Viruses and other lousy software can sneak up on any of your devices, including macOS. Although it’s thought to be one of the safest operating systems, risks could still happen.
This is why you need an antivirus: it’s better to be safe than sorry regarding web safety. It’s hard to pick the proper antivirus for Mac because there are so many out there, and it’s even harder to pick a free one.
We looked at many free antivirus programs you can trust to protect you. TotalAV is our top pick because it has a free version with all the essential features and is very good at finding malware.
But TotalAV is not the only strong competitor – let’s look at our top picks for the best free antivirus software for Mac.
1. TotalAV Free Antivirus
- Excellent Malware Detection: Independent tests show TotalAV Free consistently scores high in malware detection, effectively identifying and blocking various threats like viruses, worms, spyware, and adware.
- Real-Time Protection: It provides real-time scanning, constantly monitoring your system for suspicious activity and blocking threats before they can harm your device.
- Free VPN (Limited Data): While not a full-fledged VPN solution, TotalAV Free offers a basic VPN with 500MB of free data per month, allowing you to encrypt your internet connection and hide your IP address for basic online privacy.
- User-Friendly Interface: The interface is intuitive and easy to navigate, even for those with limited technical knowledge. It’s clean, uncluttered, and provides clear information about your system’s security status.
- Lightweight on System Resources: TotalAV Free has minimal impact on your system’s performance, so you can enjoy smooth operation without noticeable slowdowns.
- No Firewall: Unlike some other free antivirus options, TotalAV Free doesn’t include a firewall, which is an essential layer of defense against network-based attacks.
- Limited Features Compared to Paid Version: The free version lacks several features available in the paid TotalAV Antivirus Pro, such as password manager, web filtering, ransomware protection, and ad blocker.
- Short Free Trial: TotalAV offers a free trial of the premium version, but it’s only for 7 days, which might be too short for some users to fully evaluate all the features.
TotalAV Free Antivirus is a great option for users seeking basic and effective protection against malware on their Mac. It boasts excellent malware detection, real-time protection, and a user-friendly interface, making it a solid choice for everyday use. However, if you need more advanced features like a firewall, anti-phishing, or ransomware protection, you might want to consider a paid antivirus solution or another free option with those features included.
Here are some additional points to consider:
- System Compatibility: TotalAV Free is compatible with macOS 10.11 (El Capitan) and later.
- Customer Support: TotalAV offers email and live chat support for both free and paid users.
- Upgrade Options: If you find the free version insufficient, you can easily upgrade to TotalAV Antivirus Pro, which offers a wider range of features and functionalities.
Ultimately, the decision of whether TotalAV Free is right for you depends on your specific needs and preferences. If you prioritize basic malware protection and ease of use, it can be a good starting point. However, if you require more comprehensive security features, you might want to explore other options. totalav free antivirus download
2. Norton Power Eraser (Free Scan)
Norton Power Eraser (Free Scan): A Deep Dive
Norton Power Eraser is a free on-demand malware scanning and removal tool by Symantec, the company behind Norton security software. It’s specifically designed for deep scans to detect and eliminate stubborn threats that traditional antivirus software might miss. Here’s a closer look at its features and pros and cons:
- Powerful Scan: Utilizes advanced techniques to detect deeply embedded malware like rootkits and advanced persistent threats (APTs).
- Quick Scans: Offers options for both quick and full system scans depending on your needs.
- Rootkit Detection: Includes an optional rootkit scan that requires a computer restart, but digs deeper for hidden threats.
- Easy to Use: Simple interface with clear instructions for scanning and removing threats.
- Free and Portable: Doesn’t require installation and works with most Windows 7 SP1 and later versions.
- Effective against advanced threats: Ideal for situations where regular antivirus hasn’t been enough.
- Free and convenient: No installation or subscription required, perfect for occasional scans.
- Simple and straightforward: Easy to use even for non-technical users.
- Regular updates: Symantec updates the tool frequently to stay ahead of new threats.
- Not real-time protection: Only performs on-demand scans, doesn’t offer continuous monitoring.
- Limited features: Lacks the comprehensive protection of a full antivirus suite.
- No firewall or other security features: Primarily focused on malware scanning and removal.
- Windows-only: Doesn’t work on Macs or other operating systems.
Overall, Norton Power Eraser is a valuable tool to have in your arsenal for occasional deep scans and removing persistent threats. However, it’s not a substitute for a full antivirus suite for comprehensive protection. Norton Power Eraser download
Here are some additional things to consider:
- If you suspect your computer is infected with malware, consider running Norton Power Eraser alongside your regular antivirus.
