Best mac antivirus cnet

Best mac antivirus cnet DEFAULT

Best antivirus software Protect your devices

While modern operating systems do an outstanding job of protecting against malware and viruses, the world of malicious software is a rapidly evolving one, and now random acts of destruction that were once the goal of viruses have been replaced with identity theft, phishing, ransomware, and intercepting internet traffic.

This fast-changing landscape is hard for OS makers to keep up with, as pushing patches for every malware attack, especially those unrelated to an underlying bug in the platform, is not feasible. This is where antivirus software -- which, these days, encompasses much more than real-time protection against viruses and adds features such as password management, VPN, firewall, parental controls, internet security, and protection against identity theft -- comes into play.

Kaspersky Total Security

Near-perfect malware detection score


There's a lot to like about Kaspersky Total Security. Right at the top of the list is its near-perfect malware detection score, along with a negligible effect on system performance. Kaspersky Total Security sits in the background discreetly until you need its help.

Then there's the five-device license that you get with a yearly subscription that covers Windows, Mac, iPhone and iPad, and Android devices. This is great for people with multiple devices because they don't need to spend extra money or go through a different learning curve for each platform.

Kaspersky Total Security comes with a huge range of features:

  • Blocks viruses, cryptolockers, and other threats
  • Protects payments
  • Secures passwords and images of personal documents
  • Encrypts data you send and receive online with a built-in VPN (MB/day/device)
  • Stops webcam spies watching you in your home
  • Advanced parental controls

View now at Kaspersky


Macs may be a far less tempting target for malware and viruses, but they’re not immune from attack. Even if you don’t care about adware or being used as means to infect users on other platforms, it’s still possible to fall victim to ransomware, password theft, or stolen iPhone backups.

Accordingly, good antivirus software will protect your Mac on all of these fronts. It’ll catch malware that’s still spreading or in circulation; block ransomware; protect older systems with out-of-date software from security vulnerabilities; prevent your Mac from acting as a carrier for malware aimed at other operating systems; and keep infected files off of any virtual machines you’re running.

Many antivirus suites provide a decent level of protection, but a few rise above all others by providing the very best in performance. Our top contenders dominate by posting perfect (or virtually near perfect) scores from security research labs, passing our own malware detection tests with flying colors, offering well-designed interfaces, and even throwing in extra features like a firewall or password manager.

Best antivirus for Mac reviews

If you have specific requirements or just wish to see other options, below is a list of all the antivirus software we’ve reviewed. We’ll keep evaluating new and refreshed software on a regular basis, so be sure to come back to see what else we’ve put through the ringer.

1. Sophos Home Premium for Mac

 Sophos Home Premium for Mac
Editors' Choice

Sophos Home Premium has it all: Effective malware protection, ransomware monitoring, protection against potentially-unwanted-apps, and additional features that often require separately licensed software. Its cloud-based configuration and generous licensing (up to 10 Macs and PCs) also make it easy to shield friends and family from threats, no matter where they live.

Read our full Sophos Home Premium for Mac review

2. AVG AntiVirus for Mac

 AVG AntiVirus for Mac

If you want simple virus protection that you can count on, AVG’s free tier is a good pick. When AV-Test put it to the test, it had a percent protection rate from samples. AV Comparatives’ scored it percent among Mac samples, and percent against Windows samples in the same test.

The interface will pitch you to upgrade to the paid AVG tier, which adds ransomware protection, phishing protection, and a Wi-Fi inspector for monitoring all the devices on your home network. But if you just want to scan your Mac for infected files and make sure new downloads aren’t carrying a virus payload, AVG’s free product is a fine choice.

Read our full AVG AntiVirus for Mac review

3. Avast Premium Security

 Avast Premium Security

Avast Premium Security offers top notch security for the price, but the question is do you want to pay that price? Avast isn’t cheap at $70 per year for a single device—though $90 for a year for 10 devices is not bad. The bigger issue is that Avast Free for Mac offers so much, getting the premium package may not be worth it.

Read our full Avast Premium Security review

4. Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac

Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac

Kaspersky Internet Security is a top-rated security suite with not a lot in terms of extra features. That’s to be expected for the non-deluxe version of any security line. The price is also right at just under $25 for a single device for year for new subscribers.

Read our full Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac review

5. Avira Free Antivirus for Mac

 Avira Free Antivirus for Mac

Avira Free Antivirus for Mac doesn’t offer much in the way of features, but its antivirus protection is top notch. We’d argue it’s the far better value than Avira Pro since there aren’t a lot of extra features worth paying for compared to the free version.

Read our full Avira Free Antivirus for Mac review

6. Avast Premium Security

 Avast Premium Security

Avast Premium Security offers top notch security for the price, but the question is do you want to pay that price? Avast isn’t cheap at $70 per year for a single device—though $90 for a year for 10 devices is not bad. The bigger issue is that Avast Free for Mac offers so much, getting the premium package may not be worth it.

