McAfee is one of the most popular antivirus in the market in 2023. It's easy to use, user-friendly, and, most importantly, secure antivirus software. In addition, it comes with additional features, like a VPN and password manager.
Our in-house testing confirms that McAfee is one of the top players in the antivirus market. This antivirus detected most of the malware threats, the apps were easy to navigate, and the extra features were mostly enjoyable to use. However, we did find the iOS apps lacking feature-vise and a few features, like the app boost, didn’t live up to our expectations.
Continue reading this McAfee antivirus review and see exactly how secure it is compared to other antimalware creations. In the end, you’ll be able to decide for yourself if this software is worth the hype and the money.
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|🥇 Overall rank:||#8 out of #25|
|💵 Price:||From $39.99/year|
|✂️ Free version:||Yes (Android, iOS)|
|🖥️ Platforms:||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS|
|🔥 Coupons:||McAfee Antivirus coupon 67% OFF|
McAfee Antivirus pros and cons
- Cheap multi-user options
- Superb customer support
- Password manager
- Encrypted storage
- iOS version is lacking
- App boost does nothing
- Confusing pricing plans
McAfee security features
As one of the best antivirus offerings, McAfee has a very sophisticated suite of security features. From constantly protecting your computer from ransomware, cryptojacking and malware, to offering you additional features to speed up your web browsing and protecting your documents, data and passwords. Simply put, it’s got everything you need to make your internet experience safe and smooth.
But what exactly are these McAfee security features? Let’s break it down.
McAfee offers three types of scans. You can check your system with a Quick or Full scan as well as select specific folders and files for examination. The quick scanning option is said to take between 5 to 10 minutes while the detailed one – approximately 30 minutes. We’ve tested this antivirus ourselves to check these promises.
We’ve planted 10 malicious files using 3.99 GHz 4 CPUs with 8 GB RAM to test both scanning options and here are the results:
- Quick scan. McAfee scanned almost 7000 files in around 6 minutes and 20 seconds and found 0 malware out of 10 planted. The CPU load was around 28% with a few spikes to 80%.
- Full scan. Scanning almost 210000 files took 22 minutes and McAfee found 8 out of 10 infiltrated viruses. During the majority of the process time, CPU load was around 90-100%.
What’s also worth mentioning is that McAfee additionally offers a Vulnerability Scanner. It looks out for the essential security patches and lets you know when any of your apps need to be updated to reduce the risks of potential cyberattacks.
All in all, McAfee scans provided decent performance during our tests. It’s nice that the estimated duration times were accurate but we’d advise always opting for a Full scan. Since malware can hide in unexpected places on your system, it’s vital to check as many files as possible to find it.
McAfee’s scanning results aren’t the best on the market. So, if you’re seeking the perfect scanning results, check out one of the safest TotalAV antivirus.
McAfee firewall operates as a secure wall which filters processes that seem like malware and blocks access to the device. Generally speaking, it’s designed to identify viruses before they enter the system to prevent cyberattacks more efficiently.
In our opinion, McAfee firewall is highly functional since it allows you to do the following:
- Open certain ports so a service from another device could access your system.
- Block or allow specific Internet connections and IP addresses.
- Hide the PC from others using the Stealth mode.
- Easily disable Internet connection on the device with the Lockdown feature.
- Use the Net Guard feature to see who tried to connect to your device and whether you want to trust them.
Also, we’ve tested the usability of the firewall. It’s a truly user-friendly solution as you can easily navigate through the interface to find and use each of its functions. Everything is carefully put under the corresponding tabs for convenience.
Ransom Guard, McAfee’s ransomware protection offering, provides a sophisticated layer of real-time protection without intruding on your online experience. In fact, our favourite thing about McAfee’s Ransom Guard is how unobtrusive it is while you’re online. You’ll never know it’s there unless you go looking for it or if you have a security issue.
As soon as there’s a File Content Transformation, which is McAfee’s fancy way of describing an attempt to encrypt your files, it’ll up your security. It’ll also create protected copies of the threatened files, so you can rest assured you won’t lose any of your data.
McAfee’s Ransom Guard will continue to monitor the threat. And if it persists, it will quarantine the problem and restore your files from backup.
McAfee’s QuickClean is a handy little feature that helps you clean up your computer to improve security and speed. It scans your computer for cookies and temporary files, which can consume valuable space on your computer and provide a hacker with information about you.
Once QuickClean has found tracking cookies and junk files you could do without, it provides you with a report, letting you know how much space you could free up. There is an option to look at everything QuickClean has unearthed. Or you could take the simple way and continue the cleanup with just a click of a button.
