Malwarebytes for Mac Premium review (2023)

Tom's Guide Verdict

Unproven and lacking in special features, Malwarebytes for Mac Premium makes it hard to recommend spending money on it.

Pros

  • +

    Easy-to-use design

  • +

    Super-fast scans

  • +

    Low system impact

Cons

  • -

    No special features

  • -

    Untested antivirus security

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Malwarebytes' free app for macOS has been a suitable way to clean malware out of your MacBook since 2015, but does its paid version offer enough to make you want to plunk down cash?

(Video) Malwarebytes - FULL TUTORIAL! BEST Anti-Malware for Mac

While it offers the standard features of any decent antivirus suite, Malwarebytes' detection skills have not been independently verified, and other Mac antivirus products provide a lower system impact.

Malwarebytes' best feature is a superfast system scan, the quickest in the field. But due to the lack of independent test results, we can't include it among the best Mac antivirus software.

Malwarebytes for Mac Premium: Costs and what's covered

Malwarebytes for Mac Premium costs $39.99 per year for a single system and runs on macOS 10.10 Yosemite or later. Additional system licenses are available for $10 per year each, up to 10 licenses total.

You'll get a 14-day trial of Malwarebytes for Mac Premium when you download and install the free Malwarebytes for Mac. The latter program is a terrific cleanup tool, but don't count on it to prevent malware infection – it simply removes adware, malware and potentially unwanted programs that have already made it onto your Mac.

Malwarebytes for Mac Premium: Antivirus protection

Malwarebytes for Mac, free or Premium, uses rule-based detection tactics to hunt down malware, looking for specific characteristics and behaviors of malicious software. It also uses traditional signature-based malware scans.

Malwarebytes for Mac Premium: Antivirus detection

Neither of the independent antivirus testing labs whose results we normally rely on, AV-Test (opens in new tab) (in Germany) and AV-Comparatives (opens in new tab) (in Austria), have tested Malwarebytes for Mac Premium since at least the middle of 2017.

Avast Free Mac Security, Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac and Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac tied for 100% on AV-Comparatives' June 2019 tests, while Avast, Bitdefender, Kaspersky and Norton 360 Deluxe all earned 100% marks on AV-Test's April/May 2019 Mac study.

MORE: Best Antivirus

Malwarebytes for Mac Premium review (1)

Malwarebytes for Mac Premium: Security and privacy features

Malwarebytes for Mac Premium keeps things simple and standard, with a no-frills package that's focused on fighting malware. That means it's missing the search-monitoring browser extensions you get with other solutions, the email-monitoring in Avast and the parental controls of Kaspersky.

Personally, I find that OK, as I don't need anything more, and all that other stuff always feels like overkill. But if you're looking for Malwarebytes to keep someone else's system safe, and they're not tech-savvy, this may not be enough.

Malwarebytes for Mac Premium: Performance and system impact

Malwarebytes for Mac Premium created a medium-size impact on system performance, which we assess by running our custom Excel VLOOKUP benchmark test that matches 60,000 names and addresses on a spreadsheet. Our test machine was a 2017 MacBook Air with a 1.8-GHz Intel Core i5 CPU and approximately 54GB of data stored on a 128GB SSD.

With Malwarebytes for Mac Premium installed on our MacBook, and no active scans running, the VLOOKUP test finished in an average of 3 minutes and 40 seconds, 5 seconds more than without any antivirus software installed. That's a passive system hit of 2%, which may be hard to notice.

(Video) Malwarebytes | Real test: does the free version offer enough protection?

Still, other antivirus products' passive system impacts ranged from 5% (Sophos Home Premium) to zero percent (Bitdefender), placing Malwarebytes in the middle of the spectrum. Still, this is overall great news for Mac users: Most of the time, you'll never notice that you've got antivirus software running.

MORE: Best Free Antivirus

You would be more likely to notice the slowdowns created by Malwarebytes' active scans. During full-system scans, the VLOOKUP test finished in an average of 4 minutes and 41 seconds, for a sizable performance dip of 31 percent. That's not as bad as McAfee AntiVirus Plus' 47% fall (the worst offender), although it wasn't as good as Sophos' 7% full-scan system hit.

