If you notice that your Macbook or iMac is running slower than usual, you are seeing pop-ups or unwanted advertisements, your browser settings have been changed, or there is an unusual increase in internet activity on your system, it is possible that your Mac has malware installed. This guide will show you how to remove all types of malware from macOS for free through easy, step-by-step instructions.
It is possible for Macs to become infected with malware such as adware, browser hijackers, and unwanted apps. These types of infections are often designed to generate revenue through tactics such as generating web traffic, collecting sales leads, and displaying advertisements and sponsored links in your web browser.
If your Mac becomes infected with malware, you may notice an increase in unwanted pop-up advertisements, the installation of unfamiliar programs, or changes to your browser settings without your consent.
When malware is installed on Mac, common symptoms include:
- Advertisements appear in places they shouldn’t be.
- Your web browser’s homepage has mysteriously changed without your permission.
- Web pages that you typically visit are not displaying properly.
- Website links redirect to sites different from what you expected.
- Browser popups appear which recommend fake updates or other software.
- Unwanted programs are installed without your knowledge.
This guide was written to help Mac users remove viruses and malware from their devices, if your just looking for a way to block or remove advertisements from the sites you visit, then you can use a free browser extension like AdGuard.
How did my Mac get infected with malware?
There are several ways that your Mac can become infected with malware. Some common methods include:
Downloading infected software or files: If you download and install software or files from untrusted sources, your Mac may become infected with malware. Be cautious when downloading files from the internet, and only download from reputable sources.
Visiting infected websites: Malware can be spread through websites that have been compromised by hackers. Avoid visiting suspicious websites or clicking on links from unknown sources.
Email attachments: Malware can be spread through email attachments, especially if you open attachments from unknown senders or emails that look suspicious. Be cautious when opening email attachments, even if they appear to be from a trusted source.
Drive-by downloads: Malware can be installed on your Mac without your knowledge through a process called a “drive-by download.” This can happen when you visit a compromised website or click on a malicious link, and the malware is automatically downloaded and installed on your system.
Social engineering: Hackers may use social engineering tactics to try to trick you into installing malware on your Mac. This can include phishing emails or other types of scams that try to convince you to install malware or divulge personal information.
To check your Mac for malware and remove it for free, please use the guide below.
How to remove viruses and malware from your Mac
Please perform all the steps in the correct order. If you have any questions or doubts at any point, stop and ask for our assistance.
- STEP 1: Remove malicious profiles
- STEP 2: Delete malicious apps
- STEP 3: Reset browsers back to default settings
- STEP 4: Run a scan with Malwarebytes for Mac to remove malware
STEP 1: Remove malicious profiles
Profiles are used by IT admins in businesses to control the behavior of their Macs. These profiles can configure a Mac to do many different things, some of which are not otherwise possible.
When it comes to home users, adware and browser hijackers are using the configuration profile to prevent users from removing malicious programs from the computer. This also prevents the user from changing that behavior in the browser’s settings.
In this first step, we will check your computer to see if any configuration profiles are installed. To do this, follow the below steps:
Open “System Preferences”
From the Apple menu, select System Preferences.
Search for “Profiles”
When the System Preferences window opens, search for the Profiles icon.If there isn’t a Profiles icon, you don’t have any profiles installed, which is normal and you can continue with the next steps.
Remove the malicious profiles
If there’s a Profile icon, click on it and select any suspicious profile that you want to remove, and then press the – (minus) button. Click Remove to remove the profile.
STEP 2: Delete malicious apps
In this second step, we will try to identify and remove any malicious apps and files that might be installed on your computer. Sometimes redirects or adware programs can have usable Uninstall entries that can be used to remove these programs.
Quit the malicious programs
On the Apple menu bar, in the top-right corner, if you see any unknown or suspicious icon, click on it and then select Quit.
Click the Finder application on your dock.
Click on “Applications”
In the Finder left pane, click on “Applications“.
