- Includes virus protection, safe browsing, ID monitoring, VPN and password vault in one package.
- Efficient and Flexible VPN
- Key features are missing, such as quick virus scans and scheduled scans.
- Some options are not available in the Mac version compared to the Windows version.
- No malware infection notifications
- Can’t view malicious or quarantined files
- Charges a hefty annual subscription
F-Secure Total for Mac includes some useful features but lacks some key options, especially when scanning for viruses. For a product that costs $59.99 / £34.99 per year for a single device (even discounted), the Mac version looks lackluster, especially when compared to its Windows counterpart.
Some security products that offer both Windows and macOS versions spend the same amount of time and resources on both versions. Others prefer the Windows version more, while the Mac version lacks certain features and options. Such is the case with F-Secure Total for Mac, which at first glance appears to be a full-featured security program but doesn’t quite live up to its Windows counterpart.
To use F-Secure Total, you can immediately choose one of the paid subscriptions or take advantage of the free 30-day trial, each of which prompts you to set up an account. The trial version does not require a credit card and even gives you free technical support if you need it. The home screen will ask you if you want to add your own device, your child’s device, or someone else’s device. You can download the macOS version of the software by choosing your own or a child’s device.
The wizard will guide you through the installation process and take you to the main screen of the program, where you can view various security features – viruses and threats, password vault, private VPN, ID monitoring, and safe browsing. The software also tries to help you by offering specific recommendations, such as setting up a password vault and enabling a VPN.
Your first task will probably be to look for malware. Clicking the “Scan” button launches a full scan that checks your entire system. Clicking on the Viruses & Threats link will take you to another screen where you can only scan specific folders. Surprisingly, there is no way to run a quick scan or even schedule a scan. (The Windows version allows you to run a quick scan). Here you can also check for virus definition updates and send a sample of the infected file to the company for analysis.
F-Secure provides real-time virus and spyware scanning to automatically block malware. You can exclude certain folders and files from real-time scanning and disable scanning temporarily if it interferes with software installation or another process.
To enhance regular virus scanning, F-Secure provides a DeepGuard option that monitors applications for any changes that indicate a malware infection. This setting already includes many of the items in the list, but you can add the names and locations of other monitoring applications.
You can then set up ID monitoring to check your email address for data leaks between your online accounts. You can add up to 10 addresses, as well as other items including username, phone number, social security number, bank account number, credit card number, and passport number.
A VPN is another protection you’ll probably want to turn on, especially when using insecure networks. By default, VPN chooses the location that provides the best connection. But you can switch to another location, including several in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. You can also add your personal network as a trusted network to allow access to local resources such as printers and scanners.
You can manually enable the VPN or set it to activate every time you log into your Mac. The VPN also includes tracking protection to prevent advertisers from tracking your online activity, and a kill switch to quickly cut off all internet traffic in the event of a connection drop. By default, F-Secure uses OpenVPN as the VPN protocol, which should be sufficient in most situations. You can also switch to OpenVPN (TCP) or IKEv2, both of which are briefly covered in the program.
Next, the Safe Browsing option allows you to install a browser extension designed to block malicious web pages. The extension supports Safari, Google Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge (via the Chrome Web Store). When Safe Browsing is enabled, the extension attempts to block phishing sites and other malicious pages. You can also tell it to block sites that are considered untrustworthy or contain prohibited content. Alternatively, you can manually add the sites you don’t want to block and submit a URL sample that you think is malicious.
Finally, F-Secure offers a password vault that creates and stores secure logins for all your accounts. To start this, you will first be asked to create your master password. Instead of having to enter this passcode every time you need to access storage, you can use Touch ID on your MacBook instead.
To add your account logins, you import an existing list from Chrome, Firefox, Edge, LastPass, Dashlane, or other programs, or manually create a login with the required username, password, and other details. The autofill option automatically enters your saved site vault password and prompts you to save the password you created. However, most password managers don’t have a password suggestion option, so you’ll have to come up with your own complex passwords.
The essential password vault extension officially supports Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. Safari is not yet supported, although F-Secure told me it was in development. The vault will also analyze your stored passwords to indicate which ones are strong, weak, or reused.
When browsing the EICAR test virus website, a message appeared that the site was considered malicious. Moving forward with allowing access to the site, I tried downloading the eicar.com and eicar text files. Both were automatically removed, but without any notice from F-Secure. I was able to download and extract two eicar zip files. During extraction, test malicious files in the archive were deleted. A manual scan ended up destroying two zip files. Unfortunately, F-Secure doesn’t let you view blocked or deleted malicious files, and I couldn’t find any setting that quarantined files instead of deleting them.
In a December 2022 AV-Test review, F-Secure SAFE for macOS received a score of 4.5 out of 6 for security and 5.5 out of 6 for ease of use.
Price and availability
F-Secure Total costs $119.99 / £99.99 for five devices, with the first year discounted to $69.99 / £44.99. If you only want to protect one Mac, it’s $89.99 / £69.99 ($59.99 / £34.99 after discount).
This gives you full access to iOS apps as well as Mac apps and of course Android and Windows apps if needed, and multiple device configuration is managed through F-Secure web accounts.
Depending on how many Macs or other devices need protection, F-Secure Total can be quite expensive. Don’t forget, though, that F-Secure Safe is available and cheaper if you don’t need VPN or ID protection. F-Secure has no problem protecting other people’s devices, though of course it’s all managed through your own account.
Check out the alternatives in our roundup of the best Mac antivirus software.
F-Secure for Mac seems to have all the necessary components to make it an effective product. But with some key options missing or missing, and the program costing $59.99 / £34.99 per year even with a single device discount, the Mac version needs to be more feature-packed and better designed.