Malwarebytes' full-scan completion time is a shockingly short 16 seconds, almost 3 hours less than Sophos' 2-hour and 56-minute time, and also shorter than middle-of-the-pack entrants like Kaspersky (41:20) and Norton (25:49). This is likely due to the program indexing the system and analyzing only files that have changed since the previous scan.

Malwarebytes for Mac Premium: Interface

Malwarebytes for Mac Premium is a well-laid-out app that places scan buttons up front for ease of use. Whether you click its menu-bar icon or open the app itself, Scan Now is immediately presented as an option, which isn't always the case with other programs.

Malwarebytes for Mac Premium review (2)

The main window of the Malwarebytes app presents your current status. A big green check mark and a message confirming "You're protected" signals that everything is OK.

Malwarebytes for Mac Premium review (3)

A side menu provides easy-to-read details such as the most recent scan time and confirmation that the program has downloaded the latest info on potential malware. Even better, a click of each option automatically refreshes each check. Below that, you get direct access to scheduling scans.

Malwarebytes for Mac Premium review (4)

On the left, much like most antivirus apps, you'll see a menu with the standard sections. Scan shows you the results of your last scan, Quarantine shows you any files Malwarebytes isolates for your protection and Reports is a running list of scans and other changes.

Malwarebytes for Mac Premium review (5)

(Video) Malwarebytes vs Norton review | Which antivirus is better?

Under Settings, you can change the default option for dealing with potentially unwanted programs — such as adware — as it defaults to slamming offenders in the Quarantine.

Malwarebytes for Mac Premium: Installation and support

To install Malwarebytes for Mac Premium, you open https://www.malwarebytes.com/mac/ (opens in new tab) and click Free Download. After its installer file lands on your system, and you click through the normal process, you'll get prompted to click through a few buttons in the Security section of System Preferences to grant Malwarebytes access to your system.

Malwarebytes for Mac Premium review (6)

After you've installed the system, you get a 14-day trial of Premium with the option to pay and upgrade at any time during that period. If you don't, you won't retain the ability to keep your system safe with Malwarebytes' passive antivirus scanning — you'll retain only the option to run on-demand scans.

Malwarebytes for Mac Premium review (7)

The free version of Malwarebytes for Mac makes a nice complement to other brands of antivirus software, as it won't conflict with them and will often find adware or unwanted (but legal) software that other products may ignore.

Malwarebytes doesn't require that you restart your system after installation, and the whole process took a couple of minutes, which is standard.

Malwarebytes provides tech support via live chat, available from Monday through Friday, from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time. It doesn't offer paid phone support.

Malwarebytes for Mac Premium review (8)

Malwarebytes for Mac Premium review: Bottom line

Malwarebytes for Mac Premium provides a lot of what we like — such as fast scans and low system impact — but it still feels incomplete. Other paid offerings offer special features such as parental controls or email protection, whereas Malwarebytes just scans, and even there, its protection against malware is unproven.

Our advice: Let the 14-day trial period run out and keep the free Malwarebytes for Mac to work with another brand's antivirus software. Overall, Malwarebytes for Mac Premium is an option for those looking for a hands-off solution, but Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac is the best Mac antivirus program, free or paid.

(Video) Malwarebytes 2022: Test vs Malware

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Malwarebytes for Mac Premium review (9)

Henry T. Casey

Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.

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    (Video) Malwarebytes Premium Test & Review 2022 - Antivirus Security Review - Protection Test

    FAQs

    Is Malwarebytes for Mac trustworthy? ›

    Is Malwarebytes safe? Whenever you entrust your Mac's security to an anti-malware program, you should take a minute to consider whether that software is safe to use. With Malwarebytes, you have nothing to worry about, as it's completely safe for your Mac.

    Does Malwarebytes Premium work for Mac? ›

    The premium edition of Malwarebytes for Mac scans for active malware and uses real-time detection to prevent infestation.

