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The 4 Best Antivirus for Mac (2022 Update)
By Tibor Moes / September 2022
Our test process
When we test and review the best antivirus software for Mac, we go through the following process:
- We install the software on Windows 10 and 11, macOS, Android, and iOS.
- We analyze the anti-malware protection by averaging all AV-Test scores since October 2016.
- We test the firewalls by running the ShieldsUP! test of the Gibson Research Corporation.
- We test the password managers by creating, storing, and auto-filling passwords for several websites.
- We test the parental controls by setting content filters and screentime rules, and attempt to circumvent them.
- We test the VPN by analyzing the speed, security, encryption, privacy, data leaks, and server locations.
- We test secondary features like anti-phishing, anti-theft, dark web monitoring, secure browser, and more.
Below you can find the best security software for Mac. We hope you will find our work helpful.
About the author
This article was written by Tibor Moes, founder and CEO of SoftwareLab.
Tibor is an engineer from the Netherlands that started reviewing security software in 2014. Since then, he has tested most leading antivirus software, VPN, password managers, and hosting services.
Currently, he uses Norton to protect his devices, CyberGhost for his privacy, and Dashlane for his passwords. This website, SoftwareLab.org, is hosted on a Digital Ocean server via Cloudways and built with DIVI on WordPress.
Mac, Windows, Android and iOS
- Device Security 100% 100%
- Online Privacy 100% 100%
Complete Protection for Mac
Norton is the best antivirus software for Mac. It combines anti-malware with web protection, firewall, unlimited VPN, password manager, parental controls, and dark web monitoring. And in contrast to other antivirus companies, its VPN is included for free.
No other security software for macOS is this complete. And if need be, Norton is excellent at protecting your Windows PC or phone too.
Mac and Windows
- Device Security 100% 100%
- Online Privacy 96% 96%
Intuitive & Advanced Protection
Intego is excellent. It’s not as complete as Norton because it misses a password manager and dark web monitor. But it offers a more intuitive firewall and a more advanced VPN. Note that the VPN is not included for free but definitely worth the upgrade.
Intego is focused on macOS. So don’t get it if you want to protect a PC or phone. But for a Macbook or iMac, it’s excellent.
Reviews of the best antivirus for Mac of 2022
You are looking for the best virus protection for Mac. We are here to help. Since 2014, we have tested dozens of antivirus for Mac. And to be honest, not all are worth your money.
Because most cybersecurity brands focus on Windows, their antivirus software for Mac often lack features like a firewall or password manager.
So which one should you buy? We have done the leg work for you and tested the ten biggest brands. Below you can find the four that we consider the best options to protect your MacBook or iMac in 2022.
Especially the first two, Norton and Intego, are exceptionally good. Click on the links below to read more about each brand.
Or simply scroll down.
Norton Antivirus for Mac Review
Key takeaway: Norton offers the best antivirus protection for Mac. It combines anti-malware, web protection, firewall, unlimited VPN, password manager, parental controls, and dark web monitoring. No competitor offers such complete protection on Mac.
Norton Antivirus for Mac Review
Norton’s antivirus for Mac consists of a central dashboard, called My Norton, from which you can access the various security features. We’ll discuss each:
As most Mac users want to keep things simple, Norton has added the Quick Scan and Live Update buttons that allow you to update the software, run a quick scan of your Mac, and get on with the rest of your day.
But sometimes, you’re in the mood for a bit more. That is when you hit the Open button to access the advanced features and settings.
- Add Devices: Send a download link to another device via text or email, or scan the QR code to install Norton’s app on your phone.
- Scan: Run a Quick Scan, Full System Scan, or File Scan to check your entire Mac or a specific file.
- LiveUpdate: Download the latest product updates and malware database to your Mac to keep your security updated.
- Clean: Search and remove temporary, duplicate, or similar files to clear up space on your hard drive.
- Protect My Mac: Customize your system scans by including or excluding specific folders.
- Firewall: Adjust the firewall to block specific applications, protect vulnerabilities, or sharpen the firewall’s network awareness.
- Safe Web: Install Norton’s Safe Web browser extension on Safari, Chrome, or Firefox, to block malicious websites before visiting them.
- Activity: See the security history of your Mac, including firewall blocks, scans, threat detections, and updates.
- Product Settings: Access Silent Mode, Error Management, Automatic Upgrades, and Norton Community Watch.
Anti-Malware Test Results
Norton’s malware removal for Mac is exceptional. Its test scores in the independent test lab, AV-Test, have been consistently 100% since tests for Mac began in June 2017.
No other brand has a perfect track record on macOS. Avast, Avira, AVG, Bitdefender, F-Secure, Intego, Kaspersky, MacKeeper, TotalAV and TrendMicro all fall behind Norton when averaging the test results.
