Macs are more protected from malicious software like viruses, Trojans, adware, etc. than Windows and Linux. However, they aren’t immune, and more and more malware is being designed specifically for Mac. Whether you just want to do a checkup or think your (or someone else’s) machine might be affected, here’s a look at 7 solid malware/virus scanner Mac tools including free and paid options.
This year we’ve seen new malware that targets Macs including MacStealer and Atomic macOS Stealer which can compromise iCloud Keychain passwords, credit card info, and much more. We’ve also seen the first ransomware for Mac from the LockBit gang surface.
While malware impacts Windows and Linux machines considerably more than macOS, it’s still very important to remain aware and diligent to keep your Mac secure.
As a refresher, here’s how Apple defines malware:
Malware is malicious software, which includes viruses, worms, trojan horses, and other programs that can harm your Mac or your privacy. Malware can be installed when you download items from email, messages, and websites.
Some malware is simply annoying. More often, its intent is to control your Mac to collect personal and financial information, host illegal content, send spam, or harm other computers on the network.
Below we’ll look at Apple’s tips to avoid and remove malware with the built-in macOS features as well as some more advanced malware and virus scanner for Mac apps with many of them offering free trials.
Malware / virus scanner for Mac and how to remove
Apple’s advice and protection
- “If you receive a message that tells you that something you downloaded from the internet is malware, the safest action is to put the item in the Trash, then empty the Trash.”
- Apple also highlights to “Avoid opening items from websites and email messages unless you are certain that they come from a legitimate, trusted source. If you are uncertain about the source, delete the item. You can always download it again later, after you make sure it isn’t malware.”
- The macOS Gatekeeper built-in security feature can also warn you about potentially malicious software before you install it – but users always have the option to override that and install unidentified apps
- You can also set your Mac to only allow software to be downloaded and installed from the App Store:
- Head to the System Settings app > Privacy & Security > Scroll down and click App Store under “Allow applications downloaded from”
Malwarebytes is a leader in malware detection and removal and it’s the tool that many Geniuses use to help customers at Apple Stores. While macOS has strong security built-in, Malwarebytes goes deeper to discover and find malicious software:
- Malwarebytes for Mac is a free download with a 14-day trial for the full feature set (no credit card or email required)
- It’s quick and easy to use the tool to scan for and remove malware
- Malwarebytes Premium offers protection against new threats 24/7, blocks apps from suspicious developers, stops adware that annoys you, runs scans automatically, and more
- After the free 14-day trial, Malwarebytes for individuals starts from $45/year.
- If a multi-purpose Mac utility with malware and virus scanning sounds good, CleanMyMac X is a great option. It’s got 49 tools including an in-depth malware detection and removal utility.
- Other features with CleanMyMac X make it easy to find, identify and delete invisible files, outdated cache files, old downloads, log files, optimize your Mac’s performance, and much more.
- CleanMyMac X goes from $35/year for one Mac
More antivirus options for Mac
If you want to check out other options for finding and removing malware on Mac, here are four more popular choices:
Thanks for reading our guide on malware and virus scanner tools for Mac!
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