    Is Malwarebytes Premium worth paying for? ›

    Is Malwarebytes worth paying for? If you're already using Malwarebytes Free, upgrading to Malwarebytes Premium is worth it. The free version allows you to run scans, but it doesn't include real-time protection against new malware.

    What is the difference between Malwarebytes free and premium Mac? ›

    What's the difference between free Malwarebytes and Malwarebytes Premium? Malwarebytes free version will clean malware from your Windows PC or Mac computer. Malwarebytes Premium gives you real-time protection against malware, ransomware, and other online threats.

    Why is Malwarebytes blocking Google? ›

    The anti-malware software MalwareBytes may block certain websites if they are associated with an IP address that is known to contain malicious content.

    Which is better Norton or Malwarebytes? ›

    The only difference of results was in terms of protection – while Norton scored 100% in detecting zero-day malware, Malwarebytes had some fluctuations. During September, 2021, its score was 99.5%, but went down to 98.5% the following month.

    Does Malwarebytes remove viruses Mac? ›

    Scanning your computer helps detect and remove malware, viruses, trojans, and other potentially unwanted items. If you have Malwarebytes on a Mac device, we recommend scanning your computer at least once a week, even if you have Real-Time Protection turned On.

    Does Mac have built in virus scan? ›

    The technically sophisticated runtime protections in macOS work at the very core of your Mac to keep your system safe from malware. This starts with state-of-the-art antivirus software built in to block and remove malware.

    Do you need virus protection on a Mac? ›

    In short, yes, you do need antivirus for your Mac. Mac computers are not immune to viruses, and other malware and Mac-targeted attacks are increasingly prevalent. Following best practices for securing your device and using built-in security features can help, but antivirus software can protect your device even further.

    Does Malwarebytes Premium detect spyware? ›

    The premium version of Malwarebytes features automatic spyware removal so your security and privacy are protected now and into the future.

    Can Malwarebytes detect Trojans? ›

    There are many free antivirus and anti-malware programs—including our own products for Windows, Android, and Mac—which detect and remove adware and malware. In fact, Malwarebytes detects all known Trojans and more, since 80% of Trojan detection is done by heuristic analysis.

    Is Malwarebytes good enough on its own? ›

    Is Malwarebytes good, and worth the money? Malwarebytes is a decent antivirus tool. In comparison to its previous versions, it has greatly improved in terms of performance and virus detection rates. The current version will surely protect your device even from zero-day threats.

    What happens when Malwarebytes Premium trial ends? ›

    When the Premium Trial has been deactivated, you can continue to use the free version of Malwarebytes for Windows to scan your computer for malware and disinfect your device after an attack.

    Does Malwarebytes Premium remove viruses? ›

    Download it now to detect and remove all kinds of malware like viruses, spyware, and other advanced threats. To keep your device protected after your initial malware scan and removal, we recommend Malwarebytes Premium for Windows and Mac, and our mobile security apps on Android and iOS.

    Is Malwarebytes Premium better than McAfee? ›

    For comprehensive online security, go with McAfee. Malwarebytes is easier to use and cheaper. It offers minimalistic but essential malware protection. If that's all you need in 2023, go with Malwarebytes.

    Does Malwarebytes get rid of everything? ›

    Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free uses industry-leading technology to detect and remove all traces of malware, including worms, Trojans, rootkits, rogues, dialers, spyware, and more. It is important to note that Malwarebytes Anti-Malware works well and should run alongside antivirus software without conflicts.

    Can Malwarebytes not detect a virus? ›

    Malwarebytes can detect and remove Virus infections without further user interaction. Please download Malwarebytes to your desktop.

    What country owns Malwarebytes? ›

    Malwarebytes Inc. is an American Internet security company that specializes in protecting home computers, smartphones, and companies from malware and other threats.

    Should I trust Malwarebytes? ›

    Yes, Malwarebytes is safe.

