Best Antivirus for Mac in 2021 – Internet Security for Mac Users

Mac computers are well-known for coming with built-in antivirus and malware protection. For this reason, most Mac users don’t bother with installing other antivirus software.

However, advancements in malware and cyber crimes mean that even Mac users are not exempt from online threats. Now more than ever, antivirus protection on Mac computers has become imperative.

Fortunately, many companies provide compatible Mac antivirus software. The best of these for 2021 are McAfee, Bitdefender, Kaspersky, Avira, Avast, Norton, Sophos, and Trend Micro. We’ve compiled details on each provider’s antivirus solutions below, so read on to learn more.

Table of content

Do You Need Antivirus Protection on a Mac?

Mac comes built-in with the highest standards of virus protection. This includes detecting and removing malware from your system and inspecting third-party apps from the App Store.

However, with Mac computers becoming more and more popular, cybercriminals’ efforts to infect Mac systems are also improving. This puts Mac users at risk of becoming victims of malware attacks.

Therefore, for extra layers of protection and security, installing third-party antivirus software onto your Mac is a good idea. Not only will a good Mac antivirus program help you browse safely and offer additional malware detection, but Mac antivirus protection can also offer you identity protection and other great security and privacy features.

What is The Best Mac Antivirus Software?

While there are many antivirus programs for Mac, only a few have made the best antivirus for Mac list. The list below consists of companies that not only offer an advanced Mac antivirus product with excellent antivirus protection as well as additional security features like password managers and anti-theft tools.

1. McAfee Total Protection

A firm favorite of ours at VPNSurfers is McAfee Antivirus. In particular, McAfee Total Protection provides users with flexible scanning options and a customizable firewall to protect themselves from hackers.

McAfee comes with specially designed Mac antivirus protection to ensure that hackers that find vulnerabilities in the software cannot attack your operating system. As well as advanced malware detection and removal, McAfee also offers users firewall protection. The customizable firewall ensures that the data passing in and out of your network stays safe.

McAfee offers several different scanning options to suit your needs to ensure that your Mac computer is always free from malware. There is real-time scanning, meaning that the McAfee antivirus software is constantly running in the background to protect your device. You can also choose to run an on-demand scan if you’re worried about your Mac’s health and schedule scans to take place every so often.

Another excellent malware protection feature is McAfee’s safe browsing tool. When you’re browsing the web, this will always be in action, blocking access to malicious websites and links. This helps you avoid becoming the victim of phishing scams, which can perilously put your credit card details in danger.

There are also many privacy tools with this antivirus for Mac option. Firstly, you can take advantage of McAfee’s identity theft protection, which monitors up to 10 email addresses and alerts you if any are involved in a data breach. With security breaches on the constant rise, this is a necessary tool.

As well as the above, McAfee can securely delete files on your Mac computer to ensure that any confidential documents you want gone are irretrievable. As well as this, you can take advantage of McAfee’s built-in VPN service. This VPN is great, with access to many virtual locations, including the US, the UK, Argentina, and more. Moreover, unlike many other antivirus program providers, McAfee’s VPN has no data limits.

Furthermore, McAfee comes with a password manager so that you can securely store all your login credentials in an encrypted vault. Essentially, with McAfee, you can get three cybersecurity products for the price of one, which is excellent value.

Finally, McAfee can help improve your Mac’s performance. Although Mac computers generally run well, McAfee can help your Mac run faster and ensure that certain apps don’t take up too much storage or drain your battery.

There are several different subscription plans, with the Pro and Ultimate including excellent parental controls as well. All plans come with security support from McAfee’s customer support team, meaning you can reach out anytime with any issues.

Prices for this antivirus software start from $39.99 per year as a standalone Mac antivirus and increase if you want to add protection for other devices such as Windows PCs. You can enjoy a free trial to see whether or not this is the best antivirus for you.

2. Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac is specially designed antivirus protection for Mac users. There are special features, including adware blocking and anti-phishing protection.

Bitdefender offers comprehensive antivirus for Mac. Not only is there real-time malware protection, but there is also adware blocking. This ensures that your Mac computer isn’t infected with annoying pop-ups or other dangerous and unwanted add-ons that ruin your overall computer experience and slow down your operating system.