Read our full Avast Premium Security review

7. Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac

 Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac does a good job in protection and the price is right. It’s not the security suite you want if you’re looking for a ton of extra features, and if you need tools such as parental control you need to upgrade to Bitdefender’s Total Protection subscription. Still, if all you need is solid protection for a few Macs then Bitdefender is worth a look.

Read our full Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac review

8. Norton Security Deluxe (Mac)

 Norton Security Deluxe (Mac)

Norton Security Deluxe is the most comprehensive security package we tested, but it lacks advanced monitoring of ransomware and complete Windows malware identification—the latter of which should be a given. Still, if you’re not concerned about ransomware and want an all-in-one suite, it’s the best option available.

Read our full Norton Security Deluxe (Mac) review

9. Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac

 Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac
Editors' Choice

Trend Micro Antivirus is a good program with well rated antivirus protection, and a simple, straightforward interface that users will appreciate. Anyone looking for additional features will be disappointed with this suite, but it offers good protection at a fair price.

Read our full Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac review

Airo Antivirus

 Airo Antivirus

Airo is built from the ground up for Mac. The interface is very easy to navigate, and early tests indicate its detection capabilities are very good. Some features that come standard in other suites are not yet a part of this one.

Read our full Airo Antivirus review

F-Secure Safe

 F-Secure Safe

F-Secure Safe is a top-tier suite that offers high quality protection, but doesn’t have much in the way of extras compared to similarly priced antivirus offerings. Still, if all you want is very good protection, and the option to purchase a suite for a varied number of devices, then F-Secure Safe is a good choice.

Read our full F-Secure Safe review

Malwarebytes Premium

 Malwarebytes Premium

Malwarebytes Premium is a no frills, anti-malware security program that is meant to be your full-time security suite. Its approach to detecting malware may not sit well with some, and its greatest strength continues to be finding and removing malicious code after it’s been installed.

Read our full Malwarebytes Premium review

ESET Cyber Security Pro

ESET Cyber Security Pro

ESET Cyber Security Pro provides solid protection at a good price of a single machine. This suite doesn’t offer a lot in the way of extras, and we’d like to see its network monitor develop into the more robust feature available on Windows. Still, for the price you get a good amount of protection against key threats on macOS.

Read our full ESET Cyber Security Pro review

Intego Mac Premium Bundle X9

 Intego Mac Premium Bundle X9

Intego’s Mac Premium Bundle X9 offers a ton of features and services. The company recently released more robust Windows malware detection for Macs, as well as a dedicated antivirus for Windows PCs. All Mac households may be happy with Intego’s offering, and those with mixed-OS homes might be fine but we’ll be happier once we see some third-party testing results for Intego’s new Windows malware detection.

Read our full Intego Mac Premium Bundle X9 review

Intego Mac Internet Security X9

 Intego Mac Internet Security X9

Intego’s software has no fatal flaws, but because of its lower ratings by security labs, minimal ransomware protection, and lack of native browser plug-ins, we don’t currently recommend it.

Read our full Intego Mac Internet Security X9 review

BullGuard Antivirus (Mac)

 BullGuard Antivirus (Mac)

Bullguard for Mac is unbelievably simple virus protection—perhaps too simple. If you already own a Windows license your Mac is a secondary machine, it might be worth it to add Bullguard to your Mac. 

Read our full BullGuard Antivirus (Mac) review

What to look for in antivirus software

By our reckoning, antivirus software should be able to neutralize a threat before it can begin wreaking havoc. That means preventing the download, installation, or execution of malicious software.

Since you can encounter threats by visiting compromised or malicious websites, receiving virus-laden attachments, or accessing USB drives with malware, good AV software should scan on a continuous basis unless you configure it otherwise. And ideally, files identified as malicious should be quarantined into a special storage area managed by the AV software, with the option to automatically delete files known to be malware or repair normal documents that also carry devious payloads.

Great AV suites also will monitor the filesystem for certain kinds of changes. Ransomware—which is malware that will rapidly encrypt user files like documents and mailboxes and then delete the originals—has become a huge moneymaker on other platforms. As a prime opportunity for attackers, it’s the greatest danger Mac users likely face as a category.

Detecting this pattern and halting it before any files are unavailable should be possible without an anti-malware system knowing the specific innards of a ransomware virus. Sophos, our top pick, includes this feature in the Home Premium version of its update. Other vendors, like Avast and Trend Micro Antivirus, offer an alternative feature that allows you to whitelist programs allowed to manipulate files in specific directories. So if this particular type of attack becomes rapidly popular, you’ll be protected.

Good antivirus software should also use minimal computational resources. That’s especially the case these days—AV monitoring hasn’t become much more complicated than when it first became available, and faster, multi-core CPUs can easily handle the demands of running AV software in the background without disturbing your active work.

