Stay Safe at Home with the Best FREE Mac Antivirus Software
Utility • May 22, 2020
Remote working is on the increase, and if you are doing any work on a Mac without antivirus protection – your Mac computer is very vulnerable. And vulnerability might even lead to a bad experience while working from home.
Usually, companies take care of these things, but if you’re on your own now – there’s nothing to worry about. Since there is free antivirus software for Mac you can install right today, there’s no need to put yourself at risk.
If you’re believing in the myth that Mac computers don’t get infected with viruses – you’re putting your computer at a higher risk than you can imagine.
That’s why, in this post, you’ll not only find some of the best free Mac antivirus software we’ve reviewed – but you’ll also find the pros & cons of the free version and whether going for a premium antivirus version is really worth it.
Top free Mac Antivirus Software mentioned
- Avast Security for Mac
- Sophos Home
- Avira Free Antivirus for Mac
- AVG Antivirus FREE
- Malwarebytes for Mac (Free Version)
- Bitdefender Virus Scanner for Mac
Avast Security for Mac (our #1 choice)
Avast is one of the most commonly used free antivirus software, for both Mac and Windows. The installation is fairly simple and once you download the Avast package, the download of the Avast Security will begin which is followed by the installation.
I was able to download it and get it installed in about 15 minutes. Upon the opening of the Avast, the automatic Smart scan starts (which can be skipped) and the free version protects your computer from the following threats:
- Virus Definitions
- Viruses & Malware
As you probably know, that’s not everything Avast offers. Even as a free user, you can experience additional benefits that will keep you safe when you’re actually browsing the internet.
There’s a Core Shield addition which includes the following:
- File shield
- Web shield
- Email shield
This means that you will be protected during scanning or opening of any files, as you browse the web, and even when you receive dangerous email attachments.
All of this is free, and there’s also a virus chest where you can find viruses that Avast detected. In there, it’s very simple to take action to delete and remove the virus or take any further actions such as adding a known virus by yourself.
I think that this is very useful for advanced users who might have experienced a rare type of virus and yet would like to let Avast know about it and stay prepared in the future.
And the last great feature of Avast Security is the Wi-Fi Inspector. Avast inspects the network you’re connected to, rates your computer security, and the router security. This is pretty useful to have when you’re using the public network and you don’t have the chance to protect yourself using the Virtual Private Network software (VPN).
Avast Security features a very simple & attractive interface which makes navigation easy even for people who had no prior experience with antivirus software. Also, I was pleasantly surprised by the number of features in the free version which is just one of the reasons Avast Security is categorized as “Our Pick”.
But how about the Premium features? Would you need them and what do they even include?
Just like any free antivirus software, there’s always a premium version you can upgrade to.
In this case, Avast Security Premium offers the following:
- Ransomware Shield
- Extra Wi-Fi monitoring security features
- Ability to avoid fake sites for safer online shopping
Do you really need the Premium version? I believe that about 75% of users will be fine with the free version of Avast Security. However, if you are an advanced user and you’d like to unlock all features and get the most advanced protection – it’s highly recommended.
But are you going to be fine with Avast Security free version? Absolutely – and that’s why Avast is the safest pick on our list.
Sophos Home (our #2 choice)
Sophos Home has a very simple interface. Or better yet – it doesn’t have a regular interface everyone’s used to.
Once you download and install Sophos Home antivirus, you’ll see it in Mac’s taskbar, just like Avast Antivirus. However, you can’t actually open the Sophos Home interface as there is no actual interface.
It’s a bit of a different approach, but it’s very simple to use. How do you find the needed information? It’s all stored in the cloud!
Oh yes, the good old cloud. For example, when I went to see my activity – I was directed to the Sophos Home cloud space where I could see full history, status, protection, web filtering, and privacy for the antivirus that’s installed on my Mac.
Even though you can’t check much directly on your computer – there are plenty of commands you can use to find exactly what you’re looking for.
The free version of Sophos Home is full of features that protect your Mac from three main things:
- General viruses
- Web threats
Once you install Sophos Home, you will automatically get all features enabled, so you can truly test the premium features before you are back on the free version.
A free version is more than enough to keep you protected, however, there aren’t many free features and it’s pretty basic.
On the other hand, there are many premium features that can protect you from a lot of different threats and virus types – however, you will have to upgrade.
Therefore, I consider Sophos Home to be a bit more efficient if you upgrade, but if you’re looking for free antivirus software and you’re fine with the basic protection – Sophos is a good choice.
Avira Free Antivirus for Mac
Avira offers enough free features to keep your Mac protected at all times and I really like how it operates. It’s fairly convenient so once you set the schedule for your scans using the Scheduler feature, you can forget about it.
However, you’ll also stay protected in real-time. The interface is pretty simple and it’s very straightforward, so you won’t waste any time around Avira.
Avira is almost as lightweight as Malwarebytes and yet it offers plenty of free features that can sufficiently protect your Mac at all times.
What I liked the most is that they even have a free version of a mobile app to protect your iOS devices such as an iPhone or an iPad.
Using one account, you can keep an eye on as many devices as you have in one tab which is pretty useful.
AVG Antivirus FREE
I was positively surprised by the AVG’s simple design only to discover a lot of features behind it.
AVG AntiVirus FREE for Mac acts both as a powerful virus cleaner but also as real-time anti-virus protection. I believe it’s mostly aimed for people who work on many devices as it offers 3-in-1 protection where you can connect and protect your Mac, Windows, and even smartphone (or a tablet).
