Updated on: November 23, 2023
Short on time? Here’s the best Mac antivirus in 2023:
Intego: Exclusive macOS antivirus software with 100% detection rates, a firewall, Wi-Fi protections, a Mac optimizer, advanced backup tools, and parental controls.
I tested 74 popular antiviruses to find the ones with the best protection for Mac computers — ones that are good at detecting and blocking Mac-specific malware while also improving upon Apple’s built-in protections.
I wasn’t surprised to find that most antiviruses only focus on Windows protection. Most of them simply overlook security features for Macs or don’t offer anything better than Apple’s built-in security features.
However, I found a few Mac antiviruses that are significantly better than the rest, with features like real-time malware detection, ransomware protection, web protection, network firewalls, and Mac cleanup and optimization tools.
Each antivirus on this list adds more functionality to Apple’s built-in security features, with things like advanced firewall protection and safer browsing with Safari, and many even have better backup functionality than Apple’s Time Machine. Plus, while my #1 pick is Intego, all the products on my list are affordable, easy to use, and 100% secure.
Quick summary of the best Mac antivirus software for 2023:
Intego— Best overall macOS antivirus and anti-malware protection in 2023.
TotalAV— Easy-to-use internet security suite, great for beginners.
Norton— Excellent malware scanning with great web protections.
McAfee— Good anti-malware engine with a decent range of cybersecurity protections.
Bitdefender— AI-based virus scanner with excellent ransomware protection.
- #6-10 of 2023’s Best Mac Antiviruses.
- Comparison of the Best Mac Antiviruses.
Intego — Best Overall Mac Antivirus of 2023
Intego is by far the best antivirus program for Mac that I tested — it has perfect malware detection rates, and it comes with a wide range of Mac-focused cybersecurity and optimization features. It’s very easy to use, so new users won’t have any issues accessing and using all of its features, but it also provides a ton of customization options, making it a good choice for advanced users too.
Intego detected and blocked 100% of the most advanced Mac-based malware I could find — to test it, I downloaded a huge range of malware including spyware, ransomware, and trojans, and Intego found it all. You can also run virus scans on any connected external drives or iOS devices, which is super handy. And Intego doesn’t only detect Mac-targeted threats, but it can also identify PC-based malware, so there’s no risk of you unknowingly spreading infected files to friends, family, or colleagues that use Windows PCs.
Intego’s malware scanner is also very fast. My first full scan took just 1 hour to analyze over 2 million files on my Mac (which is much quicker than a lot of top antiviruses), but better still, subsequent scans were even quicker because Intego uses file-caching technology — meaning that after the initial full system scan, it skips over previously scanned files that it knows are safe. Norton also uses file-caching, but most other antiviruses on this list don’t, so this is a definite plus.
Intego also has:
- Real-time malware protection.
- Smart firewall.
- Parental controls.
- Mac cleanup and optimization.
- Backup tools.
I really like Intego’s firewall, NetBarrier, which is far more advanced than the built-in macOS firewall. NetBarrier automatically changes the firewall settings depending on your network connection and also allows users to easily block or give permission to programs trying to connect to the internet — stopping sketchy apps from unknowingly sending your personal data to unwanted areas of the web. Firewalls are an important safety feature, and Intego’s is one of the best.
Intego’s additional tools are also really useful. The optimization tools and parental controls work well, and I was really impressed by Intego’s backup feature, Personal Backup — it’s like Apple’s Time Machine, but so much better! Personal Backup not only makes restoring a previous backup super easy, but it also lets you customize different scan schedules for various files, folders, or types of media. It also enables you to create a bootable backup (including your entire OS) so you can easily rebuild your Mac on a new device, and if you regularly use 2 separate devices, you can even synchronize between 2 Macs so they’ll both always have your latest files.
Intego offers 2 affordable plans to choose from (and they both come with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee). Intego’s cheapest plan, Mac Internet Security X9, includes essential antivirus protection alongside Intego’s firewall for $19.99 / year. The more advanced Mac Premium Bundle X9 adds system cleanup and optimization, parental controls, and the Personal Backup feature for $34.99 / year. You can purchase both plans for 1, 3, or 5 Macs, and all Intego plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Intego is the best antivirus for most Mac users — offering a reliable anti-malware engine that has excellent Mac-based malware detection rates, a range of advanced internet security protections, and really good Mac cleanup and optimization tools. All of Intego’s additional features massively improve upon Apple’s built-in security features, and you can try them all risk-free using Intego’s 30-day money-back guarantee.
TotalAV — Best for Mac Optimization
TotalAV comes with strong internet security and Mac optimization tools. Its antivirus engine performed almost perfectly during my tests, identifying all Mac-based malware samples. However, TotalAV’s real-time engine failed to stop a couple of simulated zero-day malware attacks that Intego blocked.
