Best antivirus software for Mac of 2024

Find the best Mac antivirus for you. Even your Mac needs an anti-virus software for protection.
Image Credit: Pexels (Image credit: Pexels)

It's a common misconception that Apple products are completely immune to viruses and, as a result, there's no point in getting antivirus for your Mac and MacBook. That isn't exactly true, however.

Think about how many people own a Mac or MacBook—the sheer volume of users is an irresistible target to hackers and cybercriminals. MacOS is Unix-based, which is sandboxed, so it can be challenging for viruses to do any real damage, but malicious programs targeting Macs and MacBook Pros have become increasingly common and even more potent.

Additionally, malicious web-based injections aim to attack flaws not in macOS itself but in the software running on it. These attacks especially target browser exploits, such as vulnerabilities in JavaScript. 

You'll need Mac-specific antivirus software designed to work with the unique demands of macOS to protect your device. After all, Apple products aren't cheap, and you won't want your pricey device crippled by a cyberattack. Heck, even one of the best free antivirus options is better than nothing.

The TechRadar team has tested many of the best antivirus apps on the market to figure out which ones you can trust. In this guide, I'll walk you through the best Mac antivirus software specifically designed to protect Apple systems—though you might want to check out the best Mac VPNs, too.

Bitdefender is today's #1 best Mac antivirus

Bitdefender is today's #1 best Mac antivirus
Bitdefender is my gold standard when it comes to malware spotting, blocking, and clearing—and it's nice and easy to use, even for beginners.

The premium provider comes with a lot of handy extras, too, like ransomware protection, anti-phishing, and super secure web browser protection.

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The best Mac antivirus in 2024

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Check out my top antivirus picks for Mac, as well as my analysis of each provider's key features, test results, and potential reasons to avoid. I'll also take a look at how they compare to one another.

The best Mac antivirus overall

(Image credit: Bitdefender)
Best antivirus protection for Macs overall

Specifications

Maximum devices covered: 3
Stand out features: Online banking and web protection, Time Machine protection, multi-layer ransomware defenses

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent antivirus engine
+
Useful privacy protection touches
+
Scans for Windows malware too

Reasons to avoid

-
Is missing a few features like a firewall

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac is one of the most accurate virus protection suites for Apple devices out there, built on a sterling antivirus engine that is consistently rated among the top performers by independent testing labs - and it boasts fast scan times, too. 

It’s not just about core antivirus defenses, though, because Bitdefender also lays claim to a broad set of features. That includes multi-layer ransomware protection, solid anti-phishing capabilities, and very robust AI-powered web browser protection delivered via an extension. 

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac also offers an adware blocker and performs well when it comes to scanning and detecting Windows PC malware. Why is that useful? Well, it'll help defend against the possibility of you transmitting a Windows virus to any friends or family using a Windows 10 PC.

Time Machine protection is a valuable addition, too, as an extra safety net to keep backups safe from ransomware attacks. Another nifty extra is the integration of Bitdefender VPN. However, keep in mind that it's pretty limited—you'll only get 200 Mb of data a day, which isn't a lot, so it's better suited to very occasional use. Still, it’s certainly better than nothing and handy in a pinch.

If you’re concerned about viruses and the other nastiness floating around on the internet, Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac is the best software for Macs. Note that even though this is a standalone Mac antivirus, you can also get protection for your Mac as part of Bitdefender Total Security, the firm’s flagship security suite (which covers Macs, Android, and iOS devices, plus Windows PCs—up to 10 devices in total).

Read our full Bitdefender Antivirus review.

The best Mac antivirus with firewall

(Image credit: Intego)
Super strong Mac antivirus made by Apple software specialists

Specifications

Maximum devices covered: 5
Stand out features: Intelligent firewall, anti-spyware protection, online privacy protection

Reasons to buy

+
Intelligent firewall
+
Easy-to-use
+
30-day free trial

Reasons to avoid

-
Not always rated by independent test labs

Intego is a veteran antivirus provider which has been defending Macs for well over two decades now. So, if there's any software provider that knows exactly what kind of security Apple machines need, it's Intego.

