Removing Viruses from Your Mac

Removing Viruses from Your Mac

It is a common misconception that Macs don’t get viruses. It is true that Windows devices are more vulnerable to virus infection, but as hackers get more sophisticated with their methods and deployment, virus attacks against Macs are on the increase.

So the answer to the question can MacBooks get viruses? The answer is yes. You can read a good Forbes article explaining how it can be done despite the presence of Gatekeeper.

How do You Know if Your Mac has a Virus?

There are a few warning signs to look out for if you believe your Mac has a virus. If you notice any of the following you may well have a virus:

  • Your device becomes erratic and does unexpected things.
  • Adverts appear on your desktop.
  • Apps ask for your administrator password.
  • Software applications don’t install when you thought they had.
  • Your Mac runs slower giving poor performance.

There could be other explanations but the above is a good sign a virus is living in your machine.

So How do You Get Rid of Viruses from Your Mac

Follow these steps to get rid of viruses.

Remove Unneeded or Unrecognised Browser Extensions

Malware often manifests itself in the form of browser extensions. It is a good idea as a first step to go through them and remove ones that you don’t recognize or don’t need. This is browser-specific.

For Safari

  • Launch Safari and head towards Safari Extensions.
  • Scan your list and any extensions you don’t recognize or don’t need it is a good idea to click Uninstall.

For Chrome

  • Launch Chrome and click on the 3-dots, top right.
  • Choose More Tools and then Extensions.
  • Scan your extensions and click Remove for unrecognized, unneeded, and suspicious extensions.

For Firefox

  • Launch Firefox and click the 3 lines, top right.
  • Choose “Add-ons and themes.”
  • Click Extensions and remove unrecognized, unneeded, and suspicious ones.

Deleting Suspicious Apps

Malware often lives in your apps. Nefarious hackers have disguised this as security software.

  • So open your Applications folder and any apps you don’t recognize or feel are suspicious drag them to the trash.
  • Then, go to ~/Library folder and scan the Application Support folder. Any files that you feel are related to the apps you’ve deleted, drag to Trash.
  • Do the same for Launch Agents and Launch Daemons folders and repeat the process.
  • Do the same in your Mac’s main Library folder.

Be careful as it is possible to delete files your device needs to run.

Create a New User Profile

One way to take your Mac back is to create a new user profile. Malware tends to be user-specific so by doing this you render the malware useless.


  • Apple Menu then System Preferences.
  • Click Users & Groups.
  • Click the padlock and type in your admin password.
  • Click plus. You can now create a new user profile.

To transfer your important data from one profile to another, o to the Shared folder via Finder. Then in Go to Folder type in /Users.

You should now be able to see all accounts on your device and can transfer files accordingly.

Welcome to your virus-free new life!

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