Macs are generally less vulnerable to viruses, spyware, and adware attacks compared to other computers from different brands because of the multitude of preventative measures set in place by Apple. Despite this, in most cases, your device is really not immune to this malware.
Even if it is not malware you are concerned about, then your Mac is still prone to password theft, stolen backups, or even worse, ransomware.
Tried, tested, and proven by real users and experts, security apps are how you ensure you don’t fall victim to any of these unpleasant experiences.
How secure is a Mac and do you need a security app?
A security app is an app built and designed to offer security to your Mac device.
As you might not have known, Apple macOS includes some built-in security apps. The XProtect software checks apps and links you use on the internet for malicious and corrupted codes and apps, which cause malfunctioning. Then, another Apple software called Gatekeeper stops the installation of these corrupted apps and even prevents them from launching again.
Despite the benefits of XProtect and Gatekeeper, it is wise to use at least one or more security apps to protect your Mac. There is no doubt that Apple’s security apps do a good job, but some of the built-in apps are not frequently updated like other third-party Mac internet security software. Sometimes, these built-in protections are not enough to keep OS X safe. Sometimes, Apple’s software is not foolproof. Still, Apple has said security in macOS is unacceptable.
Not to mention that research from Malwarebytes presented by Forbes found that the worst kind of viruses and malware on Mac increased by at least 61% in 2020. So, if you need an additional layer of protection, the following 3rd-party Mac security apps will help.
Top security apps and suites for Mac
1. Avast One – Best in Antivirus and Price
Why it made the cut: Avast One is a certified security suite for macOS. It is budget-friendly and comes with multiple ways to scan your files, apps, and all the content of your device, to ensure that nothing poses a threat to your Mac or its ecosystem.
- Cost: Free and tiered subscription
- Platform: PC, macOS, iOS, and Android
- Wide range of free and paid products with varying levels of advancement
- Offers a free version of the software
- Good reputation for providing protection against viruses and malware
- Some versions are known to have high system resource usage, which can slow down your device
- Occasional false positives, meaning some legitimate programs are flagged as malicious
Avast One is a newly developed software by the world-leading cybersecurity firm, Avast, and protects your device against Mac malware and detects potentially unwanted apps. Installation is fast and easy, and you get a free version that works just well. If you want to go premium, you can always subscribe to any of your preferred paid memberships available.
Avast One is one of the few apps of its kind that offers a reliable free version. This means if you are not ready to invest in it yet, you can download it and use it for free, for life. You can also take advantage of their discounts and promotions.
Compared to the other tools we have tested, Avast also offers some unique features, such as full encryption of your online identity and activity, and disk cleaning services. Additionally, Avast One offers a Sensitive Data Sheild, which provides detailed results for anything it finds in suspicious files, as well as Email Guardian, which allows premium users to see if any incoming emails have suspicious content in them.
Why it made the cut: Norton 360 Deluxe is hands down one of the best malware checkers and protection for Mac because of its reliable product, and the fact that it comes with a VPN service, unlimited password manager, and a dark-web monitoring feature for your data.
- Cost: Yearly Subscription
- Platform: Windows, macOS, Android, or iOS
- Advanced technology to keep your device safe from the latest threats and viruses
- A variety of additional features and tools to protect your data
- 24/7 customer support
- It can be expensive for some users
- It can slow down your device’s operating system
- Occasional lack of transparency o confusion with the pricing
Norton 360 Deluxe protects your device from viruses and malware and blocks hackers, blocks fake sites that may steal your passwords, and guides you on creating strong passwords. You also get a secure private internet connection with their VPN, allowing you to browse privately, in public, or at home.
If you are a parent or guardian, then you know how dangerous the internet can be for your kids. Norton makes it easy for you to monitor your kids’ activity online, ensuring that they only have access to age-appropriate sites. It lets you block sites and apps you don’t approve of and whitelist those that you allow.
Some of Norton 360 Deluxe’s notable privacy features include a VPN, cross-platform parental control, and SafeCam Webcam Security. SafeCam Webcam Security prevents spyware from allowing hackers to access and view you through your Mac’s webcam, which can be extremely useful in providing peace of mind.
Norton is a little bit on the pricier side but if you consider what you gain, you definitely get high value for your money. There are a lot of packages giving you multiple options depending on your requirements.
Why it made the cut: Bitdefender Ultimate Security offers extreme cybersecurity and identity theft protection on multiple, cross-platform devices that work to set the industry standard in cyber protection.
- Cost: Tiered Yearly Subscription
- Platform: Windows, macOS, Android, or iOS
- Operates on multiple platforms
- Offers up to $2 million in identity theft insurance
- 24/7 customer support
- Advance parental controls to keep kids safe
- Minimal impact on your system’s performance
- It can be expensive for some users
- It requires a valid Social Security number
Bitdefender Ultimate Security has more to bring to the table than just antivirus features and protection. To help protect your identity and personal data, you get a reliable VPN, anti-tracker, ransomware protection, and more. Getting started is fast and easy, and you get a dashboard with a great UI to manage all your features conveniently.
Bitdefender Ultimate Security stands out because it offers several specialized plans that some other mentions on this list do not, such as base or plus, and technology-specific plans for iOS, Android, and Mac. The most important feature of Bitdefender Ultimate Security is identity protection, which is supplemented by a VPN, an anti-tracker, a wifi security advisor, ransomware protection, anti-phishing software, and social network protection.
Other must-try security apps for Mac
While others integrate all of their components into a single unified interface, Intego comes with separate programs. Intego’s Mac Premium Bundle comes with multiple features and is fast, easy to use, and quite affordable. It is also one of the very few antivirus apps with more features on its macOS platform than on Windows, which is definitely a win for Mac.
