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Norton for Mac review: antivirus protection and much more

A MacBook Air runs Norton 360 Deluxe antivirus software.
Norton 360 Deluxe
MSRP $120.00
“Norton security software offers great malware protection for your Mac at an affordable starting price.”
Pros
  • Excellent malware protection track record
  • Bargain prices for the first year
  • Affordable multidevice plans
  • Lots of features
Cons
  • Privacy policy allows third-party marketing
  • Late 2022 customer data breach

I recently reviewed Norton 360 Deluxe and found it to be one of the best antivirus software solutions for Windows. You might assume the results would be the same for a Mac, but that isn’t a given.

For deeply integrated cybersecurity apps, developers like Norton must take into consideration Apple’s unique architecture. Mac computers run macOS and use an entirely different processor. That once meant malware was rarely a threat. However, as Mac computers become more popular, the threat of attacks grows.

I tested Norton antivirus software on my MacBook to make sure the quality, performance, ease of use, and value was good enough for your Mac computer.

Tiers and pricing

Norton has antivirus and cybersecurity plans for any budget.
Norton has antivirus and cybersecurity plans for any budget. Norton

Norton makes a free malware removal tool for Windows, but Norton Power Eraser isn’t available for the Mac. That means you’ll have to subscribe to check if a virus has infected your computer. You can start for free with a seven-day trial of several Norton plans.

The cheapest plan is Antivirus Plus, which costs $30 for coverage of one Windows PC, Mac, iPhone, or Android phone. This basic service includes extras like a password manager, ransomware protection, and 2 GB of cloud storage for file backups.

Across all plans, Norton discounts the first year, so the price will increase when you renew. Antivirus Plus doubles to $60 the next year. Online retailers often sell Norton plans for less, making Norton antivirus a regular entry on our list of the best antivirus deals.

Going forward, I’ll format prices as first year cost/renewal cost for clarity. For $40/$95, Norton 360 Standard extends protection to three devices and adds a VPN and dark web monitoring. If you split the cost across three devices, the savings is substantial.

Norton 360 Deluxe supports up to five devices for $50/$120. That’s enough for me to protect my Windows PC, MacBook, iPhone, iPad, and Android phone. For a couple, it might be the perfect option. The Deluxe plan includes 50 GB of cloud storage, which is a significant increase, along with privacy monitoring and parental controls.

Norton’s 360 plans with LifeLock — the $100/$180 Select, $192/$250 Advantage, and the $300/$350 Ultimate Plus — come with $1 million in identity theft insurance, credit monitoring, and more. The two lower tiers include 250 GB of cloud, while Ultimate Plus lets you store up to half a terabyte on Norton’s secure servers.

Design

Norton's Mac provides quick assurance of data secrity, with easy access to advanced features.
Norton’s Mac provides quick assurance of data security, with easy access to advanced features. Digital Trends

I chose Norton’s 360 Deluxe plan, a nice midrange option that covers all my devices and includes a sizable amount of cloud storage. App installation was quick and easy on my MacBook.

The Norton Safe Web Plus extension for Safari detects dangerous websites to protect my Mac from malware. The “Plus” in the name refers to the fact that Norton bundled a password manager into the same extension. One browser extension delivers both features, simplifying setup.

The password manager included with Norton antivirus stores logins, cards, addresses, and notes.
The password manager included with Norton antivirus stores logins, cards, addresses, and notes. Digital Trends

The Norton Password Manager is more complete than Bitdefender’s version, but lacks the advanced sharing and organization features of the best password managers.

Switching back to the Norton app, I explored more options. Under the Performance tab, Norton includes a File Cleanup utility and a Startup Manager. The Privacy tab is where I can turn on a virtual private network (VPN) to hide my location from websites and apps that might try to build a profile of my online activities.

Settings is just what it sounds like. In this area, I can customize the operation of Norton’s antivirus software. I went to the privacy tab in settings to switch off related offers, but I left Norton Community Watch on since it helps Norton crowdsource malware and cybercrime threats.

