The best antivirus options for Mac

As a macOS user, you’ve probably heard that your computer doesn’t need anti-virus software to protect it from malware. Unfortunately, that’s just a myth that was debunked a long time ago.

If you’re looking for a new antivirus package for your Mac, there are a few things to consider before choosing. In addition to the price factor, you should consider other factors such as malware detection rate, user interface, and scanning speed.

To make your choice easier, we’ve selected the best antivirus for Mac including both free and paid options.

Some of the links in this article contain affiliate links, which help us pay writers. Please consider using the links here if making a purchase.

Do you need anti-virus software for your Mac?

Getting an antivirus for Mac is not necessary, but recommended. Your Mac has a way of protecting itself thanks to a Unix-like operating system. Among the tools macOS uses to protect itself from malware are the Xprotect anti-malware scanner that runs in the background and Gatekeeper that scans for any unknown apps that could potentially harm your PC.

Illustration of a Mac laptop with a virus shield

You can also reduce the risk of your Mac getting a virus by following basic security protocols.

Update your Mac regularly

One of the most basic security measures you can take to protect your Mac is to keep it up to date. Your Mac will usually prompt you to do so when a system update is available. However, you can manually check for updates.

Automatically keep my Mac up to date checkboxes

Go Apple menu > System Preferences > Software updates. In that same menu, you can set your Mac to automatically install updates.

Do not install suspicious apps

Installing software from an unknown source can also lead to infection of your computer. To be on the safe side, try to only use apps from the App Store or those signed with developer certificates.

Another good method is to remove Adobe Flash as it can also be a source of viruses. Most websites don’t use Flash anymore, and if you need to, there’s still a way to play Flash files in your browser.

Use VPN

Using a VPN service can effectively help you avoid malware infection on your Mac. That’s especially relevant if you’re someone who often connects to hotspots and public WiFi networks.

VPN logo

Some antivirus packages include a VPN, so you don’t need to purchase or download it separately. After all, despite following all the security practices mentioned above, getting an antivirus for your Mac can still be worth your money and time. Even if it just gives you peace of mind.

Top free antivirus options for Mac

If you’re looking for a basic malware removal tool without any premium features like VPN access or a personal firewall, you’ll be fine with free antivirus.

Here are some of the best antivirus options for Mac.

Avast Security for Mac

Avast website

Price: Free. Premiums start at $99 per year, but use our link and it’s 50% off.

Avast Security For Mac is a great choice for anyone who wants to install a program once and forget about malware. Avast allows you to run system-wide or targeted scans on specific parts of your system, like a specific drive, folder, or even a single file. You can also schedule automatic scans to run at certain times when your Mac is not available.

Avast has both free and paid premium versions. Premium features include ransomware detection and real-time WiFi security alerts.

Malwarebytes for Mac

Malwarebytes . Window

Price: Free. Premium usually starts at $39.99 per year, but use the link and get it for $29.99.

Malwarebytes For Mac is another great basic antivirus. Among its advantages are clear simple interface and lightweight installation. You can use it for quick scans and basic malware removal. However, if you want real-time protection, you will have to download the premium paid version.

Sophos’ homepage

Sophos' homepage

Price: Free. Premiums start at $30 per year.

For those who are looking for an option with extra features but are still not willing to pay for them, Sophos Home is the best solution. This antivirus is packed with useful attributes that you don’t always find in premium versions. That includes real-time protection, browser filtering to block potentially dangerous websites, and parental controls to monitor your child’s Internet usage.

Even the free version of Sophos Home lets you use it on multiple (up to three) Mac or Windows devices. You can also get a premium if you want add-ons like anti-ransomware protection and the option to cover up to 10 devices to protect the whole family.

The best paid antivirus options for Mac

If you don’t mind spending a little on antivirus and you feel like the free options aren’t enough to get rid of stubborn malware, try one of the following premium antivirus packages .

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac

Bitdefender Website

Price: Starting at $19.99 per year.

If you’re worried about the security of your Mac but don’t want to pay a lot for antivirus, check out Bitdefender Antivirus first. It comes with a bunch of handy features like ransomware protection, blocking suspicious websites, and anti-phishing protection.

Bitdefender also helps you maintain your privacy while surfing the web. As part of the antivirus package, you get access to Bitdefender VPN.

Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac

Trend Micro's website

Price: Starting at $29.95 per year.

Trend Micro Antivirus For Mac is also one of the top performers when it comes to malware protection. Top features of the app include social media protection to keep the data you share online safe, email filtering to detect phishing, and extensive parental control options.

The main downside here is that Trend Micro allows you to use anti-virus software on only one device. If that’s not a deal breaker for you, look no further.

Norton 360

Norton 360 . Website

Price: Starting at $39.99 per year.

Norton 360 is a premium all-in-one antivirus that offers multiple layers of online privacy and protection. Depending on the plan you choose, you can include up to 5 devices and up to 100GB of cloud storage to back up your PC.

Other perks you get with Norton 360 include strong malware protection, a smart firewall, a password manager, and even dark web monitoring. The latter means that Norton will notify you if any of your personal information is found on the Dark Web. One of the biggest perks, though, is access to Norton Secure VPN included with your antivirus package.

Get extra protection for your computer

Even if you use all the security tools available on your Mac and follow the protocols, you shouldn’t assume your Mac is safe from malware. Regardless of what operating system you run, having an extra layer of protection for your computer in the form of an antivirus is still a good call.

Do you think it’s necessary to run anti-virus software on your Mac? Share your security methods with us in the comments section below.

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