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The best Mac antivirus software in 2021

Dear Mac users: You need one of the best Mac antivirus programs on your machine.

That's because Macs do get infected with malware, despite Apple's claims of years past. Mac malware has increased a lot in the past few years, and today's Macs are also plagued by adware, scareware and potentially unwanted programs.

Unfortunately, Apple's built-in antivirus protections, including Gatekeeper and XProtect, don't always work that well. The best Mac antivirus programs do better, quickly spotting malware no one has ever seen before and double-checking malicious files "signed" with an Apple developer ID.

Many Mac antivirus programs also check for Windows malware, which can lurk on Macs to infect PCs on the same local network. Some Mac antivirus programs also come with useful extras such as password managers, system optimizers or VPN services.

The top 3 best Mac antivirus brands

2. Norton has the best feature set
Norton 360 Standard includes a password manager, unlimited VPN data, a firewall and Dark Web monitoring, features you don't often see with Mac antivirus software.View Deal

3. Avast offers the best free Mac antivirus
Avast Security for Mac may cost nothing, but it doesn't cut corners. Its malware protection is top-notch, its system impact is minimal and it's dialed back the annoying ads upselling you to a paid version. View Deal

What is the best Mac antivirus program?

We think Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac is the best Mac antivirus program you can buy. It had nearly no impact on system performance in our own tests, caught all Mac and Windows malware in lab tests, rolls back files encrypted by ransomware and hardens your web browser against online attacks. It also offers 200MB of VPN data daily, although that's just a tease for the unlimited VPN service.

Close behind is Norton 360 Standard, which has even better malware detection plus an unlimited VPN and password manager. Norton catches all Mac and Windows malware in lab tests, has a very small system-performance impact and includes LifeLock dark-web monitoring.

Our favorite free option is Avast Security for Mac, which has nearly perfect malware protection and an easy-to-use interface. Its system-performance impact is less than it once was, and it no longer nags you to upgrade to paid Avast products.

Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac has perfect malware-detection scores, webcam protection and a hardened web browser. It offers 300MB of daily VPN usage, but its password manager and parental controls are also limited unless you pay more.

There's not much wrong with Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac, except for a rather heavy system-performance impact during full scans. It shields files from ransomware, protects your webcam and very good malware protection. Yet it doesn't do much to stand out from the crowd.

Intego Mac Internet Security X9 comes from the granddaddy of all Mac antivirus companies, and its detection and protection skills are very good. But it's got a relatively sparse set of tools and features that resemble those of free antivirus apps.

Sophos Home Premium is a hidden gem. It has few extra features, but protects your Mac's webcam and has web filters for children and dedicated protection against ransomware. You can protect up to 10 Mac or PCs for a bargain price.

McAfee Antivirus Plus is also an inexpensive 10-device bundle protecting Macs, PCs and Android devices. But it's got few extra features for Mac and its scans can create large system slowdowns. Its Mac malware protection performs a notch below those of Bitdefender and Sophos.

Malwarebytes for Mac Premium has never had malware-detection lab tests, but Malwarebytes' Windows consumer antivirus software does not do well. However, we can recommend the free Malwarebytes for Mac, an excellent cleanup tool that's the perfect complement to good Mac antivirus software.

The best Mac antivirus software you can get

1. Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac

The best antivirus program for Macs: light, fast, strong and easy to use

Reasons to buy

+Very good malware detection+Ransomware protection+Modern, intuitive user interface+Light system impact

Reasons to avoid

-Lacks some features Windows version has

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac has an easy-to-use interface, affordable pricing, nearly flawless malware detection and a very light system-performance impact. For those reasons, it's once again our Editor's Choice for best Mac antivirus software.

Unusually for a Mac antivirus program, Bitdefender can roll back ransomware encryption, including on Time Machine backups. It also offers extensions to harden your web browser and blocks online trackers to protect your privacy. The Autopilot and Bitdefender Shield features keep the software running without much human intervention.

The only downsides are the absence of the password manager that comes with the Windows version of Bitdefender Antivirus, and that the Bitdefender VPN service is limited to 200MB per day unless you pay more. Other than that, it's a nearly perfect Mac antivirus program.

Read our full Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac review.

2. Norton 360 Standard

The best feature set among Mac antivirus programs, including unlimited VPN service

Reasons to buy

+Flawless malware detection+Massive feature set. including unlimited VPN and password manager+Almost no impact on system performance

Reasons to avoid

-Expensive for a single license-Parental controls, cloud storage don't work on Macs

Norton 360 Standard has a ton of useful extras, including unlimited VPN service and an unlimited password manager, two features for which its rivals make you pay extra. It's also got a two-way firewall, a system optimizer and dark-web monitoring of your personal data.

More importantly, Norton 360 Standard has a very small impact on system performance, always-available tech support and, last but not least, flawless detection of Mac malware.

You'll pay a lot for these luxuries, however, although you'll be saving money on the cost of a stand-alone VPN or password manager. We hope that Mac users will soon get the parental controls, webcam protections and backup software that Windows users of Norton 360 Standard already have.

Read our full Norton 360 Standard review.

3. Avast Security for Mac

The best free antivirus for Macs

Reasons to buy

+Excellent antivirus protection+Light system-performance impact+Screens out malicious websites

Reasons to avoid

-Limited features-Weak customer support

Avast Security for Mac has improved a lot since it was called Avast Free Mac Security. The malware-detection rate is now nearly perfect, the system-performance impact is much less and the annoying ads that tried to upsell you to Avast paid programs have been drastically dialed back.

Avast also screens websites for phishing scams and other common threats and scans your Wi-Fi network for outdated devices and unwelcome guests. Its interface is attractive and easy to navigate, but be aware that some of the features, including ransomware rollbacks, are available only to paying customers.

