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Best Antivirus for Mac

The 10 Best Antivirus for Mac: Do You Need Protection for Your Apple in 2024?

If you’re looking for the best antivirus for Mac in 2024, this article will help you find the best one to suit your budget. We’ll analyze everything, from free apps to some of the more expensive options. Keep reading to see which antivirus software made the cut.

Mindy BornSamuel ChapmanGoran Nikolić

Written by Mindy Born (Writer)

Reviewed by Samuel Chapman (Writer, Editor)

Facts checked by Goran Nikolić (Fact-checking editor)

Last Updated: 2024-06-04T19:57:20+00:00

All our content is written fully by humans; we do not publish AI writing. Learn more here.

Key Takeaways: These Are the Best Antivirus Services for Mac
  1. Bitdefender— The best antivirus software for Mac known for its great free version
  2. Avast — A well-known, versatile antivirus
  3. AVG AntiVirus — Reliable and strong antivirus that doesn’t impact system performance
  4. Avira— Antivirus with dedicated ransomware protection features
  5. ESET NOD32 — A comprehensive security solution
  6. Malwarebytes — Free antivirus with excellent protection
  7. Norton 360— Trustworthy and easy-to-use solution
  8. Intego — A Mac-exclusive antivirus with real-time protection
  9. F-Secure — User-friendly and secure antivirus
  10. Surfshark Antivirus — Antivirus comes bundled with Surfshark VPN

Facts & Expert Analysis About the Best Mac Antivirus Software:

  • Historically narrow threat landscape: Historically, Macs have had a reputation for being less vulnerable to malware than Windows devices. However, cyber threats are evolving. Research by Elastic Security Labs showed that 6% of all malware infections globally were on MacOS endpoints1, which is very close to MacOS’s overall market share as estimated by StatCounter.2
  • Crucial features: Effective antivirus software for Mac should include features like real-time protection, a firewall and phishing detection.
  • Independent audits: Independent testing labs like AV-TEST and AV-Comparatives provide insights into the performance of antivirus software.

Best Antivirus for Mac

While Macs have been seen as less vulnerable to malware than Windows devices in the past, cyber threats are constantly evolving, with 11% of macOS detections on MalwareBytes in 2023 classifying as malicious.3 As new threats emerge, the best antivirus for Mac can offer an extra layer of defense. Some of the best antivirus software options for both macOS and Windows include Bitdefender, AVG and Malwarebytes.

XProtect and Gatekeeper — Apple’s built-in security features — provide good protection against known malware, but they can’t always evolve to meet new threats. The solutions below are designed to detect and remove a wide range of malware through real-time monitoring. They also offer security features like firewalls, dangerous website blockers and parental controls.

  • 06/03/2024 Facts checked

    Updated with new information, new best antivirus selections and updated facts about the best antivirus for Mac.

Cloudwards Editor’s Choice: Bitdefender

Bitdefender offers a strong Mac antivirus along with malware prevention and isolation, as confirmed by its consistently high scores with AV-TEST and AV-Comparatives. It also has an excellent free version that includes real-time protection, phishing protection and malware scanning. Bitdefender’s paid versions provide a VPN, gaming mode, parental controls and more.

We tested Bitdefender using WICAR and the Anti-Malware Testing Standards Organization (AMTSO) to see how it fared against common browser exploits. It did extraordinarily well in blocking all threats — even AMTSO’s phishing attempts, which most antivirus software fail to block.