Dark Web Monitoring
Norton can search the Dark Web for your data and send you an email if any of it is sold by hackers. It can search for your Address, Driver’s License, Insurance, Mother’s Maiden Name, Gamer Tag, Email, Bank Accounts, Credit Cards, and Phone Numbers.
Thanks to its Dark Web Monitoring and its LifeLock features available in the US, Norton has become a leader in identity theft protection.
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) makes you anonymous online and safe on public Wi-Fi networks. It does this by encrypting your internet connection and hiding your IP address. This significantly increases your online safety.
Where the VPN of most competitors have a data limit of a few hundred MB per day, Norton has included an unlimited VPN for free. It’s fast, secure, private (no logs), works with Netflix, and allows you to download torrents.
Although it will be enough for most users, privacy wonks will prefer Intego’s VPN. By including a kill switch, split tunnel, auto-connect, and a range of customizable features, Intego’s VPN is far more advanced. Still, Norton’s VPN is included for free, while you’ll need to pay extra for Intego’s VPN.
Norton’s password manager is excellent. It helps you create and store ultra secure passwords and auto-fills them when you log on to a website. It also automatically syncs those passwords on all your devices.
We like that you can use your phone’s fingerprint or facial recognition to log in to your password vault, both on your phone and on your Mac.
Norton’s parental controls allows you to monitor and protect your kids online. For example, you can block specific websites and apps, and set screen time rules.
Is Norton 360 the best antivirus for Mac?
Yes. We believe so. By featuring anti-malware, web protection, a firewall, an unlimited VPN, a password manager, parental controls, and dark web monitoring, Norton is far more than just an antivirus program.
In our view, Norton is the most complete security software you can buy. It offers both the best virus protection and the best internet security for Mac.
For an even more in-depth analysis, see our full review of Norton 360 Deluxe.
Intego Antivirus for Mac Review
Key takeaway: Intego is one of the best Mac antivirus software. It isn’t as versatile as Norton. Because it only offers great protection for Mac (not other OS), and it misses the password manager and dark web monitoring. That said, we are big fans of its intuitive firewall, customizable parental controls, and highly advanced VPN. If you only have a Mac to protect, Intego is an excellent choice.
Intego Antivirus for Mac Review:
Intego’s antivirus software for Mac consists of five features and one optional one, the VPN.
- The two core features, the anti-malware and firewall, are present in Intego Mac Internet Security X9.
- If you upgrade to Intego Premium Bundle X9, you also get the other three features; the backup, optimizer, and parental controls.
Below we’ll discuss each feature.
Intego has named its anti-malware for Mac the VirusBarrier. And it’s excellent. It consists of a real-time scanner, quick scan, full scan, and scheduled scan. And can hunt for various malware types, including:
- Mac malware
- Windows malware
- Linux malware
- Malicious scripts
- Hacking tools
On top of that, it can scan external harddisks and devices, including your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. It can even scan your email if you use the Apple Mail app.
We’re big fans of Intego’s firewall, called the NetBarrier.
What we love most about it is its interface. Let’s be honest; not everyone enjoys studying the ins and outs of firewalls. Intego solves that perfectly by using a user-friendly layout that explains the concept perfectly.
On top of that, it will automatically detect whether you are at home, work, or on a public Wi-Fi network and adjust its security settings for both internet and local connections accordingly.
It’s an excellent firewall.
Although Mac users already have their fair share of backup options, thanks to the Time Machine and iCloud Drive, Intego has built its own and called it the Personal Backup.
It allows you to backup and sync your entire hard drive, or individual files and folders, to an external hard disk. So it’s similar to iCloud Drive, but it doesn’t charge a monthly subscription fee.
Of course, unlike iCloud Drive, you’ll need to supply your own hard drive.
Intego helps you to optimize your Mac with its Washing Machine feature. It will enable you to:
- Reclaim disk space by finding and deleting junk files.
- Remove duplicate files to free up even more disk space.
- Organize your Desktop and Dock, and order files into Smart Folders.
Intego’s parental controls, called the ContentBarrier, allow you to monitor and protect your kids online. It’s easy to set up, thanks to its pre-designed protection levels, focused on teenagers or young kids.
But it also offers a wealth of customization options should you want to get your hand dirty. Amongst others, you can:
- Block websites and apps, by category or individually.
- Record chats, screenshots, and even keystrokes.
- Get automated reports via email.
One of the most celebrated features is the Anti-Predator alert, which instantly sends you an email when your child engages with a bad actor in a chat room. Intego recognizes this via speech patterns and word choice.
As you might already know, a VPN encrypts your internet connection and hides your IP address online. This makes you anonymous online and secure on public Wi-Fi.
Intego’s VPN, called Privacy Protect, is an optional feature that costs extra. It’s based on the Private Internet Access VPN, also owned by Intego’s parent company, Kape Technologies.
