How to Tell If Your Mac Needs an Anti-Virus? Mac Security Guide

Are you worried about Mac security? This Mac Security Guide will walk you through how to tell if your Mac needs an Anti-Virus:

Mac has always been hailed as a platform that’s immune to virus attacks. In fact, Apple has proudly claimed that its products are simply too good to get infected by a virus. For years, many other users have believed this to be an undeniable fact.

However, it won’t take much time to debunk this claim if one just bothers to do some research on this subject. Take the report published by Secure List, for instance.

After thorough research, they found that the attacks on macOS users via malicious programs had been increasing gradually since 2012. They detected over 85618 malicious and unwanted programs on Mac devices in 2018 alone.

Mac Security Guide

How To Tell If Your Mac Needs An Anti-Virus A Guide For Mac Security. (1)

If the below report proves anything, it is this – Mac is just as vulnerable to cyber-security threats as any other operating system out there.

cyber-security threats

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The claim that Macs simply do not get any viruses is a misleading and dangerous statement. It has given Mac users a false sense of security, leaving their systems unprotected and susceptible to exploitation.


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It’s high time Mac users acknowledge this reality so they too can effectively protect a Mac from malware, viruses, and other types of threats.

In this article, we want to shed light on just how secure your Mac truly is without external protection and recommend some of the best anti-viruses for mac systems that you can use to safeguard your devices around the clock.

Why do Most People Think Macs are Invulnerable

While Apple propagated this myth that Macs are invulnerable, they aren’t the only reason why this belief is so popular today. So what really led to this myth being perpetuated in the first place?

#1) There are fewer Macs than Windows PCs

A major reason why Macs are considered more secure than Windows might just boil down to basic economics. On the surface, viruses and malware attacks are more prominently reported by Windows users. However, that is simply because Windows is used by more people worldwide than macOS.

As of 2022, Windows is a dominant operating system across the globe with a share of over 75%. While macOS has gained traction in recent years, it still remains a minor player in the OS market.

So it makes sense that cybercriminals would attack a Windows device more frequently than a Mac one. Mac users don’t have a special security advantage over Windows users. There are simply very few of these systems for a cyber-criminal to target.

#2) Mac is based on Unix Systems

The fact that macOS is based on Unix does make it far more challenging to exploit than a Windows PC. That being said, this natural security only extends to protection from most malware threats. Unix does not protect your device from grave mistakes committed by the users themselves.

For example, Unix can’t warn or alert a Mac user against downloading a file or application from an unknown source. There are little to no safeguards to protect a device from human errors.

#3) macOS Allows Less Freedom than Windows Users

A Windows PC grants its users more control over the OS than a macOS. Windows users are afforded the privilege to set up custom settings, tweak interface design, and much more. While this flexibility may seem fantastic, it also makes the PC more vulnerable to cyber threats.

In contrast, there is very little control provided to Mac users to make drastic changes to the OS. As such, there is less likelihood of a device being hacked or its data being compromised. The unique nature of Macs only diminishes the risk of virus/malware attacks by a tiny percentage. You’ll still need to take extra measures to ensure your Mac is secure.

Is There any Built-In Protection on Mac

Mac has a built-in anti-virus program and other security-enhancing tools to keep it secure. They are as follows:

#1) Gatekeeper

Gatekeeper is a security technology in Mac specifically designed to verify the validity of software being downloaded and installed on a Mac device. Let’s say, you are downloading an app from outside the app store. Gatekeeper will first ensure that the app is indeed from a reputable developer and has been notarized by Apple itself.

In other words, Gatekeeper ensures that only trusted software is installed and run on your Mac PC. Users have complete freedom to configure Gatekeeper settings or disable it completely to download software from a source other than the Apple App Store.

#2) Sandbox

Sandbox is another built-in feature that lets Mac users minimize potential damage to their devices. It can be defined as an access security technology that is enforced at the kernel level.

Its basic function is to contain damage to the system in the event a compromised app has been executed. It is a great tool that prevents the spread of malware, viruses, and other cyber threats across the entire system.

#3) XProtect

XProtect is Mac’s built-in Anti-virus technology that is probably famous for its signature-based detection and removal of malware. The tool is capable of automatically detecting and removing malware before it has a chance of aggravating it.

XProtect first detects the malware, then blocks the program or file on which the malware was detected and gives the user the option to either delete it or move it to the bin. The tool’s constantly updating itself. As such, you can expect it to detect both current and new emerging threats.

What Kind of Viruses and Malware Can a Mac Get

As we mentioned before, the types of threats that a Mac can face are not different from the threats that affect a Windows system.

