Norton vs. McAfee for Mac: Head-to-Head Which is Better?

by admin on February 9, 2010

mcafee mac vs norton macNorton and McAfee are two of the biggest names in security for PCs, each with years of experience protecting computers from harmful files.  They now bring this experience to the Mac platform as well, where the issue of viruses is becoming more and more prominent as Mac becomes more popular.

Whether you’re an individual user, or you run a home network, or if you’re a business user with a Mac-only or mixed network environment, it’s now a must to have antivirus protection for Mac.  Norton Internet Security for Mac and McAfee VirusScan for Mac each offer their own particular strengths.  Before making a decision on which company’s offering to use, it’s a good idea to be aware of exactly what you’re looking for and what your needs are in order to determine which program is right for you or your business.

The Basics

Norton Internet Security for Mac runs on Mac OS X version 10.4.11 and up, including Snow Leopard.  It will run on an Intel or PowerPC-based machine.  Norton will set you back $79.99 US per user per year, and Norton isn’t currently offering any type of discount for multiple licenses.

McAfee VirusScan for Mac will run on Mac OS X 10.4.6 and up, including Snow Leopard.  It also runs on either Intel or PowerPC-based Macs.  McAfee doesn’t currently offer individual licenses for its Mac antivirus product.  Instead, you have to get at least 3 licenses, at a price of $109.65 US.  So, it’s clear that McAfee is less expensive for multiple users, while Norton is the less expensive of the two for individual users.


In terms of overall protection from viruses and malware, there’s not much to distinguish between the two packages.  Norton is perhaps slightly more comprehensive, with more sophisticated anti-phishing features.  However, in both cases, you’ll be well-protected against Mac and Windows-based viruses and malware, with updates being made available for both programs whenever new threats are identified.


Both Norton and McAfee are relatively unobtrusive as far as antivirus packages go.  Neither program seems to use too much in the way of CPU resources, although, again, Norton seems to be the more efficient of the two in this respect.  For the most part, neither one will interfere with your computing activities while scanning, and both can operate quietly in the background, with all important functions performed automatically.

Ease of Use

For individual users, Norton is very easy to set up and use.  People who have used Norton for Windows recently will find the Mac version to be almost exactly the same.  Basic things like scanning as well as scheduling and automating updates and scans are very easy to do.

McAfee is similarly smooth and simple, with the added bonus of McAfee’s ePolicy Orchestrator utility, which makes it very easy to manage security settings and data across a network.  So, McAfee gets the usability edge for network users, while Norton gets a slight edge for individuals.


Both Norton and McAfee offer excellent performance, and both are easy enough even for casual users to use effectively.  The most significant differences between the two are price and multi-user management.  For individual users, Norton Mac Antivirus is a better value and overall a slightly better product.  For networks, McAfee represents a better dollar value, and it’s a little bit better equipped for network security management.

Related posts:

  1. iAntiVirus vs. Norton Internet Security: Mac Antivirus Software Comparison
  2. iAntiVirus vs. McAfee: Mac Security Software Comparison
  3. Norton AntiVirus Mac Review: Internet Security AV Software for Macintosh
  4. McAfee VirusScan for Mac: Antivirus Software Review
  5. iAntiVirus vs. MacScan: Mac Security Software Comparison

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: