Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac review

Excellent security without any standout features

Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac review
(Image: © Trend Micro)

Tom's Guide Verdict

Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac offers flawless malware protection but does little to stand out from the crowd.


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    Nearly flawless malware protection

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    Affordable pricing

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    Minimal system impact in background


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    Outdated user interface

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    Significant performance hit on full scans

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Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac: Specs

Malware protection: Very good
System impact, background: Very light
System impact, scans: Heavy
macOS compatibility: macOS 10.14 Mojave and later
Browser extensions: Yes
Firewall: No
Hardened/secure browser: Yes
Parental controls: Partly
Password manager: No
Ransomware file protection: Yes
Scan scheduling: Yes
Webcam protection: Yes
Support options: Phone, chat, email, forums

Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac offers a reasonable, if not extensive, feature set and nearly perfect malware protection performance in recent third-party testing. 

Coupled with an affordable price point, that should make it an excellent option, but Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac just comes up a little short compared to some of the absolute best Mac antivirus programs.

For the same $40-per-year price, you'll get more out of Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac. If you want even more features and truly flawless malware protection, then Norton 360 Standard is a great choice. You could certainly do worse than Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac, but you could also do better.

Read on for the rest of our Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac review.

Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac: Costs and what's covered

Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac has just a single tier of service, covering one Mac for one year for $40. (Discounts are frequently available.) The program offers protection against malware and email scams plus Trend Micro Pay Guard to ensure your online transactions are secure. 

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

If you need to cover more devices or operating systems, then you will need to upgrade to the Trend Micro Maximum Security plan for $90 per year. It adds support for up to five devices running Windows, Android, iOS or Chrome OS, along with parental controls, privacy protection, system optimization and password management. 

While there is no free tier of Trend Micro service, there is a 30-day free trial available for all plans. Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac requires that you run at least macOS 10.14 (Mojave).

Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac: Antivirus protection

As with the rest of the Mac antivirus programs I've recently reviewed, Trend Micro offers real-time scanning for malware based both on a database of known malware signatures as well as machine-learning analysis to identify emergent threats.

As per usual, any malware detected by the app will be uploaded for analysis, but you can opt out of this data collection if you wish and still benefit from the data contributed by other users.

Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac: Antivirus performance

In order to determine the overall efficacy of Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac's malware scanning, we relied on the Germany-based AV-Test and Austria-based AV-Comparatives labs, which conduct regular evaluations of major antivirus apps and services.

During the March-April 2021 round of Mac testing by AV-Test, Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac detected 100% of Mac malware. During this same round of testing Avast (100%), Bitdefender (100%) and Norton (100%) all at best matched its perfect result. Intego and Kaspersky were not tested at this time, but their most recent detection scores were 98.5% and 100%, respectively.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 AV-Test, most recentAV-Test, previousAV-Comparatives, most recentAV-Comparatives, previous
Norton100%100%Not testedNot tested
Trend Micro100%100%99.6%100%

Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac did avoid any false positives, meaning all detections were accurate, but this was true of its competitors as well. It also detected more than 99% (the highest possible) of Mac potentially unwanted programs and Windows malware.

Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac has had a virtually spotless record in AV-Test's evaluations since April of 2017, with the only blemish a 99.5% detection rate in the April-May 2017 test. Like Norton, it has been part of every round of evaluations during this period, making it all the more impressive.

Turning to the AV-Comparatives testing, Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac successfully identified 99.6% of the Mac malware threats in June 2021. That's a bit of a step back for Trend Micro, which had been perfect on each of the AV-Comparatives tests going back through July 2018. Avast, Bitdefender, Intego and Kaspersky were all part of the June 2021 tests as well and received perfect 100% scores; Norton was not tested.

Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac: Security and privacy features

Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac offers web protection to help you steer clear of malware on web pages before you even load them. Installing a Trend Micro extension in your browser will give you the most robust experience.

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But even without that, the Trend Micro toolbar will pop-up when a threat is detected, notifying you that it has blocked the threat and giving you the option to add the threat to a trusted list. You can choose between three levels of web protection.

While it doesn't have a full parental control suite, Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac does offer a website filter that can be set to block specific categories of websites. You can select the categories individually or choose from one of four preset groups. Finally, you can add sites to either a trusted or blocked list.

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Privacy Scanner is a feature that I didn't see elsewhere. It specifically checks your settings related to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. It will offer recommendations to ensure that you are properly protected when visiting and sharing information on these sites.

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Another increasingly relevant feature that Trend Micro offers is microphone and camera access protection. This will notify you if anything attempts to turn on either your camera or microphone. Not many other Mac antivirus programs have this.

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Folder Shield is the ransomware-protection component to Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac. You designate folders that you want protected, and unless a program is added to the Trusted Program List, it will not be allowed to open or make unauthorized changes to files within those designated folders. This protection can also be extended to any connected USB drives.

Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac: Performance and system impact

To measure the performance impact of Trend Micro 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 2016 MacBook 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 Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac, the CPU achieved a score of 1,856, dropping to 1,846 following the installation of the antivirus program. That marginal drop of about 1% was ever so slightly worse than most of the others, but almost imperceptibly so. Kaspersky saw the biggest background performance hit here at 3%.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 Post-installationFull scanQuick scan
Trend Micro1%46%1%

The full scan was a disaster for Trend Micro, with a 46% performance hit. This was easily the worst result; Intego (34%) and Avast (27%) were next up. Bitdefender (19%) saw less than half the slowdown of Trend Micro while Kaspersky (12%) and Norton (12%) were at nearly one-quarter the size of Trend Micro's impact.

The quick scan went much better, with just a 1% drop for Trend Micro. That was behind only Norton (0%) and even with Bitdefender (1%). Avast (3%) and Intego (3%) were somewhat slower, and Kaspersky (4%) took last place in a second category. 

Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac's first full scan took 12 minutes and 3 seconds and scanned 851,055 files. That's about 200,000 more files than any app other than Kaspersky tested in a full scan, which makes the speed of the scan more impressive and perhaps partially explains the massive performance hit. In terms of raw speed, Intego (6:22) was the fastest, while Avast (10:25) and Norton (11:45) finished just ahead of Trend Micro. 

Trend Micro's smart scan looks at the most common areas for viruses or malware. For my system, this scanned 5,133 files in one minute and six seconds. It's an interesting contrast to the full scan as this looked at fewer files than most and took quite a bit longer. Only Kaspersky (00:53) finished anywhere near as slowly. Intego (00:11) was again the fastest with Norton (00:13), Bitdefender (00:16) and Avast (00:18) all grouped pretty tightly together.

Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac: Interface

Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac has a slightly outdated user interface, but not terribly so. It's well laid out and remains very easy to navigate and comprehend. It's broken into six vertical tabs: Overview, Web, Scans, Folder Shield, Logs and More Tools. One interesting feature with Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac is that you need to unlock any setting that you want to change with your Mac's password.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Overview gives you a large green check with a "Protected" message when everything is running properly. This screen also gives you toggles for a few primary features, including web threat detection, real-time scanning and camera and microphone protection. You can see both the last time your virus database was updated and the last time you ran a scan, with a button to run either again.

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Web handles the settings for the web protections available through Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac. This includes tabs for Privacy Scanner, Web Threat Protection and Website Filter. The former just explains the feature, but the latter two give you full control over the settings.

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Scans naturally gives you access to the full list of antivirus scanning features, including Smart Scan, Full Scan and the Custom Scan to look at specific folders. Slightly buried behind the Change Settings button at the bottom are Scheduled Scans along with options on how you want the app to handle malware if detected.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Folder Shield gives you a simple interface to add folders that you would like to protect from potential ransomware threats. Any files in these folders will trigger a notification to you if a program that you haven't put on the Trusted Program List attempts to either open or make changes to them.

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Logs gives you a look at scan results, unsafe websites found, websites filter, updates received and any Folder Shield alerts. Finally, More Tools is just a link to the separate Cleaner One Pro app from Trend Micro, a free app that helps you get rid of junk files or applications from your Mac. 

Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac: Installation and support

Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac can be downloaded directly from the company's website. The installation file itself is 81.2MB, which downloaded quickly. Installation was initially quite similar to the rest of the antivirus apps that I reviewed, but Trend Micro had an unusual final step to install a "Helper" and didn't immediately guide me to grant the necessary system permissions for the app.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The permissions are addressed when you first launch Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac, with a detailed walkthrough of the permissions that it needs and how to grant them. Once this is complete, the app will restart on its own to complete the installation.

After you update the virus definitions, something that oddly doesn't happen automatically when you first launch the app, it will again restart itself. Installation of the browser extensions will happen when you first launch each browser. All told, the setup took approximately seven minutes.

Trend Micro offers a number of different methods for support, including standard phone support from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time or 24/7 for Premium support. Other options include online chat, email support, social media support through Facebook Messenger and finally the community forums.

Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac review: Bottom line

Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac is a compelling antivirus solution. It delivers consistent and reliable malware protection in an intuitive (albeit outdated) user interface. 

But it simply doesn't do enough to stand out in a strong lineup of Mac antivirus solutions. Unless you are specifically swayed by some of its more usual extras like web filtering, there's no reason to go with it over Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac or even Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac if perfect malware results are a must. 

Sean Riley

A self-professed "wearer of wearables," Sean Riley is a Senior Writer for Laptop Mag who has been covering tech for more than a decade. He specializes in covering phones and, of course, wearable tech, but has also written about tablets, VR, laptops, and smart home devices, to name but a few. His articles have also appeared in Tom's Guide, TechTarget, Phandroid, and more.