And we must admit, we are huge fans of the VPN. It is lightning fast, secure (no leaks), private (no logs), and works with streaming services (Netflix) and torrent clients (uTorrent). And, as if that wasn’t enough, it’s the most customizable VPN we have ever tested on Mac.
You can read more about it in our full review of Intego’s VPN.
Is Intego the best antivirus for Mac?
Intego is the only real competitor to Norton. Although it misses a few features compared to Norton, like the password manager and dark web monitoring, it compensates with its intuitive firewall and advanced VPN.
However, keep in mind that Intego is primarily designed to protect macOS, the operating system of MacBooks, and iMacs. Although the company has recently launched Intego antivirus for Windows, it’s not very good.
So if you only want to protect a Mac, Intego is excellent. But if you also want to safeguard an Android phone or Windows PC, Norton is a better choice.
For even more details, please read our full review of Intego antivirus for Mac.
Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac Review
Key takeaway: Kaspersky’s Internet Security for Mac is one of our favorite antivirus programs for Mac. It’s advanced yet affordable. And the browser extension has more features than a Swiss army knife. The only downsides are its lack of a password manager and unlimited VPN. To access these, you will have to pay extra (or get Norton, which includes both for free).
Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac Review:
Kaspersky’s Mac Antivirus is called Internet Security. And the name is apt because Kaspersky offers a significant amount of tools to increase your online safety. Below we discuss all security features that you can access.
The protection center gives you insight into:
- Your license duration
- Active threats on your Mac
- Real-time protection
- Database status
It also helps you install the excellent browser extension, called Kaspersky Security. It offers the most extensive web protection that we have tested and includes a range of features that can be turned on and off individually:
- Web antivirus: Scan incoming data and get notified of threats.
- Website tracking: Stop sites from installing cookies into your browser that track your activities online. By default, this feature is off.
- Safe money: Check the authenticity of e-commerce stores and online banks and their security certificates.
- URL advisor: Know whether a link is safe to click before clicking it.
- Onscreen keyboard: Type passwords into a digital, rather than physical, keyboard to avoid being tracked by keyloggers.
All the usual suspects are present, such as the quick scan, full scan, and scheduled scan. There is also the option to scan an individual file or folder. In typical Apple fashion, you can drag and drop the file into the window to scan it. Which we like.
Ensure the database’s malware samples are up to date to get the highest possible malware detection rate. Kaspersky itself also updates the database at regular intervals. But in case you want to run a scan, it’s also handy to update the database first.
The privacy section includes two features:
- Block webcam: Block all apps from accessing your webcam. It’s a nice feature because few other antivirus tools offer it on Mac. But it would be even better if you could allow specific apps to access the webcam while blocking all others. Now it’s a bit of a blunt instrument.
- Block website tracking: This is a shortcut to the browser extension’s anti-tracking feature, called Website Tracking. So you can (de-)activate it from both the antivirus software and the browser extension.
There is also a link to Kaspersky’s VPN, called Secure Connection, based on Hotspot Shield‘s technology (just like Bitdefender’s and Panda’s VPN). It’s a fast, secure (no leaks), and private (no logs) VPN that works with Netflix and allows you to download via torrents clients like BitTorrent.
However, the free VPN included is limited to 300 MB/day. So if you want an unlimited VPN, you’ll need to pay extra.
Safe Kids are the parental controls by Kaspersky, which are housed in a separate app. With your Internet Security for Mac subscription, you’ll get a basic version of Safe Kids, which will allow you to protect you kids online by blocking specific websites and website categories.
You will have to buy the premium version for the complete feature set. This one adds a GPS tracker, social media monitor, and low-battery notifier.
Some of the features mentioned above can be customized under preferences. For instance, you can choose which type of tracking cookies you would like to block: Web analytics, ad agencies, web behavior trackers, and social networks.
Here you can also find Kaspersky’s firewall, called Network Attack Blocker. It is not a full-feature firewall like Norton and Intego, but it offers similar protection. For instance, it scans incoming traffic for attacks. When it discovers any, it will block the data stream from that source for an hour.
Is Kaspersky the best antivirus for Mac?
No. Although it’s excellent, we prefer Norton and Intego.
Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac offers excellent anti-malware protection and a range of web protection features. We especially like the advanced and customizable browser extension.
However, because it doesn’t include a password manager, full firewall, or unlimited VPN, it can’t compete with Norton on sheer protective abilities.
That said, Kaspersky is a bit cheaper. So if you think the features on offer are all you need, it might be a great deal for you.
For more, please read our full review of Kaspersky Internet Security.
Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac Review
Key takeaway: Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac is a well-designed app, with excellent anti-malware, ransomware prevention, and web protection. However, it lacks a firewall and password manager, and the unlimited VPN costs extra. All of which are freely available with Norton.
Bitdefender Antivirus for macOS review:
Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac looks just as cool as its brother on Windows. On the left side, you can find a menu with seven items that house the features and settings. We’ll walk you through them from top to bottom:
The first menu item, Dashboard, offers short-cuts to five core features:
- Quick scan
- System scan
- Protect a new device
- Safe files
- Web protection
The second menu item, Protection, covers the security features:
- Quick Scan: Quickly scan areas of your Mac that are sensitive to malware.
- System Scan: Run a complete scan of all files and directories of your Mac.
- Custom Scan: Pick specific files to scan.
- Quarantine: See a list of possibly dangerous files. Delete or remove them.
- Exceptions: Create a list of files that can be excluded from scanning.
- TrafficLight: A browser extension for Safari, Chrome, and Firefox, that stops you from entering phishing sites and downloading malware.
- Safe Files: A ransomware protection feature stops malware from making unauthorized changes to your files.
- Time Machine Protection: Protect Apple’s built-in backup feature, the Time Machine, from unauthorized changes.
The third menu item, Privacy, covers the privacy features:
- VPN: A Virtual Private Network (VPN) restores your privacy online. Bitdefender’s VPN is fast, private, secure, and works with Netflix and torrents. It’s excellent. However, the free version is limited to 200 MB/day.
- Anti-Tracker: A browser extension that blocks tracking cookies in Safari, Chrome, and Firefox.
The fourth menu item, Notifications, gives you a chronological overview of everything security-related that occurred on your Macbook.
In the fifth menu item, My Account, you can see account information and the remaining duration of your subscription. It also includes a link to Bitdefender Central, where you can manage your account.
In the sixth menu item, Preferences, you can (de-)activate various features, such as Bitdefender Shield. You can also choose what files should be scanned. For instance, you can exclude backups or decide only to scan modified files, to speed up your scanning.
Is Bitdefender the best antivirus for Mac?
No, it isn’t. Although we like Bitdefender’s anti-malware, anti-ransomware, anti-tracking, and web protection, it misses some essential features.
For instance, we would have liked to see a firewall and password manager. And although we are impressed by Bitdefender’s excellent VPN, the free version is limited to 200 MB/day, making it useless.
We, therefore, think both Norton and Intego remain the best security software for Mac.
For more, please read our full review of Bitdefender Total Security.
Due to the size of an article like this, we can’t feature all products that we’ve tested. Although we prefer the four that we’ve reviewed, we would like to state that the paid and free antivirus for Mac below are solid options as well.
- Avira Free Antivirus for Mac and Avira Prime
- Avast Free Antivirus, Avast Premium Security, and Avast One.
- McAfee Total Protection (also known as McAfee LiveSafe)
- Panda Dome Antivirus for Mac
- Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac
- Sophos Home Premium
Still, for our own Mac computers we use Norton and Intego.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are frequently asked questions from across the web.
Do you need virus protection on a Mac?
Yes, you need virus protection on Mac for three reasons: Malware explicitly designed for macOS, identity theft, and privacy invasion. Great antivirus software protect your Mac from malware, restore your anonymity online, and check whether your personal data, like credit card information, is sold on the Dark Web.
What are the best antivirus software for Mac?
Norton 360 is the best antivirus software for Mac. No other brand combines device security, online privacy, and identity theft protection, as well as Norton. The only real competitor is Intego, which has been specifically designed for macOS and offers both a wonderfully intuitive firewall and highly advanced VPN.
How to choose the best antivirus for macOS?
First, stay away from free antivirus software. Second, check the anti-malware test scores at the independent testing labs AV-Test and AV-Comparatives. And finally, make sure the antivirus has a firewall, password manager, unlimited VPN, and dark web monitoring. Or, you can read our comparison at SoftwareLab.org, as we’ve already done the research for you.
Does macOS have built-in antivirus protection?
Yes, macOS is relatively safe. For instance, Notarisation and GateKeeper keep malicious apps out of the App Store, XProtect identifies and blocks malware via signature-based detection, and MRT (Malware Removal Tool) removes any malware that was able to execute. On top of that, Safari has built-in web protection to hide your IP, prevent cross-site tracking, and block dangerous websites.
However, Apple is not specialized in anti-malware software, has no multi-OS password manager, offers no unlimited VPN, and doesn’t check whether your personal data is traded on the Dark Web. Considering the damage hackers and cybercriminals can cause, we consider the investment in antivirus software a no-brainer.
Can I use free Mac antivirus software?
We rarely advise using free Mac antivirus software unless you have no other option. After all, a company needs to make money. If you’re not paying for the product, you usually become the product. That means that your data is tracked and sold to advertisers.