5 Best Antivirus Apps for Mac That Work in 2021

While Mac devices are less vulnerable than Windows, they are still targeted by cybercriminals, and viruses are wreaking havoc on apple devices. With Macs targeted by threat actors and hackers, a perfect solution to protect your Mac is to install an antivirus software.

1
4.9 / 5
TOTAL SCORE

The Only Chromebook Dedicated App

2
4.7 / 5
TOTAL SCORE

PC Cloud Backup

3
4.6 / 5
TOTAL SCORE

Virus Protection Promise

4
4.6 / 5
TOTAL SCORE

Keep Your Sensitive Data

5
4.3 / 5
TOTAL SCORE

Effective malware detection

To match the increased demand for antivirus tools, an increasing number of renowned antivirus software brands are now creating MacOS AV versions. We’ve listed the best Mac antivirus to make it easier for you to pick one that suits your needs and budget.

Best Virus Protection For Mac

Many users of Apple devices believe they are safer than other products and platforms. Nevertheless, the relevant reports and studies clearly show that this element of security might play a bad joke on us. Hackers don’t really care about the device you use, all they care about is breaking through it, meaning you must always be ready and willing to fight back.

The best virus protection for Mac brands are working 24/7 to create unique plans for Mac users, taking into consideration special requirements required to ensure the software is functional and effective. Essentially, high-tier antivirus software offers strong online and offline protection for the users, from essential features to fight malware to other extensions that allow safer browsing. Nonetheless, the lower-tier antivirus suits might also offer more important coverage for Mac devices, including protection against different types of malware.

Telling which is the best antivirus for Mac for every person isn’t always easy. This is because every person looks for the right option based on all factors and aspects that matter the most to them. Some individuals look into the specific features in a particular package while others consider the prices. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at the best virus protection for Mac.


Short of Time? See Our Top 5 for November, 2021

1. Malwarebytes
2. Norton 360
3. Bitdefender
4. IObit Advanced SystemCare Ultimate
5. McAfee


🥇1. Malwarebytes

4.9 / 5
TOTAL SCORE

Malwarebytes was first developed as a complement to the leading antivirus programs. This was a backstop to catch and delete particularly dangerous malware that the main security suite could not. All this changed back in December 2016 after Malwarebytes announced the paid version; Malwarebytes premium is quite effective. Malwarebytes is available in 2 flavors.

First, you can try out the free version that’s capable of removing viruses during a scan. Secondly, you can also upgrade to the paid Malwarebytes for $3.33 per month for one device or $6.67 for five devices, and it adds scan scheduling, automatic updates, unwanted program and adware blocking, and real-time protection.

Malwarebytes is not like your normal security suite. It’s a brand that has been trusted in removing malware for many years, but it hasn’t performed well as other leading antivirus programs.

Overall, with Malwarebytes, you have an excellent suite from a highly reputed security company. One amazing thing is that Malwarebytes usually scan plenty malware than other antivirus software. When it comes to Windows PC, Malwarebytes is the best virus remover for mac. According to the AV-Comparatives, Malwarebytes scored a 99.2% protection rate of its email threats test and zero-day malware attacks.

→ Try Malwarebytes! ← 


🥈2. Norton 360

4.7 / 5
TOTAL SCORE

Norton has built a reputation for itself over the years, catching even the trickiest types of malware with a smaller amount of false positives. This can be attributed to their extensive malware database. Nevertheless, as highly advanced as it might be, it would be helpful against zero-day malware, which wasn’t included in their database.

To detect these, Norton 360 uses AI. The Machine-learning tool usually analyzes each process on your PC or mobile device. If it detects a pattern that resembles malware, the potential threat is quarantined. This is very impressive, but Norton even goes a notch higher to be a great malware solution. Also, there is Dark Monitoring to offer you some information if your data gets leaked. US customers can also access a LifeLock feature, which is a lighter version.

Also, there are bonus features such as Chrome and Firefox extensions. This includes the Safe Search and Safe Web. Safe Search removes malicious URLs from all your Internet searchers, and Safe Web blocks malicious URLs. Therefore, you get excellent protection when browsing the Internet.

With regards to cyber threats, one of Norton’s most substantial contributions to your PC and device safety is a firewall. It monitors your network if you connect to public Wi-Fi networks. Therefore, the security tool often extends to a network and deals with all possible threats. Overall, you get a password manager, VPN, and Clean to remove all system junk files.

Unfortunately, Norton 360 doesn’t have a free version, with the prices starting at $39.99 for your first year. However, if you choose the cheapest plan, you get all the online and malware protection features.

