Intego Review: Quick Expert Summary
It’s not easy to find a good Mac antivirus. However, after testing virtually all of the macOS antiviruses out there, I am confident in saying:
- Intego is the best antivirus software for Macs available on the market.
Now, it’s not perfect, but Intego has done a lot of good things with its two macOS malware protection engines — VirusBarrier and NetBarrier — both of which scored exceptionally well during my testing.
There are also lots of additional tools on Intego’s discounted Mac Premium Bundle X9, such as:
- Washing Machine — system cleaner and optimizer.
- Personal Backup — advanced data backup tool.
- ContentBarrier — parental controls (way better than Mac’s parental controls).
So, is Intego worth the money?
Ultimately, yes. There are a few things that could be improved, such as having one single interface, better instructions in a few places, and a VPN that is included as part of its main package. But overall Intego is a great product — it scored top marks in macOS virus protection, ease of use, and overall value, it’s cheaper than most other Mac-based antiviruses, and it ranked as the #1 antivirus for Mac in 2022.
|🏅 Overall Rank||#3 out of 67 antiviruses|
|👤 VPN||Yes (separate purchase)|
|🎁 Free Plan||No|
|💸 Pricing||Starting at $19.99/year|
|💰 Money-Back Guarantee||30 days|
|📀 Operating Systems||Mac|
Intego Full Review
Intego is my favorite internet security suite for Macs in 2022.
In addition to detecting and removing all of the Mac-specific malware in my tests, Intego comes with a wide range of extra security features that are significantly better than both Apple’s built-in protections and those of other Mac-based antiviruses such as MacKeeper and Airo AV.
Intego’s excellent antivirus scanner, firewall, web protection, data backup, and parental controls are all bundled in its Mac Premium Bundle X9 plan, which provides more functionality and is cheaper than most other Mac antiviruses. Intego also has an excellent VPN, although this requires a separate subscription. All of Intego’s plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Intego Security Features
- Note: If you want to read about Intego Antivirus for Windows, click here.
VirusBarrier — Malware Scanning
VirusBarrier is Intego’s malware scanner. Its dashboard is simple and easy to use, but it still contains essential virus protection tools, such as an antivirus scanner, a real-time protection engine, scan scheduling, and malware removal.
Using VirusBarrier, you can run virus scans of your entire Mac and any connected external drives or iOS devices — this makes it easy to ensure your phone doesn’t have any hidden malicious files. VirusBarrier also has an option to scan emails for viruses (if you’re using Apple’s Mail app). And another particularly nice feature is that VirusBarrier not only detects Mac threats, but it can also detect PC-based malware, so there’s no risk of you spreading infected files to friends, family, or colleagues that use PCs.
During my tests, I first opted to run a “Quick Scan”. The Quick Scan took just over 5 minutes to scan over 300,000 files, which is pretty impressive. I then ran a “Full Scan”. The Full Scan analyzed over 2 million files on my Mac and only took 1 hour, which is much faster than a lot of other antivirus scanners. Subsequent Full Scans were much faster thanks to Intego’s built-in file caching technology that skips over previously scanned files marked as safe.
After loading a folder of Mac malware samples onto my system, I ran another Full Scan. VirusBarrier detected almost all of the threats on my device — including trojans, adware, and many other potentially harmful files. I also tested VirusBarrier’s real-time malware engine by launching a range of ransomware simulations, and the real-time engine instantly blocked all of the simulated ransomware attacks.
Intego prompted me to handle all threats immediately, giving me 3 options:
- Trust — Marks potential threats as safe.
- Quarantine — Holds dangerous files in a secure vault.
- Repair — Removes viruses from infected files.
After each scan had finished, I clicked Repair. The majority of malware files did get repaired, but when I checked the “Logs” to get a full breakdown of the scan, I noticed it said “Repair failed” next to 6 of the potentially harmful files. This may not be a big deal (because all the files have been effectively neutralized and quarantined), but it would have been nice if the software alerted me to the fact that the repair process had failed so I could have done something about it sooner.
VirusBarrier also offers a “Safe Browsing On” feature that checks to see if a browser’s anti-phishing settings are on. While this is somewhat useful, I think it’s a hollow feature, and I’d much rather see Intego offer its own built-in web security features — such as Airo AV’s Web Guardian feature. That said, MacKeeper doesn’t have any anti-phishing protection at all, and VirusBarrier’s email virus scan option somewhat balances out its lack of web security tools, as this isn’t offered by either of those competitors.
Overall, I like VirusBarrier’s range of scan options and the fact that subsequent scans are much faster. I also like the email virus scan feature and the option to scan for threats on connected drives or iOS devices. I would prefer it if VirusBarrier had more comprehensive anti-phishing protections, and I’d be happier if I was notified of potential issues with quarantined files. But I think VirusBarrier is a solid antivirus scanner that provides high-level protection for Mac computers.
NetBarrier — Mac Firewall
NetBarrier is an advanced firewall feature that really makes Intego stand out against other Mac-focused antivirus products. NetBarrier is also a big improvement on Apple’s own built-in firewall for Macs.
NetBarrier automatically detects what network you’re using — your home network, work network, or public Wi-Fi hotspot — and changes your firewall security settings based on the detected network. I tested this feature on my local coffee shop’s Wi-Fi hotspot, and NetBarrier automatically changed my firewall settings to ensure my MacBook was protected from threats associated with public Wi-Fi hotspots. But I was also able to manually modify my settings to either Allow or Block both incoming and outgoing internet connections as well as incoming and outgoing local (LAN) connections.
What I really like about NetBarrier is that it alerts users when apps or background scripts try to make internet connections, and it gives users the option to allow or block the connections. During my tests, I was surprised to see that apps I didn’t even use were constantly trying to connect to the internet.
NetBarrier’s Applications tab gives a full overview of the programs trying to connect to the internet. It also gives the option to allow, block, or request programs to ask for permission before making any connections.
Overall, I really like the NetBarrier firewall. Intego has done a great job with this feature. It’s easy to navigate, has a simple layout, has much better functionality than Apple’s built-in firewall, and includes features that help to block programs making unwanted internet connections.
ContentBarrier — Parental Controls
ContentBarrier is Intego’s parental control software, and I can safely say it’s one of the best around. It’s pretty advanced compared to the built-in Mac parental controls, and it also has a number of features that even Norton and Kaspersky — which have some of the best parental controls — don’t offer. ContentBarrier includes features like keystroke tracking, anti-predator alerts, screenshot recording, and application blocking.
ContentBarrier allows you to block certain websites and applications, schedule times in which your kids can access the internet, and block or filter instant messaging, emails, file transfers, and connections to game servers and audio/video devices — and all of it is completely customizable.
You can block entire website categories — like gambling and adult content — as well as add individual sites that you want to either block or trust. Or you can choose to block all websites apart from a chosen few, and get your child to ask permission before accessing blocked sites.
You can also opt to receive regular reports, via email, on how your child is using their Mac — including what sites they visited, emails sent and received, chat history, and more.
But what I like most about ContentBarrier is the anti-predator features. You can enable “chat filtering”, which prevents inappropriate messages from being sent or received at all — there are a selection of suspicious phrases suggested which you can choose from, and you can add your own. Additionally, there is an anti-predator monitoring function that alerts you if your child is communicating with someone inappropriately. I was able to receive instant alerts via email whenever ContentBarrier identified potentially malicious words or phrases being sent or received via messaging apps, chat rooms, or email.
My only criticism of ContentBarrier is that there isn’t a clear set of instructions explaining how it works. That said, most of it is relatively intuitive, and Intego has a good Knowledge Base with useful articles and user guides for anything you can’t figure out on your own.
Overall, I really like ContentBarrier’s range of features — they’re a massive improvement over Mac’s in-built parental controls, and I think most parents will find the range of options and regular activity reports really useful. While some other top antivirus products (like Bitdefender) also have good parental controls that are compatible with their macOS software, none of the other Mac-specific antiviruses offer this feature.
Washing Machine — Mac System Optimizer
Washing Machine combines a range of Mac cleaning and system organization tools into one application.
While Intego’s Washing Machine doesn’t offer any Mac speedup tools, like Avira’s System Speedup for Mac, I really like what Intego has to offer.
