If you are worried you have some kind of malware or virus on your Mac, we are here to help you figure out what's going on and, if necessary, clean up the damage - all for free. A lot of the websites offering advice on Mac malware removal are companies trying to sell your anti-virus solutions, which makes their tips somewhat biased, but here you can expect impartial advice.

We'll cover how to check for and remove malware from your Mac, getting rid of any viruses that might be lurking. We'll also explain why it's probably not a virus thanks to Apple's stringent protections in macOS, but that if it is, we'll let you know about the free and cheap options that can protect your from Mac from malware.

Do Macs get viruses?

It's often said that Apple products don't get malware or viruses. While this is true of devices based on iOS - such as the iPhone or iPad - it's not 100 percent true when it comes to Macs nowadays. There have been a few notable malware and virus reports in recent years, although a big difference compared to Microsoft Windows is that there's never been a Mac malware epidemic. In fact, since the release of OS X (now known as macOS), a tiny fraction of the total number of Macs in the world have ever been infected.

There are a few reasons why Mac viruses don't tend to take hold. One is the stringent protections built into macOS, another is the fact that it is exceptionally difficult for a virus to 'propagate' itself and spread to other Macs.

However, Macs have come under the spotlight for malware and virus creators. There are lots of nasty people out there who see Macs - and their users - as prime targets, and in this article we show how to stay safe and avoid or get rid of the malware and viruses they try to dump on your Mac. (We also recommend you read our best Mac security tips and our roundup of the best Mac antivirus apps, in which we recommend Intego as our top choice.)

Note that to an extent we are going to be mixing and matching the terms malware and virus but they are actually separate concepts. Malware tends to take the form of apps that pretend to do one thing, but actually do something nefarious, such as steal data. Viruses are small discrete bits of code that get on to your system somehow and are designed to be invisible. There are also other types of threat, such as ransomware and other phishing attempts, where an attempt is made to extract information that can be used to obtain money from you.

Whatever method is used, Macs and Mac users are certainly a target for unscrupulous people looking to make money.