As well as the above, Bitdefender offers phishing protection, blocking your access to untrustworthy websites that are fraudulent and could expose you to phishing scams. You can enjoy advanced online protection when browsing the web with Bitdefender’s Traffic Light browser extension, which doesn’t show you any harmful links. By using this browser on your Mac, you’ll never accidentally click on a malicious website or link.

Several elements make up Bitdefender’s advanced malware detection and removal technology. Firstly, the Bitdefender Shield finds and removes any threats that may attack your Mac system. As well as this, there is fast scanning in place so that Bitdefender can quickly find and resolve and malware dangers on your computer.

Since ransomware is becoming a more prominent issue with all computer users, Bitdefender offers various solutions to deal with this threat. Firstly, you can secure files by adding folders of important documents to a watch list to ensure that no unauthorized changes are made to them. As well as this, you can back up certain files on your Mac so that you can easily restore them if an ultra-sophisticated ransomware attack takes hold of them.

If all of the above wasn’t enough, there are even more features to enjoy with Bitdefender. Cloud-based technologies defend your computer from e-threats, and an anti-tracker extension stops internet trackers from following your every move.

There is even a built-in VPN with Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac. However, this VPN has a small daily data limit of just 200Mb per day, which is likely not enough for the average Mac user who may use the internet a lot for various online tasks. Still, a VPN offering is better than nothing, although still slightly disappointing due to its data cap.

Bitdefender’s security suite for Mac starts at $39.99 per year, with the price increasing depending on how many devices and years you want the software for. A 30-day money-back guarantee accompanies all sales, meaning you can request a full refund if you aren’t happy with the antivirus software.

3. Kaspersky Internet Security

Although Kaspersky offers many different antivirus for Mac solutions, its Internet Security is the best value for money. With Kaspersky Internet Security, Mac users are always protected from online threats and enjoy extra features to make their Mac experience easier.

Kaspersky Internet Security offers constant Mac protection from malware by constantly scanning your computer for common types of viruses, including Trojans. Should a Trojan horse or worm be found in your computer, Kaspersky will quickly remove it.

While you browse the web, Kaspersky is always on alert, ensuring that you don’t unintentionally visit malicious websites. The Kaspersky Security Network uses advanced technology to find and flag any malicious URLs that could lead you to phishing scams or fraudulent web pages. As well as this, Kaspersky keeps a record of dangerous websites it has previously blocked, reminding you for the next time you attempt to visit them.

As well as this, Kaspersky works with your Mac system to prevent installed third-party apps from gaining access to your personal data. There is also payment protection for Mac and Windows users, which takes you to a separate, encrypted browser to complete payments online. This protects you from hackers or snoopers on internet networks.

There are some great privacy tools with Kaspersky’s Mac antivirus solution. These include webcam protection to prevent apps from accessing your webcam without permission. There is also anti-tracking to stop websites from following your browsing and a VPN uses military-grade encryption to hide your web data. All in all, we’re extremely impressed by the privacy tools Kaspersky offers.

With Kaspersky installed on your Mac, you can receive alerts regarding attacks on your home network. If Kaspersky detects attacks, it will block the network’s access to your Mac for a certain amount of time. Kaspersky also prevents third parties from controlling your Mac using Remote Access Tools (RATs) and allows you to create a list of approved RATs.

Regarding ease of use, Kaspersky is one of the best Mac antivirus options. The client is lightweight and won’t slow down your Mac computer; on top of this, the client is user-intuitive and enables users to make the most out of the configurable settings.

Prices for Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac start from $39.99 per year, with the cost increasing depending on the length of time you sign up for and the number of devices you protect.

4. Avira Antivirus

Avira is the first provider on our list to offer free Mac antivirus (more about that below!) However, its paid antivirus for Mac is the complete package, offering advanced ransomware protection and malware scanning.

With Avira Pro, you can enjoy a high level of technology to scan your system for viruses. The system scanner is customizable and can be utilized to look for known viruses on your Mac computer. As well as this, Avira will scan all files before you download or open them to ensure they don’t contain any elusive malware.

Not only the above but Avira can be used on removable devices like SD cards. This ensures that any devices you use in conjunction with your Mac are also free from viruses and malware since memory devices are well-known for becoming compromised with malicious software.

