Intego Detailed Expert Review
It’s not easy to find a good Mac antivirus. However, after testing virtually all of the macOS antiviruses out there, I am an confident in saying:
- Intego is the best Mac-only antivirus software on the market.
Now, it’s not perfect, but Intego has done a lot of good things with its two macOS malware protection engines — VirusBarrier and NetBarrier — both of which scored exceptionally well during my testing.
There are also lots of additional tools on Intego’s discounted Mac Premium Bundle X9, such as:
- Washing Machine — system cleaner and optimizer.
- Personal Backup — advanced data backup tool.
- ContentBarrier — parental controls (way better than Mac’s parental controls).
So, is Intego worth the money?
While it can be a bit challenging to set up and the customer support needs work, Intego is an overall great product — it scored top marks in macOS virus protection, ease of use, and overall value, it’s cheaper than most other Mac-based antiviruses, and it ranked as the #1 antivirus for Mac in 2021.
|Overall Rank||#3 out of 58 antiviruses|
|VPN||Yes (separate purchase)|
|Pricing||Starting at /year|
|Money-Back Guarantee||30 days|
Intego Security Features
- Note: If you want to read about Intego Antivirus for Windows, click here.
VirusBarrier — Malware Scanning
VirusBarrier is Intego’s malware scanner. Its dashboard is simple and easy to use, but it still contains essential virus protection tools, such as an antivirus scanner, a real-time protection engine, scan scheduling, and malware removal.
Using VirusBarrier, you can run virus scans of your entire Mac and any connected external drives or iOS devices — this makes it easy to ensure your phone doesn’t have any hidden malicious files. VirusBarrier also has an option to scan emails for viruses, but this requires users to connect their email accounts via Apple’s Mail app.
During my tests, I first opted to run a “Quick Scan” The Quick Scan literally took 2 minutes to scan over 200,000 files, which is pretty impressive. I then ran a “Full Scan”. The Full Scan analyzed over 800,000+ files on my Mac and only took 1 hour and 40 minutes. Subsequent Full Scans were much faster (just over 10 minutes) thanks to Intego’s built-in file caching technology that skips over previously scanned files marked as safe.
After loading a folder of Mac malware samples onto my system, I ran another Full Scan. VirusBarrier detected almost all of the threats on my device — including trojans, adware, and many other potentially harmful files. I also tested VirusBarrier’s real-time malware engine by launching a range of ransomware simulations, and the real-time engine instantly blocked all of the simulated ransomware attacks.
Intego prompted me to handle all threats immediately, giving me 3 options:
- Trust — Marks potential threats as safe.
- Quarantine — Holds dangerous files in a secure vault.
- Repair — Removes viruses from infected files.
After each scan had finished, I clicked Repair. The majority of malware files did get repaired, but when I checked the “Logs” to get a full breakdown of the scan, I noticed it said “Repair failed” next to 6 of the potentially harmful files. This may not be a big deal (because all the files have been effectively neutralized and quarantined), but it would have been nice if the software alerted me to the fact that the repair process had failed so I could have done something about it sooner.
VirusBarrier also offers a “Safe Browsing On” feature that checks to see if a browser’s anti-phishing settings are on. While this is somewhat useful, I think it’s a hollow feature, and I’d much rather see Intego offer its own built-in web security features. However, VirusBarrier’s email virus scan option balances out its lack of web security tools, and I haven’t seen many other Mac antiviruses offer an email scan option.
Overall, I like VirusBarrier’s range of scan options and the fact that subsequent scans are much faster. I also like the email virus scan feature and the option to scan for threats on connected drives or iOS devices. I would prefer it if VirusBarrier was a bit more intuitive, and I’d be happier if I was notified of potential issues with quarantined files. But I think VirusBarrier is a solid antivirus scanner that provides high-level protection for Mac computers.
NetBarrier — Mac Firewall
Intego’s firewall feature, NetBarrier, is an advanced firewall with some extra options that aren’t included with Mac’s built-in firewall.
NetBarrier automatically detects what network you’re using — your home network, work network, or public Wi-Fi hotspot — and changes your firewall security settings based on the detected network. I tested this feature on my local coffee shop’s Wi-Fi hotspot, and NetBarrier automatically changed my firewall settings to ensure my MacBook was protected from threats associated with public Wi-Fi hotspots. But I was also able to manually modify my settings to either Allow or Block both incoming and outgoing internet connections as well as incoming and outgoing local (LAN) connections.
What I really like about NetBarrier is that it alerts users when apps or background scripts try to make internet connections, and it gives users the option to allow or block the connections. During my tests, I was surprised to see that apps I didn’t even use were constantly trying to connect to the internet.
