Do Apple devices need anti-virus software? The nature of cyber attacks is changing, and traditional perimeter defenses aren't as effective as before. Your best option is anti-virus combined with. Protect your Mac from malware. MacOS has many features that help protect your Mac and your personal information from malicious software, or malware. One common way malware is distributed is by embedding it in a harmless-looking app. You can reduce this risk by using software.
We design Mac hardware and software with advanced technologies that work together to run apps more securely, protect your data, and help keep you safe on the web. And with macOS Catalina available as a free upgrade, it’s easy to get the most secure version of macOS for your Mac.*
Apple T2 chip.
The next generation of security.
The Apple T2 Security Chip — included with many newer Mac models — keeps your Mac safer than ever. The Secure Enclave coprocessor in the Apple T2 chip provides the foundation for Touch ID, secure boot, and encrypted storage capabilities. Touch ID gives you a seamless way to use your fingerprint to unlock your Mac, fill passwords in Safari, and make purchases with Apple Pay. Secure boot helps ensure that you are running trusted operating system software from Apple, while the Apple T2 chip automatically encrypts the data on your Mac. So you can be confident knowing that security has been designed right into the architecture of your Mac, from the ground up.
Mar 22, 2016 With the recent KeRanger attacks focused on OS X, we explain exactly what malware and ransomware are and answer an age old question - do Macs need antivirus. May 07, 2020 These features come with every Mac by default, so is there really a need to install third-party antivirus software on your computer? We asked the experts. Vulnerabilities in Apple’s systems.
Apple helps you keep your Mac secure with software updates.
The best way to keep your Mac secure is to run the latest software. When new updates are available, macOS sends you a notification — or you can opt in to have updates installed automatically when your Mac is not in use. macOS checks for new updates every day, so it’s easy to always have the latest and safest version.
Protection starts at the core.
The technically sophisticated runtime protections in macOS work at the very core of your Mac to keep your system safe from malware. This starts with state-of-the-art antivirus software built in to block and remove malware. Technologies like XD (execute disable), ASLR (address space layout randomization), and SIP (system integrity protection) make it difficult for malware to do harm, and they ensure that processes with root permission cannot change critical system files.
Download apps safely from the Mac App Store. And the internet.
Now apps from both the App Store and the internet can be installed worry-free. App Review makes sure each app in the App Store is reviewed before it’s accepted. Gatekeeper on your Mac ensures that all apps from the internet have already been checked by Apple for known malicious code — before you run them the first time. If there’s ever a problem with an app, Apple can quickly stop new installations and even block the app from launching again.
Stay in control of what data apps can access.
Apps need your permission to access files in your Documents, Downloads, and Desktop folders as well as in iCloud Drive and external volumes. And you’ll be prompted before any app can access the camera or mic, capture keyboard activity, or take a photo or video of your screen.
FileVault 2 encrypts your data.
With FileVault 2, your data is safe and secure — even if your Mac falls into the wrong hands. FileVault 2 encrypts the entire drive on your Mac, protecting your data with XTS-AES 128 encryption. And on Mac systems with an Apple T2 Security Chip, FileVault 2 keys are created and protected by the Secure Enclave for even more security.
Designed to protect your privacy.
The most secure browser for your Mac is the one that comes with your Mac. Built-in privacy features in Safari, like Intelligent Tracking Prevention, help keep your browsing your business. Automatic strong passwords make it easy to create and use unique passwords for all the sites you visit. And iCloud Keychain syncs those passwords securely across all your devices, so you don’t have to remember them. You can also easily find and upgrade any weak passwords you’ve previously used (and reused and reused and reused).
Automatic protections from harmful sites.
Safari also helps safeguard you against fraudulent websites and those that harbor malware — before you visit them. If a website seems suspicious, Safari prevents it from loading and notifies you. And when connecting to unencrypted sites, Safari will warn you. So everything you need to browse without worry is right at your fingertips.
Find your missing Mac with Find My.
The Find My app combines Find My iPhone and Find My Friends into a single, easy-to-use app on Mac, iPad, and iPhone. Find My can help you locate a missing Mac — even if it’s offline or sleeping — by sending out Bluetooth signals that can be detected by nearby Apple devices. These devices then relay the detected location of your Mac to iCloud so you can locate it in the Find My app. It’s all anonymous and encrypted end-to-end so no one — including Apple — knows the identity of any reporting device or the location of your Mac. And it all happens silently using tiny bits of data that piggyback on existing network traffic. So there’s no need to worry about your battery life, your data usage, or your privacy being compromised.
Keep your Mac safe.
Even if it’s in the wrong hands.
