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Intego Mac Premium Bundle X9 review

Full-featured internet security for Mac users

Intego 2021 Antivirus solutions
(Image: © Intego)

Our Verdict

Intego's top Mac antivirus scores well in testing, and although its extra tools aren't outstanding, they cover the basics well. It's really easy to use, though packs in some serious malware vanquishing punch, too. And we like that you can give it a try for a month while you decide.

For

  • Stacks of features
  • Easy to use
  • Scored well in its latest tests
  • 30-day trial

Against

  • Bonus features don't have the power of top rivals
  • Rarely appears in independent lab tests

Intego knows all about protecting Macs as it has been producing Mac security software since 1997. These days the company offers a range of products covering antivirus, parental controls, system optimization and more. And the Intego Mac Premium Bundle is the company's most full featured Apple-focussed online security package.

Although Macs may have a reputation for being invulnerable to viruses, the figures tell a different story: independent testing lab AV-Comparatives says malware targeting Macs is growing daily, and the company has now registered more than 700,000 different samples. Mac antivirus, it seems, is becoming more and more crucial by the year.

At the base of Intego's antivirus is its basic Mac Internet Security that bundles Intego's antivirus, VirusBarrier, with its firewall, NetBarrier. Avira's engine helps block the very latest threats, including Windows malware to prevent your Mac acting as a carrier (and giving malware to friends with Windows PCs). It can scan and remove viruses from the documents on your iOS devices, too, while they're connected to your Mac.

Mac Washing Machine Secure takes Internet Security's core antivirus, anti-phishing and firewall technology, and adds a collection of optimization tools: disk clean-up, a duplicate file finder, and smart organization features such as the ability to automatically sort all those files cluttering your desktop into the right folders.

Mac ContentBarrier Secure is Mac Internet Security plus parental controls. Features include web content filtering, chat monitoring to block inappropriate content, time limits on internet access, and more. (As with the rest of the range, ContentBarrier Secure works on Macs only – there's no iOS app.)

Confused? That's where Intego Mac Premium Bundle comes in, which gets you Mac Internet Security, device clean-up and optimization, ContentBarrier's parental controls, and a bootable local backup tool, too. Whatever the package, you're covered on anything from Mavericks (OS X 10.9) onwards.

Intego also now offers Intego Antivirus for Windows, but that's much more basic, with antivirus and real-time malware protection only.

Intego 2021 Antivirus solutions

(Image credit: Intego)

Intego antivirus prices

Pricing starts at $40 for a one-device, one-year Mac Internet Security license. Mac Washing Machine Secure lifts the cost to $56 for a year, and ContentBarrier Secure is $60.

The best value is Mac Premium Bundle, though, at $70 to cover one device for one year, $120 to protect five devices, or $220 to cover five devices for two years.

Intego Antivirus for Windows is $30 a year for a single device, $80 for five; relatively expensive considering how basic it is. But if you're ordering any Mac product, you can cover a single PC for only $10 more. A two-year, three-device Mac Internet Security license costs $100, for instance, and adding a single two-year Antivirus for Windows license lifts the cost to only $110.

This is fair value if you need the extras, but if you're after antivirus only, there's cash to be saved. Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac doesn't have a firewall, for instance, but it's cheap at $84 for a three-year, three-device license ($120 on renewal).

No need to decide just yet, though. Intego has generous 30-day trials available for its Mac products, and a 7-day trial for Windows, which is plenty of time to get a feel for the range before you buy.

Intego 2021 Antivirus solutions

(Image credit: Intego)

Intego Mac Premium Bundle: getting started

The Intego Mac Premium Bundle trial is easy to find on the website. We downloaded and launched the installer in a couple of clicks, then chose the modules we needed (VirusBarrier, NetBarrier, ContentBarrier, Personal Backup, Washing Machine), set them up in a minute or two, and rebooted our machine.

On launch, a prompt asked us to set up NetBarrier. Configuring firewalls can be a challenge, but not here. NetBarrier asked us for the kind of network we were using currently (home, work, public Wi-Fi), configured itself to match, then displayed the main firewall window.