Some of the more prominent threats that have been reported by Mac users include:

#1) Adware

If you are being bombarded by constant ads and pop-ups, then your device has been infected. Adware can be annoying. Hindering your ability to peacefully work on your computer or browse through the internet uninterrupted. If not taken care of on time, they can affect your system’s performance, slow down its speed, and even track you.

Recommended Tools =>> Top Adware Removal Tools

#2) Trojan

Trojan is a type of malware that can fool users initially as a real file or program. The file, however, serves as a delivery vehicle for a variety of threats. Once these files are opened, the threats that they contained can wreak havoc on your system. The damage done is irreversible.

#3) Ransomware

Ransomware or Ransom Malware is a type of malware that prevents you from accessing personal files on your system unless you pay a ransom amount. These types of malware have become notoriously popular in today’s corporate sector, affecting major large corporations around the world and holding their data hostage for large sums of money.

Ransomware can make its way to your system via malicious spam emails, advertising, techniques of spear phishing, or through social engineering.

#4) Viruses

Viruses are harmful software programs that can infect your system without your knowledge. What makes them truly dangerous is the fact that they can replicate themselves and infect multiple files, programs, and applications on your device. On a Mac, a virus can typically be found in word document files.

How to Tell if Your Mac is Infected

Worried that your Mac might’ve been infected by a virus or malware? We suggest you look for the following signs to know for sure:

#1) It keeps getting slower

One of the very first things malware or viruses will do is severely affect your device’s performance. So you’ll experience pages opening slowly, or the system will boot and shut down taking minutes. If you notice a significant drop in your computer’s speed, it is probably because of a virus or malware infestation.

#2) You see weird pop-ups

If you are constantly being bombarded with weird ads and pop-ups on your computer or while you are browsing the internet, that’s because of adware. Adware can be harmful to your system and should be taken care of immediately to restore your computer to its initial optimal state.

#3) Your Mac overheats

A Mac system can overheat if there is a malicious program running in the program unknown to you. If you sense that your Mac is overheating even though you haven’t launched any applications on your system, take it as a sign that your system has been infected.

#4) The battery is discharging too fast

If your battery is discharging way sooner than it usually does, then there is a high likelihood of a malicious program running on your system. We suggest shutting down all programs and applications on your system and letting your computer just stay on.

If there is a fast battery discharge even though no app or program’s running on your system, then you have a major problem to address.

#5) Your CPU and Memory usage is always full

You haven’t downloaded any large files or programs recently. Yet, your CPU and Memory usage shows full. Take this as a warning that there is malware or virus on your system that is occupying space and probably replicating itself on your device.

#6) Presence of Unknown Apps on your System

If you find apps on your system that you don’t remember downloading or installing at all, then there is a strong chance those programs are a virus or malware in disguise.

#7) Sudden macOS Crash or Reboot

This is yet another sign that there is something wrong with your Mac device. Sudden reboots and crashes can be annoying and damaging to your computer. Therefore, it is strongly advised to scan your Mac system for the potential presence of malware, viruses, adware, etc.

How to Scan Your Mac for Viruses

How to check for malware on Mac? How do I remove malware from Mac? I cannot count how many times I’ve heard these questions in recent years. Our technology has evolved and so have viruses. Therefore, the best way to deal with them is via powerful, advanced, feature-rich anti-virus software.

Good anti-virus software can not only check your Mac system for viruses but also take suitable actions automatically to make sure they can’t cause any harm to your system or the data it contains. Now there are many excellent anti-virus tools out there that are mostly user-friendly. Take, for example, the highly reliable CleanMyMac X.

CleanMyMac can scan your entire Mac system and detect infected programs, files, and suspected malicious activity in no time.

All you have to do to check for viruses using CleanMyMac X is:

#1) Download the Program on your System.

#2) Launch it and hit the huge Scan button on the interface.

CleanMyMac scan - Mac Security Guide

#3) In the ensuing scan, the software will go through your entire system to look for unwanted files and harmful programs and speed up your PC in the process.

smart scan

#4) It will precisely report how many viruses, adware, and malware it detected.

report - Mac Security Guide

How to Delete Any Malware or Virus on Your Mac

To effectively delete malware or virus on Mac, you’ll need software that is just as good as CleanMyMac. For example, after scanning your system and unearthing information on the viruses and malware present, you can simply hit run to allow CleanMyMac to neutralize the threat once and for all.

Getting rid of malware or viruses is that simple if you have a tool that is as efficient in its functioning as CleanMyMac X. In just three simple steps, the software will find viruses and malware on your system and suggest actions to manage them as per your wishes.