There are 3 options to choose from when you load the software:
Reclaim scanned my entire device for old or unused files that were clogging up my precious hard disk space. I could also filter each Reclaim scan to find specific kinds of junk files.
The initial scan took just under 10 minutes and found around 4 GB of junk files, including logs, caches, downloads, and trash files.
What I like most is that Intego clearly explains what to do with the scan results so that there’s no risk of you deleting something you might need — first with an overlay instruction screen, and then with a clear “Safe to Aggressive” dial that clearly explains what will be deleted depending on the level you choose. Not all clean-up tools do this. For example, MacKeeper doesn’t give any explanation at all, or any final warning once you’ve hit Delete, meaning it’s very easy to delete things you might not want to.
Intego made it really easy for me to confidently select the files that I wanted to delete from my system. I checked I was happy with the predefined selection and clicked Clean. A pop-up reminded me that everything would be deleted permanently, giving me one last option to double check, and then the files were removed from my Mac instantly — *make some noise for all that free disk space*!
Duplicates scans your Mac for duplicate files that may be taking up unnecessary space. Before scanning, it allows you to choose the folders you want to scan (defaulted to your entire disk) and exclude any folders. This is really handy, and not something that other Mac cleaners offer.
When I tested this feature, the scan took just 1 minute and found over 150+ duplicate files stored on my Mac — I had 6 versions of the same file in some instances.
Once again everything was clearly explained, and it was very easy to select and delete duplicate files, and free up some hard drive space. What I like about Duplicates is that I was able to view the duplicate files on a preview screen, located at the bottom right of the interface, before proceeding to delete them.
Organize is a really neat tool that helps to tidy all of the files and apps on a user’s Mac. I was able to sort my desktop files into folders, rearrange apps in my Dock, and add new “Smart Folders” — the folders placed on the left of Mac’s Finder app, like Applications, AirDrop, Downloads, etc.
Organize is my favorite feature inside Intego’s Washing Machine. I was able to tidy all of my random desktop screenshots and other files instantly by clicking the drop-down menu and selecting the appropriate folder. I could also drag and drop files into specific folders or the trash bin.
I didn’t feel the need to rearrange my Dock, as it was already pretty well organized. But it may be useful if you have a huge number of unused apps.
Washing Machine has a great set of features. I like Reclaim and Duplicates, but Organize is my favorite — this is something I haven’t seen on rival Mac-based software like Airo AV or even MacKeeper. I think Intego should also look at including system speedup tools, but most Mac users will be pretty happy with Washing Machine’s features.
Personal Backup — Customizable Backups
Personal Backup is designed to back up important files — much like Apple’s Time Machine — but in a more personalized way.
The only thing I didn’t like about Personal Backup was the lack of initial instruction — I had to look up a few things in the Knowledge Base in order to understand how it worked, which was a bit annoying. Most of Intego’s tools and features have excellent explanations overlaying each screen, and I’d like to see the same added to this feature. However, once you know what to do, this is a great feature.
Using Personal Backup, I was able to back up specific files or folders to an external hard drive or a separate integrated hard drive.
The cool thing about Personal Backup is that users can schedule multiple backups for different purposes. For example, I chose to back up my music files weekly and scheduled all of my work-related documents to back up hourly.
Personal Backup has a few other options, including:
- Bootable Backup
Bootable Backup enables you to backup your entire system with the current Mac OS X version that is installed on your device — so if your Mac becomes faulty, you can load the entire contents of your Mac onto another Mac without having to reinstall any OS X software. I think this is awesome, as it saves waiting for hours for your Mac’s OS X to update or reinstall if there’s an issue.
Synchronize enables you to sync files between multiple devices. Once you make a change to a file on your Mac, the same file located on your external drive will also change. This could be useful if you use multiple devices — such as an iMac at your office and a MacBook for when you’re traveling.
And Restore does what exactly it says — restores the backups made on your external drive.