Features

Norton 360 for Mac maintains a near-perfect score in AV Test's malware testing.
Norton 360 for Mac maintains a near-perfect score in AV Test’s malware checks. AV Test

Norton antivirus for Windows scored a perfect six out of six for nine straight years in third-party testing. As I mentioned above, that doesn’t mean anything on a Mac.

I checked the results of security researcher AV-Test and was impressed by the near-perfect score Norton achieved for detecting and preventing malware from infecting macOS. From June 2017 to March 2024, Norton 360 detected every threat in AV-Test’s barrage of malware except for one minor issue in June 2023 that caused the score to drop to 5.5 out of six.

I’m confident in those results, but I wanted to test for myself. Wicar.org hosts “malware” that’s actually harmless so anyone can check that their antivirus software is working.

Norton 360 Deluxe recognized the website was actually safe and waited until I attempted to download an “infected” file to take action. The Norton Safe Web extension blocked the download and alerted me to the issues via a pop-up window.

I tested the Norton VPN with a Google search for vegn restaurants near me.
I tested the Norton VPN with a Google search for vegan restaurants near me. Digital Trends

To test the VPN, I picked Brazil from Norton’s list of worldwide servers. Google Maps still knew my actual location since I was logged in. When I switched to private browsing, I saw search results for Sao Paulo, Brazil, as expected.

Support

A MacBook Air runs Norton 360 Deluxe antivirus software.
A MacBook Air runs Norton 360 Deluxe antivirus software. Alan Truly / Digital Trends
Norton's customer support was super fast and helped answer my question.
Norton’s customer support was superfast and helped answer my question. Digital Trends

Finding the support option in the Norton app required some digging. It’s in the Settings tab under Troubleshooting. I chose the support center and selected the contact button that’s at the top left. Live chat is open 24/7 to help customers. I answered a few multiple-choice questions to help direct my message to the right support agent.

Wait times vary, but I was almost instantly connected to someone at Norton to provide assistance. My question was about the Norton firewall and an unknown app communicating on my network. I was told if Norton shows a green shield on that app in the firewall, it has verified its safety.

Privacy and security

You can opt out of Norton sharing your data with targeted advertising.
You can opt out of Norton sharing your data. Norton

Norton’s privacy statement says it collects your account, payment, identity, and contact details, along with network traffic, to monitor and protect your security. Norton will comply with legal demands for user data from law enforcement and government. That’s common among most cybersecurity apps.

Norton may also use your personal data for its own and third-party marketing initiatives. While targeted ads are more relevant, sharing of data with third-party advertisers is a concern. Gen Digital, Norton’s parent company, says you can opt out through the Global Privacy Control website.

Advertising can be annoying, but internal cybersecurity is a critical issue. As reported by Bleeping Computer, a Norton data breach in December 2022 compromised customer names, phone numbers, and addresses. A hacker accessed accounts using valid credentials, potentially exposing personal details.

Norton has a vast user base of approximately 500 million, and the breach affected 925,000 accounts, a fraction of Norton’s total subscribers.

Is Norton antivirus right for you?

Apple built macOS with privacy and security in mind and there was no Mac malware for many years. That might lead you to question whether your Mac even needs antivirus software. Unfortunately, the short answer is yes, as macOS can be vulnerable to hackers despite being guarded by the XProtect antivirus tech that Apple includes in every modern Mac.

Norton is a great choice for your Mac or MacBook, and most plans accommodate multiple devices so you can protect your iPhone and iPad as well. Norton is feature-rich, but it faces stiff competition from Bitdefender for Mac and Malwarebytes for Mac. The biggest factors against Norton is its personal data-sharing policy and previous history with data breaches. That affordable starting price, though, makes it a very attractive option, especially with all the additional features.

Editors' Recommendations

Alan Truly
Alan is a Computing Writer living in Nova Scotia, Canada. A tech-enthusiast since his youth, Alan stays current on what is…
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