Malwarebytes review: Is it any good for your Mac?

It's a dangerous world out there, and it's no safer for your Mac. There's never been more harmful software floating around online, and it can secretly find its way onto your Mac. From spyware that attaches itself to your web browser and records your searches to keyloggers that watch everything you type, nothing is off-limits. 

Macs don't come out of the box with much protection against these harmful programs. That's why we've been looking for third-party malware protectors to ensure our Macs stay safe. Malwarebytes is one of the most trusted anti-malware tools out there. Before we dive into its features, here's a quick list of the app's pros and cons.

  • Fast malware scan
  • Real-time protection
  • Simple setup & easy to use interface
  • Low CPU usage                                
  • The Browser Guard extension may not be completely safe

Now let's look at what Malwarebytes offers regarding functionality and plans.

Malwarebytes review: Features and plans

Malwarebytes takes a multi-pronged approach to keep your Mac free of harmful software. Here’s a rundown of its features:


This is the app’s basic disk scan, which runs through your entire hard disk in search of harmful files. It’s quick and effective; my first-time scan made it through my disk in just a couple of minutes. This feature tallies threats as it discovers them, automatically sending them to the Quarantine menu for your review. 

Scheduled Scans

The Scheduled Scans feature allows you to create and automate custom scans. Whether you want a daily, weekly, or monthly scan, this tool lets you define what you want the app to do with the potentially unwanted files it finds, then works away in the background. It’s a great way to “set it and forget it” while still having confidence that your Mac is protected. 


Any item deemed threatening by Malwarebytes is automatically moved to the Quarantine zone. Quarantined items aren’t deleted entirely but any threat they pose to your Mac is neutralized. Of course, no malware scan is perfect, and files you want to keep may end up quarantined by mistake. If this happens, just click the “restore” button to remove it from Quarantine. 

Real-Time Protection

Available with the Premium version of the app, Real-Time Protection gives you an edge over security threats as they happen. Designed to counter ransomware and other instant threats you might encounter online, Real-Time Protection prevents malware from accessing your essential data stored on Mac.

App Block

The App Block is particularly helpful with harmless-looking apps and programs that may come from untrustworthy developers. When Malwarebytes finds a malicious component in an app, it prevents this app from running. If you are sure the blocked program is safe and want to keep using it, you can add it to the Allow List in the Detection History pane. The app will now be unblocked and excluded from future scans.

There a lot of features that are only available in Premium plan. Here's the rundown of all free and paid features of Malwarebytes.

Free planPremium plan
Scheduled Scans+
Real-Time Protection+
App Block+

    Malwarebytes: What makes it different?

    Malwarebytes has a lot of competitors in the malware protection market, but it manages to stand out as a reliable anti-malware tool. Here are some of the qualities that set Malwarebytes apart from the competition.

    1. Speedy workflow

      The app handles its job quickly and efficiently, whipping through a full scan quickly. Plus, it’s so lightweight that it can perform scans and real-time operations in the background without disrupting your workflow. 

      2. Background scanning

        Malwarebytes’ approach makes it easy to have an effective but hands-off security setup on your Mac. You can focus on the task at hand, knowing that the app is ready to counter whatever you run into. Plus, Scheduled Scans let you configure another layer of protection with almost no hassle. Free version of Malwarebytes allows you to have your Mac checked at 9:00 AM every day, while the Premium subscription lets you set the time and date you prefer. 

        3. Complex malware recognition

          The app counters security threats at many levels, ensuring that you’re not just blocking one type of malware. The app’s built-in activity log gives you a full picture of the risks facing your computer, so you can tell at a glance when you’re due for a scan.

          Did you know?

          Although the words are often used interchangeably, viruses and malware are not the same things. Malware is a generic term that covers any malicious software, regardless of how it works or spreads. A virus is a specific type of malicious software that spreads by copying and inserting its code into other files.

          4. Online privacy protection

          Malwarebytes offers a bundle with their Privacy VPN functionality that adds another layer of protection to your Mac. If you often have to use open Wi-Fi networks, this bundle can protect your identity without compromising your connection speed. 

          More than malware: Going past Malwarebytes’ limit

          It’s easy to assume that performance issues on your Mac come from malware. But while malicious files might account for part of the problem, there are plenty of other reasons you might be falling short of peak performance. 

          One common culprit is a buildup of junk data, old caches, forgotten applications and more. Antivirus tools like Malwarebytes are great at scrubbing malicious software, but they don’t have a solution for getting rid of junk. 

          That’s why you might be interested in trying another disk cleanup tool, such as CleanMyMac X. This complete disk manager, available to try for free here, combines Malware Removal feature with a powerful Uninstaller and an impressive suite of other cleanup tools. You can eliminate malware and the rest of the junk that’s slowing you down, all in one place. 

          Scan completed in malware removal module of CMMX

          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. It doesn’t remove anything important from your Mac and lets you confirm review files before you click Delete.

          One place to be careful is the free Browser Guard extension by Malwarebytes. Browser Guard is free to download for all browsers. It is supposed to block ads, trackers, and malicious sites, and it does that, but there's one "but." The Safari browser prevents it from running and shows a warning that this extension can read your personal information, like login credentials, credit card details, etc. This issue isn't investigated yet, but if you see this warning in Safari, maybe it's better to check for safer alternatives to Browser Guard.

          Malwarebytes review: The verdict

          If you’re looking for an additional layer of malware protection, you’ll find a lot to like about Malwarebytes. The app offers a simple interface, but its real benefit comes from its Scheduled Scans and Real-Time Protection, which both help counter malware in the background while you focus on other tasks. 

          Malwarebytes does exactly what it says: it helps you combat malware and keep your Mac free of unwanted apps. Though, sometimes even a complete malware scan doesn't reveal any malicious software that may slow down your Mac. In this case, CleanMyMac X may prove useful. With its Smart Scan feature, you can quickly check your machine for malware and optimize its performance. Doing this regularly, you’ll achieve more with your machine and make your old Mac run as fast as a new one.

          Laptop with CleanMyMac
          CleanMyMac X

          Your Mac. As good as new.