The Best Antivirus Software for Mac 2024

Many people think they don’t need antivirus software for a Mac, but that’s not always the case. So, how do you know which one is right for you?
We may receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

Best for Mac Optimization Features

3.9
Learn More
On CleanMyMac X's website

CleanMyMac X
View More

Best for Mac-Specific Security

4.8
Learn More
On MacKeeper's website

MacKeeper
View More

Best for software customization

4.8
Learn More
On AVG's website

AVG
View More

Best for ease of use

4.8
Learn More
On Avast's website

Avast
View More

When searching for the best antivirus programs for your Mac, you may be looking for a program built just for macOS, like CleanMyMac X or MacKeeper. Maybe you’re looking for a product that’s been around a long time, like AVG, with a free antivirus plan to get your feet wet. Or maybe you want software that has received high antivirus test scores, like Avast.

If you’re looking for the best in Mac security, then we’ll guide you to the products that should meet your needs. Let’s look at the antivirus programs with the best virus protection for your Mac: CleanMyMac X, MacKeeper, AVG, and Avast.

In this article
The best antivirus software for Macs
CleanMyMac X: Best for Mac optimization features
MacKeeper: Best for Mac-specific security
AVG: Best for software customization
Avast: Best for ease of use
Antivirus programs that didn’t make the cut
Best antivirus for Mac FAQ
Bottom line: The best antivirus for Macs
How we tested the best antivirus software for Mac

The best antivirus software for Macs

Sometimes it can be hard to narrow the search when looking for something as crucial as the best antivirus software. You want to be thorough but don’t want to get bogged down in an endless sea of technical details. Here are some real-life scenarios that will help you choose the best antivirus software for your Mac:

  • CleanMyMac X: Best for Mac optimization features
  • MacKeeper: Best for Mac-specific security
  • AVG: Best for software customization
  • Avast: Best for ease of use

Top 4 antivirus products for Macs compared

Antivirus



Starting price Starts at $34.95/yr Starts at $62.01/yr Starts at $46.68/first yr for 1 device Starts at $50.28/first yr
Free version
Malware removal
Phishing protection
Ransomware protection
Parental controls
Device cleaner
Learn more Get CleanMyMac X

Read CleanMyMac X Review

Read MacKeeper Review

Get AVG

Read AVG Review

Get Avast

Read Avast Review

CleanMyMac X: Best for Mac optimization features

3.9
Learn More
On CleanMyMac X's website

CleanMyMac X
  • Cleanup tools optimize space
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • No verified third-party malware tests

Who it’s best for

CleanMyMac X is best suited for anyone who wants to optimize their Mac device and is less concerned with features that typical antivirus programs include. You won’t get scheduled scanning options, ransomware protection, or parental controls with this software.

What you will get, however, is a host of tools that speed up your device, clean up your machine, and make it work like new again, as well as remove any nasty malware lurking about.

The Malware Removal feature on CleanMyMac X scans your entire device for malicious files.

What we liked

There’s a lot to like with CleanMyMac X. We keep focusing on all the optimization features, but that’s where this software truly shines. You get a junk cleaner that removes those cache files hiding in places you don’t think to check. Space Lens let’s you see exactly what programs are taking up the most space with a detailed map of your files and folders.

The DNS flush feature was also impressive, making security better as we cleared IP addresses that were still hanging around like unwanted party guests. Everything was easy to navigate and apply when we needed to use the tools.

What we didn’t like

As good as this software is, it does have some shortcomings. For one, when we ran an EICAR test to check whether CleanMyMac X recognized a malicious file and blocked it, it didn’t recognize the file as a virus. That was disappointing and made us wonder if we could rely on it to prevent malware infections.

The other thing we noticed was that the software doesn’t have a scheduled scanning function. We don’t mind on-demand scanning, but when things get busy, it’s nice to have the software run scheduled scans to ensure our device security doesn’t fall by the wayside.