How to Choose the Best Mac Antivirus Software

There are several things to consider when choosing the best antivirus for Mac. The software must be effective and contain more features than just basic malware scanning. You don’t want antivirus software that slows down your device so much that you hate using it, and the interface needs to be intuitive and pleasing to use. Here’s a quick checklist:

  • Effective malware detection: An antivirus software’s main purpose is to offer basic protection from malicious software. It needs to have good independent test results, and it must reliably prevent and remove viruses, trojans, ransomware and other threats.
  • Features and customization: Real-time protection, firewalls, phishing detection, customizable settings and parental controls are useful additional features that all the antivirus solutions on this list have.
  • Performance impact: Antivirus software should run efficiently without noticeably slowing down your Mac. 
  • Customer support: Having reliable customer support means that when something goes wrong, you’ll be able to deal with it as quickly as possible. 
  • Updates: Performing regular updates keeps the software current and effective against emerging and evolving threats.
  • Privacy protection: The antivirus needs to safeguard your personal data. Features like webcam protection, secure browsing and privacy scans help prevent unauthorized access to personal information.
  • User-friendly interface: A straightforward interface simplifies setup, configuration and monitoring. Intuitive controls make it easier for both inexperienced and experienced users to manage the software directly.

The 10 Best Antivirus Protection for Mac Computers

Based on the key factors above, we’ve created a list of the best software. We looked at independent test results and user reviews alongside our own assessments to curate a selection of antivirus solutions that offer a balance of affordability, protection and usability for Mac users.

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1. Bitdefender — Best Free Mac Antivirus 

after bd scan


  • Stellar protection
  • Excellent free version


  • Only one pricing choice for Mac
  • Slight problems with false positives

Bitdefender consistently scores well in AV-TEST and AV-Comparatives testing. It also blocks and removes viruses, trojans, ransomware and other threats. Its feature set includes real-time protection, a firewall, phishing detection, customizable settings and parental controls. Customer support options include 24/7 live chat, phone and email, and a comprehensive knowledgebase.

Bitdefender’s focus on privacy protection is clear through features like webcam protection, secure browsing and privacy scans. Its user-friendly interface is easy to set up, configure and use for both novices and experienced users alike. This makes it one of the most secure antivirus software that you can buy.

It won’t bog down your Mac while it’s running, either. Bitdefender’s Photon technology optimizes scanning methods by offloading the processing of known files to the cloud, reducing system resource consumption.

Bitdefender’s “advanced threat defense” feature employs machine learning algorithms to identify and mitigate sophisticated malware strains. Its ransomware protection uses behavioral analysis and heuristics to monitor system activities and promptly block ransomware attempts.

Bitdefender Pricing & Value

Bitdefender’s free plan is excellent at keeping devices virus-free. It’s also easy to set up, and its scans perform well. This puts Bitdefender at the top of our list of the best free antivirus software.

If you want added features like parental controls, a firewall and webcam protection, you’ll need to opt for a paid plan. Bitdefender has many pricing tiers for other devices, but the Total Security plan is the only plan it offers that protects Macs. 

The Total Security plan costs $59.99 annually and covers five devices, including iOS, Android, Mac and PC. To learn more about the service, read our Bitdefender review, or try it out for yourself using the free plan.

2. Avast — Best Antivirus for User Experience

avast scan mac
Avast’s free version has quality malware protection and blocks web trackers.


  • Excellent test results
  • Easy to use
  • Active community


  • Pricey premium version
  • Slightly long scan times

Avast’s “CyberCapture” feature analyzes suspicious files in a cloud-based sandbox environment. Its “WiFi inspector” feature scans network connections and devices for vulnerabilities like weak passwords or outdated software, and it provides recommendations to improve network security.

Avast’s Behavior Shield monitors system activities and processes to look for abnormal behavior that might indicate malware infection, and it provides real-time protection.

Avast Pricing & Value

Avast Antivirus has an excellent free version with real-time virus protection, and it will warn users about unsafe websites and web trackers. Avast’s premium antivirus includes ransomware protection, banking protection, WiFi network scanning and phishing protection for $3.69 per month, billed annually at

For more information about its antivirus protection, read our full Avast Pro review, or take advantage of the free plan to try it yourself.

3. AVG AntiVirus — Best Antivirus for Beginners

avg scan mac
AVG gives users lots of control over how they want to use the software.


