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macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 1, 2016
I'm consider, some people said that, mac users didn't have to have an antivirus because mac os is secure enough, but some said mac users still have to have an antivirus, which one is true?


macrumors 6502a
Feb 4, 2013
The reason why you won't need AV protection is not because macOS is more secure. It's more about install base. Compare some maybe 100 million active Macs against a billion Windows based computers. Window malware simply doesn't run on X based OS's.

Apples security policy is far from being perfect. They rarely patch instantly and their release notes are imperfect at best. Running on a Unix based OS is of course an advantage due to user rights and restrictions.

If you need to browse dubious websites for adult or pirated content, i suggest you run a virtual machine and work there. Once done, revert to base snapshot. Any infection is reverted, too.

Also, remove Java and Flash from your Mac, put it in a Browser on your VM if you really have some crappy websites that still make use of that dinosaur.

Finally, use common sense. 'I love you' emails with an attachments from unknown source are to be deleted, not opened.
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T'hain Esh Kelch

macrumors 603
Aug 5, 2001
There are no viruses in the wild for OSX. So unless you share work with Windows machines, there's no need for antivirus.

Malware on the other hand, that can happen. But it is rare, if you just think when you are online.


macrumors G4
As ever very much dependent on your usage/workflow;

As someone who relies on their Mac`s for a living absolutely yes I believe OS X does require protection above and beyond what Apple offers, I see the same question, same rhetoric, over and over;

There are many reasons to run antivirus/malware detection on OS X especially if you are dealing with mixed environments. Passing on malicious code, even inadvertently will do you no favours in a professional environment, let alone your family and friends. What does not hurt OS X may well bring a Windows based system to it`s knees. By far the vast majority of companies that you may potentially work with, or interact with will require a level of antivirus protection, regardless of platform.

You do need to be careful on the choice of application; perviously I ran ClamXav (now a paid app) as the app is extremely light and only looks in realtime at what you specify, equally time has moved on and ClamXav has remained rather static. I now use Avast. Same scenario no impact to performance with a greater scope of realtime protection. Does anyone seriously still believe that running Avast or ClamXav on today`s modern hardware impacts performance? The paid packages I agree are unnecessary on OS X, as the free alternatives are currently perfectly adequate.

Avast or ClamXav will have no impact on a modern Intel based Mac. To have a free, low headroom, accurate scanner and not utilise it, is somewhat stubborn at the very best. The retorts of AV being a resource hog, boils down to one thing, research; Avast or ClamXav will not bog your system down. If it does your system either has other inconsistencies that need addressing, or your hardware is so old it`s well and truly time to upgrade. On my Early 2008 15” 2.4 MBP Avast is simply invisible, there is absolutely no degradation of performance, as for the 13" and 15" Retina`s and now the new 12" Retina MacBook Avast is transparent, same applies to the rest of the Mac`s we own, used professionally and at home.

I have literally decades of work on my systems, and have no intention of losing any data, or suffering any downtime. Antivirus is but one tool in a multilayered security safety net. Lets face it, if and when OS X is compromised it will spread like wildfire, as many fundamentally believe that OS X is invulnerable, then it will be “all over, bar the shouting". I am not entirely sure posts that overly reinforce this false sense of security are remotely helpful to the average user. Even Apple recognises the security threat, however the updates are too slow to be considered a truly preventative measure. As of OS X 10.6 your Mac is running anti malware like it or not courtesy of Apple`s xProtect... Virus/Malware gains traction by exploiting vulnerabilities on unprotected systems. I don't believe for one second that any antivirus/malware detection application is the single security solution for OS X, it is however one of many effective barriers.

I have never had a positive virus hit in all the years I have run drive scans with ClamXav and now Avast, equally I have observed malicious code blocked by Avast`s Web Shield, and removed malware from others systems. OS X is gaining ever more traction and it`s simply a matter of time before someone figures it out, thinking otherwise is simply naive. Avast costs me nothing monetarily, nor time in productivity. This is a safety net that costs little more than a few minutes of your time period.

For those who don't want or need an "active" solution, try Bitdefender Antivirus Scanner from the App store; it`s free, nonintrusive, and runs only when you want it to. The scanner does not offer much in the line of protection being very much an on demand tool, equally for the majority of OS X users, most just want to validate that the drive is free of malicious code be it related to OS X or Windows. Where Bitdefender`s Scanner excels is detection & simplicity having no daemons or start up agents etc.

You get Bitdefender`s top notch detection in a basic package that you control, however this is not for those who are looking for a set & forget solution, as all scans are manual, and updates only occur when you open the application. That being said an Apple Script, Calendar can easily trigger the application at a given interval. The scanner learns and only scans new & modified files, so in general running a scan for malicious code is swift & painless, once the first pass is competed. Custom scans and Drag & Drop area all present.

Depending on usage/workflow an "active" Malware application is not always the best solution, and there is also the argument that such "active" solutions can be a double-edged sword potentially increasing the "attack surface" against sophisticated threats. Security is very much a multifaceted beast, malware prevention/detection is for both OS X & Windows just one aspect, which is always worth thinking on

There are many compelling reasons to run Avast, Bitdefender or similar, and few if any not too. Personal choices aside I fundamentally believe that suggesting that OS X is 100% safe to all and does not need such tools is very much a step in the wrong direction; not all are technically minded, neither do all users who may have access to systems follow safe computing rules and guidelines. The vast majority simply point and click to get to where or what they want, Avast or ClamXav simply serves as a barrier to protect those that are unaware, and some cases unconcerned, ultimately such safeguards protect the community as a whole.

I also recommend that people install Malwarebytes for Mac, as has been frequently stated malicious code is ever evolving and we as a community should be equally fluid.

A significant aspect for those of us who rely on our Mac`s for income is downtime; spending hours tracking down malicious code is simply a negative financially to me, as ever prevention is far more effective than cure. In the field should my hardware fail to perform due to a software issue, it can cost me up to and above the price of the Notebook in use, for everyday it`s down, the math is simple.

Install, don’t install it`s down to you...

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macrumors regular
Jan 17, 2005
I've never had anti-virus software on any of my personal Macs. My company Mac, differrent story. Anti-virus is a requirement. Same for my son's college he'll be attending in the fall. I need to install anti-virus software on the new MBP I'll be purchasing for him.


macrumors 68020
Sep 7, 2007
My experiences with anti virus for the mac is that the anti virus programs themselves are super intrusive, pushing for sales, and don't actually do any better than apple's internal check. They're as terrible as a malware program they're trying to fight. I feel much 'safer' with apps like Little Snitch, even though that's just a firewall. I scan with a new app once a year, and since 2004 they've never found anything. And it takes me a lot of time to get rid of the anti virus app again.


macrumors 601
Jun 8, 2007
OK, thanks @Ulenspiegel … I found leading to for Reed, I didn't realise that he had joined Malwarebytes. Around the time of I disliked the dismissive attitudes, but he had no argument with the correction at so I forgive him :)

A scan of pre-release Sierra with signatures version 88 took thirty-five minutes. Unusually slow because the OS is on a hard disk drive connected via USB 2.0.


macrumors 68040
Nov 8, 2014
Land of Flanders and Elsewhere
In one of the Threads I had a chance to talk to Reed and raised the problem of scan time as it is much longer with the newer version(s).
He said it checks more etc., so it can be considered normal.
Whatever, I don't have any intention to use a different software.
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macrumors 68000
Nov 26, 2014
My experiences with anti virus for the mac is that the anti virus programs themselves are super intrusive, pushing for sales, and don't actually do any better than apple's internal check. They're as terrible as a malware program they're trying to fight. I feel much 'safer' with apps like Little Snitch, even though that's just a firewall. I scan with a new app once a year, and since 2004 they've never found anything. And it takes me a lot of time to get rid of the anti virus app again.

My experiences with anti-virus programs on Windows (like Norton and McAfee) soured me to using them years ago. Not only were those programs bloated resource hogs, but the only times I remember my computers actually getting viruses is while they were running, and they always failed to remove the threats. It was Malwarbytes for Windows that saved my computer every time, so that's what I started using in conjunction with a firewall, Adblocks, and just learning from past and being more careful going forward..and I've had no issues since.

My point regarding my Windows experience is that not all anti-virus programs are created equal, and some of them seem to do a computer more harm than good.

I agree that whether or not you need anti-virus on the Mac depends on your usage. I don't download torrents or much of anything beyond software programs from trusted developers and the occasional email attachment. I don't use Flash on the Mac, I use an Adblock while browsing, and I also use a program called CCleaner (mostly to free up unnecessary SSD space being taken up from temporary files), which keeps my browser cache and cookies thoroughly cleared. And of course we have a firewall.

Malwarebytes for Mac is an lighter free program and doesn't require the constant real-time protection you would want/need on Windows. It still updates definitions for Macs every time it opens, and I usually run a scan at least once a week. I recommend it.
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macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 1, 2016
waaaaww in this conclusion, i don't have to have an AV:) thank you very much for all the answer, very helpful ;)
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