Mac Internet Security X9 provides good antivirus protection against the latest threats. The independent testing labs have generally rated it highly in the past (although it isn’t always covered at AV-Test, but in the last roundup where Intego did feature, it received full marks). I found that scans are pretty quick, which is always nice, and strong protection against Windows malware is another handy benefit.

Outside of that robust core malware defense, Internet Security X9 boasts an intelligent firewall with anti-spyware countermeasures with the latter keeping a close watch on outgoing internet traffic. In addition, Intego helps shore up privacy levels by defending against third-party apps attempting to hoover up your data. On top of all that, Mac Internet Security X9 offers a neat interface, and it’s nicely user-friendly.

There are a couple of downsides, however. Some of Intego's bonus features can't match the top competition in terms of power, and the lack of a recent evaluation at AV-Test is a disappointing gap in coverage—but shouldn't be read into too deeply.

Of course, Intego does offer a lengthy 30-day free trial, so you can take Mac Internet Security X9 for a test drive to see if it meets your personal approval. Finally, note that there’s also a full Intego Mac Premium Bundle X9 which consists of Internet Security X9 plus a whole host of extras, including backup, performance optimization, and parental control features.

Read the full Intego Mac Internet Security X9 review.

The best multi-device Mac antivirus

(Image credit: Norton)
Great Mac antivirus choice for multi-device users

Specifications

Maximum devices covered: 5
Stand out features: Intelligent firewall, VPN, password manager

Reasons to buy

+
Protects 5 devices
+
Some smart extra features
+
Bundled unrestricted VPN is a big bonus

Reasons to avoid

-
More system performance impact than average
-
PC users get more

Norton is another well-respected brand in the antivirus world and provides excellent malware detection for Mac computers. Indeed, Norton 360 Deluxe, the brand's best choice for multi-device users, delivers protection for Macs, Windows PCs, or mobile devices – up to five of them per license. So, if you’ve got plenty of Macs or MacBooks to cover, or perhaps a Windows laptop as well, and of course your smartphone, Norton will have your back across all bases.

You get quite the helping of features here, including impressive antivirus protection, anti-ransomware, a smart firewall, and some neat extras like a password manager (although you want to use the best password manager instead) and dark web monitoring (in certain regions), alongside a significant bonus in the form of Norton Secure VPN (with unlimited access) to help maintain better security and privacy when online.

So, while you get a host of benefits on the security front, one thing to be aware of is that Norton 360 does have more of a noticeable impact on your system performance than some rivals in our experience. Also worth bearing in mind is that Mac owners don’t get a couple of features, namely cloud backup and parental controls (but you can use these on Windows PCs).

Furthermore, the cost of this security suite is on the pricier side by default. However, there are usually offers knocking a substantial amount of money off. At the time of this writing, you can get a pretty good deal on a subscription – particularly when you consider the number of devices covered.

Read the full Norton 360 Deluxe review.

The best of the rest

(Image credit: Trend Micro)
Great security with social network protection

Specifications

Maximum devices covered: 1
Stand out features: Social media protection, email scam filtering, parental controls

Reasons to buy

+
Great anti-malware defenses
+
Keeps you safe on social media
+
Parental controls included

Reasons to avoid

-
Just covers a single Mac
-
System slow down

Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac is another good choice to keep your Mac secure, and its antivirus engine is well thought of by the independent testing labs – generally speaking it’s up there with the best of them (even if Trend Micro slipped just a touch in AV-Comparative’s Mac rankings for 2021).

This program’s feature-set includes ransomware protection (courtesy of Folder Shield), parental controls, camera plus microphone protection, anti-phishing defenses, and a social media privacy checker that monitors social network usage for the many increasingly severe threats delivered via these channels. This package is also easy to get to grips with and generally user-friendly.

On the downside, Trend Micro suffers from a greater level of system slowdown than most rival suites going by recent testing. Also, the app only covers a single Mac, so lacks the added value of extra licenses that many of the competition offer.