The password manager and the email-attachment screener have disappeared, however, and the tech support is limited to online documents. Still, if you want a solid, dependable Mac antivirus program for nothing, this is the one to get.

Read our full Avast Security for Mac review.

4. Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac

Flawless security in a flawed package

Reasons to buy

+Perfect malware detection+Hardened browser for banking, shopping+Webcam protection

Reasons to avoid

-Password manager, parental controls, VPN very limited-Noticeable background impact

Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac has perfect malware-detection rates, a light system impact during scans and an intuitive user interface. It can even turn off the webcam on a MacBook, a feature that Apple itself doesn't offer.

Kaspersky also offers a hardened web browser for use while banking or shopping online, plus browser extensions that block malicious URLs and tracking cookies and advise you to steer clear of risky websites.

However, the best extra features are just teases. The password manager holds only 15 items. The parental controls are limited to a single child device without location tracking. The VPN service gives you only 300MB of data per day. 

Unlimited versions of each cost $15, $15 and $30 per year, respectively, which isn't terribly expensive, but Norton 360 Standard gives you two of those at no extra costs.    At least Kaspersky doesn't persistently try to upsell you on them. 

Read our full Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac review.

5. Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac

Excellent security without any standout features

Reasons to buy

+Nearly flawless malware protection+Affordable pricing+Light background performance impact

Reasons to avoid

-Outdated user interface-Heavy performance hit during full scans

Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac offers very good malware protection for a reasonable price, but it has a very heavy system impact during full scans.

If you can overlook that drawback, you'll find ransomware protection for designated folders, webcam protection, a social-media privacy scanner and even a parental web filter. Trend Micro's interface is a bit old-fashioned, but it works.

However, the program doesn't really stand out when rivals such as Bitdefender and Norton offer more. You could certainly do worse than Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac, but you could also do better.

6. Intego Mac Internet Security X9

Amazing malware scanning speeds

Reasons to buy

+Solid malware protection+Blistering fast scans+Excellent legacy macOS support

Reasons to avoid

-Limited feature set-Disjointed user interface

Intego has been making Mac antivirus software since 1997, and its Mac Security X9 offers very fast scans, thorough malware detection and a full-fledged firewall. The program also supports legacy macOS versions going all the way back to 2013's Mavericks. 

Intego Mac Security X9 is a solid piece of software that does its job well, even if its user interface is a bit bare-bones. You can even toss in effective Windows antivirus protection for a small extra fee.

But Intego's relatively high price doesn't quite match its sparse feature set. While other paid Mac antivirus programs might toss in browser extensions, a password manager or even a VPN to justify the purchase, Intego's extra features aren't too different from what you'd get with free Mac antivirus software.

Read our full Intego Mac Internet Security X9 review.

7. Sophos Home Premium

Most cost-effective for large families

Reasons to buy

+Covers 10 systems+Ransomware protection+Parental website filters

Reasons to avoid

-Heavy background system impact-Untested malware detection

Sophos Home Premium can protect up to 10 computers, Mac or Windows, for a low price and its parental web filters can stop kids from seeing objectionable material online. It also has dedicated protections against ransomware and for your webcam and microphone.

Its background system impact is more noticeable than its competitors', although nowhere near the system impact of some Windows antivirus products. It's got a relatively small impact during active scans.

The interface is minimal and mostly lives in the menu bar; for more controls, there's a powerful online management tool. Tech support is 12 hours a day, Monday through Friday, and limited to email and chat interactions.

We just wish we had some third-party lab-test data about the efficacy of Sophos' Mac malware scanner, which might place it higher among the best Mac antivirus software programs.

Read our full Sophos Home Premium review.

8. McAfee Antivirus Plus

Another bargain for large families, but fairly sparse on features

Reasons to buy

+Protects 10 devices+Low passive system impact

Reasons to avoid

-Unproven detection rates-Huge system slowdowns during full scans-Confusing interface

McAfee Antivirus Plus's generous 10-device license means you can provide antivirus protection for a whole family of Macs (and/or Windows PCs and Android phones) for a reasonable yearly fee.

But the program doesn't have a lot of extra features for Macs, which makes it hard to recommend for Apple customers. All Mac users really get is a firewall, while Windows users get ransomware protection, cryptojacking protection and a system optimizer. McAfee Antivirus Plus also has a heavy system impact during scans and a confusing interface.

Furthermore, we don't know really how well McAfee Antivirus Plus protects against Mac malware. There haven't been any recent Mac malware-detection testing scores for McAfee, so its protection powers are impossible to compare with those of the best Mac antivirus software.

Read our full McAfee Antivirus Plus review.

Despite its fast scans, light impact on system performance, and bright, easy-to-use interface, Malwarebytes for Mac Premium feels half cooked.

The program doesn't have many of the extra features its competitors offer, such as malicious-website blocking and email scanning. And because its malware-blocking skills haven't been evaluated in lab tests, we don't actually know how good Malwarebytes is at protecting your Mac.

However, we do recommend the free version, Malwarebytes for Mac. It is not truly antivirus software, but an excellent post-infection cleanup tool that also gets rid of the annoying adware and unwanted programs that antivirus software tends to miss.

You might want to let the two-week Malwarebytes Premium trial expire and instead use the free tier alongside some of the best Mac antivirus software.

Read our full Malwarebytes for Mac Premium review.

How to choose the best Mac antivirus software for you

Before you buy or install Mac antivirus software, you have to figure out what you really need. Do you have both Macs and Windows PCs at home? Then consider a multiplatform, multi-device bundle such as Norton 360 Deluxe, Sophos Home Premium or McAfee Antivirus Plus. Bitdefender and Kaspersky also offer multiplatform bundles that come with the same software we've reviewed here.

Or do you have only Macs? If so, no need to go overboard: The one- or three-device versions of Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac or Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac should do you just fine.