CleanMyMac X specs

Starting price $34.95/yr
Free version Yes
Malware removal Yes
Firewall No
Phishing protection No
Ransomware protection No
Device cleaner Yes
Extras Space Lens, app updater, junk cleaner
Learn more Get CleanMyMac X
Read Our CleanMyMac X Review

MacKeeper: Best for Mac-specific security

As a Mac user, sometimes it’s hard to find software programs designed specifically for Apple products. You won’t have that problem with MacKeeper.

4.8
Learn More
On MacKeeper's website

MacKeeper
  • ID Theft Guard feature scans your emails
  • Easy, fast, knowledgeable customer support
  • Customer support requires a tech to access your device

Who it’s best for

We recommend MacKeeper for anyone who has wanted an antivirus app geared toward Mac users that also includes performance and safety tools. Macs may be more secure than PCs, but that doesn’t mean they’re always immune to malware. There are Mac malware threats, too, so you still need antivirus protection while using them.

MacKeeper was developed with Apple users in mind and it’s reasonably priced starting at $62.01/yr. You get helpful features that not all antivirus products offer for Macs, like ID Theft Guard, which helps identify your personal data if it's leaked on the dark web, and Duplicates Finder, which helps you remove unwanted copies of files taking up space. If you don’t always remember to update your apps, MacKeeper’s Update Tracker scans for new software updates and installs them for you.

MacKeeper's real-time protection results, detecting no adware infections.

What we liked

We liked that MacKeeper is made for Mac users. Many antivirus programs are made for PCs and lack some options for Apple products, or they don’t work as seamlessly as they do on a PC. MacKeeper’s dashboard was easy to navigate, and the security features worked without fail. There was no browser lag time, even when we used its virtual private network (VPN) and its ad blocker.

The scans were fast and took only 30 to 45 seconds to check for duplicate files, adware, viruses, and our device memory. It also received perfect AV-TEST scores for malware protection, performance, and usability.

Antivirus protects you from basic malware, but MacKeeper also comes with optimization tools that make it fun to use. The Update Tracker provides a handy reminder when you need to update those apps you’ve neglected for a while.

The added VPN is also a nice touch and saves you some cash if you want more secure internet browsing. Some of the best VPNs for Mac can be a bit pricey, so not having to pay for one is appealing to the wallet.

What we didn’t like

Although MacKeeper’s customer support is fantastic, we aren’t crazy about using MacKeeper Remote Support to check our device for issues. Apple has verified MacKeeper, which means it’s deemed as authentic software. Still, the thought of a stranger taking a gander at our private files doesn’t sit well.

It also doesn’t come with a firewall, which we find a bit odd since the product is made for Mac users. It seems the company would want to add that for more security.

MacKeeper specs

Starting price Starts at $62.01/yr
Free version Yes
Firewall No
Phishing protection No
Ransomware protection Yes
Webcam protection No
Parental controls No
Extras VPN, ad blocker, update tracker, duplicate finder, smart uninstaller, and more
Learn more Get MacKeeper

Read MacKeeper Review


AVG: Best for software customization

AVG is strong antivirus software that offers easy installation and is highly customizable.

4.8
Learn More
On AVG's website

AVG
  • Free version comes with malware, spyware, and ransomware protection
  • Includes unsafe email attachment blocking
  • Various scanning options may be confusing to some people

Who it’s best for

AVG is best suited for users wanting that platinum-level feel. You get highly customizable products with scheduled scanning and protection for your network and external drives. If you need a strong antivirus with perfect protection ratings for Mac, AVG offers a good package.

We listed the free version as one of our best free antivirus software. It protects you against viruses, spyware, scam webpages, infected emails, and more. All paid versions of AVG include Wi-Fi security, so you can always travel with internet security, whether you’re going to your local coffee shop or taking a needed vacation.

Our AVG interface was a bit different from the online guides. But it still offers full computer, web, and email protection

What we liked

We liked how easy it was to install AVG. If you want to start with the free version, you can test the antivirus on your Mac to see if you like it, then move to a paid plan. We also liked that AVG offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try its paid Mac app without risk to determine if it’s worth your investment.

