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An in-depth look at Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac

You really can’t go wrong with Bitdefender. Not only does it have outstanding malware detection, but it doesn’t interfere with performance.

Adequate malware detection is crucial for the safety of your system and your information, which is why choosing the right software to use is such an important decision. Bitdefender is one of the top antivirus currently on the market. Backed up with Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac, it provides top-of-the-line protection and guards your system against ransomware.

Below, you’ll find an in-depth review of Bitdefender, including what you can expect to pay and a look at all it has to offer. By the end, you’ll understand why it is our top choice for Mac antivirus software.

Price and What’s Covered

Currently, the list price for Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac is a low $39.99 each year, though you can get three Macs covered for the reduced price of $59.99 per year. You have the option of subscribing for multiple years and may receive additional discounts.

Your purchase includes the VPN client software, along with as much as 200MB of VPN-data traffic per day (per device). For unlimited data and the opportunity to log in to certain VPN servers worldwide, you’ll want to upgrade to Bitdefender’s Premium VPN service. This costs an additional $40 per year.

bitdefender

Image: Bitdefender

Bitdefender’s TrafficLight browser extension is also included for free. It assesses search results from Firefox, Safari, and Chrome and lets you know if they are safe to open. A green light means the site is safe, while yellow and red mean that you should be very cautious if you decide to proceed.

Bitdefender supports Macs macOS 10.10 Yosemite or later, as long as there is at least 1GB of available storage.

Top Tier Security

Utilizing traditional signature-based detection, Bitdefender is able to keep Macs free of malware. To do this, it unpacks file formats that are specific to Mac and scans them for potentially malicious content. Simultaneously, it uses its artificial intelligence system to take lessons from its user base to train its software.

Unopened ZIP files are scanned, and Bitdefender can detect PC malware and stop it from spreading. Scans can be run on-demand, but this is rarely necessary as it is constantly performing scanning in the background.

Image: Bitdefender

In July 2019, performance tests were performed by the Austrian AV-Comparatives independent testing lab and the German-based AV-Test in April and May 2019. In all tests, Bitdefender was able to stop 100% of malware.

Bitdefender gives you the chance to identify certain folders for its Safe Files ransomware protection. This prevents rogue apps from encrypting them, while also keeping your Time Machine from encryption by ransomware.

Overall Performance and System Impact

On our test system, Bitdefender had very minimal impact on its performance. To assess performance, we ran our custom Excel VLOOKUP benchmark test. This matches 60,000 addresses and names on a spreadsheet. For testing purposes, we use a 2018 MacBook Air with a 1.8-GHz Intel Core i5 CPU. Around 56GB of data is stored on the 128GB SSD.

When installed on our MacBook, but not running any active scans, our VLOOKUP test was completed in 3 minutes and 37 seconds. This is exactly how long the test takes when no antivirus software is installed. This is a 0% difference, which is the absolute lowest we’ve found. In other words, when using Bitdefender, you shouldn’t even realize that the antivirus software is running.

You will, however, notice a slight slowdown during active scans. During our full-system scans, the VLOOKUP test was completed in 4 minutes and 38 seconds, a 23% decrease in time.

When performing its Quick Scan, Bitdefender causes the greatest slowdown. Our test was completed after 4 minutes and 53 seconds, a 34% decrease.

When it came to full-scan completion time, 4 minutes and 25 seconds was how long it took to complete the test, which is definitely on the shorter side for most antivirus software.

Using Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac

Bitdefender’s interface allows you to see your status and perform actions with minimal clicks easily. On the home screen, you can check your status, gain one-click access to scans, and look at any recommended actions for your personal security.

A pyramid-style format is used. At the top, you’ll see preventive steps, with scans right below. Other features are at the bottom of the pyramid. The interface is bright and has white and light-gray backgrounds that are easy to see.

You’ll find System Scan and Quick Scan buttons on the main window. Simply clicking the buttons starts the scan.

Bitdefender

Image: Bitdefender

If you go under the Protection tab, you’ll see additional controls for anti-ransomware and scans, as well as links for setting up Traffic Light browser protections. The Privacy tab opens the Bitdefender VPN.

Preferences can be found in the bottom left corner. Here, you’ll find a Bitdefender Shield toggle that allows you to disable active system scans, as well as scan new and modified files. One of the default settings allows for scanning backups. You have the ability to change default actions for any suspicious or infected items. This will either disinfect or quarantine them.

Installing Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac

Installation is a simple process that usually takes around 2 minutes and doesn’t require a restart. After completing your purchase, sign in to your online Bitdefender Central account. Click Install Protection, followed by Protect this Device. Double-click the .PKG file to download and then follow the instructions as they appear on the screen.

During installation, you will receive a notification asking you to go into your system preferences and allow Bitdefender security access. This is the result of changes made in macOS that require all users to provide consent to high-level access rights to any utility performing system activities.

The Bitdefender VPN icon will be visible on your menu bar after installation, which can be annoying. You can leave it or opt to remove it. To do this, click on the icon, select Settings, and turn off Bitdefender VPN at log in.

Technical Support

The easiest way to quickly access technical support is by visiting https://www.bitdefender.com/consumer/support. Then, select from the email, chat, forum, or call options.

24/7 technical support is free for all paying customers in the US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Romania, and the UK. Users in Brazil, the Netherlands, Japan, Italy, and several other regions are also eligible for technical support.

Final Thoughts

You really can’t go wrong with Bitdefender. Not only does it have outstanding malware detection, but it doesn’t interfere with performance, and it also identifies PC malware to prevent it from spreading further. Even better, system-protection scanning is performed in the background, and you also have the option of on-demand scans. It’s a great choice for securing your Mac.

Our only suggestion would be to make it a little easier to find phone support. However, that’s not enough to make us change our minds. Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac is the top Mac antivirus program available.

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