Since 1997, Intego has often been ranked as one of the best antivirus software options for macOS. This, it seems, could be changing, as recent industry testing has scored Intego poorly.
While most antivirus providers focus on the Windows operating system, Intego Antivirus was designed primarily for Apple’s desktop operating system. Support for Windows devices recently followed in 2021, in the form of Intego Antivirus for Windows.
But just how good is Intego Antivirus? In this review, we’ll answer these questions and take an in-depth look at Intego’s features, benefits, drawbacks, and more across both Mac and Windows devices. We tested it on a MacBook Air, and here are the scores for our Intego Antivirus review:
Intego Antivirus Review: Summary
|Comes with a built-in firewall for Mac||Failed to be certified by AV-Comparatives in 2022|
|Real-time virus scanning||Features are split into different apps|
|Offers a free seven-day trial period||VPN subscription sold separately|
|Doesn’t offer custom secure browsing protection|
Intego Antivirus has been around for more than two decades. With an extensive and well-developed range of features and tools, plus performance that isn’t too CPU-heavy, it’s a strong contender for Macs. The UI is mostly slick and intuitive, which makes it feel right at home on Apple’s software. However, from recent tests, we fear that it doesn’t measure up to giants like Bitdefender and Norton.
For those of you wondering whether you need an antivirus for Mac — the answer is yes, by the way — Intego Antivirus offers relatively affordable protection. However, if you’re looking for one of the best antivirus solutions for macOS devices, you might want to consider alternatives for this Mac antivirus solution. Recent tests from AV-Comparatives have flagged a performance drop in Intego’s virus scanner.
As Intego Antivirus for Windows is still relatively new to the scene, this package is a little lighter on features compared to its Mac counterparts. That’s why, for now, we’d advise looking for the best antivirus software for Windows PCs instead.
Visit Intego with the button below for a closer look at this popular antivirus for Mac. Alternatively, keep reading for a deep dive into Intego’s features and how they measure up.
Intego Antivirus Specifications and Subscriptions
Intego’s “Best Seller” and frequently touted package is the Mac Premium Bundle X9 subscription. This plan offers the most feature-rich experience. However, by comparison to other antivirus providers, it’s quite expensive, too.
When it came to our Intego Antivirus review, we opted for this bundle so we could test every feature and application. You’ll find a comparison of Intego’s packages below.
|Feature||Mac Internet Security X9||Mac Premium Bundle X9||ContentBarrier Secure X9||Mac Washing Machine Secure X9||Intego Antivirus for Windows|
|Pricing||From $39.99 (first year)||From $69.99 (first year)||From $59.99 (first year)||From $55.99 (first year)||From $29.99 (first year)|
|Smart & Fast VPN*||✖||✖||✖||✖||✖|
|Adult Content Blocker||✖||✔||✔||✖||✖|
|Browser History Logs||✖||✔||✔||✖||✖|
|Download Link||Get Mac Internet Securty X9||Get Mac Premium Bundle X9||Get ContentBarrier Secure X9||Get Mac Washing Machine Secure X9||Get Antivirus for Windows|
* Sold separately
Security: Can Intego Antivirus Be Trusted?
With any antivirus, it’s important to assess the level of security offered and check whether there are any red flags. While we were very content with this antivirus’s security during previous updates of our Intego antivirus review, recent industry testing has shown that the software hasn’t been doing as well lately.
Here are our current conclusions regarding Intego’s security:
- Intego’s malware scanner, VirusBarrier, is fast, easy to use, and offers on-demand and scheduled virus scans.
- Intego has previously performed well in security testing, but was not certified by AV-Comparatives in 2022.
- The Safe Browsing feature only checks to ensure that your browsers are using their anti-phishing features.
- Intego has had no known security breaches.
Security testing: How does Intego Antivirus measure up?
Intego’s malware scanner is known as VirusBarrier and is easy to work with. The user interface has been optimized well. Through this control panel, you’ve got access to an ad-hoc antivirus scanner, scheduled virus scans, targeted malware removal, and real-time antivirus controls. This scanner will also check any external drives or iOS devices you have connected.