Another interesting feature is Avira’s Quarantine Management tool. This manages files that exhibit suspicious behavior so as not to affect the rest of your operating system. As well as this, you can get an overview of your Mac computer’s main security activities to keep up to date with the goings-on of your operating system.

Something available on both Mac and Windows machines is ID theft protection. This doubles as payment protection and blocks phishing attacks on websites where you need to enter sensitive credit card details. This tool also stops keyloggers from finding out your passwords, which could put your online accounts at risk.

Although not officially included in the Avira Pro subscription (you’ll need to purchase the browser add-on), you can enjoy tracker and ad-blocking if you install the browser extension. This is great since you are less likely to see targeted advertisements and annoying pop-ups as you browse the web.

We really like that Avira offers its services on a monthly plan which costs just $4.99. However, there are longer-term plans which work out to be cheaper on a month-by-month basis. While Avira provides excellent malware protection, we must admit that it does lack some of the more advanced features seen in competitors – which is why it doesn’t rank as highly as others on the list.

5. Avast Premium Security

With Avast Premium Security, you can enjoy a 60-day trial before making any payments. You’ll also enjoy excellent security features such as anti-phishing and ransomware protection.

Avast Security offers one of the most comprehensive antivirus for Mac solutions. Malware detection works in real-time to prevent your computer from being infected with spyware, ransomware, and other types of malware. There is even a tool to protect ransomware from altering any important files that you put in protected folders.

One of our favorite features of Avast’s Mac malware protection is its Real Site feature which makes shopping online safer than ever. Cybercriminals are well known for creating spoof versions of sites to steal credit card details. With Avast, users will also be sent to real websites, avoiding any dangerous fakes that are out there.

Phishing protection is always active to warn you of both old and new phishing sites that are in operation. This will ensure that you don’t click on any phishing site URLs or links that could risk your personal data and harm your Mac computer.

There is advanced wi-fi protection with Avast. If Avast detects any vulnerabilities in your network, it will immediately alert you so that you can remain safe. Likewise, if you use your Mac in a public area and connect to a public wi-fi network, Avast will scan it first to ensure that no dangers are lurking.

Best of all, Avast will work hard to stop hackers from remotely accessing your system. Avast’s Remote Access Shield can effectively stop brute force attacks by blocking IP addresses that attempt to access your accounts. It also blocks IPs linked to malware.

With Avast Premium Security, you can purchase a subscription for one device for $34.99 (the price increasing for the second year). There is also the option to try out this subscription for 60 days without handing over any credit card details. However, if you want to protect your Mac computer and several other devices, you can purchase a multi-device subscription and protect up to 10 devices.

6. Norton 360

Norton 360 is available in many subscription options and offers great Mac malware protection. We especially like the identity protection Norton offers with its Dark Web monitoring on the Premium plan.

Norton offers various plan types concerning the Norton 360 software. Across all plans, users can enjoy AI intelligence software that protects your Mac from all types of malware. This includes spyware, ransomware, and common viruses like Trojans and bots.

Not only this, but you can run scans as often as you like to check the health of your Mac computer. However, it is unlikely that your device will get infected with a virus, thanks to Norton’s advanced technology. The provider is so sure that its users will remain safe that it offers a refund policy to users whose Macs get infected with a virus that cannot be removed.

With Norton, you can enjoy the Smart Firewall. This firewall watches network traffic to block anything coming into your network, which could put your security and privacy at risk. This means hackers are less likely to gain access to your device.

A VPN is also available across all plans, which bodes well for your online privacy. You can encrypt all of your browsing data, safe in the knowledge that no third parties can see what you’re doing. As well as this, there is webcam protection to ensure that spies aren’t watching you in secret and gathering information on what you get up to.

Finally, a built-in password management tool means you don’t need to purchase this software independently; you can enjoy it alongside your Norton antivirus. We cannot stress enough the importance of a password manager, so it is great that Norton offers one.

Depending on whether you upgrade to the Premium plan from the standard, you can enjoy additional features such as dark web monitoring (which looks to see whether or not your account credentials have been leaked online) and parental controls.

The Norton plans start from $79.99 per year and increase depending on whether you buy a plan for two years or upgrade your subscription.

7. Trend Micro Antivirus

Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac is a superb option for users who want advanced protection against ransomware and protection against email scams.