    It has a decent antivirus scanner, multiple layers of real-time protection against malware, system vulnerabilities, and online threats, and a browser extension that blocks phishing and malicious sites.

    Is there a better program than Malwarebytes? ›

    MalwareFox Antimalware is one of the best alternative for Malwarebytes. It is simple yet advanced malware removal and threat protection tool. You get same level of security at lower cost. MalwareFox can detect and remove malware that even the most well known anti-virus and anti-malware applications fail.

    Do I need Malwarebytes as well as Norton? ›

    Norton has better malware protection, web security, features, and customer support. If you want the best antivirus suite in 2023, go with Norton. Malwarebytes is better for ease of use. If you're only after a basic antivirus with essential protections, then go with Malwarebytes.

    Is Malwarebytes the same as clean my Mac? ›

    CleanMyMac X and Malwarebytes hardly fit in the same category. Malwarebytes is a dedicated antivirus tool, whereas CleanMyMac X is an all-round problem fixer for Mac. Each app looks strong in its own domain. For example, CleanMyMac X is often praised for its effective uninstaller and junk-deletion tools.

    What is the cost of Malwarebytes for Mac? ›

    Malwarebytes Free: No cost with limited features. Malwarebytes Premium: $39.99 a year for one device or $79.99 for five devices. Malwarebytes Premium + Privacy: $99.99 annually for five devices.

    Can Apple Macbook be hacked? ›

    The truth is that Macs can be hacked, and they are not immune to malware threats. One of the biggest reasons why Windows PCs are more frequently targeted than MacBooks is market share. As of 2022, Windows had a global market share of 76% in the operating systems for the desktop market, compared to about 15% for macOS.

    How can I scan my Mac for viruses without antivirus? ›

    Check Activity Monitor for Mac malware

    If you suspect your Mac has been infected with a virus, one of the best places to look is Activity Monitor. Here, you'll be able to see background processes and apps that are running – including malware.

    What is the default antivirus on Mac? ›

    Do Macs Have Built-in Antivirus Software? Since 2009, Apple has included XProtect, Apple's proprietary antivirus software, on all Macs. XProtect scans all applications and files for viruses and malware using a database of threats that Apple updates daily.

    How can you tell if a Mac is a suspicious process? ›

    Look for any suspicious processes that are running on your Mac
    1. On the menu bar, click Go, and then select Utilities.
    2. Double-click Activity Monitor.
    3. Review the list for any processes that look suspicious to investigate further.
    Mar 3, 2022

    Does Mac automatically remove virus? ›

    XProtect. macOS includes built-in antivirus technology called XProtect for the signature-based detection and removal of malware. The system uses YARA signatures, a tool used to conduct signature-based detection of malware, which Apple updates regularly.

    What happens if my Mac gets a virus? ›

    Pop-up ads will show up on screen, even when you are not browsing the internet. Unexpected slowdown: This is a huge tell-tale sign. If your Mac is slowing down and you see no reason for this happening, there is a possibility that you have unknowingly installed malware on your system.

    Does Malwarebytes hide your IP address? ›

    It secures your WiFi connections at speeds faster than traditional VPNs so it won't slow you down when you're gaming or browsing the Internet. Malwarebytes Privacy uses stealthy VPN tunneling technology to safeguard your personal information and help you stay anonymous while using the web.

    Does Malwarebytes Premium block ads? ›

    Malwarebytes Browser Guard not only blocks ads and trackers, it gives you an additional layer of security for your web browser.

    What is the difference between Malwarebytes free and premium? ›

    The free Malwarebytes scanner is popular for its ability to clean up tough infestations, but it offers no real-time protection. Malwarebytes Premium is a full-blown antivirus that packs many layers of protection against malicious attacks, some of which aren't common in competing products.

    How many computers does Malwarebytes Premium good for? ›

    NOTICE - Lifetime licenses, while they have no expiration date, are only valid for use on 1 Windows device at a time. Free up a license seat by deactivating it on one device and activating it on another device. See Transfer or Deactivate Malwarebytes Premium license‌ for more information.