NetBarrier’s Applications tab gives a full overview of the programs trying to connect to the internet. It also gives the option to allow, block, or request programs to ask for permission before making any connections.
Overall, I really like the NetBarrier firewall. Intego has done a great job with this feature. It’s easy to navigate, has a simple layout, has much better functionality than Apple’s built-in firewall, and includes features that help to block programs making unwanted internet connections.
ContentBarrier — Parental Controls
ContentBarrier is Intego’s parental control software. It’s pretty advanced compared to the built-in Mac parental controls, and it does more than just block inappropriate websites. ContentBarrier includes features like keystroke tracking, anti-predator alerts, screenshot recording, and application blocking.
You’ll have the ability to monitor how your kids are using the internet — view website, chat room, and email activity. While you can block entire website categories, like gambling and adult content, you can choose to block all websites apart from a chosen few and get your child to ask permission before accessing blocked sites.
Users can also opt to receive regular reports, via email, on how their child is using their Mac — including what sites they visited, emails sent and received, chat history, and more.
But what I like most about ContentBarrier is the Anti-Predator monitoring function that alerts users if their child is communicating with bad actors online. I was able to receive instant alerts via email whenever ContentBarrier identified potentially malicious words or phrases being sent or received via messaging apps, chat rooms, or email.
The big problem, however, is that ContentBarrier isn’t easy to set up — there wasn’t a clear set of instructions to follow, so I didn’t really know how to use the software at first. I figured it out eventually, but I think that setting up a parental control app should be easy. Also, some features like keystroke tracking don’t work on older Macs, which is a bit disappointing.
That said, I do really like ContentBarrier’s range of features — they’re a massive improvement over the default Mac parental controls, and I think most parents will find the range of options and regular activity reports really useful.
Washing Machine — Mac System Optimizer
Washing Machine combines a range of Mac cleaning and system organization tools into one application. While Intego’s Washing Machine doesn’t offer any Mac speedup tools, like Avira’s System Speedup for Mac, I really like what Intego has to offer.
There are 3 options to choose from when you load the software:
Reclaim scanned my entire device for old or unused files that were clogging up my precious hard disk space. I could also filter each Reclaim scan to find specific kinds of junk files.
The initial scan took just over 5 minutes and found around 20 GB of junk files, including logs, caches, downloads, and trash files.
I was able to select the files that I wanted to delete from my system and click Clean, which removed the files from my Mac instantly — *make some noise for all that free disk space*!
Duplicates scanned my Mac for duplicate files. It found 900+ duplicate files stored on my Mac — I had 6 versions of the same file in some instances.
I was then able to select and delete duplicate files to free up some hard drive space. What I like about Duplicates is that I was able to view the duplicate files on a preview screen, located at the bottom right of the interface, before proceeding to delete them.
Organize is a really neat tool that helps to tidy all of the files and apps on a user’s Mac. I was able to sort my desktop files into folders, rearrange apps in my Dock, and add new “Smart Folders” — the folders placed on the left of Mac’s Finder app, like Applications, AirDrop, Downloads, etc.
Organize is my favorite feature inside Intego’s Washing Machine. I was able to tidy all of my random desktop screenshots and other files instantly by clicking the drop-down menu and selecting the appropriate folder. I could also drag and drop files into specific folders or the trash bin.
I didn’t feel the need to rearrange my Dock, as it was already pretty well organized. But it may be useful if you have a huge number of unused apps.
Washing Machine has a great set of features. I like Reclaim and Duplicates, but Organize is my favorite — this is something I haven’t seen on rival Mac-based software like Airo AV or even MacKeeper. I think Intego should also look at including system speedup tools, but most Mac users will be pretty happy with Washing Machine’s features.
Personal Backup — Customizable Backups
Personal Backup is designed to back up important files — much like Apple’s Time Machine — but in a more personalized way. Using Personal Backup, I was able to back up specific files or folders to an external hard drive or a separate integrated hard drive.
The cool thing about Personal Backup is that users can schedule multiple backups for different purposes. For example, I chose to back up my music files weekly and scheduled all of my work-related documents to back up hourly.
Personal Backup has a few other options, including:
- Bootable Backup
Bootable Backup enables you to backup your entire system with the current Mac OS X version that is installed on your device — so if your Mac becomes faulty, you can load the entire contents of your Mac onto another Mac without having to reinstall any OS X software. I think this is awesome, as it saves waiting for hours for your Mac’s OS X to update or reinstall if there’s an issue.