Beyond these primary features, an easy-to-navigate interface and extra features are worth factoring into your decision. Some AV software are full-fledged suites that offer additional options like backup service for essential files, a password manager, parental controls, anti-tracking and privacy modes or options, a more advanced firewall, and the blocking of Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs).

How we test

Each software package is evaluated creating a clean installation of macOS Mojave, cloning it for each AV product, and then booting separately into each one to install a different package. This was to ensure that previous app installations didn’t interfere with new ones—sometimes AV software treats other AV software as an infection.

In addition to visiting malicious websites, downloading known malicious software, and even running said malware, we also reference the most recent reports from two labs that regularly cover macOS malware: AV Comparatives and AV-TEST. These laboratories test AV software against sets of known malware as well as products that are grouped as potentially unwanted applications (like adware).

The latter doesn’t damage or expose your computer or its files but may consume power and CPU cycles. Because the testing effectively looks at a combination of virus databases and behavior, they remain good gauges even after many months. When an antivirus software package lacks a rating from a known security research lab, we do more extensive testing with real malware.

Finally, while we gave props for a lot of different features and behaviors, we marked products down if they lacked any or all of the following:

  • A nearly perfect score on macOS malware detection
  • Ransomware monitoring
  • Native browser plug-in or system-level Web proxy
  • A high score on Windows malware detection

Privacy concerns

Using an anti-virus product, especially any that includes tools to also improve your online privacy, may lull you into believing you’re safe from personal and private information leaking out. That’s not quite the case. While there’s no reason to panic, you should consider a few reasonable issues.

First, an antivirus product may upload the complete text of files flagged to the cloud, where it can be analyzed by separate tools hosted there. This practice is normal and sensible: Some malware can detect when a running process may examine it, and will then engage in subterfuge. Antivirus software makers also can access their massive databases to examine files with characteristics that trigger their algorithms—certain elements that match known malware. As a result, security researchers discover new viruses, worms, Trojans horses, and the like.

However, helping the greater good means you’ll have to be comfortable with trusting a third-party with your file contents. Where appropriate, we noted privacy policy issues in individual reviews.

Second, this software may also rely partly or entirely on cloud-based checks of URLs, malware, and the like. Accordingly, an AV package might upload every URL you visit, metadata about files, signatures of files, information about your computer’s hardware, a list of running or installed applications, and more. Companies vary on their disclosure of such policies, and may not let you opt out of this kind of sharing. We note issues in each review as available.

Third, anti-virus software makers also get a sense of what behavior is happening on your computer that’s being monitored or blocked, and may use that information for their own purposes. In some cases, you can opt out of this information gathering.

  1. Hand drum box
  2. 26mm mikuni carb diagram
  3. Ezdrummer pop punk
  4. Shiplap prepasted wallpaper

The best Mac antivirus software in

Dear Mac users: You need one of the best Mac antivirus programs on your machine.

That's because Macs do get infected with malware, despite Apple's claims of years past. Mac malware has increased a lot in the past few years, and today's Macs are also plagued by adware, scareware and potentially unwanted programs.

Unfortunately, Apple's built-in antivirus protections, including Gatekeeper and XProtect, don't always work that well. The best Mac antivirus programs do better, quickly spotting malware no one has ever seen before and double-checking malicious files "signed" with an Apple developer ID.

Many Mac antivirus programs also check for Windows malware, which can lurk on Macs to infect PCs on the same local network. Some Mac antivirus programs also come with useful extras such as password managers, system optimizers or VPN services.

The top 3 best Mac antivirus brands

2. Norton has the best feature set
Norton Standard includes a password manager, unlimited VPN data, a firewall and Dark Web monitoring, features you don't often see with Mac antivirus software.View Deal

3. Avast offers the best free Mac antivirus
Avast Security for Mac may cost nothing, but it doesn't cut corners. Its malware protection is top-notch, its system impact is minimal and it's dialed back the annoying ads upselling you to a paid version. View Deal

What is the best Mac antivirus program?

We think Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac is the best Mac antivirus program you can buy. It had nearly no impact on system performance in our own tests, caught all Mac and Windows malware in lab tests, rolls back files encrypted by ransomware and hardens your web browser against online attacks. It also offers MB of VPN data daily, although that's just a tease for the unlimited VPN service.

Close behind is Norton Standard, which has even better malware detection plus an unlimited VPN and password manager. Norton catches all Mac and Windows malware in lab tests, has a very small system-performance impact and includes LifeLock dark-web monitoring.

Our favorite free option is Avast Security for Mac, which has nearly perfect malware protection and an easy-to-use interface. Its system-performance impact is less than it once was, and it no longer nags you to upgrade to paid Avast products.

Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac has perfect malware-detection scores, webcam protection and a hardened web browser. It offers MB of daily VPN usage, but its password manager and parental controls are also limited unless you pay more.

