Malwarebytes For Mac, or Malwarebytes Anti-Malware for Mac as it is officially known, is a free malware and adware removal tool for Mac. Malwarebytes has been a trusted and popular malware removal tool on PC and Windows for many years and although Malwarebytes for Mac was finally released in July 2015, it’s not actually a new tool. Due to the enormous success of an independent tool called AdwareMedic by Mac security expert Thomas Reed, Malwarebytes astutely spotted the chance to buy AdwareMedic and finally get a foothold in the Mac market. Not only that, but they brought Reed on board as their Director of Mac Offerings and so Malwarebytes for Mac is still basically AdwareMedic which we reviewed earlier this year. However, with the financial muscle, brand and promotional clout of Malwarebytes behind him, AdwareMedic is now sure to evolve into a more powerful tool to deal with the increasing number of malware threats on Mac. Of course, it could also end up as a complete sell-out and destroy the excellent product that AdwareMedic was but judging by Reed’s obvious passion for internet security over many years on Mac, it’s unlikely he would continue to be involved in a product that doesn’t genuinely protect Mac users. In this Malwarebytes for Mac review, we take a closer look at what’s changed, how to install it and how it works.
Malwarebytes For Mac Review
Firstly, it should be made clear that Malwarebytes for Mac is not an antivirus tool. There is a distinct technical difference between viruses and malware that we won’t go into here but suffice to say, viruses generally cripple or infect your entire system while malware generally plagues you with ads, slows down browsing or at its worst, steals your private data. Malwarebytes is designed to remove malware only because it is currently an increasingly bigger problem on Mac than viruses. Viruses on Mac are still very rare and require totally different solutions such as AVG for Mac. It should also be noted that Malwarebytes doesn’t provide real time protection such as suites like AVG. That is to say, it won’t protect you from future protection but it will remove any malware that has already installed itself on your Mac. It’s what you might call, a “shoot to kill” malware remover.
With this in mind, after you download Malwarebytes for Mac you must drag it into your Applications folder. Note that it only works on OS X 10.7 Lion or higher:
You then have to agree to a lengthy End User License Agreement and the main Malwarebytes user interface will open. If you ever used AdwareMedic, then you’ll notice that MalwareBytes for Mac looks almost exactly the same which isn’t surprising because as we highlighted in the introduction, it’s basically the same product. The only difference is the Malwarebytes branding at the top and there’s also a new link at the bottom for a Malwarebytes business version although this isn’t due for release until later this year and simply takes you to a statement of interest form to fill in. This is how it now looks:
And this is how the old AdwareMedic looked – spot the difference!
To state the obvious, to scan your Mac you simply select the first option “Scan”. As with AdwareMedic, Malwarebytes takes no more than a 5 or 6 seconds to scan your system. If you’re clean as a whistle and no adware or malware is found, you should receive the following message:
If however after scanning you, you’re infected with something, you’ll receive a message something like this:
AdwareMedic gives you a useful overview of the name of the Adware your Mac is infected with, in this case Conduit, Genieo and Vidx/MacVX. These types of malware are usually installed on your Mac after downloading from dodgy sites such as download portals or malicious ads that trick you into clicking “download” accidentally. You can choose which files you want to remove using the checkboxes on the left but of course, in almost all cases its best to select them all and click “Remove Selected Items”. Those files that definitely need removing because they are the most malicious, are selected automatically by default by Malwarebytes but those that are unchecked, you an choose whether to remove them yourself. The reason for these optional files is that often they are browser preference files that have been modified by malware and if removed, will require you to reset your browser preferences again. However, we strongly recommend deleting removing all files and then re configuring any necessary browser preferences afterwards to make sure that your machine is squeaky clean after scanning.
Note that none of the files are actually deleted – they are moved to a folder called “Malwarebytes Removals” in your Trash which you can choose to empty or delete at any time. Those files labelled with an “!” exclamation mark allow you to see more details about exactly what the malware is if you hover the mouse cursor over it and it is purely for informational purposes.
When you click “Remove Selected Items”, you will be prompted for your Mac admin password but this is entirely normal because the malware is usually rooted so deeply in the your Macs system, that it requires root access to weed them out. If you have several user accounts on your Mac, you will have to enter each account and run a scan for each one to ensure that malware has been removed from each account. In most cases, you’ll find that your problem has magically disappeared as millions of users online can testify to with the old AdwareMedic tool upon which Malwarebytes is based.
What Happens If Malwarebytes Hasn’t helped?
If you’re sure your Mac is still infected with something or experience problems with browsing or adware on your Mac after using Malwarebytes, click on “What to do if your problem wasn’t solved” and you’ll be taken to an extensive Malwarebytes For Mac Support Site. You can also access the help section by click on the “Next Steps” button in the main interface. If you can’t find the answer there, you can also select the Help menu at the top of your Mac’s screen and select Contact Support.
This allows you to fill in a form which will be sent to Malwarebytes (and presumably Thomas Reed) who will attempt to deal with your problem individually. You can choose to send it automatically with Apple Mail by clicking “Send Mail” or if you don’t use Mail, click Send with Alternate and it will copy the text to your clipboard, which you can then by pasting into your preferred mail client such as Gmail, Yahoo! Mail etc which you must send to [email protected]
You’ll also notice that in the same Help Menu, you can select the option to automatically uninstall Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. We recommend using this option rather than dragging the application to your Trash because it ensures that all components of the application are fully removed.
Finally, if Malwarebytes are unable to help you in anyway, you can take a useful snapshot of your system which you can then paste into other support forums online or show to an expert who may be able to diagnose the problem from it. Simply go to the Scanner Menu in the Menu Bar and select System Snapshot.
You can then copy the System Snapshot and paste it into forums or show it to someone who may be able to help:
That about covers all there is to know about Malwarebytes malware removal tool for Mac. There is an option to Update Signatures from the Scanner Menu which makes sure that Malwarebytes is definitely updated with the latest malware threat definitions. However, the application will automatically update itself everytime you open it so there’s no real need to use this unless you manually deactivate automatic updates.
Our opinion on Malwarebytes hasn’t changed since our original review of AdwareMedic. Its still genuinely the best, and probably only tool, that effectively removes malware from Macs. The fact that Malwarebytes were smart enough to buy such an excellent product says a lot about them too and with Thomas Reed working for them, you can be guaranteed that they’ve got one of the smartest, committed and most knowledgeable guys around when it comes to security on Mac. We gave AdwareMedic a 5 star rating in our original review and our mind hasn’t changed now that its owned by Malwarebytes. Let’s just hope it stays that way.
If you have any problems, questions or issues using Malwarebytes on your Mac, let us know in the comments below.
- Does exactly what it says - removes adware
- Extremely easy to use
- Costs nothing