Intego Review 2021: Is the Best Mac Antivirus Really Worth It?

9.8 Outstanding!
Written by: Dawn Teh
Last updated on Jan 9th 2021

Intego Overview January 2021

Intego is widely known as the leading Mac antivirus — but I was suspicious about whether Intego is actually any good and why it’s considered the best protection suite for Mac.

After testing dozens of antivirus products, I can confidently say that Intego is truly the #1 Mac antivirus for 2021. It’s specifically designed for Macs, so you can be sure it’ll protect you from dangerous macOS malware that other antivirus don’t focus on. Intego even improved my Mac’s performance by removing and organizing junk files.

While I found Intego is the best antivirus for Mac, it performs less well on Windows. It appears the company is investing all its effort into creating the best product for macOS users. For a proven Windows antivirus, I’d stick to Norton 360 or TotalAV.

If you’re a Mac owner and you want to stay protected from cybercrimes and online threats, you can try Intego for free for 30 days with the money-back guarantee. It’s easy and hassle-free to get a refund in case you change your mind (I tested it myself and got my money back in 10 days).

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In a Rush? Here’s a 1-Minute Summary

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Security - 10

Intego’s malware protection for Mac is the best on the market and outperformed all other brands during testing. Intego blocked all threats in testing, including phishing attacks, viruses, spyware, and other types of malware. It even comes with bonus features like network and web browsing protection, which maximizes the security of your Mac.

VirusBarrier — Malware Scanner Detects 100% of Cyberattacks

In testing, Intego’s VirusBarrier detected 100% of over 300+ different malware. My team and I set up a testing computer and inserted new malicious files that were discovered in the last 4 weeks. Intego identified and quarantined every single threat. This really impressed me as other popular Mac AVs like Avira Antivirus Pro, F-Secure SAFE, and Fortinet FortiClient were not able to achieve a perfect score. In fact, the industry average is only 85%.

I was also glad to see that Intego did not have any false positives. Some antivirus software can be overly aggressive in its detection and may inaccurately identify normal files as harmful ones. However, Intego had no issue with this, which means you won’t need to waste time manually looking through the flagged files to see if they’re actually dangerous or not.

A great added bonus is that VirusBarrier is able to detect dormant Windows malware on Macs as well. Windows malware can’t do any damage on a Mac itself but can be used as a host to spread to other PCs in the same network. If you transfer files frequently between your Mac and a PC, this is a serious threat. By scanning and getting rid of Windows malware on your Mac, you’ll prevent these harmful files from ever reaching a system where it could do real damage.

Intego offers 2 scanning options: full scan and quick scan. The full scan will analyze every single file on your computer, while the quick scan only inspects the areas where malware is usually hidden. Doing a full scan is always ideal as soon as you install an antivirus, but after that, I recommend performing them once every 2 weeks. Because quick scans are a lot faster, you can schedule it to automatically run once every few days.

During my test, I performed a full scan of my Mac which took about 30 minutes to scan over 1.7 million files. This was a lot faster than other antiviruses — Avast, for example, took about an hour to do a complete scan. The quick scan was extremely fast and 50,000+ files were scanned in 2 minutes. From the “Logs” button at the top right corner, I could see details like how many files were scanned and what malware was detected.

Screenshot of Intego virus scan logs showing it scanned 1.7 million files in 30 minutesVirusBarrier’s full scan was fast and efficient during testing

The small downside is that the full scan made my computer run slightly slower than usual (which is common for antivirus programs). I tried playing a game while scanning and it did slow down the program slightly with less than a second of lag. However, it wasn’t bad compared to other antiviruses which often caused a severe and noticeable 1-2 seconds of lag.

When VirusBarrier detects a malicious file, you can command it to trust, quarantine, or repair the file. All 3 functions worked well during my trial. When I clicked “repair”, Intego easily repaired the test file and removed the malware on it, making it safe to use again. I especially like that the Quarantine mode blocked me from opening the file when I went to its original location and clicked on it.

If you need protection on your PC as well, you’ll be glad to know that Intego now offers a separate antivirus for Windows. I found that it was a good bonus to have, but it didn’t have the same malware detection rate as the Mac version — some ransomware went undetected. It also only functions purely as an antivirus with no extra features. So you may want to consider it if you’re only using your PC as a backup computer. Norton would be a better choice if you want an antivirus program with complete security features for Windows.

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Real-Time Scanner — Scans and Blocks Malware 24/7

Intego’s real-time scanner constantly monitors any files or programs that come into contact with your device for malware. I found this very convenient as I didn’t have to keep manually running scans whenever downloading new files.

Intego has 3 levels of protection — minimum, standard, and maximum. For the minimum level, your Mac will only be safe from macOS malware. The standard setting provides additional safety from Windows and Linux malware and scans your emails and attachments. With the maximum level, you get the best coverage with added features like iOS devices scans (while they’re connected to your Mac). However, this level is also the most resource-intensive and can slow down your device.

I tested the real-time scanner using a malware test file. As soon as I attempted to download the file, Intego immediately detected it and sent me a warning pop-up. This reassured me that my computer is protected at all times, even if I accidentally try to download something dangerous.

screenshot-intego-malware-blocker-popupVirusBarrier blocked me from downloading malware in real-time

I was worried that having a real-time scanner constantly running in the background would affect my Mac’s performance significantly. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how little it slowed down my computer during several tests. My team and I calculated the average time it took to download, install, and launch 8 different programs with and without Intego running. We also assessed the average time it took to copy a 5GB file from my Mac to an external hard drive 7 times. Here are our results:

Intego slow-down Industry average slow-down
Application download 0% 2%
Application installation 1% 2%
Application launch 2% 4%
File transfers from Mac to an external drive 2% 37%

Intego beat the industry average in every category. It was especially fast when copying files from my Mac to an external hard drive. I never noticed any drop in my device’s performance even while continuing to do processor-intensive activities like gaming.

