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Default Antivirus Software On Mac: Latest 2024 Update

Antivirus software

Antivirus software is pre-installed on Windows PCs to shield them from the numerous threats they need to fight off, but what about your Mac? Since Antivirus software on Macs wasn’t necessary, according to popular belief, they didn’t receive viruses. That isn’t always the case, though.

Hackers have become increasingly aware of the Mac as a result of its increasing popularity, as they seek to take advantage of the users’ generally laxer security practices. 

We need to know if Macs are truly safer than Windows PCs in light of the increase in malware threats. This is still true as of right now since there are a lot more risks to Microsoft’s operating system than there are to Macs, but it doesn’t imply Macs are safe from assault. 

However, Apple has been keeping an eye on this trend and has included its own malware and antivirus software on macOS, which instantly prevent any hostile or malicious applications. Here’s a brief explanation of how macOS keeps you safe, along with some more tips for securing your Mac. 

Preinstalled Antivirus Software on Macs? 

Antivirus software on mac

Though it may not be readily obvious, XProtect and Gatekeeper are among the primary antivirus software on macs that are installed.


XProtect looks for potentially malicious software by scanning every application on your computer against an updated list of malware that Apple maintains. Everything runs smoothly in the background and doesn’t need to be configured because it is turned on by default.

Aside from the fact that it’s free, one of its key benefits is that, as it is integrated into the operating system, its performance impact is minimal. 

While opening a file that is on XProtect’s warning list often results in a warning message informing you that the file may be malware, that is the only way you will interact with the program. If you see this warning, remove the file right away since there’s a strong likelihood it contains hazardous content. 

Apple updates XProtect frequently (all in the background), and it offers a strong defense against malware attacks. However, compared to XProtect, certain third-party antivirus programs offer a greater range of malware protection and receive more frequent updates.


You have probably come across the second layer of security when using your Mac. As the name implies, Gatekeeper prevents any unapproved software from being installed on your system.

Though Gatekeeper does offer some granular settings, you can restrict what can be installed on your Mac to only apps from the Mac App Store or to third-party apps that have the necessary digital signature.

Sometimes you might want the latter because some software companies provide many features for their programs when you download them straight from their websites. 

The following procedures can be used in macOS to modify these settings: 

  • Go into System Preferences. 
  • Select Security & Privacy. 
  • Navigate to the section on security.
  • Select App Store or App Store and Identified Developers. 

Is There a Virus Scanner on Apple?

Basically, Apple’s virus scan function exists, but it operates in the background and cannot be manually configured to search for viruses on your Mac. 

XProtect will remove any Mac viruses that are present in the database that Apple utilizes, but it might not detect the most recent malware, and it might not stop you from harming PC users with Windows viruses.

Is It Appropriate to Utilize Third-Party Antivirus Software on Mac?

Although XProtect and Gatekeeper are reliable tools for preventing viruses and malware from corrupting your Mac, some third-party antivirus software on mac offer additional capabilities that may be quite helpful if you frequently download and install a large number of programs from different sources.

These consist of a longer inventory of firewalls, real-time monitoring, potential threats, more frequent upgrades, anti-ransomware protection, and more advantages. Installing antivirus software on Mac can also help you prevent PC malware from unsuspectingly passing on to friends and colleagues.

This will be overkill for most individuals, but security is something you should never take lightly. Intego’s Mac Internet Security X9 is one of the greatest all-around macOS solutions we’ve come across. We also suggest you to check out the top VPN for Mac to ensure that your data is secure when utilizing public Wi-Fi. 

Additionally, there are measures you can take to lessen the likelihood of infection, such as those described in 10 ways to protect your Mac from theft and malware and how to do a malware scan. If you’re worried that you might have already been hacked, you can investigate your options by using the macOS Lockdown function or consulting our article on how to determine whether your Mac has been hacked. 

As always, we advise backing up your Mac using Time Machine or one of the products included in top Mac backup software chart to avoid data loss in the worst-case situation. 

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