Do you Actually Need Antivirus on your Mac?

There’s an old belief that Macs don’t get viruses. Well, we know that isn’t true, even though macOS is still more secure than Windows thanks to Apple’s macOS operating system.

The Mac has historically been considered to be absolutely safe for many reasons. But, recently that has shifted considerably. In fact, a report shows a significant rise (over 400%) in the overall prevalence of Mac threats from 2018 to 2019.

To some extent, there is a reason for concern. But, remember that your Mac still has some tricks to protect itself even from the worst malware threats.

How Apple Protects your Mac

In macOS, Apple restricts app download outside of the App Store, thus protecting your device from imminent threats. By adding this restriction into macOS, every time you download a file or app, your Mac will run a quick check (based on a list of malware). And, even if there is no reason for concern, your Mac will not allow you to open anything that isn’t approved by Apple. 

This is a great feature because it gives you free antivirus software that is built into the operating system. It not only protects your Mac automatically but also does not affect your device’s performance.

If you try to download and open contaminated files, a warning and reference to the type of malware will appear. In this case, we suggest deleting the file immediately. In addition, there is also a malware scanning tool, called Xprotect. This works automatically in the background and requires no user configuration.

Is Antivirus Software Necessary for Macs?

With all of the safety measures and protection we’ve mentioned above, there is no reason to install new antivirus software on your Mac. Apple does a pretty good job of keeping their macOS safe! Just make sure that you keep your macOS up-to-date and stay away from phishing links.

In fact, there are some free antivirus apps like Avira or Bitdefender that adds an extra layer of protection to your computer.

Beware that some people may take advance of your concern about malware threats on the Mac. For instance, there have been many cases of malware actually disguising itself as an antivirus app. Also, there are some scams like Mac Auto Fixer that may damage your device. We recommend you stay away from such services.

How to Tell if your Mac is Infected

If you think your Mac might have viruses, here are the signs to tell if your Mac is infected with malware: 

  • Appearances of web page banners and pop-ups promoting software in your browser.
  • Your web page text turns into hyperlinks.
  • Suspicious programs/apps that show up on your device
  • Crashes.
  • Your Mac speeds up for no reason.
  • Mac is hotter than usual while running.

If you think something suspicious is happening, this is what you should do:

  1. Open Activity Monitor
  2. Click on the CPU tab
  3. Check all the running software to find out which one might cause the problem.

Overall, Macs remain secure thanks to its built-in security features. But, if you need another layer of protection then downloading a new antivirus is totally fine. And with Mac users who have antivirus software installed on their computers, there is no need to worry too much about it!

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