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Norton for Mac Review: Do You Need it on Your Mac?

Norton for Mac Review: Do You Need it on Your Mac?

Bottom Line

Norton has long been one of the biggest names in the cybersecurity industry, thanks to its leading antivirus products, which promise to keep your Mac free from malware, ransomware, and other malicious files that could leave your most sensitive data exposed to attackers. When it comes to protecting your machine and everything stored on it, Norton AntiVirus Plus is one of the best security solutions available to Mac users.

Pros Cons
Real-time antivirus protection Lacks multiple useful features available with other Norton plans, including a VPN, parental controls, and ID monitoring
Cloud storage included as standard Price rises significantly after the first year
Built-in password manager  
“100% Virus Protection Promise”  

Intro

If you’ve been anywhere near a computer over the last 20-30 years, chances are you’ve heard of Norton before. It’s one of the oldest, most recognizable names in computer security — and for good reason. Norton not only boasts a 100% threat detection rate, according to AV-Test, but it’s one of the only security companies that offers a “Virus Protection Promise,” which gets you a full refund on your Norton subscription if your computer picks up a virus that Norton can’t remove.

The chances of that happening are incredibly slim, of course. Norton has been expertly trained to weed out and eliminate every known computer threat. It monitors your machine in real-time, and as soon as it detects a potential problem, it blocks it before any damage can be done. And that’s just one of the many security features Norton AntiVirus Plus offers for your Mac.

Features

Real-time system monitoring is a staple of any good security solution. Without it, there’s a chance your Mac could pick up a virus or malware that can infiltrate your machine before it is detected. That won’t happen with Norton AntiVirus Plus, which can identify viruses, malware, ransomware, spyware, and other malicious applications as soon as they surface.

To put its capabilities to the test, we put a bunch of nasty applications onto a dusty old MacBook Air before installing Norton. During its first system scan, Norton identified every single one of them — then gave us the opportunity to remove them all in just a few clicks. If we’d had Norton installed earlier, of course, those threats wouldn’t have been installed in the first place.

You can perform a full system scan inside Norton at any time, and it’s certainly recommended after initial setup. You can also schedule scans at times to suit you — like in the middle of the night when your Mac is not in use. It’s worth noting, however, that with real-time scanning enabled, full system scans shouldn’t be required on a regular basis.

The good news is that with real-time protection enabled — and even during full system scans — Norton has no noticeable impact on performance. On our old MacBook Air with an ageing Intel Core i5 processor, and on a more modern M1 MacBook Pro, system performance was just as smooth and as snappy as it was before Norton was installed, even during intensive tasks, like editing large images.

What’s more, Norton, like all modern antivirus solutions, doesn’t just provide basic virus protection anymore. It’s also loaded with other useful features that are designed to keep you safe while you’re connected to the web, including online threat protection, which can identify harmful websites, block potentially threatening downloads, and keep your financial information secure when you’re banking.

Norton AntiVirus Plus also features a Smart Firewall, which monitors the network traffic sent and received by your Mac to protect you from targeted attacks. And it even includes a built-in password manager, so you can create and store unique, secure passwords without having to remember them — or write them down at the risk of them being found.

What’s missing?

Sadly, as the most affordable flavor of Norton for Mac, the AntiVirus Plus plan misses out on a number of immensely useful features that more expensive versions of Norton offer. That includes parental controls, “School Time” (which prevents kids from visiting sites they shouldn’t be visiting during remote learning sessions), a secure VPN, webcam security, and more.

Not all users will want these things — that’s why Norton offers a more affordable plan without them — but many of them will prove incredibly useful to some Mac owners. Before choosing your Norton plan, then, be sure that the one you opt for includes everything you need to protect your Mac and your data, depending on how you use your machine.

It’s also worth noting that AntiVirus Plus offers just 2GB of Norton Cloud Backup, which is really not a lot in 2022. You can extend that to up to 100GB with other Norton plans.

Pricing

As we mentioned above, AntiVirus Plus is the most affordable version of Norton for Mac, and it’s priced at just $19.99 for the first year (for one machine) after a 67% discount. Norton 360 Standard, which adds more cloud storage and more features, is priced at $39.99 for the first year, while the Deluxe and LifeLock options — which protect up to five devices — start at $49.99 and $99.48, respectively.

That makes Norton an incredibly affordable and competitive security solution for your Mac during the first 12 months of use. After that, however, it becomes much more expensive. The price of AntiVirus Plus rises to $59.99 per year, while the Standard, Deluxe, and LifeLock options increase to $84.99, $104.99, and a rather eye-watering $149.99, respectively.

Summary

There’s a reason why Norton is the biggest name in computer security: Since it launched in 1991, it has consistently been one of the best and most trusted antivirus solutions on the market. You can be sure that Norton will keep your Mac and all your confidential data safe, no matter how you use your machine. Norton stops malicious software in its tracks, and ensures your protection online.

Norton AntiVirus Plus is an incredibly competitive option for the first year, but its price rises quite significantly after that. Other versions, which add extra features and support for more devices, are even more expensive. Is it worth it? If you’re particularly concerned about your Mac’s security and you want the best protection — perhaps because you work with a lot of sensitive files — then yes.

However, if your Mac security needs are more basic, other, more affordable antivirus solutions — many of which also score 100% in AV-Test results — will do the job just fine.

Alternatives

  1. Clario
  2. F-Secure Safe
  3. Avast
  4. Avira
  5. Antivirus One
Ruslana Lishchuk

Ruslana Lishchuk

Content Manager for the MacUpdate blog

Ruslana is a passionate Mac admirer and tech writer with 5+ years of experience in Mac support.