AVG gives you multiple virus scan options: a Smart Scan, a Deep Scan, Targeted Scan, USB/DVD Scan, and scheduled scans. With a Targeted scan, you can check specific folders if you don’t have the time for a Deep Scan. You can also scan external storage for any issues.

Finally, we like that AVG checks many of the boxes we look for since the best anti-malware tools include anti-phishing and real-time protection options. It even has webcam and ransomware protection. If you want software that comes with extras, like the ones we’ve mentioned, AVG is worth the price, even for Mac users.

What we didn’t like

Unfortunately, AVG comes with some distinct issues we weren’t crazy about. Like other antivirus programs that aren’t designed for Macs, some features are available only for PCs. One such option is the firewall, which doesn’t work on a Mac.

You may also need time to adjust the settings. If you just want a simple interface, it can get overwhelming with so many options.

Also, AVG’s support pages were a little out of date. Since some of the instructions didn’t work, we had no other option but to go through the settings to learn how some of the features worked. That may be daunting for people who don’t have time to dig into the software. You can send an email through the support page, but to get AVG’s premium support, you’ll have to make an extra purchase. The Tech Support plans will cost you anywhere from $79 per call to $204.99/per year for the Total Care option.

AVG specs

Starting price Starts at $46.68/first yr for 1 device
Free version Yes
Firewall No, it’s only for PCs
Phishing protection Yes
Ransomware protection Yes
Webcam protection Yes
Parental controls No
Extras Wi-Fi security, secure browser, webcam protection, anti-tracking, and more
Learn more Get AVG

Read Our AVG Review


Avast: Best for ease of use

Some antivirus programs have so many features that it can be confusing. Avast is straightforward and gives you fundamental device and web protection to protect you from trojans, hackers, and other security vulnerabilities.

4.8
Learn More
On Avast's website

Avast
  • High antivirus test scores
  • Ransomware protection
  • No parental controls

Who it’s best for

Avast has plenty of features, but you won’t forget that it's primarily solid antivirus protection. It received perfect third-party test scores for macOS from both AV-TEST and AV-Comparatives. 

Think how much you stand to risk if your personal data is found in a data breach, especially your online banking information. With Avast Premium Security, you can scan websites for legitimacy to avoid malicious ones. If you want to run a Deep Scan to check all those hidden crevices in your Mac, you’ll be pleased with how fast this process works.

The Avast Premium Security Deep Scan details after the scan is finished.

What we liked

We enjoyed some of Avast’s additional features, like website scanning and ransomware protection. With all the websites you access, it’s a good idea to use antivirus for malware scanning while you browse the internet. Most of us use some online accounts for convenience, so having tools that verify legitimacy is a cybersecurity feature we find most helpful.

The manual and automatic scans allow you to choose the most convenient times to check for viral threats. Since scans can sometimes take hours to run, we were pleased to find that even the Deep Scan took only minutes to go through close to a million files. Targeted scanning is useful when you want to check specific files or folders only. It’s a huge plus to have an antivirus that won’t slow you down when working.

Avast also allows you to check external storage, which is a valuable feature since many viruses are spread through these devices. It will check your emails for phishing attacks, so you can communicate without worry.

What we didn’t like

As with AVG, some functions aren’t available on Mac devices. For instance, the firewall works only for Windows users. The Webcam Shield also works only if you use a PC. That means no webcam protection for your Mac, which is a real bummer for Apple fans.

The customer support rep we spoke to regarding the firewall problem was friendly but ultimately didn’t know why the firewall wouldn’t work for our Mac. That was after he was unable to find access to the firewall.

Avast specs

Starting price

Starts at $50.28/first yr

Free version Yes
Firewall No, it’s only for a PC
Phishing protection Yes
Ransomware protection Yes
Webcam protection No, it’s only for a PC
Parental controls No
Extras Wi-Fi weakness alerts, secure browser, remote tech support, and more
Learn more Get Avast

Read Our Avast Review


Honorable mentions

Some top antivirus programs we like didn’t make the cut for the best Mac antivirus software. Although Bitdefender and Avira didn’t make the top three, that doesn’t mean they don’t work well with other operating systems.