Furthermore, some rival antivirus suites offer more features. For example, Trend Micro lacks a firewall or protection for the likes of online banking – the firm’s Pay Guard secure browser is reserved for the Maximum Security for Mac suite.

That said, note that at the time of writing, you can get the latter suite for not much more than Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac – and it also provides extended coverage for up to five devices (including Windows PCs, Android, and iOS mobiles, plus Chromebooks, as well as Macs). Indeed, discounts on pricing like this seem to be around quite often, so it’s well worth keeping an eye out for a good deal on the Trend Micro Maximum Security suite.

Read the full Trend Micro Antivirus review.


(Image credit: Avast)

5. Avast One

A good all-round option with plenty of features and a robust VPN

Specifications

Maximum devices covered: 5 (30 with Family plan)
Stand out features: Web Shield, VPN, network advisor

Reasons to buy

+
Top quality protection against malware
+
Good range of features (but Windows gets more)
+
Keeps you impressively safe online

Reasons to avoid

-
Built-in VPN isn’t the fastest or best

Avast One is the firm’s all-in-one security package which provides a host of defenses for Macs and other devices, offering coverage for up to five pieces of hardware with the Individual plan - so that's for Macs, Windows PCs, Android and iOS mobiles.

Mac users get a whole lot of features here - over and above basic antivirus protection - with a dedicated anti-ransomware layer, a high-quality Web Shield to keep you safer online, as well as an integrated VPN (with unlimited usage) to further bolster levels of online safety. No, the VPN isn’t the fastest offering out there by any means, but it’s solid enough, and a great addition to the overall value of this suite.

On top of this, Avast One provides a load of privacy-protecting extras, such as tracking protection, data breach monitoring, and features like a network advisor which recommends turning on the VPN based on what sites you might be visiting or in situations such as when you’re connecting to unsecured public Wi-Fi.

The Avast antivirus engine is very strong as well, and going by recent ratings from the independent test labs, this is one of the top-performing Mac defenders.

Admittedly, Avast One on the Mac doesn’t quite carry all the features seen with Windows PCs, in terms of lacking some PC maintenance and speed-up tools – though it does have a basic clean-up function, and as we’ve seen, there’s still plenty packed into this suite. It’s well worth a look, then, for those who want good all-round coverage for a number of devices. And remember if you have loads of hardware, the Family plan covers up to a staggering 30 devices, too.


(Image credit: Clario)
All-in-one security package for the less tech savvy

Specifications

Maximum devices covered: 6
Stand out features: VPN, identity theft protection, secure browser

Reasons to buy

+
Ace antivirus protection
+
NordVPN-powered integrated VPN
+
Supremely user-friendly

Reasons to avoid

-
Mobile apps are really basic

Clario aims to be an all-encompassing security package, and it succeeds in that goal, providing antivirus and a lot more. Bitdefender, our top-rated provider, powers the main antivirus engine, so unsurprisingly, Clario does well here, and is rated pretty much identically to Bitdefender in more recent tests from the independent labs.

As mentioned, you get a whole host of security extras here. That includes a fully integrated Mac VPN service (powered by NordVPN, a well-respected provider), identity theft protection, secure browsing, anti-tracking countermeasures, and more.

The Mac app is smartly designed to be very easy to use for beginners, although on the flip side, it pushes ease of use so much that tech-savvy types may be put off. The other main drawback here doesn’t apply to Mac users because the Mac app works well – but the mobile apps are disappointingly basic. Yes, Clario also supports iOS or Android devices (but not Windows) – up to three or six of them on the monthly or yearly subscription plans respectively.

The asking price is more than some of the rival suites on this page. However, having high-quality antivirus and Mac VPN protection rolled together in a beginner-friendly package will appeal to some Mac users.

Read the full Clario review.