  • Feature rich paid & free plans
  • User-friendly interface
  • Excellent protection scores


  • No password vault or VPN included
  • Occasional false positives

AVG AntiVirus offers effective protection against viruses, spyware and malware, and both the free and premium versions consistently score well in testing by AV-TEST. While AVG’s free version lacks some features that are found in its paid products, like anti-phishing and a VPN, it does offer reliable malware protection without too much drain on system resources.

The “smart scan” feature optimizes scanning processes by prioritizing system areas that are most susceptible to infection, minimizing scan times and reducing its drag on system resources. AVG’s “deep scan” technology employs scanning algorithms, allowing it to delve deep into system files and processes to detect hidden malware and rootkits.

AVG AntiVirus Pricing & Value

AVG AntiVirus has three different plans. The free plan provides high-quality protection against ransomware, and blocks viruses and malware for one device. Currently, the AVG Ultimate and AVG Internet Security plans are both $4.99 per month (billed annually) and protect 10 devices. The AVG Ultimate plan includes a VPN, anti-tracking and system cleanup features.

If you want to learn more about the service, check out our AVG AntiVirus review or test out the free plan.

4. Avira — Best Antivirus for Ransomware Protection

avira scan mac
Avira is an excellent antivirus solution with a feature-packed free version.


  • Numerous features
  • Automatic software/driver updater
  • Digital health dashboard


  • No customer support on free plan 
  • Cheapest plan has limited features
  • No ransomware protection in free version

Avira Antivirus got a perfect score in its most recent AV testing. Its cloud-based technology and scanning engine provide fast, lightweight and thorough malware detection that is comparable to top competitors like Norton or Bitdefender. It is absolutely packed with features, such as a password manager, a firewall, performance optimization tools and a VPN.

Avira Antivirus is lightweight and doesn’t significantly impact system performance due to the aforementioned cloud processing. Its one drawback is that customer support is almost nonexistent for free users, with the best option being a community forum. 

Avira Pricing & Value

Avira lets users choose from a wide array of plans. The Pro plan only includes antivirus protection and a firewall for $26.99 for the first year (it renews at a higher price). The Avira Prime plan costs $59.99 for the first year, which includes a VPN and tools to streamline your device. Finally, the Internet Security plan offers a password manager for $34.99 annually.

For more details on Avira, read our Avira review or try the free plan. You can also make use of Avira’s 60-day money-back guarantee if you want to try the full-featured versions.

5. ESET NOD32 — Best Spyware Protection

eset scan mac
ESET has been protecting devices for over 30 years.


  • Scans are light on resources
  • Easy to use
  • Lots of protection features


  • Confusing knowledgebase
  • Expensive

ESET consistently scores very high in independent antivirus tests, with near-perfect detection rates against viruses, trojans, ransomware and more. It’s considered one of the most effective antivirus solutions on the market, and it includes real-time protection, a firewall, anti-theft tools and parental controls. 

We know ESET has a low impact on system performance. It regularly updates its software to protect against current threats. According to AV-TEST, its effectiveness did face a slight dip for catching emerging threats in early 2024, but it consistently performs well otherwise. It was also one of the top performers in AV-Comparatives’ 2022 antivirus testing.

ESET’s proactive protection modules, such as the advanced memory scanner and DNA detections, monitor system memory processes for suspicious behavior. These tools also identify new malware variants based on similarities to known malicious code in order to improve its detection and response to new threats.

ESET Pricing & Value

ESET has a 30-day free trial that doesn’t require a credit card, so it’s easy to install and test before you buy. Its cheapest paid plan is $39.99 per year for the first year, and it includes safe banking and browsing, WiFi and webcam monitoring, and real-time protection. For about $10 more, you can get a password manager as well as data and photo encryption.  

For a deeper dive into the service, read our ESET NOD32 review. Alternatively, you can make use of its free trial, which lets you access the full product for 30 days. 