Norton 360 Ins and Outs

What We Like

100% virus protection
Low resource usage
Dark web monitoring
Plenty of extras
Excellent protection
Free trials on all plans
What We Dislike

It lacks a free version

→ Try Norton 360! ← 


🥉3. Bitdefender

4.6 / 5
TOTAL SCORE

Bitdefender shows 100% results in the 3rd party lab tests for Mac-focused malware. On the other hand, amongst most products, Bitdefender is capable of fighting back to Windows-specific malware. So the scores are ideal for this product, and the Bitdefender auto-updates will ensure that the system is pretty safe from the new threats.

Also, Bitdefender includes file backup and proper ransomware protection. This leading antivirus protection has a great feature of the anti-tracker browser extension for Safari, Firefox, and chrome, which keep users safe from harmful adware and trackers. Furthermore, the Traffic Light web browser extension mark search results with red or green icons, making it easy not to click on a dangerous site. Keep off such websites at all costs.

Nonetheless, Bitdefender includes a VPN but with limited traffic. If you’re more concerned about a VPN, you need to sign up for the VPN separately or check our best VPN for privacy list. It’s also important to note that the Bitdefender interface is pretty easy to navigate and clean. It’s very user-friendly antivirus software that you can quickly customize to fit your needs. Also, the home screen gives you extra advice on what setting or features you need to pay attention to.

All Bitdefender packages are fully packed with both unique and expected features such as privacy firewall, real-time malware scanning, time Machine protection, and more. Based on the tests conducted by AV-Comparatives, Bitdefender scored the same as Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac. With a 100% score from both labs, there’s no doubt Bitdefender offers reliable threat detection against both zero-day and known malware.

Also, Bitdefender offers you a year subscription discount that would cost you about $29.99 for three devices.

Bitdefender Merits and Demerits

What We Like

Fair pricing
Useful browser extensions
User-friendly and clean interface
High scores from independent laboratories for Windows and Mac malware protection
What We Dislike

The free version is very limited

→ Try BitDefender ← 


4. IObit Advanced SystemCare Ultimate

4.6 / 5
TOTAL SCORE

Even the fastest Mac becomes slower over time. The good news is that IObit Advanced SystemCare Ultimate can breathe new life into your device. After testing out this virus scanner, there is a lot you’ll like about it. First, the software is intuitive and modern looking and offers high-quality junk file cleaning with a single click of your mouse. It has many features that make it worthwhile.

We experienced a substantial improvement in performance after scanning our Mac and switching on most of the optimization settings. And although we would want to encounter threats to properly test these security features, we found that it can identify questionable computer game cheat trainers.

Moreover, all the essential features on this program work perfectly and won’t damage your Mac drives or system. You get complete control over the files to clean. Therefore, if you’re wondering whether IObit Advanced SystemCare Ultimate is worth it, its available at only $29.99 for a 3-device license, buying IObit is without a doubt worthwhile. Nevertheless, for people with low amounts of RAM and older Machines, you’ll get more from it than those with high specification PCs with a bigger RAM installed.

IObit Advanced SystemCare Ultimate Features

  • Privacy sweep – This removes your Mac and browser history—a very useful choice to keep the browser lightweight.
  • Junk file clean – It removes junk left behind by the old Mac processes and uninstalled programs. This frees up most of the space and is an integral part of the IObit Advanced SystemCare.
  • Registry Clean – Removes the Mac registry keys for virus remnants, redundant shortcuts, and uninstalled programs to ensure the registry stays efficient.
  • System optimization – The pro feature which analyzes how you utilize your PC and focus additional resources on such tasks including ‘Server’ and ‘office work’ and ‘daily user.’
  • Internet boot – A premium feature that stabilizes your network and speeds up your Internet speed.

→ Try IObit Advanced SystemCare


5. McAfee

Even though McAfee is one of the best antivirus software for Mac, it’s often buffed over. It might have something to do with the reputation harm, which came after the Intel acquisition, after which many users of Windows PC installed McAfee as bloatware. But since then, McAfee regained its valuable independence.

From a safety viewpoint, this means excellent protection against online threats and malware. This is one area that McAfee never disappoints. With real-time malware protection, each file you access will immediately be counter-checked with their malware database. This means you don’t have to depend on complete system scans to eliminate all the nasty programs hiding in your hard drive.

You’ll also find it easy to scan your device. You can easily perform Full or Quick scans whenever you want or automatically schedule them. After your scan is complete, you’ll get a comprehensive report documenting how everything went and possible threats that were found. McAfee usually removes all suspicious files, so this is something you should always remember.

McAfee will detect and remove any unwanted files you might have on your PC or other online threats trying to enter your device. There is a powerful firewall that is not difficult to even set up for new users. Furthermore, it plays a significant role in complementing the MacOS security tools. Therefore, you need to feel safer when logged into public Wi-Fi networks.