Intego 2021 Antivirus solutions

(Image credit: Intego)

Graphics showing incoming and outgoing traffic, and highlighting anything currently blocked (incoming internet connections, say) ensure this looks a little prettier than the average firewall. On the right-hand side are switches which let you select your network type, blocking or allowing incoming and outgoing internet and local connections, and adding exceptions as required.

NetBarrier monitors apps as they try to go online. It allows trusted apps to connect immediately, and asks your permission for everything else. This isn't quite as intelligent as we'd like, and for instance it had to ask us whether we should allow Google Chrome Helper to go online. Still, if you know for sure that an app is safe, one click adds it to the whitelist, and you won't be prompted again.

This isn't the smartest or most configurable of firewalls, then, but it's mostly easy to use and does a reasonable job of keeping you safe.

Intego 2021 Antivirus solutions

(Image credit: Intego)

Intego Mac Premium Bundle: VirusBarrier

Intego's VirusBarrier opened with a 'What's New' page, proudly pointing out that 'threats are now quarantined automatically.' Sounds good to us, though we're a little surprised that wasn't the case in the previous version.

A Setup screen then asked us to choose from three levels of protection.

'Minimum' scans emails, archives and connected iOS devices only.

'Standard' scans for all Mac, iOS, Windows, Linux and Android malware, as well as looking out for malicious scripts, hacking tools and keyloggers.

'Maximum' adds an automatic Quick Scan which runs after every malware definition update.

We opted for Standard mode, but if you're less sure, it's easy to change this later. Mode settings are customizable, too, so if you're mostly happy with Standard mode but don't need scanning for Windows malware, that can be turned off.

For the most part, you should then be able to leave VirusBarrier alone to protect your system. Real-time scanning is on by default, and you'll be alerted if there are any problems.

If you need to take some manual action, though, a straightforward interface makes VirusBarrier generally easy to use. Your main device and any connected devices are listed in a left-hand side bar; clicking any of these displays options to run a Quick or Full scan, or adjust scan settings, and the main VirusBarrier window displays your security status and gives access to more settings.

Most options are as we'd expect (scan for hacking scripts: yes or no), but some are more interesting.

You can choose which of nine archive types you'd like to scan, for instance, as well as setting an archive timeout (handy for deeply nested archives – zips within zips).

An option to scan with low priority reduces system impact with the trade-off being longer scan times.

VirusBarrier has no 'safe browsing' settings of its own, but can enforce Safe Browsing in Chrome, Safari and Firefox, and warn you if it's turned off.

Intego AV Test

(Image credit: AV Test)

Intego Mac Premium Bundle: Protection

VirusBarrier has what it calls a quick scan, but it's more thorough than most, checking 210,000 files on our test system and taking just over 20 minutes. But the situation improved for the second scan, where decent optimization saw the scan time drop to only two minutes.

Our main antivirus testing tools run on Windows, which limits what we could do here. But we found that although VirusBarrier missed some solely web-based threats, its file detection layer worked well, identifying and quarantining any dangers as soon as we downloaded them.

VirusBarrier isn't tested often by the big independent labs, and we have to go back to March 2020 to find Intego's last results at AV-Test. These were seriously impressive, though, with 100% detection of the test malware, minimal performance impact and zero false positives, earning the package the maximum score for protection, speed and usability.

As we know VirusBarrier makes at least some use of the Avira engine, we were interested to see how Avira's own products performed in the latest tests. The answer turned out to be 'very well', with Avira Antivirus Pro also earning maximum scores in AV-Test's September 2020 Mac tests.

Intego 2021 Antivirus solutions

(Image credit: Intego)

Intego Mac Premium Bundle: ContentBarrier

Intego's ContentBarrier is a configurable parental controls system which offers various tools to keep your kids safe online.

Content filtering enables blocking websites by content, or those which include custom keywords. You can further customize this by adding specific websites to a blacklist or whitelist. When your child visits a blocked site, they see a 'not allowed' message, but if this is a legitimate site, you can override it for them by entering your password (a handy usability plus).

Intego's Anti-Predator feature blocks chats with inappropriate content. We'd like to tell you this uses cutting-edge machine learning-powered AI, but it mostly just looks for phrases like 'how old are you', 'can we meet' and 'I am your friend', so we'd expect a lot of false positives. It doesn't work with encrypted chats at all, either, further limiting its usefulness, although it does at least block encrypted chat by default.