In June 2021, AV-Test gave Intego a perfect score for “Protection,” “Performance,” and “Usability.” In fact, in the preceding five years, that score hadn’t changed much at all. The software scored 6 points across the board, which put it on par with other well-known providers.
According to AV-Comparatives, however, the situation has worsened since then. Recent tests in 2022 have revealed that Intego stopped just 96.8% of malware. While this number may sound high, in the context of antivirus testing, it is actually quite poor. That’s why AV-Comparatives hasn’t certified Intego for 2022.
During the same period outlined above, Avast Free Security for Mac and Norton 360 Standard detected 100%. Essentially, when compared to Intego, you can get better Mac protection for free with Avast.
Real-time threat protection
VirusBarrier offers both ad-hoc virus scanning and scheduled scans. When you initiate a scan yourself, you can choose to run a “Quick Scan” or “Full Scan,” with the latter supposedly being best-suited to periods of low device activity. That said, Intego doesn’t place any real strain on your computer, as our scan results will attest further down in this Intego review, so this shouldn’t really matter to your experience.
After you’ve initiated your first scan, you’ll likely notice things speed up next time around. Once a file has been scanned, deemed safe, and cached, the Intego Antivirus will pass over it in subsequent scans.
If you’d rather hand the reins over to Intego and forget about running malware scans yourself, you can use the “Scheduled Scans” feature. The main user interface for this tool is relatively bare-bones, but you can opt to schedule scans on a daily or weekly basis, at a specified time of day.
If you click on “Advanced,” you can choose to target specific folders. You can also scan individual files by selecting “Other.”
Scan iOS devices and external media
VirusBarrier will also let you run virus scans on any connected iOS devices or external media. This includes USB drives and external hard drives. Once you’ve connected them to your device, you can schedule a scan against that particular device.
Simply open the “Scheduled Scans” feature, then locate the device in the menu as shown in the above image.
There’s a Safe Browsing option built into the VirusBarrier user interface, but this is more for informational purposes. You can click on “Check Now” to make sure that the internet browser software installed on your computer is being monitored.
As long as you see the green tick beside the browser, that means VirusBarrier’s Safe Browsing mode is enabled for that browser. At present, Safari, Chrome, and Firefox are supported, but Edge is not.
That said, don’t be fooled by the green tick, as there’s a reason this interface contains very little information. Essentially, all VirusBarrier will do is make sure that your browsers are using their built-in anti-phishing tools. Intego isn’t actually doing anything extra to protect your online browsing activity.
In the user documentation, Intego states: “Proper browser settings can help prevent you from visiting fraudulent websites. VirusBarrier X9 can detect if your web browsers are running with Safe Browsing enabled and warn you if this feature is disabled.”
Intego’s Safe Browsing mode doesn’t do anything else, which makes it feel like a somewhat unfinished feature, especially compared to, for example, Airo AV, another popular Mac antivirus that will block you from fraudulent or malicious websites. There’s always a possibility that the company may flesh this feature out in the future, but it has been around for some time already and nothing has changed so far.
Quarantine and Trusted Files
Along the top of the user interface, you’ll find two tabs named “Quarantine” and “Trusted Files.” The “Quarantine” tab is fairly self-explanatory: this is where potentially harmful files, such as those containing computer viruses, will be prevented from running on your device or accessing the internet.
Intego will attempt to repair any files deemed harmful, but it can’t always do this successfully. If not, the file will be put into lockdown until you review it, at which point you have the option to delete it entirely. Under “Trusted Files,” you can specify files that you’d prefer to exclude from future virus scans.
Intego NetBarrier X9
Accessed separately to VirusBarrier, Intego’s NetBarrier X9 is the built-in Intego firewall that’ll safeguard your network and connected devices from malware and other online threats. You can use this dashboard to allow or deny software applications from accessing the internet so you have greater control over your network.
There’s also a feature that will help to keep you safe when using unsecured public Wi-Fi networks.
Intego ContentBarrier X9
Good news for parents: ContentBarrier gives you control over the online features and content accessible to youngsters. This parental control dashboard provides access to tools that can restrict web content and capture logs of messages.
