Antivirus Recommended By Apple

We design Mac hardware and software with advanced technologies that work together to run apps more securely, protect your data, and help keep you safe on the web. And with macOS Catalina available as a free upgrade, it’s easy to get the most secure version of macOS for your Mac.*

Malware, Spyware, and Adware Protection. Most years, the start of summer would bring thoughts of. Apple helps you keep your Mac secure with software updates. The best way to keep your Mac secure is to run the latest software. When new updates are available, macOS sends you a notification — or you can opt in to have updates installed automatically when your Mac is not in use. MacOS checks for new updates every day, so it’s easy to always have the latest and safest version. Mac antivirus is perfect for families as there are many updates available for the program, with new features and protection for your Macs. Many updates are available and these updates include the latest antivirus software for Mac as well as Macs that were purchased in the past, so you can get the best Mac antivirus for your family's protection.

Apple T2 chip.
The next generation of security.

The Apple T2 Security Chip — included with many newer Mac models — keeps your Mac safer than ever. The Secure Enclave coprocessor in the Apple T2 chip provides the foundation for Touch ID, secure boot, and encrypted storage capabilities. Touch ID gives you a seamless way to use your fingerprint to unlock your Mac, fill passwords in Safari, and make purchases with Apple Pay. Secure boot helps ensure that you are running trusted operating system software from Apple, while the Apple T2 chip automatically encrypts the data on your Mac. So you can be confident knowing that security has been designed right into the architecture of your Mac, from the ground up.

Apple helps you keep your Mac secure with software updates.

The best way to keep your Mac secure is to run the latest software. When new updates are available, macOS sends you a notification — or you can opt in to have updates installed automatically when your Mac is not in use. macOS checks for new updates every day, so it’s easy to always have the latest and safest version.

Protection starts at the core.

RecommendedAntivirus Recommended By Apple

The technically sophisticated runtime protections in macOS work at the very core of your Mac to keep your system safe from malware. This starts with state-of-the-art antivirus software built in to block and remove malware. Technologies like XD (execute disable), ASLR (address space layout randomization), and SIP (system integrity protection) make it difficult for malware to do harm, and they ensure that processes with root permission cannot change critical system files.

Download apps safely from the Mac App Store. And the internet.

Now apps from both the App Store and the internet can be installed worry-free. App Review makes sure each app in the App Store is reviewed before it’s accepted. Gatekeeper on your Mac ensures that all apps from the internet have already been checked by Apple for known malicious code — before you run them the first time. If there’s ever a problem with an app, Apple can quickly stop new installations and even block the app from launching again.

Stay in control of what data apps can access.

Apps need your permission to access files in your Documents, Downloads, and Desktop folders as well as in iCloud Drive and external volumes. And you’ll be prompted before any app can access the camera or mic, capture keyboard activity, or take a photo or video of your screen.

FileVault 2 encrypts your data.

With FileVault 2, your data is safe and secure — even if your Mac falls into the wrong hands. FileVault 2 encrypts the entire drive on your Mac, protecting your data with XTS-AES 128 encryption. And on Mac systems with an Apple T2 Security Chip, FileVault 2 keys are created and protected by the Secure Enclave for even more security.

Designed to protect your privacy.

The most secure browser for your Mac is the one that comes with your Mac. Built-in privacy features in Safari, like Intelligent Tracking Prevention, help keep your browsing your business. Automatic strong passwords make it easy to create and use unique passwords for all the sites you visit. And iCloud Keychain syncs those passwords securely across all your devices, so you don’t have to remember them. You can also easily find and upgrade any weak passwords you’ve previously used (and reused and reused and reused).

Automatic protections from harmful sites.

Safari also helps safeguard you against fraudulent websites and those that harbor malware — before you visit them. If a website seems suspicious, Safari prevents it from loading and notifies you. And when connecting to unencrypted sites, Safari will warn you. So everything you need to browse without worry is right at your fingertips.

Find your missing Mac with Find My.

The Find My app combines Find My iPhone and Find My Friends into a single, easy-to-use app on Mac, iPad, and iPhone. Find My can help you locate a missing Mac — even if it’s offline or sleeping — by sending out Bluetooth signals that can be detected by nearby Apple devices. These devices then relay the detected location of your Mac to iCloud so you can locate it in the Find My app. It’s all anonymous and encrypted end-to-end so no one — including Apple — knows the identity of any reporting device or the location of your Mac. And it all happens silently using tiny bits of data that piggyback on existing network traffic. So there’s no need to worry about your battery life, your data usage, or your privacy being compromised.

