The best free antivirus platforms for Mac in 2018

These are the 5 best free antivirus apps to protect your MacBook

Windows 10 is the most common operating system, meaning more malware is coded with Windows users in mind. But despite persistent perception to the contrary, MacOS is just as susceptible to malware as Windows 10. Apple’s operating system is far from invulnerable, and new Mac threats appear regularly. That’s why it’s important to keep up on software updates and basic security.

Fortunately, there are many fantastic anti-malware platforms designed to give your Mac a booster shot against the latest viruses, adware, and ransomware, as well as historic threats. Many of them are made by the same companies that produce the best Windows antivirus solutions.

The best free antivirus for Mac

Avast Security for Mac 

Avast Security

Avast Security for Mac is one of the most popular security suites available, and it’s easy to see why. It’s effective and free for non-commercial use, providing on-demand tools for quickly performing full-system malware scans, as well as sifting through specific email threads, attachments, and various web activities like web pages, downloads, and JavaScripts. Furthermore, it offers drag-and-drop scanning for individual files and phishing protection, along with the ability to scan external drives and attached volumes for potential infections. You can also initiate scans for connected devices like external hard drives.

The application’s interface is straightforward and self-explanatory, and features a navigational pane on the left that consists of five primary buttons and a real-time graph that aggregates shield activity and allows users to quickly check the overall stats of their computer. The free version also offers to install two other programs during installation: Avast Internet Security ($30 per year) and Avast SecureLine VPN ($60 per year). Neither are necessary for detecting and removing malware, however, so pay attention during installation if you don’t want them.

Download it:

Avast

The rest

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware for Mac

Windows users have long turned to Malwarebytes’ free version, affectionately known as MBAM, as a backup for always-on malware software. The Mac Malwarebytes version started as an adware removal tool, but as of today, it’s also a full-fledged tool for protecting your machine against other forms of malware. Plus, it’s just as effective in MacOS as it is in Windows, a fact that’s aided by the Malwarebytes team’s constant research on current threats — the company identified the first Mac malware threat in 2017.

Using the program couldn’t be easier. Just launch it, hit scan, and the software will quickly let you know if you’re infected with any Mac-specific malware — oftentimes when other software has missed something. Like the Windows iteration of the free version, though, this is not an always-on solution and is thus more suited for performing deep scans and ridding yourself of particularly pernicious MacOS malware like Fruitfly.

There are scheduling and proactive blocks, but these features expire after two weeks if you are using the free version. To get live protection you’d need to pay for the premium version, which starts at $40 for a year.

Download it:

Malwarebytes

Sophos Antivirus Mac Home Edition

Straddling the line somewhere between necessity and excess, Sophos offers all the basic utilities you’ve come to expect from quality antivirus software, and a whole lot more. It has custom, on-demand, and scheduled scans for specified files, folders, and drives, along with additional tools for deleting and quarantining any software Sophos deems a potential threat.

The software even incorporates real-time protection features that will quarantine unknown files that are exhibiting suspicious behavior. Although the program has a tendency to scan slower than most, it’s fairly lightweight and non-obtrusively performs vital background tasks while barely leeching or exhausting your system’s resources.

Despite its robust feature set, Sophos manages to cram all this functionality into a compact interface. Initiating a full-system scan can be done directly from the top of the main menu, and you can configure exemptions quickly from easily navigable menus. The malware definitions also are constantly being updated, ensuring the program is never without the latest knowledge of potential threats. It’s one of the most hands-off antivirus programs on the market, and as such, sits among the best.

Download it:

Sophos

Bitdefender Virus Scanner

Built upon Bitdefender’s award-winning antivirus engine, Bitdefender Virus Scanner features a host of scan options, allowing you to quickly perform deep scans of your entire system, or those targeting specific locations. If you grant it access, the streamlined program even provides an option for scanning critical locations — such as your Mac’s launch agents and the entirety of your system library — thus allowing you to bypass lengthier scans when pressed for time. Moreover, it automatically updates with Bitdefender’s hourly malware definitions prior to scanning, while providing a quick means for blacklisting specific locations from system scans.

Bitdefender Virus Scanner automatically tries to disinfect and quarantine suspicious files it comes across, and though the feature is not unique to Bitdefender’s offering, the software can also quickly search for malware within various archives and file types (PDF, PKG, ZIP, RAR, etc.). From the homescreen, you can choose four different scanning options, in addition to an update button and a “view quarantine” button. It’s all very easy to understand and use.

