Mac version missing certain features compared with its Windows counterpart
Excludes any mention or advice on the Malwarebytes browser extension
Malwarebytes Premium is certainly well designed and seemingly effective at detecting and eliminating malware and other security threats. But the Mac flavor feels like an also-ran compared with the Windows edition, both of which cost the same amount of money. Though Malwarebytes Premium for the Mac is hardly a bad product, you’ll get more bang for the buck elsewhere.
Offering security protection for Windows, macOS, Chrome OS, iOS, and Android, Malwarebytes comes in both free and premium editions for personal use. The premium edition sounds promising with a host of features increasingly needed to defend you against today’s threats—real-time and on-demand virus, malware, and spyware scanning; protection against malicious website links and phishing attempts; and security against ransomware and zero-day exploits.
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But wait, all that describes the Windows version. The Mac edition, not quite as much. Malwarebytes Premium version 4.15 for the Mac includes the basis virus and malware scanning as well as the ability to detect malicious apps, or PUPs (potentially unwanted program). But it doesn’t directly come with the protection against malicious links and phishing attempts. Nor does it offer the safeguards against ransomware and zero-day exploits.
The premium version costs $3.33/£2.50 billed monthly or $39.99/£29.99 billed annually for one device, and $6.67/£5.83 billed monthly or $79.99/£69.99 billed annually for five devices. You can try before you buy with a free 14-day trial. Once the trial ends, Malwarebytes Premium reverts to a free version, which includes just the basic virus scanning.
Installation and Setup
Installing Malwarebytes Premium on a Mac is quick and easy. After installation, the program nestles itself into memory, accessible through a menu bar icon. Clicking the icon displays a menu with options to start a scan, temporarily turn off the malware protection and malicious app blocker, update the program, view and tweak its settings, and open the management console.
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The Mac version of Malwarebytes Premium protects against malware in general as well as adware and PUPs. The real-time protection constantly monitors your system for security threats, automatically blocking and quarantining anything that could infect your computer.
From the management console, you’re able to trigger a manual scan and set up scheduled scans to run on a recurring basis. A detection history displays all quarantined items for your review so you can delete blocked malware as well as restore any legitimate items incorrectly flagged.
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To avoid false positives, an Allow list lets you add any legitimate files or programs that were mistakenly flagged as malware. A security advisor suggests specific settings to change to tighten your security. An activity log keeps track of all actions, including scans, quarantined items, and updates to the software.
How good is Malwarebytes Premium at quashing malware?
Starting in early 2021, the product has regularly and consistently gotten top marks from AV-Test for protection, performance, and usability. In real-world testing conducted by AV Comparatives during February and March of 2022, the software scored 100% at blocking malware, though it had a high number of false positives.
To protect against more advanced online threats, Malwarebytes Premium offers a free browser extension called Malwarebytes Browser Guard. This extension can detect and block adware and trackers, malware, online scams, PUPs, suspicious domains and websites, and even credit card skimmers. The extension is compatible with all the major browsers, both in Windows and macOS. The Windows version of Malwarebytes Premium warns you if the extension is missing and helps you install it. The Mac version makes no mention of the extension, so you might not even know it exists unless you check the website.
I’ve certainly found similar Windows vs Mac drawbacks with other products. Vendors focus more of their time and energy on the Windows version of their software since that’s the key money maker. With a much smaller market share, the Mac version often gets less love and fewer features.
For more advice on which antivirus software to use read our round up of the Best Antivirus Software for Mac.
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