8 Easy Fixes to Remove Malware From Mac

There’s no doubt that the Mac is one of the safest devices you can get. As an Apple company product, it boasts remarkable security and protection. But, it is still a piece of technology connected to the internet. Thus, it can still get malware, viruses, and other similar elements.

How To Remove Malware From Mac - Mac Desktop Pro

The question is: Is there a way for you to recover your Mac? Can you restore your mac’s performance without taking adverse steps? This is your ultimate guide to finding the best solutions. If your Mac has malware or virus, we have compiled a list of solutions for you. These are all tested and up to date to ease things up for you.

The Signs Of Infiltration – How To Remove Malware From Mac Manually

mac malware pic

There are many things that will happen to your Mac if a virus or malware has infested it. As Mac has some of the best security, it is challenging to detect the malware that affects it. After all, these are well-curated to ensure they can avoid most of Mac’s security. So, you have to be wary of these signs:

  • Your Mac has slowed down significantly. It didn’t happen due to a Software update or hardware changes, but gradually. If your Mac has slowed down to annoying levels, it can be a sign of malware.
  • Apart from slowing down, if your Mac starts ‘lagging’ or ‘freezing,’ it could mean malware. Even the older Macs won’t freeze or lag as quickly. If the Mac restarts or shut down without any warning or prompt, it could be a malware problem.
  • You find some changes made to the applications or web browser. For instance – the entire homepage resets or changes. The same applies to the setting of the default search engine. If you notice changes like these or loss of saves in settings, it can be malware.
  • Are your files or folders working fine? If you have the correct app to open them but fail to access them, it could be malware. If you can’t open a file or folder, the possibility becomes high.
  • Your Mac could also get many error messages. Regardless of what you do, a pop-up for error could appear. Maybe the task still gets fulfilled, but there was an error. In other cases, you are getting too many errors recently. If that’s the case, it could be malware.
  • If even simple apps or processes start consuming excessive RAM. The same goes for other CPU resources. If you find your Mac consuming too much, even for the simplest tasks, it could be malware.
  • You find that you’re running out of disk and other storage space. Maybe your hard drive has shrunken capacity. This isn’t by mistake. The shrinking of disk space, or consumption of too much, could mean malware.

These symptoms can also be part of other problems. It could be a software or OS error. You might have to consider the things you have done before concluding. If you’ve visited shady websites or opened untrusted links frequently, then be cautious.

Similarly, if you’ve downloaded from untrusted and unauthenticated platforms, you’re at risk. So, consider these points, as well.

Solutions To Remove Malware From Mac For Free

  1. Always Update Your Mac
  2. Use The Activity Monitor
  3. Disconnect Your Mac From The Internet
  4. Remove The Browser Extensions 
  5. Use The Safe Mode
  6. Use An Antivirus Program
  7. Make Sure to Check The Mac Login Items
  8. Always Remove The Suspicious Apps 

How To Remove Malware From Mac?

1. Always Update Your Mac

macOS software update

There’s nothing better than the updates Apple releases for Mac. It has everything for security that you could ever need. That’s what makes Mac such a brilliant device. You don’t need any third-party antivirus tool. The Mac device in itself is capable of handling all the threats. Even with the recent phishing attacks, Apple released a security patch.

So, if you ever suspect a security problem, update the mac. Before you do so, make sure to back up your files and data. The updates for macOS have to be manually carried out. Other apps and firmware gets updated automatically, but not the OS itself. So, here’s how you do it:

  • Click on the Apple Icon to open the Menu. Select System Preferences.
  • In there, you will find the Software Update options. Some Macs won’t have it there. If that’s the case, you will have to go to the App Store. The app store will have the update button in this case.
  • There will be an Update Now Button. This is to check for the latest updates and download and install them.
  • There is also an Upgrade Now button. It is different. This button will work to upgrade the entire new OS. In simple words, it is like upgrading to new Windows.

Of course, you can also get the ‘Mac is up to date’ message. It means that everything in your Mac, related to Apple and Mac, is up to date. If you have a different app, not controlled or owned by Apple, you will have to update it manually. For that, you will have to visit the app store.

2. Use The Activity Monitor

macOS activity monitor

The Activity Monitor on Mac is like a Task Manager. It works similarly. The Activity Monitor shows you everything the macOS is running. You can see the CPU or RAM any program or service is consuming, among other details. So, it is a valuable tool that can help you remove malware.

  • Go to the ‘Applications’ option in the Mac. Find the Utilities. You will find the Activity Monitor there. Click on it to launch it.
  • Now, go to the CPU tab and check the percentage of the CPU consumed by various tasks.
  • Apart from the CPU, you can also check the Memory and Bytes Written tabs. Even the Network Tab will have some information.