One thing that sets TotalAV apart from the competition — it’s really easy to use! TotalAV bundles all features into one easy-to-navigate dashboard, which is perfect for people who aren’t too tech-savvy.
- Mac cleanup and optimization.
- VPN (with unlimited data).
- Network firewall.
- Web protection.
- Password manager.
- Ad blocker.
- Data breach monitoring.
- Identity theft protection (US only).
I really like TotalAV’s Mac optimization tools, which include junk file removal, a startup program manager, and a browser manager. The junk file removal tool efficiently eliminates unnecessary files, thereby freeing up additional storage space on your system. With the startup program manager, you gain control over which applications launch at startup, potentially reducing your Mac’s boot time.
Additionally, the browser manager allows you to manage browser extensions and cookies effectively, which during testing significantly enhanced my Safari browsing experience. These tools work together to boost your system’s performance and browsing speed, making TotalAV a great choice for maintaining a streamlined and responsive Mac environment.
The VPN is one of the best around. Not all antiviruses come with a VPN, and those that do often limit the amount of data you can use each day — such as Bitdefender. TotalAV’s VPN not only comes with unlimited data, but it’s also one of the fastest VPNs that comes bundled with an antivirus — I noticed no slowdown or lag during streaming, downloading, or browsing.
TotalAV’s Identity Theft Protection service is exclusively available to US users. It’s powered by Aura identity protection service, and it meticulously monitors various networks, including credit reports from bureaus like Experian, for any unauthorized use of personal details such as social security or credit card numbers. Upon detecting any suspicious activity, TotalAV promptly alerts you, so you can take action quickly. While this service isn’t bundled in the initial plans, it can be added for a modest annual fee. It’s a shame there’s no ID theft protection for those of us outside the US, though.
TotalAV also provides decent web protection that is designed to block phishing attacks and other dangerous websites. TotalAV’s web protection performed well in my tests, blocking the majority of the fake and dangerous sites I tried to visit, but I prefer Norton’s anti-phishing protection, which is a little more advanced.
The best-value package is Internet Security ($39.00 / year) — it covers 5 devices and also includes the VPN. And the Total Security package ($49.00 / year) covers 6 devices and adds an ad blocker and a password manager. All of TotalAV’s plans have a 30-day money-back guarantee.
TotalAV is super easy to navigate and has a great range of security features. I really like TotalAV’s Mac optimization tools, which improved my Mac’s overall performance, and the included VPN performed really well and maintained fast speeds across all servers. While I think Norton’s web protection is better than TotalAV’s, TotalAV’s is still pretty good. TotalAV’s packages have big first-year discounts, and all purchases come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Norton 360 — Best for Web Security
Norton 360 has an advanced anti-malware engine that scored a 100% detection rate against the latest macOS malware samples on my iMac. Norton’s scans were also notably faster than other antiviruses, as it uses file-caching technologies to skip over previously scanned files, similar to Intego.
Norton 360 also offers a variety of features for Macs, including:
- Web security browser extension.
- Smart firewall.
- Dark web monitoring.
- Password manager.
- VPN (with unlimited data).
- Mac cleaning tools.
Norton’s range of web security browser extensions includes “Safe Web” (compatible with Safari, Edge, and Firefox) and “Safe Search” (only available for Chrome).Safe Search was okay, but it missed a few malicious sites and had a few false positives. Safe Web, however, is excellent — detecting all the phishing sites in my tests, including a number that Chrome and Safari missed.
Norton Secure Browser has all of Norton’s web protections pre-installed, making it very convenient for users who are less proficient with technology. I like that it’s compatible with older macOS versions such as Catalina, Big Sur, and Monterey — preventing issues with software incompatibility on older devices.
Norton’s password manager makes it really easy to store logins and keep passwords updated. It’s not as good as many of the best standalone password managers, but it’s definitely one of the best password managers that come bundled with an antivirus, and I found it to be very useful, particularly as Safari’s built-in password storage feature is pretty limited and not nearly as intuitive.
Norton’s VPN is also excellent. It’s fast, secure, and includes unlimited data — and it’s included on all of the 360 plans. It also works with most streaming sites, and it allows torrenting on dedicated servers. The only downside is that it logs IP addresses (competitors like TotalAV have airtight no-logs policies).
While Norton offers a good range of features, they don’t all work for Mac users. Its dashboard displays tools, for example, don’t work on Macs, including parental controls and cloud backup (both of which are only available for Windows PCs and mobile devices) — which is a little annoying. But you can still access and manage parental controls on a Mac via the website. Essentially, Norton’s Mac software is just a limited version of Norton’s PC software (which ranked as the best antivirus of 2023).