There’s even a built-in keylogger if you want to know exactly what they’re up to on the internet. Included in the software is AI (artificial intelligence) that’ll skim your kids’ chat history to look for any instances of cyberbullying.
We advise parents to use parental controls in combination with other tactics to keep their children safe online, like talking to them about the dangers. You can refer to these expert tips to keep your kids safe online for more information.
Intego Washing Machine X9
The Intego Washing Machine X9 feature is a Mac cleanup tool that can optimize your device’s performance by clearing out clutter. It’s not common to see this feature bundled in with antivirus software, but it’s a nifty tool that could speed up your CPU’s performance and better organize your files.
Privacy: How Does Intego Antivirus Manage Your Data?
Intego’s privacy left us feeling impressed overall. It’s not uncommon for even the biggest antivirus providers to have had a data breach in years gone by. However, Intego has been running for over two decades and we’ve not caught wind of any security breaches. What’s more:
- Intego’s Privacy Protection VPN isn’t included with the standard antivirus software.
- Intego Antivirus promises to only log basic information, including your name, email address, and payment information.
Privacy Protection (VPN)
Intego Antivirus offers a VPN, aptly named Privacy Protection. Like with any VPN, connecting to the internet with Privacy Protection gives you a greater degree of privacy and anonymity online. The bad news? Privacy Protection isn’t included in any of Intego’s packages, so you’ll have to subscribe to the service separately.
However, there’s also some good news. Privacy Protection isn’t some low-quality VPN that’s been tacked on as an extra. The service is heavily influenced by and uses the same VPN servers as Private Internet Access (PIA), which is one of the best VPNs on the market.
This means you’ll benefit from many of the same features that PIA offers, including zero logging, VPN servers in more than 75 countries, and 256-bit AES encryption. You can check out our Private Internet Access review for more information on this VPN.
While you’re able to opt out of data collection for marketing purposes, you should bear in mind that your IP address and activity on Intego’s website will also be logged. You can, at least, hide your IP address with a VPN.
In terms of data sharing, Intego shares data with third parties only when necessary. This includes sharing your payment information with payment processors so your subscription can be charged. This is fairly standard stuff, and you’ll typically find the same to be true with other antivirus software.
The good news is that there have been no recorded privacy scandals surrounding Intego and its services. This could be down to the fact that Macs are seen as highly secure and not susceptible to the same kind of malware as other operating systems. Regardless, this is definitely a good sign and makes our trust in Intego grow.
Usability: How User-Friendly Is Intego Antivirus?
Intego Antivirus has a slick UI, with the interface being simple to navigate. We were able to find our way around without much difficulty, particularly when wanting to run a malware scan or schedule a future scan. However, the software would much benefit from being combined into a single application rather than separated into various apps.
- Installing Intego is easy, but setting it up might be different for different operating systems.
- The user interface for Intego Antivirus is aesthetically pleasing, and each of the applications feels at home on a Mac or PC.
- Each of the Intego apps has to be accessed separately from an applications folder.
- Cancelling Intego is relatively easy and happens through a cancellation link sent to your email.
- Intego offers FAQ pages, email support tickets, a phone number (limited), and a live chat, which is very responsive.
How do I install Intego Antivirus?
We set up Intego Antivirus on a Mac, and this process is just slightly more difficult compared to the setup on Windows PCs. You’ll have to restart your system before you can start using great features like the VirusBarrier anti-malware scanner. Here’s a quick rundown of how to install Intego Antivirus on a Mac:
- Download Intego from the official website. While the software’s available on other software repositories, we recommend visiting the official website to ensure you download a safe, clean file that won’t contain malware.
- Choose the package you’re interested in — we used Mac Premium Bundle X9 — and click to purchase the software. The links in this article will snag you 50% off, though an Intego free trial is available.
- Follow the steps on-screen to review your purchase and check out with your payment information.
- Download the Intego software as instructed on-screen.
- Once your download is complete, you’ll find the installation file in your Downloads folder. Run the file to install Intego onto your device.
- Restart your Mac to finish the installation when prompted by the software.
