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8 Best Antivirus Software for Mac Owners in 2022

AvaBy Anthony Enticknap | October 05, 2022
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Top 8 Antivirus Apps

Intro

Some Mac users believe that Apple computers are “immune” to viruses and other malicious software. Sadly, that’s not the case. Although viruses and malware are not as prevalent on macOS as they are on Windows, they do exist — and the number of Mac infections has surged in recent years as Apple devices have become more popular. But protecting your machine is easier than you think.

There is a wealth of excellent antivirus solutions for Mac that can ensure you and your data are always safe and secure. They not only rid your computer of existing infections, but also detect new ones as they arise — and disable them before they have a chance to do any damage. 

Avast

Avast

Popular for its free antivirus solution, award-winning Avast offers a surprisingly comprehensive set of protection tools that keep your Mac free from viruses, help protect your privacy, and more.
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Norton AntiVirus

Norton AntiVirus

One of the most renowned names in the antivirus industry and trusted by millions of customers around the world, Norton is a reliable and feature rich antivirus solution that packs everything the average Mac user needs to protect their machine.
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MacKeeper

MacKeeper

An all-in-one system maintenance and optimization suite that not only protects your Mac from malware, but also helps ensure it is always running at its best. Also includes an ad blocker and VPN, storage cleaner, and more.
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What to look for in the best antivirus software

Choosing the right antivirus software for your Mac doesn’t have to be difficult. With so many to choose from, it can be overwhelming at first, but you can easily separate the solutions that will work for you from those that won’t by deciding what it is you really need. Look out for:

  • Effectiveness: Be sure to choose an antivirus package that you can rely on. All the options included in this roundup achieve some of the best threat detection scores on Mac. 
  • Features: Look for an antivirus product that has all the features you really need. Lightweight options are great for those who are primarily looking to bolster system protection, while more comprehensive tools are best for those who are also in need of system optimization and cleaning, an ad blocker and VPN, and more. And they’re usually more affordable than buying different apps individually.
  • Price: Protecting your Mac doesn’t have to be expensive. Many of the lightweight antivirus tools are surprisingly affordable — or even free if you only need the basics. However, you can get a lot of extras by paying a little more. Pick the most suitable solution for you, depending on your budget.
3.0Avast
3.0
(82 reviews)

Avast

Free

Real-time antivirus
Ransomware shield
Wi-Fi intruder alerts
VPN
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If you’re looking for a free antivirus solution, Avast is one of the best available on Mac. It has the highest threat detection rating, and includes all of the features you might expect from a basic antivirus solution — including real-time system scanning as standard. Other tools include a ransomware shield and Wi-Fi intruder alerts that help keep your home network safe.

A paid Avast option is also available, adding things like a VPN that stops online tracking, greater protection against online threats, and a fake website detector. Premium plans start at just $4.19 a month for one device, or $5.79 a month for up to five devices.

Pros
Real-time system scanning
100% threat detection rating
Wi-Fi intruder alerts
Generous free option that provides basic system security
Cons
Users will likely want to upgrade for additional features
No ad blocker
2.4Norton AntiVirus
2.4
(93 reviews)

Norton AntiVirus

Price $49.99

Antivirus
Firewall
Full & quick scans
VPN
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Norton has been building antivirus software since way back in 1991, and it is one of the biggest names in the industry. It has earned that status by providing trusted, reliable products that its millions of users around the world can rely on. Norton for Mac is available in several different versions, depending on how much you’re willing to pay, and all offer real-time threat detection.