Intego 2021 Antivirus solutions

(Image credit: Intego)

More conventional tools include the ability to limit network access by time, to block particular internet access types (P2P, FTP, SSH, audio/video, connections to game servers), and to log keystrokes and take screenshots to help you spot any issues, later.

You're able to create custom profiles for each child's account, ensuring a teenager doesn't have to face the same restrictions as a five-year-old.

There are no particularly advanced features here, no smart GPS location or geofencing tools, and ContentBarrier doesn't have any web-based dashboard where you can monitor all your kid’s activities from one place.

The app can keep you up to date with what's going on via email reports, though, and it could be enough for not-so-demanding users. If you're unsure, take a look: Intego's generous 30-day trial gives you plenty of time to find out.

Intego 2021 Antivirus solutions

(Image credit: Intego)

Intego Mac Premium Bundle: Washing Machine

Security suites often include some kind of general system maintenance tool, and Washing Machine is Intego's offering; a simple app which aims to find and delete junk and duplicate files, and help organize your desktop and dock.

The Reclaim feature searches for leftover files in five categories, for instance – Caches, Downloads, Languages, Logs, Trash – and displays its results. If you're the technical type, you can browse the list of files and select what to keep and what to wipe. But if that's too much hassle, you can choose your preferred deletion mode ('Aggressive' cleans as much as possible, 'Safe' keeps more recent files) and have Washing Machine clean up with a click.

The Duplicates module searches for duplicates in your choice of categories (Folders, Archives, Movies, Documents, Music, Pictures). This worked quickly for us, especially as it searches on content rather than just file name. The app automatically chooses which files to keep, but you can also choose manually, or select a general rule for all files (keep the earliest files, the latest, the shortest path, the longest and so on). As with the Reclaim module, it covers the basics, but there's nothing particularly advanced here.

Intego 2021 Antivirus solutions

(Image credit: Intego)

Finally, Washing Machine's Organize feature includes a handful of simple management tools. It helps you automatically or manually move files from your desktop to the appropriate folder, and organize the apps in your dock. It can also help you build Smart Folders, an easier way to give you access to important files and apps. Again, this handles the basics, but nothing more.

Overall, we're struggling to see any compelling reason to install Washing Machine ahead of other maintenance tools. It does have some value, though, and if you're planning to buy Intego's Mac bundle anyway, you might find one or two of its features useful.

Intego Mac Premium Bundle: Personal Backup

Intego's Mac Premium Bundle includes Personal Backup, a versatile local backup tool. It's a configurable app, more flexible than the built-in Time Machine with plenty of features and settings.

Personal Backup can easily back up your choice of folders, for instance. Optional file versioning enables keeping old versions of files. It can also clone your whole drive to an external disk or a disk image file, allowing you to boot from the external drive if your main system fails.

You don't have to choose a preferred backup type, as Personal Backup can create and run as many backup jobs as you need and on a custom schedule (back up your work files hourly, maybe, but your media files daily, and create a bootable disk image every week).

As a bonus, Personal Backup is able to sync your selected folders between two Macs. As with backups, you can create multiple sync jobs and set them up to run automatically, at your chosen interval, or leave them to be run manually whenever you like.

This isn't a hosted backup service – there's no cloud storage space and no direct support for backing up to cloud storage accounts. That's no great surprise, though; NortonLifeLock 360, for instance, provides cloud storage space, but Macs are left out – it only has a PC client.

Personal Backup may not be enough for everyone, then, but it's a likeable local backup tool, easy to use, and with a decent feature set.

Intego Mac Premium Bundle: Final verdict

When it comes to pure virus protection, Intego scored well in its last antivirus testing lab results. This is a suite that's jam-packed with extra features for somebody who wants to make sure that they're getting the whole kit and caboodle on their Mac.

The welcome 30-day trial gives you time to find out if the virus protection software and extra features are for you or whether opting for more straightforward Mac Internet Security is the best value.

Mike began his career as a lead software developer in the engineering world, where his creations were used by big-name companies from Rolls Royce to British Nuclear Fuels and British Aerospace. He now covers VPNs, antivirus and all things security for TechRadar, although he still has a secret love of quirky open-source and freeware apps which find brand new ways to solve common problems.