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The Best Antivirus for Mac of 2021

Do you need to buy antivirus software for your Mac? It’s a question we frequently get. The answer is simple: Yes, you do. There are two main reasons. The first is the rise of malware specifically designed for macOS. The second is that the best security software for Mac do far more than protect you from malware.

By including features such as a firewall, parental controls, a password manager, and a virtual private network (VPN), they protect not only your MacBook, but also your privacy, passwords and family. But buyer beware: Many antivirus for Mac are watered-down versions of their siblings for Windows, lacking many of the essential security features.

So how to find the best antivirus for your Mac? We are here to help. Since 2014, we have tested and reviewed 100’s of the best antivirus Windows 10 PCs, MacAndroid and iOS

The best antivirus for Mac are:

1 / Most Popular

Intego Review

Intego

The best antivirus for Mac. Antivirus, firewall, parental controls and an optional VPN.

  • Malware Protection 100% 100%
  • Online Privacy 100% 100%

✓ Mac and iOS
✓ 30-days money-back guarantee
✓ VPN: Optional

Read more about Intego

THE BEST

Review Score

2

Norton

Norton

Excellent protection. Antivirus, firewall, VPN and a password manager.

  • Malware Protection 100% 100%
  • Online Privacy 100% 100%

✓ Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS
✓ 60-days money-back guarantee
✓ VPN: Free and unlimited

Read more about Norton

EXCELLENT

Review Score

3

BitDefender

BitDefender

Good protection. Antivirus and VPN. 

  • Malware Protection 100% 100%
  • Online Privacy 72% 72%

✓ Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS
✓ 30-days money-back guarantee
✓ VPN: 200 mb per day for free

Read more about BitDefender

GOOD

Review Score

4

Kaspersky

Kaspersky

Good protection. Antivirus and VPN.

  • Malware Protection 100% 100%
  • Online Privacy 70% 70%

✓ Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS
✓ 30-days money-back guarantee
✓ VPN: 200 mb per day for free

Read more about Kaspersky

GOOD

Review Score

5

Airo AV

Airo AV

Good protection. Antivirus.

  • Malware Protection 100% 100%
  • Online Privacy 50% 50%

✓ Mac only
✓ 30-days money-back guarantee
✓ VPN: Not included

Read more about Airo

GOOD

Review Score

Tibor Moes

Tibor Moes

Founder of SoftwareLab

Welcome. We started SoftwareLab in 2014 to help you find the best software at the best price.

Over the years, we have enjoyed testing the best antivirus for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS, as well as the best VPN and hosting services.

We are proud and humbled to have helped millions of readers since then, and we hope you will find our work helpful. If we can improve our service to you, please let us know here.

  • Protection 50% 50%
  • Privacy 30% 30%
  • Speed 20% 20%

Protection

Both AV-Test and AV-Comparatives, the leading antivirus testing labs, carry out large scale anti-malware tests for macOS at least once a year. Their findings form the basis of our analysis in the protection category.

In their Malware Protection Tests, as they are aptly called, an antivirus software is installed on a freshly updated MacBook, after which it is exposed to just under 600 malware samples.

These samples range from the very harmful to the fairly harmless, such as adware that hitch a ride with bundled software. The samples also include close cousins: Malware samples that are similar, but modified enough to avoid detection from XProtect’s blacklist of known malware.

Although the malware sample count of only 600 is very small in comparison to the 10.000+ malware samples used for Windows, it is an accurate representation of the malware for macOS out there in the “wild”.

The low number of malware samples is the reason why all 5 of the antivirus for Mac on our list have a 100% detection rate. In such a limited malware library, any antivirus that doesn’t score at least a 99% protection rate, is considered a failure.  

The testing process itself is fairly straightforward. After the macOS systems have been (re-)installed, updated and equipped with the latest antivirus software, a USB drive containing the malware samples is introduced.

There are now 3 moments at which the antivirus software can intervene:

  1. Antivirus can notice some or all threats once the USB is inserted.
  2. If available, a USB scan is executed, during which the antivirus has another chance of detecting the malware samples.
  3. If any samples are left undetected and/or undeleted, these are moved to the Mac’s hard disk and executed. Allowing the antivirus software a final attempt at quarantining and deleting the threats.

We use these findings by the testing labs, to reach our protection score.

Privacy

The data industry continues to expand. Governments, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), advertisers, and tech firms are all attempting to track your every move online.

In a time where even a big antivirus brand was caught selling its user’s data (Yes Avast, we’re talking about you), consumers are right to worry.

Luckily, the desire to be anonymous online has sparked fresh innovation. New cybersecurity firms have sprouted left and right, and created several technological solutions to help you protect you privacy.

By far the most important of these is the Virtual Private Network (VPN). A relatively straightforward yet ingenious solution that allows you to encrypt your internet connection, and in turn become fully anonymous online. 

It works as follows: Instead of surfing the web directly, you establish an encrypted connection to a VPN server first. Then you continue surfing the web as you normally would.

Now anyone attempting to trace your online behaviour back to you, is actually tracing your behaviour back of that server, which is used by thousands of people. It’s like attempting to discover your home address, but only finding a busy train station. Voila, you are anonymous. 

At SoftwareLab, we test the VPN of each of the security companies, and check several factors: 

  • How does the VPN connection influence your upload and download speed, and your latency (ping)?
  • How many servers are available and in what regions?
  • What security features does the VPN have (AES-256 encryption, a kill-switch and the OpenVPN protocol are key features)?
  • How much does the VPN cost?
  • Who owns the VPN? Has the antivirus company created its own VPN (as Norton has), bought an existing VPN firm (as McAfee has), or is it selling a partner’s VPN service under its own name (as BitDefender, Panda, and BullGuard do)?

The final privacy score is largely dependent on the quality of the VPN. But it is still influenced by the presence (or lack thereof) of other privacy features, such as a webcam and microphone protection, and an anti-tracker. 

Speed

The final factor that we take into consideration when selecting the best antivirus for macOS, is the impact on the operating speed.

All software that operate continuously in the background require a certain amount of resources to run. But it shouldn’t be noticeable.

AV-Test dedicates a specific part of their test to measuring the impact a security tool has on the operating speed – called the performance section. We use their test results, combined with our own experience working with the antivirus software, to reach an objective verdict in this category.