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NetBarrier — 2-Way Network Firewall Stops Dangerous Traffic

NetBarrier is a 2-way network firewall that monitors both your incoming and outgoing web traffic for malicious activity. It’s the first security barrier for detecting and stopping hackers from entering your computer while you’re connected to the internet.

It automatically switches to different modes for protection on your home, work, or public WiFi network. If you’re on a public connection, it will automatically block incoming online and local network connections. This gives you extra security from hackers who may be waiting on such networks to steal information from unsuspecting users. When you return to your home or office, it will automatically and conveniently switch settings to give you the appropriate level of protection for those networks.

What’s unique about NetBarrier is its 2-way firewall which only some antivirus softwares have. I used to think only monitoring incoming traffic is important as this will prevent hackers from attacking my device. However, I realized protecting outgoing traffic is just as important after using NetBarrier. For example, a hacker may identify your credit card information at the incoming traffic phase. However, by stopping outgoing traffic, the firewall prevents the information from actually reaching the hacker. This gives you an additional layer of security.

Screenshot of Intego NetBarrier user interface protecting incoming and outgoing network trafficNetBarrier ensured my incoming and outgoing network traffic was safe

There is also an extra “applications” function that monitors all 2-way online traffic on your apps. You can individually decide which apps are able to connect to the internet. For example, I could block a program from updating itself as soon as it had internet access, as I wanted to do it later. If I didn’t have NetBarrier, it would have completed the process on its own without me knowing.

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Safe Browsing — Protects You From Online Threats

The Safe Browsing feature allowed me to browse the internet safely by ensuring that my different browsers’ anti-malware settings were enabled. Intego will display a warning if any of your browsers aren’t in safe mode.

This prevents you from entering all kinds of harmful websites including phishing webpages that try to steal your information or those with ransomware that take hostage of your computer. When I tried it on a test malware site, my Chrome browser alerted me to the danger of entering the webpage. This reassured me that my Mac will be kept safe from online dangers.

Screenshot of Intego interface showing different web browsers safe browsing mode are enabledI could easily check if different web browsers’ safe browsing mode was enabled

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Features - 10

Intego offers several additional features that give you extra protection and boost your Mac’s performance. This includes parental control, Mac-optimization, and customized data backup capabilities.

Not many other Mac-focused antiviruses provide all these functions. For example, Airo has decent malware detection but doesn’t offer any extra features. Intego gives you much better value and convenience as all your computer safety and performance-improvement needs are packed in 1 software.

ContentBarrier — Allows Parents to Set Online Controls to Safeguard Kids

When children are allowed to explore the web without limitations, they are at risk of being exposed to adult content, cyberbullying, scams, and more. ContentBarrier helped me reduce these risks by allowing me to effectively monitor and control my child’s online access to websites and programs. This program had a lot more features than the basic Mac parental controls and let me feel more at ease when my child was online.

ContentBarrier’s functions included:

  • Website and chat software blocking: Bans access to certain webpages.
  • Chat monitoring and filtering: You can completely block chat programs or filter messages.
  • Scheduled use: Set limits on your child’s screen time.
  • Recording activity function: Takes intermittent screenshots while your child is using the device so you can monitor what websites were visited.

creenshot of ContentBarrier interface showing different parental control settings

I kept my kids safe by blocking websites and limiting screen time with ContentBarrier

What I found especially useful about ContentBarrier is its “Anti-Predator” function, which alerts you if your child is having any suspicious online chats. This feature detects and flags specific words and phrases commonly used by child predators. It’s a great tool as most parents won’t have the time to monitor your child’s internet activity 24/7.

I set up ContentBarrier in 15 minutes, which was a little long but worth the effort. This was because I spent some time inputting specific phrases into the anti-predator feature and configuring the app to block specific website categories (e.g. porn and gambling sites). I was happy to sacrifice the time as I wanted to put as many limits in place as possible to ensure my child’s online safety.

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Mac Washing Machine — Cleans Your Mac and Improves Its Performance

Mac Washing Machine makes your device run faster and more efficiently by removing junk files and reorganizing the ones you want to keep. When I tested it, it freed up 2.6 GB of space on my Mac! It offers 3 modes to help optimize your device: Reclaim, Duplicate, and Organize.

In the Reclaim mode, Mac Washing Machine checks your computer for unnecessary files. It took 2 minutes to scan all my data and present the potential files for deletion in a preview screen. I looked through the old files to see if there was anything I still wanted and clicked “clean” once I was done. By clearing these junk files, your device will run more efficiently without the useless data on its system. The Duplicate mode is similar to Reclaim but scans for duplicate files instead of unused ones.

Screenshot of Washing Machine feature on Intego identifying junk files to deleteI removed 2.6 GB of junk files using the Washing Machine function

I found the Organize mode helpful for organizing my desktop (which was full of random files) and dock. The app presented all my files on the screen and I easily dragged and dropped them into home subfolders, desktop folders, or trash. Although you could manually reorganize your files and apps, Intego presents everything together on its interface so that the process becomes simpler. With less clutter on your home screen, you’ll be able to find things on your computer much faster.

The Smart Folder function under the Organize mode was useful for creating shortcuts for files I frequently used. When you create a smart folder, it will appear under the “Favorites” column on any Finder window for easy access. I created a “Recently Changed Documents” folder so I could quickly open my work documents which I access on a daily basis.

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Personal Backup — Never Lose Your Important F