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The best Mac antivirus software in 2022

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You will need to have one of the top Mac antivirus programs installed on your Mac, iMac, Mac mini, and all other Apple computers. They are more likely than ever to be infected by viruses.

Cybercriminals have noticed that Apple’s computers are increasingly popular and have developed malware to infect them. Hackers have plenty of opportunities to target Mac computers because of the sheer volume of Mac users around the world. Malicious programs targeting Apple computers are becoming more frequent.

Apple has its own antivirus protections, Gatekeeper and XProtect. However, they are not always as effective because they rely upon outdated methods to stop infections. The best Mac antivirus programs, on the other side, do a better job of detecting new malware strains quickly and double-checking suspicious file that has been “signed” by an Apple developer ID.

Because Windows malware can also be infected on Mac computers, many Mac antivirus programs will check for it. Many Mac antivirus programs offer additional features such as password mangers and system optimizers.

These are the top 3 most trusted Mac antivirus brands

  1. Bitdefender is the best Mac antivirus

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac offers great malware protection and a barely detectable system performance impact.

Norton 360 Standard comes with a password manager, unlimited VPN Data, firewall, and Dark Web monitoring. These are features that you won’t see in Mac antivirus software. 

  1. Norton offers the most feature-rich software

Norton 360 Standard comes with a password manager, unlimited VPN Data, firewall, and Dark Web monitoring. These are features that you won’t see in Mac antivirus software.

Avast Security for Mac is a great value for money. It has excellent malware protection, minimal system impact and the annoying ads that try to sell you a paid version. Avast is the best Mac antivirus

Avast Security for Mac is a great value for money. Its malware protection is excellent, the system impact is minimal, and there are no annoying ads that try to sell you a paid version.

What Mac antivirus program is best?

Bitdefender Antivirus Mac is our top choice for Mac antivirus software. It caused almost no system performance issues in our tests. In lab tests, it detected all Mac and Windows malware. Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac also rolls back ransomware files and protects your web browser from online attacks. You can also get 200MB of VPN data per day, but that’s only a hint at the unlimited VPN service.

Norton 360 Standard is close behind, with even better malware detection and unlimited VPN. It also has a password manager. Norton detects all malware on Windows and Mac, has a low system performance impact, and comes with LifeLock dark-web monitoring.

Avast Security for Mac is our favorite free option. It offers nearly perfect protection against malware and has an intuitive interface. Its system performance impact is lower than it used to be, and it doesn’t nag you to purchase paid Avast products.

Editor’s Note: Future has decided to cease affiliate-linking with Russian companies, such as Kaspersky, due to the invasion in Ukraine. We will continue to help our readers source the best products, and we will provide multiple options in the affected categories.

Antivirus software for Mac that is the best you can find

1. Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac

Antivirus software for Macs that is light, fast, powerful, and simple to use

Specifications

macOS compatibility: 10.10 Yosemite or later

Browser extensions: Yes

No Firewall

Hardened/secure browser: No

Parental controls are not required

Password manager:

Ransomware file protection:

Scan scheduling: No

Webcam protection No

VPN: Yes, but only in limited circumstances

Support options include chat, email, chat and phone 24/7.

 

There are many reasons to buy

+Very good malware detection+Ransomware protection+Modern, intuitive user interface+Light system impact

Avoidable reasons

-Lacks certain features in Windows version

Bitdefender Antivirus Mac offers a simple interface, low pricing, almost perfect malware detection, and very little system-performance impact. It’s our Editor’s Choice again for the best Mac antivirus software.

Bitdefender, an unusual Mac antivirus program, can reverse ransomware encryption. This includes Time Machine backups. Bitdefender Shield also provides extensions that can harden your web browser, and it blocks online trackers to protect privacy. Bitdefender Shield and Autopilot feature keep the software running smoothly without any human intervention.

There are two downsides to Bitdefender Antivirus Windows: the lack of a password manager and the fact that Bitdefender VPN is limited at 200MB per day, unless you pay more. Bitdefender was weaker than Avast and Norton in our tests, but it was still strong. It’s an almost perfect Mac antivirus program.

2. Norton 360 Standard

This Mac antivirus program has the best features, with unlimited VPN service.

Specifications

MacOS compatibility: 10.14 Mojave or later

Browser extensions: Yes

Firewall

Hardened/secure browser: No

Parental controls are not required

Password manager: Yes

Ransomware file protection No

Scan scheduling: Yes

Webcam protection No

VPN: Unlimited

Support options include chat, email, chat and phone 24/7. FAQs are also available.

There are many reasons to buy

+Flawless malware detection+Massive feature set. Unlimited VPN and password manager+ Very little impact on system performance

Avoidable reasons

-Expensive for one license-Parental controls, Cloud storage don’t work with Macs

Norton 360 Standard offers a lot of extras such as unlimited VPN service and unlimited password manager. These are two features that its competitors (such as Bitdefender or Avast), charge extra for. You can also use it as a firewall and system optimizer to monitor your personal data.