Do you have young children or teenagers living at home? Consider Mac antivirus software that comes with parental controls or web-content filters, like Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac or Sophos Home Premium.

Then figure out how much you can afford. If the answer is "nothing," then try Avast Security for Mac or the free tier of Sophos Home. The trade-off is that those aren't as good as many of the paid programs.

But if you can afford to spend $50 a year, then you've got a lot of options. Most of the antivirus companies frequently offer discounts of up to 60%, both straight from their websites or through online retailers, at least for the first purchase.

How we test the best Mac antivirus programs

To determine which of the above choices is the best Mac antivirus software, we evaluated ease of use, interface and performance impact. We installed each AV program on the same 13-inch 2016 MacBook Pro running macOS 11 Big Sur. It was powered by a 2.9-GHz Intel Core i5 processor and had 8GB of RAM and 42GB of data stored on a 256GB SSD.

We conducted our own tests based on how much each of the best Mac antivirus programs affected our laptop's performance. To do this, we used the Geekbench 5 benchmarking tool and ran it before installation of each antivirus program, then again after installation, once more during a full scan and then again during a quick scan.

We assessed how easy each of the best Mac antivirus programs was to use and the number of useful extra features it offered (including free add-on software). 

To gauge how effective each package was at stopping malware, we used the results of evaluations conducted by AV-Test, a well-regarded independent product-testing lab in Germany, and results from other tests conducted by AV-Comparatives, a similarly well-respected company in Austria. (Both labs also test the best Android antivirus apps.)

iOS antivirus apps

A lot of people want iOS antivirus software for their iPhones and iPads. The truth is that such software doesn't exist. Apple won't let third-party apps examine other iOS apps, or even inspect new apps as they're installed. Anything that claims to be antivirus software swiftly gets kicked out of the iTunes App Store.

Many major antivirus vendors, including F-Secure, McAfee, Norton and Trend Micro, do have "security" apps in the App Store. But these check web links for known malicious sites, locate lost devices or pretend to protect your privacy. None scans an iPhone for malware.

There has been real iOS malware that affects non-jailbroken devices, but it's very rarely cropped up. In each instance, Apple has pushed out a new version of iOS to stop the malware in a matter of days or weeks. Generally, if you keep your Apple mobile device updated to the latest version of iOS, you should be safe.

Paul Wagenseil is a senior editor at Tom's Guide focused on security and privacy. He has also been a dishwasher, fry cook, long-haul driver, code monkey and video editor. He's been rooting around in the information-security space for more than 15 years at, SecurityNewsDaily, TechNewsDaily and Tom's Guide, has presented talks at the ShmooCon, DerbyCon and BSides Las Vegas hacker conferences, shown up in random TV news spots and even moderated a panel discussion at the CEDIA home-technology conference. You can follow his rants on Twitter at @snd_wagenseil.


Is Silver Sparrow a serious threat?

Fortunately for users of Apple's M1 devices, the malware doesn't appear to be an immediate threat. Despite the massive infection rate, the reported stated that no action has been taken yet, which means there's nothing to worry about… for now.

“Though we haven't observed Silver Sparrow delivering additional malicious payloads yet, its forward-looking M1 chip compatibility, global reach, relatively high infection rate, and operational maturity suggest Silver Sparrow is a reasonably serious threat, uniquely positioned to deliver a potentially impactful payload at a moment's notice,” wrote Tony Lambert of Red Canary in the report.

The fact that Apple's M1 devices are just a few months old and already have a prominent malware attack taking aim is certainly concerning. The report warns that the lack of visible attacks doesn't necessarily mean it isn't dangerous. Rather, it could mean that the malware is advanced enough to know when it's being analyzed, and shuts down operations until it isn't.

Generally speaking, no malware is best, which means that Silver Sparrow represents enough of a threat to make an effort to protect yourself. But how?

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  5. Vrchat how to

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac: Specs

Malware protection: Good
System impact, background: Very light
System impact, scans: Light
macOS compatibility: 10.10 Yosemite and later
Browser extensions: Yes
Firewall: No
Hardened/secure browser: No
Parental controls: No
Password manager: No
Ransomware file protection: Yes
Scan scheduling: No
Webcam protection: No
VPN: Yes, but limited
Support options: 24/7 phone, email, chat, plus FAQs and forums

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac continues to get just about everything right when it comes to delivering excellent protection for macOS. It has fallen a notch below perfect in a couple of the most recent third-party malware tests, but it remains first among thebest Mac antivirus programs, and its combination of affordable pricing and well-implemented features make it a great choice for most users.

Bitdefender is the most user-friendly Mac antivirus program that I reviewed. It has helpful instructions on which actions you should take to stay safe, and a large collection of features that is organized well so that you don't get lost.

I'd love to see a couple more of Bitdefender's Windows features come over to Mac, such as Bitdefender's password manager, as well as a reduction in the cost of Bitdefender's premium VPN service, but Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac is still the best overall Mac antivirus app.

Read on for the rest of our Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac review.

    Bitdefender Antivirus For Mac subscription options:
  • Bitdefender Antivirus For Mac for $19.99 per year

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac: Costs and what's covered

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac has a single tier of service, with the only price variations being for the number of devices or years of service. While there is no free tier for Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac, you do get a 30-day free trial before you have to enter your credit card.

The basic Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac plan is $40 for a single device for one year, but you can save by paying for two years ($70) or three years ($90) up front. Stepping up to the three-device plan will cost $60 for one year, and again you can save a bit by paying for two years ($90) or three years ($120) at once. (You can often get the first year at half off.)

For this, you get a comprehensive suite of antivirus tools that go beyond basic protection, including file protection, Time Machine protection, Traffic Light browser extensions, anti-phishing safeguards, the Bitdefender Shield automatic malware scanner and a limited amount of free Bitdefender VPN service.