- Allow specific applications through NetBarrier’s defenses to verify them as safe. Be sure to click “Yes” if you recognize the software or application and want to be able to use its online features. Keep in mind that first-time setup on your device will vary based on your operating system.
Now, you’re ready to use Intego. Bear in mind that, when you’re using Intego on Mac, one of the drawbacks we’ve noted is that each central feature is a separate application. They’re all stored within a folder called “Intego” on Mac, which you can find by going to “Finder” > “Applications.”
Once you’ve installed Intego’s software, you’ll need to know where to find it. If you’re a Mac user, you’ll find all of their applications stored within a specific folder under Applications in the Finder app.
In this folder, you’ll find all apps that we previously discussed, like the ContentBarrier, NetBarrier, VirusBarrier, and the Washing Machine.
How easy is it to cancel Intego Antivirus?
Fortunately, if you’re not getting along with Intego Antivirus, it isn’t difficult to close off your subscription. Simply follow the steps below:
- Open Intego’s Renewal page on their website (you’ll need your software’s serial number).
- Enter your serial number in the box below “Renew Your Intego Software” and click “Renew.”
- Your subscription should be set to auto-renew by default. In this case, you’ll see a red error message with a blue link. Click on this link to be sent an email containing a cancellation link.
- Click on the cancellation link in your email to close your subscription. You’ll still have access until your current, paid month expires.
Intego’s customer support
Intego’s customer support works fairly well, though your options may be limited based on your location. You can get in touch with support through live chat, or you can submit a support request through Intego’s website for an email response.
There’s also an option to ask the community a question, and you’ll find comprehensive FAQs on the Intego website. Additionally, some users can get support over the phone, though you’ll have to live in the US, Australia, Europe, Africa, or Japan.
We reached out to Intego using the live chat feature on their website, just to get a feel for the process. After asking a question about Safe Browsing, we were immediately positioned first in the queue, and we received a response within a minute.
So, Intego’s customer support team is fairly knowledgeable and quick. It’s also worth noting that you can get support in English, French, or Japanese!
Speed and Performance: Will Intego Antivirus Slow Down My System?
While some antivirus software is unwieldy and can slow down your device, we didn’t find this to be the case with Intego:
- The Quick Scan was incredibly quick at 30 seconds, while the Full Scan took a little over one hour.
- The Quick Scan was more system-intensive than the Full Scan, though neither slowed down our Mac to any great degree.
In short, Intego Antivirus won’t slow down your system and is a lightweight, powerful antivirus.
How long does a scan take?
You have two options when it comes to running a virus scan on your Mac. Whether you’re running an ad-hoc scan or scheduling one for later, you can choose between a quick scan and a full scan.
The Quick Scan is unnaturally fast at completing scans. So much so, that we ran it several times to confirm the results. Even so, it managed to scan more than 300,000 files in less than thirty seconds.
The Full Scan took a little over one hour to sift through just under 2 million files. This is quite long compared to the full scans of competitors. Kaspersky only took 12,5 minutes, for example. However, this makes sense when you take into account that there were a great many files to go through (we should really clean up our Mac).
It’s worth bearing in mind that the time each scan will take can vary widely depending on a number of factors, such as:
- Your device’s hard drive, CPU performance, and RAM (computer memory)
- The number of files stored on your computer
- The type of files being scanned
- Any custom settings and preferences you’ve set up in VirusBarrier
In VirusBarrier’s settings, you’ve got a number of options you can configure, which might have a measurable impact on your scan speed:
- Low Priority: Intego has a minimal impact on system performance, but if you’re encountering problems, you can enable Low Priority mode. While enabled, the software will minimize its use of system resources to prevent the slowing of other apps and activities.
- Archived Files: Most antivirus software won’t scan archived files, but Intego’s set up to do this by default. By disabling this setting, you can speed up your scan by reducing the number of targeted files.
- Windows Malware: This option allows Intego to detect Windows malware, even on Mac. Windows-specific malware can’t hurt macOS, but you could accidentally send it to your friends and family, or share them via torrent websites. If you’re not in the habit of file sharing, disabling this option could speed up your scans.
