Transparency and Trust – We pride ourselves on being the only site where users can freely contribute and share their reviews on any antivirus with other community members. When you visit an antivirus site we link to, we sometimes get affiliate commissions that support our work. Read more about how we operate.

10 Best (REALLY FREE) Antivirus Programs for Mac 2019

10 Best (REALLY FREE) Antivirus Programs for Mac 2019
Aviva Zacks
Posted: December 12, 2018

While no computer or mobile device is completely immune to infection, many Mac users feel they won’t be targeted by viruses, since most of the latest identified malware targets Windows and Android users. This couldn’t be further from the truth…

Unfortunately, this kind of thinking is outdated and leaves unprotected Mac users exposed to the threat of infection while making them an easy target for hackers – specifically because they are so lax about protecting their machines. Not only have viruses and malware for Mac been identified, but the numbers are even on the rise!

Before considering a premium paid antivirus for Mac, you should test a free trial version first. We’ve saved you the time and effort by trying and testing the best antivirus software for Mac.

Here are our top 10 recommendations:

Important note: While most popular Mac antivirus programs listed below offer free downloads and limited trial versions, keep in mind that for full features and functionality, and no time limit on use, you’ll need to consider upgrading to a paid version.

  1. Intego Free Antivirus
  2. BullGuard Free Antivirus
  3. Panda Free Antivirus
  4. Bitdefender Free Virus Scanner
  5. Avira Free Antivirus
  6. Avast Free Antivirus
  7. Malwarebytes Free Antivirus
  8. Sophos Home Free
  9. AVG Antivirus Free
  10. Webroot SecureAnywhere

1. Intego for Mac – 30 Day Free Trial

Intego for Mac – 30 Day Free Trial

Intego is an all-in-one solution for Mac as it offers protection against not only your average malware threats but phishing, Trojans, and rootkits too.

Built specifically for Mac devices by Mac users themselves, it’s the best choice for Mac (and iOS), as it also comes with some really robust features that other free Mac antivirus programs don’t offer, such as a two-way firewall for use at home and on the go.

Intego offers a free 30-day trial version. After that, if you’d like to continue using the software, you’ll need to purchase it. A one-year subscription is competitively priced.

Features You Get

  • Real-time protection
  • On-demand and scheduled scans
  • Two-way firewall network protection

What I Liked

  • Very easy to use and set up – even for beginners (doesn’t require an account)
  • Automatically quarantines all threats it encounters
  • Protection against Mac, Windows, and Linux malware
  • Doesn’t bombard you with notifications or pop-ups

What I Didn’t Like

  • Windows malware detection is not as good as it is for Mac
  • No active ransomware monitoring
  • No auto-delete for threats

The Ideal Use Case

Very few antiviruses for Mac come with a firewall so if you’re looking for added protection, this is for you. Intego scores very high as a free antivirus for Mac users and while it can also scan for malware on Windows and Linux devices, it is less robust. But try before you buy because Intego offers a 30-day money back guarantee.


2. BullGuard Free Antivirus – 30 Day Free Trial

BullGuard Free Antivirus – 30 Day Free Trial

BullGuard safeguards your devices against most threats, including dangerous URLs and ransomware, but you need to have the parental control tools enabled for the ultimate protection.

Bullguard offers a 30-day free trial version. If you’d like to continue using the software after the one month trial period, you’ll have to purchase it.

Features You Get

  • A firewall
  • Vulnerability scanner
  • Encrypted file backups
  • Parental control tools
  • Game booster
  • Next-gen anti-malware protection against phishing, spyware, trojans, and ransomware
  • PC tune-up tools

What I Liked

  • The gamer mode that pauses scans and notifications while you play so that it doesn’t impact game speed
  • Easy to use interface
  • The Vulnerability Scanner that alerts you to possible security risks

What I Didn’t Like

  • No password manager or VPN
  • Parental control tools have to be enabled to get full protection and noticeable impact on performance while it runs
  • Several false positives when tested

The Ideal Use Case

BullGuard offers decent protection against most threats, including Trojans and rootkits which makes it a great choice for inexperienced users who just want to turn on an antivirus and leave it be. Plus, it offers a 30-day money back guarantee if you’re not satisfied.


