What's the lightest anti-virus for macOS?

Steve.P.JobsFan

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 27, 2010
985
531
Columbus
I'm attending the University of Cincinnati this fall, and I'll be purchasing a new MacBook Pro sometime in July or August before I move in. However, their IT department requires you to have an anti-virus installed to connect to the campus network, and this applies to Macs too.

They suggest I use McAfee. *shudders*

I want the lightest AV possible, something that will use as few resources as possible. There is no reason to run an anti-virus on macOS, in my opinion, but I'm being forced to.

What should I look into? I was thinking something like Clamshell?
 

keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
9,536
25,262
I'd say Avast or Sophos are your best choices. Both are intuitive, simple, not resource hungry and don't pop up with messages every minute.
 

chscag

macrumors 68040
Feb 17, 2008
3,740
1,293
Fort Worth, Texas
10 Best AV programs for the Mac According to those ratings McAfee is the most effective. None of them are going to find a Mac virus anyway - because there aren't any. All any of them are going to do is identify Windows viruses that might be picked up by you from email or the like.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,661
6,848
My suggestion is to "install" a virus protection app, but then turn OFF most of it's operations.

It's unlikely you'll ever experience a problem.
But you'll still have the application "installed" to (cough) "meet the requirements".

BTW, one app I can HIGHLY recommend to monitor malware is "MalwareBytes Anti-Malware for Mac".
It's free.
 
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willmtaylor

macrumors G4
Oct 31, 2009
10,300
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Here(-ish)
I'm attending the University of Cincinnati this fall, and I'll be purchasing a new MacBook Pro sometime in July or August before I move in. However, their IT department requires you to have an anti-virus installed to connect to the campus network, and this applies to Macs too.

They suggest I use McAfee. *shudders*

I want the lightest AV possible, something that will use as few resources as possible. There is no reason to run an anti-virus on macOS, in my opinion, but I'm being forced to.

What should I look into? I was thinking something like Clamshell?
Here's a good rundown:
http://www.tomsguide.com/us/best-antivirus,review-2588-6.html

And this graphic actually answers your question:
IMG_8787.jpg
 

Booch21

macrumors regular
Oct 13, 2010
174
68
I've been running Sophos for several years with no issues. It's pretty transparent.
 

MC6800

macrumors 6502
Jun 29, 2016
368
126
I've been running XProtect-- no problems. Can't beat it for lightness since it's built in!
 

Ulenspiegel

macrumors 68040
Nov 8, 2014
3,151
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Land of Flanders and Elsewhere
Is malware a virus? I don't think so because it's not self replicating. Anyway, we know there is malware for the Mac, but viruses; none in the wild.
"Malware (short for “malicious software”) is considered an annoying or harmful type of software intended to secretly access a device without the user's knowledge. Types of malware include spyware, adware, phishing, viruses, trojan horses, worms, rootkits, ransomware and browser hijackers."
(Source)
"'Malware' is an umbrella term used to refer to a variety of forms of hostile or intrusive software, including computer viruses, worms, trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, adware, scareware, and other malicious programs."
(Source)
 
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TonyK

macrumors 65816
May 24, 2009
1,027
144
On my systems I use Clam and ClamXav. It monitors my email folders and my download folders. These are the entry points for malware and viruses though some could come in from instant messaging.

The first line of defense is between one's ears. Be skeptical of any link, any email, and any activity you did not initiate.

Then get the virus detector that meets your needs. In my Windows days I used Avast and some other scanner I can't recall the name of. Work has used Norton in various flavors and names. Avast did well by me in Windows and if I had to have one now for OS X it might be what I use if it weren't for Clam and ClamXav (ttp://www.ClamXav.com).

ClamXav now costs but when I last upgraded to 2.3.6 it was still free. Still $30 is not a lot and I may go ahead and purchase a license as I like and use it.
 
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hobowankenobi

macrumors 65816
Aug 27, 2015
1,335
406
on the land line mr. smith.
Another vote for Sophos Home.

I work at a CA University, and we run (required, site-wide license) Symantec on all our lab Macs. I DO NOT believe the zero impact score as published above. I find our lab machines do see an impact, primarily with longer log-in times. I haven't timed it, but the log-in time is notably longer once Symantec is installed and running.

OK...maybe it is zero once it is logged in, updates checked, and all up to date. But that log-in time hit is a PITA.
 
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chscag

macrumors 68040
Feb 17, 2008
3,740
1,293
Fort Worth, Texas
I likewise do not believe a zero impact score, however, with faster and faster flash storage and memory being used in the latest Macs, the impact is very low so as to not be noticeable.
 

Mcmeowmers

macrumors 6502
Jun 1, 2015
421
262
Installing will an AV will make your device less secure. Just don't install flash and use an admin password and common sense.
 
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