There's not much wrong with Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac, except for a rather heavy system-performance impact during full scans. It shields files from ransomware, protects your webcam and very good malware protection. Yet it doesn't do much to stand out from the crowd.

Intego Mac Internet Security X9 comes from the granddaddy of all Mac antivirus companies, and its detection and protection skills are very good. But it's got a relatively sparse set of tools and features that resemble those of free antivirus apps.

Sophos Home Premium is a hidden gem. It has few extra features, but protects your Mac's webcam and has web filters for children and dedicated protection against ransomware. You can protect up to 10 Mac or PCs for a bargain price.

McAfee Antivirus Plus is also an inexpensive device bundle protecting Macs, PCs and Android devices. But it's got few extra features for Mac and its scans can create large system slowdowns. Its Mac malware protection performs a notch below those of Bitdefender and Sophos.

Malwarebytes for Mac Premium has never had malware-detection lab tests, but Malwarebytes' Windows consumer antivirus software does not do well. However, we can recommend the free Malwarebytes for Mac, an excellent cleanup tool that's the perfect complement to good Mac antivirus software.

The best Mac antivirus software you can get

1. Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac

The best antivirus program for Macs: light, fast, strong and easy to use

Reasons to buy

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

Reasons to avoid

-Lacks some features Windows version has

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac has an easy-to-use interface, affordable pricing, nearly flawless malware detection and a very light system-performance impact. For those reasons, it's once again our Editor's Choice for best Mac antivirus software.

Unusually for a Mac antivirus program, Bitdefender can roll back ransomware encryption, including on Time Machine backups. It also offers extensions to harden your web browser and blocks online trackers to protect your privacy. The Autopilot and Bitdefender Shield features keep the software running without much human intervention.

The only downsides are the absence of the password manager that comes with the Windows version of Bitdefender Antivirus, and that the Bitdefender VPN service is limited to MB per day unless you pay more. Other than that, it's a nearly perfect Mac antivirus program.

Read our full Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac review.

2. Norton Standard

The best feature set among Mac antivirus programs, including unlimited VPN service

Reasons to buy

+Flawless malware detection+Massive feature set. including unlimited VPN and password manager+Almost no impact on system performance

Reasons to avoid

-Expensive for a single license-Parental controls, cloud storage don't work on Macs

Norton Standard has a ton of useful extras, including unlimited VPN service and an unlimited password manager, two features for which its rivals make you pay extra. It's also got a two-way firewall, a system optimizer and dark-web monitoring of your personal data.

More importantly, Norton Standard has a very small impact on system performance, always-available tech support and, last but not least, flawless detection of Mac malware.

You'll pay a lot for these luxuries, however, although you'll be saving money on the cost of a stand-alone VPN or password manager. We hope that Mac users will soon get the parental controls, webcam protections and backup software that Windows users of Norton Standard already have.

Read our full Norton Standard review.

3. Avast Security for Mac

The best free antivirus for Macs

Reasons to buy

+Excellent antivirus protection+Light system-performance impact+Screens out malicious websites

Reasons to avoid

-Limited features-Weak customer support

Avast Security for Mac has improved a lot since it was called Avast Free Mac Security. The malware-detection rate is now nearly perfect, the system-performance impact is much less and the annoying ads that tried to upsell you to Avast paid programs have been drastically dialed back.

Avast also screens websites for phishing scams and other common threats and scans your Wi-Fi network for outdated devices and unwelcome guests. Its interface is attractive and easy to navigate, but be aware that some of the features, including ransomware rollbacks, are available only to paying customers.

The password manager and the email-attachment screener have disappeared, however, and the tech support is limited to online documents. Still, if you want a solid, dependable Mac antivirus program for nothing, this is the one to get.

Read our full Avast Security for Mac review.

4. Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac

Flawless security in a flawed package

Reasons to buy

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

Reasons to avoid

-Password manager, parental controls, VPN very limited-Noticeable background impact

Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac has perfect malware-detection rates, a light system impact during scans and an intuitive user interface. It can even turn off the webcam on a MacBook, a feature that Apple itself doesn't offer.

Kaspersky also offers a hardened web browser for use while banking or shopping online, plus browser extensions that block malicious URLs and tracking cookies and advise you to steer clear of risky websites.

However, the best extra features are just teases. The password manager holds only 15 items. The parental controls are limited to a single child device without location tracking. The VPN service gives you only MB of data per day. 

Unlimited versions of each cost $15, $15 and $30 per year, respectively, which isn't terribly expensive, but Norton Standard gives you two of those at no extra costs.    At least Kaspersky doesn't persistently try to upsell you on them. 

Read our full Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac review.

5. Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac

Excellent security without any standout features

Reasons to buy

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

Reasons to avoid

-Outdated user interface-Heavy performance hit during full scans

Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac offers very good malware protection for a reasonable price, but it has a very heavy system impact during full scans.

