Sunday, June 23, 2024

Bitdefender for Mac review: dependable security for macOS


A MacBook Air is shown with the Bitdefender for Mac dashboard open.

Bitdefender Premium Security

MSRP $160.00

Score Details

DT Recommended Product

“Bitdefender Premium Security is a great way to increase antivirus protection and privacy on a Mac and all your devices.”


  • Near-perfect protection for years
  • Quick and helpful support
  • Easy setup
  • Integrates well with macOS
  • Affordable multidevice plans


  • Lacks some Windows features
  • 200MB-per-day limit on VPN of low-cost plans

Bitdefender for Mac aims to block malware and protect your privacy. Bitdefender is already one of the best antivirus software solutions for Windows, so I tested the Mac version to find out how well it integrates with macOS and the Apple ecosystem.


  • Tiers and pricing
  • Design
  • Features
  • Support
  • Privacy and security
  • Bitdefender protects your Mac?Show 1 more item


  • Some updates coming to macOS 15 aren’t just about AI

  • Does your Mac really need antivirus software? We asked the experts

  • This dangerous new Mac malware steals your credit card info

I break down the pricing, installation, usability, cybersecurity features, customer support, and more in this complete review of Bitdefender for Mac.

Tiers and pricing

Bitdefender offers a variety of security and antivirus plans. Digital Trends

Bitdefender offers a free antivirus app for Windows PCs that provides real-time protection, but Mac users only get a Bitdefender virus scanner. You must subscribe to get proactive coverage that can prevent viruses before your Mac is infected.

Thirty-day free trials are available for most plans and every multi-device option supports macOS and iOS, as well as Windows and Android. If you share files between devices, cross-platform support offers the best security.

Bitdefender’s basic antivirus software for Mac starts at $30 for the first year, then renews at $40 thereafter. For this low price, Bitdefender protects one Mac desktop or MacBook from malware and includes a virtual private network (VPN) that’s capped at 200MB per day. It’s a great deal on antivirus software for your Mac.

The dashboard guided me to install browser extensions for additional security. Digital Trends

If you need to protect your phone or Windows PC, a cross-platform plan like Bitdefender Total Security covers five devices and guards against ransomware, crypto mining, and browser extensions for malware and phishing detection. It also includes parental controls. The subscription starts at $70 and climbs to $100 annually.

I tested Bitdefender Premium Security, which protects up to 10 devices for $80 for the first year. It’s a nice package that includes an uncapped VPN and a password manager. The top-level plan, Ultimate Security, adds identity theft protection, insured up to $1 million, and credit reporting for $90. Unfortunately, both plans double in cost after the first year.


Bitdefender for Mac integrates nicely with macOS. Digital Trends

Setting up Bitdefender Premium Security is relatively easy. I accidentally started with the VPN, then the password manager, before installing the main app Bitdefender Total Security antivirus protection. I suspect starting with the main app would have simplified the process further.

Each installer guided me to enable the required System Settings permissions and install the Safari security extensions. The app recognized I have Google’s Chrome browser and suggested installing extensions there as well.

The Bitdefender dashboard shows a green shield to indicate my Mac is safe, and guides me toward better security with system scans, malware detection and cleanup, if needed. My Mac was already clean.

Running through the recommendations, I enabled macOS notifications and did a Time Machine backup. It’s helpful that Bitdefender is familiar enough with Apple’s ecosystem to integrate with built-in features like this.

Bitdefender limits access to the files, a simple and effective way to protect against ransomware. By default, the desktop, documents, downloads, and pictures are restricted, but I could add and remove folders as needed.

Bitdefender protects folders and keeps an app whitelist to guard against ransomware. Digital Trends

Bitdefender builds a list of apps as I allow access to these protected folders. This is a great proactive approach to ransomware. Norton 360’s ransomware solution relies on cloud backups.

Overall, Bitdefender’s app is simple and easy to understand and exactly what’s needed for cybersecurity.


Bitdefender for Mac enjoys a near-perfect score from AV-Test. Digital Trends

Malware protection is a critical metric for antivirus software, and Bitdefender is among the best available. I reviewed Bitdefender for Windows recently and was impressed with its robust security. However, a Mac uses different software, so it requires further testing.

According to leading third-party cybersecurity researcher AV-Test, Bitdefender maintains a near-perfect antivirus rating. Bitdefender also enjoyed top scores in AV-Test’s performance and usability testing.

Bitdefender scored six out of six in malware protection testing in all but one period in over seven years. A minor weakness in September 2020 resulted in a 5.5 rating. That consistent, reliable protection shows ongoing commitment to the Mac.

Bitdefender’s browser extension detected and blocked WICAR’s malware, but the notification page had a 404 error. Digital Trends

I tested Bitdefender’s malware protection with a visit to, an antivirus test website that hosts faux malware. The Bitdefender extension blocked access and alerted me to the potential danger. However, I ran into a minor glitch where the Bitdefender warning page gave a 404 error. I reported the problem to Bitdefender and it should be resolved soon. The malware detection worked despite this issue.

Bitdefender Premium Security comes with a VPN to help prevent tracking. I tested it by setting my location to Australia and searching the web. Results for the Sydney area confirmed Google thought I was Down Under, so my true location was unknown.


Live chat was superfast and helpful when I contacted Bitdefender on a Saturday. Digital Trends

The Bitdefender app’s help tab lets me replay the quick tour that I saw during setup, browser the user guide, and visit the support center. From the support center, I can search for articles that might answer questions, letting me solve issues on my own.

I scrolled to the bottom and found the button to contact support for personal service. Despite reaching out on a Saturday, a live agent responded immediately and was quite helpful.

I asked about accessing the passwords on my Mac after starting on a Windows PC. I needed the master password, which I pretended to lose. The agent reminded me that I should have a recovery key that’s saved during the initial setup of Bitdefender’s password manager.

Privacy and security

Like most other cybersecurity companies, Bitdefender will comply with legal requests for personal data. However, it won’t sell or share your information with third-party companies for marketing. You can see the full details in Bitdefender’s privay policy.

Bitdefender may advertise additional services and contact you with special offers. There isn’t a barrage of emails, but you can opt out of marketing emails if you don’t want to be bothered.

Bitdefender hasn’t had any security issues since July 2015. According to Forbes, hackers gained access to a single server and exposed over 250 customer usernames and passwords. The last nine years have been blissfully uneventful.

Bitdefender protects your Mac?

If your Mac is behaving strangely and you want to check if something slipped past Apple’s built-in XProtect antivirus software, Bitdefender’s free malware scanner is a good place to start. It can identify and help you clean up your Mac.

For real-time detection and prevention, Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac offers solid malware protection at an affordable price. The $40 renewal fee makes this a better bargain than Norton’s Antivirus Plus.

If you need a VPN or want to secure all your devices, Bitdefender’s cross-platform plans cover computers, tablets, and phones. Malwarebytes also has plans that protect multiple devices, but its Mac software isn’t as full-featured as Bitdefender’s app.

While there are alternative antivirus solutions available, Bitdefender’s strong performance, user-friendly interface, and affordable pricing make it a great choice for your Mac.

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