Keeping an eye on all your devices regardless of their operating system is pretty neat inside the AVG antivirus software.
A free version is pretty lightweight even though it features plenty of features. One thing you should keep in mind is that it runs in the background, but I’ve rarely noticed any notifications so it’s not disturbing.
If you’re easily distracted during your work and you are all about minimalism – AVG antivirus FREE software might be a great choice.
Malwarebytes for Mac (Free Version)
Malwarebytes is one of the lightest antivirus software you can get for your Mac. It took me only a minute and a half to download it and install it.
The free version is pretty basic and the only thing you can expect is the removal of existing infections on your Mac.
The paid version offers a lot more features (most of the features you can see in other antivirus software).
I find this light yet efficient antivirus software to be great for checking your Mac thoroughly if you suspect that it has been infected. It’s also great to have it installed (even along with another antivirus software).
But you should understand that the free version is pretty limited and it can’t protect your laptop in real-time. However, as I’ve mentioned previously, it’s an ideal antivirus for checking up on your laptop’s health periodically.
Bitdefender Virus Scanner for Mac
Bitdefender Virus Scanner is our last recommendation in this post, but this doesn’t mean it’s the least secure one.
This antivirus software works by scanning the critical locations on Mac to find and eliminate viruses that are the most harmful.
It can also do a deep system scan where it scans the whole mac (which might take time!) and then it eliminates all threats it can find so your Mac is 100% clean.
You can also scan a custom location such as the most recently downloaded file to quickly scan new documents for viruses.
It has a very simple interface, it’s very easy to use, and its free version is pretty decent considering some other antivirus software that is all about making the users upgrade to the premium version.
You’ll probably have questions about…
Are these free antivirus software safe to use?
Every one of this antivirus software comes from an established software company and almost all companies have been providing efficient antivirus protection for at least a decade now.
Therefore, just because they’re free – doesn’t mean that they’re not safe. Our picks are chosen from the list of only reputable and well-known antivirus software.
However, as you can see, all of them work in a different way and have different features – so you should still wisely choose your antivirus software, regardless of its cost.
Are free antiviruses for Mac good enough?
As you could’ve seen from the antivirus software featured in this review post – there are some pretty decent yet free options to protect your Mac.
For example, Malwarebytes antivirus software might not be good enough if you’re looking for software that will keep protecting your Mac in real-time in the background.
If that’s what you’re looking for, an antivirus software such as Avast Security will give you great coverage.
But if you would only like to periodically run a search for viruses – Malwarebytes, in fact, could be a great option.
Therefore, you should know your needs before determining whether each one of these might be a good choice for your needs.
If you’re really serious about keeping your Mac laptop when browsing the internet – Intego Mac Internet Security X9 might be a great choice. It’s a dedicated antivirus software app that will keep your Mac safe in real-time and even though it has a Premium version – the free version offers plenty of features to protect your Mac on its own.
Why most “free” antivirus software aren’t exactly free?
A great example of free antivirus software that isn’t exactly free is the Bitdefender. As you could’ve noticed, I’ve mentioned that this software is pretty basic, and yet it has plenty of premium features.
Some antivirus companies are dedicated to creating quality & useful versions of their software as both free & paid.
On the other hand, some antivirus software companies are focusing more on the premium version so as a free user – you might feel like you aren’t even able to experience 40% of the actual software.
And I understand that when the security is in question – there’s no room for you to compromise.
But does this mean that you simply shouldn’t stick with free antivirus software? Of course, not!
All you have to do is wisely review each one of this software, ensure you know what you would need from an antivirus software – and then find an option that will fit your needs.
Avast Security and Sophos Home are the top two antivirus software for this reason. They offer a very sufficient free version which won’t make all users feel like they need to upgrade to stay protected.
And as with any other antivirus software, including the ones from this article – all of them have pros & cons and it’s up to you to decide which pros & cons you will be okay with.
Should you consider upgrading to a Premium version?
Investing in security has never been a bad idea, and if your budget allows you – going for a premium version will definitely help you increase the level of your protection and have your Mac secured at all times.
Premium version of the antivirus software includes additional features that can keep you protected as you browse the internet, or even when you’re shopping online from not-very-known online stores.
I highly recommend going with a free version first, see how you like it, but also check out what the premium version offers. If you think you will be benefit form at least half of the premium features and your budget allows you to upgrade – you should definitely invest in the security of your Mac!
You are definitely able to protect yourself well using a free version of antivirus software and even though any of these are a great option – you should take your time to find out which one would fit your needs the most.
Remember, free antivirus software is a lot better than not having antivirus software at all! Going for a premium version of a software isn’t required but some antivirus software offers great deals and includes a bunch of additional features that will cover every type of a Mac user.
Finally, if you are working remotely – by using an antivirus, you aren’t only protecting yourself, yet you’re also protecting everyone else you’re working with, whether you’re a part of the company or a team.
With that being said – I believe that our suggestions are more than enough to efficiently protect yourself. Stay safe!
Before you go
After spending over 20 years working with Macs, both old and new, there’s a premium tool I think would be useful to every Mac owner who is experiencing performance issues.
CleanMyMac X is highest rated all-round cleaning app, it can quickly diagnose and solve a whole plethora of common (but sometimes tedious to fix) issues at the click of a button. It also just happens to make it very easy to free up disk space on your Mac by identifying junk files and allowing you to get rid of them with a click, so Download CleanMyMac X to get your Mac back up to speed today.