The short answer is no, but also yes.
If you’ve ever rocked with a Microsoft operating system at any point in your life, you’re probably familiar with Microsoft Defender Antivirus. It’s been with the OS since the early 90’s when it was called Microsoft Anti-Virus for MS-DOS and it’s always been free.
However, with the recent announcement of Microsoft Defender for Individuals, many are wondering: Do I have to pay for this now?
As Neil Rubenking at PCMag.com reports, the short answer is no, not really. Microsoft Defender for Individuals is only available as part of a paid subscription to the Microsoft 365 cloud-based office service and strictly protects non-Windows devices. For Mac and Android (but not iOS), you can pay a small subscription fee to use Microsoft’s antivirus software.
So for any confused Microsoft OS users: No, you don’t have to pay for the built-in antivirus protector. However, as Rubenking points out, there are much better free services you should use anyway.