The best Mac antivirus software in 2024

The best Mac antivirus software can help keep all of your Apple computers safe from malware, viruses and other cyberthreats. 

While Macs had a reputation for getting less viruses than their Windows counterparts, that’s no longer the case as hackers now make a point of targeting Apple’s computers. The iPhone maker does include a built-in malware scanner in macOS called XProtect but it lacks many of the features and extras included with the best Mac antivirus software.

To help you choose the right protection for your Mac, we thoroughly tested and reviewed six of the most popular Mac antivirus solutions available today. We did this by installing and using them on our own Mac mini while running benchmarks to see how they impacted overall system performance. At the same time, we also evaluated each Mac antivirus based on their interface, how easy they were to install and use and whether or not they included useful extras like a password manager, system optimizer or even a VPN.

Whether you’re looking to protect your Mac on a tight budget or want all of the bells and whistles, these are the best Mac antivirus software solutions to help keep you and your Apple devices safe online.

The quick list

Below you'll find everything you need to know at a glance about the best Mac antivirus software you can buy today. Whether you need every single feature or want to protect multiple Macs, there's something here for every budget.

The top 3 best Mac antivirus brands

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1. Bitdefender has the best antivirus for Macs
Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac combines great malware protection with a barely noticeable system-performance impact.

2. Norton has the best feature set

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.

3. Avast offers the best free Mac antivirus

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 has dialed back the annoying ads upselling you to a paid version. 

The best Mac antivirus software you can buy today

Best Mac antivirus software overall

Best internet security suites: Bitdefender

(Image credit: Bitdefender)
Excellent malware protection for your Mac with minimal system impact

Specifications

macOS compatibility: 10.10 and later
Browser extensions: Yes
Firewall: No
Hardened/secure browser: No
Parental controls: Yes
Password manager: Yes
Ransomware file protection: Yes
Scan scheduling: No
Webcam protection: No
VPN: Yes, but limited
Support options: 24/7 email, phone and live chat

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent protection
+
Unlimited VPN and password manager
+
Fast scanning with low overhead

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks extras like a firewall
-
Can’t schedule scans

Bitdefender Premium Security for Mac may lack some of the features of the Windows version but it provides excellent protection for your Mac with fast scans with low overhead, an unlimited VPN and a new cross-platform password manager. Upgrading to the top suite also gets you identity theft protection with up to $2 million in insurance. 

If this is your first time using a Mac antivirus program, Bitdefender Premium Security has one of the easiest interfaces to learn. In addition to Mac viruses, it can also detect Windows ones as well. Bitdefender can stop adware from slowing down your Mac while its AutoPilot feature automatically adjusts your security stance to take account of new and potentially dangerous threats. It also provides suggestions on which features you should enable. 

Since our last review, Bitdefender has removed the restrictions from its VPN and added in its all-new password manager. In our own testing and the results from AV-Test and AV Comparatives, Bitdefender stopped both new and old threats and prevented Potentially Unwanted Apps (PUA) from being installed. It’s a really solid choice if you want the best protection for your Mac.

Read our full Bitdefender Premium Security review and save on plans with our Bitdefender coupon codes.

Best Mac antivirus software for features

Norton 360: Mobile Security logo

(Image credit: Norton)
Feature-packed antivirus for your Mac with all the bells and whistles

Specifications

macOS compatibility: 10.15 and later
Browser extensions: Yes
Firewall: Yes
Hardened/secure browser: No
Parental controls: No
Password manager: Yes
Ransomware file protection: No
Scan scheduling: Yes
Webcam protection: No
VPN: Yes, unlimited
Support options: 24/7 email, phone and live chat

Reasons to buy

+
Very good protection
+
VPN and Dark Web monitoring included
+
Small performance penalty during scanning

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive for a single license
-
Included cloud storage doesn’t work with Macs

Norton 360 Deluxe may not be the cheapest option to protect a Mac but it does an excellent job with comprehensive malware scanning, real-time monitoring and a global VPN. However, it goes a step further than some of the other Mac antivirus programs on this list as Norton also includes dark web monitoring and a way to erase your personal information from data brokers.