With Trend Micro’s antivirus, you will receive constant malware and virus protection. Trend Micro uses advanced technology solutions to detect and block attacks on your Mac software. As well as this, Trend Micro is one of the best providers for protecting you from ransomware. It tracks suspicious malware that could encrypt your files and charge you money to gain back control of them.

There is AI learning so that Trend Micro can keep up to date with all the latest technology and malware developments. This will help it detect new viruses or malware so that it can continue to fully protect your operating system.

Email scams are a common part of life now, with many Mac users falling victim to email phishing scams. With Trend Micro, you’ll be protected from these since the antivirus will filter them out, guarding you against them.

Trend Micro Pay Guard ensures that you stay safe while shopping online and don’t accidentally share your credit card details with malicious third parties.

If you decide to purchase the Maximum Security for Mac subscription, you can protect your Mac and other devices you may own, such as Windows PCs or Android devices. The Maximum Security plan comes with protection for up to 5 devices.

With Trend Micro Maximum Security, there are additional security features. If you share your Mac computer with any minors, then you can take advantage of Trend Micro’s parental control settings. The customizable parental controls allow you to control what your children consume on the internet, ensuring they stay safe. On top of this, there are social media privacy controls, guaranteeing your private data on social networks isn’t unintentionally shared.

A password manager feature is also available on the Trend Micro Maximum Security plan. This is a great tool, given that security breaches are on the rise. Stronger passwords have never been more essential, so it is great that this service comes built-in.

The additional antivirus tools don’t stop there. On the Maximum Security plan, users can enjoy system optimization so that they get the best performance out of your Mac computer. The annual cost for the Maximum Security plan is $89.95, and the regular Antivirus for Mac plan costs $39.95 per year. You can also enjoy a 30-day free trial to see whether or not this is the best Mac antivirus for your needs.

8. Intego Mac Internet Security X9

Intego Mac Internet Security X9 is made specifically for macOS, making it a super choice for a Mac antivirus software package.

Unlike many antivirus products, Intego’s Mac Internet Security X9 is designed for Mac computers. This Mac security suite consists of two antivirus apps, which come packed full of features. Firstly, there is constant protection, detecting malware in files and removing it to ensure your system is never compromised.

Intego NetBarrier is one of our favorite features in this Mac antivirus. Whenever you connect to a private or public internet network, the NetBarrier protects your device from other network users with a firewall. NetBarrier also monitors data going in and out, blocking potentially malicious applications from creating new connections. Best of all, this firewall feature is incredibly easy to configure, even for technophobes.

NetBarrier’s benefits don’t stop there; it can detect malware that tries to create backdoors into your computer and also alerts you to applications that collect information on your activity as well as files that may conceal spyware.

As well as the above, the Internet Security X9 software scans for viruses in emails, ensuring that you don’t open an attachment that could harm your Mac computer. General system scans are extremely fast with Intego. The antivirus software marks trusted folders so that security scans can only check those that may be compromised.

Intego isn’t just a product for Macs; it works with Windows PCs too. This is great news for people living in households with both operating systems, which is common nowadays. Annual prices start from $49.99, increasing to $92.99 on the 2-year plan.

9. Sophos Home Premium

Sophos Home Premium is a great option for Mac users who want to protect multiple devices at once. It comes with protection for up to 10 operating systems on a single plan.

Although Sophos offers an excellent free antivirus for Mac, the Sophos Home premium version is undoubtedly better due to the immense features it offers. Firstly, there is real-time protection for the most common Mac viruses and malware. This includes protection from the latest ransomware, ensuring that you’re never caught out by surprise with this costly malware.

There is also web protection, meaning that as you surf the web on your Macintosh, you won’t accidentally visit malicious websites. Sophos blocks access to websites from its database of blacklisted sites, ensuring you never find yourself in a compromising situation.

Sophos helps to keep kids safe on the web with its customizable parental controls. With these, you can filter websites, ensuring that your children don’t access adult content online.

There are excellent privacy features as well with Sophos. The antivirus software will ensure that third-party apps and websites don’t gain access to your webcam and microphone without your permission. This will stop third parties from spying on you and collecting information that they then go on to share.

