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Best antivirus for Mac, the 2022 comparison



An antivirus on Mac, contrary to popular belief, is not useless. Even if the progression has nothing to do with what Windows experienced in the 2000s, the Mac is experiencing a resurgence of malware, especially adware. We tested 10 antivirus on macOS, find out which is the best antivirus for Mac in 2022.

Best antivirus for Mac 2022

Why choose an antivirus on Mac? Even though macOS incorporates increasingly advanced security features, an antivirus makes it easier to identify unknown threats, and also offers privacy or network connection protection features that may be of interest to them. In addition, you can also use an older Mac that doesn't necessarily have access to macOS Catalina or the upcoming Big Sur. In our comparison of the best antiviruses, we review 10 free and paid antiviruses, available on macOS.

To evaluate their detection performance, we based our comparison on the most reputable independent tests, which are AV Comparatives and AV Test. As with last year, the results obtained in terms of malware detection on Mac are very similar in general, and very often close to perfection. On the other hand, not all of them have the same impact on the overall performance of macOS. In addition, quite marked differences in both functionality and user interface are noteworthy. These can really influence your choice of one solution or another according to your usage profile, your needs and your level of experience and best practices on the Internet.

1. Bitdefender Antivirus 2021 (Mac)

Bitdefender Antivirus 2022 (Mac)
  • - Simple interface
  • - Imperceptible performance impact
  • - Full functionality
Editor's opinion

Bitdefender Antivirus chooses more minimalist features on Mac compared to the Windows version. Nevertheless, it shines by its almost irreproachable efficiency, a very low impact on the performance of the system and a user interface that is perhaps a little too "Windows" for some but which remains simple and discreet. Whether it's to protect a single Mac or to integrate into a multi-device solution, BitDefender remains a reference.

BitDefender Antivirus is one of the best security solutions on both Windows and macOS. The latest version of the antivirus does not deny its reputation with a winning formula on performance, simplicity of the interface and lightness. A little more limited in its features than on Windows, BitDefender for Mac nevertheless remains a reference.

Update: Bitdefender no longer offers its entry-level antivirus offering for Mac. It is now necessary to opt for the Total Security solution including protection for 5 devices (Windows, macOS, iOS and Android). This translates into an additional cost.

2. Kaspersky Internet Security 20 (Mac)

Kaspersky Internet Security 20 (Mac)
  • - Consistent and simple interface
  • - Very good overall performance
  • - Comprehensive privacy features
Editor's opinion

Despite its small flaws, Kaspersky Internet Security remains a high-end security solution. The effectiveness of the protection is at the rendezvous, the user interface has the good taste to combine ease of use and integration with macOS, and the features are numerous and robust, without going to look for gadget modules. Especially if you want to protect your children, Kaspersky offers a trusted offer.

Kaspersky Internet Security is one of the antiviruses whose name immediately inspires confidence. Since 1997, the Russian publisher has had the opportunity to prove its effectiveness, even at the height of the wave of viruses under Windows XP. This reputation for seriousness has not been denied over time, and we appreciate the fact that the publisher takes particular care of the Mac version of its solution.

3. Intego Mac Internet Security X9

Intego Mac Internet Security X9
  • - Simple and visual interface
  • - Excellent on Mac threats
  • - Limited impact on system performance
Editor's opinion

Perhaps not the most feature-rich solution, Intego Mac Internet Security is arguably the most enjoyable to use for a Mac regular, and for any user who appreciates simple, visual ergonomics. If we confine ourselves to viruses on Apple's platform, VirusBarrier is effective, not quick to make an error of judgment and light. NetBarrier offers an efficient, simple and visual network filtering solution. A good choice to protect your Mac without complicating your life.

4. Norton 360 Standard (Mac)

Norton 360 Standard (Mac)
  • - Easy to use
  • - Firewall in all versions
  • - Free VPN, no data quota
Editor's opinion

Even if it has competition on Mac, and if we prefer a little Kaspersky Internet Security in terms of features, Norton 360 has for it a certain simplicity of use that will please Windows users who use the Mac incidentally, a flawless lightness, and a free VPN that can encourage you to adopt it.

