How to get rid of a Virus on a Mac

Is your Mac running slow? Are you experiencing unwanted pop-ups? Does an unfamiliar app keep launching in the background? It sounds like your Mac might be infected. But don’t worry, despite the myth “Macs don’t get viruses” what you’re experiencing isn’t uncommon. Here we show you how to get rid of a Mac in three easy steps.

How to tell if your Mac has a virus?

It’s no secret that the number of Mac getting infected with viruses is on the rise. This is a numbers game. More people have Macs now than they did 10-years ago. Which means – in very simple terms – the reward (for hackers) is a lot bigger than it was 10-years ago.

MacOS is still one of the best Operating Systems at protecting you from viruses. It’s designed to be a sandboxed OS. Meaning if a section of your Mac does get infected with malware. It’s difficult for that infection to spread.

But Mac viruses are getting more sophisticated by the day. If you suspect your Mac has a virus, it’s better to take action sooner rather than later.

Below is a list of systems to help you identify whether your Mac has a virus or not.

  • Mac is running slow
  • Fan constantly on/running
  • Slow performance
  • Pop-ups
  • Unwanted apps launching on startup
  • The homepage has changed on the browser
  • Unwanted extensions installed on Safari/Chrome/Firefox browser
  • Adverts on desktop

If you’re experiencing any of the above – or something similar – we suggest you take a look through the steps below. They’ll help you identify and remove anything malicious on your Mac.

Step 1: Remove Browser Extensions

The most common way for malware to find its way onto a Mac is via an unwanted browser extension. This can be on Safari, Chrome, Firefox, or any web browsers.

There’s no good place to get malware, but you need to be extra vigilant with your web browsers. This is, afterall, where you input all of your most valuable personal data and information. Hardly the place you want some malicious software lurking.

Thankfully, dealing with browser malware is easy. Just follow the steps below. If the problem still occurs (and it shouldn’t) try uninstalling and reinstalling your browser. Or got to Step 3.

How to remove malicious extensions on Safari

  1. Go to the Safari Menu and select Preferences
  2. Click on Extensions
  3. Remove any unwanted or unfamiliar extensions

How to remove malicious extensions on Chrome

  1. Go to the Chome Menu and select Preferences
  2. Click on Extensions
  3. Remove any unwanted or unfamiliar extensions

How to remove malicious Add-ons on Firefox

  1. Go to the Firefox Menu and click on And-ons Tools
  2. Remove and unwanted or unfamiliar Add-ons

Step 2: Delete ANY unfamiliar apps

If your Mac is running slower than normal it might be because you have unwanted software running. Checking which apps are running on a Mac is easy. Just press Command + Option + Escape and you’ll see a list of every app that’s currently running on your Mac. If you notice anything unfamiliar you should click Force Quit and then delete the offending app ASAP.

Deleting an app is easy too. Just open your Finder, navigate to the Applications Menu and drag any app you want to delete the Trash icon in your Dock. That’s it.

Some people are nervous about deleting unfamiliar apps in case they’re actually important. If this sounds like you, don’t worry. Just open your web browser and perform a quick search for the application you’re about to delete.

Step 3: Install antivirus software

If your Mac still has a problem or isn’t running as smoothly as you’d like, the next thing we suggest is installing antivirus. Installing Mac Antivirus gives you the ability to regularly scan and monitor your Mac.

Norton Security for Mac is our pick of this year’s Mac Antivirus programs. In tests, it detected 100% of malware and 100% of PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Apps). It also left the smallest footprint on a Mac’s performance, adding only 1.5% to the system load. Take a look at our round-up of the 9 Best Mac Antivirus Programs of 2018 if you want to learn more.

Click here to buy Norton Security for Mac – £24.99/year (UK);  $29.99 (US); 1 Mac – 1 Year.

Read next: Take a look at our round-up of the Best dedicated IP VPN services of 2018.

David Court
David is a professional journalist. He's been reviewing lifestyle and technology products since 2007. His CV boasts a series of high-profile websites that he's previously edited and managed. These sites include,,, and is his new project.


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