This ensures that as soon as a virus makes its way onto your Mac, Norton will identify it and stop it in its tracks. Other features include a firewall that helps keep your machine safe while it’s online, and a password manager that allows you to set more secure logins without having to remember them. Every version of Norton comes with the “100% Virus Protection Promise” as soon as it’s installed

Pros
Real-time system protection users can rely on
100% threat detection rating
Firewall included with all plans
Prices start at just $19.99 for the first year for one device
Cons
Cloud backup feature only available on Windows
Price rises to $59.99+ per year after the first year
Only one device supported by the two most affordable plan
3.9MacKeeper
3.9
(28 reviews)

MacKeeper

Price $10.95

Real-time antivirus
Adware Cleaner
VPN
Ad-blocker
Cleaning tools
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MacKeeper is one of the best all-in-one system maintenance and security tools for Mac. In addition to keeping your machine free from viruses and malware, with a 97.5% threat detection rating, it ships with a large catalog of tools that are designed to ensure your Mac is always running at its best. MacKeeper can remove system junk, uninstall unwanted apps, clean your system memory (RAM) and lots more.

MacKeeper includes real-time system scanning like its rivals, with the ability to block malicious applications as soon as they appear, and an app update tracker that helps you keep your software up to date so that the latest security improvements are installed. It’s also one of the few antivirus products that includes a VPN as standard for just $10.95 per month

Pros
Real-time system scanning with 97.5% threat detection rating
System junk and application remover
Affordable monthly subscription fee
Includes a built-in VPN as standard
Cons
May be a little overwhelming for users looking for basic security protections
3.0TotalAV
3.0
(2 reviews)

TotalAV

Price $99.00

Real-time system monitoring
Malware scan
VPN
Ad-blocker
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With a 99.2% threat detection rating, TotalAV competes with the best antivirus software for Mac in terms of keeping your system safe. It includes real-time system tracking, malware removal, the ability to schedule system scans, and data breach monitoring. Users also get some handy web protection features, including blockers for cookie tracking, ads, and videos.

TotalAV’s entry-level Antivirus Pro, priced at $99 a year, features some system tuning tools as well, but you’ll need to upgrade to its pricier Internet Security or Total Security options to unlock its password vault and VPN.

Pros
Real-time system monitoring with 99.2% threat detection
Data breach monitoring
Web protection tools like an ad blocker built-in as standard
Cons
More affordable options are available
Users must pay more to unlock the password vault and VPN
3.3Avira
3.3
(49 reviews)

Avira

Free

Antivirus
Quarantine
VPN
Real-time scanning
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If it’s just basic protection you’re looking for, Avira for Mac may be all you need. It’s a lightweight, efficient, and easy to use antivirus solution that provides all the basics — and boasts a 100% threat detection rating. What’s more, many of Avira’s features, including real-time system scanning, are completely free to use. Avira also offers a VPN, although it is very limited, with a 500MB monthly cap

Pros
Many of Avira’s features are completely free to use
Real-time scanning with 100% threat detection rate
Built-in password manager and VPN
Cons
VPN is extremely limited with a 500MB monthly cap
Does not include an ad blocker
Some users will want to upgrade to get more features
2.7F-Secure
2.7
(0 reviews)

F-Secure

Price $39.99

Antivirus scan
Password manager
Parental control
VPN
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F-Secure is another award-winning antivirus product that comes with a wealth of tools designed to protect your Mac and all your sensitive data. In addition to real-time system scanning and a 100% threat detection rate, it offers some useful web protection tools that will help you stay safe online — particularly when doing things like online banking.

F-Secure also includes a built-in password manager and VPN, and it’s one of the few antivirus solutions that boasts parental controls. They allow you to set boundaries for your children so they can’t stumble across content they shouldn’t see, and moderate their screen time.

Pros
Real-time scanning with a 100% threat detection rate
Built-in password manager and VPN
Browser protection as standard
Useful parental controls
Cons
Does not include an ad blocker
More expensive than other options with its “Total” plan priced at $67.49 per year
4.4Clario
4.4
(23 reviews)

Clario

Price $69.00

Real-time antivirus
Ad-blocker
Data breach monitor
VPN
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Clario packs everything you need to bolster system security into one package. It matches competitors with a 100% threat detection rate, ensuring your Mac stays free from viruses, malware, ransomware, and other malicious software. In addition to the basics, Clario offers email threat scanning if you want it, and a built-in ad blocker for smoother, more secure browsing.

A built-in VPN takes online privacy protection even further, while 24/7 customer service ensures that if you ever encounter issues, a member of the Clario team is always on hand to help you out. What’s more, Clario is incredibly efficient, with minimal impact on CPU usage.