If you can overlook that drawback, you'll find ransomware protection for designated folders, webcam protection, a social-media privacy scanner and even a parental web filter. Trend Micro's interface is a bit old-fashioned, but it works.

However, the program doesn't really stand out when rivals such as Bitdefender and Norton offer more. You could certainly do worse than Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac, but you could also do better.

6. Intego Mac Internet Security X9

Amazing malware scanning speeds

Reasons to buy

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

Reasons to avoid

-Limited feature set-Disjointed user interface

Intego has been making Mac antivirus software since , and its Mac Security X9 offers very fast scans, thorough malware detection and a full-fledged firewall. The program also supports legacy macOS versions going all the way back to 's Mavericks. 

Intego Mac Security X9 is a solid piece of software that does its job well, even if its user interface is a bit bare-bones. You can even toss in effective Windows antivirus protection for a small extra fee.

But Intego's relatively high price doesn't quite match its sparse feature set. While other paid Mac antivirus programs might toss in browser extensions, a password manager or even a VPN to justify the purchase, Intego's extra features aren't too different from what you'd get with free Mac antivirus software.

Read our full Intego Mac Internet Security X9 review.

7. Sophos Home Premium

Most cost-effective for large families

Reasons to buy

+Covers 10 systems+Ransomware protection+Parental website filters

Reasons to avoid

-Heavy background system impact-Untested malware detection

Sophos Home Premium can protect up to 10 computers, Mac or Windows, for a low price and its parental web filters can stop kids from seeing objectionable material online. It also has dedicated protections against ransomware and for your webcam and microphone.

Its background system impact is more noticeable than its competitors', although nowhere near the system impact of some Windows antivirus products. It's got a relatively small impact during active scans.

The interface is minimal and mostly lives in the menu bar; for more controls, there's a powerful online management tool. Tech support is 12 hours a day, Monday through Friday, and limited to email and chat interactions.

We just wish we had some third-party lab-test data about the efficacy of Sophos' Mac malware scanner, which might place it higher among the best Mac antivirus software programs.

Read our full Sophos Home Premium review.

8. McAfee Antivirus Plus

Another bargain for large families, but fairly sparse on features

Reasons to buy

+Protects 10 devices+Low passive system impact

Reasons to avoid

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

McAfee Antivirus Plus's generous device license means you can provide antivirus protection for a whole family of Macs (and/or Windows PCs and Android phones) for a reasonable yearly fee.

But the program doesn't have a lot of extra features for Macs, which makes it hard to recommend for Apple customers. All Mac users really get is a firewall, while Windows users get ransomware protection, cryptojacking protection and a system optimizer. McAfee Antivirus Plus also has a heavy system impact during scans and a confusing interface.

Furthermore, we don't know really how well McAfee Antivirus Plus protects against Mac malware. There haven't been any recent Mac malware-detection testing scores for McAfee, so its protection powers are impossible to compare with those of the best Mac antivirus software.

Read our full McAfee Antivirus Plus review.

Despite its fast scans, light impact on system performance, and bright, easy-to-use interface, Malwarebytes for Mac Premium feels half cooked.

The program doesn't have many of the extra features its competitors offer, such as malicious-website blocking and email scanning. And because its malware-blocking skills haven't been evaluated in lab tests, we don't actually know how good Malwarebytes is at protecting your Mac.

However, we do recommend the free version, Malwarebytes for Mac. It is not truly antivirus software, but an excellent post-infection cleanup tool that also gets rid of the annoying adware and unwanted programs that antivirus software tends to miss.

You might want to let the two-week Malwarebytes Premium trial expire and instead use the free tier alongside some of the best Mac antivirus software.

Read our full Malwarebytes for Mac Premium review.

How to choose the best Mac antivirus software for you

Before you buy or install Mac antivirus software, you have to figure out what you really need. Do you have both Macs and Windows PCs at home? Then consider a multiplatform, multi-device bundle such as Norton Deluxe, Sophos Home Premium or McAfee Antivirus Plus. Bitdefender and Kaspersky also offer multiplatform bundles that come with the same software we've reviewed here.

Or do you have only Macs? If so, no need to go overboard: The one- or three-device versions of Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac or Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac should do you just fine.

Do you have young children or teenagers living at home? Consider Mac antivirus software that comes with parental controls or web-content filters, like Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac or Sophos Home Premium.

Then figure out how much you can afford. If the answer is "nothing," then try Avast Security for Mac or the free tier of Sophos Home. The trade-off is that those aren't as good as many of the paid programs.

But if you can afford to spend $50 a year, then you've got a lot of options. Most of the antivirus companies frequently offer discounts of up to 60%, both straight from their websites or through online retailers, at least for the first purchase.

How we test the best Mac antivirus programs

To determine which of the above choices is the best Mac antivirus software, we evaluated ease of use, interface and performance impact. We installed each AV program on the same inch MacBook Pro running macOS 11 Big Sur. It was powered by a GHz Intel Core i5 processor and had 8GB of RAM and 42GB of data stored on a GB SSD.