3. Panda Security for Mac – 30 Day Free Trial

Panda Security for Mac – 30 Day Free Trial

Panda Security has greatly improved since its last major update. The developers have added ransomware protection and sped up the scanning speed from a few hours to several minutes. Still, malware detection isn’t quite as strong as it could be.

Note: We’ve listed Panda Essential features below, but if you’re looking for more advanced features like a password manager, clean-up tools, and an unlimited premium VPN, there are other packages available to you.

Features You Get

  • A limited VPN
  • A firewall
  • 24/7 technical support
  • Real-time protection
  • Wi-Fi security
  • USB and SD card protection

What I Liked

  • Fast scanning
  • Light impact on performance
  • User-friendly interface
  • Safe online shopping

What I Didn’t Like

  • Detection rates are only average
  • No direct technical support
  • Limited VPN only has 150 MB allowance per day
  • You have to register an account

The Ideal Use Case

The ransomware protection and real-time protection are big selling points rarely found in other solutions. However, better options exist for malware detection rates and some of the features like the VPN are limited. But, try it for yourself – it offers a 30-day money back guarantee if you’re not satisfied.


4. Bitdefender Virus Scanner for Mac – Limited Features

Bitdefender Virus Scanner for Mac – Limited Features

While some Mac users might be looking for a “set it and forget it” type solution, Bitdefender does require user input every now and then. Nevertheless, the antivirus features offer solid protection against serious threats and malware.

Features You Get

  • Growl notifications
  • Automatic virus updates
  • Deep system scan

What I Liked

  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Fast scans
  • Scanning tools for apps, specific locations or an entire system
  • Quarantines and removes threats in documents and archives
  • Doesn’t impact system performance
  • Option to remove certain files from a scan
  • Can remove both Mac and Windows threats

What I Didn’t Like

  • No real-time protection
  • You have to register an account to use it
  • Home use only
  • Not many advanced features

The Ideal Use Case

Bitdefender’s free limited feature set reduces the chance for compatibility problems. As a result, it is a good option if you’re looking for extra protection alongside another antivirus.


5. Avira Free Antivirus for Mac – Limited Features

Avira Free Antivirus for Mac – Limited Features

Avira is a simple, bare-bones antivirus, and when tested, it detected 99.1% of malware, getting the job done in a lightweight package.

The optional upgrade to the premium version will certainly provide extra protection – until then, the limited free version may be a good option if you wish to try before you buy.

Features You Get

  • Activity stream
  • Online protection against viruses, Trojans, adware, and spyware
  • Repair folders

What You Get For Going Pro

  • Threat scans for USB keys
  • Technical support
  • Protection for multiple devices

What I Liked

  • Easy to install and customize
  • Few false positives
  • Free rescue/recover disk
  • The program pre-checks files the system needs to access, detecting malware before it can act

What I Didn’t Like

  • Free tools are trialware
  • Constant pop-ups
  • Installs a toolbar on default setup
  • Moderately heavy on system resources

The Ideal Use Case

Avira is great for Mac users wanting a simple antivirus without too much flair. However, the paid version will certainly provide more robust protection.


6. Avast Free Mac Security – Limited Features

Avast Free Mac Security – Limited Features

According to antivirus tests, Avast managed to catch 99.9% of Mac malware threats – the highest result from any free antivirus. Plus, you get plenty of handy extra features too!

While the free version offers plenty of protection, you can upgrade to the full version for a competitively priced yearly subscription. They also offer a 30-day money back guarantee.

Features You Get

  • On-demand and real-time scanning
  • Web and email shields
  • Wi-Fi security scan

What You Get if You Decide to Pay

  • Ransomware shield
  • Instant alerts whenever network vulnerabilities are detected

What I Liked

  • Low system impact
  • Top-notch detection rates
  • Straightforward user interface

What I Didn’t Like

  • Installation attempted to install other Avast products that were unrelated to the antivirus, so remember to uncheck them if you don’t want them
  • Ads and pop-ups

The Ideal Use Case

With its long list of features, Avast goes the extra mile when it comes to malware protection and should be the free antivirus of choice for most general users. At the same time, those looking for a simpler and more lightweight antivirus might want to look for an alternative.


7. Malwarebytes for Mac – 14 Day Free Trial

Malwarebytes for Mac – 14 Day Free Trial

Malwarebytes positions itself as a solid option for Windows machines, and the anti-malware product for Mac has been getting some great feedback too.