Moreover, web protection extends to other areas, such as web phishing protection. McAfee utilizes smart web filters to block and detect potential phishing sites to make sure your login credentials or payment information isn’t stolen. If privacy is something you’re concerned about, McAfee also includes a VPN. Utilizing it, you can easily connect to a series of private servers to bypass some geo-block restrictions and track your web service provider.

McAfee Positives and Negatives

What We Like

Supports all major platforms
Solid firewall
VPN
Generous device limits
Superb protection against malware
What We Dislike

Few features than Windows app

→ Try McAfee


How We Test Computer Security Software For Mac

The first thing that you should always consider when looking for computer security software for Mac is its impact on your Mac and that it doesn’t interfere with the performance of your device. Carefully look at system requirements, look for the antivirus reviews from other software users. You can even run a test with the antivirus free trial. If you see any undesired changes in your Mac behavior, then you should continue looking.

Another important thing you should consider looking into is how easy it is to use. You do not have enough time to become an IT expert if you aren’t one, but you should always learn something new. It’s also important to check whether the MacOS antivirus software is reviewed and certified by independent lab tests; it should be able to protect your PC from most of these threats.

Finally, the best antivirus for Mac has all the important features to make your offline and online experience a great one. The subscription should offer you the options of covering different devices as you want or offer parental control whenever necessary. Also, look at malware protection quality and Safe Browsing features.


MacOS Antivirus Lab Tests

Among the most reputed independent labs, AV-Comparatives and AV-Test often update their usability, performance, and malware protection results. Nevertheless, the latest updates were made in June 2019 and December 2019 by AV-Comparatives and AV-Test. We still consider these security software for MacBook pro results very useful and wait for newer insights and tests.

According to the AV-Test findings, the undoubted leaders when it comes to virus and malware protection are Norton, and Bitdefender, scoring the highest. Some of the top antivirus software’s such as Bitdefender and malware have enhanced their performance.

Also, we underline that Sophos and McAfee weren’t included in the tests, and these are companies we’d love to see soon. Back in December 2018, ESET showed excellent scores, but the performance could be better. Also, AV-Comparatives was in favor of many MacOS antivirus we’ve listed on this list. No sign of Sophos or McAfee, but we strongly hope these will be included in the future.


Do You Need Security Apps for Mac?

According to the most recent reports, Malwarebytes antivirus has shown that the number of Mac online threats increased by over 400% in 2019, exceeding the number of threats targeting Windows that existed before. Also, the report clearly showed that the threats themselves utilized 0-day malware attacks and targeted the web browser (Firefox) for malware infection.

While it might seem like Mac devices perfectly keep themselves safe. Mac systems have in-built security measures including security apps for mac:

  • Malware removal tool which remediates the infections after system updates
  • XProtect detects different types of malware and prevents them from installing on your device
  • Gatekeeping- blocks unauthorized apps to run your Mac with no permission

Nonetheless, Mac users aren’t safe from Window-specific malware or any other programs or new codes that might sneak from Protection or Gatekeeper attention. On the other hand, some of the most annoying malware such as adware and ransomware are becoming more intrusive and sophisticated, needing extra security layers. Furthermore, you should watch out for the unprotected public Wi-Fi networks you’re joining.

On the other hand, every operating system might have some vulnerability. It’s highly likely you’ve heard about Windows security flaws fixed every time new updates are released. The same happens with the MacOS update.

No need to worry; we aren’t trying to tarnish the professionalism or competence of Apple developers. We are only emphasizing that each system might have flaws that will be soon fixed after it’s discovered.


Is the Built-in Mac Antivirus Software Enough?

Macs are increasingly becoming susceptible to cyber threats, as cybercriminals have already developed highly complex Mac-based viruses and malware. If your Mac is not protected by great Mac antivirus software, you risk having your data stolen or your system getting destroyed.

Macs already have some in-built security features that help protect users from hackers. These include:

  • Anti-theft tools – Allows you to track iOS and Mac devices if they are stolen or lost.
  • Web protection – Blocks dangerous URLs and tracking links on Safari web browser.
  • Gatekeeper – Scans your apps for harmful code before launching
  • App review – Certifies the legitiMacy of iOS apps before downloading.

Although all these features are very useful, they aren’t good enough to protect yourself from adware, spyware, ransomware, and highly advanced malware that cybercriminals use to steal your data and spy on you.

It isn’t surprising that even the most recent MacOS does not include advanced phishing protection, Mac optimization tools, ransomware protection, and real-time malware scanning. It’s for this reason why you should consider installing the best antivirus for Macbook.


