How to Check if a Mac Has a Virus Without Any Software?

Regular virus scans can help to protect Mac users from losing their personal data and exposing their computers to serious damage. Those individuals who surf the wide-open expanses of the Web without introducing an additional layer of security— in the form of an antivirus—into their system are exposed to the threat of malware infiltration. Countless stains of viruses, Trojans, and adware can wreak havoc on their newly-purchased MacBooks. For this reason, all members of the Apple family are strongly encouraged to make use of free or commercial antiviruses. Those who, for some reason, don’t use virus scanning utilities should read this article to find out about built-in antivirus software on Mac OS and macOS.

XProtect Explained

XProtect is a rudimentary anti-malware software that prevents Mac owners from installing malicious apps. Unlike other antiviruses, XProtect cannot scan and clean a machine from harmful code. Given that the malware checks new apps against the list of malware, it is incapable of detecting newly-developed viruses or even permutations of old ones. Therefore, Apple has put in place another layer of security.


Being true to its name, Gatekeeper helps to protect Macs from software intruders. Malware detection capability of the tool relies on unique attributes and ID signatures of apps to have control over what a user installs on their computer. It is possible to choose out of three protection options, which will allow installing software only from Mac App Store, from the app store and trusted developers, or from anywhere.

mac gatekeeper

If a user is confident that the app they are trying to open is free from harmful code, they can exempt it from Gatekeeper.

Similar to XProtect, Gatekeeper is incapable of running background scans. It follows that short of seeing a warning message informing a user that an app comes from an unknown software developer, there’s no way to tell whether a Mac has been infiltrated without utilizing additional apps.

unidentified app

Since built-in security barriers can only minimize the risk of virus infections, users who want to find out whether an infection has occurred should download and install virus scanners available on the Web and Apple App Store. After inspecting the content of a drive, a cleaning utility will inform a user about the state of their system security and remove detected malware.

Safety Tips

When it comes to Mac’s safety, there’s no substitute for being vigilant. Malware and adware are getting smarter by the day and so should Mac users. It is absolutely essential to avoid responding to suspicious emails that request personal details or passwords. Under no circumstances, it is reasonable to use email links to download software.

Mac owners should be on the lookout for bogus Adobe Flash updates. Such update prompts usually appear on torrent sites and web pages with questionable or stolen content.

Avoid downloading illegal or cracked software. Not only it perpetuates copyright infringement but also considerably endangers the system integrity of a Mac due to the heightened exposure to viruses.

Do not succumb to unsolicited offers from unidentified individuals and suspicious websites. If a user gets asked to install a codec or plug-in to play free content, the chances are that they are being scammed into downloading a virus.