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Best Antivirus for Mac In 2023

The best antivirus software to protect your Mac
Last Updated on October 5, 2023
Best Antivirus for Mac

The word on the street for years now is that Macs don’t need antivirus software as they’re built with security in mind. This is, however, stretching the truth a bit. Yes, Macs and their OS are more secure than Windows devices but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re able to avoid viruses completely. Moreover, with hacking and malware on the rise, it’s important, now, more than ever, to be fully prepared for any potential attacks that could take place on your device.

Products at a Glance

How we picked the best antivirus software for Mac

With an abundance of antivirus software readily available, it’s a tricky task to decide which is the best antivirus software for your Mac. So, for picking the best antivirus for Mac, we focused on three distinguishing factors that separated these from the rest. These were cost, Mac-specific tools, and the number of devices you can use it on by purchasing just one license. We believe that if the piece of antivirus software excels in most, if not all three of these aspects, there’s no disputing that it is the best antivirus for Mac around.

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  • Multi-device usage
  • Plenty of protection features
  • Time Machine security
  • No firewall included

Being our best overall pick Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac has to be a little bit special and it is, sporting some stellar features of overall protection capabilities. First up, let’s talk about the number of devices a license purchase gets you. You’re looking at a maximum of three machines which is about the middle of the road in terms of value and better than a lot of other paid options out there.

Moving to the antivirus architecture, Bitdefender is built on the sterling antivirus engine, known throughout the industry as one of the top performers, constantly excelling in tests completed by independent labs. Thanks to this architecture, it also allows Bitdefender to have extremely fast scans, quicker than the majority of other antivirus variants.

Taking a look at those stellar features alluded to earlier, we can see that it sports multi-layer ransomware protection, preventing any locking of your files and folders, an anti-tracker browser extension, enhancing your web surfing privacy and blocking web trackers, and finally, anti-phishing protection, helping you out when accidentally clicking those dodgy links.

In addition to all of these top-tier features, you’ll also get access to a free version of Bitdefender’s integrated VPN giving you online anonymity. However, you get a limited data allowance so it can only be utilized on the odd occasion.

So, with this being a Mac-specific antivirus, you do get access to a feature that’s only available on these systems; Time Machine security. This will protect your backups from any infections and ransomware, alleviating the worry of any of your files being locked/removed and having to shell out cash to get them back.

All in all, Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac is a brilliant choice to keep your Mac devices safe whether you have a Macbook, iMac, or Mac Mini. You’ll benefit from the plethora of top security features, up to three device usage of one license purchase, as well as the added bonus of VPN access. Moreover, with the added Mac-specific feature of bolstering Time Machine’s defenses, you can be assured that all your backups will be safe and sound. All of these things come together to what we think is overall, the best antivirus for Mac.

  • Up to five devices from one license purchase
  • Easy to use UI
  • Intelligent firewall protection
  • Impacts your system's performance

If you’re a budget-conscious individual that likes to get the most out of your money, the top antivirus of Mac pick is the Intego Mac Internet Security X9. This is due to various reasons, with the first being the number of devices that you can use the antivirus software on. By this, we mean that if you purchase just one license, you’re able to use it on multiple Mac devices without having to worry about dipping back into your cash. In fact, you’ll get to use Intego Mac Internet Security X9 on up to five of your Mac machines, which might be a little overkill for some, who simply own one or two Mac products but for those with a full Apple household, having access to protect five devices, is a huge plus.

When looking at the architecture it’s built upon, its up there with Bitdefender, performing fantastically in independent testing labs and still having relatively fast scanning speeds. The features of the software aren’t too shabby either boasting an intelligent firewall as well as anti-phishing protection, keeping you incredibly safe while surfing. Furthermore, you have increased defenses against the dark-arts of third-party apps that are constantly trying to keep hold of all your data to target ads at you. The UI is also brilliant, offering an easy experience both in terms of navigating and understanding what’s actually going on, handy for those who aren’t the most tech-savvy but want to get your head around virtual infections.

However, there are a couple of downsides that come with Intego Mac Internet Security X9. The first of these being that it is a bit of a power hog. This means that your Mac is going to take a hit when trying to multi-task. This is unfortunate but maybe a necessary evil to keep you completely secure. There are also no Mac-specific features that get bundled in which again, is unfortunate, but not a deal-breaker, especially for those that are simply wanting to be protected online.

Overall, Intego Mac Internet Security X9 does offer top-tier value and more than deserves its spot in this guide. It has that up to five device support while also making sure your Mac is incredibly secure online. On the other hand, it does have a couple of downsides like being a bit heavy on your machine’s performance, but that can be overlooked for keeping your Apple product’s online security like Fort Knox.

  • It's free!
  • Real-time protection
  • Network scanning
  • Web Shield access
  • No ransomware protection

Free antivirus software for your Mac isn’t too hard to come by but securing one that provides decent protection against any threats makes it a little less straightforward than you’d think. However, with Avast providing one of, if not the best free antivirus software for Windows, these traits similarly translate over to Mac devices.

