How to get rid of trojan virus on Mac

Discovering your Mac is infected with any kind of virus can be distressing. But there’s something about a trojan virus, the way it sneaks onto your computer by hiding in something that looks legitimate that makes it even more upsetting.

Trojan viruses are often concealed in a piece of software or movie file that you choose to download and that adds to the sense of frustration.

However, most trojans can be dealt with fairly easily and shouldn’t have a long-term effect on your Mac or your data.

What is a trojan virus?

A trojan virus, or to give it it’s full name, a Trojan Horse, is so-called because it’s a cyber equivalent of the Wooden Horse of Troy. In that case, the wooden horse was used to trick the defenders of Troy into allowing enemy soldiers behind the city walls. In the case of a trojan virus on your Mac, it tricks users into downloading the virus by hiding it in something that looks legitimate.

Trojans are often disguised as software updates, say, for Adobe Flash, or, worse, as anti-virus tools. One of the most pernicious types of trojan is linked to adware that displays a pop-up claiming your Mac has been infected and then takes you to a download for what is claimed to be an anti-virus tool, but which in itself is a virus.

The best trojan is a silent one

Some trojans can stay under the radar for many years before they reveal themselves. That’s exactly the story of Coldroot, a Mac virus of the remote-access type. Coldroot trojan remained undiscovered for two years and has stolen thousands of passwords around the world.

The most-reported Mac trojans in 2021

The GravityRAT Trojan
This virus infects Office documents and secretly logs keyboard strokes.

A scam advertising trojan disguised as a Flash Player Update message.


A Mac trojan spread via email phishing links. This malware completely seizes administrative rights on Mac.

How to know if you have a trojan virus on your Mac

Many of the symptoms of trojan horse viruses are the same as other types of virus. These include:

  • Your Mac starts behaving erratically and doing things you don’t expect.
  • Your Mac starts running very slowly as if something is hogging the processor.
  • You start seeing adverts on your desktop.

The telltale sign of a trojan virus, however, is that you discover software on your Mac that you didn’t intend to download. That could be an application in your Applications folder or an extension in the web browser you use.

How to remove a trojan virus from Mac

If you’ve spotted that your Mac behaves strangely, you need to perform a thorough malware scan. The best way to do it is to use a dedicated tool like CleanMyMac X. It's much better than ordinary trojan removers, as it can detect and neutralize thousands of threats, including adware, spyware, ransomware, worms, and more. You can download it for free here.

  1. Once you’ve downloaded the app, install it and then launch it from your Applications folder.
  2. Click on the Malware Removal tab.
  3. Click Scan and CleanMyMac X will start examining your Mac for malware, including worms, spyware, viruses, etc. 
  4. When the scan is done, click Remove.

Every trace of the malware will be removed from your Mac.

is megabackup a virus

How to protect your Mac from trojan viruses

The simplest way to make sure you don’t get a trojan virus on your Mac is to make sure you don’t download anything unless you’re absolutely sure what it is. That means don’t click on a link in an email unless you’re 100% certain where it leads to.

You should also heed warnings in web browsers when they tell you a site is suspected of being unsafe. Keep your Mac’s Firewall turned on and keep your Mac updated to the latest version of macOS.

When you download an application, and your Mac alerts you that you have done so and asks if you trust it and want to proceed, don’t just agree. Check the name of the application and make sure it’s what you thought you were downloading.

If you want to protect your Mac from trojan viruses and malware in real-time, CleanMyMac X can also prove useful. With its newest Malware Monitor feature, you can stay updated on anything that wants to creep into your Mac. Here’s how to enable real-time protection in CleanMyMac X:

  1. Open CleanMyMac X.
  2. From its menu on the top left, choose Preferences.
  3. In the window that appears, select Protection.
  4. Check the box next to Enable real-time protection. 

From now on, CleanMyMac X will run regular checks and notify you when malware is about to infect your Mac. 

Removing a trojan virus from a Mac isn’t too difficult, but as with any malware, it’s much better if you can prevent your Mac from downloading it in the first place. A little vigilance and common sense go a long way. And if you do need to remove an application, use an uninstaller like CleanMyMac to get rid of it completely.

Laptop with CleanMyMac
CleanMyMac X

Your Mac. As good as new.