Microsoft Defender extends malware protection to macOS and Android—at a price

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The Microsoft Defender antivirus product built into Windows 10 and 11 is generally good enough at detecting and removing malware that most users won’t need to pay for a separate antivirus product. Today Microsoft is expanding the consumer version of the product. The new app, called Microsoft Defender for Individuals, offers anti-malware protection for multiple operating systems and security tips, as well as the ability to check the protection status of all devices signed into your Microsoft account or those of your family. It’s available now for Microsoft 365 subscribers and runs on Windows, macOS, iOS/iPadOS, and Android devices.

This new Defender software is an offshoot of Microsoft’s enterprise Defender product that provides anti-malware protection and centralized monitoring for IT administrators. The Defender app supports different features on different operating systems. It offers real-time malware protection on macOS and Android. This feature is not included on Windows, as Defender Antivirus software is already included by default in all Windows 10 and 11 installations. Antivirus protection is also not available on iOS and iPadOS, where Apple restricts what third-party apps can do. “Safety Tips” are only provided in the Windows and macOS versions of the app.

Like the Windows built-in version of the Defender antivirus app, the Microsoft Defender app will offload to other antivirus software like Norton or McAfee if you have it installed and only activate itself if those other apps are uninstalled or disabled first. The Defender app also doesn’t replace the functionality of the Windows Security app in Windows 10 or 11, which offers a centralized dashboard for scanning for malware and checking and changing device security settings, but doesn’t provide any information for systems other than the PC you’re using currently.

Microsoft Defender for Individuals is available with a Microsoft 365 account, which also gives you access to 1 TB of OneDrive storage, an Outlook email inbox, Microsoft Office apps, and video calling with Microsoft Teams. A single Microsoft 365 account costs $70 per year and covers up to five devices connected to an individual’s Microsoft account. A family account starts at $100 per year and covers up to six people who can each sign up on five devices.


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