Sophos is easy to use, but if you run into any issues using the antivirus, you can consult the customer service team, which is available Monday-Friday. The yearly subscription costs $59.99, which is great value for money considering that you can protect 10 systems with just one plan.

What Is The Best Free Antivirus for Mac?

Free antivirus options for Mac are not in abundance, but there are some good options out there. Since your Macintosh is an expensive piece of software, you may not want to part with more money when looking at an antivirus or Mac cleaning tools. Fortunately, the free antivirus options below are all offered by reputable providers, featured on the list above. Take a look at them:

Avira Free Antivirus

Top of our list is Avira free antivirus. This antivirus solution is extremely easy to use and comes with an intuitive client that allows you to easily protect your Mac.

Firstly, you have three scan options to choose from; opt from either a quick or full scan or scan certain files that you are worried about. You can also activate real-time protection so that every new file or program installed on your Mac is scanned for any dangerous activity. You’ll be able to view potentially dangerous files in the Quarantine section so that you can check for any suspicious behavior in certain files.

Avira offers the best free Mac antivirus because it provides a whole host of privacy tools alongside its antivirus features. There is a built-in VPN, a password manager, and a web tracker removal. For a free product, this is extremely impressive.

The great features don’t stop there; you can clean up your Mac computer with the junk cleaning tool to have more storage space. This will help your Mac computer run more smoothly.

Avast Free Mac Security

Avast’s free version of its antivirus for Mac is quite limited in comparison to its premium plan. However, it uses the same excellent technology as on the paid version, so users can ensure that their Mac computers are safe from malware at all times.

Real-time protection is always active to find and block malware and other virus threats. This ensures that malicious pop-ups online are blocked and that you don’t unintentionally open email attachments that contain a virus.

You can run scans at any time to check for malware. From quick to full scans, you’ll be able to appropriately inspect the health of your system and can even run scans on removable devices.

Furthermore, a free browser extension can alert you to unsafe websites and block trackers from following your web footprint. Although Avast’s free antivirus lacks some great features like a VPN, it is a good option from a reliable source and one that we highly recommend.

Sophos Free Mac Antivirus

Sophos Home free antivirus is another great option. The free version contains many of the same elements of Sophos Home Premium, making it a good choice for Mac users on a budget.

Firstly, there is real-time protection in place at all times. This runs silently in the background without slowing down your Mac computer. Sophos can detect and thwart malicious attempts to access and alter your Mac computer system and files.

As well as the above, Sophos’ free antivirus will stop you from accessing dangerous websites, as it prevents you from visiting any URLs that are included in its database of blacklisted websites.

There are also parental controls available with the free antivirus, something which not all free products offer. This ensures that your kids are safe online when they use your Mac computer to surf the web.

Finally, the easy-to-use client allows for remote management of the antivirus on other devices. We like that Sophos is simple to set up and use, especially for software novices.

What Built-in Virus Protection Does Apple Offer?

Apple keeps Mac users safe by constantly updating its software to ensure that users remain safe online. Some of the technology that Apple uses on Mac devices include a process that keeps viruses and malware contained so that they don’t leak out and infect other files or software.

As well as the above, the Mac software will quickly detect and remove any malicious content to ensure that they don’t alter or take control of crucial systems. All apps downloaded from the Apple Store will be checked before they are installed on your Mac to ensure that you don’t install anything dangerous onto your system. As well as this, Mac allows you to customize permissions depending on what data your apps are privy to. This keeps your privacy safe.

Another great feature called FileVault 2 encrypts all the data on your computer’s drive to ensure that a hacker cannot easily access it. The iCloud keychain also securely stores your passwords, acting as a password manager of sorts. On Safari, you also won’t be tracked across the web like with other browsers.

Finally, Apple comes with built-in anti-theft tools. Some of the antivirus solutions on our list offer anti-theft features, but we’re pleased to see that Macs come with these same tools as well.

Author Madeleine Hodson

I’m Madeleine and I'm a writer that specializes in cybersecurity, tech products, and all things related to the internet. I have a keen interest in VPNs and believe that everyone deserves internet freedom and security. I wri...
Read more about the author

VPNSurfers » Antivirus – Malware Protection on Your Devices » Best Antivirus for Mac in 2021 – Internet Security for Mac Users
Last updated: September 17, 2021