A guide on the best Mac antivirus available for free with a MacOS operating system on board.
On the usefulness or otherwise of Mac antiviruses one could talk for hours without finding a common vision. Those who choose to switch from a Windows PC to a computer with MacOS as their operating system also do it to have greater security than the malware that affects Microsoft’s OS, often causing considerable problems both to the device and to the user himself. Despite the spread of Apple computers on a global scale in recent years, the risk that the MacOS operating system is infected by a malware is remote when compared to the percentage of cases in which a PC with Windows aboard ends up in assistance for the removal of one or more malicious programs.
Why then talk about Mac antivirus? The reason is simple: theoretically, no computer is free from the danger of malware. Better prevention than cure, with the prevention entrusted to antimalware software that can detect any potential threat to macOS and eradicate it with extreme ease. For less experienced users we remind that the term malware includes a certain virus. What does it mean? To be clearer, the malware represents the primary category while the virus is the secondary category, as the cat (malware) is to the Persian (virus).
Specifically, the virus is a type of malware created specifically to replicate itself in the computer by infecting other files in the device’s internal memory. It is important to note, however, that the virus needs a host program to run. This same requirement minimizes the percentages of running into such malware within an iMac or MacBook, provided that the programs are downloaded from the Mac App Store.
Below we will present a list of the best and free Mac antiviruses, explaining their main features and what they are for. In conclusion, we will explain the other operations to be performed on the Mac in order to remain more calm during its use.
Best and free Mac antivirus
The best Mac antiviruses
In the list of the best Mac antivirus there are very popular software also in Windows, among which we can include Malwarebytes and AVG.
All the programs listed in the next paragraphs allow you to protect your computer for free.
Malwarebytes is the reference point among the antimalware programs for macOS. The free version includes manual Mac scanning and the removal of any malware on the computer, just enough to keep quiet while using the Apple device. The paid version ($39.99 per year) allows for real-time scanning and automatic updating to the latest software version.
Who wants to try Malwarebytes for the Mac must connect to the official site and click the Download button located under the section entitled Malwarebytes for Mac. The download of the Malwarebytes-Mac-3.xyzzz.pkg file, where the abbreviation xyzzz stands for the version number (different with each update), will start automatically. Once the download is complete you must double click on the executable file to start the installation wizard, then select the OK button to allow the system to continue installing a program downloaded from the Mac App Store.
We now click in rapid succession on the following keys: Continue, Continue, Continue, Accept, Install, Install software (after entering the administrator password), Install and Close. At this point you can proceed with scanning your Mac to check for malware. To start monitoring the computer, click on the Scan Now button.
If the antivirus finds malicious programs, to remove the threat simply add the check mark in the box next to each malware and select the blue Quarantine Selected button located at the bottom right.
AVG AntiVirus for Mac
AVG AntiVirus for Mac is the version of the famous AVG antimalware designed for devices with the MacOS operating system. Unlike Malwarebytes, AVG allows the user to take advantage of the computer’s real-time scan to immediately identify a possible threat even in the free version. Here are the steps to follow to download it to your computer and start scanning.
First you need to connect to the official AVG website, select the Mac category and, in the drop-down menu that opens, click on the AVG AntiVirus for Mac option. In the new screen displayed press the button Download free (the minimum requirement is the version of macOS number 10.10, ie Yosemite). Once the download is complete, open the file and double-click on Install AVG AntiVirus. At this point you need to click on the Continue button three consecutive times, then on the Accept button to confirm that you are aware of the conditions of use. Continue by selecting the Install button, then enter the password of the Mac administrator user and click on the Install software button.
After a few seconds, the initial configuration of the AVG AntiVirus for Mac program will start automatically, during which you will need to register a new AVG account. Once registration is complete, select the item Go to Dashboard to access the main antivirus screen, from where it is sufficient to click on the Scan Mac button to start scanning the computer. If you want to disable the real-time scan of the system you need to click on the ON lever and type the password in use on the Mac.
Little known on a commercial level, the Sophos antivirus is one of the most valid alternatives to the software currently available for the defense of iMacs and MacBooks from malware. Features of the free license include real-time scanning of computers, web filtering for minors, web protection for Mac and a number of protected devices equal to three. With the premium version, you can access additional features such as blocking ransomware (malware that prevents access to device files, accompanied by a request for ransom in cash or in cryptocurrency to free the Mac from infection) and live support from Monday to Friday.
To try out the Sophos Mac antivirus, let’s connect to the program’s official website and click on the Download Free Edition button. On the page that opens, select the item Mac, scroll down and press the Download button immediately in the Sophos Home Free pane. At this point you need to complete the registration of a Sophos account: fill in the fields Name, Last name, Email, Password, add the check mark next to the conditions of use and click on the Create account button. We are now ready to start downloading the installation file and proceed with scanning the Mac.
Click on the Download button and wait for the operation to finish. Now we open the Downloads folder and select the Sophos install folder with a double click, then double click on the Sophos Installer file. In the security warning, press the Open button and then the Continue button. In the next step we will be prompted to enter the Mac administrator password, then select the OK button to complete the installation and close the window by pressing the Close button.
All we have to do now is start the first virus scan with Sophos for Mac. To do this, click on the Sophos icon (white letter S on a black background) located in the menu bar, then select the Scan command and click on the Start Scan button. For a full scan we add the check next to the item Run Full Scan.
How to protect your Mac from viruses
In addition to installing one of the three antiviruses listed above, we recommend that you complete the Mac defense by respecting Apple’s golden security rules for MacOS device owners ( you can consult this link in full ). First of all it is advisable to check that Gatekeeper is in operation, so that only the apps coming from the Mac App Store and those with an Apple Developer ID can be used, effectively excluding all unsafe and potentially harmful applications. Open the Apple menu, select the System Preferences tab, then click on the item Security and Privacy and then on the General option. Now we add the check mark next to the item App Store or App Store and developer identified under the section Allow apps downloaded from, then we apply the changes by clicking on the padlock icon and entering the administrator password.
Another key point is the timely download of updates for the new operating system, aimed at improving macOS security. To automatically update the Mac, select the System Preferences item from the Apple menu, choose the Software Update option and then add the check mark next to the Keep Mac automatically updated function. This procedure is valid if you have already updated to the latest version of macOS, ie macOS Mojave.
Those who have an older version of the operating system must open the Mac Store App, click on the Updates item in the toolbar and select the Update button located next to any updates to the OS or Safari and iTunes. For automatic updates you need to open the Apple menu, select the System Preferences item, then click on the App Store section and add the check mark next to the Download updates in the background item.
Finally, let us remember what is perhaps the first rule to follow for the defense of the Mac: download apps only from the Mac App Store, avoiding unofficial applications instead, especially if we have not enabled the Gatekeeper function described above. It is essential to realize that the most important Mac antivirus in circulation today is us and our actions on the web.