Best Anti Malware for Mac (Spyware, Adware & Privacy Protection)

The best anti malware for Mac should effectively fight against malware. Keep in mind there is a difference between anti malware and antivirus features. In most cases, antivirus deals with old threats, whereas antimalware fights zero-day exploit malware and polymorphic malware.

In essence, you shouldn’t be misguided to think that all antivirus programs you find out there are built to protect your Mac against older threats. This is because some organization strives to offer you the best antivirus and the best malware removal for Mac solutions, with high-quality protection against viruses and malware. So, you need to find a solution that covers both malware and viruses.

You need to find out how the antivirus software you’ve chosen deals with malware and viruses common both for Windows and Mac operating systems. Although you’re using Windows or Mac, you’d expect that criminals now try breaking through the usual codes or patterns. The best antivirus for Mac can detect any unusual behavior and spot malicious codes before it passes through a Gatekeeper.

Spyware is a threat that can mess up your sensitive data. Different types of spyware can come from unlicensed applications, pop-up advertisements, or malicious sites pretending to be authentic. Adware is one type of spyware that mostly disguises itself as an advert on your website or email. It could be banners and pop-ups and then steal your data and transfer it to the hands of hackers.

Complex antivirus programs have adware, ransomware, and spyware protection as different features. A firewall is one of the best features you should consider when looking for the best antivirus software to defeat adware or spyware.


Best Free Antivirus for Mac

If the paid subscription is above your budget, using the best free antivirus for Mac version is something you should consider. Nevertheless, you need to limit your expectations. This is because it’s highly likely the free versions of a paid antivirus for Mac won’t have all the features you’d want. However, if you find the best free antivirus for Mac, it could be malware itself.

Overall, always ensure the free Mac antivirus version you chose comes from a renowned source. There are numerous antivirus brands. Nevertheless, with regards to the free antivirus devices, there are very few options.


Extra Features the Best Antivirus Software For Mac Should Have

All extra features ought to be taken into consideration from the perspective of your interest or exactly what you’re looking for. Technically, the best antivirus software for Mac offers you numerous options. Moreover, these features should correctly work and protect your hardware and system.

You might check whether your top Mac security software utilizes a behavior shield and the most modern technologies for heuristic-based scans. Essentially, the Behavioral Shield is an extra measure, which helps find malicious codes or programs before they can enter your system.

Another useful feature is Sandbox. This feature helps the antivirus software fight against the latest viruses and malware. Sandbox runs the app in a safer space and analyzing its trend, decoding if it’s harmful or safe. If you’re an avid gamer looking to enjoy an uninterrupted gaming experience, then you should consider an antivirus program with a Game Mode.

We strongly recommend looking for a good antivirus program with features such as keyboard and webcam protection. While these kinds of threats should be completely covered by ransomware and spyware features, the antivirus software must address such aspects. The keyboard and webcam hijacks are some of the most unpleasant things, which can happen to you, from stealing your personal data and passwords.

When it comes to passwords, one must-have feature is the password manager. Many password managers can store login credentials such as passwords in encrypted vaults to create complex and unique passwords, hard to steal or decode. There is a master password that manages the passwords.

For users who buy suites for multiple devices that have children, parental control is an important feature that you should consider having. Parental control allows you to restrict undesired content from appearing on your kid’s browser or device at all. You can even adjust restricted content by exclusion list or categories.


Antivirus for Mac FAQs

Does Mac Need Virus Protection?

Yes, you need the best antivirus software for Mac. Mac computers aren’t immune to malware, and Mac specific attacks are pretty prevalent.

Does apple recommend antivirus for Mac devices?

As indicated earlier in this article, it isn’t an essential need to install an antivirus program on your Mac. Apple does a great job of keeping on top of exploits and vulnerabilities and the updates to iOS that protect your PC.

What is the best antivirus for Mac?

Some of the best antiviruses for Mac you’ll find out there include Norton 360, Bitdefender, McAfee, Malwarebytes, and IObit Advanced SystemCare Ultimate. 

Does Mac PC come with a free antivirus?

No, but Mac devices are known to be very aggressive in keeping off malware and viruses. However, you’ll need antivirus software for Mac to ensure your sensitive data is always safe.

Does Mac get viruses and malware?

Yes, Mac devices also get viruses. Unfortunately, your MacBook can get infected with viruses and malware. Macs are not as vulnerable as Windows PC, but hackers and viruses can also attack them.
Author: Tony Weber
Tony Weber often jokes that he learned how to code before learning to walk. His father being a computer engineer, taught him everything about computers and coding since he was a child. Tony was a swift learner, and even before starting school, he knew this would be his profession.