Guide to Getting Rid of Viruses on a Mac
While a virus on a Mac is not something you have to worry about generally, it is possible that you may start experiencing performance issues after downloading an app, clicking on a link, or using a plugin.
You might notice your system lagging, weird pop-ups, apps closing abruptly, or your screen freezing.
But there are some easy hacks to remove the virus, and they are entirely free.
Let’s dive in.
Hack #1: Remove malicious apps
There are programs that help you to detect the root cause, but if you don’t have one, go to your Launchpad and start deleting apps that you do not recognize or never use.
You can also remove apps that open and close without warning. This is usually a sign that there is something wrong with the app.
Once you remove it from your Applications, you should empty your Trash to make sure the app has been booted from your system.
Hack #2: Remove suspicious browser plugins
Based on the browser you’re using, these software components may be called plugins or extensions. Try disabling them all and enabling them one by one to identify the root cause.
Or, get rid of all of them if you’re in a rush. These plugins can be reinstalled whenever you do need them.
Hack #3: Disable login items
There are some apps and processes that start up as soon as you turn on your laptop or desktop. There could be a potential virus hiding here. To deal with this, go to your ‘System Preferences’ and then ‘Users & Groups’ and finally ‘Login Items.’ Here, you can uncheck an app that you do not recognize or just remove them all if you do not need login items as soon you turn on your device.
Hack #4: Clean up your storage
There may be a hidden virus in one of the files you downloaded or an unused app that is impossible to get to instantly. In these cases, it is best to attack the problem using a wide-scale clean up.
You can empty your trash, optimize storage, and delete all duplicate files. You can also look at your system storage and clean it up quickly to remove all unnecessary files.
What else can you do to remove the virus?
- Invest in cleaning software - These are not the same as antivirus software. You don’t typically need an antivirus software on Macs. These cleaning programs can find the root cause and eliminate it for you on your behalf. They also routinely check your system to make sure you do not run into any performance issues. While some can be expensive, it will cost you less to go and get your device serviced if your Apple care has lapsed.
- Routinely backup your Mac - Use a mix of the in-built Time Machine and cloud storage services to backup all your data and try not to keep any sensitive data on your system. If you back up your system, you can always restore the last version if you do have to delete files on a large scale.
- Reinstall a clean version of the OS - If you are not sure about the root cause and your system does not allow you to download a cleaning program, your best bet is to wipe your device and do a ‘clean install.’
- Get some professional help - If everything fails, you need to consider going to a Genius bar or calling an expert that will enable you to navigate through the process so that your data is protected and you can start using your device as soon as possible.
How to avoid a potential virus in the future
- Avoid websites that do not have an HTTPS URL format. If you use Chrome, it will let you know that a website is not secure. It also stops you from visiting a website that can potentially attack your system. Other browsers also offer safeguards like firewalls and safe browsing.
- Do not download an app from the internet. Always download apps from the Mac App Store. These apps have undergone testing and will keep your data secure and offer privacy. If you insist on downloading an app from the internet, make sure you trust the website completely.
- Avoid clicking on suspicious emails. Always check if the sender’s name and email address are a match. Gmail flags certain emails based on pattern and sends them to your spam. You should avoid clicking on these completely. If you know the sender personally, then you can report it as not spam and move it to your inbox.
- Do not click on links in the email. Most email clients scan the links to flag a potential virus. If you do not have this, avoid clicking on links entirely.
- Avoid opening and downloading attachments. Often attachments are disguised as essential documents, but these can contain a virus. Take all precautions to avoid opening or downloading these unless you know the sender.