The Mac version comes with three main security features, which are VirusBarrier, Washing Machine, which is the unique Intego system cleaner and optimizer, and Personal Backup. Other functions Intego can perform are synchronizing data between two computers and restoring files when you need to.
Intego’s Mac Premium Bundle also has some features not offered by our other top picks, such as Mac-specific virus definitions, Mac network protection, and antivirus protection on iOS devices, which prevents your phone from passing a virus to your computer when they are connected.
Clario is one of the top new cybersecurity and antivirus software programs on the market, which is also the ownership of MacKeeper. It has an extremely simple and easy-to-use UI that is colorful and intuitive.
Some of the most important features of Clario include quality AV-TEST-approved antivirus software, unlimited VPN, 24/7 data breach monitoring, instant add blocking, powerful spying detection, and security for Instagram. Clario also ranks highly against Norton, Avast, and Avira on the AV Test, and has very little impact on your Mac’s operating speed.
Clario costs $4.17/month on the annual subscription and $8.99/month on the monthly subscription. Both subscriptions yield the same offerings, and both offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. Clario operates on macOS 10.13+, iOS, and Android.
Sophos Home is one of the best antivirus and security apps for Mac because it offers multiple effective protection features, and you get a whole month of the trial period to decide whether it is the app for you.
Some of the most popular features include real-time Mac antivirus software, web protection, remote device management, Mac ransomware security, and privacy protection. Sophos stands out from its competitors in that it is capable of integrating with some other protection products you might have already installed on your Mac, allowing for more protection power for home users.
Sophos Home comes with a 30-day free trial for all new members. For the first year, it will only cost you $44.99 after which the plan will be renewed at $59.99. For this price, you can connect up to 10 devices.
Malwarebytes is an antivirus and malware removal software that helps keep your computer safe from malicious software. It scans your computer for potential threats and blocks them before they can cause harm. It’s easy to use and provides great protection for your system.
Similar to Bitdefender, Malwarebytes offers personal and business plans, but with the unique ability to include up to 99 devices on your plan, depending on which plan you select. The software has multiple unique features that protect your device from viruses, malware, spyware, adware, phishing, and other threats. The most-used security features include anti-malware, a browser guard, and a VPN.
Malwarebytes can be purchased for between $44.99 and $99.99 per year for personal plans, and between $37.49 per device and $84.99 per device per year for business plans. It is available on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.
Kaspersky comes with a whole suite of anti-virus protection, anti-phishing, ad-blocking, private browsing, VPN, parental control, password manager, web-cam spying protection, and screen time management among others.
It is different than its competitors because you get multiple security features with both plans. Password Manager helps set up strong passwords for your accounts and can store an unlimited number of logins. VPN is an important security measure to take considering hackers use the internet to hack into our computers. Kaspersky VPN offers private browsing that also ensures every WIFI you try to access is safe. Additionally, Kaspersky offers several more features, including antivirus software, secure cloud storage, and parental controls.
Kaspersky will cost $77.99 per year, but they offer a 60% discount for your first year, while also including one year of Kaspersky Safe Kids software for free.
If you are particularly looking for an anti-virus app then MacAfee is one of your best options. The app is probably not one of the best overall security apps but it is worth a mention for some of the specs it offers. That is, easy signup, download, and installation process, fair prices, and great customer support that is always available anytime you need them.
MacAfee stands out against its competition by offering a personalized protection score, instead of listing your device as either protected/unprotected. It also offers multi-platform capabilities and consistent identity monitoring. Some of the most notable features include scans and schedules, phishing protection, a firewall, and WebAdvisor, which detects malicious codes and diverts your browsing from these pages.
First-time users get a free trial period after which they will be charged $39.99 per term for the first time. Renewal of this subscription is $109.99/ year which is charged 7 days before the previous term expires. If you want to cancel, make sure to at most 8 days before renewal.
Trend Micro Premium Security uses robust technology to identify and block malware or potentially unwanted apps, to keep your device safe and secure. The software’s speed and performance have proven to be reliable when it comes to fighting malware, viruses, ransomware, phishing, spyware, and other threats your Mac faces.
Trend Micro operates differently than other security apps by using 250 million data points and industry-leading AI software to track cyber threats and criminal behavior patterns to keep you safe. The main features include malware scanning, ransomware protection, suspicious URL detection, anti-phishing, and a pay guard.
Trend Micro Premium Security will cost $129.95 per year on a recurring annual subscription. It is available on Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Chromebook.
Avira offers unique features, such as a Protection Cloud, which is where you can send in file files to be checked by Avira for an in-depth scan powered by AI to see if the files contain malware. Some of the best Avira features include antivirus protection, secure browsing, unlimited VPN, and password management.
As great as Aviria is, the biggest drawback of this cybersecurity software lies in its limited free trial, which only provides a small slice of the protection and experience offered by the paid service, and the web browser software, which is equally limited in functionality.
Avria Prime, Avira’s paid package, can be purchased for $99.99/year. This will cover five devices and include a 60-day money-back guarantee. Avira operates on PC, iOS, Android, Mac, and web browsers.
Good Mac security goes beyond antivirus
These are some of the top security tools available on the web. As a result, Mac owners can prevent any security breaches and take control of their antivirus on all fronts, ensuring their safety even as Apple works to improve security for all its platforms.
So, if you don’t want to break the bank by paying for a security app to protect your Mac, you can go for Avast or Avira. Both of these have a lifetime free version which is reliable and works pretty well.
And if you don’t mind investing some money in advanced features, then Avast, Norton, and Bitdefender are your best options. All of these options are easy to use and will certainly keep your Mac safe.