McAfee Antivirus Review — Is It Good Enough in 2024?

Our Score
9.4
OUTSTANDING!
Ranked 4th out of 74 antiviruses
Ranked 4th out of 74 antiviruses
Eric Goldstein
Eric Goldstein Chief Editor
Updated on: June 17, 2024
Fact Checked by Katarina Glamoslija
Eric Goldstein
Eric Goldstein
Published on: June 17, 2024 Chief Editor

McAfee Review: Quick Expert Summary

McAfee provides excellent real-time malware detection and web protection for a great price. It also has a ton of useful extra features and is one of the few providers that allow you to cover an unlimited number of devices.

McAfee’s antivirus scanner scored a perfect 100% malware detection rating in all of my tests across Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices. It was able to identify and block both simple and sophisticated threats, including viruses, trojans, spyware, ransomware, and cryptojackers.

McAfee also offers more additional features than most other antiviruses, including:

  • Firewall and Wi-Fi network protection.
  • Anti-phishing protection.
  • Virtual private network (VPN).
  • Tracker remover.
  • Password manager.
  • Parental controls.
  • Identity theft protection.
  • File shredder.
  • And a lot more…

Most of McAfee’s features work exactly as promised — I’m a huge fan of McAfee’s anti-phishing and anti-exploit browser extension, which blocked more dangerous sites than Chrome or Firefox in my tests. I also think McAfee’s firewall and Wi-Fi protections are better than similar protections offered by premium competitors like TotalAV and Avira.

That said, I don’t like that the full scan can cause system slowdown (but you can schedule full scans for when you’re not using your computer), and I’d like to see all of McAfee’s features integrated into a single dashboard. I also think the VPN could use some improvement — it doesn’t work with some popular streaming sites (most notably Disney+ and Hulu), and it doesn’t have extras like split-tunneling.

But overall, I still think McAfee is one of the best-value antiviruses out there. It has a high-quality malware scanner, provides a wide range of security features, and is easy to use.

McAfee offers monthly subscriptions for all of its plans. But the 1-year and 2-year plans offer the best discounts, plus the higher-tier plans include coverage on an unlimited number of devices. McAfee has a 30-day money-back guarantee on all of its plans, so there’s no risk in trying it out.

🏅 Overall Rank #4 out of 74 antiviruses
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🌐 VPN
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💵 Pricing Starting at $39.99/year
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💻 Operating Systems Windows, Android, Mac, iOS, ChromeOS

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McAfee Full Review

McAfee Full Review

McAfee is a premium anti-malware suite with heaps of security features. I spent a few weeks stress-testing McAfee’s security protections across my PC, MacBook Pro, Samsung Galaxy, and iPhone, and I was really impressed with how well it performed in all areas (especially considering that it has more extra features than almost any competitor).

McAfee is one of the most impressive antivirus programs in 2024 — it’s very reliable, very easy to use, and can cover from 5 to an unlimited number of devices (which is something that very few antiviruses offer).

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McAfee Security Features

Antivirus Scanner

McAfee Security Features

McAfee’s antivirus scanner uses traditional malware detection methods and heuristics. This means it checks files against McAfee’s huge virus database and identifies potentially dangerous files based on their behavior. I tested McAfee’s antivirus scanner by downloading a massive database of malware files onto my PC — including viruses, trojans, rootkits, ransomware, and spyware. Then, I installed McAfee and ran a full system scan. The scan detected 100% of my test malware. But I can’t say I was surprised with the result.

McAfee is one of the rare antiviruses with consistently excellent results against all kinds of malware — the only other brands that can compete with McAfee are Norton and Bitdefender, which both successfully identified and removed all malware samples during all of our tests.

McAfee’s full system scan took around 1 hour to complete — this is on par with competitors like Bitdefender, but both Norton and Avira’s scans are faster, taking only 40 minutes to finish. I also ran McAfee’s quick scan, which took under 2 minutes to finish, and the duration of McAfee’s custom scan depended on the types of files I chose to scan (from a couple of minutes to 1 hour).

