Best Mac Antivirus Software
You need an antivirus program on your Mac. That statement may cause some Apple users to stop listening and walk away, but with the amount of Mac malware on the internet today, this is no longer up for debate.
In 2012, there was the Flashback Trojan that infected 600,000 Macs. In 2013, a targeted attack hit OS X developers at Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter and Apple itself. In 2015, the XcodeGhost attack poisoned hundreds of OS X and iOS apps. And in 2016, the first known piece of encrypting ransomware for Macs appeared.
After evaluating six free and paid Mac antivirus products, we've chose Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac ($40 per year) as our top pick. It offered lightning-fast scans and had a minimal impact on system performance, and was the only solution we reviewed that caught all malware.
Sophos Home for Mac is our favorite free option, as it provides very good malware protection and an easy-to-use interface while resulting in only a small performance hit.
How We Tested
To evaluate ease of use, interface and performance impact, we installed each AV program on the same late 2013 MacBook Pro with Retina Display running OS X El Capitan 10.11.4. It was powered by a 2.6-GHz Intel Core i7 processor and had 8GB of RAM and 23GB of data stored on a 512GB SSD.
We conducted our own tests in May and June 2016 based on how much each antivirus product affected our laptop's performance. To do this, we used our custom OpenOffice benchmark, which matches 20,000 names and addresses in a spreadsheet. We timed how long it took to run a quick scan and a full scan while the laptop crunched numbers in the background.
We assessed how easy each program 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 in June 2016 by AV-TEST, a well-regarded independent product-testing lab in Germany. AV-TEST tested the Mac anti-malware engines of each brand to see how well each detected malware during active scans (which AV-TEST calls "on-demand" scanning).