Best Mac Antivirus Software of 2018

Nicole Johnston ·
Internet Security & Appliance Editor
Updated
We maintain strict editorial integrity when we evaluate products and services; however, Top Ten Reviews may earn money when you click on links.

We spent several months testing how well these antivirus programs recognize threats like Trojans, ransomware and malicious websites on Mac computers. After all our testing and research, we feel Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac is the best antivirus protection for Mac users. It does a good job detecting and protecting against threats, including Windows malware. It has extra security tools like a VPN, and it doesn’t cause your computer to slow down. For Windows computers, we found Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2019 to be the best antivirus security software.  

Best Overall
Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac
Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac is our top pick because it effectively protects against Mac malware and automatically removes most threats.
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Best Free Mac Antivirus
AVG AntiVirus for Mac
AVG AntiVirus for Mac offers free virus protection against malware, even ransomware. It scans any portable drive or device that is connected via USB ports for threats, including mobile devices.
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Best Mac Antivirus for Multiple Devices
Norton Security Standard
Norton Security Standard is compatible with both Mac and Windows computers, so it’s ideal if you have computers running different operating systems that need virus protection.
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@Norton
Best Mac Antivirus for Multiple Devices
Norton Security Standard
Product
Price
OVERALL RATING
Value
Test Results
Malware Protections
Privacy Tools
Number of Licenses
In-House Mac Malware Protection
Overall Mac Malware Protection
Windows Malware Detection
Ease of Use
Ransomware Detection
Antiphishing
Spam Filters
Personal Firewall
Secure Browsing
Vulnerability Scans
USB Scanning
Social Network Protection
Password Manager
Parent Controls
Secure Delete
Safe Banking Tools
VPN
Weekday Phone Support Hours
Weekend Phone Support Available
Live Chat
$38.99 Bitdefender
4.5 4.9 3.6 3.9
3
99
99
80
75
N/A
N/A
$
N/A
X
24/7
$59.99 Avast
4.3 4.8 4.3 3.4
1
100
99
95
80
N/A
X
N/A
N/A
X
24/7
$39.99 Norton
3.5 5 5 5
1
100
100
75
90
$
X
N/A
X
$
24/7
$39.99 Kaspersky
3.4 5 3.9 5
1
100
100
95
90
X
X
X
X
N/A
24/7*
$89.99 F-Secure
4.5 4.1 4.3 4.5
3
87
82
100
75
N/A
$
X
X
$
9am - 6pm
$39.99 Amazon Warehouse
3.4 4.6 4.3 4.5
1
100
100
95
80
X
X
X
N/A
N/A
5am - 8pm*
4.3 4.5 2.9 3.4
1
100
99
95
90
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
$
24/7*
$19.88 Amazon Warehouse
3.2 4.3 3.9 4.1
1
100
98
80
70
N/A
$
N/A
S
X
24/7*
$69.99 Intego
3.4 4.6 3.9 2.8
1
97
98
0
80
N/A
N/A
$
N/A
N/A
9am - 5pm
$40 Home.Sophos
5 3.9 2.5 3
3
78
78
95
65
N/A
N/A
X
N/A
N/A
8am - 8pm*
Best Overall
When we tested Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac, it blocked 99 percent of the live threats we used and scrubbed most of them from our system automatically. It also did a decent job recognizing Windows threats so they wouldn’t be accidently sent to a PC user.
The vulnerability scanner looks for outdated software then gives you a trusted link where you can download the latest patch or version. This helps cover any weak spots where hackers and ransomware could infiltrate your computer. Bitdefender warns of malicious websites with its safe browsing feature, and it scans USB drives to stop any threats from infecting your computer at that point. It is also one of the only programs that includes a VPN that hides you while online so adware and other trackers can’t see your search history or which sites you visit. The biggest drawback is Bitdefender isn’t the easiest program to set up or use. There are some tools and features that can only be accessed through the online portal while others are only found on the dashboard.
Pros
  • Protects from both Mac and Windows malware
  • Securely deletes threats
  • Includes a VPN
Cons
  • Tricky to set up and use
  • Doesn’t include a firewall
  • Parental controls cost extra
Bitdefender
Read the full review
Best Free Mac Antivirus