The VPN is capped at 200MB of encrypted traffic per day before you have to pay for the $50-per-year unlimited plan; it's handy, but it won't take the place of one of thebest VPN services.

If you need to cover a variety of devices that aren't Macs, then you will want to consider Bitdefender Total Security, which supports Windows, Macs and iOS and Android devices. Beyond the broader support, this package also adds parental controls and a two-way firewall. It package covers five devices for $90 yearly or 10 devices for $100. Again, you can save money by opting to pay for two or three years at once. 

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac offers support back to macOS X Yosemite (10.10) with full support for recent versions of Safari, Firefox and Chrome. If you wish to use the Bitdefender VPN, you will need to be updated to at least macOS Sierra (10.12).

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac: Antivirus protection

Bitdefender provides real-time protection for your Mac by scanning continuously for malware, viruses, ransomware and adware. Any potentially dangerous files will be compared against Bitdefender's massive signature-based malware library, and the program also deploys machine learning capabilities that help defend against emergent threats that have yet to be catalogued. 

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac is somewhat unusual in that it does not offer a scheduled-scan feature. Users are asked to conduct a full scan upon installation, and after that the real-time protection from Bitdefender should be sufficient to catch any new threats to your system. You do have the option to run one-off full or quick scans, but it isn't a feature that is stressed.

To be fair, this should be no different for the real-time malware protection offered by any of the rest of the antivirus apps that we reviewed. Modern antivirus software doesn't really need to perform scheduled scans, but Bitdefender is the only one of the Mac antivirus programs we reviewed to take the step of removing scheduled scans entirely.

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac: Antivirus performance

In order to determine the overall efficacy of Bitdefender's malware scanning, we relied on the Germany-basedAV-Test lab and Austria-basedAV-Comparatives lab, which conduct regular evaluations of major antivirus apps and services.

During the March-April 2021 round of testing by AV-Test lab, Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac detected 100% of Mac malware. During this same round of testing,Avast (100%),Norton (100%) and Trend Micro (100%) all matched Bitdefender.Intego andKaspersky were not tested in that round, but Kaspersky got a 100% score in May-June 2020, while Intego got 98.5% in November-December 2020.

AV-Test, most recentAV-Test, previousAV-Comparatives, most recentAV-Comparatives, previous
Norton100%100%Not testedNot tested
Trend Micro100%100%99.6%100%

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac avoided getting any false positives, meaning all detections were accurate, but this was true of its competitors as well. It detected more than 99% of Mac potentially unwanted programs (annoying programs that sneak into other programs' installations) and more than 99% of Windows malware, but so did Avast and Trend Micro.

Bitdefender's previous round of AV-Test Mac evaluations resulted in an uncharacteristically poor performance of 97.3% detection. Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac had previously failed to detect 100% of malware threats in AV-Test's evaluations only once since April of 2017. 

Turning to the AV-Comparatives testing, Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac successfully identified 100% of the Mac malware threats, as well as all the potentially unwanted programs and Windows malware, in June 2021 tests. It has been perfect on each of the AV-Comparatives tests going back to July 2017. Avast, Intego and Kaspersky all detected 100% of Mac malware in June 2021 test as well, while Trend Micro detected 99.6%.

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac: Security and privacy features

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac doesn't get all the features thatBitdefender 2021 for Windows offers, but it does bring a little more to the table than more Spartan options such as Avast Free Mac Security or Intego Mac Internet Security X9.

One helpful overarching feature that Bitdefender offers is Autopilot. This is your "personal security advisor," which appears at the top of the main dashboard and gives you advice regarding actions you might want to take to ensure the health and security of your Mac.

Beyond Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac's real-time and antivirus scanning, you have a number of web-protection features bundled into a browser extension known as TrafficLight. Once installed on Chrome, Firefox or Safari, TrafficLight attempts to filter out any malicious content you run into on the web before it ever hits your system. 

Ransomware protection comes in the form of Safe Files and Time Machine Protection. Both these features are designed to prevent any authorized access or changes to any files or folders that you have designated as personal or sensitive. 

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac also includes Bitdefender VPN. Unfortunately, the service is limited to 200MB per day — just enough to check your email when traveling — and won't let you choose your server location. To break free of those limitations, you'd need to upgrade to the premium VPN service for $50 a year.

While I didn't have an appreciable speed hit from the Bitdefender VPN, you would probably be better served by one of thebest VPN stand-alone services in terms of features You could also try Kaspersky's VPN service, which uses the same leased VPN lines as Bitdefender but costs just $30 per year.

A new anti-tracker feature is another privacy component to Bitdefender, blocking any trackers that will try to follow you around the web. This can be enabled for Safari, Chrome, Firefox and Edge.

One feature in Bitdefender Antivirus Plus for Windows you won't get is Bitdefender Wallet, Bitdefender's password manager, which inexplicably won't run on Mac, iOS or Android. (Kaspersky's password manager will.) Another is Safepay, which lets you open banking and shopping sites in a secure browser that enforces encrypted links and blocks extensions.

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac: Performance and system impact

In order to measure the performance impact of Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac, we ran the Geekbench 5 benchmarking test prior to installing the app and then ran a series of tests with the tool after installation. The 2016MacBook Pro 13-inch laptop that we used for the review had a 2.9Ghz Intel Core i5-6267U processor, 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM and a 256GB SSD with 42.18GB of files installed.

Running our Geekbench 5 test prior to installing Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac, the test achieved a score of 1,848. That dropped only to 1,847 following the installation of the app, a nearly imperceptible lag of about 0.05%. This was true for most of the antivirus apps that I reviewed. The only ones whose background system impact didn't round out to zero were Trend Micro, with a 1% lag, and Kaspersky, which showed the biggest drop at a mere 3%.