We found that Norton 360 Standard had a minimal impact on system performance and provides always-available technical support. It also flawlessly detects Mac malware.

These luxuries will cost you a lot, but you’ll still be able to save money on a standalone VPN or password manager. We expect Mac users to soon have the same parental controls, webcam protections, and backup software as Windows 360 Standard users.

3. Avast Security for Mac

Antivirus for Macs: The Best Free Software

Specifications

macOS compatibility: macOS 10.11 El Capitan or later

Browser extensions: No

Firewall No

Hardened/secure browser: No

No parental controls

Password manager:

Ransomware file protection No

Scan scheduling: Yes

Webcam protection No

VPN No

Support options: Online documents

There are many reasons to buy

+Excellent antivirus protection+Lighter system-performance impact+Screens malicious websites

Avoidable reasons

-Limited security features in comparison to other programs. Weak customer support

Since its original name, Avast Security for Mac, Avast Free Mac Security, Avast Security for Mac has seen significant improvements. The malware detection rate is almost perfect now, and the system performance impact is less. Additionally, annoying ads trying to sell you Avast paid programs were greatly reduced.

Avast scans your Wi Fi network for unwelcome guests and outdated devices. Its interface was easy to use and attractive. However, paying customers can only access some features such as ransomware rollbacks.

However, the password manager and email-attachment screener are gone. Tech support is now limited to online documents. You can upgrade to Bitdefender and Norton if you require more assistance. This is still a great option if you are looking for dependable Mac antivirus software.

4. Trend Micro Antivirus Mac

Great security with no standout features

Specifications

macOS compatibility: macOS 10.14 Mojave or later

Browser extensions: Yes

Firewall No

Hardened/secure browser: Yes

Parental control: Yes, but only in limited circumstances

Password manager:

Ransomware file protection:

Scan scheduling: Yes

Yes, webcam protection

VPN No

Support options: Chat, email, phone, and forums

Today’s Top Deals

There are many reasons to buy

+Nearly flawless malware protection+Affordable pricing+Light background performance impact

Avoidable reasons

-Disfunctional user interface -High performance hit during full scans

Trend Micro Antivirus Mac provides excellent malware protection at a fair price. However, we found that it had a significant system impact during full scans.

You can ignore this drawback and you will find ransomware protection for selected folders, webcam security, social-media privacy scanner, and even a parental filter. Trend Micro’s interface may be a little outdated, but it works.

The program isn’t as good as Norton and Bitdefender, which offer better protection. Trend Micro Antivirus For Mac is a good choice, but there are better options.

5. Intego Mac Internet Safety X9

Amazing malware scanning speeds

Specifications

macOS compatibility: 10.9 Mavericks or later

Browser extensions: No

Yes, Firewall

Hardened/secure browser: No

No parental controls

Password manager:

Ransomware file protection No

Scan scheduling: Yes

No protection for webcams

VPN No

Support options: FAQs, email

There are many reasons to buy

+Solid malware protection+Blistering fast scans+Excellent legacy macOS support

Avoidable reasons

-Limited feature set-Disjointed user interface

Intego has been creating Mac antivirus software since 1997. Its Mac Security X9 provides fast scans, detailed malware detection, and a full-fledged firewall. It also supports older macOS versions, including 2013’s Mavericks.

Intego Mac Safety X9 is a reliable piece of software. It does its job well even though its interface is somewhat barebones. For a small fee, you can add Windows antivirus protection to your Mac.

We feel Intego’s high price is not justified by its limited feature set. Although paid Mac antivirus software like Bitdefender or Avast may include browser extensions, password managers, and VPNs to help justify the purchase, Intego’s additional features aren’t that different from free Mac antivirus software.

6. Sophos Home Premium

Large families are most cost-efficient

Specifications

macOS compatibility: macOS 10.11 (OS X El Capitan) or later

Browser extensions: No

Firewall

Hardened/secure browser: No

Parental control

Password manager:

Ransomware file protection No

Scan scheduling: Yes

Yes, webcam protection

VPN No

Chat tech support and live email are available from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. ET Mondays through Fridays

There are many reasons to buy

+Covers 10 systems+Ransomware protection+Parental site filters

Avoidable reasons

-Heavy background system impact – Untested malware detection

Sophos Home Premium offers protection for up to 10 computers (Mac or Windows) at a very affordable price. It also has parental web filters that can prevent children from viewing objectionable material online. You also get protection against ransomware, as well as for your microphone and webcam.

We found that its background system impact was more evident than those of its competitors, but not nearly as much as some Windows antivirus product’s system impact. It also had a very small effect on active scans.