All in all, Norton’s 360 plans are a good value for Mac users. Starting at $19.99 / year*, Norton 360 Standard covers 3 devices and includes antivirus and web protection, device optimization tools, the VPN, and the password manager. Norton 360 Deluxe ($29.99 / year*) offers coverage for up to 5 devices and adds parental controls and 50 GB cloud storage (both for non-Mac devices only), while Norton 360 with LifeLock plans add identity theft protection and alerts, credit monitoring, and $1 million coverage for identity theft damages (available only for US users), and cover up to 10 devices. Norton backs all purchases with a generous 60-day money-back guarantee.
Norton 360 for Mac offers robust malware protection and several online security tools. I particularly like Norton’s web security browser extensions that improve upon Safari’s built-in protections, and I’m also a fan of its password manager and VPN. However, I think Norton could do more to improve its macOS software, as it’s currently just an exact copy of its Windows version (with many features disabled). That said, Norton still offers a high level of Mac protection, and you can try it risk-free for 60 days.
McAfee Total Protection — Good Anti-Malware Engine & Cybersecurity Protections
McAfee has a reliable anti-malware engine for Mac — it blocked all of the macOS malware samples and ransomware simulations that I launched during my tests, even detecting well-hidden keyloggers and spyware. While McAfee’s macOS software doesn’t have as many additional tools or functions as its Windows version, it does have a decent selection of useful extra security features.
The web protection for Mac is really good. McAfee successfully blocked the dangerous sites and phishing pages I tried to access during my tests. The in-built web protection only works on Safari, but there are browser extensions available for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge — these don’t have as many features as the Safari version, but they do the job in terms of blocking dangerous sites.
You also get several additional features, and they all offer major improvements on the in-built macOS security features, such as:
- Real-time malware protection.
- Scheduled antivirus scans.
- Network firewall.
- Web protection tools.
- VPN (with unlimited data).
- Password manager.
- ID theft protection.
I especially like McAfee’s firewall, which is significantly better than the built-in macOS firewall. Non-technical users will find it very easy to set up and manage McAfee’s firewall, whereas more advanced users can tweak the firewall’s settings to customize their network security. Features like adjusting trust settings for saved networks and whitelisting specific programs provide a fine balance of control and security. The inclusion of software intrusion detection further beefs up the network security, making McAfee’s firewall a substantial upgrade over the built-in macOS firewall.
McAfee’s ID theft protection, VPN, and password manager are all useful tools, and it’s great that McAfee includes these in its various plans. The ID theft protection service, available in 30+ countries, monitors a wide range of personal identifying information (PII) through live dark web monitoring and Experian’s credit network. It alerts you if your PII is breached and tells you what steps to take to protect your data. McAfee Advanced subscription adds features like Personal Data Cleanup, Lost Wallet Protection, and a Security Freeze feature.
The password manager included in McAfee Total Protection is called True Key. True Key offers decent security, using strong encryption to protect your saved login information and sync it accurately across different devices. I also found it easy to generate secure passwords. However, while it provides fundamental password management, it’s missing important features included in the best standalone password managers for Mac, such as secure password sharing and password strength auditing.
McAfee Total Protection covers up to 5 devices on the Plus plan ($39.99 / year). However, you get unlimited devices on the Premium ($49.99 / year) and Advanced ($89.99 / year) plans — and you can also use the subscription to cover Windows, Android, and iOS devices and gain access to the other included (but non-macOS compatible) features. All McAfee plans are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
McAfee has a solid anti-malware engine that effectively protects against a wide range of Mac-based malware. I particularly like McAfee’s firewall, and its additional tools provide a good level of general internet security. McAfee Total Protection Plus can cover up to 5 devices (including PCs and smartphones), while the two other more expensive plans allow unlimited devices. McAfee also offers huge first-year discounts and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Bitdefender — Great macOS Ransomware Protections
Bitdefender includes a very advanced anti-malware engine that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to capture threats before they cause damage — I launched a series of ransomware and other macOS-based malware, and Bitdefender blocked all of them. It also uses a fully cloud-based scanner, making Bitdefender one of the most lightweight antivirus programs available.
Bitdefender also has a pretty cool collection of extra features, including:
- Time Machine Protection.
- VPN (200 MB data per day per device).
- Web security.
- Parental controls.
- System optimization.
- Ad blocker.
I was really impressed with Bitdefender’s Time Machine Protection, which protects your backup files from ransomware attacks that are designed to encrypt them — so even if ransomware attacked your system, you could simply restore your system and all of your files by loading up the most recent Time Machine backup!
That said, I do think Intego’s backup tools are better, as they provide more customization options and are slightly easier to use.
Bitdefender’s web security features are also very good. During my tests, these features worked seamlessly with Safari and showed me whether specific website links were safe or dangerous — something the Safari browser doesn’t do by default. It also successfully blocked all the fake websites I tried to access, including a number that competitors like Panda and Kaspersky failed to identify. Plus, I really like how Bitdefender makes it really easy to whitelist sites that you know (if you’re 100% sure!) are safe.