Post-installationFull scanQuick scan
Trend Micro1%46%1%

The full scan was also a fairly solid effort from Bitdefender. It resulted in a 19% performance hit, the second-lowest result behind Kaspersky (12%) and Norton (12%), which tied for first place. Avast (27%) was not too distantly far behind, but Intego (34%) and Trend Micro (46%) were specks in the rearview mirror.

A Bitdefender quick scan was almost perfect, with just a 1% drop. This matched Trend Micro (1%) and was second only to Norton (0%). None performed too poorly on the quick scan, but Avast (3%), Intego (3%) and Kaspersky (4%) brought up the rear.

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac's first full scan took 27 minutes and 55 seconds and scanned 606,565 files. That was the second-slowest initial scan, ahead of only the distant last-place finisher Kaspersky (39:05). (Subsequent scans will be shorter.) No others even crossed 13 minutes, with Trend Micro (12:03), Norton (11:45), Avast (10:25) and Intego (6:22) topping the list.

Bitdefender's quick scan looks at the most common areas for viruses or malware. On my test system, this scanned 14,765 files in 16 seconds. Considering the number of files, this was an excellent result, with only Intego (00:11) and Norton (00:13) finishing faster. Avast (00:18) was hot on its heels and then it was a distant fifth and sixth finish for Kaspersky (00:53) and Trend Micro (1:06).

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac: Interface

Bitdefender does an excellent job of keeping its user interface compact without overwhelming you with too many options or settings. The left column is divided into Dashboard, Protection, Privacy and Notifications, with the content of those sections displayed on the right.

The Dashboard puts Autopilot recommendations at the top with options to run a quick or full scan just below. Another row of options lets you manage your device subscriptions or view your protected files and the status of your web protection browser extensions.

Protection is split into three separate tabs. The first, Antivirus, offers you the full selection of scans, including Custom and System scans. You can also view quarantined files and specify files that you would like to exempt from scans. 

The second tab, Web Protection, duplicates the Dashboard section of the same name. The final tab, Anti-Ransomware, lets you use Safe Files to specify which files or folders you would like to protect as sensitive content. You can see which applications have requested to change or access these files. Time Machine Protection is essentially identical to Safe Files but solely focused on Time Machine backups.

The Privacy section has just a couple of features: Bitdefender VPN and Anti-tracker. I've described the limitations of the Bitdefender VPN already, but using it is quite simple. Click open and a Bitdefender VPN pop-up appears to show how much of your 200MB daily allotment is remaining and a big blue button to turn it on.

Anti-tracker, much like Web Protection, doesn't have an interactive component to it. It simply shows that the tracker-blocking feature is operational on your installed browsers.

The last primary section is Notifications. As you would expect, this displays all the activities carried out by Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac.

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac: Installation and support

You can download Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac directly from the Bitdefender website. The installation file is just 20.5MB, and the installation footprint is small as well, at just 18.5MB. Bitdefender does an excellent job of walking you through the permissions that need to be granted and then requires a restart of your Mac to complete the installation.

Completing the rest of the setup took about five minutes and mostly involved enabling the browser-based protections.

Bitdefender offers 24/7 tech support via phone, email or live chat. If you have a fairly common question, the company's site offers extensive FAQs, videos and community forums.

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac review: Bottom line

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac may not have quite as many features asNorton 360 Standard, but from a pure antivirus-app standpoint, it covers everything that most users should be worried about in an accessible way. 

Bitdefender's pricing is extremely competitive, particularly if you have multiple Macs to protect. My primary complaint is the VPN limitations and upgrade pricing, but you can turn to an outside VPN solution if necessary and still come in below the price of a Norton 360 Standard subscription.

If you want a good-looking and easy-to-use Mac antivirus solution with a proven track record, then Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac remains the best option.

How to install Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac

Question:Q:Apple M1 Chip - native Malware/Anti-Virus App



I am getting my new MacBook Air with the new M1 chip very soon and wanted to check if ...

a) I need a malware/anti-virus program and

b) if there is already one out there running natively on the new M1 machines?

any recommendations?

thank you very much


Posted on Nov 18, 2020 3:53 AM


Posted on Nov 18, 2020 4:30 AM

View answer in context

Nov 20, 2020 7:50 AM in response to Hac-D-Mac In response to Hac-D-Mac

That's complete bunk.

macOS has more than adequate protections built into the OS itself. All 3rd party antivirus software is going to do is slow the system down and cause problems.

Nov 20, 2020 7:50 AM

View answer in context

Nov 20, 2020 7:45 AM in response to neuroanatomist In response to neuroanatomist

I believe he said he was looking for a native solution not a naive one. All computers need protection. Bitdefender has been consistently the best for years on both Win and Mac platforms. I’m still waiting on a native version myself.

Nov 20, 2020 7:45 AM

View answer in context

Nov 20, 2020 7:55 AM in response to Hac-D-Mac In response to Hac-D-Mac

"malware" is a very open ended term.

There are no known viruses in the wild that can affect macOS. Full Stop.

"Malware" simply means "malicious software".

Is there malware out there for Macs? Sure. You can not get it without taking positive action.

Common sense is the best defense against malware.

As someone with well over 3 decades in IT, I will also say that Kaspersky should NEVER, EVER be recommended or used on ANY platform. Not unless you really want to feed personal data to the Russian security service.

Nov 20, 2020 7:55 AM

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Nov 20, 2020 7:45 AM in response to neuroanatomist In response to neuroanatomist

I believe he said he was looking for a native solution not a naive one. All computers need protection. Bitdefender has been consistently the best for years on both Win and Mac platforms. I’m still waiting on a native version myself.

Nov 20, 2020 7:45 AM

Nov 20, 2020 7:50 AM in response to Hac-D-Mac In response to Hac-D-Mac

That's complete bunk.

macOS has more than adequate protections built into the OS itself. All 3rd party antivirus software is going to do is slow the system down and cause problems.

