We reveal the best antivirus for Mac. Best Mac antivirus and best Mac security software. Best security software for Apple Mac. PLUS: do Macs need antivirus? Why you need to install security software on your Mac.
Here’s how to secure any Mac. We rank and rate the best free and paid-for antivirus for Mac, and security software for Apple computers.
Best antivirus for Mac: Do Macs need antivirus?
Simply, yes. Many people will tell you the opposite, of course. And it is true that the threat is much less urgent if you are a Mac user than those Windows-using clowns. But if you have a Mac you care about, and it is connected to the web, you ought to install security software.
Macs are less vulnerable than are Windows PCs and laptops for two reasons. Firstly, there are fewer Macs. All cybercrime is based on plucking low-hanging fruit, so the much larger group of Windows users in the world is a much bigger target. That may change, however, as the Apple user base grows. Lest we forget, Macs are expensive so Apple users are a lucrative target.
Which brings us to the other point: Macs are harder to attack than are Windows PCs. That’s because the Mac OS (previously OS X) is a UNIX operating system, built in the dim-and-distant past on a UNIX derivative. This means that it is sandboxed. Unlike a Windows PC or laptop, if a crook infects a Mac in one area, they can’t get it all. Not easily, anyway.
This makes Macs less attractive to hackers. But that is a long way from making them invulnerable. So if you value your computer and the information on it, get yourself some security software. These are the best.
We base our ranking on the most recent AV-Test group review of Mac antivirus products, as well as price and ease of use. The tests look at efficacy in terms of detecting and destroying known and unknown web threats, and the impact each program has on system performance. We’ve split the best Mac antivirus products into those you pay for and free Mac antivirus. In general the best free products offer high levels of protection, but tend to have a greater negative impact on system performance when compared to their paid brethren.
Windows users should read our piece: Best antivirus for PC | Best antivirus for laptop | Best security software for Windows.
6 best antivirus for Mac
Best antivirus for Mac: 1. Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac
Bitdefender remains the undisputed leader of the pack in terms of Mac security. In AV-Test’s lab Bitdefender detected and protected against literally every piece of malware thrown at it. And it had no recognisable negative impact on performance.
Bitdefender costs from £39 for a one-year licence for a single Mac.
Best antivirus for Mac: 2. ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac
ESET is another excellent Mac antivirus, offering exactly the same perfect protection as did Bitdefender in AV-Test’s lab. It also causes very little grief to Mac performance, but loses out of Bitdefender on the basis of a tiny amount of system impact.
ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac costs from £39 a year for a single Mac.
Best antivirus for Mac: 3. eScan Anti-Virus Security for Mac
Cheaper than both ESET and Bitdefenr is ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac. This program offers perfect protection, as do those other Mac antivirus packages. So what is the catch? Sadly, eScan takes quite a hit on your Mac’s performance. Or at least that is what AV-Test’s report suggests.
If you can stand that system impact, ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac costs only £23 for a one-year licence for one Mac.
Best antivirus for Mac: 4. Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac
Kaspersky ‘failed’ to hit a perfect protection score in AV-Test’s lab, picking up a mere 99.17 percent of the net nasties chucked its way. And although it had more of an impact on system performance than either Bitdefender or ESET, this excellent Mac antivirus has nothing like the impact of eScan, according the AV-Test lab results.
You can pick up a one-year, single-user licence of Kaspersky for Mac for £39.
Best antivirus for Mac: 5. Symantec Norton Security for Mac
Security giant Symantec will likely be unhappy that Norton ranks only fifth in AV-Test’s run-down of the best Mac antivirus programs, but it is a really close-run thing. Norton picked up 99.17 percent of the filth AV-Test threw at it, which is by any stretch a good result. Its system impact was about the same as Kaspersky’s – a little more impact on some elements, less on others. Let’s call it joint fourth.
A two-year, one-device licence of Symantec Norton Security for Mac costs £39.
Best antivirus for Mac: 6. Mac Premium Bundle X9
It is not cheap, and according to some independent tests doesn’t offer the very best security against known or zero-day threats, but the £69.99 Intego offers an unsurpassed feature set.
Antivirus, anti-phishing and anti-spyware are a given, as is firewall network protection even outside your home. You may appreciate the parental controls with website and application blocking, and there are also backup and Mac speed up functions.
Now let’s look at the best Mac security freebies.
4 best free antivirus for Mac
Best free antivirus for Mac: 1. AVG Antivirus FREE
In AV-Test’s lab AVG offered perfect protection against known and unknown threats. And its system impact was middle of the pack – great for s free Mac antivirus.
Best free antivirus for Mac: 2. Sophos Home FREE
Another free Mac antivirus that picked up 99.17 of malware in AV-Test’s lab, Sophos didn’t do too badly at all on the system impact test, either.
Best free antivirus for Mac: 3. Avast Free Mac Security
Only just behind AVG is Avast, protecting against 99.17 of known and unknown threats in AV-Test’s lab. System impact wasn’t great on test however, in particular when downloading test files. Still, free is free, right?
Best free antivirus for Mac: 4. Avira Free Antivirus for Mac
Avira picked up a respectable amount of the malware AV-Test exposed it to in the lab, protecting against around 93 percent of threats. That’s good, but you don’t want 7 percent of viruses infecting your Mac. Nor do you want the system impact that Avira saddled the Mac with on AV-Test’s watch.