I am surprised by the fact that there are hardly any reviews about high-quality antivirus programs for the Macintosh, despite the fact that only 5% to 10% of global users have personal computers that run on this operating system.
However, even that 5% to 10% is quite a lot, particularly when one considers the number of global PC users.
Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac. The best antivirus program for Macs: light, fast, strong and easy to. Sophos Antivirus for Mac Review 2020 – Home Premium Edition (Free) I am surprised by the fact that there are hardly any reviews about high-quality antivirus programs for the Macintosh, despite the fact that only 5% to 10% of global users have personal computers that run on this operating system. Sophos antivirus free download - Avast Free Antivirus, Sophos Home, Sophos Home, and many more programs.
Keeping this in mind, I have decided to write this Sophos antivirus for Mac review. Anybody using computers knows pretty well about the popularity of Sophos, and consider its antivirus software amongst the leaders in the field.
Is Sophos A Good Antivirus for Mac?
This Sophos Mac review 2020 will also go a long way in addressing the queries of individuals who have doubts about this program.
After you read this review in depth, you will find it easier to recommend this antivirus program to others as solid protection for the Macintosh; thereby helping to answer the question “is Sophos good for Mac?” Read on to know more.
Free Download and Trial
You do not have to believe those naysayers to discover the power of Sophos, as the developers offer you the option to pay no money for Sophos antivirus Mac download.
Be ready for a surprise, as the company offers you a free 30 days trial for their “Sophos Home Premium” software. You only have to fill up their online form with your name, email address, and password to create an account with Sophos in order to download the premium version.
Once completed, you will receive a Sophos Mac download link on the email ID you provided. Click on that link to initiate the download process. Once downloaded, click on the installer to install Sophos Mac.
There is no need for you to worry if you do not purchase their program within this period, as the software reverts to the free version at the end of the trial period. We shall discuss the differences between the free and premium versions later in this Sophos for Mac review 2020.
I would like to point out at this juncture that no other antivirus developer offers a premium version of their program for free. Sophos is able to do so because they are confident about the capability of their program.
Statistics reveal that more than 95% of people who opted for the free Sophos Mac download, ended up purchasing it within a week, rather than waiting for the 30 days trial offer to end.
No doubt, some other vendors too offer free versions of their antivirus programs. However, most of them pale in comparison to the Sophos anti-virus for Mac home edition, as this program is rich with bonus features that you will not find in any other antivirus program for the Macintosh.
The remote management feature from the home page of the vendor allows you to check your computer plus nine others linked to your account. This is an awesome feature when you want to manually perform certain tasks such as scanning your other Macintoshes when you are not at home.
Manage Security Remotely
You have to log into your account on the website of Sophos using the email and password you had used to register yourself prior to downloading the program.
Before I proceed further, let me point out that Sophos anti-virus Mac is much more than a vanilla antivirus tool. It contains all the goodies you would expect from a top grade antimalware tool.
The Sophos home edition Mac also contains powerful parental controls. Only two other antivirus programs for the Macintosh contain this feature; however, those programs do not have many other powerful modules and features for the Mac like Sophos has.
The extremely powerful and useful parental control of Sophos virus protection for Mac, apart from keeping track of every attempt from a linked Mac to an unapproved site, allows you, the administrator, to block individual linked computers from visiting entire categories of websites.
This awesome tool ensures that your kids or employees cannot visit sites you do not want them to.
You can also tweak the controls to allow unrestricted browsing on the connected Macintoshes… the difference being that that computer will note and inform you about the user's attempt to log on to a restricted site. This alone acts as a deterrent and prohibits others from visiting sites that they should not.
No Bundled Plugins?
Unlike the competitors, Sophos does not pack browser plugins that flag potentially dangerous sites. However, you can download these plugins for free from antivirus manufacturers such as Kaspersky, Bitdefender, and Avast.
What Sophos will do is that it will alert you that the website you are about to visit is dangerous. It will protect you from these sites that inject viruses through the browser.
Thus, you cannot ‘accidentally' visit malicious websites with this program.
