McAfee Antivirus Review

McAfee is easy to set up and provides the perfect form of protection against malware and other threats. A stand-out feature is that you are able to protect all your devices, including PCs, Macs, and mobile devices with just a single subscription. To be honest, it is a complete antivirus solution, and the pricing is highly competitive.

Malicious URL detection Best for
5 /5
$ 34.99 /mo
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Table of Contents

    Latest McAfee Discounts

    Anyone considering McAfee will be glad to know that there’s usually some kind of discount available. Right now, at the time of writing, you can save a maximum of $105 on your plan. With each discounted purchase available on two-year subscriptions:

    • Total Protection is $29.99 with savings of $105
    • Single Device at $24.99 saving $75
    • Individual/Couples at $29.99 with savings of $90
    • Family at $39.99 with savings of $80

    Get Discount


    • Real-time web monitoring
    • Automatic updates
    • Reliable protection from malware
    • Parental Control
    • Identity Theft Protection System
    • One license, multiple devices
    • Best-in-business core antivirus engine


    • Expensive pricing tiers
    • Causes system slowdown at times
    • Misses out on extra features
    • No built-in VPN

    McAfee Antivirus Overview

    McAfee was founded in 1987 by John McAfee and although Intel announced that it would be renamed Intel Security 2014, the name remains thanks to its global recognizability.

    McAfee is an excellent antivirus solution, and highly effective at doing what it is meant to. Although it is a bit heavy on the system (the provider deserves a point here because you can see substantial improvement in the latest update), the malware protection is top-notch. The Total Security package is great at stopping malware, and lets you know about each threat it blocks.

    Additionally, the newly added identity theft protection system just sweetens the deal.

    McAfee Total Protection is a smartly compiled one-stop security suite. While it does miss out on a few features like built-in VPN and more when compared to competitors like Bitdefender, it remains a very all-inclusive antivirus suite when boiled down to overall effectiveness.


    McAfee is ideal for families and businesses that own multiple devices and while we won’t stretch ourselves by saying that the service is jam-packed with features, we do believe that this provider has everything you need to stay safe based on our tests on different antivirus solutions.

    Premium antivirus, anti-spam, safe browsing, optimization, file shredding, password management – it has all the makings of a great product with exceptionally appropriate features.


    McAfee is available on all major platforms and offers protection in the areas you need it most, from email to USB scanning. Plus, parents will be happy to know that there are advanced parental control measures available too.

    Money-back GuaranteeYes, up to 30 days from the date of purchase
    Free VersionYes
    PlatfomWindows, MacOS, Android, iOS
    Parental Control Yes
    Email ProtectionYes
    VPN ServicesNo
    Smart Phone OptimizerNo
    USB Virus ScansYes
    Automated Virus ScansYes
    Game ModeYes
    Safe BrowserYes
    Passive ModeNo

    Threat Protection

    Virtually every threat you can think of is protected against with McAfee, so you needn’t have to worry about problems like spyware anymore. Other threats that are kept at bay include worms, trojan horses, and phishing.

    Adware PreventionNo


    McAfee Total Security offers multiple scan options to keep your device safe. Its real-time scan feature is designed to stop every malicious URL, file, or email while you access the Internet. You can run deep scans to detect and remove corrupted files.

    McAfee has an excellent detection rate and low false positives compared to Trend Micro. AV-Comparatives 2019 Real-World Protection Test results showed McAfee blocked 99.4% with 6 False Positives. Trend Micro had blocked 99.9% but experienced 19 False Positives.

    Vunerability Scanner

    The vulnerability scanner is always at work, assessing any changes or interferences with your network in real time. Should anything change, you’ll receive immediate notification in the simple-to-read interface, and have the chance to either automate the removal of these vulnerabilities or do this manually. Plus, if you need support at any time, it’s US-based.

    Vunerability Scanner


    The McAfee shredder tool removes any files or documents you no longer want or need and destroys them permanently. Much of what you have installed on your computer can be recovered without much effort at all, whereas this tool ensures they can’t be. Using the tool is incredibly simple and is ideal for scenarios like selling your unwanted devices or keeping confidential information out of the wrong hands.