Overall, Personal Backup is probably the best backup tool I’ve come across for Mac users. Apple’s Time Machine isn’t bad, but Intego’s Personal Backup allows more customization and has more features, which ultimately makes it more useful. This is also a pretty unique feature across all antivirus products. Bitdefender has a Time Machine Protection feature in its macOS software, but it’s not as good as Intego’s.
VPN (Virtual Private Network)
Intego’s VPN (named Privacy Protection) encrypts your browsing data and changes your IP address, so no one can snoop on your online activities or find your true location.
It’s modeled on and utilizes the servers of its sister company — Private Internet Access (PIA), which is one of the best standalone VPNs on the market. This is great news, and it means that it’s a much better VPN than most of those that come bundled with an antivirus, such as MacKeeper’s VPN.
However, Privacy Protection is only available as a separate subscription — it’s not available as part of any of Intego’s other plans, which I think is a real shame. Although it has a better range of features, you won’t benefit from the ease of having just one subscription and one interface, as is the case with other antivirus suites with a VPN.
Privacy Protection comes with most of the same features and benefits as Private Internet Access (PIA)’s VPN, including its military-grade 256-bit AES encryption, no logs policy, kill switch, access to PIA’s servers in 75+ countries, and much more. However, PIA is only slightly more expensive, and it also comes with mobile device support, Tor support (The Onion Router), and data breach monitoring. So given it’s a separate subscription anyway, you might be better off just subscribing directly with PIA.
Intego’s Privacy Protection also includes:
- Unlimited data.
- Use across 10 Macs (or Windows PCs).
- 2 protocols: OpenVPN and WireGuard.
- Split tunneling.
- P2P torrenting.
- Obfuscation (via the Shadowsocks proxy).
- Ad blocker.
This is an impressive range of features, a lot of which even the best standalone VPNs don’t include.
I was also really impressed with the speeds of Intego’s VPN. I tested a range of different servers, and my speeds only dropped a little compared to my local network speeds — even on the more distant servers. Better still, I was able to access streaming sites such as Netflix and iPlayer and watch movies without any lag or buffering.
Overall, Intego’s VPN is far better than most VPNs offered by antivirus providers. Other antivirus products that come with a VPN, such as MacKeeper, Norton, or Avira, tend to lack the more advanced features such as split-tunneling or torrenting support. However — they do at least come bundled within the same antivirus subscription. I’d really like to see Intego add the VPN to its Premium Bundle plan.
Intego Plans & Pricing
Intego has a range of different plans to choose from, starting from $19.99 / year. A number of Intego’s products can be bought individually, while other plans include different combinations of various products. Aside from the Mac Washing Machine X9 package (which is a one-off payment), all plans are priced for either 1 year or 2 years of protection.
Overall, Intego’s products provide a really great value. Although Intego isn’t overly cheap, all of its features work very well and are genuinely useful — and the full Mac Premium Bundle X9 package is cheaper than most competing Mac-based antivirus and Mac optimization programs. All Intego packages come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it out and get a refund if you decide it’s not for you.
And if you also use a PC, Intego offers a “Dual Protection” option on all plans that include VirusBarrier. For a very reasonable small fixed fee, this gives you additional protection for 1 PC with Intego Antivirus for Windows. No other Mac-focused antivirus offers any PC protection, so this is something else I really like about Intego’s product.
Mac Premium Bundle X9 — Best Plan with Every Feature
The Mac Premium Bundle X9 package contains all of the tools mentioned in this review (except the VPN) for just $39.99 / year. You can choose to protect 1, 3, or 5 Macs. This package contains:
- Mac Washing Machine
- Personal Backup
This package is the best option for most Mac users who want solid malware protection, coverage for multiple devices, as well as extra tools like Mac cleanup and backup tools.
Mac Internet Security X9 — Good Plan for Budget Users
Mac Internet Security X9 lets you protect 1, 3, or 5 Macs for $24.99 / year. This package contains:
This package is a decent option for users only looking for essential malware protection and internet security, without additional tools.
