Do I Need Mac Antivirus Software?

Unlike traditional antivirus software for Windows, Mac antivirus software isn’t essential. With only a few known viruses or other malware that currently pose any danger for Apple computers, most choose to go without. Still, there are some very compelling reasons for investing in Mac antivirus software.

The most convincing reason to install Mac security software on your Apple computer isn’t even to protect yourself, but for the sake of Windows users. While PC-based malware won’t infect Macs, they can still be stored and passed on. This is the main reason most businesses use Mac antivirus; to protect viruses spreading through the network. Even being immune (to some extent), Mac users often use antivirus software to avoid spreading anything to their family, friends and coworkers. The best Mac security antivirus software also includes protection for Windows.

Another reason you might consider an antivirus program for your Mac is if you run Windows on your Mac. Several Mac users access Windows with dual-boot or virtualization methods. If you utilize Boot Camp, Parallels Desktop or other software to run Windows on a Mac, there are specific security software bundles that include protection for both operating systems.

One final reason to utilize Mac security software is simply for peace of mind. With malware and security threats being spread through email, jump drives, file sharing and the internet, no computer runs in a vacuum. Even if the threats aren’t as prevalent or serious as Windows malware, some Mac users would rather be safe than sorry.

For more information, refer to our articles about Mac antivirus software and comprehensive reviews of the best antivirus software for Mac, including Intego VirusBarrier, Norton AntiVirus for Mac and  BitDefender Antivirus for Mac.

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Mac Antivirus Software: What to Look For

While specific features and tools of Mac antivirus software differ slightly from their Windows counterparts, the things to consider before buying are the same. Before deciding on the best antivirus software for your Mac, you should consider your intended use and desired level of protection. To compare OS X antivirus software and help you weigh the benefits, we use the following criteria to evaluate the software:

Scope of Protection
There’s more to malware protection than just avoiding risky sites and only downloading known applications. Computers are constantly opening, accessing and sharing files using a number of methods, so it’s important your antivirus application can protect you from all angles. Malware comes in many forms, including viruses, Trojan horses, spyware, rootkits and more. Some threats come from spam or online phishing scams. For comprehensive protection, look for Mac security software that covers all the bases with antivirus, email scanning, web protection, antirootkit, antiphishing and maybe even a firewall and network protection.

Effectiveness
When it comes to antivirus software, the level of protection is the most important aspect to consider. A sleek, user-friendly interface simply won’t compensate for a product that doesn’t do what it’s supposed to. For optimum protection, the software should defend you from viruses in real time and proactively prevent threats. Updates should be timely and automatic. And while you want the software to locate anything risky, you don’t want annoying false positives (where safe files are inaccurately flagged as dangerous). The best antivirus for Mac is both thorough and accurate.

Features
The main component and function of the application should be security, but the program may also have additional features that improve usability, performance and overall protection. Some of the more common features include a secure quarantine, scan scheduler and history logs.

Ease of Use
Most antivirus software is designed to run automatically and unobtrusively in the background, but that doesn’t mean you won’t need to interact with the program periodically. With intuitive features and a familiar Mac-like interface, you should be able to effortlessly receive the most from the application. In short, the best Mac antivirus software should be just like your Mac: powerful, secure, flexible and well designed.

Help & Support
Apple computers are known for their expert customer support and the software should be no different. Professional and appropriate help should be personal, versatile, accessible and free.

A well-balanced Mac antivirus program should be understandable, usable and useful. Combining professional protection with Mac-specific features, the best Mac antivirus software will keep you protected without slowing you down so you can enjoy all the unique benefits of your Mac.

 
Want the Mac Antivirus Software?
We recommend
Intego VirusBarrier
“Viruses on Mac OS X are rare, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. The
common belief that Macs are immune to malware is false.”
-TopTenREVIEWS
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Intego VirusBarrier Norton AntiVirus for Mac BitDefender Antivirus for Mac Kaspersky Anti-Virus for Mac ESET Cybersecurity for Mac F-Secure Anti-Virus for Mac Trend Micro Smart Surfing for Mac McAfee VirusScan for Mac ProtectMac AntiVirus PC Tools iAntiVirus
Intego VirusBarrier Norton AntiVirus for Mac BitDefender Antivirus for Mac Kaspersky Anti-Virus for Mac ESET Cybersecurity for Mac F-Secure Anti-Virus for Mac Trend Micro Smart Surfing for Mac McAfee VirusScan for Mac ProtectMac AntiVirus PC Tools iAntiVirus
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Buy McAfee VirusScan for Mac 9
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Buy ProtectMac AntiVirus
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Scope of Protection Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Very Good Excellent Excellent
Effectiveness Excellent Very Good Excellent Very Good Very Good Excellent Very Good Very Good Very Good Very Good
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Ease of Use Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Very Good Very Good Excellent Very Good Good
Help & Support Very Good Excellent Excellent Very Good Very Good Excellent Very Good Excellent Very Good Very Good
Threat Detection
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Supported Mac Operating Systems
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Supported Mac Processors
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Dual Protection for Mac + PC
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