During our testing, full scans took a long time but affected system performance the least of all the Mac antivirus products we tried in this round of testing. Norton 360 Deluxe’s Quick Scan is much faster but takes a heavier toll on your system. Also, in AV-Test’s latest round of examinations, Norton’s software had a perfect score when it came to finding and eradicating malware.

Norton 360 Deluxe also packs in plenty of extras like SafeWeb browser extensions, a firewall, Norton Secure VPN and a password manager. While cloud storage is also provided with your subscription, unfortunately it doesn’t work on Macs. Identity theft protection can also be added as an add-on to your current plan. 

Read our full Norton 360 Deluxe review and save on subscriptions with our Norton coupon codes.

Best Mac antivirus software interface

Intego Premium Bundle X9 logo

(Image credit: Intego)
The only Mac antivirus that can scan your iPhone or iPad for malware

Specifications

macOS compatibility: macOS 10.12 or later
Browser extensions: No
Firewall: Yes
Hardened/secure browser: No
Parental controls: Yes
Password manager: No
Ransomware file protection: No
Scan scheduling: Yes
Webcam protection: No
VPN: No
Support options: 24/7 email and live chat

Reasons to buy

+
Good malware defenses
+
Includes backup, firewall and parental controls
+
Small passive performance penalty

Reasons to avoid

-
VPN costs extra
-
No dashboard to consolidate all the different apps

Intego Mac Premium Bundle X9 as the name suggests includes a number of different apps to keep your Mac safe online. These include the company’s VirusBarrier X9, NetBarrier X9, Mac Washing Machine X9, Personal Backup 10.9 and ContentBarrier X9. From backup software to parental controls, Intego’s premium suite offers quite a lot but it doesn’t include a VPN (though one is available as an add-on) nor is there a dashboard to tie all of these different apps together.

During our testing, Intego Mac Premium Bundle X9 had a very small impact on passive performance but its Full Scan took a heavy toll on system performance. By contrast, its Quick Scan used less resources. Still, both scan types were surprisingly fast with a Full Scan taking less than two minutes and a Quick Scan was finished in just over two seconds. 

We were very impressed with the interface of Intego’s animated firewall which showed how data flowed into and out of our test system with color coded arrows. One thing that sets Intego Mac Premium Bundle X9 apart from all of the other Mac antivirus programs on this list is that it can scan an iPhone or iPad for malware when they are connected to your Mac via USB cable. However, Intego has trouble competing with Bitdefender and Norton as they both offer more extra features.

Read our full Intego Mac Premium Bundle X9 review.

Best Mac antivirus software for beginners

Avast Security Premium logo

(Image credit: Avast)
An easy way to protect your Mac from malware

Specifications

macOS compatibility: macOS 10.11 or later
Browser extensions: No
Firewall: No
Hardened/secure browser: Yes
Parental controls: No
Password manager: No
Ransomware file protection: Yes
Scan scheduling: Yes
Webcam protection: No
VPN: No
Support options: 24/7 email, phone and live chat

Reasons to buy

+
Great protection
+
Simple interface
+
Doesn’t require an online account

Reasons to avoid

-
Slow scans
-
Lacks parental controls and a firewall

Avast Premium Security provides good defenses against malware with only a modest impact on system performance both when scanning and while idle. Surprisingly, it doesn’t require you to sign up for an online account and for Mac antivirus newbies, it has one of the easiest interfaces to use. 

During our testing, Avast’s Deep Scan was quite thorough and impacted system performance less than Intego or McAfee did but took an hour and a half to scan the system. However, its Smart Scan was much faster and took less than a minute to look at the files most likely to be infected. 

Although Avast lacks browser extensions to keep you safe from malicious websites, its Web Shield contains a database of dangerous sites and can also help you avoid duplicate websites that use DNS spoofing. Best of all, it works with any browser. Avast’s Network Inspector looks at every Wi-Fi network you connect to in order to find potential backdoors and weaknesses that can be used in attacks. You also get unlimited access to the company’s SecureLine VPN but it needs to be installed separately.

Read our full Avast Premium Security for Mac review.