Uses Less System Resources
I was very impressed with the low resource usage by the Sophos for Mac home while writing this review. I had previously tried some other antivirus programs in the past, and all of them ate a lot into my computer's resources and slowed it down significantly. This was not the case with Sophos. In fact, most users will not notice any difference in speed after installing Sophos.
The interface windows of Sophos AV Mac allows you to check the status of your PC and permits you to perform scans on demand. However, the actual fun lies in the vendor's web interface.
The interface on the installed computer has an “exception” button. On the one hand, clicking on it displays the exemptions you have set for files, applications, and websites. On the other hand, you can visit the web interface or the cloud interface by clicking on the “Home Dashboard” on the main screen.
This permits you to conduct remote scans, set up exceptions, alter scanning preferences, and configure parental controls.
As you receive information about sites visited through the other computers, users of the same will be in for a shock when they next try to access a website that you have just blocked.
Many of you, reading this Sophos home for Mac review, might be seeking additional protection for your business. I would strongly suggest that you opt for this as it also includes the Sophos Endpoint Protection Mac, which offers all the features of the antivirus along with many advanced features such as malware protection, exploit protection, and more… ideal for small businesses and enterprises.
In short, this is simply why the company has coined its software as one with ‘Business-grade cybersecurity' that is ‘Now available for home users'.
I would like to point out in this Sophos antivirus Mac review 2020 that the home edition includes the endpoint protection.
What does this mean? It simply means that even though it is the Sophos home edition Mac, with endpoint protection included, you get the same protection that businesses and governments have worldwide.
So, are you looking for the Sophos Endpoint Mac? You'll also get it in the home edition. This gives you absolute protection against any type of malware, including the latest variants of the dreaded Cryptoware, to a level not available on any other antimalware tool available for the Macintosh.
You do not need to worry as the Sophos Mac OS X detects these dangerous bits of code once you perform a system scan, and asks you what to do with them. Therefore, I strongly recommend that you should perform a manual scan once a week to ensure that your computer is free of any types of malware.
This is no big deal, considering the blistering speed at which this program scans the hard disk drive of your computer.
On certain occasions, the program will request you to switch off the protection module when it detects that manual intervention is required to remove certain malware. Do not worry if your Macintosh reboots during this process, as it is natural.
Unlike other antivirus programs, Sophos does a thorough job of finding and cleaning malicious bits of code. Once it completes a scan cycle and removes viruses and other malware, it will scan your PC once again. Do not be surprised if you see this program detect additional pieces of malicious code.
Certain antiviruses and malware hide behind other viruses, making it difficult for an antivirus program to detect and remove them.
The multiple scan system integrated with Sophos virus removal tool mac ensures that it effortlessly removes the cloaked virus after removing the virus covering it… offering your computer foolproof security.
You Will Simply Love These Features
There are occasions when people accidentally visit malicious sites that inject viruses and malware via the browser. Sophos has incorporated a special feature that displays a large message, alerting you that the site you are about to visit is dangerous for your computer.
It further checks all the outbound links on sites you visit, and warns you if any of these links lead to potentially dangerous sites. This is a special feature I did not find on any other program of this class.
Most other AV software alert you after you have visited a website containing malicious content. Sophos alerts you even before you visit it, virtually doing away with the chances of you visiting such sites and getting your computer infected with the malware they contain.
A Word of Warning
Free Vs Premium
Remember, although the free version I am basically covering in this Sophos antivirus home edition review is good enough to detect and quarantine most threats, I strongly suggest that you opt for the paid version because that is where the goodies lie.
Remember, you get access to advanced features such as advanced ransomware shield, and mic & webcam protection with the free version. These features will stop working after 30 days from the date of installation.
Apart from this, the free version offers protection to three devices (although this is a Sophos antivirus for Mac home edition review, I would like to point out that you can also protect Windows-based computers by downloading and installing the Windows installer along with the Mac installer).
The premium version costs only $60 and provides protection for 10 devices while the free version offers protection only for three devices. I would strongly suggest that you opt for the premium version which works out to just $6 per device per year and is the cheapest protection available.