Nov 20, 2020 7:50 AM

Nov 20, 2020 7:50 AM in response to schloma1977 In response to schloma1977

I’m Googling around myself this morning hoping to find when a Native version will be available. If you find something let me know... I’ll do the same. Don’t believe people who tell you it’s not required as that’s nonsense as in 2019 it was estimated that perhaps as many as 10% of Macs were infected malware. Apple will mention XProtect but it’s not up to the job. Stick to Apple Store apps until you install one and as someone with decades in the IT industry I’d recommend Bitdefender. Kaspersky would be my second choice.

Nov 20, 2020 7:50 AM

Nov 20, 2020 7:55 AM in response to Hac-D-Mac In response to Hac-D-Mac

"malware" is a very open ended term.

There are no known viruses in the wild that can affect macOS. Full Stop.

"Malware" simply means "malicious software".

Is there malware out there for Macs? Sure. You can not get it without taking positive action.

Common sense is the best defense against malware.

As someone with well over 3 decades in IT, I will also say that Kaspersky should NEVER, EVER be recommended or used on ANY platform. Not unless you really want to feed personal data to the Russian security service.

Nov 20, 2020 7:55 AM

Nov 20, 2020 8:18 AM in response to Hac-D-Mac In response to Hac-D-Mac

Hac-D-Mac wrote:

I believe he said he was looking for a native solution not a naive one. All computers need protection. Bitdefender has been consistently the best for years on both Win and Mac platforms. I’m still waiting on a native version myself.

The OP first asked if 3rd party virus protection was necessary. It is not, which renders the issue of native versions of it moot. If you wish to waste your money on something unnecessary, you are obviously welcome to do so.

Nov 20, 2020 8:18 AM

Nov 23, 2020 3:58 PM in response to KiltedTim In response to KiltedTim


A good antivirus is a very good complement and it is worth paying for it. At least if you have and work with material worth protecting or in any way work with customers exchanging files. You can receive a word document with a macro virus in it, and send the infected document on to your customer. That would ve good for your reputation and your company :) That you could maybe prevent with a decent antivirus software. At least the known ones...

And there are now a lot of viruses that are not good even if you use a mac. More users on a platform generates more interest and effort from the virus makers.

Why mention Kaspersky and Russia? I see the antivirus discussion in general. I would not use crypto software from China, Russia, US and a couple more... I prefer, but do not require to have the source code to look at. You must make your own decisions from where you buy your software. No difference if it is antivirus software, crypto software or any other software.

Common sense and general IT knowledge is just one part of it, but you obviously 100% rely on it.

You are out on deep water here :)

Nov 23, 2020 3:58 PM

Nov 23, 2020 4:24 PM in response to pos42 In response to pos42

This is like the Left Twix vs. Right Twix debate. People swear by antivirus software for Macs and have no trouble with viruses. People don’t use antivirus software and have no trouble with viruses.

Apple builds ample security and protection into macOS, but for most people that’s really not a factor in whether or not you give Apple your money.

Antivirus software makers highlight all the ‘threats’ that exist, and they depend mostly on your fear to earn their money. Because fear doesn’t always work, they cut deals with Apple resellers to bundle ‘free’ antivirus software with Macs (free...for a while — just enter your credit card info, you can cancel at any time, we’re sure most of you will forget to cancel though mwaa-haa-haa).

You can believe who you choose.

Nov 23, 2020 4:24 PM

Nov 23, 2020 6:13 PM in response to Hac-D-Mac In response to Hac-D-Mac

Instead of repeating nonsense, check into the "native" protection of Catalina and beyond. You clearly have no idea. Starting with Catalina, Mac OS and the system files are now "sequestered: in their own own volume which is read only. That means neither you nor anyone else nor malware will have access to do anything.

Your data are now on a second volume (Mac HD - Data) and that is read/write, but that is not where a virus would go to. And, "malware" also encompasses simple adware which can pop up if you go to a site that allows such things; however, that is easy to get rid of and no AV software will be able to prevent that.

So, yes, Mac OS is protected. There is no need to slow down your system by software which cannot access what it wants anyway and that will only lead to slowdowns. Nor can any "cleaning" app be helpful.

Nov 23, 2020 6:13 PM

Dec 5, 2020 8:13 AM in response to schloma1977 In response to schloma1977

Are we still having this discussion? "Make a fool proof system, and someone will come up with a better fool". There is obviously doomed to be two schools on the mac platform, the ones feeling the need to have an "antivirus kind of software" and those who don't need it. Does the os have builtin protection, yes it has, does software have bugs, yes it has, can those bogs be security related, yes they can, is extra protection needed, why not? I feel this is a little bit like the vaccin debate, do I need a vaccin? No, it is such a small risk to get the illness, of course you don't need it! Some illnesses you only need to get once, I guess you did not need the antivirus "kind of software" after all... I mean the odds were on your side....

Dec 5, 2020 8:13 AM

Dec 14, 2020 11:51 PM in response to schloma1977 In response to schloma1977

Pretty simple: 1) Use native Mac OS security features. 2) Don't open files that come from unknown sources. 3) Don't go to sketchy web sites and click on unknown links. By not doing stupid things, you will not get infected. Sound familiar? Stupid is as Stupid does.

Dec 14, 2020 11:51 PM

Dec 20, 2020 5:22 PM in response to schloma1977 In response to schloma1977

If you want to get a decent anti-malware software then I think you should read more reviews like Kaspersky vs TotalAV or other comparisons. I suppose that only reviews can reveal the truth about the best antivirus or, at least, about effective antivirus.

Dec 20, 2020 5:22 PM

Dec 20, 2020 6:00 PM in response to schloma1977 In response to schloma1977

I cannot believe we're still having this discussion at the close of the 21st century's second decade.

There never has been, nor will there ever be, a macOS "virus".

