Do I need antivirus software on the Mac or MacBook?

Mac and MacBook have developed from niche and hipster products to mainstream articles, which of course also makes Apple devices attractive targets for hackers, viruses, malware, ransomware, adware and the like. So the question is whether to go for the Mac or the MacBook actually one antivirus Software needed, entitled. Is Apple's in-house protection (still) sufficient? And where can I get the additional software? I would like to answer these and other questions for you here.

apple mac antivirus software

Before your MacBook is threatened by adware, malware, viruses or other sources of danger, an antivirus program could be worthwhile. Tips and suggestions can be found here; Output graphic: startupstockphotos.com

Why long-established Mac users advise against antivirus software

Apple users from the very beginning have long heard that one of the great advantages of Mac, MacBook and Co. is the fact that they do not require anti-virus software. Apple's in-house protection on the system used is completely sufficient. And the apps from the official sources do not pose a threat either, as they have been extensively checked.

In addition - and the Apple power users are right - that anti-virus software gets stuck deep into the system and often leads to problems in everyday life. Moving e-mails sometimes takes noticeably longer or warning messages are displayed on websites that are not dangerous at all. All annoyances that make life difficult and that might not even be necessary.

Reasons against a virus scanner on the Mac

  • there are few viruses that even attack the Mac
  • Virus scanners install themselves deep in the system and often lead to problems
  • Scanning emails and websites may slow down work on the Mac
  • Virus scanners constantly consume CPU processing power in the background
  • Antivirus software often has an annual cost

The whole thing - at least the size of the threat - has changed in recent years. Apple devices are getting more and more attention - from users, the media and from criminal subjects. New apps are also created every day, which makes mistakes and malicious scripts "in sheep's clothing" possible from time to time. And Apple's built-in protection also has its limits, as has been seen as a hacker over one manipulated Xcode installation (Xcode-Ghost) smuggled malware into the tightly controlled app store.

Standard programs from OS X and macOS help, but only to a limited extent

Of course, the newer versions of the operating system for Mac and MacBook also run background programs that always scan the computer, check for malware and either warn or react immediately if it is found. These Apple programs also block certain apps or sources of apps. In any case, it is only recommended to use the Mac App Store to download programs. In addition to the apps, virus and other malicious software but can also get onto the computer through page views in the browser, email attachments, connected storage media and the like.

For experienced users who know how to assess phishing attacks and strange messages in the browser, there is perhaps less danger, but especially inexperienced beginners (and here I am thinking of the generation of my parents in particular) are perhaps not yet prepared for the clever scams that the internet keeps ready for you every day. From my point of view, an antivirus program for Macs is particularly recommended for beginners who also do online banking on the Mac.

Does Sir Apfelot use a virus scanner?

To this day I have not installed any anti-virus software - I only installed the Malwarebytes scanner once to get rid of adware or tracking software that had secretly installed itself with some other program. Otherwise, I trust that I will recognize an attack or malware. But I work "on the Internet" for many hours every day and know when a warning message while surfing is an attempt to take over my Mac and when an email from Amazon or my bank is a phishing attack. And honestly, it's really hard to see sometimes. ;)

Antivirus software for the Mac at a low price

Here I would like to show you good antivirus software for the Mac or MacBook. I picked out four providers. Their antivirus programs for Apple operating systems can be downloaded / ordered from the respective providers' websites as well as partially from Amazon. These are the different offers:

  • Malewarebytes: This program for system protection and the detection of malware is recommended by Apple Support, among others! Hacked Mac and poor system performance? Not with Malewarebytes! I can definitely recommend the software if the Mac is very slow for some inexplicable reason. Sometimes you have spyware or adware on your Mac that doesn't destroy data but slows down the Mac.
  • McAfee: ... with its Internet Security Suite offers a good all-round package that also very reliably fends off malicious attacks and detects many "pests". It has been rated well in tests and only has the disadvantage that the initial virus scan, which is carried out at the beginning and sometimes after a few weeks, takes about twice as long as with other programs. Otherwise, the performance is very good. Another advantage of the "Internet Security" package is the e-mail spam filter, which blocks the inbox in Apple Mail from advertising and Phishing e-mails cleans. A tip for users who are looking for an inexpensive all-round carefree package. You can find the software here at Amazon or directly at McAfee.
  • Intego: Die Mac Internet Security Intego software offers a combination of antivirus, firewall, anti-phishing software, system scan and more. You can find all information and the possibility to download at intego.com.
  • Kaspersky: Kaspersky has been a household name among Mac users and PC users for a long time. The Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac You can find details and the download . or at Amazon.
  • Bitdefender: Bitdefender offers different packages for use as antivirus software, as an Internet security program or as a complete package. Further information and downloads are available either . or at Amazon.
mac antivirus comparison download

Malewarebytes, Intego, Kaspersky and Bitdefender - in the list you will find the links to the best antivirus programs for OS X and macOS from Apple. Image sources: the linked provider pages

Install antivirus scanners as a precaution or only if they are infected?

As a general rule, it is better to be safe than sorry. Because the threat is not only in malware, adware and viruses, which make the system run slower and may show unpleasant advertisements here and there. Really aggressive ransomware encrypts the entire hard drive and then shows you the contact (website, PayPal account, etc.) of the hackers to whom you should transfer a ransom in order to receive a decryption code for your data.

So it is important to be able to treat the Mac in case of doubt, but even more important to "vaccinate" it and to strengthen the system in advance, because this way most attacks are already intercepted and cannot cause any damage to data.

My personal recommendation is: If you are unsure or if you believe the warning messages on some websites, which try to elicit your admin password through fear and horror, then you should perhaps get support through anti-virus software. Anyone who knows most of the attacks that bad boys use to try to take over the Mac can fall back on Malwarebytes if they are suspected or if necessary and then remove it again.

Conclusion on antivirus software for Apple systems

With the increasing number of users on Mac and MacBook, there is also increasing interest on the part of criminal subjects who are after system damage, aggressive advertising or ransom. The in-house protection from Apple is therefore - in my opinion - no longer sufficient for the "normal Mac user" and should be supplemented by a good anti-virus program. Which one you use is more a matter of taste, because each of the programs is suitable in itself, but they have different packages with various licenses on offer. That would be a "good and cheap" recommendation from me McAfee package, as it has also integrated a good spam filter against advertising emails and also works well as virus protection.

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6 comments

  1. Marianne Langhof says:

    thanks! that is a very good contribution to one of my essential questions about computers and the internet.
    I'll have a look at the tips right away!
    have a nice weekend sir apple red!

    greetings from m from hb

  2. Karin Grosschen says:

    Good morning, I'm pretty unsure, my Mac has gotten slow, I often have Mac Keeper with 5 virus messages. Now I've read your report on virus scanners. "Kaspersky" was recommended by friends. What is your opinion on this subject. I would appreciate an answer. (I read the newsletter very carefully on a regular basis).
    GLG Karin

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      Hello Karin! I am pleased to hear that there are always interesting articles in the newsletter for you! :)
      Because of Kaspersky: Yes, this is definitely the bestseller and also a very good virus scanner for the Mac in terms of functionality. Unfortunately also in the upper price segment. In the tests by MacWelt it had a detection rate of known Mac malware of over 99% ... there was only the criticism that you cannot buy a cheap package that works as a "pure" virus scanner (without the additional features). There is also a version available in the Mac Appstore, which, however, cannot be recommended for all-round protection. Due to the restrictions that Apple imposes on the software offered in the Mac App Store, you can in fact not offer a virus scanner there that constantly monitors everything in the background. The version in the app store only monitors the download folder and is therefore more of a "castrated" virus scanner from my point of view. I would rather recommend the version that does it here at Amazon gives. I hope that I could help you a little with your decision.

  3. Babsi says:

    what about McAfee? Wasn't mentioned….

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