Mac Washing Machine Secure X9
Mac Washing Machine Secure X9 lets you protect 1 or 3 Macs, and it includes the cybersecurity protection as well as the Mac clean-up tools. This package contains:
- Mac Washing Machine
ContentBarrier Secure X9
ContentBarrier Secure X9 lets you protect 1 or 3 Macs, and it includes the cybersecurity tools plus the parental controls. This package contains:
This package is a decent option for families thanks to the excellent parental controls, but as it only covers a maximum of 3 devices, it may not be a good choice for large families or those who have multiple devices to cover. This is why the Mac Premium Bundle X9 (which covers up to 5 devices) might be a better option.
Mac ContentBarrier X9
This package contains the ContentBarrier software only. You can choose to protect 1 or 3 Macs.
This package only contains the Washing Machine system-cleanup software. Mac Washing Machine X9 is available as a one-off payment of $19.99 / year, for either 1 or 3 Macs.
Intego Privacy Protection
This subscription is for Intego’s VPN, which can be installed on up to 10 Macs (or Windows PCs) but not mobile devices. It’s available as an annual subscription, and it’s a great value.
Intego Ease of Use & Setup
Intego is pretty easy to set up. The entire installation process took no longer than 5 minutes — considering that I opted to install the full Intego Premium Bundle X9 package, the process was super quick.
Once Intego was installed on my Mac computer, I was prompted to input the serial key I received upon purchasing the software or click on the “Free Trial” button, and that was it!
Rather than having one central interface, each of Intego’s features has its own independent app. This is a bit of a pain, especially when first setting everything up, as you’re repeatedly required to go to your System Preferences in order to manually change and grant permissions for each of Intego’s apps/features. However, other than that, Intego is very easy to set up and use. Each app is automatically set up for you with Intego’s recommended settings, and it’s just a case of learning how each feature works.
Intego has done a great job of providing explanations for most of its features, with information overlays and additional notes within the main interface screens — great for beginners who aren’t too familiar with using antiviruses. This was one of my biggest complaints about MacKeeper, which has very little in the way of explanations within its app, so I was really pleased to see Intego do this so well. The example below shows the information overlay for VirusBarrier.
Considering the robust protection that VirusBarrier offers, the malware scans didn’t significantly impact my device’s performance. Using Activity Monitor, I found that VirusBarrier had a relatively low impact on my Mac’s memory and CPU — even though I had the maximum protections enabled, which is the most CPU-intensive option.
Still, I found an option in VirusBarrier’s Preferences tab called “Scan with low priority”, which prioritizes CPU power for other programs running during virus scans. When this setting is on, scans can take longer, but it reduces slowdowns and interruptions for other programs. I like this because I can run full system scans while streaming HD movies without any loss in performance.
I had the same experience with all of the other Intego products — NetBarrier, ContentBarrier, Personal Backup, and Washing Machine were all relatively low on both my iMac’s and MacBook’s system resources.
Preferably, I’d like Intego to have all of its products located in one easy-to-use dashboard, like MacKeeper and TotalAV. Having separate interfaces can clutter up your desktop, especially if you want to use Washing Machine, run a virus scan, and make changes to NetBarrier. That said, some users might like accessing each product separately.
Overall, most of Intego’s features are well-designed and very easy to use. I would prefer it if VirusBarrier had more obvious scan buttons for novice users. However, installing, setting up, and using Intego will be pretty straightforward for most users.
Intego Mobile App
Intego doesn’t currently have a mobile app. However, you can scan your iOS device for viruses and malware using VirusBarrier — all you have to do is connect your phone to your Mac, in the same way you’d scan an external hard drive. This feature is pretty cool, and it’s something I haven’t seen included in other Mac-based antiviruses.
Intego Customer Support
Intego’s customer support is pretty good. It offers phone support (but only for a few countries), live chat, email support, and a really awesome FAQ page.
Phone support is listed as being available across most continents, but there are only 3 numbers — one in the USA, one in France, and one in Japan. So any customers outside of those countries would have to pay for an international call, which isn’t ideal. That said, a lot of antiviruses, including MacKeeper, don’t offer phone support at all, so at least there is something if you need it. Intego’s phone support is available in English, French, and Japanese.
Email support is available in both French and English, and the live chat is officially in English, but it has an in-built translator — so you can chat in any language you like. Phone and email support options are available Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 5:30pm (in each location). Live chat is available between 8:30am and 5:30pm US Central Time (CT).