Pros
All-in-one security suite for maximum protection
Real-time scanning with 100% threat detection
Built-in ad blocker and VPN
Subscription covers up to six devices
Cons
Does not remove system junk
More expensive than some alternatives at $69 per year
3.7Trend Micro
3.7
(1 reviews)

Trend Micro

Price $29.95

Antivirus
Real-time protection against Mac-based malware
Online payments protection
System optimization tools
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Trend Micro Antivirus is another relatively lightweight antivirus application that covers all the basics at an affordable price. It boasts a 100% threat detection rate, plus the ability to block web threats, prohibit use of your Mac’s camera and microphone, and stop dangerous websites in their tracks. It also protects you against phishing scams. 

Trend Micro’s standard package, currently priced at $39.95 per year, supports one machine and covers all the basics. But if you upgrade to the Maximum Security option at $89.95 per year, you also get Trend Micro’s Pay Guard feature to protect online payments, some system optimization tools, and support for up to five devices.

Pros
Lightweight antivirus option that covers all the basics
Real-time scanning with a 100% detection rate
Protects against phishing attacks
Can prohibit use of your Mac’s camera and microphone
Cons
Users must upgrade to Maximum Security option for system optimization tools
Does not offer a VPN

Summary

Unfortunately, our Apple devices aren’t as immune to viruses as some people believe they are, but protecting them doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. There are a wide variety of excellent antivirus tools to choose from, many of which promise to protect your system from 100% of known threats. Some of them are even available for free. 

Those free options, like Avira, may be enough to protect your Mac if you’re a casual computer user. However, we recommend using a paid solution with more features that can give you greater protection if you use your Mac a lot. And if you’re looking for an all-in-one system security and optimization suite, you’ll want to look at more comprehensive options like MacKeeper.

Overview of the best Mac cleaners

App
Real-time virus scanning
AV-Test detection rating
Full system scanning
Malware removal
Junk removal
VPN
Web threat protection
Ad blocker
Avast

Avast

Norton AntiVirus

Norton AntiVirus

MacKeeper

MacKeeper

TotalAV

TotalAV

Avira

Avira

F-Secure

F-Secure

Clario

Clario

Trend Micro

Trend Micro

100%100%97.5%100%100%100%100%100%
Yes, with paid plan
With Norton 360 and more expensive plansWith more expensive plans
With more expensive plans

FAQ

Do Macs need antivirus software?
While it appears on the surface to offer adequate protection, Apple’s built-in antivirus, XProtect, is only designed to provide essential protection against widely-known threats. It can’t compete with dedicated malware research teams and third-party antivirus apps providing comprehensive malware removal, scheduled system scans, and performance features such as cookie blacklists and cache cleanup.
What should I look for in a Mac antivirus?
When choosing the best antivirus software for you, consider the protection it provides and the premium features that matter most. At the very least, your antivirus software should include both scans and real-time protection against adware, malware, ransomware. spyware, and viruses. It should also police and block phishing activities via plugins or extensions, so ensure the solution you choose includes comprehensive web protection.
How do I purchase a Mac antivirus?
Antivirus apps are typically purchased on a subscription basis, with discounts for paying a year in advance rather than every month. The good news is that many subscriptions allow you to install the software on multiple devices, so you can protect all Macs in your household with one yearly payment.
Can I use a free antivirus for Mac?
Yes, you can, but choose carefully. Some free products are inadequate when it comes to protecting you fully, while others are designed to force you to upgrade to the paid version to gain access to additional features or more granular control. Take a look at the recommendation for the best free antivirus at the beginning of this article.
Does antivirus affect Mac performance?
All antivirus products affect Mac performance to some extent. Some are lightweight with minimal impact, while others are more resource-intensive. That said, other than while running your first full scan following installation, it’s unlikely that you’ll notice.
Ava
Written ByAnthony Enticknap
I've been using Macs for both work and leisure for more than 15 years, starting off with a second-hand G3 iMac running OS 9.