McAfee’s Shredder tool is one of our favourite features. Ordinarily, safely disposing of files isn’t quite as simple as hitting Delete. This will only move it as far as your Recycle Bin, which can still be accessed by anyone who gets hold of your machine. And even if you bypass or empty your Recycle Bin, your deleted data will still stay on the disk, which means it could be recovered. But with McAfee’s Shredder feature, you can make sure your file is gone forever. It works by overwriting the file’s data a number of times before it’s deleted.
There are three levels of shredding security on offer here:
- Basic overwrites the file twice before deletion
- Safe overwrites the file five times before deletion
- Complete overwrites the file ten times before deletion.
To make life easier, you can shred your entire Recycle Bin or Temporary Internet Files in one go.
As soon as you’ve downloaded McAfee, you should find McAfee’s browser extension automatically installed. This extension, named McAfee’s WebAdvisor, gives you easy access to McAfee’s suite of security features.
In our McAfee WebAdvisor review, we found that it protects you from malware and phishing attempts while you’re online without hindering your browser’s performance. Again, this is another feature that keeps you safe without intruding on your internet experience, unless there’s a problem.
McAfee’s password manager: True Key
McAfee’s password manager, True Key, is one of the better known password managers out there. And with good reason. It lets you manage your passwords while also keeping them really safe and secure.
True Key uses AES-256, one of the strongest encryption algorithms out there, to make sure no one can break through to your login credentials. Only you will be able to decrypt your passwords.
The app also offers multi factor authentication to secure your account even further. You’ll have to verify at least two factors before you can login. And you can even add more factors if you want to up the security more.
Here is everything McAfee True Key password manager has to offer:
- Logins – store all of your credentials in one, secure place.
- Safe Notes – write down sensitive information in a safe note.
- Wallet – keep credit card details protected and quickly accessible.
- Export data – easily retract private information when needed.
- Import passwords – get passwords from LastPass, Dashlane, Chrome and other browsers.
McAfee Speed Up
The service offers improved speeds for web browsing and for your apps:
McAfee Web Boost
The McAfee Web Boost speeds up your browsing by preventing auto-play videos from launching. It does this by overlaying a message across the video that reads, Paused by McAfee Web Boost.
When testing it, we found it worked really well and it did help some websites load more quickly. However, while it’s a nice little feature, it’s not likely to radically change your browser speed.
Also, it’s worth bearing in mind that it only works on Google Chrome, so it’s not much good if this isn’t your browser of choice.
McAfee App Boost
McAfee runs its PC Boost feature in the background in order to divert resources to the apps that need it. This is meant to cut load times. McAfee’s lab results show that this makes load times 6% faster.
In our testing, we didn’t notice any real difference in speed. But according to our McAfee report it had enhanced our app performance by 8%.
McAfee VPN is another useful feature that can help you secure your online activities and remain anonymous when browsing. Compared to the leading best VPN services like NordVPN or Surfshark,, it provides basic security and privacy essentials.
In terms of features, here’s what McAfee VPN includes:
- A kill switch – stops Internet traffic if a VPN connection drops to prevent data leaks.
- Auto-connect options – you can choose to automatically enable a VPN connection on insecure networks or wifi only, as well as on all networks.
- Trusted Networks – specify trusted networks that would be excluded from a VPN connection.
Identity theft coverage & restoration
McAfee tries to ensure that your private data would not be compromised by offering a variety of services for identity protection: a password manager, a VPN, a file shredder, etc. You can see the Protection Score of your device based on how many security tools you use.
You can also use the Personal Data Cleanup tool – fill in your details and McAfee will monitor data brokers and analytics if any of them compromise your privacy. There’s also an option to provide your email and they should check the Dark Web for leaked information.
Overall, McAfee identity theft coverage, restoration, and protection is a full package of features that add an additional layer of security to your private data. Yet, it’s essential that you use all the available features to benefit from the offering.
McAfee plans and pricing
McAfee offers a range of different payment plans based on how many devices you want to protect. Unfortunately, there’s no free version for desktop, although there is a basic free app version for Android and iOS.
And if you’re unsure whether or not you want to sign up to McAfee, you can test run McAfee’s Total Protection plan on a free 30-day trial. You don’t even have to put in any card details. At the end of the 30 days, you’ll simply lose access to the app unless you pay to keep it.Start McAfee Total Protection trial now!