- Be cautious when downloading and running Norton Power Eraser, as it can potentially delete legitimate files if misidentified.
- Always back up your important data before running any tool that modifies your system.
3. Bitdefender Antivirus Free for Mac
Bitdefender Antivirus Free for Mac is a solid free antivirus option that offers real-time protection against malware, adware, and phishing attacks. It’s also very lightweight and won’t slow down your Mac.
- Excellent malware detection: Bitdefender consistently scores top marks in independent antivirus tests.
- Real-time protection: Scans your Mac for threats as they appear.
- Lightweight: Won’t slow down your Mac.
- Easy to use: Simple interface that’s easy to navigate.
- Free VPN (limited data): Get 200 MB of free VPN traffic per day to protect your online privacy.
- Limited features: Lacks some features found in paid antivirus software, such as a firewall, parental controls, and ransomware protection.
- No scheduled scans: You need to manually scan your Mac.
- Updates may require restart: Updates may require a restart to complete installation.
Bitdefender Antivirus Free for Mac is a great choice for users who need basic antivirus protection without spending any money. It’s also a good option for users who already have a firewall and other security features in place. However, if you need more advanced protection, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid antivirus software. Bitdefender Antivirus Free for Mac download
Here are some additional details about Bitdefender Antivirus Free for Mac:
- System requirements: macOS 10.15 (Catalina) or later.
- Download size: 48 MB.
- Language support: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.
4. Avira Free Antivirus for Mac
Avira Free Antivirus for Mac is a reliable and effective antivirus software that shields your Mac from malware, viruses, phishing attacks, and adware. It’s a good choice for users who want basic protection without the cost of a paid antivirus suite.
- Real-time protection: Continuously scans your Mac for threats in real-time.
- Powerful antivirus engine: Uses Avira’s advanced cloud-based engine to detect and block the latest malware.
- On-demand scanning: Run manual scans for a more thorough check of your system.
- Web protection: Blocks malicious websites and phishing attempts.
- Email protection: Scans incoming and outgoing emails for threats.
- Software updater: Keeps your software up to date to prevent vulnerabilities.
- Junk file cleaner: Frees up storage space by removing unnecessary files.
- Privacy tools: Includes a password manager and browser cleaner to protect your online privacy.
- Free: Provides basic protection without any cost.
- Lightweight: Doesn’t slow down your Mac.
- User-friendly: Easy to install and use.
- Effective: Detects and blocks a wide range of threats.
- Includes additional features: Junk file cleaner, privacy tools, etc.
- Limited features: Lacks some features found in paid antivirus software, such as firewalls and parental controls.
- No advanced protection: Doesn’t offer advanced features like ransomware protection or identity theft protection.
- Upsells to paid version: May try to upsell you to the paid version of Avira Antivirus.
Overall, Avira Free Antivirus for Mac is a good choice for users who want basic protection against malware and other threats without paying for a premium antivirus suite. However, if you need more advanced features or protection, you may want to consider a paid antivirus software. Avira Free Antivirus for Mac download
Here are some additional things to keep in mind:
- Avira Free Antivirus for Mac requires macOS 10.13 High Sierra or later.
- You can download Avira Free Antivirus for Mac from the Avira website.
- Avira Free Antivirus for Mac does not include a firewall.
5. Malwarebytes Free for Mac
Malwarebytes Free for Mac is a popular choice for on-demand scanning and removal of malware, spyware, and other threats on your Mac. While it doesn’t offer real-time protection like some paid antivirus options, it can be a valuable tool to have in your security arsenal.
Here’s a closer look at the details of Malwarebytes Free for Mac:
- Powerful on-demand scanning: Detects and removes various threats, including viruses, spyware, adware, and ransomware.
- Quick scans: Scans your system quickly and efficiently, minimizing resource usage.
- Easy to use: User-friendly interface makes it simple to run scans and view results.
- Lightweight: Doesn’t significantly impact your Mac’s performance.
- Regular updates: Malwarebytes keeps its definitions updated to protect against the latest threats.
- 14-day trial of Premium version: Get a taste of real-time protection and other advanced features before committing to a paid plan.
- No real-time protection: This is the biggest limitation of the free version. You need to manually run scans to check for threats.
- Limited features: Lacks features like scheduled scans, file quarantine, and web protection available in the Premium version.