Norton remains a major solution in the security landscape after decades of existence and a publisher, now Norton Lifelock, that has gone through many turnarounds. The Norton product line is now built around different editions of Norton 360, instead of the old Norton Security. On Mac, despite some features not necessarily useful, we appreciate this effective and affordable solution that has an interesting asset.

5. ESET Cyber Security (Mac)

ESET Cyber Security (Mac)
  • - Effective protection
  • - Simple and configurable at will
  • - No frills
Editor's opinion

ESET Cyber Security may be a solution that ages without evolving too much, but it remains relevant in our opinion, for users who are looking for something targeted in its features and a no-frills interface.

The Slovak publisher ESET has been offering its Cyber Security solution on Mac for a few years, even if it only really moves for minor updates.

6. Trend Micro Antivirus 10 (Mac)

Trend Micro Antivirus 10 (Mac)
  • - Simple interface
  • - Good web protection
  • - Effective
Editor's opinion

Trend Micro Antivirus is a good antivirus for those looking for protection refocused on the essentials. It is effective and offers a good level of defense even if the impact on the performance of macOS seems a little more noticeable than in some competitors. Its interface is minimalist and relatively pleasant. On the other hand, it may not be as suitable for those who are looking for a more advanced solution in terms of ancillary features such as a VPN or securing banking sites.

Trend Micro is a Japanese security software company that has been offering antivirus solutions since 1988. Among Trend's strengths is a certain lightweight and minimalist design, including using the cloud. On macOS, Trend Micro offers a consistent product that may lack a little bit of strength compared to some competitors.

7. Avira Free Antivirus (Mac)

Avira Antivirus Pro (Mac)
  • - Simple and pleasant interface
  • - Limited intrusions
  • - Very good detection
Editor's opinion

Avira Antivirus 4 is arguably our favorite free antivirus on Mac, despite its flaws and doubts that may remain about its impact on macOS Catalina performance. Despite some limitations, it is effective and offers essential protection of good quality while knowing how to be relatively discreet.

Often recognized, among the three "big" free antivirus, as the favorite of "power users", Avira Free Antivirus has the qualities to please Mac users. Its strengths? An efficiency in the protection, an interface a little "old school" but simple and a certain discretion in the incentives to buy the paid version of the product.

8. Malwarebytes (Mac)

Malwarebytes (Mac)
  • - Simple and pleasant interface
  • - Limited performance impact
  • - Minimal intrusive
Editor's opinion

Malwarebytes starts from a good intention and its minimalist protection may very well satisfy a user who simply needs to eradicate the threats present on his Mac, in addition to the basic defenses of macOS. On the other hand, it is clear that we will find much more features, even among the free versions of Avast, Avira or AVG.

Malwarebytes is reputed to be an effective and simple malware disinfection tool. Since then, the software has acquired a real-time scanning component to get closer to a "real" antivirus. Available on PC and Mac, Malwarebytes is betting on minimalism, but the Mac version may be going a little too far in destitution.

9. Avast Security 14 (Mac)

Avast Antivirus 14 (Mac)
  • - Minimalist and simple interface
  • - Very good detection
  • - Moderate performance impact
Editor's opinion

Avast Security for Mac is a good free antivirus, effective and enjoyable to use overall. However, we have a little trouble with its way of selling its premium version, with sometimes misleading techniques, and that is why in the free antivirus category, we prefer Avira, without questioning its qualities.

Avast is a software that is no longer presented: it is even synonymous with free antivirus. The latest version, Avast Security, continues the good momentum of the antivirus in terms of protection, but is too aggressive when it comes to incentivizing to buy its premium version.

10. AVG Antivirus 20 (Mac)

AVG AntiVirus 20 (Mac)
  • - Interface minimaliste et simple
  • - Very good detection
  • - Not too many reminders for the paid version
Editor's opinion

AVG Antivirus is a good free antivirus, and that's normal since Avast Security is too. But like its "cousin", AVG AntiVirus performs well on its protection, but can be a little heavy, while its incentives to buy the paid version, although a little more discreet than on Avast Security, remain relatively intrusive.