(Image credit: Avira)
Strong core defenses and some privacy extras

Specifications

Maximum devices covered: 5
Stand out features: Web protection, tracker blocking, anti-phishing

Reasons to buy

+
Good antivirus defenses
+
Impressive web protection

Reasons to avoid

-
Not many features

Avira Antivirus Pro is a solid option for Mac users that provides protection for up to five devices (also including Windows PCs). It’s rated highly by the independent test labs on the whole, although AV-Test is slightly more enthusiastic than AV-Comparatives with its Mac-based evaluation of the product – but one way or another, you’re certainly getting strong core antivirus protection here.

However, features are somewhat thin on the ground compared to the Windows version. On top of the fundamental antivirus defenses, there’s web protection to block malware-laden websites, as well as capable anti-phishing tech, an ad blocker, along with a browser tracking blocker to better maintain your online privacy. But that’s about your lot.

There are alternative products in this list which offer more in the way of extras, though what Avira tackles, it does a good job of. And if you want more, you could always consider upgrading to the Avira Prime suite, which boasts a built-in VPN (a pretty decent one, too) with no data limits, and extras like a password manager, plus some performance and maintenance tools.

Read the full Avira Antivirus Pro review.


(Image credit: ClamXAV)

8. ClamXAV for Home Users

Good value barebones antivirus that’s a favorite with IT pros

Specifications

Maximum devices covered: 9
Stand out features: User-friendly interface

Reasons to buy

+
Simple to use
+
Good value

Reasons to avoid

-
No features outside of basic malware protection
-
Rarely rated by independent test labs

ClamXAV doesn’t have the catchiest of names, but it’s the best Mac antivirus for many IT professionals – not least because the firm only creates AV for Apple computers. That doesn’t mean it’s overly complicated – there’s a Home version of the app targeted at the average consumer, and we found ClamXAV’s interface to be one of the most simple and easy-to-use out of all the Mac antivirus software on this list.

It’s particularly adept at catching viruses in email attachments, and while ClamXAV hasn’t been rated often by the big independent labs in recent times, it has performed decently in the few evaluations which have taken place.

Do bear in mind that ClamXAV doesn’t come with some of the internet safety tools seen in other suites, but it’s still a good choice for protecting your Mac, particularly on the value front – its various subscriptions are priced competitively compared to rivals. The ClamXAV for Home Users edition of the software allows for up to three Macs to be protected, or up to nine if you choose the Family Pack plan.

Editor's note: Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac used to appear on this list. Considering the current climate however, we've taken the decision to remove the provider. Although much of the company's core processes are now take place in Switzerland, the fact that its headquarters remain in Moscow and there have been previous allegations around government coercion, it feels prudent to use the provider with caution. And, when there are so many other excellent providers to choose from, it's impossible to whole-heartedly recommend Kaspersky at this time.


The best free Mac antivirus

(Image credit: Avast)

1. Avast Free Mac Security

Strong all-round free protection for your Mac

Specifications

Stand out features: Limited VPN Secure Connection and Data Breach Monitoring

Reasons to buy

+
Real-time protection 
+
Blocks access to dangerous sites 
+
Detects network vulnerabilities 

Reasons to avoid

-
Need to upgrade for some features

Avast Free Mac Security goes the extra mile to protect your Mac with an unusually lengthy feature list. The core antivirus engine offers real-time protection to catch threats when they appear, for instance. You can run on-demand full system scans if you suspect a problem, or launch a more targeted check on specific files, folders or drives. It's even possible to schedule scans to run automatically when you're not around. 

A Web Shield warns you about malicious websites, blocks dangerous downloads and email attachments, and protects your privacy by eliminating intrusive ad tracking. There's an unusual extra in Avast's wireless network scanner, which quickly checks your network, router and connected devices, alerting you to any vulnerabilities.

Mac antivirus software isn't often checked by the independent testing labs, but Avast's most recent results were good, with AV Comparative's 2018 test finding the package detected 100 percent of sample threats. If you'd like even more, upgrading to Avast Security Pro gets you ransomware protection and instant alerts of Wi-Fi intruders or changes in your network security.


(Image credit: Avira)