McAfee’s scanner does cause some system slowdown, which is the only thing I don’t like about it. When McAfee was scanning my PC, it ran slower than normal — I could still browse the internet and use word processing programs to get some work done, but watching a video or playing a game was out of the question. But McAfee lets you schedule scans whenever you want, so you can schedule a full system scan to run when you know you won’t be using your PC. That said, some competitors like TotalAV don’t impact a system’s performance during system scans.

Overall, McAfee’s antivirus scanner is among the very best on the market. If you’re looking for reliable protection against both known and zero-day threats, McAfee is a really good choice, with perfect malware detection rates, fast scans, and simple scan scheduling. My only complaint is that the antivirus scanner slowed down my PC during a full system scan, but you can easily schedule full scans during the night or when you’re not using your PC.

Firewall

McAfee Security Features

McAfee’s firewall is powerful and easy to use. It runs out of the box, so it’s great for less tech-savvy users, and it detected a variety of network threats in my testing, including intrusions, exploit attacks, and unauthorized programs attempting to communicate with remote servers. It’s easily more effective than the built-in firewalls provided by Windows and macOS, but I do have a few problems with it.

McAfee’s firewall is meant to be used alongside your built-in Windows firewall (rather than as a replacement for it), so it isn’t very customizable — it only lets you manage blocked applications. I’d like to be able to customize my ports, manage internet connections, set advanced rules, and more.

Frankly, this is disappointing. Other top antivirus suites, like Norton and Bitdefender, use a custom smart firewall. McAfee, on the other hand, leaves all of the heavy lifting to Windows Defender, which handles critical tasks like monitoring inbound traffic. You’re basically paying for an upgrade to a completely free product. Don’t get me wrong, it is better than Windows Defender, but there’s a lot of room for improvement.

McAfee Security Features

The Mac firewall is also somewhat simplistic. You can allow or block incoming and outgoing connections and set custom rules for each Wi-Fi network you use, but that’s about it. It was also pretty buggy during my tests — I had to uninstall and reinstall McAfee to get it to even switch on. While it’s an improvement over Apple’s built-in firewall, Intego has a much more intuitive and customizable firewall for Mac.

McAfee Security Features

But overall, whether you’re a Windows or a Mac user, the firewall provides decent protection for networks. I’d like to see the diagnostics tools provide more information about the threats it detects and I wish that it provided more customization options, but it’s still a good firewall to have in 2024.

VPN (Virtual Private Network)

McAfee Security Features

McAfee Secure VPN is McAfee’s built-in VPN — it’s easy to use, has pretty fast internet connection speeds, and is good for basic online activities like browsing and streaming content. It’s available as part of McAfee’s Total Protection suites. There’s also a standalone VPN powered by TunnelBear, but it’s only available as a separate purchase. It’s also worth noting that McAfee doesn’t offer a VPN for macOS users.

A VPN routes all of your web traffic through a secure server, which encrypts all of your data and hides your online traffic. This secure server also masks your IP address to make it appear as if you’re connecting from a different location. For example, if you’re located in the US and connect to a server in the UK, you’ll be given an IP address from the UK, allowing you to browse the internet as if you’re in the UK.

McAfee Secure VPN’s network includes servers in 50+ countries — this is a pretty good server network, but it’s not as big as what standalone competitors like ExpressVPN offer (ExpressVPN has servers in 105 countries). The VPN protects your data with industry-standard 256-bit AES encryption (one of the strongest encryption protocols out there), and it has a kill switch that disconnects you from the internet if the VPN connection drops.

It also has a strict no-logs policy, which is great — it means that the VPN provider doesn’t log any information like your IP address or session data

McAfee’s VPN can access Netflix US and Amazon Prime, as well as some lesser-known streaming services like Pluto TV, but not Disney+ or Hulu (or some less popular platforms like Crunchyroll). If you’re looking for a VPN that consistently works with streaming services, I recommend ExpressVPN.

Another drawback is that McAfee’s bundled VPN is missing extra features, such as split-tunneling (which allows you to choose which traffic travels through the VPN server and which traffic travels through your local network) and obfuscated servers (to disguise your VPN traffic as regular traffic).