My experience with Intego’s email support was mixed. I asked for more information about VirusBarrier and the technology it uses, and received a response from a representative around 3 hours later. This is pretty quick for email support, and I was really happy with the detailed and informative answer.
However, when I sent another email regarding problems deleting infected files, it took 3 days to receive a response. I felt this email was more urgent than my previous one, so it’s annoying that it took so long to receive a response.
The response (screenshot below) was quite long-winded, and I was advised to go through the process of deleting the files manually. I was also told to download a third-party tool to help me with this process. So I wasn’t entirely satisfied with this response.
As expected, Intego’s live chat is much better in terms of response times. I asked a question via Intego’s website live chat function, and I received a response from a representative almost instantly! I was pleased with the responses I received — the customer support reps were able to answer any question within a matter of seconds.
Intego has a really good FAQ section — also known as the “Knowledge Base”. The Knowledge Base page itself is laid out clearly, with specific sections relating to each Intego product and other general questions, such as billing and installation. I really like how each FAQ page has clear screenshots and offers easy-to-follow guidance, making it great for beginners.
Intego also has a 30-day money-back guarantee for all packages. My experience with requesting a refund was pretty straightforward. I emailed asking for a refund, the representative I spoke to asked the reason for my request, and then they proceeded to initiate my refund. I was told it would take 10–14 days for the money to appear in my account, but I received my refund 3 days later.
Overall, Intego’s customer support is good. I would prefer it if the email support team were more responsive and helpful, especially when dealing with urgent issues. However, the live chat function is great, and the FAQ (Knowledge Base) has great guides and tutorials that even the most non-technical users can easily understand.
Is Intego really the best antivirus software for Mac in 2022?
In a word — yes!
Although I have mixed feelings about some of Intego’s features, I think it’s great overall. I fully trust the software to protect my Mac against viruses, malware, and cybercriminals. And I also love that Intego can help me clean up and better organize my Mac.
As mentioned previously, ContentBarrier and Personal Backup could both do with some additional instructions for getting started, and VirusBarrier’s delete and repair processes need to be improved. I would also like it if all of the products were located in one easy to use dashboard, like MacKeeper or TotalAV.
That said, I would choose Intego over any other Mac antivirus, as it’s highly customizable and has a great range of features. The functionality of Intego’s smart firewall, NetBarrier, alone makes it my favorite Mac security software. And Intego’s backup tools and parental controls are much better than Apple’s built-in backup and parental control features.
Overall, Intego truly is a great value. It offers solid cybersecurity protection and has additional tools that are much better than Mac’s built-in features. If you’re interested, you can try out Intego risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Intego Review — Frequently Asked Questions
Does Intego offer a free trial?
Yes, Intego does offer a 30-day free trial, and you won’t have to input any payment card details to access this free trial. However, some features, such as Washing Machine, will be limited — you’ll be able to scan your device for junk files, but you’ll have to purchase the full version to delete them.
Do Macs really need antivirus software?
Yes. Although Macs are said to be virus-proof, this isn’t true. As Macs are becoming more popular, hackers are targeting more macOS devices every day — with Mac-specific malware becoming extremely advanced. Having a Mac without any form of antivirus software is extremely risky. You should at least consider installing an antivirus like Intego to avoid hackers from destroying your system and stealing all of your personal data. And with a 30-day free trial, there’s no reason not to try Intego out.
Will Intego protect me against rootkits?
Yes. Intego’s VirusBarrier can detect and remove rootkits that might already be installed on your Mac. It can also detect and remove other types of malware, including spyware, adware, ransomware, keyloggers, and more.
What’s more, thanks to its real-time scanner, your Mac is protected from new viruses and malware, as every file that is created, copied, modified, or saved is automatically scanned in real-time, detecting and blocking any new malware from accessing your device.
Will Intego slow down my device?
Intego is pretty lightweight and you shouldn’t notice any slowdown on your Mac — even if you select the most CPU-intensive settings. When completing system scans, each product can take up some CPU space. However, you can reduce Intego’s CPU usage by choosing the “Scan with low priority” setting in VirusBarrier’s Preferences tab.