All Mac models with the Apple T2 Security Chip support Activation Lock — just like your iPhone or iPad. So if your Mac is ever misplaced or lost, the only person who can erase and reactivate it is you.
It’s fair to say there’s less risk of malware attacks on a Mac than a PC, but does that mean you can skip antivirus altogether?
For years, we’ve been told that Macs can’t get viruses. But no computer is immune from cyber attacks, so each year we test Mac antivirus software to their limits with hundreds of virus attacks including worms and ransomware to see how they fare. Read on to see your protection options.
Mac os el capitan iso. Browse all our antivirus software reviews, or skip straight to the best antivirus packages from our tough tests.
Built-in Mac security
There aren’t many viruses for Mac computers, which makes them hard to come by. Our lab tests Windows antivirus software with several thousand Windows-specific viruses each year, but tests only a few dozen on Mac computers. That isn’t to say that it’s impossible to catch a Mac virus, but the number of different strains is much smaller.
MacOS is secure by design. It requires a number of steps to allow a virus to run on your machine and needs you, the user, to intervene for any program – be it a virus or otherwise – to gain access to critical system files. In short, it’s actually quite tricky to get infected by Malware on an Mac.
Why you should still consider anitivirus for Mac
Even if you don’t let a piece of malware run, we have found that macOS’ built-in security scanning doesn’t reliably detect dormant viruses just sitting on the hard drive. If you never had any intention of running the viruses yourself, you could inadvertently share them with somebody you know who might not be so fortunate.
And there’s more to antivirus than simply protection from viruses. Almost all the security suites we test come with additional protection against phishing attacks, where websites pretend to be legit in order to steal your data. We have found that the very best Mac security suites will also bolster your phishing protection quite significantly, and perform better than the protection built into the Mac versions of Safari, Chrome, Firefox and Opera web browsers. For this reason, if you’re nervous about threats on the web, it would make sense to at least consider a Mac security suite.
Antivirus options for Apple Macs
While there’s no cheap way to get yourself a Mac, those who don’t fancy a yearly subscription to a security suite can rest easy in the knowledge that this year we tested three free options, one of which was good enough to be a Best Buy.
If you’re a Which? member, you can see the very best antivirus options on our best antivirus for Mac advice guide. And for everybody else, we’ve highlighted five options from the biggest brands.
Paid antivirus for Mac
Norton Security Deluxe
One of the biggest names in antivirus has a relatively inexpensive Mac option. What’s more, if you have Windows computers in your household you can mix and match the different device types under the same subscription. Subscribing gets you various other benefits, although some, such as the 50GB of cloud storage, is only available for Windows computers. See whether it’s worth paying for in our Norton Security Deluxe for Mac review.
Kaspersky Internet Security
Do Mac Users Need Antivirus
Kaspersky’s security suite includes basic protection as well as tools specifically designed to protect your files from ransomware and a bolstered web browser for banking. Like Norton, you can mix and match a Kaspersky multi-device Internet Security subscription between Windows and Macs. See if it’s worth the cost in our full Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac review.
Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac
It comes with phishing protection and a VPN for keeping your web browsing safe from prying eyes, but can this AV production take on its big-brand rivals? It’s performed well in our tests in previous years, so read our full Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac review to find out.
Free antivirus for Mac
AVG Antivirus for Mac (free)
If you don’t want extra features and also don’t fancy shelling out for yet another digital subscription, AVG Free might be the option for you. There are no frills, but it should deliver when it comes to basic protection, adding that last layer of defence for when all else fails. See how it fared in our antivirus lab test by reading the full AVG Antivirus for Mac review.
Avast Free Antivirus for Mac (free)
Avast and AVG are owned by the same company, so they should perform similarly in our tests. Included in the installation is Avast’s free password manager, which might come in handy if you’ve yet to set one up for yourself. Read our full Avast Free Antivirus for Mac review to see whether it’s a good free choice.
How we test antivirus
Our antivirus test lab is riddled with threats. It has set up dozens of computers in 40 countries around the world to act as ‘honeypots’ for millions of viruses. These honeypots capture viruses that are fresh into the wild and may have only existed for days. This makes the task for the security software very challenging, because many of them rely upon huge databases of so-called virus ‘definitions’ to tell whether or not a file is harmful.
Do I Need Antivirus On My Mac
Grabbing new threats means they will also have to rely on their own intuition – rather than simply checking a database – using more advanced techniques to decide if there’s a threat. We also use a mix of scenarios on both Windows and macOS, including viruses stored on USB sticks, and even malicious real-world phishing webpages designed to steal your data. Only the most secure software can fend off all these types of attacks effectively.
Malware can be more of a concern if you’re using an old phone. Read our guide on mobile phone security for more.