    Will Malwarebytes find all malware? ›

    Does Malwarebytes remove all malware? Yes, the best virus scanner will be both a virus removal tool and an anti-malware program such as Malwarebytes for Windows, Malwarebytes for Mac, Malwarebytes for Android, or Malwarebytes for Chromebook.

    What is the number 1 antivirus software in the world today? ›

    To help protect your Windows 11 or Windows 10 computer, here's our rating of the Best Antivirus Software of 2023:
    • #1 Bitdefender.
    • #2 Norton.
    • #3 Kaspersky.
    • #4 ESET.
    • #5 Webroot.
    • #5 Avast.
    • #5 McAfee.
    • #5 Trend Micro.

    Can Malwarebytes be trusted? ›

    Yes, Malwarebytes is safe.

    It has a decent antivirus scanner, multiple layers of real-time protection against malware, system vulnerabilities, and online threats, and a browser extension that blocks phishing and malicious sites.

    Is Malwarebytes a trusted site? ›

    Is Malwarebytes legit? YES. Malwarebytes is an award-winning, trusted provider of cybersecurity protection software and services to millions of customers.

    Should I get malware protection Mac? ›

    In short, yes, you do need antivirus for your Mac. Mac computers are not immune to viruses, and other malware and Mac-targeted attacks are increasingly prevalent. Following best practices for securing your device and using built-in security features can help, but antivirus software can protect your device even further.

    Does Malwarebytes actually remove malware? ›

    Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free uses industry-leading technology to detect and remove all traces of malware, including worms, Trojans, rootkits, rogues, dialers, spyware, and more. It is important to note that Malwarebytes Anti-Malware works well and should run alongside antivirus software without conflicts.

    Can Malwarebytes remove Trojans? ›

    Malwarebytes Premium will initiate a scan for Trojans and then remove Trojans so they can't cause further damage.

    Do I need antivirus if I have Malwarebytes? ›

    Malwarebytes is a complete antivirus alternative. We use a comprehensive solution, with advanced technologies like anomaly detection, behavioral analysis, and application hardening to crush viruses and other types of malware.

    Do I really need Malwarebytes? ›

    Keep It in Your Toolbox

    If you carry a thumb drive full of security tools, do include Malwarebytes. But remember, it offers no real-time protection, so it can't help you with ransomware. Use it along with Bitdefender, Kaspersky, Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus, or another antivirus that provides real-time protection.

    What is better AVG or Malwarebytes? ›

    Yet, Malwarebytes is a slightly better service than AVG. As a whole, Malwarebytes offers all the features that are essential to an antivirus at a very affordable price, yet it doesn't have as many features as AVG. Beyond that, Malwarebytes included more support options that you don't need to pay for additionally.

    Can a Mac get infected with malware? ›

    Yes, Macs can get viruses and other forms of malware. And while Mac viruses are less common than PC malware, the built-in security features of macOS aren't enough to protect Mac computers against all online threats.

    Can Macs be infected with malware? ›

    MacBooks, iMacs, and Mac Minis can all be infected by viruses and malware, and hackers can successfully attack them too.

    Do Macs need antivirus 2023? ›

    Macs have built-in antivirus and security software, but they aren't foolproof. Macs need third-party antivirus for total protection. Read our Bitdefender review , a top-rated software with 100-percent virus detection rate. Keeping macOS up-to-date helps patch security vulnerabilities.

    Are Macs safer from hackers? ›

    The truth is that Macs can be hacked, and they are not immune to malware threats. One of the biggest reasons why Windows PCs are more frequently targeted than MacBooks is market share. As of 2022, Windows had a global market share of 76% in the operating systems for the desktop market, compared to about 15% for macOS.

    How do I protect my Mac from malware? ›

    Protect your Mac from malware
    1. On your Mac, choose Apple menu > System Settings, then click Privacy & Security in the sidebar. (You may need to scroll down.) ...
    2. Go to Security, click the pop-up menu next to “Allow applications downloaded from,” then choose the sources from which you'll allow software to be installed:

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