However as of June , detection rates of MacOS malware are Concerns about the suite slowing down the installation of frequently used applications also persist, as does a relative lack of features. The debate is the same regardless of whether you have a Mac or a PC.
Free antivirus products are effective at protecting against threats but they lack certain premium features. Having multiple systems on a network means cyberattacks have more users and more endpoints to target. Additional management tools that let you set policies can help mitigate this risk. Macs might be considered safer than PCs, but it still might not be risking it for the sake of saving some money. Avast Free Mac Security goes the extra mile to protect your Mac with an unusually lengthy feature list.
The core antivirus engine offers real-time protection to catch threats when they appear, for instance. You can run on-demand full system scans if you suspect a problem, or launch a more targeted check on specific files, folders or drives. It's even possible to schedule scans to run automatically when you're not around. A Web Shield warns you about malicious websites, blocks dangerous downloads and email attachments, and protects your privacy by eliminating intrusive ad tracking. There's an unusual extra in Avast's wireless network scanner, which quickly checks your network, router and connected devices, alerting you to any vulnerabilities.
Mac antivirus software isn't often checked by the independent testing labs, but Avast's most recent results were good, with AV Comparative's test finding the package detected percent of sample threats.
If you'd like even more, upgrading to Avast Security Pro gets you ransomware protection and instant alerts of Wi-Fi intruders or changes in your network security. While many antivirus companies try to win you over by piling on the features, Avira Antivirus for Mac takes a simpler, more lightweight approach. There's no web filtering, no network scanning or other security extras: it's purely focused on keeping your system malware-free.
That doesn't mean the package is short on power. Its real-time scanner checks any file the system accesses, picking up threats before they can do any harm. The scheduler enables setting up the app to scan your system automatically, or you're able to check your entire system whenever you like. As a bonus, the app doesn't just protect against Mac threats. It also uses Avira's Windows experience to pick up any PC-related malware, ensuring you won't share any files that might endanger your friends.
Although this list is all about free Mac antivirus, Avira deserves a mention for its commercial Avira Antivirus Pro product. Bitdefender Virus Scanner is a lightweight free malware hunter which can track down and remove both Mac and Windows-related threats. A simple and straightforward interface makes the app extremely easy to use.
A status display keeps you up-to-date on how your system is doing, and four buttons enable running a quick scan of critical locations, an in-depth check of your entire system, or speedy scans of running applications or a folder of your choice.
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Although this looks all very basic, use Bitdefender Virus Scanner for Mac for a while and you begin to notice some very neat touches. The app doesn't force you to wait a day for your next virus signature updates, for instance. Bitdefender issues updates every hour and Virus Scanner always fetches the latest version before it starts a scan. An option to exclude files and folders from the scan - network shares, system backups - is another plus, reducing the work the engine has to do and significantly speeding up your scan times.
What you don't get here is any form of real-time protection or web filtering, essential tools for a complete security solution. This simplicity also reduces the chance of conflicts with other apps, though, suggesting Bitdefender Virus Scanner could be a useful second opinion tool which you run alongside another security app.
Mac antivirus software isn't just about detecting the latest most deadly ransomware, or other high-risk threats. Most tools can also strip out adware and other potentially unwanted programs which may not be highly dangerous, but are wasting system resources and slowing your Mac down. Malwarebytes has been eliminating the full range of Windows threats since , and the Mac edition is just as simple, straightforward and effective. The app is such a lightweight installation, the size of three digital music files, that you'll barely notice it's there.
And while the lack of real-time protection means Malwarebytes can't stop attacks - only remove existing infections - it also ensures there's no real impact on your system resources and the app is unlikely to conflict with other antivirus tools. Performance is another highlight, with Malwarebytes claiming the average system is scanned in less than 15 seconds. Set it running when you check your emails in the morning and it'll be finished before you are.
Installing Malwarebytes for Mac also gets you a day trial of the Premium edition which is able to detect and block threats as they appear. If you're not interested in this, ignore it; real-time protection will disappear when the trial expires and you'll get on-demand scanning only.
The free antivirus market is highly competitive and it can be difficult for individual companies to stand out from the crowd, but the British vendor Sophos has found a way: it gives you more features in its free products than many competitors provide in their paid editions. On-demand scanning to clean up infected systems? AV-Comparatives found similar results. Out of samples, Bitdefender was percent effective. The tests were done on Windows 10, though, so there are no macOS results to compare. Bitdefender has great protection scores, but it has a lot more going for it, too.