AVG AntiVirus for Mac is an extremely budget-friendly Mac antivirus solution. This simple program offers great virus protection, doesn’t slow down your computer and includes a few additional internet security features. It is also free for home use.
This software scans incoming email and anything connected to the USB port, including mobile devices, and removes any threats it finds so your computer isn’t infected. It also scans for outdated software since this is one of the biggest ports of for ransomware and hackers. AVG has phishing blockers and spam filters that keep threats in emails from downloading to your computer or directing you to dangerous sites designed to gather personal information. It is one of the easiest programs to use, with large icons for each tool. Because it is a free program, AVG does have in-program ads that can be distracting. It also requires the vulnerability scanner to be installed separately from the antivirus program, though once it’s installed you can access it from the program dashboard.
Pros
  • Free for most users
  • Scans mobile devices connected through USB
  • Small digital footprint
Cons
  • In-program ads
  • Vulnerability scanner installs separately
  • Doesn’t include many extra security tools
AVG
Read the full review
Best Mac Antivirus for Multiple Devices
Norton Security is the best antivirus software if you have computers that run different operating systems. It offers the same level of protection to both Mac and Windows machines, easily detects threats on both, and even detects and removes some Windows malware hidden on Mac machines.
Norton Security Standard scans email and USB shared files to make sure they don’t have hidden threats that may infect your Mac. It also looks for out-of-date software that may create a weak spot that hackers and ransomware can use to infect your computer. The antivirus program for Mac includes a password manager and banking tools to shield your important information from identity thieves, keyloggers and other internet tracking programs. The biggest drawback is Norton costs significantly more than other programs and charges a fee for each device you want to protect.
Pros
  • Compatible with Mac and Windows operating systems
  • Scores high for malware protection
  • Includes parental controls
Cons
  • Doesn’t include a VPN
  • Costs more than most Mac solutions
  • Struggles to detect Windows threats on Macs
Norton
Read the full review
Intego Mac Internet Security does an excellent job detecting and protecting against Mac threats including viruses, Trojans and ransomware. It’s designed to look, feel and work similarly to other Mac system programs like Finder or Safari, so it isn’t too difficult to figure out. Along with ContentBarrier, the program that protects against malware, Intego Mac Internet Security also comes with NetBarrier, a personal firewall that secures your computer against anyone trying to steal your internet which slows down your speeds. Any cellphones, tablets or other mobile devices attached to your computer through its USB ports are scanned by Intego to make sure there aren’t any threats that can infect your computer as you transfer files. Because it isn’t a premium security program, Intego Mac Internet Security doesn’t come with parental controls or a system vulnerability scanner, but you can purchase these separately.
Pros
  • Includes a personal firewall
Cons
  • Parental controls cost extra
Intego
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We know many Mac users look at Sophos Home as a cost-effective solution since its basic program is free. However, during our tests Sophos wasn’t very effective at protecting against Mac malware, and it is very difficult to figure out how to use. It only detected 78 percent of the threats we unleashed during testing, and a few threats we had to manually remove after following the online instructions from Sophos. But these instructions included disabling the automatic virus protection, which triggered Sophos to reboot. Once we reopened Sophos, the virus protection was on again and we couldn’t continue through all the steps of removing the threats. Ultimately, we gave up, uninstalled Sophos and installed another program to find and scrub our Mac clean of threats. Sophos did a good job of identifying and blocking Windows malware on our Mac machines.
Pros
  • Blocks Windows threats
Cons
  • Easy to use
Sophos
Read the full review