We conducted our own tests based on how much each of the best Mac antivirus programs affected our laptop's performance. To do this, we used the Geekbench 5 benchmarking tool and ran it before installation of each antivirus program, then again after installation, once more during a full scan and then again during a quick scan.

We assessed how easy each of the best Mac antivirus programs was to use and the number of useful extra features it offered (including free add-on software). 

To gauge how effective each package was at stopping malware, we used the results of evaluations conducted by AV-Test, a well-regarded independent product-testing lab in Germany, and results from other tests conducted by AV-Comparatives, a similarly well-respected company in Austria. (Both labs also test the best Android antivirus apps.)

iOS antivirus apps

A lot of people want iOS antivirus software for their iPhones and iPads. The truth is that such software doesn't exist. Apple won't let third-party apps examine other iOS apps, or even inspect new apps as they're installed. Anything that claims to be antivirus software swiftly gets kicked out of the iTunes App Store.

Many major antivirus vendors, including F-Secure, McAfee, Norton and Trend Micro, do have "security" apps in the App Store. But these check web links for known malicious sites, locate lost devices or pretend to protect your privacy. None scans an iPhone for malware.

There has been real iOS malware that affects non-jailbroken devices, but it's very rarely cropped up. In each instance, Apple has pushed out a new version of iOS to stop the malware in a matter of days or weeks. Generally, if you keep your Apple mobile device updated to the latest version of iOS, you should be safe.

Paul Wagenseil is a senior editor at Tom's Guide focused on security and privacy. He has also been a dishwasher, fry cook, long-haul driver, code monkey and video editor. He's been rooting around in the information-security space for more than 15 years at, SecurityNewsDaily, TechNewsDaily and Tom's Guide, has presented talks at the ShmooCon, DerbyCon and BSides Las Vegas hacker conferences, shown up in random TV news spots and even moderated a panel discussion at the CEDIA home-technology conference. You can follow his rants on Twitter at @snd_wagenseil.

Best antivirus software for Mac in 2021

The best free antivirus platforms for Mac in

If you’re a Mac user, you probably love the sleek desktop experience and how easy it is to use and understand. Luckily, it&#;s not the most popular target for malware authors, but having antivirus software installed on your Mac can certainly give you peace of mind.

Finding the right antivirus software can be challenging because so many options are only compatible with Windows. However, there are plenty of antivirus solutions offered to Mac owners. Here are our top antivirus software picks for Mac, with each one being specially tailored to protect your Apple computer.

Further reading

Malwarebytes Free

Malwarebytes for Mac

Windows users have long turned to the Malwarebytes free version as a backup for always-on antivirus software. The Mac version started as an adware removal tool, but as of today, it&#;s also a full-fledged tool for protecting your machine against other forms of malware. Plus, it&#;s just as effective in MacOS as it is in Windows, a fact that&#;s aided by the team&#;s constant research on current threats. In fact, the company identified the first Mac malware threat in

Using the app couldn&#;t be easier. Just select Scan, and the software quickly alerts you to any malware infection &#; often when other antivirus software misses something. Like the Windows iteration of the free version, though, this is not an always-on solution and is thus more suited for performing deep scans and ridding yourself of particularly pernicious threats like the fake Adobe Zii malware.

The Free version only cleans an infected Mac while everything else &#; from preventing infections to updates &#; expires after 14 days. You need the premium version for live protection, which for one Mac costs $ for 12 months or $ for 24 months.

Avast Security

Avast for Mac

Avast Security for Mac is one of the most popular security suites available, and it&#;s easy to see why. It&#;s effective and free for noncommercial use, providing on-demand tools for quickly performing full-system malware scans. It also sifts through specific email threads, attachments, and various web activities. It even offers drag-and-drop scanning for individual files and phishing protection, along with the ability to scan external drives and attached volumes.

The app&#;s interface is straightforward and self-explanatory. It features a navigational pane on the left that consists of five primary buttons and a real-time graph that aggregates shield activity and allows you to quickly check the overall stats of your Mac.

If privacy is particularly important, you may want to keep in mind the recent reports that Avast does collect, and it also sells customer web browsing data. And while Avast does admit to doing so, the company also maintains that it does not collect names, email addresses, or contact details. Users have the option to opt out of sharing their data.

If you want the Premium version, it costs $70 annually for one Mac license.

Sophos Home Free

Sophos Security for Mac

Straddling the line somewhere between necessity and excess, Sophos offers all the basic utilities you expect from quality antivirus software and a whole lot more. It has on-demand, scheduled, and custom scans for specified files, folders, and drives, along with additional tools for deleting and quarantining any software Sophos deems a potential threat.

The software incorporates real-time protection features that quarantine unknown files exhibiting suspicious behavior. Although the app tends to scan slower than most, it&#;s fairly lightweight. It unobtrusively performs vital background tasks while barely leeching or exhausting your system&#;s resources.

