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Technology.

Updated: 23 May 2022

Best antivirus software for Apple Macs

Our lab tests reveal the best antivirus for Mac to help keep your Apple MacBook or iMac secure, and we tell you all about the Mac firewall.
Michael Passingham
Testing using laptop

Looking for the best antivirus for Mac users? You've come to the right place.

Although the Apple MacOS operating system has been built to withstand malicious attacks, and there have been comparatively few viruses written to target Macs, Mac users could be exposed to a rise in viruses and malware in the future. With Mac ownership on the increase, criminals are now actively targeting the Mac ecosystem.

Our Mac antivirus lab test involves subjecting every piece of software to tens of thousands of threats, including viruses, ransomware and phishing attacks designed to compromise and steal data. We repeat the test four times each year and the scores you see below are based on a full year of testing, giving you confidence that our recommendations have performed consistently all year.

Below we’ve featured the very best free Mac antivirus and paid-for Mac antivirus software, along with all nine suites we tested this year and a features comparison table so you can see which software is right for you. 


Wondering whether it's worth upgrading your computer? See our Apple MacBook reviews to find out whether it's worth it.


Best free antivirus for Mac

Thanks to our tests, we know which free antivirus program is the best for Mac users. Our tests have also uncovered one that has poor virus protection and completely lacks phishing protection. So make sure you read our test results before you install.

Which? members can log in to see our full free antivirus for Mac results. Not yet a member? Join Which? to unlock these reviews, along with all of our online reviews - including laptops, computer monitors, electric cars and more.

70%
46%

Best paid antivirus for Mac

Antivirus software doesn't come cheap. However, thanks to our tests, we can help you save money as we have discovered a very affordable Best Buy. Make sure you read our Mac antivirus results before you get out your credit card and pay for the software.

Which? members can log in to see our full free antivirus for Mac results. Not yet a member? Join Which? to unlock these reviews, along with all of our online reviews - including laptops, computer monitors, electric cars and more.

75%
73%
72%
71%
69%
69%
67%

Popular antivirus for Mac

We’ve put all of the packages below through our full suite of tough lab tests to find out how they score on measures such as live protection, anti-phishing and cleaning malware, as well as rating them on how easy they are to use, and even on the annoyance of any pop-up ads. Log in or join Which? to find out more and get our expert verdict.

Avast Free Security for Mac (free)

Avast’s free Mac security suite is a basic package that promises protection from viruses, ransomware and phishing attacks, and will even warn you of any poor wi-fi security settings that it finds. It also comes with a password management tool. Since viruses for Macs are somewhat rarer than those for Windows, is it worth even taking the time to download it? 

Norton 360 Deluxe for Mac (£84.99 per year, 5 licences)

Norton’s Mac security is included as part of all of its subscription tiers. We’ve tested the Windows option and how it handles malware designed to attack that operating system, but we ran a separate test to see whether its Mac antivirus is worth the cash, too. 

AVG AntiVirus for Mac (£49.99 per year, 1 licence)

With all the basics for safe browsing and downloading included, AVG looks like a strong package. We’ve run it through our rigorous lab tests and pitted it against hundreds of viruses to see how it fares.

Other antivirus for Mac on test

  • Avast Premium Security for Mac (£60 per year for one licence): Avast's Premium suite adds extra features including ransomware remediation and a safe banking browser.
  • Avira Free Security Suite for Mac (Free): Avira's basic free package doesn't include much, but if its protection is top-tier that won't matter.
  • Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac (£24.99 per year for three licences): Bitdefender's premium package gets you a VPN and phishing protection along with the usual malware protection.
  • ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac (£44.90 per year for three licences): ESET's Pro tier unlocks a network monitor in addition to antivirus and phishing protection.
  • F-Secure Safe for Mac (£60 per year for three licences): F-Secure comes with a host of extra features including parental control and banking protection.
  • G Data Antivirus for Mac (£41 per year for three licences): Phishing protection comes as standard here, as does the ability to scan for Windows malware.
  • Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac (£34.99 per year for one licence): Kaspersky's package includes 300MB of VPN usage per day as well as a safe banking browser.
  • Norton 360 Deluxe for Mac (£84.99 per year for five licences):  You get a password manager and parental control alongside the usual antivirus protection with Norton's top-tier package.

Mac antivirus features comparison table

Below we've arranged all the antivirus software we've tested alongside the key features you might expect to find. Scroll past our table to find out more about what each feature means.

Avast Premium SecurityYesNoYesYesNo
Avast Free SecurityYesNoYesNoNo
AVG AntiVirus for MacYesNoYesNoNo
Avira Free Security SuiteNoYesNoNoNo
Bitdefender Antivirus for MacNoNoYesYesYes
ESET Cyber Security Pro YesNoYesNoYes
F-Secure SafeNoNoYesNoYes
  • Email protection: Whether the software includes protection for the pre-installed Mail program for Mac.
  • Password manager: Whether you get access to (either within the main software or via a web browser extension) to a password manager tool.
  • Anti-phishing: Whether the software provides a browser extension that protects you from phishing attacks.
  • Ransomware remediation: Select specific files to lock when ransomware strikes. This only kicks in if the antivirus has failed to spot the ransomware to begin with, so is a last resort.
  • Parental controls: Install this software on family members' devices to control their access to the internet and programs at specific times of day.

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 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 we test antivirus software

Our test involves subjecting every piece of software to tens of thousands of threats, including viruses, ransomware and phishing attacks designed to compromise and steal data. We repeat the test four times each year and the scores you see below are based on a full year of testing, giving you confidence that our recommendations have performed consistently all year. 

For more, see our guide on how we test antivirus software