Confusingly, McAfee’s two security packages, Total Protection and LiveSafe, look pretty similar. McAfee’s own website doesn’t clearly lay out the differences between them. So it’s not that easy to make an informed decision about which to go for. Luckily, we’ve done a deep dive to find out the difference between McAfee Total Protection and McAfee LiveSafe to help you decide which one is right for you.
|Single Device||VPN, tune up, network security, customer support, password manager, shredder, encypted storage||$89.99|
|Multiple Devices||same as Single Device, and 5 device support with identity theft protection||$54.99|
|Family Coverage||same as Single Device, and Individual, plus 10 device support||$49.99|
|LiveSafe||same as Single Device, Individual, and Family with unlimited devices support||$34.99|
McAfee Total Protection
McAfee Total Protection offers three different plans based on the number of devices you need:
- Single Device supports one device for $89.99 for the first year
- Individuals supports up to five devices for $54.99 for the first year
- Family supports up to 10 devices for $49.99 for the first year
Nowadays, when most of us use multiple devices, the Single Device plan doesn’t seem all that useful. But if you’ve already got security built into your phone or you just want antivirus protection for a PC, this plan might be sufficient for you.
However, if you’re like us and want to keep your data secure across multiple devices or you want to protect the whole family from cyber threats, you’ll probably need to stump up the cash for the Individual or Family plan.
It’s worth bearing in mind that the prices mentioned above are introductory offers and therefore only last for your first year’s subscription. After that, your subscription will renew automatically and the price will likely go up. However, you may be able to negotiate a better renewal offer or cancel your subscription and rejoin as a new customer to make the most of any special offers.
Total Security plan is quite useless, as LiveSafe plan costs the same, includes the same features, and offers protection for unlimited devices.
With that said, if you opt out of McAfee’s auto-renewal scheme, you’ll lose out on some exclusive benefits. This includes the VPN and Virus Protection Pledge, which means offers a refund if you get a virus McAfee can’t remove.
Just to make things more confusing, McAfee LiveSafe costs the same as McAfee’s Total Protection Family plan. So that’s $39.99 for the first year. And, on the surface at least, they seem to boast an identical set of security features.
The most important difference between McAfee Total Protection and McAfee LiveSafe is the number of devices you can use it on. McAfee LiveSafe offers protection across an unlimited number of devices. So, rather than being limited to a maximum of ten with the most expensive Total Protection plan, you can use your account to download McAfee software on as many devices as you like.
- Even if the prices exceed your budget, there is no need to worry. Simply check out our page for McAfee coupon and promo codes and grab the best discounts.
How to install McAfee
- Go to the website and pick the McAfee antivirus plan. Each subscription has a 100% money-back guarantee if the antivirus can’t remove a virus.
- Purchase a subscription. Create an account and continue with the payment process.
- Download the McAfee app. Click ‘Downloads & devices’ on the dashboard and download the app under the ‘Protect all your devices’ section.
- Complete the installation. Launch the downloaded McAfee file and click the ‘Install’ button.
- Get started. Once the installation is complete, click the ‘Get started’ button and we recommend enabling real-time protection, the firewall, and the VPN services to secure your device instantly.
- Familiarize yourself with the app. You can easily navigate through the main dashboard to find other useful features and tools.
Ease of use
We tested McAfee’s antivirus software on Windows and it was really easy to set up. However, I first tried to download it on my Mac and it came up with an error message, informing me that McAfee’s free trial was not compatible on Mac. So if you’re after a free sample of McAfee’s antivirus offering, Windows is the way to go.
The software downloaded quickly and automatically installed the app and browser extension without me having to click on anything.
McAfee desktop app
Once set up, the basic functions were easy enough to find on the app. The home screen consists of the Protection Score, Personal Data Cleanup, Antivirus, Secure VPN, ID Protection, and the Tracker Remover features. You can see if the specific feature is enabled/disabled by the green “On” and red “Off” icons. All other McAfee features are accessible through the button with four bubbles on the left side of the screen.
Here, features are allocated under the corresponding sections:
- Protect your PC: Real-Time Scanning, Scheduled Scans, Quarantined Items, Firewall, Secure Apps, and an App Boost
- Protect yourself on the web: Secure VPN, Browser Security, Web Boost, and the Tracker Remover
- Protect your identity: ID Protection, Password Manager, and a File Shredder
- Protect your privacy: includes the Personal Data Cleanup tool
- More Security: shows Security History
We do recommend going through the settings of some of these so you can make sure they’re working the way you want. We found when we were digging around in the gear icon, that our scheduled scans were due to take place at 4am. As I always shut my laptop off before I go to bed, this was a bit useless to me.
The slightly concerning thing about this was, had I not gone looking for this information, I’d never have known I had virus scans scheduled at all, let alone that they were due to happen at an unsociable hour. There’s no reminder or notification to let you know this is going to happen.
So, while McAfee is quick and easy to set up, it’s not the most user friendly antivirus software we’ve tested and you’ll probably have to play around with it for a while before you get it working the way you want.
McAfee mobile app
McAfee’s mobile apps for Android and iOS provides really quick, simple virus protection for your phone. We tested the mobile app on Android and it has a really clean interface that’s easy to use.