Why Trust Us

We spend most of the year testing internet security programs, including antivirus software for Mac. We devote hundreds of hours to downloading, using and testing the most popular security programs on multiple devices running different operating systems, including Mac OS, Windows 10, Windows 8 and Windows 7. We test programs that are compatible with mobile operating systems as well. All this helps us understand just how each program works and if any slowdowns, quirks or tools affect performance on each device.

As part of our testing methodology, we research the standards of the Anti-Malware Testing Standards Organization (AMTSO) and follow several of these suggestions. The most important standard is to maintain unbiased. This means we don’t talk with program developers, representatives or vendors during testing, and we either purchase each program or download the free trials from the program’s website to make sure the software we are testing is the same version users get rather than one that may have been tampered with to create a more favorable outcome.

We have developed relationships with several experts in the internet security industry, including security analysts, IT technicians and cybersecurity managers. We also follow security blogs and news outlets, receive monthly newsletters from manufacturers, attend trade shows and do all we can to stay on top of new developments and security breaches within the industry. Devoting this much time over the last 15 years has helped us become a leading expert in antivirus and internet security practices.

How We Tested

We conduct our own in-house tests using 165 of the nastiest Mac malware to find the antivirus programs that protect Macs best. These threats were tucked inside a zipped file that, when opened, downloaded the files and let them loose. We looked at which point each virus scanner picked up the threats, including Trojans and ransomware, and if the program automatically removed them or placed them in a quarantine folder for us to take care of later. Most of the Mac antivirus programs caught the threats as the files opened and deleted them immediately. Some programs moved each threat into the quarantine folder while others quarantined just those threats that were created to look like legitimate programs. This gave us a good idea of how well the programs protect Mac computers. It also is a good way for us to evaluate how much of our computer’s resources are used while running. During virus scans we perform common tasks, such as sending email, browsing the web, watching movies and playing online games and look for any lag, buffering or slowdown that may be caused by the antivirus software.


On top of Mac malware detection, we also used a few Windows threats to see how well the Mac programs could identify and stop these threats. This is important since Windows threats can be sent on to PC users through file sharing, even though these threats don’t affect Mac computers.

While testing we look for how easy the program is to download, install, set up and use. We feel this is important since many users aren’t computer savvy, so an easy setup process ensures that all a program's tools are in working order.

As part of our evaluation, we consider third-party lab test results for protection. We’ve found that our test results are similar across all laboratories, and we use this information to provide an overall detection and protection score for each Mac antivirus program.

How much does antivirus for Mac cost?

Because Mac antivirus solutions are basic programs without many tools beyond malware protection, you can expect to pay between $30 and $40 for a single user license. Some programs, like F-Secure SAFE, come with a minimum of three licenses to protect multiple computers or laptops at once. There are a few free programs available, but they generally don’t recognize as many threats – plus they bog down your computer and have lots of annoying pop-up ads. If you want more protection with parental controls, a personal firewall or a password manager, check out Mac internet security suites that typically come with these extra tools for around $50.

Which antivirus is best for Mac?

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac, Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac and Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac are all great Mac antivirus programs that proved in our lab tests they are excellent at detecting, blocking and protecting against malware, including Trojans and ransomware. Because the most important function of antivirus for Mac is protecting against malware, Top Ten Reviews invests considerable time testing each program using live threats, so we can tell you exactly how the program works and how well it detects and blocks malware.

Windows threats don’t affect Mac devices, but we still test how well Mac antivirus tools detect these threats because they can hide among your files and accidentally be sent on to a PC through email or file sharing. Avast Security for Mac, AVG AntiVirus for Mac and Trend Micro all do an excellent job of detecting both Mac and Windows malware on Mac computers.

After protection, the biggest differences among Mac antivirus solutions are security features. Detection features are where and what the antivirus program scans on your computer. All of the leading programs scan USB drives and incoming email. Some Mac antivirus software includes a system vulnerability scan that looks for weak points in your computer, typically out-of-date software, and prompts you to install the latest version to strengthen those points. Programs such as Bitdefender present you with a legitimate link where you can download newer software rather than chance downloading a malicious link.

Extra security tools include parental controls that let you set up time limits or block family members from accessing dangerous websites. Password managers shield your username and password from key loggers as you log into email, bank accounts and social media pages. And safe banking tools protect you from identity thieves as you bank and shop online. These aren’t typically included with basic antivirus programs but are included with Mac internet security suites.

Mobile protection isn’t included with antivirus programs, but a few solutions, such as Intego and ESET, will scan your mobile phone or table for any threats and remove them if the device is connected to your computer through a USB port.

How do I remove viruses from my Mac?

The hardest part of cleaning a threat from a Mac computer is finding what the malware is called and where it is hiding, especially since there are sophisticated viruses that look and function like a legitimate app. There are sites that list common Mac malware and where they can be found using the Activity Monitor on your iOS. Once the threat is located, the next step is to stop the malicious application from running and quickly move it to the trash bin. This will keep the program from restarting. If there are any other folders or files that were installed along with the malicious application, make sure these are placed in the trash too; otherwise these files will continue to drain your computer’s resources and cause frustration. When you empty the trash bin these files will be permanently removed.

An easier way to ensure you quickly find and remove Mac viruses is to use an antivirus program like Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac because it not only locates malicious apps and files, but automatically scrubs them from your computer for you. On top of that, because Mac antivirus programs are paid for through a yearly subscription, you can keep the program installed and use it to prevent a malware attack in the future.