Dec 20, 2020 6:00 PM

User profile for user: schloma1977 schloma1977

Question:Q:Apple M1 Chip - native Malware/Anti-Virus App


Mac bitdefender m1

The sneakier virus and craftier hackers have contradicted the deep-rooted belief that the Mac M1 is immune to spyware and ransomware. Today, the Mac M1 needs an antivirus. But, before covering the best Mac M1 antivirus software, what's Mac M1's Chip? Let's see!

Mac M1's chip refers to the first chip developed primarily for Mac. This chip delivers revolutionary power efficiency, incredible performance, and custom technologies. Apple created this chip to work with the macOS Big Sur, the world's latest Mac operating system.

For many years, Mac systems needed several chips to provide all their features like memory, security, processor, and input/output. However, the M1 chip combines all these technologies into an SoC, providing a new integration level for a fantastic performance and improved efficiency.

The best antivirus on Mac M1 is critical because, without it, your Mac M1 can get exposed to dangerous malware or viruses or both. Therefore, it's pivotal to compare different Mac M1 antivirus software before buying any antivirus software. Also, comparing several Mac M1 antivirus software allows you to get the best antivirus worth your money.

Best Mac M1 Antivirus Software

1. Bitdefender

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac


  • Vulnerability scanner
  • Web Protection
  • Safe Files
  • Stops malware
  • VPN

Bitdefender falls under the best Mac M1 antivirus software category because it works well in eliminating malware before it even starts downloading. Moreover, this software scrubs most threats without giving them access to the quarantine folder. Bitdefender manages to perform all these functions because it penetrates a vast range of malware databases, checks its content, and blocks it immediately.

Most people prefer Bitdefender antivirus software because it can identify new threats, identified as zero-day malware, and block them instantly. Furthermore, Bitdefender is the most preferred because it stops several Windows threats compared to other Mac antivirus programs. As a result, with Bitdefender antivirus software, you'll not accidentally send malware to colleagues or family members using a computer.

Besides the excellent protection from malware, Bitdefender antivirus software also features a VPN and vulnerability scanner. This antivirus software blocks and eliminates adware that minimizes the number of times you interact with targeted ads.

However, Bitdefender antivirus misses some useful tools. Mac Bitdefender antivirus does not feature a password manager or a personal firewall. Moreover, this antivirus software does not feature extra security if you plan to bank and shop online.

But Bitdefender remains a reliable and secure antivirus software that performs excellently without interfering with your computer's performance or causing noticeable drag. Also, this antivirus software features several user licenses to ensure several devices remain safe. It offers these licenses at the same price as other antivirus software that gives only one user license.

Download Bitdefender for Mac M1 Here.

2. Malwarebytes

Malwarebytes for Mac M1


  • Fast scanning
  • Free version
  • Modern interface


  • No ransomware protection tools
  • No parental controls

Malwarebytes is a live malware tracker that can scan your Mac M1 for malware, remove all the infected files and block malicious sites. With this antivirus software, you will remain safe from spam emails, harmful downloadable files, and dangerous websites.

You should include this antivirus software on your list if you don't like irritating pop-ups or ads. The software's convenient adware blocker plays a critical role in blocking these annoying pop-ups/ads.

Consider this Mac antivirus software if purchasing mac antivirus free best software is your top priority. This antivirus software offers an unpaid 14-day trial duration that gives you access to super-fast malware removal and free virus scan. After this trial period expires, you can use this antivirus software to remove viruses from the already infected devices. However, after this period expires, the software cannot protect your Mac M1 computer from malware and malicious websites in real-time.

Most Mac computer users prefer this antivirus because of its top-notch efficiency. It can thoroughly scan a disk picture within thirty seconds without interfering with your work schedule. Besides this, this antivirus software operates evenly in the background up to the extent where it's hard to tell if it's working.

However, this antivirus software allows you to control the scanning program and decide the right time to put the Mac malware scanner into operation. Besides this, Malwarebytes feature the most advanced interface that indicates your computer's current health status.

The Malwarebytes' premium version for one Mac comes at 39.99 US dollars. However, with this feature, you will not get features such as parental controls and VPN. One disadvantage associated with this antivirus software is that it doesn't feature ransomware protection tools.

Download Malwarebytes for Mac Here.

3. Norton Antivirus

Norton Security


  • Top-notch protection
  • Easy to use
  • Several extras
  • Low resource usage


  • No trial plan for Mac
  • Expensive

Norton 360 antivirus software continues to dominate the antivirus market after around three decades from its establishment. It's the most preferred Mac M1 antivirus software because it features several cybersecurity tools. However, you must dig deep into your pocket if you plan to purchase this antivirus software. Norton 360 is not the right choice for you if you're after the best freeware antivirus mac because it doesn't offer a free version.

Norton's standard/cheapest plan starts from 39.99 US dollars per year. With this amount, you can Bitdefender's premium plan, meaning Norton 360 falls under the category of the most expensive Mac antivirus software. Norton 360's standard program gives you access to core protection tools, one device, password manager, VPN, firewall, and 10GB size cloud backup.

The next plan requires a 49.99 US dollars subscription fee per year. With this plan, you will get more protection tools, password manager, VPN, firewall, school time features, parental control, and 10GB size cloud backup. This Norton 360 Deluxe is a family plan that operates excellently with up to five different devices.

The next plan favors individuals with an additional risk of losing massive amounts of money. It's the most preferred plan for these rich people because it offers extra identity protection. After this, the subscription fees spike because the mix now contains Lifelock.

This plan adds your date of birth, address, identity, and security number to your email tracking, keeping you updated whenever someone uses this data to apply for credit or various services. Also, this plan allows credit reimbursement and credit monitoring if identity theft happens.

