Does your Mac want an antivirus tool? The brief answer is yes! If you are in the market for Mac antivirus apps (and you ought to be) there are a couple of significant players with renowned names and terrific reputations offering quality programs for Mac users. Here are our top 7 picks for the best antivirus for Mac.
Perhaps the best lie told to any Mac user is that: “Macs do not get viruses.” If you are landing on this page, you have either discovered, sadly, that Macs are really prone to viruses, or you’re just a little suspicious of the claim once you heard it. In actuality, according to McAfee’s 2018 Threat Report, the complete number of macOS viruses found in the wild more than doubled as 2016. Mac viruses may be less common than Windows viruses, but they are out there and can wreak havoc for Mac users.
To keep up with the growing demand for AV tools, an increasing number of well-regarded AV software companies are currently producing macOS versions of their resources.
We have lined up the details on each service under, but if you’re looking for the short version, these are the best antivirus for Mac:
Intego Mac Internet Security X9: Our number one option for Mac users. Intego only makes antivirus for Mac and it does it quite well. Packed with wonderful features and powerful results from independent testing labs.
Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac: A solid choice for Mac users. Very low CPU use, high scores from independent testing labs, and charging practices which you can trust.
Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac: Another Great choice for Mac users. Bitdefender combines great value with excellent scores from the huge testing labs.
McAfee Antivirus: Produces a fully-featured Mac OS version, but mostly as second-tier merchandise to its Windows software.
Symantec Norton Security Standard: An option to think about, but only marginally covered by independent AV testing labs.
ESET Basic Cybersecurity for Mac: A powerful performer that does attempt to push a few unnecessary add-ons at check out.
Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac: A fantastic entry at a very low cost, but with a few user-unfriendly billing practices.
Though all antivirus applications work similarly from a security perspective, most programs have unique attributes or methods of implementation. Really, some actually work better for Windows computers than they do for Macs, which means that you will want a program which has a Mac version and that’s well suited to the job of both cleaning up and protecting your Mac.
Additionally, among the biggest concerns for Mac users is CPU usage. An excellent Mac antivirus program should perform well with very little CPU usage and shouldn’t noticeably slow down your computer’s processing power.
When Searching for the best Mac antivirus software, we judged options using the following criteria:
- A definitive Mac version of this software is readily available
- High independent AV-Test detection scores
- Excellent independent AV-Test performance rates (CPU usage)
- High independent AV-Comparatives detection scores
- Consumer-friendly billing practices
Many imitations or shady antivirus apps exist on the marketplace that’s designed to grift computer users from their money. Instead of legitimate applications, they frequently offer faulty software that behaves more like a virus than a genuine antivirus program.
All the Mac antivirus apps recommended below aren’t only legitimate programs from reputable software companies but are fully vetted across multiple separate antivirus test labs, independent users, and review websites.
Note that we specifically utilized AV-Test.com and AV-Comparatives.org scores because these two testing labs are somewhat separate. We researched other respected independent testing labs (for example, Dennis Labs and Virus Bulletin) but these either didn’t have tests for Mac antivirus apps or didn’t have recent evaluations as of 2017.
Why should you have antivirus for Mac OS computers?
You certainly are not the first to question the validity of this claim about Macs and viruses. “Can Macs Get Viruses and Malware?” Requested DigitalTrends at a 2015 article. “The answer is definitely, yes,” Bitdefender’s Senior E-Threat Analyst, Bogdan Botezatu advised the online magazine. “There have been events, and there’ll be more.” Botezatu’s statement might be a bit of an understatement.
In fact, Mac OSX is the 4th most vulnerable operating system, based on information from the CVE Vulnerabilities list. In fact, Mac OSX has more vulnerabilities than rival Windows operating systems, such as older Windows versions like Windows 7, 8, as well as Windows Vista.
According to McAfee Labs, malware attacks on Macs climbed a jaw-dropping 744% in 2016. In spite of this increase coming mostly from adware, the case against the mythical “virus-free” Mac grows stronger daily. Even though it’s true that, by percent, Mac’s constitute a tiny proportion of computers becoming viruses, this has more to do with smaller market share than Macs simply having greater security.
NetMarketShare states only 3.52% of all computers are running Mac OSX. There are now more computers running the almost 20-year-old Windows XP operating system.
Still, there’s some truth to the claims. Mac OSX operating systems are sandboxed, meaning it’s harder for a virus to spread throughout your system if it does contract a computer virus or virus. Additionally, the tools required to make malware for Macs aren’t as readily available or as simple to make as they are for Windows machines, which makes them less vulnerable since virus programmers need more patience and time to craft malware.
From a larger perspective, however, Mac’s do not so much avoid getting viruses since they are not as likely to be targeted by hackers as a result of low odds of actually turning a profit. Microsoft notes that there are 400 million Windows 10 users, in addition, there are 100 million Apple users. The odds of turning a profit for a hacker are much higher when targeting Windows machines. But with 100 million Mac users, the chance is still there, and virus programmers are increasingly benefiting from Mac consumer complacency, particularly as Apple’s devices grow more popular globally.
Do you need antivirus protection for your Mac? The easy answer is yes. Every Mac user needs antivirus protection on their device. The bigger question that springs to mind, then, is that is the best antivirus for Mac computers, and what if Mac users are searching for when searching around for an antivirus program.