Did I forget to mention that the premium version also entitles you to receive support via email and live chat, Monday to Friday, 8 am to 8 pm (ET)? This is extremely vital in case you are unable to remove a detected threat and require the help of experts.
As the proud owner of a costly Macbook, you should install Sophos Macbook, to protect your costly device against viruses and malware.
Firewall to Protect You Against Hackers
The Sophos firewall Mac boasts of a dual AV scanning engine that blocks viruses embedded in websites, in email attachments, and in file downloads too.
Sophos blocks these harmful pieces of code at the gateway before they can access your computer and attack it. This software is available for free and is an important part of your protection armory.
What Are You Waiting for?
Instead of waiting any longer, log on to the website of Sophos here, and receive the link for Sophos Home Mac download. You may need to fill up a short form by providing your first and last name, your email ID, along with a password.
Note down this password and keep it in a safe place, as you will require it to log onto their server for remote controlling additional devices.
You will receive a Sophos Antivirus for Mac home edition download link on the email address you provided. Click on that to download the installer, and start the installation process.
Alternatively, you also have the option to directly purchase a one/two year license of the Premium version by clicking on the “Buy Now” button. The 2-year license costs $90 while the 1-year license costs $60.
Complete the process by making the payment via their secure online payment gateway, then download and install Sophos antivirus Mac. You can now surf the net with peace of mind, knowing that your computer is being protected by the best available antivirus and antimalware for the Mac platform.
1. Installing and Updating Sophos
These instructions are primarily for people who want to install Sophos Anti-Virus onto their personal laptop and/or desktop. Please check with your local IT Support Staff about antivirus protection for college and departmental systems as local arrangements often apply, and installing the version intended for personal systems may cause problems.
This guide outlines the steps required to install the Sophos anti-virus software on Apple Mac computers. Although currently relatively little malware targets OS X systems, it is in on the increase. Some malware can compromise the security of your system, and may capture information you use to connect to other systems such as over the Internet, so we do recommend that Mac users install anti-malware software such as Sophos as a precaution.
If you haven't already obtained Sophos you can download it via the following link:
Before installing the Sophos software you must uninstall any other anti-virus software you may have installed on the machine (read the software manufacturer's instructions on how to do this).
For comprehensive instructions on installing and configuring the Sophos software refer to the appropriate Sophos installation guide from the Sophos Documentation pages. The following is a brief outline of the first-time installation of Sophos on an Apple Mac.
Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac OS X version 9.6.4 now supports the latest macOS 10.13 (High Sierra). Due to a new security mechanism that Apple has released with macOS 10.13. called Secure Kernel Extension Loading (SKEL), all non-Apple kernel extensions must be manually added to a trusted list. This allows the kernel extensions to load and is required for Sophos Anti-Virus to function properly. For further details please refer to this Sophos advisory.
1.2. Installing the Sophos Software
The file you download from our website (which will be named something like
sophos8osx2013.dmg) is a special type of file called a disk image. Depending on the method you use to download the file, it may automatically mount a disk image called
Sophos 8.x for OS X 10.4+ or similar on your Mac desktop and open it automatically.
However it is likely that the disk image won't mount automatically, in which case you will need to select it from the list of downloads, or find it (most likely in your
Downloads) folder and double-click on it to mount the image.
Once the disk image has been mounted you should see a volume called something like
Sophos Anti-Virus OS X 10.4+ containing a file called
The Sophos installer for OS X 10.8 and above contains instead a file ending in
.pkg rather than
Once you can see the installer, double-click on it to start the Sophos installation. The installer windows that you see may look a little different to those shown below. If so, you generally just need to accept the default settings to install Sophos.
Continue to acknowledge that you wish to run the Sophos installer. The main Sophos Anti-Virus installer window will appear.
Continue again to proceed with the installation (the version of Sophos you see may be more recent than that shown in the figure below).
This is a good opportunity to read about any changes in each new version of the client, but generally you can just click
Continue. The licence agreement will then be displayed.