6. Malwarebytes — Best Browser Protection

malwarebytes scanner mac
Malwarebytes has been a reliable antivirus solution since it was founded in 2008.


  • Fast scans
  • Intuitive dashboard
  • Easy to install and use


  • Expensive premium plans
  • Limited free version

Malwarebytes has consistently performed well in AV-TEST and AV-Comparatives testing, but not as well as most of the others on this list. Its “browser guard” feature is a handy add-on that blocks ads, scams and trackers, and it has a strong “exploit protection” feature that catches and halts malicious code. Malwarebytes runs efficiently without significant system impact.

The premium versions have lots of good features, such as real-time protection, parental controls, a firewall, and privacy and exploit protection, but none of these are available in the bare-bones free version. There’s no live support, and a bot answers the chat function, but you can submit support tickets by email, even for the free plan.

Malwarebytes’ “anti-exploit” mode provides real-time protection against exploit-based attacks targeting vulnerabilities in software applications. Its “anti-ransomware” feature uses behavioral monitoring and file integrity checks to detect and halt ransomware encryption attempts, and its “browser guard” browser extension protects your browser from malware.

Malwarebytes Pricing & Value

Malwarebytes has a free plan that only includes system scans, and it offers a 30-day free trial of the full plans. Paid plans start at $3.75 per month and include real-time protection against malware, viruses, ransomware and phishing, as well as an ad blocker and rootkit protection. 

You can add a VPN for per month, and the Complete Protection plan costs $10 per month, which includes $1 million in identity theft protection insurance plus social media monitoring. Check out our Malwarebytes review for more information about the service, or try it out with the 30-day free trial. You can then switch to the free plan if you just need the system scans.

7. Norton 360 — Best Ransomware Protection

norton scan mac
Norton has maintained a good reputation in the antivirus industry for over 30 years.


  • Strong lab results
  • Lots of features
  • Good customer support


  • Limited cheaper plans
  • No Linux support
  • No free plan

Norton 360 consistently earns high marks from AV-TEST and AV-Comparatives for its strong malware detection and removal abilities. Norton has an intrusion prevention system (IPS) that proactively blocks network attacks and prevents unauthorized access to data. With its SONAR technology, Norton uses behavioral analysis to detect emerging and zero-day threats.

Norton 360 has a relatively small impact on system performance, with tests showing it uses only 2- 10% of CPU resources during scanning. Although its customer support isn’t perfect — it took over five minutes to connect to an agent via live chat — at least it has a live chat option. There’s also phone, email and community support along with a knowledgebase.

Norton 360 Pricing & Value

Norton is a well-rounded security suite. It doesn’t have a free plan, but it does offer a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try it out before committing. Its cheapest plan is Norton Antivirus Plus at $2.50 per month, billed at $29.99 annually; this includes malware and antivirus protection, cloud backup and a password manager. 

Added features like dark web monitoring or a VPN are available for a bit more. For more details about this provider, read our Norton Security review, or take the free plan for a spin.

8. Intego — Best Mac Exclusive Protection

intego scan mac
Intego is an antivirus developed specifically for Mac users.


  • 24/7 live chat
  • Mac-first antivirus
  • Easy to use


  • Poor 2024 AV testing results
  • Free trial has limited features
  • No web threat detection

Intego’s VirusBarrier, the core feature of its antivirus protection for Mac, uses signature-based detection methods to identify and neutralize malware. Using its real-time scanning processes, Intego constantly monitors system activities, file access attempts and network connections to detect and mitigate any suspicious behavior.

This is the only Mac-first antivirus on this list, and it would rank higher if its most recent performance testing scores from AV-TEST weren’t slightly below the industry average. It also caused notable system lag in testing. It has tested well in the past, so hopefully we’ll have a reason to raise its ranking in the future. 