I also like Bitdefender’s VPN — it’s one of the fastest and most lightweight VPNs on this list. But it’s limited to only 200 MB per day per device on most plans, which is barely enough for browsing, let alone watching videos. That said, it does have good streaming support. In addition, the free version of the VPN also doesn’t let you choose which server you want to connect to (you’re automatically connected to the closest server to your location).
Bitdefender comes with a good range of other useful features too, including very good parental controls and a handy anti-tracker feature. As with most antivirus suites, it also has a whole range of other features that aren’t compatible with Macs, but if you also use a PC, Android, or iPhone, you can choose one of the multi-device programs and benefit from the full range of features across your various devices.
Premium Security ($79.99 / year) is Bitdefender’s best-value plan. It provides access to all of Bitdefender’s features, including a fully-featured password manager, a VPN with no limitations, and coverage for 10 devices. Bitdefender Total Security ($49.99 / year) is also a good value, but it comes with limited versions of the VPN and password manager and only covers 5 devices.
Bitdefender also offers a free plan for Macs, which earned a spot on our best free Mac antiviruses of 2023 list thanks to it having the same advanced anti-malware engine as the paid version. However, it doesn’t come with any other premium features or real-time protection, so really it’s only good for finding and removing any existing malware on your Mac. Bitdefender’s paid plans are backed by a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
Bitdefender offers very good protection against macOS malware and ransomware. Its web security tools are good, its Time Machine Protection keeps your files safe in case of a ransomware attack, and its VPN is one of the best on the market. Bitdefender has a range of plans to choose from, and you can try them out risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
MacKeeper — Best for Intuitive Security Management
MacKeeper is designed specifically for Macs, is very user-friendly, and its security features are some of the most intuitive I’ve ever tested.
Its antivirus scanner is really good — it detected most of the malware samples during my tests, all of which were promptly removed from my system. One other thing I really like about MacKeeper is that it didn’t slow down my device during system scans, so I was able to work, watch videos, and run CPU-intensive programs without any slowdown or interruptions.
MacKeeper also includes:
- VPN (with unlimited data).
- Ad and tracking link blocker.
- Data breach monitoring.
- Mac performance & cleanup tools.
All of MacKeeper’s internet security features are very easy to use. The VPN is integrated into the MacKeeper dashboard and only requires one click to activate. And most importantly, it’s good — it has fast speeds, a decent server network, works with top streaming sites, and comes with unlimited data. The ad and tracking link blocker are also very easy to use and effective. They blocked hundreds of ads and tracking links in minutes during my tests and integrated seamlessly into Safari.
I also like MacKeeper’s data breach monitoring feature, which made it very simple for me to see if any online accounts associated with my email address had been hacked. Most antiviruses offer some kind of data breach monitoring, but they usually charge a premium if you want to monitor multiple email addresses or receive instant alerts, so MacKeeper is better than many.
However, MacKeeper is missing a lot of important features — most specifically, a firewall and anti-phishing protection, both of which are included with Intego. And it also lacks the wider range of important and useful security features that the other top antiviruses offer, such as parental controls and a password manager. Plus, it’s more expensive than a lot of competitors, particularly considering its smaller feature set.
All MacKeeper plans include the same features, but they’re priced differently depending on the length of your subscription and the number of devices you want to protect. You can choose between a monthly subscription for 1 Mac ($10.95 / month), a yearly subscription for 1 Mac ($40.20 / year), and a yearly subscription for 3 Macs ($50.40 / year). The plans come with a 14-day money-back guarantee.
MacKeeper has a great range of intuitive security features — including a VPN, an ad and tracking link blocker, and data breach monitoring. Its antivirus scanner is also excellent, detecting most of the malware files during testing without causing any system slowdown. MacKeeper is a good choice for non-tech-savvy users, as well as users who want a simple antivirus program that doesn’t require any customization whatsoever. You can try out MacKeeper risk-free with a 14-day money-back guarantee.
Avira Free Antivirus for Mac — Best Free Mac Antivirus
Avira Free Antivirus for Mac has one of the best malware scanners around — it caught every piece of malware I downloaded to my MacBook, it performed a full system scan in under 40 minutes (faster than most competitors), and it didn’t impact my system’s performance at all, even when I was using CPU-intensive video-editing software. Competitors like McAfee, on the other hand, caused a system slowdown when I performed a full system scan.
Avira also has a decent range of free features:
- Real-time malware protection.
- Anti-phishing and anti-tracking.
- VPN (500 MB per month).
- Password manager.
- Basic optimization tools.
Avira’s anti-phishing and anti-tracking protections are really good, catching most of the phishing sites I tried to open and preventing companies from tracking my data while browsing. These protections are found inside Avira’s browser extension, which works really well. The only downside is that this extension isn’t available for Safari — it only works on Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.