  • Bitdefender: Bitdefender antivirus protects up to 10 devices, allows you to run manual and real-time scans, and its comprehensive security suites come with extra features like parental controls and a password manager. Bitdefender Total Security is a good program if you’re using Windows PCs or Android devices. 

    Get BitdefenderRead Our Bitdefender Review

  • Norton: Norton is a great choice for antivirus beginners, thanks to its clean layout, countless guides, and 24/7 customer support. You can also opt for one of its  security suites, which come with bonus features like a VPN and identity theft protection, at a great price for the first year.

    Get Norton | Read Our Norton 360 Review

  • Avira: Avira is premium security software that can cover up to 25 devices and offers manual and scheduled scanning. You also get a firewall and numerous features like knowledgeable customer service and cleanup tools.

    Read Our Avira Review

Best antivirus for Mac FAQ


+

Do Macs need virus protection?

Macs need virus protection because, although safe, no machine is completely immune to malware. There are Mac-targeted attacks, too, so having antivirus for your Mac is a smart move for anyone wanting to keep their device and data secure.


+

What is the best malware removal for a Mac?

The best malware removal for a Mac is subjective, depending on the type of malware you’ve encountered. Many antivirus products remove malware, like CleanMyMac X, MacKeeper, Avira, and Avast.


+

Is there a 100% free Mac antivirus?

Some products, like Avira or AVG, offer free versions that work with Macs, but you don’t always get all the same features you’d get with a paid plan.


+

How do I check my Mac for viruses?

You can check your Mac for viruses by using antivirus software to scan for malware threats on your device.

Bottom line: The best antivirus for Macs

CleanMyMac X and MacKeeper are designed with Apple users in mind, so it's up to you to decide if you prefer CleanMyMac X's simple antivirus and robust optimization tools or MacKeeper's stronger security suite. 

When you want a customizable product that offers scheduled scans and features like phishing and ransomware protection, AVG will scratch that technical itch. Finally, Avast is good when you want a user-friendly experience with extras like the Stay Safe Virus Guarantee and remote tech support.

Our three honorable mentions, Bitdefender, Norton, and Avira, come with extras that might interest you, or you may be considering an antivirus program for Windows instead. There’s something to like about all seven antivirus programs, so we think you’ll be happy with your choice.

4 best antivirus products for Mac in 2024

Starting price Best for Learn more


Starts at $34.95/yr

Best for Mac optimization features Get CleanMyMac X

Read CleanMyMac X Review



Starts at $62.01/yr

Best for Mac-specific security Read MacKeeper Review


Starts at $46.68/first yr for 1 device

Best for software customization Get AVG

Read AVG Review


Starts at $50.28/first yr

Best for ease of use Get Avast

Read Avast Review

How we tested the best antivirus software for Mac

When testing the best antivirus software for Macbook, we wanted to look for products that contained features consumers would prioritize most and cast a wide enough net that would cover most users. To do this, we searched for Apple-specific software, programs that allow more customization, and software that’s easy to use, among other options. Here are some of the features we tested for:

  • Ease of use: Some users are less concerned with lots of extras and want a product that’s simple to use across numerous devices.
  • Includes optimization tools: Some antivirus software will include features that help clean up your devices, like file shredders.
  • Customizable settings: Not all products offer these, but some users like to run manual and scheduled scans and set their antivirus to check for whitelisted items.
  • Apple design in mind: Although there are lots of products on the market, there aren’t that many that are designed for Apple devices. We wanted to find software that worked seamlessly for these as well.
  • Extra features included: Some antivirus programs offer more options, like a VPN that may appeal to people who travel or need extra privacy.
3.9
Learn More
On CleanMyMac X's website

CleanMyMac X
  • Cleanup tools optimize space
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • No verified third-party malware tests
Author Details
Patti Croft is a seasoned writer who specializes in all things technology. She holds a B.S. in Computer Science and carries a wealth of hands-on experience thanks to her background as a technical analyst and security specialist.