Keep your Mac safe.
Even if it’s in the wrong hands.

All Mac models with the Apple T2 Security Chip support Activation Lock — just like your iPhone or iPad. So if your Mac is ever misplaced or lost, the only person who can erase and reactivate it is you.

macOS Security

1. This comment applies to malicious software ('malware') that's installed unwittingly by the victim of a network attack. It does not apply to software, such as keystroke loggers, that may be installed deliberately by an intruder who has hands-on access to the victim's computer. That threat is in a different category, and there's no easy way to defend against it. If you have reason to suspect that you're the target of such an attack, you need expert help.
OS X now implements three layers of built-in protection specifically against malware, not counting runtime protections such as execute disable, sandboxing, system library randomization, and address space layout randomization that may also guard against other kinds of exploits.

2. All versions of OS X since 10.6.7 have been able to detect known Mac malware in downloaded files, and to block insecure web plugins. This feature is transparent to the user, but internally Apple calls it 'XProtect.' The malware recognition database is automatically checked for updates once a day; however, you shouldn't rely on it, because the attackers are always at least a day ahead of the defenders.

The following caveats apply to XProtect:

  • It can be bypassed by some third-party networking software, such as BitTorrent clients and Java applets.
  • It only applies to software downloaded from the network. Software installed from a CD or other media is not checked.
3. Starting with OS X 10.7.5, there has been a second layer of built-in malware protection, designated ' Gatekeeper' by Apple. By default, applications and Installer packages downloaded from the network will only run if they're digitally signed by a developer with a certificate issued by Apple. Software certified in this way hasn't necessarily been tested by Apple, but you can be reasonably sure that it hasn't been modified by anyone other than the developer. His identity is known to Apple, so he could be held legally responsible if he distributed malware. That may not mean much if the developer lives in a country with a weak legal system (see below.)

Gatekeeper doesn't depend on a database of known malware. It has, however, the same limitations as XProtect, and in addition the following:

  • It can easily be disabled or overridden by the user.
  • A malware attacker could get control of a code-signing certificate under false pretenses, or could simply ignore the consequences of distributing codesigned malware.
  • An App Store developer could find a way to bypass Apple's oversight, or the oversight could fail due to human error.

For the reasons given above, App Store products, and other applications recognized by Gatekeeper as signed, are safer than others, but they can't be considered absolutely safe. 'Sandboxed' applications may prompt for access to private data, such as your contacts, or for access to the network. Think before granting that access. OS X security is based on user input. Never click through any request for authorization without thinking.

Free Mac Antivirus

4. Starting with OS X 10.8.3, a third layer of protection has been added: a 'Malware Removal Tool' (MRT). MRT runs automatically in the background when you update the OS. It checks for, and removes, malware that may have evaded the other protections via a Java exploit (see below.) MRT also runs when you install or update the Apple-supplied Java runtime (but not the Oracle runtime.) Like XProtect, MRT is presumably effective against known attacks, but maybe not against unknown attacks. It notifies you if it finds malware, but otherwise there's no user interface to MRT.


5. XProtect, Gatekeeper, and MRT reduce the risk of malware attack, but they're not absolute protection. The first and best line of defense is always your own intelligence. With the possible exception of Java exploits, all known malware circulating on the Internet that affects a fully-updated installation of OS X 10.6 or later takes the form of so-called 'trojan horses,' which can only have an effect if the victim is duped into running them. The threat therefore amounts to a battle of wits between you and the malware attacker. If you're smarter than he thinks you are, you'll win.

That means, in practice, that you never use software that comes from an untrustworthy source, or that does something inherently untrustworthy. How do you know what is trustworthy?

