Do I Need Antivirus Software For Mac?
Traditionally, the Mac has been regarded as a safe and secure haven compared to other desktop platforms – particularly Windows – and a common line of thinking has been that Apple computers don’t need antivirus defenses, because security is tight enough anyway, and threats are relatively scarce.
But is that still true today? Mac threats might once have been far thinner on the ground than malware targeting other operating systems, but that’s no longer the case.
What To Look For In Your Antivirus For Mac?
You have gotten yourself a nice Mac laptop or desktop, and you want to make sure to keep it safe, have a look at what you need to be aware of while choosing software.
It neutralizes threats before they do damage
Detection tools are great because they let you know a virus is attempting to attack your computer, but they’re only half the equation. The best antivirus for Mac is the one that also neutralizes threats before they can do damage with firewalls, quarantine tools, and deletion systems. Your antivirus should stop threats before they ever become more than that.
It monitors your files actively to detect unusual activity
One of the most dangerous things about malware is that it can sometimes infect your devices and remain dormant for months. With a simple change to a file or a hidden installation, it can wait to wreak havoc. Your antivirus should constantly monitor your files to detect any unusual activity or directories.
It doesn’t impact your Mac’s performance
Antivirus software has a monumental task—it must constantly monitor online threats while also keeping track of your computer’s systems. However, it shouldn’t hog your Mac’s resources or make your devices unusable. Today’s tools are at their best when they can do their job without severely affecting your performance. Having tools like passive and game modes are a bonus.
It’s easy to use
It’s no good having the most powerful tools and effective antivirus software if you can’t use it. Despite the complexity of the tasks antivirus software has, it shouldn’t be impossible to use or limit you from getting the most out of it. Look for software that includes easy-to-navigate interfaces, scans that are easy to schedule and initiate, and management tools that let you tailor your protection to your specific needs. Moreover, look for features that are accessible and on the main screen.
It doesn’t hog your Mac’s resources
Although Macs are known to be powerful and effective, they only have so many available memory and computing resources. Antivirus software is always on, and it’s constantly performing minor and major tasks to keep you safe. This is an inevitable side effect of being protected, but it doesn’t have to mean you can’t do two things at once. Look for an antivirus that can effectively operate within your Mac system, and not despite it.
What About Privacy Issues With Third-Party Software?
One of the unfortunate side effects of today’s data-driven world is that even the products and companies that protect you can sometimes produce data that is valuable to others.
Antivirus software also produces significant data about users in terms of their experience with attacks and their online behavior. This obviously creates important questions about your data privacy, and especially when you’re using free tools.
Most companies include very clear information about how they use your data, what data they collect, and how they store and defend it. In most cases, companies will not share or sell your data with third parties (though they will share it with official public authorities upon legal request), although they do use it to optimize their services.
Even so, you should always be mindful about who you share your data with, and ask yourself the following questions:
What kind of data is the company collecting from me?
It’s inevitable that antivirus tools collect data about your computer usage and some of your online behaviors.
Companies need it both to protect you and to improve their services and malware detection tools. However, this shouldn’t extend to data that isn’t essential, and it should almost never include private data that is not relevant to the services they offer.
Who do they share the data with?
Antivirus companies will always let you know who they share data with. This often includes affiliates that provide additional services (such as VPNs or password managers), as well as parent companies that use it for feedback and product improvement. It shouldn’t include any third parties that use your data for marketing or sales-related purposes.
How To Choose A Good Antivirus For Mac?
The macOS operating system is based on Unix, which is sandboxed, meaning it can be very difficult for viruses to do any damage. This means that you will need specific Mac antivirus software.
The question is, how do you know what to look for when choosing the best antivirus for your Mac? Well, we did the research for you, and these are the features you want to look at:
- Real-time malware detection
- Comprehensive antivirus scanner
- Mac cleanup and optimization tools
Each antivirus you look at needs to add more functionality to Apple’s built-in security features, and even have better backup functionality than Apple’s Time Machine. It's important to keep these factors in mind.
Interested to know how we test and rate the best antivirus solutions? Read more to find out