Though people have been saying for years that Macs are nearly impenetrable, this isn't true. You need an antivirus for mac if you're looking to support your machine long-term. Apple does provide surprisingly strong protections from the very start (often more so than a Windows PC) but they are not immune to viruses.
It's worth pointing out that most antivirus packages offer so much more than file protection or the ability to stop you from downloading the wrong thing. They often provide a VPN service for anonymous use, protection on social media and so much more.
As more people go online and computers become even more popular, there is more money in exploiting systems and stealing your data, internet or even your PC.
Using macOS' Gatekeeper as a base which is its feature to protect users from viruses and other potentially intrusive attacks, here's why you should look into one of the best Mac antivirus software packages.
Gatekeeper vs Norton 360 Deluxe: What's the main difference?
In order to give a grasp of what you may be missing, it's important to contrast it against what you could be using. Norton 360 Deluxe is one of the best Mac antivirus software packages and made it into our best Mac antivirus list. Gatekeeper is used to scan files you download and determine if they are fine for the Mac to open. It, alongside a few other built-in pieces of software, manages to keep plenty of the more low-level risks at bay but it can't hide you from everything.
Especially smart files may still get through and you are also weak from other directions. Sometimes, it is not always about what you choose to download but what can get through anyway. With Norton 360 Deluxe, it covers up to five devices, meaning you can use it with a handful of devices at once. If you plan on using antivirus elsewhere, you can justify getting it onto your mac alongside others.
Norton, being one of the biggest antiviruses in the world, is very reliable and consistent, bringing updates whenever they are needed and giving tonnes of extra little features. This includes a password manager and a pretty decent VPN. Giving a VPN is a pretty solid investment for most PC users, getting one tacked on adds quite a lot of value. It's a good way of keeping you secure when you go online and avoiding some of the more petty exploits.
Norton 360 Deluxe does have its downsides though. As well as having to pay a pretty hefty fee, It will use up some of your power leaving your performance taking a slight hit. It's generally worth that difference but you should be aware of this before making your decision.
Most importantly, Norton 360 Deluxe offers tonnes of protection in the form of impressive antivirus protection, a great firewall and anti-ransomware software. Though the bonuses are nice, where this offers the most is under the surface. A great antivirus is one you may not even notice.
Despite all this, you may need a Windows machine to get the most out of Norton 360 Deluxe. With your subscription, you get cloud backup and parental controls, both of which can't be used on Mac right now.
It seems like it may come to Mac eventually but this isn't worth banking on, especially if you're paying a lot upfront. Ultimately, the price may make or break your decision here.
Gatekeeper vs Norton 360 Deluxe: price difference
Both a negative and a plus for Norton, there are so many tiers of antivirus you can commit to. We recommend Norton 360 Deluxe for its multi-device use, Mac compatibility and extra bonuses.
You can get this for $104.99 / £84.99 / AU$112.99 annually, a hefty chunk every year. It is generally worth the extra price for the alternative of not having a good antivirus package but this is understandably quite a lot to commit to every year.
macOS' built-in antivirus software is entirely free (as long as we don't consider the price of the Mac itself). It's a quite good package but nowhere near as good as anything paid.
This all being said, if you don't mind losing some bonuses and only need to use one device, you can get Norton 360 Standard for $84.99 / £69.97 / AU$92.99 a year. If you really want to protect your device, you will have to commit to a much safer use of your device or a much stronger antivirus suite.
Conclusion: What should you do?
If you really want to protect your device and have the money to do so, you should try and commit to an antivirus package of some kind. There are definitely cheaper options than Norton 360 Deluxe but that's our recommendation, due to its excellent antivirus software, great bonuses and multi-device use. You can even split the cost with a partner or friends to make it a little more manageable.
If you can't afford it or still don't want to commit to an antivirus package right now, make sure you know you're not fully safe online. You can avoid many threats with enough cautiousness so make sure to really pay attention to everything you download and interact with. These exploits are getting bigger and more clever - be smart with your time online and you can get by okay.
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