Our Methodology for Identifying the Best Mac OS Antivirus
Malware Protection and Detection
Antivirus software is only as good as the degree of protection that it provides for your device. After all, what good is an antivirus if it cannot detect and protect against malware? For us, this is the most important parameter for choosing an antivirus for our Macs. Antivirus software that has a higher detection rate is better at protecting you against new threats, but that’s just one piece of the puzzle. After all, more and more people are using iOS devices, including Apple’s smartphones, meaning they’ve become more and more targeted by hackers.
An antivirus must also have access to an up-to-date virus definition database. The best Mac antivirus app should, at least, have daily updates of the virus definitions and always keep tabs on the bad actors and the new variants being developed. Of course, automatic updates are a must.
We also take into account the variety of malware each antivirus is able to detect and remove. These days, it’s especially important to secure protection from ransomware, which has become one of the most common attack methods that can devastate computers and bank accounts. It goes without saying that the more types of malware the antivirus can detect and remove, the better.
Antivirus apps aren’t limited to just scanning and blocking digital nasties. Nowadays, the most secure Mac antivirus offers much more. Cybersecurity companies usually try to create all-in-one security solutions for businesses and home users. This not only provides better protection for your Mac, but it also improves the value of the product.
Some of the more common additions to antiviruses include firewalls, VPNs, and password managers. Parental controls are available, enabling you to protect your children from inappropriate online content and block certain websites on all your devices.
Most people use multiple devices, and a good Mac antivirus must be able to accommodate users by offering appropriate subscription plans. At least, that’s the kind of a deal we’re hoping to find when reviewing the different software. We don’t have just one computer in our homes, not to mention if you’re a small business owner with a dozen Macs in your office. Obviously, the more licenses in a single subscription, the better. In addition, we value subscriptions that aren’t linked to one type of device. For example, you can buy an antivirus for Apple computers that can also be used for Windows PCs and smartphones.
Our top Mac antivirus list only includes software with multi-platform and multi-user licenses, usually configurable, so you can pick the exact number of licenses you need.
While we absolutely appreciate it when an antivirus is more affordable than some of the competition, we also look at different discounts offered by the manufacturer. These can include discounts on multi-year contracts, combo deals, or promotional codes. Of course, the value proposition is the most important here. We’re primarily looking for a healthy balance between a nice set of features and a low enough price.
Our Picks: The Best Mac Antivirus Apps
- Kaspersky Internet Security
- Norton 360 Deluxe
- Sophos Home
- ESET Cyber Security
Do you need virus protection on a Mac?
Believe it or not, Macs are not immune to viruses. In just one year, the number of detections more than doubled. Some of these were even rated as the most dangerous threats. As such, it’s highly recommended to install the best antivirus protection for Mac if you want to be safe online. After all, it can protect you against potentially costly phishing and ransomware attacks.
Does Mac have antivirus built-in?
Yes, your Mac has an antivirus built-in. It’s called XProtect, and it’s a part of the bigger File Quarantine app. Originally added in 2009 with the release of Mac OS X Snow Leopard, this automated lightweight antivirus checks every file downloaded through Safari, Chrome, Mail, and iChat against its list of malicious apps. It automatically updates its virus definitions through regular system updates, so be sure to keep those on. But it doesn’t offer the same level of protection as the top antivirus software for Mac, and we recommend upgrading to a more advanced program.
Is Intego for Mac any good?
Yes, Intego for Mac is a good antivirus with decent protection against different kinds of threats. However, it’s a little expensive when compared to Kaspersky and Norton, which are both excellent alternatives.
Does Apple recommend antivirus for Mac?
Apple promotes itself as the most sophisticated and safest option on the market. But even Apple advises users to get some form of antivirus protection. At the very least, you can sign up for the best free antivirus for Mac. In fact, for more than a decade, Apple kept recommending antiviruses for desktop and laptop users. As the market share of Apple’s computers grew, so did the company’s frequency of advising users to install antiviruses, firewalls, and anti-spyware tools.
How do I check my Mac for malware?
On Mac, File Quarantine can be used as the most basic malware protection and detection tool. It can scan your Mac like any other anti-malware software. But it’s better to get the best Mac antivirus if you want the maximum level of protection for your computer. The pre-installed app is just a basic line of defense that can’t detect some of the more sophisticated threats.
Do you need Apple’s Antivirus to protect your Mac?
No, since there’s third-party software developed especially for Mac computers. Although it’s a huge company, Apple doesn’t have enough resources to cover each and every aspect of personal computing. That’s why there are a lot of independently developed Mac software, peripherals like external hard drives, cases, chargers, etc.