Despite its robust feature set, Sophos manages to cram all this functionality into a compact interface. Initiating a full-system scan can be done directly from the top of the main menu, and you can configure exemptions quickly from easily navigable menus. The malware definitions also are constantly updated, ensuring the app is never without the latest knowledge of potential threats. It&#;s one of the most hands-off antivirus apps on the market, and as such, sits among the best.

The free version includes ransomware monitoring, webcam protection, and live support options, but all of these expire after 30 days. You&#;ll need to get the $per-year premium version to keep these features.

Bitdefender Virus Scanner

Bitdefender for Mac

Built upon the company&#;s award-winning antivirus engine, Bitdefender Virus Scanner features a host of scan options, allowing users to quickly perform deep scans of the entire system or target specific locations. If granted, it even provides an option for scanning critical locations &#; such as launch agents and the entire system library &#; allowing users to bypass lengthier scans when pressed for time.

This antivirus software automatically updates with Bitdefender&#;s hourly malware definitions before scanning while providing a quick means for blacklisting specific locations from system scans. It attempts to disinfect and quarantine suspicious files, and though the feature is not unique to this software, it can also quickly search for malware within various archives and file types (PDF, PKG, ZIP, RAR, etc.).

From the home screen, users can choose four different scanning options, in addition to an Update button and a View Quarantine button. It&#;s all very easy to understand and use.

In addition to the desktop version, you can get it straight from the Mac App Store.

Avira Free Antivirus

Avira for Mac

Avira strikes a nice balance between ease of use and quick access to advanced utilities, ultimately rendering basic system scans just as simple to execute as those that are scheduled and file-specific. The software includes standard spyware and adware protection, along with the ability to intercept harmful websites and block tracking. If it finds an infected file or folder, it can repair or delete the problem. It can also scan USB devices for any potential dangers.

Avira’s full-feature interface uses a left-hand navigation bar for viewing the system’s status, scheduling tasks, and viewing past quarantine history, among other options. This antivirus will provide you with up-to-date information about threats. It’s resource-heavy but capable enough when looking for automation, scan history, and other advanced features.

One distinction between Avira and our other recommended choices is that it uses more system resources. Consider yourself warned, but there is a lengthy installation process as you&#;re starting; the updates also tend to eat up a lot of time as well. The slow-rolling installation and updating isn&#;t a huge problem considering the meager price and comprehensive antivirus tool, but it&#;s definitely an inconvenience.

If you need more than what the free tool provides, Avira Internet Security adds advanced ransomware protection, real-time alerts, and more for a single Mac at $58 per year.


If you’re looking for a hands-off solution, AVG Antivirus for Mac is a solid option. AVG runs quietly in the background, offering live protection and schedule scans, as well as the option to manually scan your system or specific files if you&#;re concerned. AVG draws from a constantly updating database of known viruses and can even catch “zero-day” threats.

It offers both local and web-based protection, watching for malware downloads and malicious links, as well as email attachments that may contain nefarious software.

The user interface is intuitive, and though it pushes you toward some of AVG&#;s premium offerings, it gives you plenty of information to know how secure your system is.

The premium version offers added layers of protection, including guards against ransomware and phishing malware. It typically costs $70 per year, but you can get the first year for just $


Bonus option for a little extra protection: Antivirus Zap

Antivirus Zap

If you&#;re someone who is okay with shelling out a little more for software, Antivirus Zap may be a decent option for you. Antivirus Zap is a Mac security app that conducts brief virus scans and hunts for potential places prone to viruses. It also implements a longer, full scan that analyzes your entire system.

Antivirus Zap proves its worth through its user-friendly and simple interface. It&#;s quite a useful download, offering various fun extras such as &#;browser restore,&#; which eliminates caches, cookies, and extensions gathered during browsing. This clears your browser, erasing issues, and boosting computer speed. Additionally, Antivirus Zap can scan and protect all systems used on your Mac computer, including Windows Boot Camp partitions and external networks.

In addition to the desktop software, you can install the app version from the Mac App Store.

Editors&#; Recommendations


Cnet antivirus best mac

Even if you surf the web on a secure browser and use threat-detection software, it can be all too easy for an insidious program to wind up on your machine, and that can lead to chaos such as identity theft. This is why anyone with a Windows PC should install antivirus software on their machine the moment it's out of the box and should update that software regularly to stay ahead. Antivirus software is an essential tool for identity protection, and there's just too much personal information on your computer these days to risk one without online threat protection. 

We regularly research and test our options to determine which software leads the pack, because not all antivirus software programs are created equal. The best antivirus software is a program that includes features like malware protection, monitors downloads and observes your system's activity for malicious software and suspicious behavior. And also offers a secure browser experience in the process.

