Do You Really Need a Mac Antivirus in 2024?

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Mac Antivirus

Do You Really Need a Mac Antivirus in 2024?

  • 🥇 Intego: Includes an advanced malware scanner and a range of Mac-optimized features, such as a firewall, Wi-Fi protection, system optimization tools, backup tools, parental controls, and more.

Some people wonder if Macs really need antivirus because Apple’s known for strong security. But Macs can still get viruses and other bad stuff. Even though Macs have good security, they’re not totally safe.

I started researching the different types of cyber threats that target Mac users. I wanted to get a definitive answer to a question that lingers in almost every Mac cybersecurity forum out there. And the answer is yes — Macs definitely need an antivirus. 😀

I tried lots of antiviruses to find the best ones for Mac. Intego is my top choice because it has a perfect malware scanner, good firewall, and other helpful features. But all the ones on my list add extra security to your Mac to keep it safe.

🥇IntegoBest overall Mac Antivirus , perfect malware scanner, great firewall, and other useful features.
🥈McAfeeGreat antivirus with excellent web protection.
🥉TotalAVReliable antivirus, perfect for beginners.
4NortonFlawless malware scanner with tons of extra features.
5BitdefenderFeature-rich antivirus with a great VPN.

Intego is my favorite antivirus for Mac in 2024 — it managed to find and remove 100% of malware during my tests. It also lets you run scans on external drives or iOS devices, which makes it a great tool for protecting your other devices too.

When I did a full scan, it only took about an hour, faster than most. Intego has a special tech that makes later scans even quicker by skipping files it already checked. It can also fix files messed up by malware, but it missed fixing a few in my tests.

  • Smart firewall.
  • Tools to clean up and organize your Mac.
  • Parental controls.
  • Emergency access.
  • And more…

Intego’s smart firewall, called NetBarrier, is the best one for Mac. It can figure out which network you’re on and adjust rules accordingly. Plus, you can customize it a lot, setting rules for each program on your Mac. I really like how it tells you if apps or background stuff try to connect to the internet and lets you decide if you want to allow or block them.

I also like Washing Machine, Intego’s tool for cleaning and speeding up your Mac. When I tried it on my old Macbook Pro, it cleared up 3 GB of junk in just 10 minutes. It also explains the results clearly, so you won’t accidentally delete important stuff.

Intego has different plans you can choose from, and they’re not too expensive. The basic plan, Mac Internet Security X9, costs INR1,660 per year. It gives you antivirus, web protection, and the firewall. The more advanced plan, Mac Premium Bundle X9, costs INR2,910 per year. It includes everything Intego offers, like Washing Machine and parental controls. Both plans cover 1, 3, or 5 devices and come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try them without risk.

Intego has a malware scanner with a 100% malware detection and removal rating, as well as a slew of extra features that have been optimized for Mac. It includes real-time protection, an excellent firewall, great parental controls, cleanup and optimization tools, and more. Intego’s plans are affordable and come with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

McAfee offers strong security for Mac users. It has a good malware scanner and top-notch web protection. When I tested it, a full scan took about an hour, which is similar to Intego but a bit slower than Norton. It caught all the malware I tried. Quick scans were also fast and effective, taking only a few minutes.

The only downside is that McAfee scans slowed down my MacBook a bit. But you can schedule scans for times when you’re not using your computer, so it’s not a big problem.

Malware scannerChecks for viruses and harmful software.
Web protectionKeeps you safe while browsing the internet.
Quick scansFast checks for any immediate threats.
Scheduled scansYou can set up scans to run automatically at convenient times.
Performance optimizationHelps your computer run smoothly while staying protected.

McAfee WebAdvisor for Mac helps stop phishing sites, scams, and browser-based cryptojackers. It checks websites you visit against a big list of known phishing sites, keeping you safe from scams. It also shows if websites are safe when you search online.

McAfee’s firewall for macOS works well, even on its basic settings. But if you know your stuff, you can customize it too. You can make it block strange activity or make special rules for each Wi-Fi network you use. It’s better than the one Mac comes with.

McAfee has different plans. The McAfee Plus plan starts at INR3,320 per year. It covers 5 devices and gives you protection against malware, web threats, a password manager, identity theft monitoring, and a firewall. The Advanced plan costs INR6,650 per year. It lets you connect unlimited devices and adds parental controls (on the family plan), credit monitoring, and identity theft coverage. You can use McAfee’s plans for Windows, iOS, and Android devices too, not just Mac. And if you’re not happy, they have a 30-day money-back guarantee.

TotalAV is a good antivirus that’s really easy to use, which is perfect if you’re new to this stuff. It has a simple dashboard that’s easy to understand, even if you’re not a tech expert. Plus, it has some extra features that are easy to find and use.

When I tried TotalAV, it found almost all the bad stuff on my Mac, which is really good. But it missed stopping a couple of attacks that were new and unknown to it. In comparison, Integon’s protection stopped everything.

  • Firewall.
  • VPN.
  • Password manager.
  • Ad blocker.
  • Web protection.

