in the background
  • Unlimited password manager
  • Scans email attachments for threats
  • Blocks access to dangerous sites 
  • Detects network vulnerabilities

Cons:

  • Need to upgrade for some features
  • Malware protection isn’t perfect
  • Annoys you with reminders to pay for extra features

Bottom Line: Avast’s free antivirus does not offer a lot of the features that its paid Premium version offers. The free variant omits ransomware protection and Wi-Fi intruder detection. It is important to note that these extras don’t merit to the high price, so the free version is the only one that we recommend. While Avast’s malware detection is good, it isn’t perfect. Likewise, its system-performance impact is a mixed bag, with very little background drain but a heavy hit during active scans. The system optimizer is just a tease – you can scan your Mac for clutter, but you have to pay to see the results.

How Should You Choose the Best Mac Antivirus?

Number of Systems to Protect

Firstly, you need to figure out what you need. Do you have several Macs and Windows PCs at home? Then a multiplatform, multi-device bundle such as Norton 360 Deluxe, Bitdefender and Kaspersky will be ideal. They offer multiplatform bundles that come with the same software we’ve reviewed here. Or, do you have just one, two or three Macs? If so, there’s no need to go overboard: The one- or three-device versions of Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac or Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac should do you just fine.

Multiple Mac Protection
Image Courtesy: Apple

Presence of Children

Do you have young children or teenagers living at home? Consider Mac antivirus software that comes with parental controls or web-content filters, like Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac or Sophos Home Premium.

Affordability: The Free v/s Paid Battle

Then you have to figure out how much you can afford. If the answer is “nothing,” then try Avast Free Mac Security or the free tier of Sophos Home. The trade-off is that they aren’t as good as many of the paid programs. Free antivirus products are effective at protecting against major threats but they lack certain premium features and most of them do have premium counterparts. But if you can afford to spend $50 a year, then you’ve got a lot of options. Most of the antivirus companies frequently offer discounts of up to 60%, both straight from their websites or through online retailers.

Macs might be considered safer than PCs, but it still might not be risking it for the sake of saving some money. You’ll have to let them automatically charge your credit card the full price when your subscription ends, but you can often uncheck that option beforehand, or override it by buying another subscription on sale first.

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