Synchronize enables you to sync files between multiple devices. Once you make a change to a file on your Mac, the same file located on your external drive will also change. This could be useful if you use multiple devices — such as an iMac at your office and a MacBook for when you’re traveling.
And Restore does what it says — restores the backups made on your external drive.
Overall, Personal Backup is way better than Apple’s Time Machine. I do like Time Machine, but after using Intego’s Personal Backup, I don’t think I want to rely on Time Machine anymore. Plus, with added features like file synchronization and the ability to backup my entire system (including the OS X), Personal Backup is probably the best backup tool for most Mac users.
Intego Plans & Pricing
There’s a range of Intego plans to choose from. All of the plans contain one or a combination of the Intego products mentioned above, and they’re all reasonably priced. Aside from the Mac Washing Machine X9 package (which is a one-off payment), all plans are priced for either 1 year or 2 years of protection.
Overall, Intego’s products are a really great value. They include features that most Mac users would find super useful. While Intego isn’t incredibly cheap, the full Mac Premium Bundle X9 package is cheaper than most competing Mac-based antivirus and Mac optimization programs. Plus, all packages come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try Intego and get a refund if you don’t like it.
Mac Premium Bundle X9 — Best Plan with Every Feature
The Mac Premium Bundle X9 package contains all of the tools mentioned in this review. You can choose to protect 1, 3, or 5 Macs. This package contains:
- Mac Washing Machine
- Personal Backup
This package is the best option for most Mac users who want solid malware protection, coverage for multiple devices, as well as extra tools like Mac cleanup and backup tools.
Mac Internet Security X9 — Good Plan for Budget Users
Mac Internet Security X9 lets you protect 1, 3, or 5 Macs. This package contains:
This package is a decent option for users only looking for essential malware protection and internet security, without additional tools.
Mac Washing Machine Secure X9
Mac Washing Machine Secure X9 lets you protect 1 or 3 Macs. This package contains:
- Mac Washing Machine
This package is a good option for users wanting cybersecurity protection and Mac cleaning tools.
ContentBarrier Secure X9
ContentBarrier Secure X9 lets you protect 1 or 3 Macs. This package contains:
This package is a decent option for families, but as it only covers a maximum of 3 devices, it may not be a good choice for large families or those who have multiple devices to cover. This is why the Mac Premium Bundle X9 (which covers up to 5 devices) might be a better option.
Mac ContentBarrier X9
This package contains the ContentBarrier software only. You can choose to protect 1 or 3 Macs.
Mac Washing Machine X9
This package only contains the Washing Machine system cleanup software. You can choose to use this package for 1 or 3 Macs. Mac Washing Machine X9 is bought as a one-off payment.
Intego Ease of Use and Setup
Intego is pretty easy to set up. The entire installation process took no longer than 5 minutes — considering that I opted to install the full Intego Premium Bundle X9 package, the process was super quick.
Once Intego was installed on my Mac computer, I was prompted to input the serial key I received upon purchasing the software. Once I input my serial key, that was it!
On setup of VirusBarrier, I could select my level of protection — “Minimum”, “Standard”, and “Maximum”. I would recommend that most people choose “Maximum” as it offers protection from all cybersecurity threats.
I think that Intego has done a great job of providing information overlays that explain how to use each feature — great for beginners who aren’t too familiar with using antiviruses. The example below shows the information overlay for VirusBarrier.
Considering the robust protection that VirusBarrier offers, the malware scans didn’t significantly impact my device’s performance. Using Activity Monitor, I found that VirusBarrier had a relatively low impact on my Mac’s memory and CPU — even though I chose the “Maximum” protection option, which is meant to be the most CPU-intensive option.
Still, I found an option in VirusBarrier’s Preferences tab called “Scan with low priority”, which prioritizes CPU power for other programs running during virus scans. When this setting is on, scans can take longer, but it reduces slowdowns and interruptions for other programs. I like this because I can run full system scans while streaming HD movies without any loss in performance.
I had the same experience with all of the other Intego products — NetBarrier, ContentBarrier, Personal Backup, and Washing Machine were all relatively low on both my iMac’s and MacBook’s system resources.
Preferably, I’d like Intego to have all of its products located in one easy-to-use dashboard, like MacKeeper and TotalAV. Having separate interfaces can clutter up your desktop, especially if you want to use Washing Machine, run a virus scan, and make changes to NetBarrier. That said, some users might like accessing each product separately.
Overall, most of Intego’s features are well-designed and very easy to use. I would prefer it if VirusBarrier had more obvious scan buttons for novice users. However, installing, setting up, and using Intego will be pretty straightforward for most users.