TotalAV has a great VPN that comes with unlimited data. While it isn’t as fast as a standalone VPN like ExpressVPN, it’s one of the best antivirus-bundled VPNs out there. When I tested it out, its speeds were pretty reliable, and I was able to watch every major streaming service available in my country, from Netflix to Max and Hulu, and stream without buffering. I did have some ping issues though, so it might not be the best VPN for gaming.

The Mac optimization tools worked great when I tried them out. The Junk Cleaner was able to clear up around 3 GB of files on my Mac, while the Startup Manager helped me organize my startup programs. There are several other features as well, like Application Uninstaller and a Browser Cleanup tool. While there’s nothing unique about TotalAV’s optimization tools, they work very well and are easy to use.

There is a free version of TotalAV, but it lacks real-time protection, so I’d recommend choosing one of TotalAV’s paid plans instead. TotalAV Internet Security comes with most features, including the unlimited VPN — it covers 5 devices and costs INR3,240 / year. TotalAV Total Security (INR4,070 / year) adds a password manager and an ad blocker and covers 6 devices. All of TotalAV’s plans are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Norton is one of the best Mac antiviruses on the market, and it scored 100% for malware detection during my tests. Its scans are also faster than most antiviruses I’ve tested — a full scan only took about 40 minutes. Like Intego, Norton uses file-caching to skip over previously scanned files, so subsequent scans can be even faster.

I really like Norton’s Smart Firewall, which offers significantly more protection than Mac’s native firewall. While most users can just use its default settings, advanced users can set access rules for every program on their Mac. It also monitors for over 135 uncommon protocols that can be used by malware to communicate across your network.

  • Web protection.
  • Dark web monitoring.
  • Unlimited VPN.
  • Mac optimization tools.

I’m a big fan of Norton’s dark web monitoring, which is available for users in 20+ countries, including the US, UK, Australia, and more than 10 European countries. It scans for a pretty impressive amount of personal information too, including addresses, credit cards, bank account info, driver’s licenses, and more.

Norton’s VPN is also really good — it’s pretty fast, and unlike many other antivirus-bundled VPNs it doesn’t place data restrictions on the VPN with its cheaper plans. Norton’s VPN uses 256-bit AES encryption to protect your data and has a no-logs policy to guarantee your privacy. However, while it is fast, Bitdefender‘s VPN is a little bit faster and has more servers to choose from.

While Norton is a great antivirus, you can’t access all its features on Mac. Its dashboard display tools don’t work, including parental controls (which are only available on Windows and mobile devices) and cloud backup (which is Windows only). Overall, Norton on Mac is much more limited than its Windows counterpart, which is why it doesn’t top my list.

That said, Norton’s Mac offering is still really good, and there are several low-cost plans starting at INR1,660 / year with Norton 360 Standard. It covers 3 devices and comes with the antivirus scanner, real-time protection, unlimited-data VPN, device optimization tools, and a password manager. The best value plan, Norton 360 Deluxe (INR4,150 / year), covers 5 devices and adds 50GB of cloud storage (and parental controls for non-Mac devices). All of Norton’s plans come backed by a 60-day money-back guarantee as well, so you have plenty of time to try it out for yourself.

Bitdefender is one of my favorite antiviruses thanks to its lightweight malware scanner. It can run fast full scans that don’t impact your system’s performance because the scanner is based in the cloud. In my tests, full scans only took around an hour to complete (which is slightly slower than Norton, but on par with Intego), and I could use my MacBook as normal throughout.

  • Real-time protection.
  • Ransomware protection.
  • System optimization tools.
  • VPN.
  • Ad blocker.
  • Parental controls.

Bitdefender’s VPN is as good as some standalone VPNs. It’s pretty fast — I connected to a nearby server and found that there was a minimal impact to my connection speeds. It uses military-grade encryption to protect your data and has a kill switch and a no-logs policy. It also has a pretty large server network, with more than 4,000 servers in 45+ countries. Unfortunately, Bitdefender’s VPN is restricted to just 200 MB of data per day on all but the most expensive plan — in contrast, Norton offers unlimited data on all its 360 plans.

I was also impressed with Bitdefender’s anti-phishing protection, which scored perfectly in my tests. Whenever you access a new website, Bitdefender compares it against a directory of known suspicious websites. If the site comes up as a threat, Bitdefender blocks you from accessing it. When I tried visiting various suspicious websites, it prevented me from accessing every single one.

Bitdefender does have a free scanner for Mac, but it lacks real-time protection. It works to find and remove malware already on your Mac device, but that’s about it. While it’s not a bad free option, I’d recommend a premium plan for better protection.

Unfortunately. Bitdefender’s lower-tier paid plans are Windows-only, so to protect your Mac, you’ll need to go for the top-tier Total Security or Premium Security plans. Of those, my favorite for Mac is Premium Security, which costs INR6,650 / year and covers 10 devices. It includes the unlimited VPN, an ad blocker, anti-phishing protection, optimization tools, parental controls, and more. All of Bitdefender’s plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it out risk-free.

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