Download it:

Bitdefender

Avira Free Antivirus for Mac

Avira strikes a nice balance between ease of use and quick access to advanced utilities, ultimately rendering basic system scans just as simple to execute as those that are scheduled and file-specific. The software is equipped with standard spyware and adware protection, along with the ability to intercept harmful websites and block tracking. If the software finds an infected file or folder, it can repair/delete the problem so you don’t have to worry about it again.

Unlike most of the software in our roundup, Avira is coupled with a moderately lengthy installation and an update process that goes hand in hand with the software’s heavy use of system resources. It’s certainly not a dealbreaker when you consider the nonexistent price tag and its thorough antivirus engine, but it’s an unfortunate downside.

Avira’s full-feature interface uses a left-hand navigational bar for viewing the status of your system, scheduling tasks, and viewing past quarantine history, among other options. Virus definitions are updated in a timely fashion, too, regardless of how long the initial updates might take to finish. It’s resource heavy, but capable enough if you’re looking for automation, scan history, and other advanced features.

Download it:

Avira

Gaming

New ‘Battlefield V’ patch gives Nvidia’s ray tracing support a chance to shine

‘Battlefield V’ is the first game to use Nvidia’s ray tracing support, now available with the RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti graphics cards. The feature can, in an ideal scenario, make the game look better, but the performance hit may not be…
Computing

Protect yourself from the latest malware with the best free antivirus software

Malware, spyware, and adware is never fun to find on your PC. Check out our picks for the best free antivirus software, so you can rid your system of any dangerous software that might be lurking around.
Mobile

Protect your privacy with the best VPNs for the iPhone or iPad

If you’re not using a VPN to protect your iPhone or iPad, then you could be putting yourself at risk. Here, we take a look at the best VPNs for the iPhone and discuss what to look for in your quest for privacy and security.
Computing

Changing file associations in Windows 10 is quick and easy with these steps

Learning how to change file associations can make editing certain file types much quicker than manually selecting your preferred application every time you open them. Just follow these short steps and you'll be on your way in no time.
Computing

Intel's dedicated GPU is not far off -- here's what we know

Did you hear? Intel is working on a dedicated graphics card. It's called Arctic Sound and though we don't know a lot about it, we know that Intel has some ex-AMD Radeon graphics engineers developing it.
Computing

Edit, sign, append, and save with six of the best PDF editors

There are plenty of PDF editors to be had online, and though the selection is robust, finding a solid solution with the tools you need can be tough. Here, we've rounded up best PDF editors, so you can edit no matter your budget or OS.
Computing

How to easily record your laptop screen with apps you already have

Learning how to record your computer screen shouldn't be a challenge. Lucky for you, our comprehensive guide lays out how to do so using a host of methods, including both free and premium utilities, in both MacOS and Windows 10.
Computing

From beautiful to downright weird, check out these great dual monitor wallpapers

Multitasking with two monitors doesn't necessarily mean you need to split your screens with two separate wallpapers. From beautiful to downright weird, here are our top sites for finding the best dual monitor wallpapers for you.
Computing

Capture screenshots with print screen and a few alternative methods

Capturing a screenshot of your desktop is easier than you might think, and it's the kind of thing you'll probably need to know. Here's how to perform the important function in just a few, easy steps.
Computing

These cheap laptops will make you wonder why anyone spends more

Looking for a budget notebook for school, work, or play? The best budget laptops, including our top pick -- the Asus ZenBook UX331UA -- will get the job done without digging too deeply into your pockets.
Mobile

Vanquish lag for good with the best routers for gaming

Finding the best routers for gaming is no easy task. With so many out there, how do you know which to pick? We've looked at the many options available and put together a list of our lag-free favorites.
Computing

Stop your PC's vow of silence with these tips on how to fix audio problems

Sound problems got you down? Don't worry, with a few tweaks and tricks we'll get your sound card functioning as it should, and you listening to your favorite tunes and in-game audio in no time.
Product Review

It's not the sharpest tool, but the Surface Go does it all for $400

Microsoft has launched the $400 Surface Go to take on both the iPad and Chromebooks, all without compromising its core focus on productivity. Does it work as both a tablet and a PC?
Deals

These Raspberry Pi 3 bundles will cover everyone, from coders to gamers

The Raspberry Pi 3 is a low-budget computing platform capable of doing just about anything. We rounded up a handful of the best Raspberry Pi 3 bundles to get you started on a variety of DIY projects.