Intego Mobile App
Intego doesn’t currently have a mobile app. However, you can scan your iOS device for viruses and malware using VirusBarrier — all you have to do is connect your phone to your Mac, just like how you’d scan an external hard drive. This feature is pretty cool, and it’s something I haven’t seen included in other Mac-based antiviruses.
Intego Customer Support
Intego’s customer support is decent. It offers phone support (for specific countries), live chat, email support, and a really awesome FAQ page.
Phone support is available in North and South America, Europe (including the UK), Africa, Japan, and Australia. Intego offers phone support in English, French, and Japanese.
Phone and email support options are available between 8:30am and 5:30pm (in each location), Monday to Friday. Live chat is available between 8:30am and 5:30pm US Central Time (CT).
My experience with email support was mixed. I asked for more information about VirusBarrier and the technology it uses. I received a response from a representative around 3 hours later — pretty quick for email support. I was really happy with the detailed and informative answer.
However, I sent another email regarding my issues with deleting infected files. But I only heard back 3 days later. I felt this email was more urgent than my previous email, so it’s annoying that it took so long to receive a response.
The response (screenshot below) was quite long-winded, and I was advised to go through the process of deleting the files manually. I was also told to download a third-party tool to help me with this process. So I wasn’t entirely satisfied with this response.
As expected, Intego’s live chat is much better in terms of response times. I asked a question via Intego’s website live chat function, and I received a response from a representative almost instantly! I was pleased with the responses I received — the customer support reps were able to answer any question within a matter of seconds.
Intego has a really good FAQ section — also known as the “Knowledge Base”. The Knowledge Base page itself is laid out clearly, with specific sections relating to each Intego product and other general questions, such as billing and installation. I really like how each FAQ page has clear screenshots and offers easy-to-follow guidance, making it great for beginners.
Intego also has a 30-day money-back guarantee for all packages. My experience with requesting a refund was pretty straightforward. I emailed asking for a refund, the representative I spoke to asked the reason for my request, and then they proceeded to initiate my refund. I was told it would take 10–14 days for the money to appear in my account, but I received my refund 3 days later.
Overall, Intego’s customer support is good. I would prefer it if the email support team were more responsive and helpful, especially when dealing with urgent issues. However, the live chat function is great, and the FAQ (Knowledge Base) has great guides and tutorials that even the most non-technical users can easily understand.
Is Intego really the best antivirus software for Mac in 2021?
In a word — yes! Although I have mixed feelings about some of Intego’s features, I think it’s great overall. I fully trust the software to protect my Mac against viruses, malware, and cybercriminals. And I also love that Intego can help me clean up and better organize my Mac.
As I mentioned previously, ContentBarrier could be a lot easier to set up, and VirusBarrier’s delete and repair processes need to be improved. I would also like it if all of the products were located in one easy to use dashboard, like MacKeeper or TotalAV.
That said, I would choose Intego over any other Mac antivirus, as it’s highly customizable and has a great range of features. The functionality of Intego’s smart firewall, NetBarrier, alone makes it my favorite Mac security software. And Intego’s backup tools and parental controls are much better than Apple’s built-in backup and parental control features.
Overall, Intego truly is a great value. It offers solid cybersecurity protection and has additional tools that are much better than Mac’s built-in features. If you’re interested, you can try out Intego risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Intego Review — Frequently Asked Questions
- Does Intego offer a free trial?
- Do Macs really need antivirus software?
- Will Intego protect me against rootkits?
- Will Intego slow down my device?
Does Intego offer a free trial?
Yes, Intego does offer a 30-day free trial, and you won’t have to input any payment card details to access this free trial. However, some features, such as Washing Machine, will be limited — you’ll be able to scan your device for junk files, but you’ll have to purchase the full version to delete them.
Do Macs really need antivirus software?
Although Macs are said to be virus-proof, this isn’t true. As Macs are becoming more popular, hackers are targeting more macOS devices every day — with Mac-specific malware becoming extremely advanced. Having a Mac without any form of antivirus software is extremely risky. You should at least consider installing an antivirus like Intego to avoid hackers from destroying your system and stealing all of your personal data. And with a 30-day trial, there’s no reason not to try Intego out.
Will Intego protect me against rootkits?
Yes. Intego’s VirusBarrier can detect and remove rootkits.
Will Intego slow down my device?
In most cases, Intego is pretty lightweight, even if you select the most CPU-intensive settings — known as “Maximum”. When completing system scans, each product can take up some CPU space. However, you can reduce Intego’s CPU usage by choosing the “Scan with low priority” setting in VirusBarrier’s Preferences tab.