Find and remove the malicious app.
The “Applications” screen will be displayed with a list of all the apps installed on your device. Scroll through the list until you find the malicious app, right-click it, and then click “Move to Trash”.
Look out for any suspicious program that could be behind all the drama – anything you don’t remember downloading or that doesn’t sound like a genuine program. Here are some known malicious programs: SearchMine, TakeFresh, TopResults, FeedBack, ApplicationEvents, GeneralOpen, PowerLog, MessengerNow, ImagePrime, GeneralNetSearch, Reading Cursors, GlobalTechSearch, PDFOnline-express, See Scenic Elf, MatchKnowledge, Easy Speedtest, or WebDiscover.
Click “Empty Trash”
On the dock, right-click on the trash icon and select “Empty Trash”. Doing so deletes the Trash’s contents, including the program that you just sent to the Trash.
Find and remove the malicious files
- Click the desktop to make sure you’re in the Finder, choose “Go” then click on “Go to Folder“.
- Type or copy/paste each of the below paths into the window that opens, then click Go.
- /Library/Application Support
- Look out for any suspicious files that could be behind all the drama – anything you don’t remember downloading or that doesn’t sound like a genuine program. These are some known malicious files: “com.adobe.fpsaud.plist” “installmac.AppRemoval.plist”, “myppes.download.plist”, “mykotlerino.ltvbit.plist”, or “com.myppes.net-preferences.plist”. When you find a malicious file move it to the Trash.
STEP 3: Reset browsers back to default settings
In this third step, we will remove spam push notifications and malicious extensions, and change to default any settings that might have been changed by malware.
For each browser that you have installed on your computer, please click on the tab below and follow the displayed steps to reset that browser.
Remove malicious extensions and settings from Safari
To remove malware from Safari we will check if there are any malicious extensions installed on your browser and what settings have been changed by this malicious program.
Go to Safari’s “Preferences”.
On the menu bar, click the “Safari” menu and select “Preferences”.
This will open a new window with your Safari preferences, opened to the “General” tab. Some browser hijackers may change your default homepage, so in the Homepage field make sure it’s a web page you want to use as your start-up page.
Next, click on the “Extensions” tab.
Find and uninstall malicious extensions.
The “Extensions” screen will be displayed with a list of all the extensions installed on Safari. Look out for any suspicious browser extension that could be behind all the drama – anything you don’t remember downloading or that doesn’t sound like a genuine extension. By default, there are no extensions installed on Safari so it’s safe to remove an extension
Remove spam notifications ads
Click Preferences, click Websites, then click Notifications. Deselect “Allow websites to ask for permission to send push notifications”.
Remove all data stored by websites on your computer.
In the Safari menu, choose “Preferences…”, select “Privacy” at the top of the new window that appears, and then click the “Manage Website Data” button.
In the next dialog box, click “Remove All“. It will ask you if you are sure you want to remove all data stored by websites on your computer. Select “Remove Now” to clear data that could be used to track your browsing.
Empty Safari Caches.
From your Safari menu bar, click Safari and select Preferences, then select the Advanced tab. Enable the checkbox to “Show Develop menu in menu bar“.
From the menu bar select Develop, then click on Empty Caches as seen in the image below.
Remove malware from Chrome for Mac
To remove malware from Chrome for Mac we will reset the browser settings to their default. Doing these steps will erase all configuration information from Chrome such as your home page, tab settings, saved form information, browsing history, and cookies. This process will also disable any installed extensions. All of your bookmarks, though, will be preserved.
Click on the three dots at the top right and go to Settings.Click on Chrome’s main menu button, represented by three dots at the top right corner. Now click on the menu option labeled Settings as shown by the arrow in the picture below, which will open the basic settings screen.
In the left sidebar, click on the “Reset and Cleanup” option.In the left sidebar, click on “Reset and clean up“.