- Not suitable for heavy-duty protection: For comprehensive security, consider a paid antivirus with real-time protection and additional features.
Who is it for?
Malwarebytes Free is a good option if:
- You’re looking for a free, basic tool to scan your Mac for malware occasionally.
- You want a reliable on-demand scanner to remove existing threats.
- You’re on a tight budget and don’t need real-time protection.
However, if you want comprehensive security with real-time protection, advanced features, and ongoing monitoring, consider a paid antivirus solution. Malwarebytes Free for Mac download
6. Sophos Home Free
Sophos Home Free doesn’t actually exist as a single product. There are a couple of free offerings from Sophos that might be what you’re looking for, though:
- Sophos Home for PCs and Macs: This is a free 30-day trial of the full Sophos Home Premium product. It gives you all the features of the premium version, including real-time malware protection, web filtering, and parental controls. After the trial is over, you’ll need to subscribe to continue using it.
- Sophos Scan & Clean: This is a free on-demand scanner that you can use to remove malware from your computer. It doesn’t offer real-time protection, but it can be a good way to clean up your system if you think you might be infected.
There’s also Sophos XG Firewall Home Edition, which is a free firewall appliance that you can install on a dedicated computer. This is a more advanced option that’s not for everyone, but it can provide very good protection for your home network. Sophos Home Free download
7. Avast Free Antivirus for Mac
Avast Free Antivirus for Mac is a free antivirus software that protects your Mac against viruses, malware, spyware, ransomware, and phishing attacks. It also includes a smart scanner that can detect and remove hidden threats, and a real-time shield that blocks malware before it can infect your Mac.
Here are some of the features of Avast Free Antivirus for Mac:
- Real-time protection: Avast’s real-time shields block malware, spyware, and ransomware before they can harm your Mac.
- Smart scan: Avast’s smart scan quickly scans your Mac for the most critical threats, such as viruses, malware, and spyware.
- File Shield: Avast’s File Shield scans files that you open, download, or save for malware.
- Web Shield: Avast’s Web Shield blocks malicious websites and phishing attacks.
- Email Shield: Avast’s Email Shield scans your incoming and outgoing emails for malware.
- Software Updater: Avast’s Software Updater keeps your software up to date to help prevent security vulnerabilities.
Avast Free Antivirus for Mac is a good choice for users who are looking for a basic antivirus solution. It is easy to use and has a low impact on system resources. However, it does not have some of the features that are found in premium antivirus software, such as firewall protection and parental controls.
If you are looking for a more comprehensive antivirus solution, you may want to consider upgrading to Avast Premium Security. Avast Premium Security includes all of the features of Avast Free Antivirus, plus additional features such as firewall protection, parental controls, and password manager.
Overall, Avast Free Antivirus for Mac is a good free antivirus solution. It is easy to use and has a low impact on system resources. However, if you are looking for a more comprehensive antivirus solution, you may want to consider upgrading to Avast Premium Security. Avast Free Antivirus for Mac download
8. AVG AntiVirus Free for Mac
AVG AntiVirus Free for Mac is a popular antivirus software that offers basic protection against malware and other threats for your Mac computer. Here’s a breakdown of its key features:
- Real-time scanning: Monitors your Mac for suspicious activity and blocks malware before it can infect your system.
- Virus scans: Performs on-demand scans of your entire system or specific folders to detect existing threats.
- File Shield: Scans downloaded files and external drives for malware before they can be opened.
- Web Shield: Blocks malicious websites and phishing attempts in web browsers.
- Email Shield: Scans incoming and outgoing emails for malware and phishing links.
- Performance optimization: Scans for and disables unnecessary startup programs and background processes to improve your Mac’s performance.
- Software Update Manager: Helps you keep your software applications up-to-date, which can improve security.
- Firewall (paid version only): Monitors incoming and outgoing network traffic to prevent unauthorized access.
- Ransomware Protection (paid version only): Blocks unauthorized encryption of your files by ransomware programs.
Limitations of the free version:
- Limited features: Compared to the paid version, the free version lacks some important features like ransomware protection, firewall, and advanced scanning options.
- Pop-up ads: The free version displays occasional pop-up ads promoting the paid version.
- Automatic renewal: By default, the free version automatically renews itself to the paid version after a year. However, you can easily opt out of this during installation.