Because it’s free, you might expect Avast Free Mac Security to be lackluster in features but you’d be wrong. It boasts real-time protection thanks to the core antivirus engine it works off while also being able to do full systems scan if necessary. Additionally, you can focus your scans on a particular file or folder, a handy little addition, and a really great feature for those who suspect dodgy downloaded files.

Along with brilliant scanning, you also get access to a Web Shield, warning you about websites that are potentially malicious, blocking downloads and email attachments that could spell disaster, and stopping ad tracking, protecting your overall online privacy. A further added extra is the addition of network protection in which scans both your connected device as well as others on your WiFi network for any suspicious activity, hopefully preventing attacks.

Unfortunately with Avast Free Mac Security, you won’t be protected against ransomware attacks which are becoming more frequent. This feature is reserved for the Pro version which will cost you a decent chunk of cash.

To conclude, Avast Free Mac Security really should be considered if you want the best antivirus for Mac. Even though it’s free and lacks ransomware protection, the rest of the software is absolutely stellar and provides some protection that even paid versions don’t showcase. 

  • The Kapersky brand
  • Multi-device usage
  • Can utilize Kapersky's encrypted browser
  • Webcam hack countermeasures
  • Expensive

Kaspersky is one of the big names in the antivirus business so it’s no real surprise that they have a product on the best antivirus for Mac list. Their Internet Security for Mac is one of their top selections and shores up your Mac’s online defenses dramatically.

It’s consistently rated as one of the best pieces of Mac antivirus software by independent test labs which means you’re getting quality. Furthermore, you’re also able to buy one license and you’ll be able to protect three Mac devices, meaning most, if not all of your household will have increased defenses.

Looking at its features, you’re able to take advantage of malicious URL blocking, countermeasures against potential webcam hacks, and robust ransomware protection which are pretty much all you need to keep safe online. Additionally, if you’re wary of doing online tasks such as internet banking, Kaspersky also has an encrypted browser you can utilize. This will ease your worries and bolster your security even further, almost guaranteeing you’ll never get your data stolen.

The UI details a slightly awkward overall layout which could be a tad irritating but this is due to the large number of features, so it can certainly be forgiven. The only other real snag is the price. While you’re getting a really great piece of antivirus software for your Mac, it does come in more expensive than both our best overall and best value picks but if you’re wanting that Kapersky name, you’re going to be paying a slight premium no matter which program you purchase from them.

Summing up Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac, it’s definitely an excellent choice to protect your Mac. It has really great features when surfing the web and shouldn’t impact your machine’s performance as much as other selections. The one real caveat is the price. It does come in at a higher price point that a lot of other stellar pieces of antivirus software for Mac but you do get that Kapersky brand, so if that’s important to you, it could be the way to go.

Best Antivirus for Mac: Things to consider

Paid vs Free

When it comes to most, if not all software, there’s always the argument of paid vs free. This is because usually, you’re able to get by with the majority of free software on the market, not having to drop a single penny. This is similarly true when it comes to antivirus software for Macs as there are options like Avast Free Antivirus which do a solid protection job. On the flip side though, with paid antivirus software comes the more advanced features which offer further protection and in-depth analysis on any potential threats. So, it’s a toss-up, have further protection and advanced features that come with dropping some cash, or opt for the free software, which is enough to get by but is limited overall?

Mac-specific tools

In the main, antivirus software is developed with the same features on both PC and Mac but there are a few exceptions. As shown with some of the top picks above, some antivirus software manufacturers have opted to develop some Mac-specific tools to enhance the overall capabilities when on those systems. Some of these tools include added Time Machine security and enable you to ensure your backups won’t be taken for a ride. This, in turn, will ensure your Mac is as protected as it could possibly be.

Number of devices

Due to antivirus being software in nature, you pretty much just get a license key which gives you access to full functionality. However, where the better pieces of antivirus software shine are the number of devices this license key can be used on. This number can range from 1 to around 5, making the latter pretty much exclusive to the best antivirus software around and perfect for you Mac users who are fully encompassing the Apple ecosystem, owning Macbooks, iMacs, and even Mac Minis.

The whole amount of devices your antivirus software can work on does only apply to paid software, so if you’re opting for a free version like Avast, you won’t even need to worry about this aspect. Always something to think about when comparing which antivirus software to choose for your Mac.

Our Verdict

Our verdict on the best antivirus for Mac? It has to be Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac. The top tier architecture it’s built upon coupled with the number of stellar features and those extra Time Machine defenses, all come together to produce an antivirus product that’s really hard to beat. Additionally, you get to use it on up to three devices thus meaning its not only a great service but also one that’s of solid value. However, if you do have more than three devices to protect, definitely opt for Intego Mac Internet Security X9. The fact that you can secure up to five devices is a huge selling point on its own, but with the fact that it’s up there in terms of overall features and security compared to Bitdefender, it makes it even more attractive.