What do you have to do here? Check the process name that is consuming anything excessively. It can be excessive network or memory consumption. You can Google the name of the process to understand it. If Apple or Google doesn’t have any authentic information on the process, it is likely a virus.

In some cases, you will receive the information if it is malware. You can go ahead and select the task, then select the ‘Quit’ button. If the Quit button doesn’t work for some reason, use the Force Quit option. But this won’t delete the process or remove it from the Mac. This is a temporary solution.

You might have to find the source app for the process. Right-click on the process name, and it could take you to the source. You might have to run through the collection of apps you have. Then, find the suspicious ones to remove them. After deleting the suspicious materials, make sure to empty the trash as well.

3. Disconnect Your Mac From The Internet

macOS turn off the wifi option in network window

Most malware and viruses today work with an active internet connection. If you suspect that you have a malware infestation, you can prevent it from growing. In some cases, you can contain it. This is a good idea, primarily if you use many devices.

If you also notice that some apps, like emails, are using too much of your network, you can disconnect. You can also disable the connection then get rid of the malware. For that:

  • Go to the System Preferences and the Network section. Make sure to check the Wi-Fi option and toggle it off.
  • Repeat the process for the Ethernet. This is in case you use a wired connection. You might find the toggle in the ‘Configure IPv4’ section in the ethernet option. Use it and apply the changes. 

You can keep your router cut off from the power source if you want. You can do the same for ethernet cables. This can stop the spread of malware from your Mac. Remember, this step won’t help you get rid of malware but stop growing in most cases.

After that, refrain from using Mac until you find the right solution.

4. Remove The Browser Extensions

Mac Safari browser extension list uninstall option

Did the Activity Monitor show your browser consuming too much memory or resources? Of course, Google Chrome is notorious for such things. It consumes too much RAM, but not all browsers are like that. If you notice it for your Safari and other browsers, as well, extensions might be the culprit.

An extension is like an extra feature for browsers, but that’s not it. It is also like adding an app to your browser. That’s why it is also susceptible to errors and viruses. It’s especially true if you used an unknown platform to download the extension. Even the Google Extension Store isn’t 100% secure. So, removing the extension is a good idea:

  • For your Safari browser, launch it and go to the Menu. Then select Preferences and find the Extensions tab.
  • It is easy to remove the extension by clicking on the Uninstall button. You might have to right-click the extension for it or access it.
  • Make sure to remove any and all the extensions you don’t use or recognize. See if they pop up again. If so, you might have to take other steps.

If you’re using Google Chrome on your Mac, follow these steps:

  • Launch Google Chrome, and you will see a puzzle piece icon in the top-right corner. It is an extension Icon. Click on it, and it will show you all the extensions.
  • You can click to make changes to the extensions, and it will take you to the page. From there, you can select and uninstall any extension.

There’s another method of removing extensions from Google Chrome:

  • Launch Chrome and select Windows from the options. Then click on Task Manager. Find the CPU tab in the options and see if any extension consumes excessive resources.
  • If there is any, go back to Windows and select Extensions. Click on the remove button for the extension that is causing the problem.

5. Use The Safe Mode

pressing the shift key on Macbook keyboard

You might already know of the Safe Mode. If not, then it is the same as the Microsoft counterpart. The safe mode allows Mac to start with the essentials only. It doesn’t load unnecessary apps, startups, and other components.

The safe mode is a great tool to fix many issues with the system. For instance, it won’t allow the malware to boot up or load faster. In cases where malware is not easy to detect, safe mode is an ace.

Apart from that, it will also delete the system cache for you. But, there are different methods to launch the Safe Mode on Apple. It would depend on your processor or chipset.

For Mac That Uses Intel:

  • Restart the Mac and press the Shift button as it starts to boot up.
  • A login window will appear. Stop pressing the Shift button. Now, you will have to provide the login credentials.
  • So, how can you tell that you’re in the Safe Boot? You will see the ‘Safe boot’ written on the top-right side.

For The MI Mac Processor:

  • First, shut down your Mac. Now, press the Power Button. Keep holding it for around 10 seconds. A new set of startup options will load.
  • Now, select your disk. The startup disk is basically where you have the macOS installed. When you choose it, make sure to press Shift.
  • A prompt might appear to ask if you want to continue in Safe Mode. Press Yes and release the Shift button.
  • You will have to provide the same credentials as your regular login. You can see the Safe Boot written in the top-right.
  • You can also go to Apple’s settings by clicking the icon. Go to ‘About This Mac’ and find System Report. In the Software option, you will see the Boot Mode. It should be on Safe.

See if the Mac is running fine in safe mode. Go ahead and find the apps and tools that you don’t use. Uninstall them or delete the files that you suspect. The safe boot is an excellent choice to remove extensions, remove files, and such that might contain malware. After that, you can reboot normally and launch in the original mode.