However, McAfee Secure VPN performed really well in my speed tests — I had very fast speeds when I was connected to a local server (I’m in the US), and it maintained decent speeds on distant servers in Europe and South America (although websites took 4–5 seconds to load when I connected to a server in Australia).

McAfee Security Features

McAfee Secure VPN is an ok choice for browsing and streaming. However, while it has an intuitive interface, fast speeds on local servers, and works with Netflix, it’s not compatible with Macs and it’s missing a lot of extra features that are normally included in many standalone VPN providers.

WebAdvisor (Windows & Mac Only)

McAfee WebAdvisor blocks all kinds of online threats, including phishing sites, exploit attacks, and browser-based cryptojackers. It also provides security ratings for some websites. It’s a free tool that can be downloaded separately as an add-on to your browser and is available for Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Explorer. There isn’t a Safari version, which is a shame for Mac users.

WebAdvisor analyzes every website you visit for known exploit attacks, and it also identifies phishing sites from a massive phishing database that is continuously updated.

It blocked every phishing site and exploit attack in my testing, detecting numerous dangerous sites that Chrome’s and Firefox’s built-in protections failed to detect — these results put it right up there with Norton and Bitdefender when it comes to web protection.

McAfee Security Features

WebAdvisor also includes an optional Secure Search mode, which assigns color-coded safety ratings to your search results. I tested it with Google, and while it didn’t provide ratings for a lot of sites, it did provide “Dangerous” ratings for some pirate sites. Also, it didn’t mislabel any safe sites as unsafe.

McAfee Security Features

WebAdvisor can also rate links on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more. In my testing, this link rating was surprisingly accurate, labeling most links as safe, and it correctly flagged phishing sites when a friend was hacked on Instagram.

McAfee Security Features

It was hard to find the WebAdvisor installation page for Firefox and Edge. Instead of providing a link to it on the McAfee app, I had to download it from McAfee’s website. This is my only complaint about WebAdvisor though, and it’s not that big of a deal.

Overall, WebAdvisor is one of the best online protection tools on the market. Its anti-phishing and anti-exploit protections are better than Chrome’s and Firefox’s built-in protections, and its search engine and social media link ratings are really helpful, especially for less-advanced users that have a hard time identifying unsafe sites.

Tracker Remover

Total Protection only offers 1 performance optimization tool — Tracker Remover — for Windows computers and the Chrome browser.

Tracker Remover can remove the following items from your system:

  • Web browser cookies and trackers.
  • Web browsing history.
  • Recycle bin items.
  • Temporary files.

It worked pretty well in my tests and freed up over 400 MB of space on my computer in less than a minute.

McAfee Security Features

I especially like how easy it is to view the details of the Tracker Remover scan — McAfee separates files into a variety of categories, offering drop down menus that list the specific file names that are being tagged for removal in each category. This makes it really easy for advanced users to decide which files to keep, while less tech-savvy users can just let McAfee remove all of the files.

Overall, I found Tracker Remover easy to use and helpful, and I liked how detailed its scan results are. That said, I’d like to see some more optimization tools from McAfee. Avira, for comparison, is able to clean more junk off of my computer and includes extras like a startup optimizer and game booster.

Password Manager

McAfee Security Features

McAfee’s True Key password manager provides good password protection and decent functionality, but it’s missing some of the additional features included in the best standalone password managers in 2024.

True Key stores and syncs user data in the cloud using 256-bit AES encryption and zero-knowledge architecture — this prevents anyone else (including McAfee) from being able to access your saved logins. McAfee’s password manager can be installed on Windows, Mac, iOS, or Android devices and supports Firefox, Chrome, Edge, and Safari.

True Key offers features like unlimited password storage across devices, credit card and document storage, secure notes, a password generator, and zero-click auto-filling. But I was disappointed to find out that True Key doesn’t offer a good range of 2FA options (you can log in on mobile devices or Windows devices with Windows Hello using biometric scanning, but True Key isn’t compatible with TOTP authenticators or USB tokens like Yubikey).

McAfee Security Features

I also don’t like that True Key is missing secure password sharing, password vault auditing, and password breach monitoring — top competitors like 1Password and Dashlane include these features and much more.