Click “Reset settings to their original defaults”.Now click on the “Reset settings to their original defaults”. link as shown in the image below.
Click “Reset Settings” button.A confirmation dialog should now be displayed, detailing the components that will be restored to their default state should you continue with the reset process. To complete the restoration process, click on the “Reset Settings” button.
(Optional) Reset Chrome Data Sync.In case a malicious extension reinstalls itself even after performing a browser reset, you have an additional option to reset the data sync for your browser. To do this, navigate to chrome.google.com/sync and click on the Clear Data button.
Remove malware from Firefox for Mac
To remove malware from Firefox for Mac we will reset the browser settings to its default. The reset feature fixes many issues by restoring Firefox to its factory default state while saving your essential information like bookmarks, passwords, web form auto-fill information, browsing history, and open tabs.
Go to the “Help” menu.
Click on Firefox’s main menu button, represented by three horizontal lines. When the drop-down menu appears, select the option labeled “Help“.
Click “Troubleshooting Information”.
Next click on the “Troubleshooting Information” option as indicated by the arrow in the image below. This will bring you to a Troubleshooting page.
Click on “Refresh Firefox”
Click the “Refresh Firefox” button in the upper-right corner of the “Troubleshooting Information” page.
To continue, click on the “Refresh Firefox” button in the new confirmation window that opens.
Click on “Finish”.
Firefox will close itself and will revert to its default settings. When it’s done, a window will list the information that was imported. Click on the “Finish“.
STEP 4: Run a scan with Malwarebytes for Mac to remove malware
In this final step, we will scan the computer with Malwarebytes for Mac to find and remove any malicious programs that might be installed on your Mac.
Malwarebytes for Mac is an on-demand scanner that can destroy many types of malware that other software tends to miss without costing you absolutely anything. When it comes to cleaning up an infected device, Malwarebytes has always been free, and we recommend it as an essential tool in the fight against malware.
Download Malwarebytes for Mac.
You can download Malwarebytes for Mac by clicking the link below.MALWAREBYTES FOR MAC DOWNLOAD LINK
(The above link will open a new page from where you can download Malwarebytes for Mac)
Double-click on the Malwarebytes setup file.
When Malwarebytes has finished downloading, double-click on the setup file to install Malwarebytes on your computer. In most cases, downloaded files are saved to the Downloads folder.
Follow the on-screen prompts to install Malwarebytes.
When the Malwarebytes installation begins, you will see the Malwarebytes for Mac Installer which will guide you through the installation process. Click “Continue“, then keep following the prompts to continue with the installation process.
When your Malwarebytes installation completes, the program opens to the Welcome to Malwarebytes screen. Click the “Get started” button.
Select “Personal Computer” or “Work Computer”.
The Malwarebytes Welcome screen will first ask you what type of computer are you installing this program, click either Personal Computer or Work Computer.
Click on “Scan”.
To scan your computer with Malwarebytes, click on the “Scan” button. Malwarebytes for Mac will automatically update the antivirus database and start scanning your computer for malware.
Wait for the Malwarebytes scan to complete.
Malwarebytes will scan your computer for adware, browser hijackers, and other malicious programs. This process can take a few minutes, so we suggest you do something else and periodically check on the status of the scan to see when it is finished.
Click on “Quarantine”.
When the scan has been completed, you will be presented with a screen showing the malware infections that Malwarebytes has detected. To remove the malware that Malwarebytes has found, click on the “Quarantine” button.
Malwarebytes will now remove all the malicious files that it has found. To complete the malware removal process, Malwarebytes may ask you to restart your computer.
Your Mac should now be free of the adware, browser hijackers, and other malware.
If your current antivirus allowed a malicious program on your computer, you might want to consider purchasing the full-featured version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware to protect against these types of threats in the future.
If you are still experiencing problems while trying to remove a malicious program from your computer, please ask for help in our Mac Malware Removal Help & Support forum.