Intego includes a firewall called NetBarrier and a “washing machine” feature that speeds up your device by removing duplicates and junk. Its customer support is easy to use with 24/7 live chat, phone and email support plus a knowledgebase. Provided that it improves its test scores for the next round of AV testing, Intego is a decent Mac-first antivirus option.

Intego Pricing & Value

Intego doesn’t have a free plan, but it does offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. Its Internet Security Plan costs $3.33 per month (billed annually at $39.99), and it includes a firewall, auto-scanning and anti-phishing protection. The Mac Premium Plan is $5.83 per month (billed annually at $69.99), and for those few extra cents per month, you get its “washing machine” feature.

There is an option to add ContentBarrier — Intego’s parental control tool, a VPN, and a “personal backup” feature, which gives you quick access to your most-used files. This Mac Premium Bundle plan is $89.99 per year.

9. F-Secure — Best Mac Antivirus for Families

f secure scan mac
F-Secure reliably stops viruses, but we’re not impressed with its small array of features.


  • Good user interface
  • Many support options
  • Low performance impact


  • Expensive
  • Lacking features

F-Secure’s AV-TEST results dipped in early 2023, but its scores improved by the end of the year and into 2024. In AV-TEST’s Mac-specific testing, it scored 5.5 out of 6 for both protection and performance, which puts it slightly behind most of its competitors. 

Family rules — its parental control system — has a “bedtime” feature that won’t allow devices to be used during certain time periods. Additional features include a VPN, a password vault and an ID monitoring tool.

F-Secure’s “cloud protection” network uses a global network of threat intelligence and real-time data feeds to rapidly respond to emerging cyber threats. Its “banking protection” feature creates a secure connection for online banking to secure sensitive banking information and prevent data theft. 

F-Secure Pricing & Value

F-Secure has a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it before committing. The Total Protection package includes everything for $5.83 per month, billed at $69.99 annually for the first year (and then the price increases). Its Internet Security plan is $4.17 per month billed at $49.99 annually, but it doesn’t include WiFi protection, tracking protection or identity monitoring.

You can also purchase the VPN and ID protection separately, but it’s better value to get them as part of the Total package. Try the service yourself with its money-back guarantee, or learn more about it in our full F-Secure review

10. Surfshark Antivirus — Best Antivirus Software for Multiple Devices

surfshark scan mac
Surfshark Antivirus is a relatively new offering from a trusted VPN service.


  • Easy on system resources
  • Company offers a very good VPN
  • Long-term plans have good value


  • Only available as a package with the VPN
  • Poor scores in independent testing for Windows
  • No Mac tests yet

Surfshark Antivirus is integrated with a VPN that is already well-known, as you can read in our Surfshark VPN review. It can encrypt internet traffic and anonymize users’ online activities to prevent tracking and data leaks. Its real-time threat detection system continuously monitors network traffic and incoming data packets for malicious content.

Surfshark’s intuitive interface — with its customizable settings and automatic updates — makes it good for beginners, and the VPN is a nice bonus. However, Surfshark Antivirus didn’t do well in testing by AV-TEST in December 2022. It scored 4.5 out of 6 for both protection and performance, which is well below reliable antivirus software like Norton or Bitdefender.

Surfshark Pricing & Value

Surfshark is one of the few antivirus software with a monthly subscription, although it is significantly more expensive than its annual plans. Surfshark Antivirus is only available when bundled in the Surfshark One or Surfshark One+ plans. The Surfshark One+ plan allows you to remove your personal data from company databases and people search sites.

Surfshark One is $15.95 per month — or $3.19 per month if you opt for the yearly plan, which is billed at $47.85 per year with three months free. Surfshark One+ is $17.95 per month, or $5.09 per month if billed annually at $76.35. Both plans are cheaper if you commit to two years, and all plans (even the monthly one) come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

Antivirus Test Results for macOS

Third-party labs like AV-TEST and AV-Comparatives do independent testing on antivirus software. These tests ensure that users can make informed decisions about cybersecurity by looking at pure facts without the company spin.