    McAfee Shredder

    Privacy and Security

    McAfee users benefit from a wide range of security measures and can browse the web without worrying about major threats that are out there. With tools like an advanced password manager, in-built theft protection, and best-in-class malware detection and removal, you’ll be able to protect yourself online as well as optimize your devices for the best performance.


    Quick Clean is your one-stop-shop for correctly removing files from your computer, typically because they’re taking up unnecessary space. In fact, any unwanted data like tracking cookies will be identified with either a manual or automatic/scheduled scan and it only takes a click of a button to have them removed at a moment’s notice. Every time you use Quick Clean, you’re improving the speed of your device and its performance.

    Quick Clean

    Identity Theft Protection Tool

    Identity theft is no joke, and the damage that comes from it can be long lasting, something you might not fully recover from. This is what makes McAfee’s Identity Theft Protection Tool, or any provider’s for that matter, incredibly useful. The service is available 24/7, 365 days a year, and protects you from a range of potential identity and credit theft scenarios. 

    McAfee Identity Theft Protection

    Password Manager - True Key

    McAfee’s True Key password manager safely stores all your passwords in one easy-to-manage place. Remembering all your different passwords is a thing of the past, especially since you can access them all remotely if you aren’t at home. True Key is there to create passwords for you too, and it keeps you safe with multi-factor authentication.

    McAfee True Key


    McAfee’s Safe Family features amplify the security of your devices and the entire family. It works seamlessly on Android, iOS, and Windows devices, and allows you to secure everything with a single license. AV-Test’s September 2019 Product Review and Certification Report awarded a protection score of 5.5/6, similar to one of the top contenders Norton Security.

    The Password Manager, File Shredder, and Encryption Lock are other enviable features that bolster the overall security of this antivirus suite.  One of the notable differences is that McAfee doesn’t offer a built-in VPN with any of its plans.

    Performance and Protection

    McAfee has been scoring consistently in our recent testing and while it has encountered some hurdles over the past few years, it has always managed to rebound stronger than ever.

    AV-Comparatives October 2019 Performance Test awarded McAfee with an ADVANCED+ rating because of its impact score of 1.9, while F-Secure had an impact score of 7.4. In the same test, Trend Micro scored the second-highest 13.7  behind Microsoft which demonstrated a very high (negative) impact score of 17.

    Malware Protection

    McAfee offers reliable protection against all types of malware, including Trojans, Rootkits, viruses, worms, botnets, ransomware, and keyloggers. The security process starts with scanning files and matching them with known signatures.

    In the background, heuristic analysis monitors keep a continuous eye on all programs for anomalies.

    AV-Comparatives Malware Protection Test (July 2019) gave the antivirus a STANDARD rating as it was only able to block 99.82% malware and returned 2 false positives. By comparison, close competitor Panda ($40.00 at Panda) was awarded the ADVANCED rating (99.99% blocked, 21 False Positives).

    Virus Attack

    Ransomware Protection with Ransome Guard

    McAfee’s Ransom Guard technology is designed to stay on top of any malware threats you might find out in the wide world of the web. All your devices will be monitored in real time and should any threats of malware, whether it’s spyware, phishing attempts, or something else that’s equally nefarious. Before your devices end up in control or held to ransom by hackers, McAfee Ransom Guard will quickly and safely shut any of these attempts down.


    App Boost and Web Boost

    Both the Web and App Boost features of McAfee work to increase the speeds of your devices by optimizing resources and shutting down any background processes that might be hindering your performance. The App Boost focuses on the programs that you run most frequently and enables them to load quicker and perform even faster by allocating and prioritizing your resources away from areas this isn’t required. The Web Boost, on the other hand, is a browser extension that focuses on improving the connection quality of the sites you visit. Though the differences won’t be drastic, both options will improve your device performance and properly prioritize how your resources are distributed.

    McAfee App Boost

    Phishing Detection

    McAfee operates extremely well when detecting malicious websites replicated for phishing attacks. The heuristic real-time scanner compares every email and website signature to keep you safe online. Furthermore, a Safe Web Browsing feature blocks every risky site to help ensure that you don’t fall prey to keyloggers.

    Though there is no VPN, yet the antivirus does a splendid job blocking and continuously updating its list of malicious URLs. In the recent Real-World Tests (Mar 2019), both McAfee and Avast fared extremely well and received ADVANCED+ ratings from AV-Test.