However, True Key is a good basic password manager. I found it very easy to generate, save, and auto-fill passwords — you can set True Key to auto-fill passwords with a single click, or even to automatically enter your login information when you navigate to a saved website (which is a good time-saver, but not a great feature to use from a security perspective).

True Key also offers simple master password recovery — if you forget your master password, McAfee will send you an email to change your password. While this is a nice feature for most users, it’s not a very secure practice, which is why top password managers like Dashlane don’t offer such simple account recovery tools.

Overall, I like how user-friendly True Key is — even if its features are limited when compared with the best standalone password managers, True Key is still a useful addition to Total Protection that can help generate and store unique passwords using advanced encryption. You can read our TrueKey review here.

Parental Controls

McAfee’s Safe Family app offers excellent parental controls for Windows, Android, and iOS devices (but not for Macs) — however, unlike with Norton, the controls aren’t included in any of the individual antivirus bundles. They’re only available as a separate purchase, or as part of the family Premium and Advanced plans.

Safe Family isn’t as good as the best parental control apps on the market, but it is one of the best antivirus programs with parental controls.

Safe Family allows you to:

  • Filter web content.
  • Limit device usage and internet access.
  • Block specific apps.
  • Track device location (within 10 meters).

When I tested Safe Family, I found its interface very intuitive and uncluttered. I like that McAfee offers presets for every child’s app usage and web usage rules based on their age. You can then manually adjust permissions for individual apps and content categories, add websites to be blocked, and schedule screen time for each child’s individual needs.

McAfee Security Features

McAfee Safe Family worked well during my tests, blocking all unwanted web content and apps. I tested it against a variety of content, including pornographic websites, violent games, social media sites, and sites hosting hate speech — it blocked all of these unsafe sites, and it also logged my searches (this is really helpful for parents that want to stay informed about what kinds of content their kids are searching for).

McAfee Safe Family also blocked me from downloading new apps and prevented me from making in-app purchases without parental permission, and I was unable to uninstall McAfee Safe Family from my kid’s device without entering my parental login details. I also like the Family Requests option, which allows your kid to ask you for permission to access a blocked website or app.

One of Safe Family’s best features is its location tracking. You can track your child’s devices to within 10 meters, and your child can also send a quick update to you via the Safe Family mobile app when they’ve safely arrived at their destination, such as a friend’s house, school, or home. I tested the location tracking with my daughter’s iPad and was surprised at how accurately Safe Family could track her device — it was much more responsive and precise than Apple or Google’s “Find My” tools.

McAfee Security Features

However, McAfee Safe Family is missing some key features that other top parental controls offer. These include YouTube monitoring (so you can see what videos they’re watching), phone call and text message monitoring, and an emergency contact (allows your kid to contact a family member or trusted friend if they are in danger). Also, there are a handful of features that don’t work with iOS devices, including web and app usage reports, web filtering, the uninstall prevention, and requesting access to blocked apps and websites. If you need a good parental control app for iOS, I recommend Qustodio.

Overall, though, McAfee Safe Family is an excellent parental control app. I like the app and website blocking capabilities and the location tracker, but I’d like to see McAfee add features like YouTube monitoring in the future.

Identity Monitoring

McAfee Security Features

McAfee’s Identity Monitoring service provides real-time monitoring for a huge variety of personally identifying information (PII) by using live dark web monitoring along with Experian’s credit network. The Identity Monitoring service is available for customers in 30+ countries, including the UK, the US, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, and Spain. This is much better than TotalAV, which only offers its ID theft protections to US-based customers. You can find out more about this in our in-depth comparison of the two antivirus products.

McAfee’s Identity Monitoring tool lets you monitor the following information to see if it was involved in a data breach:

  • 1 SSN (Social Security Number).
  • 1 date of birth.
  • 2 driver’s licenses.
  • 2 tax IDs.
  • 2 passports.
  • 2 medical IDs.
  • Up to 10 email addresses.
  • Up to 10 phone numbers.
  • Up to 10 credit and debit cards.
  • Up to 10 usernames.
  • Up to 10 bank accounts.