The installation gives you a 14-day free trial of the Premium version; after that, you will be limited to the free features.

Features You Get

  • On-demand scanning
  • App blocker

What You Get if You Decide to Pay

  • Real-time protection
  • Additional protection for more devices (Mac, Windows, or Android)

What I Liked

  • Very fast scanning
  • Light on system resources
  • Takes up little space on your hard drive

What I Didn’t Like

  • No real-time protection unless you pay for it

The Ideal Use Case

Malwarebytes is perfect for users who want a lightweight and fast antivirus, but don’t mind taking a hands-on approach to manual scanning. You get two free weeks to try it out before the premium version reverts back to the free version.


8. Sophos Home for Mac – 30 Day Free Trial

Sophos Home for Mac – 30 Day Free Trial

Sophos is a full-featured free product. When tested, it’s detection rate is comparable to popular options like Avast and Bitdefender.

The free version includes a 30-day free trial of Premium, so you can try before you buy. The annual subscription to the premium version is competitively priced, considering all the features it includes.

Features You Get

  • Free trial of Premium
  • Real-time protection
  • Basic parental control tools
  • Browser filtering
  • Remote management

What You Get If You Decide to Pay

  • Ransomware protection
  • Privacy protection for apps, webcams, and microphones
  • Live technical support

What I Liked

  • Protection against Mac and Windows threats
  • Low system impact
  • Simple and easy to use

What I Didn’t Like

  • Scans run slower than other antiviruses
  • No quick or scheduled scans
  • Ineffective parental controls
  • Requires you to register an account to use it

The Ideal Use Case

Like its Windows counterpart, Sophos, with its parental controls and ability to manage multiple machines from one account, works great for families. Not sure? Give it a try before you buy with a 30-day money back guarantee if you’re not satisfied.


9. AVG Antivirus for Mac – Limited Features

AVG Antivirus for Mac – Limited Features

AVG for Mac might not be as popular as the Windows version, but it does provide much-needed functionality as a solid virus cleaner, which will appeal to many Apple users.

Features You Get

  • Triple protection for Mac, Windows, and Android
  • Background scanning
  • Web and email filtering
  • Automatic updates

What I Liked

  • Strong malware protection covering 99.9% of tested threats
  • User-friendly interface
  • Easy to customize
  • Low system impact
  • No credit card required for the free download

What I Didn’t Like

  • Bare-bones feature set
  • Heavy on system resources
  • Slow scans
  • Ads for the premium version

The Ideal Use Case

This feels like the opposite of Bitdefender, as AVG works well as a “set it and forget it” antivirus solution. The real-time protection, user-friendly interface, and simple feature set make it a great option for users wanting strong protection without needing to think about it.


10. Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus for Mac – 14 Day Free Trial

Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus for Mac – 14 Day Free Trial

Webroot may not be as well-known as some of the other antivirus programs on the market, but with a 14-day free trial, it’s worth checking out.

Features You Get

  • Web browser protection
  • On-demand and scheduled scans
  • Web filter that marks dangerous search engine results
  • Active process monitor
  • Automatic USB drive scanning

What I Liked

  • Strong malware detection rates
  • Fast scanning speed
  • Ability to detect Mac and Windows malware
  • No credit card required for the free download

What I Didn’t Like

  • Reportedly weak phishing protection

The Ideal Use Case

Webroot has quite a few specific features such as an active process monitor and search engine filter. The anti-malware is pretty strong too, so go for this option if you’re interested in those advanced features. You get two weeks to try it all out for free!


The Bottom Line

While some free Mac antivirus software will offer basic protection for your Apple Mac computer, if you need more robust antivirus tools, then your best bet is still going to be a paid, premium service.

If you’re new to Mac, or just want to try a few different options before you decide on which fully-fledged antivirus to choose, you can always try before you buy and see which antivirus matches your needs.

For more info on these and other antivirus solutions for Mac, visit our reviews page.

About the Author

Aviva Zacks
Aviva Zacks

Aviva Zacks is a content manager, writer, editor, and really good baker. When she's not working, she enjoys reading on her porch swing with a cup of decaf.

Transparency and Trust – We pride ourselves on being the only site where users can freely contribute and share their reviews on any antivirus with other community members. When you visit an antivirus site we link to, we sometimes get affiliate commissions that support our work. Read more about how we operate.