- Selective Scans: Intego can scan external iOS devices and hard drives, but this will increase the amount of time that a scan takes. If you’re in the habit of leaving other devices connected, but you don’t want to slow things down, you can selectively scan each device in isolation by clicking on the menu beside the drive on your VirusBarrier’s main control panel, then selecting “Scan.” Bear in mind that this menu will only be visible if you have external devices hooked up.
How does Intego Antivirus impact my CPU?
If you’re worried about an antivirus slowing down your computer, we’ve got good news for you. Through testing, we didn’t see any significant impact on our device’s performance when using Intego.
We tested this software on a Mac, so your results may vary on a Windows PC or on Macs with different specifications. For reference, this review was written using a MacBook Air (13-inch, 2017) with a 1.8 GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 processor, and 8 GB 1600 Mhz DDR3 onboard RAM (computer memory).
First, we looked at VirusBarrier’s use of CPU as a percentage when idle; this varied between around 0.3-0.8% of total CPU power — next to nothing.
Then, we looked at the CPU usage again while VirusBarrier was doing its thing, both for the Full Scan and Quick Scan features:
- When running a Quick Scan, CPU usage rose as high as 8.8%, though it typically hovered at around 3.3-5.3%.
- When running a Full Scan, CPU usage rose to a maximum of around 5.8%, though it typically hovered at around 2.7-3%.
These results are very good, as well as interesting, as it suggests that the Quick Scan, however short-lived, is a little tougher on your system resources.
That said, this antivirus software should go unnoticed in the background, even when running a scan.
Final Verdict: Is Intego Antivirus a Good Virus Scanner?
After spending some time with Intego, we can conclude that it’s a good antivirus with minimal privacy concerns. However, it is let down by poor, recent antivirus testing, which means it’s not the best choice for protecting your Mac from malware. Also, its software suite feels somewhat all over the place, with features that are broken down into multiple, separate applications. We also didn’t like that Secure Browsing is essentially window dressing and offers little in the way of protection.
And so, our verdict for Intego antivirus comes to this:
In terms of Mac protection, Intego isn’t the worst choice. However, you can certainly find more robust malware protection for your Mac. In our best antivirus for Mac overview, we chose Avast Security as one of our top picks for protecting Macs, due to its excellent malware and web protection.
If you’re a Windows user, Intego could be a good solution, but there are other, more specialized, options for Windows out there. Providers such as Norton and Bitdefender will give you a more complete package. That’s not to say that Intego is a poor choice for antivirus on Windows PCs. It’s just too new to the scene to compete with the big players in the Windows antivirus world. With recent test results falling short of certification, it seems you’ll get better protection with other antivirus solutions.
If you want quick answers to some of the most pressing questions about our Intego review, check out our FAQ section below.
Intego is a good antivirus, though there are caveats. Our testing has revealed that Intego won’t impact your system performance. That said, Intego lost its certification with AV-Comparatives due to a poor malware detection rate in 2022. We also found the software to be arranged in a clunky way, and Secure Browsing doesn’t do very much at all.
Our full Intego review has more information on why we think there are better alternatives when looking for antivirus software for Mac.
Intego typically does not slow down your Mac at all. During our time testing Intego, we found that CPU usage rarely rose above 5% thanks to optimization for Mac’s OS. We were also shocked by the efficiency of the Quick Scan, which was completed in mere seconds. You’ll find more information on VirusBarrier’s scans and their performance in our full Intego review.
Yes, you do need an antivirus for Mac. Mac devices are susceptible to all kinds of viruses, including malicious files like ransomware. You might want to consider installing a reputable antivirus program for Mac to protect your device.
The Mac Premium Bundle X9 comes in at $69.99 annually and includes all features.
However, you could instead pay around $39.99 annually for the VirusBarrier antivirus and a built-in firewall.
The Windows version costs around $29.99 annually, though it’s lighter on features and relatively new.
Disabling the Intego antivirus software is very easy:
- Open the main dashboard of the software.
- Choose the functionalities you want to disable: real-time protection, web shield, or the prevention engine.
However, we don’t recommend you disable Intego’s functionalities if you’re using it. It leaves your computer more vulnerable.