Here’s a list of available features on mobile devices:
- Malware scans – checks your phone for malicious apps and viruses.
- Memory Booster – cleans duplicate and junk files to increase memory space.
- Wi-Fi Guard – warns when connected to an unprotected network.
- App Lock – allows restricting access to certain apps of your choice.
- Anti-Theft – helps to protect data in case your phone gets stolen.
- Safe Web – blocks dangerous websites and links to avoid malware attacks.
Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that there’s a free McAfee antivirus version for both Android and iPhone devices. It allows you to perform malware scans and enjoy some of the features, like the Memory Booster and the Anti-Theft technology.
McAfee customer support
As you might expect, when you visit the Customer Support section of the website, there are a lot of helpful guides and answers to frequently asked questions to help you resolve your issue without having to bother a member of the McAfee support team.
Sure, this can be annoying if you’ve got an urgent problem with your antivirus software and you want to speak to an actual person. For most everyday issues, you’re quite likely to find what you’re looking for on this page.
However, I found it extremely annoying that to qualify for an audience with a customer support agent you need to fill out a form with a lot of personal data. It includes your first and last names, phone number, email, and verification of your email and problem descriptions. Even when your requests go through, you find out that they cannot fulfill some requests because they have to be done via phone. If you want to get a refund and want to do it via chat, you won't be able to do it.
Can you get in touch with McAfee customer service?
If you do need to speak to a person, there is certainly more dedicated help available. Once you’ve clicked through a few pages of preliminary questions about the nature of your issue, you’ll land on a page that gives you the option to contact one of McAfee’s customer service advisors via live chat. This is a service that’s available 24/7.
In our testing, we found that we got through to a representative within a couple of minutes, although this may take longer during particularly busy periods. When the live chat is experiencing a high volume of requests, there will be a banner at the top of the McAfee support page warning users to expect longer wait times.
There’s also the McAfee Community forum that offers help and advice on a huge range of topics. The forum’s pretty active too. Simply ask a question and it’ll almost certainly be answered pretty quickly.
And for more basic problems, you can use McAfee’s Virtual Assistant to diagnose and fix technical issues. It’s not the most sophisticated tool in the world, but it’ll help you solve simple issues.
Alternatively, if you’re away from your computer, you can pay to use Techmaster, which will troubleshoot issues without you having to do much.
And if you really want to talk to someone, you can find a phone number buried away in the Contact Us section of the McAfee website.
McAfee offers one of the most comprehensive online security suites we’ve tested, with a whole host of really useful features to keep your devices safe from viruses. We particularly loved the Shredder tool and the WebAdvisor browser extension.
Although there are cheaper online antivirus offerings out there, you get a lot for your money with McAfee, including the use of McAfee’s secure VPN, True Key password manager and encrypted storage.
We were very impressed by how effectively it provides online protection without impeding your internet speeds or online browsing experience.
But McAfee is not without its faults: the website, app and pricing plans are all a bit confusing and disorganized, and the Web Boost/App Boost features can be underwhelming.
However, if you’re looking for antivirus software to protect all your devices at a reasonable price, you can’t go far wrong with McAfee’s antivirus software.
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Here, we’ll answer some of your burning questions about McAfee antivirus software.
Is McAfee a good antivirus program?
Yes. McAfee is a good antivirus and worth the investment. It offers an extensive security suite that will keep your computer safe from malware and other online threats. It works really well on Windows, Android, Mac and iOS and the McAfee LiveSafe plan works on an unlimited number of personal devices. McAfee’s security software is available in a web app, mobile app and a browser extension.
What is the difference between McAfee Livesafe and Total Protection?
The main difference between McAfee Total Protection and McAfee LiveSafe is that you can use the McAfee LiveSafe plan on an unlimited number of personal devices. This is the only real difference between the two plans. You’ll find all the same security features on both. The McAfee LiveSafe plan costs $39.99 for the first year - the same as Total Protection's most expensive plan.
Is Norton Antivirus better than McAfee?
Yes. Although both offer excellent antivirus protection, Norton offers better speeds, security and overall performance. It has more security features than McAfee and it’s more effective at protecting against malware and other online threats. However, McAfee’s plans are a bit cheaper. And more importantly, McAfee’s LiveSafe plan can be used on unlimited personal devices, whereas even Norton’s 360 Premium plan is still limited to a maximum of 10 devices. For more information, read our McAfee vs. Norton comparison.
How to claim a McAfee subscription refund?
After purchase, within 30 days, you can receive a full refund for your subscription. However, you won't be able to do it via live chat. You'll have to telephone customer service and confirm your decision. So, make sure that you're sure about this service before you commit.