Avira’s password manager is also very good — comparable to some of the best standalone password managers and way better than Apple’s in-built Keychain password manager. Avira’s password manager lets you store unlimited passwords on unlimited devices, secures user data with 256-bit AES encryption, and comes with extras like two-factor authentication (2FA), biometric logins (on mobile), and password security auditing (premium version only).
I also like Avira’s VPN — when I tested it, the VPN provided me with a private, fast, and steady internet connection. However, Avira’s free VPN is limited to just 500 MB per month on the free plan, which is only enough for you to browse the internet for 6–7 hours per month or watch 1 episode of a TV show (so not a lot!). However, it includes unlimited data in the upgraded Prime package, which also comes with a ton of other useful features.
Avira Free Antivirus for Mac has all the basics, but users who are looking for more functionality should consider upgrading to Avira Prime, which gets you a VPN with unlimited browsing data, advanced Mac optimization and cleaning tools, a tracker remover, premium mobile apps, and coverage for up to 5 devices, for $36.99 / year. Avira Prime has a lengthy 60-day money-back guarantee.
Avira Free Antivirus for Mac is my favorite free Mac antivirus — it has a really good malware scanner, along with excellent anti-phishing and anti-tracking protections. I also like Avira’s VPN, but 500 MB per month is barely enough to get you through 1 episode of a TV show. Users looking for a VPN with unlimited browsing data should consider Avira Prime, which also adds advanced Mac optimization features, cleaning tools, coverage for up to 5 devices, and more.
Panda Dome Essential for Mac — Good Choice for Beginners
Panda Dome Essential for Mac offers good protection against Mac-based malware — its malware engine caught a little more than 98% of the malware samples during my tests (it missed a couple of tricky spyware files as well as one trojan, which top competitors like Intego, TotalAV, and Norton all detected).
Its macOS app is minimal and easy to navigate, making it a great option for beginners and non-technical users.
However, I was disappointed with how long its malware scanner took to scan my system. Unlike most competitors that complete full scans in 2 hours or less, Panda took over 8 hours to perform a full system scan — and because it doesn’t use file-caching technology like Intego or Norton, every scan takes just as long! That said, Panda makes it easy to schedule scans for when you’re not using your computer, which is handy.
Panda only has a couple of additional features for Mac users, including:
- Real-time malware protection.
- Anti-phishing protection.
- VPN (150 MB per day).
Panda’s anti-phishing protection is okay, but I wasn’t impressed with the VPN. The anti-phishing protection blocked most of the phishing sites I tried opening during testing, which is comparable to the other brands on this list. However, the VPN is limited to a very low 150 MB per day (which is barely enough for basic browsing), and it also doesn’t let you choose the server you want to connect to — meaning if you’re unable to connect to a server that’s closest to your location, you can expect a significant drop in speed.
That’s the extent of the features that come in Panda’s macOS app — so, pretty disappointing. However, there is also a free data breach monitoring tool and a secure password generator, which are both available for free via the Panda website.
If you go for the Panda Dome Complete plan or higher, you also get access to a password manager that is compatible with Mac via the web app. And if you also use a PC, you’ll gain access to Panda’s wide range of Windows-compatible features, which make it a much better overall value.
Panda offers a variety of plans, starting with Panda Dome Essential ($19.20 / year), which includes the malware scanner, anti-phishing protection, and limited VPN. Panda Dome Complete ($34.40 / year) includes the password manager, plus a range of decent features for PCs, Android, and iOS — making it the best value plan if you want to cover multiple devices.
Upgrading to Panda Dome Premium for Mac ($53.60 / year) brings you an unlimited-data VPN (and you can choose the server you’re connecting to), as well as multi-device coverage across all operating systems. However, the VPN isn’t as good as the best standalone VPNs, or even the best VPNs bundled with other antiviruses, so it’s not really worth the higher price for the VPN alone. But if you want to test Panda, all its plans include a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Panda Dome Essential for Mac provides decent protection against Mac-specific malware. It also has anti-phishing protection and a limited VPN. Upgrading to Panda Complete gets you a password manager, while Panda Premium comes with a VPN with no limitations — and both include coverage for multiple devices and a range of other non-Mac-compatible features. All Panda purchases come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Kaspersky — Decent macOS Malware Protection
Kaspersky’s Mac antivirus engine worked pretty well in my tests — it caught over 95% of the malware samples that I downloaded onto my test iMac. It’s also really quick, taking just 45 minutes to perform a full disk scan during my tests, which is faster than most others on this list, including Bitdefender.
Kaspersky also has:
- Real-time protection.
- Web protection and safe online shopping.
- Webcam protection.
- VPN (unlimited data).
- Password manager.
