How Do You Remove a Virus From a Mac Computer?

To remove a virus from a Mac computer, remove the virus application files and remove any login items or plugins in System Preferences. Delete any installer files and make sure Mac OS X is up to date to avoid future infections.

Although Mac OS X features more built-in security than Windows does, malware infections can still happen. Run through the following steps to remove a virus from Mac OS X.

  1. End application processes in Activity Monitor
  2. Open the Activity Monitor application under Utilities. Pull up the complete list of processes and look for the virus name. End the application processes for the malware applications to stop their activity.

  3. Delete files in Applications
  4. Go into the Applications folder to access application files. Look for virus applications and delete them. Empty the trash immediately.

  5. Delete files through Terminal
  6. Use Terminal to locate hidden malware files. Using Terminal involves typing in specific commands to find files related to specific viruses, so it is important to source the exact commands for the virus that is going around. For example, when the Flashback virus made its rounds, F-Secure released a handy set of instructions for manually removing the virus through Terminal.

  7. Delete login items
  8. Some viruses also create login items in System Preferences. To delete these, go into the Accounts section of System Preferences and look for the virus name. Remove any items that pop up.

  9. Delete plugins
  10. To delete plugins related to viruses, go into the extensions or plugins section in the browser's preference menu. Uninstall any unknown plugins.

  11. Delete the install file
  12. Go into the Downloads folder and look for any suspicious installer files. Delete these installer files.

  13. Update Mac OS X
  14. If Mac OS X is not up to date, perform an update to make sure that the system receives important security updates.