AVG Antivirus and Avast Security look strangely alike and it's actually nothing strange, since their two publishers merged in 2016. Both products remain and adopt features and a common interface. Still, AVG is a little clearer about the distinction between free and paid.

Why do I need to install an antivirus on macOS?

The Mac has long had the image of a system immune to viruses. This is obviously false: no computer is completely immune to malware. Of course, there is a foundation in this reputation. MacOS is a generally well-secured system, which takes advantage of the robust foundations of UNIX, and which has evolved towards an increasingly important security in recent years. We are thus seeing the tightening of the noose around unsigned applications, while the latest versions of the system impose the concept of "notarization" which will carry out security analyses on software already installed in addition to requiring their signature. Hardware advances, including the T2 chip that equips the latest Macs equipped with an SSD, also strengthen the system against changes and encrypt disk data by associating it with a unique identifier.

However, we must not forget that the Mac is now much more widespread, and it is therefore of increasing interest to cyber criminals. Part of the "immunity" of the Mac was still due to the omnipresence of Windows which was necessarily the target of choice of malicious hackers.

Today, cybercriminals are mostly looking for ways to extract data or money from the user, and this can be done in a very simple way, such as a fake antivirus that asks to be upgraded to a paid version, or more complex like ransomware that encrypts personal data and demands a ransom.

ransomware attack

All of these threats exist on Macs, and several waves of ransomware have already paraded in recent years. An antivirus can therefore strengthen protection against malware by identifying new and unknown threats more quickly, or by offering the user tools to secure their Wi-Fi network.

For more information, we invite you to consult our article: Why install an antivirus or security suite for Mac?

What are the main features for an antivirus?

The basic features of an antivirus are found in most products, with some differences depending on the offers, especially on the free versions. Among the modules to look for in priority, we find:

  • Signature databases are used to identify known threats based on a signature. Today, the cloud makes it possible to deport them by lightening the antivirus;
  • Behavioral or heuristic analysis looks for patterns of suspicious behavior that do not correspond to the normal use of the system. It is a way to identify threats still unknown to the bases;
  • An anti-spyware module protects the user from spyware that can hide and steal personal data without his knowledge;
  • An anti-phishing module to detect fraudulent sites or emails that pretend to be legitimate services. Phishing is a pernicious method because it relies on the inattention or naivety of the user, and can therefore target any system, even secure, to steal personal or banking information;
  • An integrated firewall remains an effective way to monitor incoming and outgoing connections on its network, and to specify different profiles for a public or corporate network for example;
  • shield against ransomware, also called ransomware. This software has appeared in recent years and takes hostage the user's personal data, which is encrypted, with a ransom at the key. Two solutions exist to protect against these attacks: prevent changes to sensitive folders, and make frequent backups of these folders;
  • The integration of a sandbox, which will run the software in a secure environment in order to isolate it from the rest of the system;
  • An anti-exploit module to protect the system from vulnerabilities, often due to software or a system that is not updated regularly. Antiviruses can also detect missing updates for both the system and third-party software.

What are the optional features?

Paid antivirus solutions also offer some additional features, or even functions that go beyond the field of security:

  • VPN allows you to connect anonymously and securely, and the feature is increasingly present in suites, often associated with a fairly low data quota unless you pay an additional subscription;
  • Wi-Fi Protection tool will monitor your network for possible security problems, especially on a public network;
  • Parental controls can complement the one built into macOS, such as filtering websites based on their child-sensitive content, or offering predator protection features;
  • secure browser can offer additional security, such as surfing "in isolation" on banking sites, or strengthening protection against phishing;
  • password manager is offered by some antivirus or security suites, in line with tools such as LastPass Password Manager or Dashlane. It may be interesting to group everything under the same solution, but the dedicated tools and, to a lesser extent, iCloud Keychain are already effective on this point;
  • Anti-theft protection protects your portable Mac in case of theft. Here again, macOS already offers a level of protection via iCloud, but it is a module that can be found in particular in "total security" offers.

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