  • Any website that prompts you to install a “codec,” “plug-in,” 'player,' 'extractor,' or “certificate” that comes from that same site, or an unknown one, is untrustworthy.
  • A web operator who tells you that you have a “virus,” or that anything else is wrong with your computer, or that you have won a prize in a contest you never entered, is trying to commit a crime with you as the victim. (Some reputable websites did legitimately warn visitors who were infected with the 'DNSChanger' malware. That exception to this rule no longer applies.)
  • Pirated copies or 'cracks' of commercial software, no matter where they come from, are unsafe.
  • Software of any kind downloaded from a BitTorrent or from a Usenet binary newsgroup is unsafe.
  • Software that purports to help you do something that's illegal or that infringes copyright, such as saving streamed audio or video for reuse without permission, is unsafe. All YouTube 'downloaders' are in this category, though not all are necessarily harmful.
  • Software with a corporate brand, such as Adobe Flash Player, must be downloaded directly from the developer’s website. If it comes from any other source, it's unsafe.
  • Even signed applications, no matter what the source, should not be trusted if they do something unexpected, such as asking for permission to access your contacts, your location, or the Internet for no obvious reason.
6. Java on the Web (

Antivirus For Mac

not to be confused with JavaScript, to which it's not related, despite the similarity of the names) is a weak point in the security of any system. Java is, among other things, a platform for running complex applications in a web page, on the client. That was always a bad idea, and Java's developers have proven themselves incapable of implementing it without also creating a portal for malware to enter. Past Java exploits are the closest thing there has ever been to a Windows-style virus affecting OS X. Merely loading a page with malicious Java content could be harmful.

Fortunately, client-side Java on the Web is obsolete and mostly extinct. Only a few outmoded sites still use it. Try to hasten the process of extinction by avoiding those sites, if you have a choice. Forget about playing games or other non-essential uses of Java.

Java is not included in OS X 10.7 and later. Discrete Java installers are distributed by Apple and by Oracle (the developer of Java.) Don't use either one unless you need it. Most people don't. If Java is installed, disable it — not JavaScript — in your browsers.
Regardless of version, experience has shown that Java on the Web can't be trusted. If you must use a Java applet for a task on a specific site, enable Java only for that site in Safari. Never enable Java for a public website that carries third-party advertising. Use it only on well-known, login-protected, secure websites without ads. In Safari 6 or later, you'll see a lock icon in the address bar with the abbreviation 'https' when visiting a secure site.
Follow the above guidelines, and you’ll be as safe from malware as you can practically be. The rest of this comment concerns what you should not do to protect yourself from malware.
7. Never install any commercial 'anti-virus' or 'Internet security' products for the Mac, as they all do more harm than good, if they do any good at all. Any database of known threats is always going to be out of date. Most of the danger is from unknown threats. If you need to be able to detect Windows malware in your files, use the free software ClamXav— nothing else.
Why shouldn't you use commercial 'anti-virus' products?
  • Their design is predicated on the nonexistent threat that malware may be injected at any time, anywhere in the file system. Malware is downloaded from the network; it doesn't materialize from nowhere.
  • In order to meet that nonexistent threat, the software modifies or duplicates low-level functions of the operating system, which is a waste of resources and a common cause of instability, bugs, and poor performance.
  • By modifying the operating system, the software itself may create weaknesses that could be exploited by malware attackers.

8. ClamXav doesn't have these drawbacks. That doesn't mean it's entirely safe. It may report email messages that have 'phishing' links in the body, or Windows malware in attachments, as infected files, and offer to delete or move them. Doing so will corrupt the Mail database. The messages should be deleted from within the Mail application.

ClamXav is not needed, and should not be relied upon, for protection against OS X malware. It's useful only for detecting Windows malware. Windows malware can't harm you directly (unless, of course, you use Windows.) Just don't pass it on to anyone else.

A Windows malware attachment in email is usually easy to recognize. The file name will often be targeted at people who aren't very bright; for example:

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥!!!!!!!H0TBABEZ4U!!!!!!!.AVI♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥.exe

ClamXav may be able to tell you which particular virus or trojan it is, but do you care? In practice, there's seldom a reason to use ClamXav unless a network administrator requires you to run an anti-virus application.

9. The greatest harm done by security software, in my opinion, is in its effect on human behavior. It does little or nothing to protect people from emerging 'zero-day' threats, but if they get a false sense of security from it, they may feel free to do things that expose them to higher risk. Nothing can lessen the need for safe computing practices.
10. It seems to be a common belief that the built-in Application Firewall acts as a barrier to infection, or prevents malware from functioning. It does neither. It blocks inbound connections to certain network services you're running, such as file sharing. It's disabled by default and you should leave it that way if you're behind a router on a private home or office network. Activate it only when you're on an untrusted network, for instance a public Wi-Fi hotspot, where you don't want to provide services. Disable any services you don't use in the Sharing preference pane. All are disabled by default.
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