    Spyware Protection

    McAfee’s virus scan includes the on-demand scanner and the real-time scanner that gives your device 360-degree protection from all forms of spyware. The safe browser and two-way firewall makes sure that your online behavior isn’t tracked. You can even control the way apps interact over the internet, granting you enhanced security against trackers.

    In the April 2019 False Alarm Test by AV-Comparatives, McAfee returned 9, while ESET had 1, Kaspersky experienced 3, and Avira counted 4 false positives.

    Full Scan

    Firewall Protection

    With McAfee, you get complete control of the firewall feature. It allows you to control the privileges apps and servers need to communicate to and from your computer.

    When the firewall detects a shady connection not defined by the rules, it alerts you to block the connection.

    Choose from 4 security levels – smart access, monitored access, stealth, and lockdown.

    Restore the original settings to default with just a click. Overall, this antivirus delivers a great firewall that functions superbly when securing your device – be it a private or public network.

    Total Protection

    McAfee Mobile App

    Your need for protection online doesn’t stop when you leave the house, and it tends to be when you’re on the move that you’re at your most vulnerable. McAfee mobile security is designed to ensure that any threats you might face are kept under wraps on your Android and iOS devices, and the place you’re most exposed is when connecting to public Wi-Fi zones. Internet in cafes, restaurants, on trains, and other such places have zero encryption and are the best places for hackers to get a hold of your personal information.

    McAfee mobile comes with the same protections as the desktop options as well as a number of other important features, like anti-theft. You can easily track your device if it ends up in the wrong hands and even lock it remotely. What’s more, free trips on how to get the most out of your antivirus are available.

    McAfee Mobile App

    Pricing Plan

    PlanPriceNumber of DevicesTop Features
    McAfee Total Protection – Family$59.99 per year10Protection against virus, ransomware, malware, Identity Theft Protection, Safe Family
    McAfee Total Protection – Family$119.99 per two years5Encrypted storage, safe browsing, multi-device compatibility
    McAfee Total Protection – Individual/Couple$119.99 per two years5Antivirus, Performance Optimization
    McAfee Total Protection – Single Device$99.99 per two years1Home Network Security, Safe Web Browsing

    Lab Results

    McAfee hasn’t been consistent with its performance, though it improved for the better throughout 2019. For instance, when tested during the 2019 AV-TEST Product Review and Certification Report, the antivirus scored 99.2% in March and 100% in April during the Real-World Testing. This is a very solid score considering the industry average of 99.3%. In the same test held between July and August of 2019, the solution scored 100% in July and 98.9% in August.

    The performance and usability scores have been a steady 6/6. However, in the most-recent Real-Word Testing conducted between September and October of 2019 (0-day malware, web & email threats), McAfee blocked just 98.4% of 335 samples and a protection score of 5.5/6. Competitors like Avast ($89.99 at Avast) and Avira blocked 100% of threats, notching perfect protection scores of 6 each.

    The performance was previously a big concern over the last couple of years. However, per my testing, recent updates have had a resoundingly positive effect in terms of reducing the system-wide impact when McAfee is running.

    The AV-Comparatives Performance Test conducted in October 2019 matched our experience, ranking this antivirus provider as “very fast” when performing certain tasks like archiving, file copying, installing/uninstalling, launching applications, downloading files, and browsing websites.

    Undoubtedly this is a serious improvement, helping this solution record an Impact Score of 1.9 (ADVANCED+) which was just behind ESET which notched a victory on this test after logging a final impact score of 1.3.

    Ease of Use and Interface

    Unlike some of its more cluttered competitors, McAfee features a simple and clean user interface thanks to very thoughtful updates implemented in 2019. It is rather simplistic when compared to other antiviruses, but for the user’s benefit.

    Everything a user needs is displayed right on the home screen. A green checkmark tells you everything is functioning properly and changes to Yellow and Red depending on the level of severity.

    There are individual tabs for handling PC Security, PC Performance, My Privacy, and My Info. On the bottom, you have well-organized sections to Scan for viruses, a Password Manager, Identity Theft Protection, Update, and Cookie/Tracker removal.