Also, there is the Ultimate Plus plan with a 299.99 US dollars subscription fee per year. Besides supporting unlimited devices, this plan also gives you access to the identity lock that initiates automatic TransUnion credit files locking. Moreover, you can centralize each piece of information related to cash withdrawals and more bank operations with transaction monitoring.

Court records scanning feature checks if a criminal forwarded your date of birth and name to the police. However, Norton antivirus software does not feature a secure browser, file shredder, and file encryption.

Download Norton Antivirus for Mac Here.

4. McAfee

McAfee on Mac


  • Parental controls
  • Accurate and fast protection
  • Compatible with several devices


  • No trial plan for Mac
  • It doesn't feature vulnerability scans

In the past, MacAfee received a bad wrap because it gave unsatisfactorily results in blocking threats. Moreover, this antivirus software used several system resources that ended up lowering the computer performance.

However, currently, McAfee falls under the best Mac antivirus software category because it rectifies its problems over the past few years. After this improvement, McAfee can stop malicious downloads faster, block dangerous websites and warn you about phishing schemes. This antivirus software has the perfect score for protecting your Mac from all threats.

This software works well with your Mac computer. Also, it works well with Mac iPhones and Mac Android. Moreover, this Mac antivirus software allows you to manage settings from one online account. Besides this, McAfee features excellent parental controls that you can use to block the wrong information and manage the time and when your children browse.

Moreover, this premium security antivirus software features several special extra tools, such as safe banking tools and a personal firewall. It falls under the antivirus software that monitors various crypto-currency accounts to ensure they remain safe from ransomware, malware, and many cyber threats.

But McAfee Total Protection Mac antivirus software misses a vulnerability scanner. However, this antivirus software features identity theft protection and a VPN in its package. Keep in mind that you will only access identity theft protections and VPN with automatic yearly renewal. As a result, you will miss the identity theft protection and VPN benefits if you op-out.

Download McAfee for Mac Here.

5. Avast

Avast Security on Mac


  • Personal firewall
  • Detects fake website
  • Sixty-day free trial

With Avast, it means you have access to top-notch Mac M1 software that protects your computer from viruses or malware in real-time. Avast utilizes a cloud-based structure that hundred million users feed with data from time to time. This system allows Avast's machine-learning engine to keep your computer safe from the cyber threats that keep evolving from one day to another.

Avast's scalable cloud-based system identifies cyber threats as soon as they come out and take the necessary steps to protect your computer.

This Mac antivirus software does more than protecting computers from cyber threats or viruses. This antivirus software features several other critical features that protect you and your data. For example, there is a scan feature that alerts you when the software gets outdated. Also, Avast antivirus software offers critical features like a browser scanner and weak password detection.

Besides this, Avast antivirus can protect you against spam and offers a firewall that keeps you safe from various internet threats. You can use this antivirus software to keep up to ten devices safe but under the premium subscription plan. Moreover, the Avast antivirus features a parental control element that restricts a user from visiting a specific website (s).

Furthermore, Avast antivirus software is the antivirus to consider if you're after mac M1 antivirus free best software. Avast gives you a sixty-day unpaid trial to check its reliability and ease of use. It offers three subscription plans, whereby the standard one, Avast Omni, requires you to pay 49.99 US dollars per year. You should pay 69.99 US dollars per year for the Avast premium plan, while the last Avast plan requires you to pay 89.99 US dollars per year.

In general, Avast should be on your priority list if you're after a Mac antivirus software that blocks fake websites, filters phishing schemes and cyber threats from emails, and stops malicious file download.

Download Avast here.

6. Eset Cyber Security for Mac

Eset Cyber Security Pro

This antivirus solution from Eset comes with award-winning technology that provides fast, powerful and comprehensive anti-malware protection for your Mac OS system. The anti-virus and anti-spyware facilities are also built on the record-breaking ESET NOD32 along with anti-phishing capabilities meaning that no hackers will be stealing your username or bank details. The streamlined interface is also extremely user-friendly meaning you can tailor the settings of the system to exactly how you want or you can stick with the default if you’d rather.

Some advanced features that are present in the basic package of this antivirus are anti-phishing, removable media control, cloud-powered scanning, automatic updates and free support. This will cost you $29.99. For a little more you can get features like anti-theft, parental control and personal firewall. If unsure, try the free version available for 30 days and you will be convinced why this is the best.

Download Eset Cyber Security for Mac.

8. BullGuard Antivirus

BullGuard Antivirus

This is an antivirus program developed by London based firm BullGuard. It provides you with next generation protection when it comes to anti-malware protection picking up a host of top rating when it came to industry tests by AV-Test and AV-Comparatives. It has daily updates meaning it can proactively look for any threats on your system and remove them if necessary.

Another innovative feature which is parental control which can block access to malicious or inappropriate websites by putting filters in place to keep them protected round the clock from any inappropriate material and preventing them from clicking a malicious link containing malware or spyware.

Download BullGuard Here.

9. G Data Antivirus

This antivirus from German company Gdata is designed to keep your Mac OS system protected for all manner of threats protecting both the integrity of your system and your private files ensuring that you suffer no loss in performance for your Mac.

It will also scan links to assess whether they’re malicious so that you know not to click it and if you do by accident Gdata will block you from accessing the website in question. Like many of the other solutions here it also has the facility to scan any external devices you may have such as a USB stick for threats such as malware, spyware and adware.

You can stay safe with your Mac M1 even if you're not a computer genius. You only need to note a few things and keep yourself safe from viruses or any other infections. Always adhere to healthy web browsing habits and update your macOS software and Mac M1 apps from time to time. Turn off automatic file/document opening after each download and secure your microphone and webcam. Always use only the Mac App Store to install any application.

Above all, choose the best mac antivirus software from the ones we have covered and keep your Mac M1 safe from rogue infections. With the best antivirus for the Mac, you'll boost your Mac performance and maintain a secure barrier around this device.

Best antivirus software for Mac in 2021

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