There’s a constant debate about whether Macs need antivirus software. But the answer is yes if you’re still wondering whether you install an antivirus program on your Mac. Although Macs are less likely to become infected than PCs, it’s important to stay on the safe side.
You don’t have to go overboard with the antivirus tool that you choose. In fact, you have many free options that you should consider. Here are some of the best free antivirus for Mac—don’t worry, they don’t come with any gimmicks!
Malwarebytes promises to scan a typical Mac in just under 30 seconds. If it finds anything suspicious, it’ll provide you with a list of potential threats. You can then choose to have Malwarebytes ignore it, or place the files into quarantine and delete them.
The free version of Malwarebytes can help you detect malware threats quickly, but it doesn’t offer enough protection to use on its own. You’ll also get a 14-day trial of Malwarebytes Premium, so you’ll have to pay if you want access to all of its features in the future. By itself, the free plan is just a bare-bones antivirus program—it simply identifies and erases any malicious threats.
Download: Malwarebytes (Free, subscription available)
2. Avast Security
Avast Security is a great free option for any Mac user. It comes loaded with features that constantly work to block dangerous forms of ransomware, viruses, and malware that compromise your Mac’s security.
While browsing, Avast Security will let you know when you come across a potentially dangerous site and also keep out any web trackers. Avast even prevents malicious emails and lets you know if there are any security issues with your Wi-Fi connection.
Since Avast Security is completely free on its own, it withholds some extra features for the paid Premium plan, such as Wi-Fi intruder alerts and live ransomware shield support. Just be careful when you install the free plan. Avast will try to throw in some costly extra features during installation that you probably don’t want.
Download: Avast Security (Free, subscription available)
3. Bitdefender Virus Scanner
Bitdefender Virus Scanner doesn’t come with many bells and whistles, but it’s still a viable option as a free antivirus program for Mac. This antivirus is especially great for scanning specific files or apps. It also allows you to omit files, making for a speedy scanning process. And if it finds a threat, Bitdefender will quarantine or remove it.
Bitdefender doesn’t operate in the background, so you’ll need to prompt the program to perform scans manually. Fortunately, virus signatures are automatically updated every hour to ensure you have the latest protection.
The only downside to Bitdefender is that it lacks the tools to protect your Mac online. For protection against dangerous websites or tricky phishing emails, you’ll have to look into a more well-rounded antivirus software instead.
Download: Bitdefender Virus Scanner (Free)
4. Avira Free Security
Avira Free Security doesn’t just think about the security of your Mac, but it considers the security of Windows users as well—this makes it one of the best free antivirus programs for both Mac and Windows. It detects malware that can damage a Mac or Windows computer. This way, you don’t accidentally pass on malware to any PC users.
Even though Avira is free, it still has tons of valuable features. The real-time scanner can scan your entire computer or just specific files. If you want a more hands-off approach, you can even schedule the scanner to run at certain times.
However, we’d like to point out that the full system scan can take a long time and tends to slow down your computer. So, you’ll have to perform less-involved quick scans to keep your Mac’s performance up.
Download: Avira Free Security (Free)
5. Sophos Home
By default, Sophos Home comes with a 30-day free trial for the premium version. You don’t have to buy the premium version once the trial ends, but you’ll lose some premium features you might’ve gotten used to. Either way, you can still get by with just the free plan.
Sophos Home constantly keeps tabs on the status of your Mac. It searches and detects any ransomware, malware, viruses, trojans, worms, bots, and more that can harm your computer.
Sophos Home also comes outfitted with parental controls that allow you to prevent your children from accessing certain websites. You can have up to three devices (both Mac or Windows) on the free plan, ensuring that everyone in your family has protection.
Download: Sophos Home (Free, subscription available)
6. AVG Antivirus
AVG’s free protection is powerful enough to secure your Mac from malware and protect you when you’re online. It can also prevent you from acquiring and passing on any PC or Android viruses. AVG automatically updates its virus database, so you’ll always have the most effective security.
That said, you won’t need to open AVG daily. It runs in the background and covertly deflects any threats, such as malicious emails, websites, and downloads.
If you’re looking for any parental controls or webcam blockers, the free version of AVG won’t have it. It just offers scanning and detection features, which are good enough for basic security needs. Unfortunately, the full system scan does cause your computer to perform slowly, and you can expect it to take several minutes (or hours) to complete.
Download: AVG Antivirus (Free, subscription available)
7. Comodo Antivirus
Comodo Antivirus offers an easy-to-use interface and free protection for your Mac. Checking a file or app for viruses is as simple as dragging and dropping it into Comodo. It comes with a quick scan that finishes in minutes and a total system scan that might take an hour or two to complete. The scheduler lets you pick and choose the times you want to perform scans, so your computer won’t get bogged down at the wrong time.
Like some other antivirus software on this list, Comodo also stays up-to-date on the latest virus signatures to protect you from all types of malware. Just remember that Comodo doesn’t automatically protect you online. You’ll have to download the free Comodo Online Security browser extension if you want to block any dangerous websites.
Download: Comodo Antivirus (Free)
Finding the Best Free Antivirus for Mac
Many Mac users think that their device is resistant to viruses. However, that’s just not the case. Even if your Mac is less likely to contract a virus, especially if you download your Mac apps from safe websites and steer clear of bad security choices, it’s still possible to pass malware to Windows and Android users.
So, using antivirus software on your Mac to prevent any security breaches is never a bad idea. And if you’re looking to protect your PC as well, check out our list of the best antivirus software for Windows.