As a IT pro, I hear lots of debate on the question, Do Macs get viruses? All too often, I’ve heard folks claim that Mac is safer because it can’t get viruses. And while it is true that Macs are infected less, your Apple device definitely still can become infected.
In this article, we’ll cover some research, best practices, and hopefully dispel the myth that Macs can’t get viruses.
Answer: Yes, your Mac can get a virus
Rule of thumb: If the computer connects to the internet, it can become infected. Period.
Therefore, if your Apple device is connected to the net, it can get infected. And, the rate of infections is climbing faster than you’d think. According to Malwarebytes, between 2016 and 2017, the rate of Mac infections jumped 270%. 270%!
While that is a big jump, what’s also true is that Windows computers do get infected more frequently than Mac. I think that this might be the root of the myth.
Why Windows computers get infected more
Here are some quick facts to help explain why Windows gets infected more:
- There are more Windows computers out there! According to Statcounter, as of February 2019, Windows has a whopping 74.44% market share. Compare that to OS X only having 13.22%!
- Software is more limited on Mac
- There are fewer viruses / malware made for Mac (likely because there are less Macs on the market)
- Mac allows for less customizations
Should you have antivirus software?
This is also where some more debate happens. There are typically two schools of thought:
Even though antivirus software takes up resources on my computer, I’m going to run it just in case. Better safe than sorry!
Rates of infection are still pretty low, so I’d rather not have extra software bloating my machine.
What’s my take?
I think both are equally valid points of view. However, I subscribe to school-of-thought 2.
I’m primarily a Windows user and I don’t run any third-party antivirus software. All I run is Windows Defender (which comes packaged with Windows 10). I’d rather not have antivirus software sucking up my system’s resources. And, frankly, I can remove an infection if I get one.
What if I’m an option 1 person?
I don’t blame you! I get the better safe than sorry viewpoint, for sure.
In that case, I recommend Avast for Mac. In my 10+ years a computer repair tech, Avast has been the best, most consistent antivirus program on the market.
Plus, it’s free. There is a paid option, but you don’t need it!
Let me say that another way: IF YOU’RE PAYING FOR ANTIVIRUS AT ALL, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG.
Avast will prompt you from time to time to upgrade to the pro version. You. Don’t. Need. It. Stick with the free version and you’re all set!
The bottom line: Do Macs get viruses?
- Yes, Mac computers can be infected with viruses
- I don’t use third-party antivirus software on my computer. However…
- I recommend Avast if you prefer to keep some installed!