I like Kaspersky’s safe online shopping feature, which ensures online shopping payments are protected from hackers. The anti-phishing protection is also very good, blocking the majority of the fake sites I visited during my tests. Kaspersky’s browser extensions are compatible with Safari as well as Chrome and Firefox.
I was also surprised to see that Kaspersky includes webcam protection for Mac users — only a handful of Mac security programs offer protection against webcam hacking. Kaspersky also has a virtual keyboard, which is a nice way to avoid potential keyloggers and something that very few antiviruses offer.
However, Kaspersky is missing some important extras. For example, I don’t like how its password manager is missing two-factor authentication (2FA), unlike Norton. Also, its application vulnerability scanner, which looks for outdated and compromised apps, failed to detect my test apps. And, its dark web monitoring tool is pretty minimal and only checks for a handful of items — Norton’s feature, on the other hand, scans the dark web for driver’s license information, insurance numbers, bank account numbers, and more.
The best-value plan is Kaspersky Premium ($67.49 / year), which covers 3-20 devices across all platforms. It comes with a basic but decent password manager, a VPN with unlimited data, and some excellent parental controls (although you have to pay extra for the parental controls after the first year). All plans are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Kaspersky offers Mac users a good level of malware protection and a handful of decent internet security tools. It has online shopping protection, webcam protection, and a VPN (with unlimited data). You can try Kaspersky risk-free by using its 30-day money-back guarantee.
Malwarebytes — Minimalistic Antivirus for Mac Users
Malwarebytes for Mac comes with a good malware scanner with real-time protection and web protection — but not much else. During my tests, Malwarebytes identified around 90% of the malware I downloaded to my Mac computer, which is a good result, but not as good as Intego, Norton, or TotalAV.
When it comes to web protection, Malwarebytes did a decent job blocking malicious sites, as well as removing ads and preventing ad trackers from collecting my data. However, the web protection is only available as a free browser extension for Safari, Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. Malwarebytes has system-wide web protection for its Windows app, and I’d like to see it implemented in the Mac app as well.
Malwarebytes is very easy to use, so it’s a decent choice for people looking for a simple way of protecting their Mac from malware. But It’s missing a lot of features I expect to see in premium antivirus suites — including a firewall, data breach monitoring, device optimization tools, parental controls, and a password manager.
Malwarebytes Premium starts at $28.00 / year for 1 Mac (you can also opt for a plan that covers 5 devices across all operating systems). While I prefer antivirus software with additional features, Malwarebytes is still a solid choice for users who only want basic security. It’s also a good option for non-tech-savvy users, although I think TotalAV or Avira are better for people new to antiviruses.
If you’re interested in Identity Theft Protection, Malwarebytes does offer this too in a separate package starting at $79.09 / year. This option, though pricier, includes the perks of Premium Security, Browser Guard, and the VPN, as well as comprehensive identity protection and insurance.
There’s also Premium + Privacy, which adds a good VPN for $28.00 / year. The VPN has unlimited data, fast speeds, and servers in 30+ countries, but it doesn’t work with the most popular streaming apps and doesn’t allow torrenting. That said, if you only want a basic antivirus with a basic but unlimited-data VPN for browsing, Malwarebytes may be ok for you. All Malwarebytes purchases come with a 60-day money-back guarantee.
Malwarebytes for Mac provides a good malware scanner with real-time and web protection. It also offers a comprehensive Identity Theft Protection service, but this comes at a higher price point and is not included in the basic packages. Malwarebytes remains a straightforward choice for Mac users prioritizing simplicity and fundamental protections, with the option to upgrade for broader security coverage. Malwarebytes backs all purchases with a 60-day money-back guarantee.
Sophos — Easy-to-Use Antivirus for Mac
Sophos is a good antivirus for Mac — but it could be better. Its malware scanner performed really well in my tests and removed the majority of malware samples from my MacBook Air. It also stopped most of the simulated ransomware attacks I launched against it and prevented me from downloading an archive containing 1,000s of Mac-based malware samples.
However, Sophos for Mac lacks many of the advanced features in the Windows version. For example, it doesn’t have AI threat detection and exploit protection, and it only provides really basic parental controls — so it isn’t a good choice for families. Intego’s parental controls, on the other hand, provide excellent content filters and can stop your kid from receiving messages containing inappropriate content.
That said, Sophos for Mac is super easy to use. Its remote management platform allowed me to schedule and initiate malware scans quickly, even when I was away from my computer, and I really like how I could remotely control the protections on my iOS device.