If you're looking for malware protection and antivirus software with the best security features, here's the first thing you need to know: Microsoft Defender Antivirus -- the free antivirus software and virus protection program that comes with Windows 10 -- is a decent antivirus tool for protecting your PC and offering internet security. (Amazingly, Microsoft provided no built-in protection for Windows back in the days of Windows 98 and XP.) Using Microsoft Defender for threat detection should be your starting point for the best antivirus security on Windows and most people will find they don't need to go any further when it comes to nailing down an antivirus solution for identity theft protection.

However, keeping your personal data safe and guarding your privacy extends beyond virus protection, and that's where third-party antivirus software shines. A full AV software protection package can monitor your Windows operating system as well as MacOS, iOS and Android devices and include a password manager, secure online backup, identity theft protection, a VPN, parental control, webcam protection, protection against phishing and malicious websites and more -- all worthwhile security suite tools that can keep your data secure and guard your privacy.

To help you decide on the best antivirus software for your needs, I've put together a list of the best antivirus products for Windows 10, encompassing both free antivirus programs and subscription options. These picks of the best antivirus programs are a combination of recommendations from independent third-party labs AV-Test, AV-Comparatives and SE Labs, as well as our own hands-on testing. This best antivirus software list is updated periodically.

We would also like to note that antivirus software isn't the only security feature you should invest in. A secure VPN to protect your internet traffic, a password manager to keep track of login credentials and an end-to-end encrypted messaging app to stop others from spying on your communications are all essential in protecting your personal information. Cybercriminals are becoming increasingly more sophisticated and high-profile attacks like the Columbia Pipeline hack are becoming more commonplace, which is concerning.

Now playing:Watch this: Best antivirus software for Windows ( edition)

Our recommendations

Looking for free antivirus protection, malware protection or virus detection, willing to pay for an antivirus program that offers broad internet security coverage across all your devices, including from ransomware and phishing, or need to remove a computer virus or malware from your PC right now? Here's where to start when looking for the best antivirus software for your needs.

Best free Windows antivirus

Microsoft Defender


Free version? Yes, free antivirus built into Windows 10

Paid version: Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection is available to corporate users for a fee

Honestly, if you practice safe computing -- you keep your software up to date, you use strong passwords (with the help of a password manager), you steer clear of unexpected emails and you don't click suspicious links that may be phishing attempts -- you probably can avoid zero-day attacks and ransomware attacks. And with the free Microsoft Defender Antivirus software running on Windows 10, you have a malware protection safety net if you do let your guard down. In fact, it is one of the best antivirus software. (Note that Microsoft changed the name of Windows Defender to Microsoft Defender and has expanded the service to other platforms.) This free antivirus program is built into Windows and it's turned on by default, the antivirus engine does its thing, and this antivirus solution will cover the basics of internet security. Microsoft pushes new updates frequently. Defender also lets you tune the level of protection you want, giving you control over blocking potentially unwanted apps and protecting folders and files from a ransomware attack. 

Note that Windows 10 will automatically disable its own Windows Defender antivirus when you install third-party antivirus. If you uninstall the third-party protection, Windows 10 will turn back on its own antivirus.

Best antivirus subscription for Windows

Norton with LifeLock Select


Platforms: Windows 10 plus MacOS, Android, iOS

Cost: $ per year for five devices, on sale for $

For a long time, Norton Security -- now called NortonLifeLock, and no longer part of Symantec -- has earned high marks from AV-Test, AV Comparatives and SE Labs for virus and malware detection. A five-device subscription for Norton with LifeLock Select is normally $, but you can sign up for this virus protection software for $ for the first year to get mobile security coverage across your PCs, Mac devices, Android devices, iPhones and iPads. (Note, we don't think antivirus protection is terribly useful outside the Windows realm.) In addition to malware and virus protection for your computer and mobile device, this security suite provides GB of backup to the cloud, safe-browsing tools, a secure VPN, password manager, parental controls and LifeLock identity theft protection and fraud alert. While not all of those services are necessarily best in their respective class, getting them all in one package is a compelling option.

Best free antivirus alternative for Windows

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition


Platforms: Windows 10 plus MacOS, Android, iOS

Free version? Yes

Paid version: $40 per year for five PCs

If you'd like to take a step up in securing your PC without taxing your wallet, it's hard to beat Bitdefender's free antivirus software for Windows The Windows security software offers real-time monitoring for viruses, malware, spyware and ransomware protection. Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition is easy to set up and stays out of your way until you need it. And the protection this antivirus product offers is solid. Bitdefender antivirus software consistently earns top marks for its antivirus protection and usability from the respected AV-Test independent testing lab. The free antivirus version covers one Windows PC. For broader protection, Bitdefender Total Security is usually $90 and available at the moment for $40 for the first year. The subscription antivirus suite lets you protect five devices (Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android), set up parental controls on a kid's computer and run a VPN.

Are Macs REALLY Safer?


Now discussing:


42 43 44 45 46