Continue and you will be asked whether you agree to the terms of the agreement. If you do, click on
Agree to continue with the installation.
You may be prompted for a location to install Sophos. Normally you should accept the default location and click
Install to start the installation.
You'll probably be asked to enter your password to confirm that you want to install the software. Once you do the installation will start and you'll see the progress of the installation.
Sophos normally takes just a few minutes to install and then you'll see a completion screen (click on
Continue and then the following final screen.
Close to close the installation window. If Sophos wasn't installed before you should now see a shield in the menu bar (top right of the screen). The shield may initially be grey but after just a few moments should turn black to indicate that Sophos is now protecting your computer.
Due to a new security mechanism that Apple has released with macOS 10.13. called Secure Kernel Extension Loading (SKEL) you will be presented with a System Extension Blocked notification. To enable these extensions, open Security & Privacy System Preferences where you will see a message saying System software from developer 'Sophos' was blocked from loading. Click on
Allow to enable (note: blocked extensions will only show in this list for 30 minutes, they will re-appear the next time Sophos attempts to loads the extension).
The version of Sophos you have installed now needs to be updated so that it can detect recent malware. To do this make sure that you are connected to the Internet and then click on the shield to bring up the menu shown and select
[Update Now] button is greyed out and the shield has changed to show a moving arrow, an update may already be in progress.
You should see a progress window as Sophos downloads and installs recent updates. If you don't see the progress window, click on the shield to bring up the menu and select
[Show AutoUpdate Menu].
Once the update is complete, check the Sophos shield. So long as it is black then everything was successful and Sophos is working normally.
However if the shield has a cross on it the update failed.
If the shield is grey, then on-access scanning isn't working.
If the shield is grey with a cross on it then on-access scanning isn't working and the updating has failed!
If you experience any of these problems, contact your local IT Support Staff or IT Services for help.
1.3. Keeping Sophos Anti-Virus up to date
Sophos Anti-Virus uses a username and password to automatically download updates. These credentials are valid for around 14 months and expire around the start of November each year. Once they have expired, Sophos will no longer be updated, and your computer will be more vulnerable to new viruses and other malware etc.
This normally only applies to Sophos installed onto personal laptops and desktops. On college or departmental systems, Sophos (or other antivirus software) is often managed by your local IT Support staff and you should check with them before making any changes.
To make sure that you keep your computer(s) up to date, you will need to download and install a new Sophos package in October each year. Please see the FAQ for more details on how to check when your installation(s) of Sophos will stop updating.
Sophos Mac Antivirus
So long as the updating credentials are current, Sophos Anti-Virus is configured to automatically download and install updates to keep your defences against viruses, trojans and worms as up-to-date as possible. On networked computers, this occurs once an hour.
To find out when the program last updated itself, click on the
shield on the menu bar and select
[Show AutoUpdate Window].
You should see a window showing the last date and time that Sophos was updated.
You can also update Sophos manually at any time by clicking on the
shield on the menu bar and choosing
[Update Now]. You will see a window showing the progress of the update. The progress window is not displayed when Sophos updates automatically.
If either the automatic hourly update or the manual update fails for any reason the shield on the menu bar will have a cross in the middle of it.
Your computer does need to be connected to the Internet in order to download updates so if you see this icon when you are not connected this is normal and nothing to be concerned about. When you reconnect to the Internet it may take up to an hour before Sophos tries to update again and the shield returns to normal.
1.4. Further Information
If you encounter any problems there is a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) web page with answers to some of the most common issues that people encounter.
We provide some outline information on configuring Sophos options and scans in the next section and Sophos provide full documentation in their Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac OS X documentation.
2. Further Configuration and Setting up Manual and Scheduled Scans
2.1. Configuring On-access Scanning
The OS X client is configured with on-access scanning enabled. This means that when you open a file on your computer Sophos will first check whether it contains malware before it allows the file to be opened. Sophos Anti-Virus on-access settings are configured as follows.
- Scanning of network drives is disabled
- Disinfection is enabled
- If items cannot be disinfected, access to them will be blocked
In this section we provide details on how to change these settings, and on the most common options that you might want to change. For full details of all of the settings consult the Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac OS X documentation.
