The Best Mac Anti-Virus Software

Often people ask about the best anti-virus software, sometimes because they feel they need to have something installed, or they are required to do so by their company or school. But macOS already comes with anti-malware software, built-in as part of the operating system. There are three parts to this: Gatekeeper, XProtect and the Malware Removal Tool. Learn about them and find out how to make sure they are up-to-date.

Comments: 26 Responses to “The Best Mac Anti-Virus Software”

    Caro
    1 year ago

    Thanks for a super-helpful video, Gary. An eye-opener. I guess I’m not alone in not having realised that all that protection came baked in to my Mac already! Saving me a load of cash and clutter that I might have wasted on 3rd party anti-virus software.

    Ian MacGregor
    1 year ago

    Thank you for this valuable information! The most valuable tool one can ever have is knowledge.

    Don Palmer
    1 year ago

    The people who object to this video are those who have abdicated their fiduciary responsibility in favor of feeding their piggy bank.

    Judy Bloemer
    1 year ago

    This security info video cleared up any questions I had regarding malware protection. Never had a clue that security came built-in. I am more than grateful to have found MacMost!

    Robin Davis
    1 year ago

    What do you think about malware bytes free version or Malwarebytes Comprehensive cybersecurity I have a 1 yr 3 device it works on windows, Mac or android. I just haven’t had installed it yet. I do have the free version. Would I need to remove the free version first then install the Malwarebytes comprehensive cybersecurity vs using what comes on the Mac already?

    1 year ago

    Robin: I know the free “scanner-only” version has come in handy for people who have been careless about installing software and have ended up with malware. You download, scan, and then uninstall (no need to keep around as hopefully you don’t need it again, and if you do you’d want the latest version anyway). I ahem no experience with the paid version since I am very careful about what I download so it isn’t necessary. Plus… Gatekeeper/XProtect/MRT as I talk about in the video.

    Joss
    1 year ago

    Next is mandatory notarization for apps distributed outside of the MAS: it’ll greatly reduce malware threats. Also: SIP, i.e. if you do get infected, the system files cannot be modified. Other great tools for dealing w/ unknown threats: anything from Objective-See, Little Snitch, Google Santa, XFENCE & most important: a good adblocker. I recommend the Adguard Desktop app. Personally I also have ClamXAV, esp. because of the CLIs, and you can add millions more AV definitions e.g. w/ ExtremeShok.

    William
    1 year ago

    Great post.

    Essay
    1 year ago

    I have Mac Os 10.14.4 installed but my latest version of XProtect was installed 4/30/17. Should I worry about this?

    Essay
    1 year ago

    Oops. Should have watched the video to the end. Thanks for saying how to make sure the software is updated.

    Phillip
    1 year ago

    I’m concerned about the info being described here. The built-in functionality of XProtect, Gatekeeper, and MRT have been shown repeatedly by Mac administrators and security researchers to not be adequate malware protection on a Mac. Gatekeeper is easily bypassed. Items downloaded via CURL bypass it cmpletely. Items download via Firefox were also bypassed for a long time (not sure if they still are)
    Xprotect still doesn’t include some common malware like MacKeeper.

    Phillip
    1 year ago

    Please, if you’re going to post videos about “the best antivirus for Mac” actually talk about additional software that can help people keep their computers secure and safe. Often people are their own worst enemy and they need something to protect from themselves.

    Ian MacGregor
    1 year ago

    No software will ever save a user from him/her self, knowledge will always trump software features. I ran Linux/BSD for 18 years, and a Mac for 7 years now, and have never had any type of malware infection despite avoiding anti-virus apps like the plague. Thank you, Gary, for encouraging users to continue to educate themselves.

    Greg
    1 year ago

    Gary, Thanks for the informational video. In viewing, I noticed that that your XProtect states version 2102 and mine is 2101. I have the auto updates on and am running OS 10.14.4 and I just check to see if any updates were available, it stated that “Your Mac is up to date”. Well, I don’t have x protect 2102. Is that cause for concern?

    1 year ago

    Greg: I would check to make sure you have updates turned on (like I show in the video) and if it is I wouldn’t be too concerned.I don’t think 2102 was anything too important. I would check in a week or so.

    John F.
    1 year ago

    Hi Gary, First of all, great post as always. Crystal clear and enlightening. I went looking in “Installations” under “About that Mac and found something odd, though. I don’t have either XProtect or MRT listed (though I can find both in the actual Coreservices folder, as you said). Instead, see eight other items, all of them 3rd Party incl. two called “Malwarebytes for Mac Uninstaller” (two diff. install dates) and three mysterious files called “$[PRODUCT_NAME]”… did I screw something up?

    Chris Caldwell
    1 year ago

    Hi Gary, what about programs like Clean My Mac? Are they needed to get rid of unneeded junk, free up ram, optimize?
    Thank you,

    1 year ago

    John: Did you use Malwarebytes at some point? If so, then the presence of the uninstaller in the list makes sense. As for the other thing, there isn’t enough information there to know either way. Unless you are having an issue, there is no reason to worry about it.

    scott schroeder
    1 year ago

    Great information. I recently started having issues using Chrome, where Google searches automatically rerouted to Bing. Research on the web said it was malware, so I ended up sorting through extensions installed on Chrome to eliminate it. Does any of this Mac Security software help with those kinds of issues?

    1 year ago

    Scott: I know the malware you are talking about. In order for it to get on your Mac you had to install something you downloaded (you gave it permission), and it rode in on that install and in the fine print. So no matter what other security measures you take, you still have to avoid downloading and installing things from sites you shouldn’t trust.

    Phil Avery
    1 year ago

    Gary, your information is always valuable, but this video helped me discover that my MacBook Pro had not updated the security files since November 2017! It’s updating fine now, and I would have never known about this without your help. Thanks!

    Ingrid
    1 year ago

    Used to have a Software Update Icon in my System Preferences. I tried to trace your steps just now, and see that ALL icons in System Preferences are there, except for Software Update. What could have happened – where did it go?

    1 year ago

    Ingrid: Are you using Mojave? Then it should be there in the third row, next to Internet Accounts. If you don’t see it, go to View, Customize and see if it is there but unchecked.

    Bob Stromberg
    11 months ago

    Scott: To clean up a browser highjack I had on iPad, I uninstalled Chrome (also on all my other Apple devices; on Mac, data left behind by the simple “move to trash” of the app). And I used advanced tools on Windows (antivirus, Malwarebytes, and ADWCleaner) to clean my Windows computer.To prevent browser hijacks I no longer synchronize browser data from one machine to another. The data sync’d could itself be a malicious extension.

    11 months ago

    Bob: If you have an issue with Safari, simply switching to Chrome is a bad idea. Even if you want to use Chrome, you should still clean up the malware and not leave it in place. Syncing browser data in Safari will not sync extensions so turning that off will only disable one of the most useful features of iCloud.

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