Overall, AVG AntiVirus Free for Mac is a good option for basic protection against common malware threats. However, if you need more advanced features like ransomware protection and firewall, you’ll need to upgrade to the paid version. AVG AntiVirus Free for Mac download
Here are some additional things to consider:
- Independent testing: Many independent antivirus testing labs perform regular tests on different antivirus software. It’s a good idea to check the results of these tests before deciding on an antivirus solution.
- System requirements: Make sure your Mac meets the minimum system requirements for AVG AntiVirus Free.
- Alternatives: There are many other antivirus options available for Mac, both free and paid. Do some research to find one that meets your needs and budget.
9. Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac (Free Trial)
Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac offers a free 30-day trial that lets you experience its suite of security features for safeguarding your Mac against evolving threats. Here’s a breakdown of what it includes:
- Viruses and malware: Detects and blocks known and emerging viruses, ransomware, spyware, and other malicious software.
- Phishing attacks: Identifies and warns you about suspicious emails and websites designed to steal your personal information.
- Ransomware: Prevents your files from being encrypted by ransomware attacks, potentially saving you from data loss and ransom demands.
- Dangerous websites: Blocks access to malicious websites known to host malware or phishing scams.
- Identity theft: Helps protect your online banking and shopping activities from identity thieves.
- Real-time scanning: Continuously monitors your Mac for threats, ensuring active protection against new and existing dangers.
- Automatic updates: Regularly receives updates to its malware database, staying ahead of the latest threats.
- Easy to use: Simple and intuitive interface makes it easy to manage your security settings and scan your Mac.
- Low system impact: Runs quietly in the background without significantly impacting your Mac’s performance.
- Additional features (may vary depending on plan): Parental controls, social media security, file encryption, and system optimization tools.
Free trial limitations:
- 30-day duration: The free trial expires after 30 days, requiring you to subscribe to a paid plan for continued protection.
- Reduced features: Compared to paid plans, the free trial may have limited functionalities or exclude certain features.
Is it worth trying?
If you’re concerned about online security and haven’t used an antivirus on your Mac, the Trend Micro free trial is a good way to test its effectiveness and see if it fits your needs. It provides basic protection against common threats and gives you a taste of its user interface and features. However, be aware of the limitations, and consider your long-term security needs before deciding whether to subscribe to a paid plan.
There are several other antivirus options available for Mac, both free and paid. Some popular alternatives include:
- Avast Free Antivirus: Offers basic protection against viruses and malware for free.
- MacAfee Antivirus: Free version offers real-time protection and scan scheduling, while paid plans have additional features.
- Norton AntiVirus for Mac: Provides comprehensive protection against a wide range of threats, but comes with a paid subscription.
- Sophos Home Free: Free antivirus protection for personal use, with limited features compared to paid versions.
Choosing the best antivirus for your Mac depends on your individual needs and budget. It’s helpful to research and compare different options before making a decision. Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac download
10. MacKeeper (Free Trial)
MacKeeper is an all-in-one security and optimization suite for Mac computers. It offers a variety of features to help you keep your Mac clean, protected, and performing its best.
What’s included in the free trial?
The free trial of MacKeeper includes access to most of the app’s features, including:
- Virus scan and removal: Scans your Mac for viruses, malware, and other threats.
- Real-time protection: Monitors your Mac for suspicious activity and blocks threats in real time.
- Junk file cleaner: Removes unwanted files and folders that are taking up space on your Mac.
- Performance booster: Optimizes your Mac’s settings and removes unnecessary startup items to improve speed and performance.
- Ad blocker: Blocks annoying ads and pop-ups in web browsers.
- Data breach checker: Checks your email address for data breaches.
- Privacy cleaner: Removes your browsing history, cookies, and other private data.
What are the limitations of the free trial?
The free trial of MacKeeper is limited to 14 days. After 14 days, you will need to purchase a subscription to continue using the app. The free trial also has some limitations on the features that are available. For example, you cannot:
- Use the VPN
- Schedule cleanup tasks
- Access premium customer support
Is the free trial worth it?
Whether or not the free trial of MacKeeper is worth it depends on your needs. If you’re looking for a basic antivirus scanner or junk file cleaner, then the free trial is a good option. However, if you need more advanced features, such as real-time protection or a VPN, then you’ll need to purchase a subscription. MacKeeper download
Here are some additional things to keep in mind before you start the free trial:
- Make sure you have enough free space on your Mac to install MacKeeper (about 500MB).
- You will need to create an account to start the free trial.
- You will be automatically billed for a subscription after the free trial ends unless you cancel it before then.