The user interface, while slightly different from the Windows version, is excellent. You can see your current system status, enable web protections and run quick, system or custom scans. It will let you know about the vulnerabilities your device may have and the steps you can take to fix them. The feature monitors files and folders you specify and blocks changes to them.
Bitdefender is constantly in the top tier of protection, usability and features. You can learn more in our Bitdefender review or download a free day trial. Trend Micro has an antivirus for a single Mac, but it shines with its multi-device plan, Maximum Security. It got excellent results protecting macOS, with AV-Test awarding it a perfect score in protection and performance.
It was percent effective in the malware tests, better than the Performance numbers are impressive, too, but not as much so as Bitdefender. Downloading frequently used applications resulted in a 1 percent slowdown and copying files caused a 3 percent slowdown. Still, the results were much better than the industry average. AV-Comparatives also found it percent effective. As with Bitdefender, there are no macOS numbers for performance, but the Windows results were decent.
Trend Micro has bounced between getting standard and advanced ratings from AV-Comparatives. The most recent test awarded Trend Micro with one out of three stars for performance. That means Trend Micro blocked at least 98 percent of threats. The service performed well in all tests except for blocking potentially unwanted applications.
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Trend Micro is decent as a Mac product, offering protection against ransomware, browser hijackers and more for a single macOS machine. That said, the Maximum Security package is much better. Maximum Security comes with other features, too, including a system optimizer that will help you get rid of extraneous files and a password manager.
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It also has Trend Micro Pay Guard, which provides extra protection when using online checkouts. Pay Guard isolates your connection and watches for abnormal behavior in the browser. If anything is suspicious, it will disconnect you to save your information from identity theft. Trend Micro has impressive protection results and the single macOS plan will defend your browser and desktop against threats. As the risk to mobile devices increases, though, Maximum Security looks more attractive.
Unlike other providers who have a Mac-specific product, Norton offers its whole lineup for Windows or macOS.
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AV-Test awarded Norton a perfect score in protection and performance. It was percent effective against the macOS malware samples used, which tops the It slowed the test machine down by 5 percent when downloading frequently used applications and by 1 percent when copying files. It blocked percent of malware during the August testing. The most recent performance test, conducted in April , awarded Norton an advanced rating and two out of three possible stars.
All Norton plans come with a percent guarantee. That means that your machine will stay free of malware. The more expensive Norton Security Deluxe comes with all the features of Premium in addition to LifeLock identity theft protection. It monitors your credit report and the dark web for signs of identity theft, too. You can learn more about the features in our Norton Security review or download a free trial of Norton Security Premium. Kaspersky earned a spot in our guide to the most secure antivirus software.
It has excellent marks from the labs we reference and a good feature set, to boot. Unlike other providers, it also has an attractive single-Mac plan, though the multi-device plans may provide more value. It earned six out of six points for protection from AV-Test , blocking all of the samples used. Kaspersky lost half a point due to mediocre results in the file copy test.
It did worse than the industry average in file copying, though, slowing the machine by 19 percent. AV-Comparatives approved of it during its July testing. Kaspersky blocked percent of the samples used. The Windows performance results were excellent, too. Like Norton, many of the samples were blocked with behavior monitoring, meaning protection from zero-day malware should be good.
Safe Money is a secure banking mode that isolates your connection to the payment portal from other network connections. Even if you had malware that could intercept your normal connection, Safe Money would protect you from it. The password manager is excellent, though, as you can read in our Kaspersky Password Manager review. For protection on a single Mac, or protection across devices with Total Security, Kaspersky is a great choice. You can learn more in our Kaspersky Anti-Virus review or download a free trial to see how you like it. Intego is a Mac-exclusive antivirus that got high marks for protection, as well.
It has guards against network and phishing threats, too. AV-Test awarded it a perfect score in protection and performance. It was percent effective, 4. It slowed the test machine down by 1 percent when downloading frequently used applications and 3 percent when copying files. It maintained, at minimum, a 10 percent faster speed over the industry average. AV-Comparatives found that it blocked percent malware detection during its July testing. Since Intego is exclusive to Macs, there are no Windows performance numbers to reference.
Intego can protect one to five Macs from malware. The top-tier Mac Premium Bundle is reasonably priced, too.