    McAfee is loaded with many options and you will, therefore, need some time and practice to get accustomed to the dashboard. Nonetheless, The navigation is intuitive and fast despite not being quite as good as Norton. Most of the important features are under the gear icon so make sure to check it.

    Cyber Bodyguard

    Additionally, the Tray icon gives you quick access to selected features that come in handy at times. Other than these, you also have the True Key Chrome extension for quick use.

    Overall, it is neatly segregated, but McAfee can definitely make better use of some of the empty space in its platform.

    Customer Support

    The newer versions of this antivirus option don’t offer email support however, it does provide access to the best-24/7 tech support via phone and live chat. McAfee has one of the biggest knowledge bases and resource centers among the top-rated antivirus companies. Video tutorials, step-by-step guides, community forums, a VA app, in-depth articles and more grant you have access to everything without the need to connect to tech support.

    McAfee has a Virus Pledge wherein if you find any virus in your device after installing it and the tech support can’t quarantine it, they’ll refund you the total cost of the product.

    When it comes to customer satisfaction rates apart from our own testing, Consumer Affairs gave McAfee a moderate score of 3-stars. However, in our experience, customer service was very responsive, helpful, and pleasant to interact with.

    How to Setup and Uninstall McAfee

    Almost every antivirus needs you to perform similar steps. To set up McAfee on your system, first, check for any existing antivirus and remove it. Then, handle the following:

    1)      Visit McAfee’s official website.
    2)      Select the McAfee Total Protection Plan (you can opt-in for a 30-day trial before purchasing).
    3)      Download and run the McAfee Pre-Install tool and save it to a temporary location


    4)      Double-click the downloaded file, and follow the prompts. You might receive a warning message, just click OK and proceed.
    5)      Once the pre-install tool is installed, close the window and restart your computer.
    6)      Open the tool, and select the device type and the software type you wish to install.

    Licence Agreement

    7)      Read and accept the agreement (make a note of the serial number). Click Download. You have now successfully installed the antivirus suite on your device.

    PC Protected

    Uninstalling the antivirus suite isn’t much of a hassle either. You can uninstall it from the Control Panel itself or use the McAfee Software Removal tool.

    1)      Open Control Panel > Programs & Features > Select McAfee > Uninstall.
    2)      Download the McAfee Software Removal tool > Enter the Security Validation captcha > Click Next and the tool will uninstall the software.

    Removal Complete

    Read More: How to stop MacAfee pop-ups

    Our Verdict

    The antivirus brainchild of John McAfee has existed in some way or another since 1987, protecting both businesses and individuals online for longer than most cybersecurity companies. With packages available for everyone between families and couples, all with award-winning, comprehensive security measures, getting the level of protection you need is both affordable and simple to achieve through McAfee.

    All plans come with important features like multi-device compatibility, safe web browsing, encrypted storage, and McAfee’s own in-house file shredding software. Plus, each plan comes with an in-house VPN, but the amount of licenses depends on which plan you choose.


    1. Is McAfee worth its price?

    There are few companies out there that have had the chance to refine their protocols for as long as McAfee has. As threats and technology have developed, so have the measures in place through McAfee, so you can expect a plan that keeps you secure.

    2.  What are the main differences between McAfee LiveSafe and Total Protection products?

    The way in which the two options are designed is what separates them. Where Total Protection provides security using 128-bit AES encryption and document protection through a secure locker, LiveSafe secures your files and documents through cloud storage with 1GB of capacity.

    3. Does McAfee have a free trial?

    There is a free trial, yes. Unlike a free version of the software, you’ll get to try out all the features that are available with a premium subscription for 30 days. After that, you’ll need to pick a plan that works for you if you’re satisfied with what’s on offer here.

    4. Is McAfee good for Mac protection?

    McAfee works just as well for Mac devices as it does for Windows. Both have the same levels of encryption, the exclusive programs that are only available in-house, and the technical support existing customers count on. If you’re considering McAfee for Mac, you should make use of the free trial.

    5. How do I claim a McAfee subscription refund?

    If you’re not happy with your new McAfee subscription, you’ll have to file a claim within 30 days of making the purchase. If your plan has auto-renewed for another term, you’ll have up to 60 days to file a claim instead of 30.