Best antivirus software for Apple Macs
By Andrew Laughlin
Unlike with Windows PCs, there’s historically been little demand for antivirus software for Macs. Apple’s MacOS operating system has been built to withstand malicious attacks, and there have been comparatively few viruses written to target Macs.
However, Mac users could be exposed to a rise in viruses and malware in the future. With more Apple products being sold and Mac ownership on the increase, criminals are now actively targeting the Mac ecosystem.
Want the best antivirus software for your Mac? Choose with confidence with all our antivirus for Mac reviews.
Best free and paid antivirus for mac
This paid-for antivirus package comes from one of the best-known brands in the business, and it doesn't disappoint. Virus scans are reliable, and it's also strong when malware starts to run, stopping it in an instant. Our only qualms are with its behaviour when you insert USB drives (you have to start a manual scan) and that some of its browser extensions are hard to find.
Not only is this piece of antivirus software a Best Buy, you don't even have to buy it because it's completely free. Excellent protection across the board and an easy-to-use interface makes it an easy choice and a great pick if you're after free Mac antivirus.
Do I need Mac security software?
Even if the Mac operating system has traditionally proven resistant to virus attacks, there are still risks. If you use your Mac to go online, you’re still open to many of the same issues that affect Windows PC users, including spam emails, phishing scams, Trojan malware, browser vulnerabilities and ID theft. In fact, March 2016 saw the first example of Mac breaching ransomware.
Apple continues to keep its Mac operating system security beefed up. For example, its Gatekeeper tool can prevent you from installing anything other than Apple-approved or registered software. FileVault keeps your files safe from prying eyes by encrypting your Mac so it can only be used by an authorised user. Other MacOS security features include anti-phishing, privacy and parental controls.
MacOS now also includes App Sandbox, which keeps your apps separate from system components, so it’s easier to remove one app if it gets infected by a malicious program.
How to use the Mac firewall
Macs do not come with any antivirus or antispyware software, although they do have a built-in firewall. This, however, is turned off by default.
To turn the firewall on, go to Apple Menu > System Preferences > Security & Privacy, click the Firewall tab and click Turn On Firewall.
To configure settings to allow incoming connections from authorised sources, click Firewall Options.
Free antivirus for Mac vs paid-for packages
The best Mac antivirus software should be easy to use and eliminate all types of malware, even those designed for Windows PCs.
Free Mac antivirus software provides basic antivirus protection, but typically lacks the extras such as a firewall, identity protection, parental controls and email monitoring that you get with paid-for security suites.
For comprehensive protection, look for a security package that covers all the angles with antivirus, antispyware, email scanning, web protection and anti-phishing. Some programs include a two-way firewall and network protection. As viruses evolve quickly and new ones emerge daily, it’s best to look for software with an automated scanning and updating schedule.