Choosing the Best Anti-viruses for Mac

Now there is no shortage of anti-virus tools that exclusively cater to Mac users out there. To make the decision process easier for you, we have listed down tools below that are some of my absolute favorites:

#1) CleanMyMac X


CleanMyMac X is more than just your typical Anti-Virus tool. It is exceptionally fast, accurate, and efficient in its ability to scan, detect, and remove malware or viruses from your system. That being said, it truly excels as a full-system optimizer for your Mac.

With the hit of a single button, it can detect unwanted programs, files, harmful threats, and other elements that are seriously affecting your computer’s performance. It leverages a built-in safety database that can distinguish between important and junk files.

It can not only fight off threats like adware, malware, ransomware, etc. but also tune up your Mac for maximum performance.

Key Features:

  • Full PC Optimization
  • Smart Scan
  • Virtual File Shredder
  • Clear Browsing History
  • Malware and Virus Removal


Yearly Subscription

  • For 1 Mac: $34.95
  • For 2 Macs: $54.95
  • For 5 Macs: $79.95

One Time Purchase

  • For 1 Mac: $89.95
  • For 2 Macs: $134.95
  • For 5 Macs: $199.95

#2) Intego


Intego is software that can protect a macOS system from all kinds of old and new threats. You have the option to either perform targeted scans or scheduled automated scans to ferret out threats. Once a threat is detected, the software’s intuitive enough to block or eliminate it in real-time to keep your system safe.

The software also works quite well as a web shield. It can quickly identify malicious traffic or a fake website and block them before it is too late. The software is constantly updating itself with new features to render zero-day threat protection. The software’s very effective in protecting a macOS device from ransomware, viruses, Trojans, malware, phishing scams, and all forms of other threats.


  • Zero-day threat protection
  • Web shield
  • Automated and targeted scans
  • Ransomware protection
  • Automatic updates

Premium Plans for Mac are as follows:

  • Internet Security X9 – $39.99/year
  • Premium Bundle X9 – $69.99/year
  • Premium Bundle + VPN – $89.99/year

#3) Kaspersky


Kaspersky has perhaps the best malware detection rates out of all anti-virus programs out there. It comes with a browser extension that can be leveraged to block harmful URLs and tracking cookies. The user interface is intuitive and its licenses are affordable.


  • Browser Extension
  • VPN
  • Webcam Protection
  • Scan Scheduling

Price: $21.99/year

Website: Kaspersky

#4) Bitdefender


Affordable pricing, an easy-to-use interface, and exceptional virus detection make Bitdefender a great anti-virus tool for both Mac and Windows PCs. It is also quite effective in its ability to combat ransomware threats. The software can run on auto-pilot to make sure your system is protected 24/7.


  • Ransomware File Protection
  • VPN
  • Browser Extension
  • Light System Impact

Pricing: Starts at $24.99/year per device

Website: Bitdefender

#5) Avast


With a nearly perfect malware detection rate, Avast has quickly established itself as one of the world’s finest anti-virus tools. It scans websites to detect phishing scams. It can also be used to scan Wi-Fi networks to detect outdated devices. The interface is also attractive and user-friendly.


  • Phishing Scam Detection
  • Wi-Fi Network Scanning
  • Mac Malware Scan
  • Ransomware rollbacks

Pricing: Starts at $33.48/year

Website: Avast

#6) Norton 360


At no cost to you, Norton Antivirus offers unlimited VPN and unlimited password management. It stands out from its competition because of its two-firewall protection and dark web monitoring capabilities. It is quite effective in doing its job without impacting the system’s performance.


Price: Starting at $49.99 per year for 5 Macs

Website: Norton 360


Contrary to popular belief, Mac is just as vulnerable as a Windows PC. The long-touted misconception around Mac’s invincibility has made many users oblivious to the dangers their Mac systems are truly in.

Cybercriminals have only become bolder and your Mac’s in-built defenses aren’t strong enough to tackle most malware, virus, and other types of cyber-security threats doing the rounds today.

This is why we’ve always recommended installing an anti-virus program. These solutions can provide your Mac system with that much-needed extra layer of protection. They can ensure your system remains safe and secure 24/7, all year round, from common and new threats emerging around the world today.

So do you need an Anti-virus for Mac? Absolutely, but make sure you are going for the right one. The recommended tools above do a phenomenal job of keeping your Macs clean and safe. As for our recommendation, try out CleanMyMac X.

This is software that was specifically designed to tune up the performance of your Mac and keep it secure from harmful threats of all kinds. Plus, it is easy to use and affordable. Suffice it to say, CleanMyMac X is the best anti-virus for Mac in my opinion.