The labs conduct rigorous tests to assess how effective antivirus protection tools are against real-world threats. In this section, we’ll cover the results of their tests on antivirus protection tools for Mac.

AV-TEST Institute Test Results

The AV-TEST Institute is a well-known IT security research organization that independently conducts comprehensive evaluations of antivirus, security and identity protection software. In December 2023, it conducted a test using macOS Ventura 13.6 to evaluate several antivirus solutions. The test focused on three main criteria: protection, performance and usability.

The institute tested the antivirus software against nearly 1,300 dangerous macOS malware samples, including trojans and zero-day threats. The usability criterion focused on false alarms triggered by the antivirus software. The lab tested over 90,000 legitimate programs and innocuous software samples to ensure that the antivirus didn’t flag safe programs.

ESET, Malwarebytes, Surfshark and Intego weren’t included in these tests. Some providers that were included, such as Trend Micro Antivirus, aren’t shown in the table below.

AppProductAV-TEST CertificateProtection (max. 6 points)Performance (max. 6 points)Usability (max. 6 points)Overall Points Total (max. 18 points)
Antivirus for Mac6.

AV-Comparatives Test Results

AV-Comparatives conducts rigorous testing of security software to assess its effectiveness in protecting systems against malware threats. In its 2023 Mac Security Test and Review report, it evaluated several Mac security software. The products were evaluated for their real-time scanning, protection features, performance impact, false positives and essential functions

The test was conducted in May 2023 using 309 recent malicious Mac samples on macOS Ventura systems. The institute ensured that each macOS device was updated and imaged, and that each security product was installed on a fresh machine. AVG and Avast both got perfect scores, and Bitdefender and Intego each had over 99% malware protection for Macs.

Best Mac Antivirus Protection Comparison

Bitdefender, ESET NOD32, Avast and Norton are the most feature-rich antivirus solutions on this list, but that only matters if you need the features they offer.

Real-Time Protection
Password Manager
Browser Protection
Parental Controls
Free Trial

Best Antivirus for Mac Reddit: What Do Users Say?

Many Reddit users have commented that they believe Macs don’t need an antivirus. Those who refute that viewpoint name Bitdefender, Avira, Norton, Kaspersky or ESET as their favorite. An IT pro of 15 years who later deleted their username said, “Sophos, Eset, Norton, Malwarebytes are all great choices.” On our site, Bitdefender and Norton come out on top in the comments.

Final Thoughts

It’s wise to add at least some level of protection to your Mac. The best options offer a range of features, from real-time protection and firewalls to parental controls and VPNs. Worthwhile antivirus solutions have high test scores from independent labs like AV-TEST and AV-Comparatives.

Bitdefender stands out as the best choice for Mac users due to its wealth of features, excellent free version and high scores in independent tests.

What is your experience with antivirus software for Mac? Have you tried any of the solutions in this article? Do you believe Macs need antivirus protection in today’s cybersecurity landscape? We would love to hear from you, and thanks for reading!

FAQ: Top Antivirus Software for Mac

  • We chose Bitdefender as the best antivirus for Mac due to its ease of use, near-perfect test scores from AV-TEST and AV-Comparatives, and free version with excellent antivirus capabilities.

  • Macs are still susceptible to threats, and although the system has inbuilt security, there are gaps in its protection. According to Malwarebytes, the number of serious malware attacks identified on Macs increased by 61% from 2019 to 2020.

  • Bitdefender has a 100% free version, as do AVG and Avast. All three options offer outstanding virus and malware protection, and they all have paid versions with more features.

  • Your Mac is definitely safer with added antivirusprotection. Bitdefender is an excellent choice with a free version that lets you test the service without having to pay anything.


  1. 2023 Global Threat Report – Elastic security labs
  2. Operating System Market Share Worldwide – Statcounter
  3. No “Apple magic” as 11% of macOS detections last year came from malware – MalwareBytes
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