6. Use An Antivirus Program

McAfee antivirus expired trial

As mentioned earlier, there is rarely ever a need for an antivirus program. Apple and Mac themselves come with some of the best security. But, you can still opt for premium security.

A premium antivirus can help you when everything else fails. If you can’t find a way to remove the malware, download an authentic or certified antivirus. Use something that Mac and Apple trust, as well. But make sure to do this:

  • You will have to allow access to the antivirus. As mentioned, don’t use untrusted or unknown third-party apps.
  • Go to the Apple Menu and find the System Preferences. In there, you will find the Security Privacy option.
  • Select your antivirus from the list, and make sure to allow it Full Disk Access.

Only with full disk access can an antivirus thoroughly scan the system. Without it, the app might be useless.

7. Make Sure To Check The Mac Login Items

Mac login items settings

The Mac’s login items are the start-up apps. They launch when your Mac boots up and start with them. Some malware sticks to these programs like parasites. Thus, you might not be able to detect them.

There could also be some startup program you know nothing about. So, it is a good idea to check the login items:

  • Click on Apple’s logo to open the menu and go to System Preferences.
  • You will find Users Groups in the options. Click on it and find the Login items. It should be under the lock icon on the bottom-left side.
  • If you find any login item, you’re not familiar with. You might want to uninstall the corresponding app. You can also disable the ones you might not need.

8. Always Remove The Suspicious Apps

applications list in a macbook

If it isn’t clear, you should always check the apps installed in the system. This should be one of the ‘go-to’ solutions for you, as well. You can also do this in the Safe Boot option. That will prevent any problematic app from interfering with your process.

Here are some pointers:

  • Uninstall every app that you have not used in a while. It is not as important if you’ve not used it thus far. You can always reinstall them when you need them.
  • Always check the app list from time to time. See if there is an app you don’t recognize. Don’t launch it. Search for it on Google or another engine. See if you can find the information. You can always uninstall these.
  • Don’t download apps from untrusted sources. These include shady websites and third-party platforms. Some of the app stores, like Google App Stores, are acceptable.
  • Always research the app. Make sure that you have the reviews and other essential information. This will prevent you from downloading untrusted apps.

Tips To Prevent Malware On Mac

The above-given solutions will help you out with taking care of the malware. But, what if you don’t want them in the first place? You can keep these pointers in mind. They will help you keep your device secure:

  • Don’t subscribe to unnecessary Email newsletters, especially the ones you don’t recognize. Make sure not to open emails from unknown people. If you don’t remember the email, don’t open it.
  • Try not to visit unknown or untrusted websites. Any pirated website and service also falls in this category.
  • Try to update and change your passwords once in a while. Once in a month or three is an excellent practice. Make sure to have robust passwords. Use a password manager if you have to.
  • Try only to use apps available on Apple’s App Store. You might have to buy them, but at least they are trusted.
  • Make sure that your real-time protection and antivirus are working. Mac comes with built-in security. Make sure that it is working fine.
  • There’s no need to download or use tools like ad blockers and security tools you don’t trust. They might not be trusted apps. You could end up getting infiltrated.
  • Always make a backup of your files and data. It is a good practice if you have to reset the entire system.
  • Make sure to run scans from time to time.

The Last Resort – Reset The Mac

macOS utilities to reinstall macOS or reset it

If none of the above-given solutions worked for you, it is time for the last resort. You can reset the entire Mac. Factory Resetting Mac is an extensive process, it can take some time, but it is the best option.

You can also visit the nearby Apple Store for help from customer support. They might have some other method to purge the malware. If not, then you will have to reset the Mac.

Warning signs your Mac has a virus

  • Your Mac runs slowly.
  • Your Mac freezes or restarts unexpectedly.
  • Your web browser changes its home page and/or search engine.
  • Files and folders won’t open.
  • Frequent error messages pop up on your Mac.
  • One or more processes take up all your RAM and/or CPU resources

How to find and remove malware from your Mac

There are two main types of malware: viruses and worms. Viruses are malicious programs that infect your Mac, while worms are programs that replicate themselves. To find and remove malware from your Mac, use the following steps:

  • Scan your Mac with Malwarebytes.
  • Update your Mac’s operating system.
  • Delete the malware files.
  • Scan your Mac again.

Malware is software that is designed to damage your computer or steal your data.

Macs used to be better protected against malware than Windows PCs, but that has changed in recent years.

If you’re concerned about your security, here’s how to find and remove malware from your Mac.

Check the Activity Monitor for anything suspicious

  • Open Activity Monitor from Applications > Utilities
  • Click the CPU tab, then click the % CPU column to sort processes by most CPU used
  • Look for processes you don’t recognize that are using a lot of processing power
  • Do the same with the Memory tab and the Memory column
  • Repeat this with the Bytes Written column of the Disk tab
  • Finally, click the Network tab and sort the Sent Bytes column

Disconnect from the internet

  • In System Preferences, click on Network.
  • Select your Wi-Fi connection and click “Turn Wi-Fi Off.”
  • If you’re using an Ethernet cable, select that option instead and then unplug the cable.
  • You could also turn off your router, but this is not necessary.