Best Mac antivirus software for multiple Macs

McAfee Mobile Security logo

(Image credit: McAfee)
An affordable way to protect a lot of Macs

Specifications

macOS compatibility: macOS 10.15 and later
Browser extensions: Yes
Firewall: Yes
Hardened/secure browser: No
Parental controls: No
Password manager: Yes
Ransomware file protection: Yes
Scan scheduling: Yes
Webcam protection: No
VPN: Yes
Support options: 24/7 email, phone and live chat

Reasons to buy

+
VPN and identity protection included
+
Calculates a Protection Score for each user
+
Top suites cover an unlimited number of computers

Reasons to avoid

-
Moderate performance impact
-
Need to sign up for auto-renewal to get some features

McAfee Total Protection Premium is the best choice if you have lots of Macs or other computers you want to protect as it supports an unlimited number of users. You also get access to a VPN based on infrastructure from TunnelBear and can add identity theft protection if you want. Meanwhile, Ransom Guard monitors for suspicious file changes and if it notices something suspicious, it makes copies of those files so you have a backup.

Although McAfee doesn’t participate in third-party evaluations from AV-Test and AV Comparatives for its Mac products, in our own testing no malware managed to slip past the program. There was a moderate impact on system performance with a full scan taking almost two hours. McAfee doesn’t offer a quick scan either but you can do a custom scan of apps or a single folder.  

To help you improve your cyber hygiene, McAfee includes a Protection Score but there’s also a firewall to protect data flowing into and out of your computers. The company also offers a money-back guarantee but in order to get it and unlimited VPN access, you need to enable auto-renewal. Still though, McAfee Total Protection Premium is the best option for those with large families and dozens of systems they want to protect.

Read our full McAfee Total Protection Premium review and save on plans with our McAfee promo codes.

Best budget Mac antivirus software

Trend Micro Premium Security logo

(Image credit: Trend)
An inexpensive way to protect your Mac with lots of extras included

Specifications

macOS compatibility: 10.15 and later
Browser extensions: Yes
Firewall: No
Hardened/secure browser: Yes
Parental controls: No
Password manager: No
Ransomware file protection: Yes
Scan scheduling: Yes
Webcam protection: Yes
VPN: No
Support options: Email, phone, live chat (24/7 for Premium Security)

Reasons to buy

+
Good protection
+
Small system impact
+
Inexpensive with lots of extras

Reasons to avoid

-
Slow initial scans
-
VPN is a separate app

Trend Micro Premium Security for Mac provides the most comprehensive and thorough way to check for malware on a Mac. Its suite also includes browser extensions to help you avoid dangerous websites and its ID Security feature provides you with a Personal Data Protection Score to help you improve your cyber hygiene. While the Mac version lacks a full set of parental controls, Trend Micro Premium Security’s Website Filter makes it easy to block content based on your child’s age. 

The software’s comprehensive scans do come at a cost though. During testing, our first Full Scan took over three hours to complete. Fortunately, the software learned what to focus on and what to ignore and the second scan was finished in just over 30 minutes. As for third-party testing, Trend Micro had almost perfect scores at 99 and 99.6% on evaluations carried out by AV-Test and AV Comparatives. Trend Micro Premium Security for Mac also had a small system impact both when idle and while scanning in our tests.

An unlimited VPN is included with Trend Micro Premium Security but VPN Proxy One Pro needs to be downloaded separately and isn’t integrated into the main program. However, Trend Micro’s suite lacks a firewall, a password manager and backup software. Still, it's an inexpensive way to protect a Mac with a low performance impact on your system.

Read our full Trend Micro Premium Security for Mac review.

Sophos Home Premium logo

(Image credit: Sophos)
Decent protection at a bargain price to protect several Macs

Specifications

macOS compatibility: macOS 10.14 or later
Browser extensions: No
Firewall: No
Hardened/secure browser: No
Parental controls: Yes
Password manager: No
Ransomware file protection: Yes
Scan scheduling: Yes
Webcam protection: Yes
VPN: No
Support options: email, live chat (8am-8pm PT Monday-Friday)