We use cookies to allow us and selected partners to improve your experience and our advertising. By continuing to browse you consent to our use of cookies. You can understand more and change your cookies preferences here.

24 June 2021

Best antivirus software for Apple Macs

We'll help to keep your Apple MacBook secure - we give a rundown of the best antivirus for Mac and tell you all about the Mac firewall.
Michael Passingham
Testing using laptop

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

  • 75%
    £60.00

    This is one of only two brands to be Best Buys for both its Windows and Mac products. This makes this brand one of the best choices if you’re after antivirus for a mix of devices, and it's also the best overall Mac suite thanks to its excellent virus and phishing protection. Its scans aren't the best, but they are fine.

    Sign up to reveal

    First month only £5, then £9.99 per month, cancel any time

    Already a member?Log in
  • 74%
    £40.00

    With excellent virus protection that prevents even the nastiest strains from running, this suite is an excellent choice for Mac and is one of only two Best Buy Mac antivirus software we tested this year. It’s not perfect, though, as its scans aren’t close to being the best on test, but it’s otherwise excellent.

    Sign up to reveal

    First month only £5, then £9.99 per month, cancel any time

    Already a member?Log in
  • 72%
    £0.00

    This free option is the top performer of any of the free Mac suites we tested, with rock-solid protection against the nastiest malware. Despite not claiming any phishing protection, during our tests the service did provide good protection against phishing attacks in Chrome, Firefox and Safari web browsers. It's also good at spotting Windows malware, which is a nice extra bonus.

    Sign up to reveal

    First month only £5, then £9.99 per month, cancel any time

    Already a member?Log in

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.

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.