Delete suspicious browser extensions

  • In Safari, click Safari, from the top menu, and select Preferences
  • Select the Extensions tab
  • To remove an extension, click it, then click the Uninstall button
  • Remove any extensions you don’t recognize or use a lot of CPU in Activity Monitor.
  • In Chrome, select Window > Task Manager
  • Sort the CPU column to see if any extensions use much processing power. Do the same with the Memory footprint and Network columns
  • Now select Window > Extensions from the menu bar
  • Look through the installed extensions, and click the Remove button on any that seem suspicious

Boot into safe mode

There are two ways to boot into safe mode – one for Intel processors and one for ARM-based M1 chips.

Safe mode deletes some system caches so that they can be rebuilt again automatically.

If your Mac is running normally, there’s either malware on it that doesn’t load in safe mode, or you have some other kind of software-related problem.

Run an antivirus app

It’s a good idea to run an antivirus app on your Mac. Many good antivirus apps are available, such as MacKeeper Antivirus and Malwarebytes Premium for Mac.

An antivirus app can scan your entire Mac in just a few minutes and check every single file against a vast database of threats and suspicious behavior. Macs can now get malware You might want an antivirus app if you download a lot of applications

How to prevent malware from getting onto your Mac

Malware is an umbrella term that includes viruses, worms, trojans, and spyware. Malware can be downloaded onto your computer without your knowledge.

  • Back up your files regularly
  • Clear your device of problematic apps and extensions
  • Use a malware removal tool for your Mac
  • Get expert help if needed
  • Keep your Mac up to date with the latest software updates.
  • Use a good antivirus program and keep it up to date.
  • Install ad blockers and pop-up blockers.
  • Be careful what you download and install.
  • Don’t open email attachments or click links in emails from unknown senders.
  • Keep your firewall turned on.

What to Do if I Still Can’t Get Rid of Malware?

If the malware is still on your computer, you must reinstall Windows. You should also check to see if other applications have been affected. If so, then you must uninstall them.

If you can’t remove malware using the above steps, try a factory reset.

This will erase everything on your Mac and return it to its original state.

Hopefully, this will remove any viruses from your system.

If you’ve tried all the methods listed in this guide and still have malware problems, it’s time to take more drastic measures.

There are a number of software programs that can help you remove malware from your computer, even if you don’t have any technical expertise.

If you’re not comfortable removing malware yourself, you can also call a technician to help you get rid of the infection.

Conclusion – How To Remove Malware From Mac, Google Chrome, Safari

Mac is a highly secure device. It is well-versed in security and keeps you quite protected. But, malware is notorious and consistently upgrading. So, it won’t be wrong to keep these solutions in mind. Hopefully, you found an apt answer to tackle malware problems in the mac.

Remember that the latest OS for Windows, Android, macOS, and iOS is safe. They have made antivirus programs quite useless. But, you can get an antivirus if you opt for paid protection. Subscribing to an antivirus package is still a good idea to enhance security.

With that in mind, keep your Mac malware-free with the above-given guide.


How To Remove Search Baron Malware From Mac?

The Search Baron Malware is a Safari browser malware. You will have to change the preference of Safari to develop. The developer mode will allow you to make changes and fix the problem. This is the best method known to remove Search Baron Malware from Mac. 

Do You Need An Antivirus In Mac For Malware?

When it comes to any gadget, antivirus systems have lost their significance. They can, however, continue to assist and strengthen security. It is a good idea to invest in high-quality antivirus software and put it to use. Without a doubt, this will help to keep your device safe. It is not necessary to use a free antivirus program. Your operating system is already well-versed in terms of offering the same level of security.

Is Malware Virus Different From Spyware And Ransomware?

All these are harmful to your system, but yes, malware is different. The malware works to corrupt and slows down your system. Spyware works to collect information from you to sell it to third-party companies. Ransomware can breach your security to get details like payment information. Then the person or company that created the ransomware can use the information. 

Is Mac Safari Browser Safer Than Google Chrome?

For a Macbook user, it would be the right choice to stick to Safari. But, there are many other secure browsers available. In comparison, Safari is safer than Google Chrome for various reasons. After all, it is an Apple product, and you can trust it. People still prefer Google Chrome due to its less control and open access. 

Meet the Author

Abdul Rahim has been working in Information Technology for over two decades. Learn how Abdul got his start as a Tech Blogger , and why he decided to start this Software blog. If you want to send Abdul a quick message, then visit his contact page here.