Top Free Antivirus Apps for Mac in 2024

Top Free Antivirus Apps for Mac in 2024

Antivirus protection doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Here are some of the best free antivirus apps for Mac in 2024

Even Macs can get hit by malware, despite many people believing the contrary. If the worst happens, you may find that the data on your Mac could be remotely locked, with hackers not unlocking your data until you pay a ransom. Your personal or financial information may also be at risk.

Your Mac has some robust defenses in place, including Gatekeeper, which requires downloaded apps to be verified before they launch, and XProtect which scans for known malware. However, some malware does make it through these defenses, and an antivirus app may be able to catch this malware before it’s too late.

The good news is that you get antivirus software for your Mac without having to pay a thing. Here are some of the best free antivirus apps for Mac in 2024.

Malwarebytes Free
malwarebytes free

Malwarebytes is a free antivirus software that can scan for malware on your Mac. There’s no real-time protection; you have to run a Malwarebytes scan manually, but it can hunt for any malware that may slip through the cracks on your Mac.

There are additional features available if you upgrade to a paid version of the app. With a subscription, you get automatic scans, real-time protection, adware blocking, and protection against apps from suspicious developers. There’s also a VPN included in the Premium Plus plan.

The free version of Malwarebytes doesn’t have many bells and whistles but is a good option to use to supplement the malware protection already built into macOS. You can run it now and again to find any malware that your Mac hasn’t detected.

TotalAV Free Antivirus and Internet Security
totalav free antivirus for mac

Total AV allows you to run a manual malware scan to identify any malware, scareware, adware, ransomware, or trojans. It will also look for any potentially unwanted apps that can compromise the privacy and security of your Mac. If TotalAV discovers any issues, you can delete or quarantine the potential threats.

There are also some other useful features in the free version of TotalAV, including a junk cleaner, duplicate file finder, browser cleaner, and startup manager.

If you want real-time protection without running manual scans, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid version of TotalAV. With a subscription, you also get access to a range of other features, including a password manager and a VPN.

Avira Free Security
avira free security

Most of the options on this list offer basic features that require you to run a manual scan every time you want to look for malware on your Mac. However, with Avira, you get real-time scanning and a host of other useful features.

It’s a lightweight application that can scan for threats such as ransomware, adware, and spyware and allows you to set a schedule for your scans, so you don’t need to run them manually. You also get real-time protection which scans all new files for any malicious threats and can place suspicious files in quarantine.

On top of that, you can also install a password manager, and a VPN, as well as scan for junk to help to speed up your Mac. You can upgrade to a paid account for additional features such as a cookie cleaner, startup manager, and app uninstaller.

Bitdefender Virus Scanner
bitdefender free antivirus for mac

Bitdefender is a simple virus scanner without any additional features, but what it does, it does well. You can run a manual scan of critical locations on your Mac or run a deep system scan that will take longer but will hunt in every corner of your Mac. In addition, you can also scan a specific location on your Mac, for a quick scan of certain files or folders if you’re concerned that they may contain malware. This focused scan is a great option if you need to run a quick scan, as with a limited number of files to scan, it’s a lot faster.

There’s no real-time protection, however. You’ll need to run scans manually if you want to search for malware. The app updates with the latest information every hour, however, so each time you run a scan you’ll use the most up-to-date malware information.

One other benefit of Bitdefender Virus Scanner is that it’s available directly through the App Store, so you don’t have the nagging feeling that by installing a free virus app downloaded from the internet from an unknown developer you might actually be installing malware rather than removing it.

If you want more features, you can upgrade to Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac, which includes real-time protection, adware blocking, a VPN, browser protection, and even protection for your Time Machine backups.

Avast Security

avast free antivirus for mac

Avast’s reputation has taken a serious hit in recent years. It was discovered that the company sold user data to major corporations for significant profit. The company seems to have put an end to this now, however; you can read more at the end of the article and make up your own mind as to whether you feel you should install a free antivirus product from this company.

Avast Free Antivirus for Mac is a free antivirus application that offers real-time protection by scanning any new files opened or added to your Mac. You can run manual scans to search for malware, but you also have the option to schedule regular scans as and when you need them.

There’s also a traffic monitor that shows how much data your apps use and where the data goes. The network inspector also scans for vulnerabilities on your network and looks for anyone who might be piggybacking. You also get an email guardian, too.

You can upgrade to a Premium subscription if you want additional features, such as the ability to scan emails in a specific mailbox, and a ransomware shield to protect your files from being held hostage. An Ultimate subscription also adds tracking protection, cleanup tools, and a secure VPN.

AVG Free Antivirus for Mac
avg free antivirus for mac

AVG and Avast started life as separate companies. In 2016 Avast bought a majority stake in AVG, effectively making one business. Still, both brands still operate under their original names. As such, AVG was also part of the scandal about selling customer data. Both companies now state that they are committed to respecting customer privacy. You can read more about the scandal in the next section.

AVG Free Antivirus for Mac allows you to run manual scans for viruses and other malware. There is also real-time protection that examines any new files for risks, including potentially unwanted programs. Infected files are placed in quarantine so that they can’t harm your Mac. There’s also an email shield included in the free version.

As well as finding malware, a smart scan will also identify files and folders at risk of ransomware. However, if you want to secure these files and folders, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid subscription. This will also give you access to a network inspector to scan for vulnerabilities on your network. You also get a ransomware shield and a fake website shield.

Can You Trust AVG or Avast?

Avast and AVG are two of the biggest names in antivirus software. That’s why it was such a shock to find that both companies were harvesting large amounts of personal data from users. This data was then being sold for significant sums to big corporations like Google.

The data was sold through an aggregation company that was owned by Avast called Jumpshot. Since the scandal broke, Jumpshot closed down and both companies committed to protecting your personal information.

Can you trust these companies? That’s really a case of personal preference. You might be of the view that if they were caught out, they’re unlikely to try anything like this again. Or you might think that a leopard never changes its spots. If you have any concerns, it’s best to choose a different option.

Is it Safe to Use Free Antivirus Software?

An old adage says that when something is free, you are the product. Developing and maintaining antivirus software costs money, and the companies need to make that back somehow. Whether that’s through selling on your data or nudging you into paid upgrades by withholding key features, the money has to come from somewhere.

However, if you’re just looking for a product that will scan your computer for malware without any additional bells and whistles, then all of the apps on this list can do that job. You may find you have enough features that you don’t need to upgrade. As long as the company is trustworthy, you and your data should be safe.

Do I Need Antivirus on a Mac?

There’s a common belief that Macs don’t have problems with malware, unlike Windows computers. This is valid up to a point; Apple has a more enclosed ecosystem, as well as built-in protections such as Gatekeeper and XProtect. This means that Macs are far less prone to successful malware attacks.

However, some malware does still get through the cracks. This malware can cause serious damage to your data, as well as putting your privacy at risk. Using additional antivirus software could help track down malware that your Mac didn’t catch. It’s definitely worth considering.

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