Overall, Sophos is a decent choice if all you want is basic malware protection and ease of use, but otherwise, you’re better off looking at alternatives on the market. If you want to try Sophos, its premium plan costs $44.99 / year and can cover up to 10 PC and macOS devices. Each plan comes with a 30-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Sophos for Mac provides good malware and ransomware protection, but it lacks many of the advanced features that make the Windows version great. Its parental controls are also really basic compared to other parental control tools on the market. However, it provides an intuitive web-based dashboard, making it super accessible and really easy to use for beginners — so if you’re only in the market for a basic and easy-to-use antivirus to protect your Mac, Sophos is a great choice. It also offers a 30-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Comparison of the Best Antivirus for Mac in 2023
|Antivirus||Starting Price||VPN||Mac Cleanup/
|Password Manager||Parental Controls
||Free Mac Version||Money-Back Guarantee|
||$1.67 / month||Yes, separate purchase||✅||❌||✅||❌||30 days|
||$19.00 / year||Unlimited data (with TotalAV Internet Security)||✅||✅||❌||✅||30 days|
||$54.99 / year*||Unlimited data (with all 360 plans)||✅||✅||❌
(Includes parental controls for Windows, iOS, and Android)
||$39.99 / year||Unlimited data (with automatic subscription renewals)||❌||✅||❌
(Includes parental controls for Windows, iOS, and Android)
||$17.49 / year||200 MB/day per device||✅||✅||✅
||$10.95 / month||Unlimited data||✅||❌||❌||✅||14 days|
||$15.99 / year||Unlimited data (with Avira Prime) / 500 MB/day on free plan||✅||✅||❌||✅||60 days|
||$19.20 / year||Unlimited data (Dome Premium) / 150 MB/day on free plan||❌||✅||❌||✅||30 days|
||$34.99 / year||Unlimited data (with Kaspersky Plus and Premium)||✅
(Internal hard drive health checker only)
(via Kaspersky Safe Kids)
||$28.00 / year||Unlimited data (with Premium + Privacy)||❌||❌||❌||✅||60 days|
||$44.99 / year||❌||❌||❌||✅||✅||30 days|
How to Choose the Best Antiviruses for Mac in 2023
- Ensure that real-time malware protection is available. This is crucial for the security of your Mac, which is why I’ve examined all the antiviruses on this list based on their real-time capabilities. I was pleased to find that each of them performed exceptionally well in identifying and eliminating a wide range of Mac-specific malware such as viruses, adware, and ransomware.
- Pick a program with advanced virus and malware scanning. Some antiviruses have faster or more customizable scan options than others, which you may want to consider when choosing the best product for your needs. However, the most important thing is choosing a product with an effective and quality virus and malware scanner. During my tests, I installed 1,000 malware samples onto my Mac before running each scan, and only the software that could detect and remove these threats made it onto this list.
- Opt for an antivirus with web protection. Phishing scams, fake websites, and other online threats are common ways for hackers to try to infiltrate your device and steal your personal data. Some of these scams and fake sites are extremely convincing, so it can be easy for even the most “scam-aware” person to fall for them. Choosing an antivirus with anti-phishing protection and other web-protection tools is the best way to securely avoid these types of online threats, but make sure to check the one you choose is compatible with your favorite browser — these tools are usually browser extensions, and not all antiviruses support all browsers.
- Go for an antivirus product that is easy to set up and use. Consider your level of expertise, as some antiviruses are better suited to beginners while others will suit more technical users. I’d also always suggest you choose a product with a free trial or money-back guarantee to ensure it works for you before committing long-term.
- Check the additional features offered. There are a wide range of additional features that come bundled with antivirus software these days, including system cleanup and optimization tools, VPNs (virtual private networks), identity theft protection, password managers, parental controls, and much more. However, these features can vary enormously from one product to the next, so make sure you choose an antivirus suite that includes the features that are most important to you. For example, some VPNs only include limited data per day or month, which may be enough for basic browsing but will be insufficient if you’re usually online all day; some password managers may limit the number of passwords you can store, or not sync across the different devices you use, which can make them fairly redundant; or parental controls may be one of the top premium features — that you simply don’t need.
- Look at the antivirus’s overall value. Just as the features and functionality vary between all the antiviruses on this list, so do the prices. But don’t be tempted to choose based on price alone. Some antiviruses may sound expensive at first glance, but once you’ve calculated the cost of all the different inclusions, the overall value can be phenomenal. For example, real-time malware protection, a quality unlimited-data VPN, an unlimited password manager, device optimization tools, and identity theft protection and insurance are all things that you could have individual subscriptions for — or you could bundle them under one premium antivirus subscription for a fraction of the price.
Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut
- ESET. While ESET offers really good malware protection and a wide range of features for Windows and Android devices, its macOS offering isn’t very good when compared to the other antivirus software on my list. In addition, ESET doesn’t have an iOS app.
- Trend Micro. Trend Micro is a decent antivirus product that also supports Mac, but it lacks some of the features other premium antiviruses include, and its VPN is particularly disappointing.
- Webroot. Webroot is very easy to use and comes with some pretty good features, but it missed more Mac-specific malware during my tests than all the other products on this list.
