Apple says amount of malware on Macs 'no longer acceptable'

A MacBook with its lid slightly open
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Apple's head of software has said that there is now an unacceptable amount of malware targeting the Mac operating system, with the situation now far worse than that on iOS.

Craig Federighi, senior VP of software engineering, made the comments on Wednesday as part of his testimony in the Epic Games v Apple trial, according to CNBC.

The case involves a dispute over Apple's app store policies on iOS, with Epic calling for alternative platforms to be made available on the operating system. This would give app developers the option to bypass Apple's 30% sales tax on large developers, something which Apple claims would undermine system security.

In an effort to dismiss this suggestion, Federighi pointed to the macOS ecosystem, which allows users to install software from a variety of sources but is now "regularly exploited".

"For iOS, we aspired to create something far more secure," Federighi said, according to CNBC. "All indications are that we have succeeded in doing so."

Federighi claimed that Apple found and removed around 130 different kinds of malware on the Mac last year which had infected hundreds of thousands of systems. In comparison, he suggested that there were just three kinds of malware found to have infected iPhones in 2020.

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He also revealed that members of his own family had discovered malware on their Macs, but stressed that it could still be "operated safely".

"I think of it as the Mac is the car, you can take it off-road if you want, you can drive wherever you want," said Federighi. "As that comes as a driver, you've got to be trained, there's a certain level of responsibility to doing that. But that's what you wanted to buy, you wanted to buy a car."

"With iOS, you're able to create something where children, even infants, can operate an iOS device and be safe in doing so. Really different products."

Bobby Hellard

Bobby Hellard is ITPro's Reviews Editor and has worked on CloudPro and ChannelPro since 2018. In his time at ITPro, Bobby has covered stories for all the major technology companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, and regularly attends industry-leading events such as AWS Re:Invent and Google Cloud Next.

Bobby mainly covers hardware reviews, but you will also recognise him as the face of many of our video reviews of laptops and smartphones.