The interface is simple and resides mostly in the menu bar. However, you can access a powerful online management tool for additional controls. Tech support is available from Monday to Friday for 12 hours, but only email and chat conversations are allowed.

We wish that we could have third-party lab-test data on the effectiveness of Sophos’ Mac malware scanner, which would help us rank it higher among Mac antivirus software.

7. McAfee Antivirus Plus

This is a great deal for large families but it lacks many features.

Specifications

macOS compatibility: macOS 10.11 (OS X El Capitan) or later

Browser extensions: Yes

Firewall

Hardened/secure browser: No

Parental controls are not required

Password manager:

Ransomware file protection No

Scan scheduling: Yes

No protection for webcams

VPN No

Support options: Online chat and phone

+Protects 10 devices+Low passive impact

Avoidable reasons

-Unproven detection rates-Huge system slowdowns during full scans-Confusing interface

McAfee Antivirus Plus’s 10-device license allows you to provide antivirus protection for your entire family (and/or Windows computers and Android phones) for an affordable yearly fee.

The program does not have many extra features that are available for Macs. This makes it difficult to recommend the program for Apple customers. Mac users only get a firewall. Windows users get ransomware protection, encryption protection, and a system optimizer. McAfee Antivirus Plus has a significant system impact during scans, as well as a confusing interface.

We don’t know how McAfee Antivirus Plus protects Mac malware. McAfee Antivirus Plus has not been tested against Mac malware in recent years, making it difficult to compare its protection with the best Mac antivirus software.

Also, consider

Kaspersky Internet Security For Mac

Flawless security in a flawed packaging

Specifications

macOS compatibility: macOS 10.12 Sierra or later

Browser extensions: Yes

No Firewall

Hardened/secure browser: Yes

Parental control: Yes, but only in limited circumstances

Password manager: Yes but only in limited circumstances

Ransomware file protection No

Scan scheduling: Yes

Yes, webcam protection

VPN: Yes, but only 300MB per day

Support options include 24/7 phone, chat, or email support; FAQs as well as documents

There are many reasons to buy

+Perfect malware detection+Hardened browser for banking, shopping+Webcam protection

Avoidable reasons

-Password manager, parental control, VPN very limited-Noticeable background

Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac offers excellent malware detection rates, minimal system impact during scans, and an intuitive user interface. Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac can turn off the MacBook’s webcam, which Apple doesn’t provide.

Kaspersky offers a web browser that is hardened for online banking and shopping, as well as browser extensions that protect you from malicious URLs and track cookies. They also advise you to avoid dangerous websites.

The best features are only teases. The password manager can only hold 15 items. Parental controls can only be used on one child device. No location tracking is possible. You get only 300MB data per day from the VPN service.

Unlimited versions of each version cost $15, $15, and $30 per annum, which isn’t too expensive. Norton 360 Standard offers two copies at no additional costs. Kaspersky won’t try to sell you more of them.

How to select the best Mac antivirus software

First, determine what antivirus software you need before you purchase or install Mac antivirus software. This process is similar to How to Shop for Windows Antivirus Software.

Are you able to use both Macs or Windows computers at home? Multiplatform, multi-device bundles such as Norton 360 Deluxe Deluxe, Sophos Home Premium, or McAfee Antivirus Plus are worth considering. Bitdefender and Kaspersky offer internet safety suites which ship with the same software that we highlighted.

Are you a Mac-only user? You don’t need to spend a lot: Bitdefender Antivirus Mac or Kaspersky Internet Security Mac will suffice for your needs.

Are you a parent of young children or teens? You might consider Mac antivirus software with parental controls and web-content filters such as Kaspersky Internet Security Mac or Sophos Premium Home Premium.

The next step is to determine how much you can afford. Avast Security Mac is a good option if you have a tight budget. These programs aren’t as reliable as paid programs, but that is the tradeoff.

If you have the budget to spend $50 per year, you’ll still have options. Many antivirus companies offer discounts up to 60% on their products, either directly from their website or through online retailers.

How to test the best Mac antivirus software

We evaluated each program based on their ease-of-use, interface, and impact on performance to determine the best Mac antivirus software. Each program was installed on the same 13″ 2016 MacBook Pro with macOS 11. Big Sur running 8GB RAM and 42GB data on a 256GB SSD.

Our tests were based on the impact each of the top Mac antivirus programs had on the laptop’s performance. The Geekbench 5 benchmarking software was used to run the tests. We also ran it again while running a full scan, and another time while running a quick scan.

We evaluated the ease of each Mac antivirus program as well as their useful extra features (including add-ons).

We used comprehensive testing results from AV-Test (a highly-respected independent product-testing laboratory in Germany) as well as AV-Comparatives, an Austrian testing company that is similarly respected. Both labs’ test results were used for the top Android antivirus apps.

You can find more information on how we rate other products and reviews them at the Tom’s Guide How We Test page.

 

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