To access the settings click on the shield in the menu bar and select
[Open Sophos Anti-Virus Preferences...].
The Sophos application will open together with two windows â the main Sophos window will open it and also the preferences window shown below. In the preferences window click on
Before you can make any changes to the configuration the padlock in the bottom left of the screen needs to be open. If it isn't, click on the padlock and enter your password when prompted.
Near the top of the page you will be able to see whether On-access scanning is enabled, and you have the option to turn it off using the
Stop Scanning button (not recommended).
On-access scanning is enabled by default in the Sophos client and you should normally leave it running.
Next on the page are a couple of options that can be changed that affect which files Sophos checks for malware.
These are the options to scan
[Inside archives and compressed files] and
[Files on network volumes]. Enabling these options will mean that Sophos checks more files for malware, but may slow down the checking.
At the bottom of the page are the settings that control what Sophos does if it finds a virus.
By default disinfection is enabled and access to infected files is denied and the files moved to a standard location if this fails. The default location that Sophos uses is
/Users/Shared/Infected. This gives you the chance to inspect any infected files, attempt to disinfect them, and if that fails to try and recover data from them before deleting them from your system. If you prefer to delete any infected files immediately then choose the
Delete infected files option but we would recommend that you don't configure on-access scanning this way as occasionally it could lead to legitimate files being deleted by accident.
2.2. Configuring Other Preferences
2.2.1. AutoUpdate Preferences
You shouldn't normally need to alter the AutoUpdate settings unless your IT officer or IT Services staff have asked you to.
Occasionally you may need to check that you are using the correct set of credentials. The FAQ page explains how to check whether you are using an up to date set of credentials.
2.2.2. Logging and Messaging Preferences
Logging to view or change the log settings and on
Messaging to control the way that Sophos alerts you about malware. Normally you should not need to alter any of these settings. If you want to view the log file you can do this from the
Logging window by clicking on
2.3. On-demand (Immediate) Scanning
The on-access scanning gives you constant protection against viruses and other malware that might be contained in any files on your computer. In addition you can perform on-demand scans of all or part of your hard disk. As with on-access scanning you can also configure options that control the way that on-demand scans work.
To configure on-demand scans, open Sophos Anti-Virus by clicking on the Sophos shield in the menu bar and selecting
[Open Sophos Anti-Virus...] from the menu. You can also open Sophos Anti-Virus from the
The main Sophos Anti-Virus window will appear as show. Once the Sophos program opens you can start a scan immediately by clicking on
2.3.1. Configuring On-demand Preferences
To configure the options for the scan, select
[Preferences...] from the
[Sophos Anti-Virus] menu.
When the preferences window opens, if necessary click on
On-demand Scanning to view the options for on-demand scans. Before you can make any changes to the configuration the padlock in the bottom left of the screen needs to be open. If it isn't, click on the padlock and enter your password when prompted.
The default options for on-demand scans are shown below. By default cleanup isn't enabled so you may want to change this setting, for example to
[Clean up infected files]. If you choose this setting, a further setting will appear allowing you to choose what to do if cleanup fails.
In the screen shown below the default options have been changed so that Sophos will attempt to clean up any threats found and if this fails will move them to the folder
/Users/Shared/Infected. We generally don't recommend setting either of the settings
When a threat is found and
If cleanup fails to
Delete infected files as on rare occasions Sophos may delete a legitimate file. It is better to simply move the files which would allow you to retrieve them later if necessary.
2.3.2. Custom Scans
You can also set up a custom scan such as a scan that will check part of your hard disk. To do this return the first Sophos Anti-Virus window and if necessary click on the arrow next to
Custom Scans to expand the window.
Click on the plus at the bottom left of the screen to create a new scan. You can set similar options as for the standard scan, as well as selecting what part of the Mac to scan. For full information refer to the Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac OS X documentation.
2.4. Further Information
Sophos Virus Protection For Mac
For further information please refer to the Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac OS X documentation.