- Avast. Avast provides a good range of protections for Mac, but setting it up requires a number of permissions that make the process more cumbersome compared to other antivirus software. While it offers good security features, the hassle involved in setting it up is a setback.
- Clario. Clario is a comprehensive antivirus security suite with an intuitive interface. However, its anti-phishing protection compares poorly to Safari’s built-in phishing protection.
- BitMedic. BitMedic offers basic protection with an easy-to-use interface, but its feature set for Mac is limited compared to other antiviruses on this list. It lacks advanced security features like a VPN or identity theft protection, making it less appealing for those seeking comprehensive security.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Macs really need antivirus software?
100% yes. Macs are increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks, as hackers have developed (and are still developing) very sophisticated Mac-based malware. If your Mac isn’t protected by antivirus software, you’re at risk of having all of your data stolen and your system destroyed.
That said, you need to be careful to only download trustworthy and legitimate antivirus software. If your antivirus is ineffective, you will end up putting your trust in a product that won’t keep you safe. All of the antiviruses on this list provide good protection for Mac computers — they have effective malware scanners, provide a variety of internet security protections, are easy to use, and come at a good value.
Will an antivirus slow down my Mac?
No, a good antivirus will not slow down your Mac. Intego is lightweight, non-intrusive, and didn’t cause any noticeable slowdowns in my tests. It even offers low-priority malware scans that dedicate your Mac’s resources to running programs over the scanner — this ensures you can still perform intensive activities while staying safe from malware.
What is the best antivirus for Mac?
Intego is my favorite antivirus for Mac in 2023. It’s designed specifically for macOS, it’s inexpensive, and it has an impressive range of cybersecurity and Mac optimization tools.
Don’t Macs already have an antivirus built into the OS?
Macs have a few built-in security features, including:
- App Review. Audits the legitimacy of Apple Store apps before downloading.
- Gatekeeper. Scans apps for malicious code prior to launching.
- Web protection. Blocks malicious sites and tracking links on Safari.
- Anti-theft tools. Enables you to track Mac and iOS devices if they’re lost or stolen.
While these features are useful, they’re not good enough to fully protect Macs from ransomware, spyware, adware, and other advanced malware that hackers use to spy on you and steal your data.
Even the latest macOS doesn’t include real-time malware scanning, ransomware protection, Mac optimization tools, or advanced phishing protection. That’s why installing a comprehensive macOS-based antivirus suite like Intego — an antivirus designed to keep you 100% protected against all cybersecurity threats — is the best choice.
Which Mac antivirus has the best phishing protection?
TotalAV has the best phishing protection for Mac users. Its free WebShield tool is designed to block phishing sites and online malware, and it outperforms the built-in protections in Chrome and Firefox. It employs renowned blacklists of dangerous websites and uses an AI-based detection system for picking up on unknown threats. Additionally, TotalAV offers customization options allowing you to block specific URLs or whitelist domains.
Unfortunately, the tool isn’t available on Safari, but you can use the TotalAV Safe Site tool instead if you’re a Safari user. It didn’t work quite as well as WebShield in my tests, but it’s still pretty good. That said, I recommend downloading Chrome on your Mac and choosing WebShield if you haven’t already.
How to spot fake Mac antivirus software?
Spotting fake Mac antivirus software is easy if you’re vigilant. First, always verify the authenticity of the antivirus through its official website and avoid downloading antiviruses from pop-ups or emails. Secondly, credible antivirus software like Intego will always provide detailed information about its security features and have positive user reviews — so keep an eye out for that. Thirdly, be wary of software that generates alerts demanding immediate action (such as pop-ups saying your Mac is infected). This is a common scare tactic. Finally, legitimate antivirus software will not be excessively cheap — so if the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Is there a free antivirus for Mac?
Yes, Avira offers a decent free antivirus for macOS users. But keep in mind that free antiviruses are only free because there’s a “catch” — usually, these companies want you to upgrade to a paid plan.
If you don’t have a lot of sensitive data on your Mac, a free antivirus will work just fine. But if you’re like me and store all of your credit card details, login details, work documents, photos, and creative projects on your Mac, I highly recommend spending a few bucks on a low-cost premium Mac antivirus like Intego.
Should my Mac antivirus include a VPN?
Including a VPN with your Mac antivirus software is a wise decision for all-round security. A VPN, or virtual private network, encrypts your online traffic, thereby hiding your IP address and preventing any unwanted snooping from third parties such as hackers or even your internet service provider. This is especially important when you are connected to unsecured public Wi-Fi networks, where your data is most vulnerable.
While it’s not mandatory for an antivirus to have a VPN, having both in a single package certainly enhances your online privacy and security. In addition, having a VPN bundled with your antivirus software could also be more cost-effective and convenient than subscribing to each product separately. So, when choosing an antivirus for your Mac, considering one with a VPN included like TotalAV or Norton can be a smart choice.