Though Mac users tend to believe that their computers running Mac OS are resistant to malware, experts say that 100% protected devices do not exist. The community of Windows users in the world is much larger – no surprise, the majority of scammers and hackers focus on this operating system. But again, it doesn’t mean that if you have a Mac laptop, you will never be attacked by swindlers or infected with Trojans. Meanwhile, a strong antivirus for Mac will help to resolve the problem at the root, preventing the vast majority of potential threats. Keep on reading to learn how to pick out the best antivirus for Mac.
Things to Consider When Choosing an Antivirus for Mac
With so many options on offer, selecting the antivirus for Mac that will meet all your requirements can become quite a challenge. There are several criteria for you to rely on when making a choice. Let’s review the most important ones.
- Effectiveness in combating malware. Essentially, the task of any AV software is always the same regardless of the operating system used. It must detect and neutralize or destroy malware before it makes any harm. The speed and quality of detecting and deleting viruses are tested by several independent labs. The best-known labs are AV-TEST and AV-comparatives. The best antivirus software for Mac scores high in most tests. The results of the latest tests are regularly published on the labs’ sites and in numerous antivirus reviews.
- Performance and load on the system. Nobody wants to suffer from the speed drops caused by an antivirus running in the background mode. The overall speed of scanning and an impact on the system can be measured with the help of special benchmarks. Look for the results of such tests in the latest Mac antivirus reviews.
- Features. The key feature of the best antivirus for Mac is scanning for viruses and malware destroying. However, different products offer different sets of additional features. For many Mac users, an opportunity of a non-stop background scanning can be useful. Features of an automatic scanning of e-mails and external devices are also important. Finally, some users may opt for the products, offering such extras as an ad-blocker, a built-in VPN, a password manager and some others.
- Price. There are different options available – from a free antivirus for Mac to premium options with advanced security features. It all depends on how much you are ready to spend on your Mac protection, and what features of AV software really matter for you.
- Usability. A modern app must be convenient and easy to use. Nowadays, most providers offer one-click solutions with minimum buttons.
Our ratings of the best antivirus software for Mac are compiled with a glance to all the above-mentioned criteria, as we always try to make every review independent and completely unbiased. But you can have some personal preferences and requirements, so we recommend reading comprehensive reviews before deciding on a particular antivirus product.
How We Test Antivirus Software
With the idea of choosing the best antivirus for Mac, we’ve tested all the popular and less known anti-malware solutions compatible with Mac OS. The preparatory work is split into two stages. The first one includes gathering information. We use reliable trusted sources, such as independent testing labs. The second stage is a real-life testing. It means that we install software on computers with the latest version of the operating system and test it in different modes. During the testing, we estimate the speed, the impact on the system, the behavior of the software when it encounters viruses, the reaction to visiting websites containing potential threats, manual and automating computer scanning modes, usability, and design. As you see, the list of parameters to check is impressive. Based on the results received, we write a review and compile a ranking of AV software providers.
Do I Need Antivirus for Mac or Not?
The truth is that Mac computers are really less vulnerable to malware threats than the devices running Windows OS. Until a few years ago, it was generally considered that Mac OS war resistant to the existing viruses. Moreover, Apple didn’t allow installing any third-party software, including popular antivirus programs. Finally, some years ago, specialists from one of the major companies providing anti-malware solutions found out that over 500 thousand of new Mac computers were infected with Trojans. The next year, the situation repeated. In 2016, the first cases of infecting Macs with ransomware were recorded. All those cases clearly demonstrated that no 100% protected operating system exists.
And still, the risk of catching a virus remains relatively low for the owners of Mac computers. If you follow general rules of online security, you may never suffer from any malware, as well as thousands of other users worldwide. Chances are a built-in Mac protection tools will do.
When do you need antivirus for Mac? Well, it depends. A general rule is the following: use an extra layer of protection in the form of antivirus software always when you realize that the cost of losses in the case of infecting will be much higher than the cost of an AV software pack.
Are There Free Antivirus Solutions for Mac?
Like all Apple products, Mac computers are often considered to be a premium option. However, it doesn’t mean that it works only with premium applications. After all, the price for antivirus software is set by the developers of that software, but not by Apple. So you don’t have to spend a fortune on the best antivirus software for Mac. On the contrary, the average price for AV products for Mac OS is comparable to the price of the same products for Windows. Moreover, some providers offer a great free antivirus for Mac. The examples are such well-established providers as Avast or AVG. Free AV solutions have certain advantages, for example:
- They are reliable. According to the results of lab tests, AVG antivirus detects 99-100% of both new (zero-day) and known threats.
- They are free!
- They have smart ergonomic interfaces and are so easy to use.
- They have nothing in excess. Only antivirus.
However, there are some disadvantages of choosing free antivirus software. Tests prove that free AV solutions are not perfect for the following reasons:
- They tend to load the system more noticeably than premium options.
- Their feature set is limited. No extra perks, such as tools for enhanced online privacy, parental control and so on are provided.
If you are ready to spend from 30 to 50 dollars per year on the ultimate protection of your Mac computer, we recommend you to consider buying one of the paid AV packs for Mac and enjoy an expanded set of features and excellent protection all the year round.
Low- and Medium-Priced Antivirus Software for Mac: What to Expect?
Nowadays, most serious providers of antivirus software offer their own solutions for Mac OS. To choose the best one compare the prices, features and extra tools offered in the framework of various packs. The list of recommended software developers includes some well-known names as well as relatively new players:
- Kaspersky AV;
- Bitdefender antivirus for Windows & Mac;
- Norton (its Security Deluxe option);
- ESET (Pro Cyber Security);
- Sophos Home Premium;
- McAfee antivirus.
Depending on the option selected, you get an array of smart features providing the best level of online privacy. For example, a popular solution is a personal password manager that will reliably keep all your passwords and protect the sensitive information from spyware. Safe banking feature offered by some providers will protect all types of your financial transactions. Parental control, as the name implies, will help you to protect your children from undesired content.
Some other interesting solutions that are worthy of mentioning include a file shredder that allows complete elimination of files, a built-in firewall, an ad-blocker, and others. It goes without saying that premium antivirus solutions provide a strong protection from different types of malware: viruses, Trojans, spyware, ransomware, and adware. Automatic scanning of incoming e-mails and external devices as well as an antiphishing feature are also rather useful.
How to Make a Final Decision
If you’ve made your mind up to buying antivirus for your Mac computer, decide for yourself what features you need and how much you are going to spend. Read full reviews of the chosen products and make a decision. Keep in mind that most providers offer either a trial period of 24 hours to a week, so you will be able to test the program for free. If there is no trial period, check their refunding policy. Most companies have a money back guarantee period.
The Bottom Line
More and more owners of Mac computers come to the understanding of the fact that a good antivirus today is a must-have even for the most protected devices in the world. Buying the best antivirus for Mac, you ensure the highest level of your data protection.