McAfee provides you with information on how to protect your PII if any of the information above was involved in a data breach. For example, my email address was involved in 9 data breaches, and McAfee provided me with an external link to the site that was compromised so I could quickly change my password. It took just a couple of minutes to change my password using McAfee’s True Key password manager.

McAfee Security Features

When you subscribe to McAfee Advanced, you get Personal Data Cleanup, identity theft coverage of up to $1 million, credit monitoring, Lost Wallet Protection, and a Security Freeze feature. The Personal Data Cleanup tool scans data broker directories for your personal info and helps you to prevent those brokers from capitalizing off of your PII. Data brokers (like YellowBook, AllPeople, and Email Finder) are online metadata aggregators that pool publicly available information about you and sell detailed personal profiles to advertisers and other businesses.

Fortunately, most of these companies are legally bound to respect your wishes if you request that they keep your information private. McAfee’s Privacy Protection tool lists all of the data brokers with your information and makes it easy to remove yourself from their directories — if you upgrade to the premium service, McAfee will even remove you from all of these lists automatically. Norton offers a similar service with its identity theft protections, and in my testing, it was also quick and easy to use.

McAfee’s Lost Wallet service is also very helpful — if you lose your wallet, credit card, or IDs, the Lost Wallet service means McAfee’s recovery team can help you organize necessary cancellations, re-orders, and re-issues. And the Security Freeze feature stops unauthorized people from opening credit card, bank, and utility accounts in your name.

There are a few different levels of identity theft protection offered by McAfee. Total Protection Plus users that don’t sign up for auto-renewal get dark web monitoring for up to 10 email accounts and access to dedicated support representatives. Auto-renewal Total Protection Plus plans also add monitoring the dark web for 60 pieces of PII (including phone numbers and more). The Total Protection Premium plan adds Personal Data Cleanup (manual removal only). And users who buy Total Protection Advanced get access to Personal Data Cleanup (full-service removal), $1 million in Identity Recovery Insurance, Lost Wallet Protection, and Security Freeze.

Overall, McAfee Identity Monitoring offers strong identity theft prevention with a variety of tools to monitor a good range of PII — it’s an excellent and affordable option for users in many different countries who want to safeguard their identity.

Additional Features

McAfee Total Protection offers several more security tools, including a vulnerability scanner, real-time scam protection, and a secure file shredder.

The vulnerability scanner is a really useful tool — it analyzes all of the apps on your device and gives a notification if you need to update any of your programs (this is especially important because of the growing threat of zero-day attacks and software exploits in 2024).

I also like McAfee’s secure file shredder, which writes over your sensitive deleted files, so they can’t be restored. It can completely remove files from your desktop in just a few seconds.

Overall, McAfee’s additional features are pretty good, and I appreciate that the company works hard to provide an array of useful protections with its premium antivirus offering.

McAfee Plans & Pricing

McAfee currently offers 4 different pricing tiers for its Total Protection plans, and its Plus plan is available for a great value for users that buy the 2-year subscription plan.

For all of its plans, McAfee allows you to request a refund:

  • Within 30 days of purchasing your subscription,
  • Within 60 days of automatic renewal.
  • During the lifetime of your subscription if McAfee fails to remove malware.

Also, all McAfee plans include some extra features which are available only to the customers who subscribe for auto-renewal (like the VPN and ID theft protection).

Note: Depending on location, McAfee’s plans may include different names, features, and subscription duration.

Here’s a quick overview of all of McAfee’s plans:

Plus Premium Advanced Ultimate
Platforms Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, ChromeOS Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, ChromeOS Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, ChromeOS Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, ChromeOS
Price $39.99 / year Starting at $49.99 / year Starting at $89.99 / year $199.99 / year
Number of devices 5 Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Malware scanning and removal
Real-time protection
Firewall
Web protection
Wi-Fi protection
Password manager
VPN
Parental controls
(Family plan only)

(Family plan only)
Personal Data Cleanup
Identity theft monitoring
Identity theft coverage
Lost wallet
Security freeze
Ransomware coverage
Transaction monitoring

Total Protection Plus — Complete Protection for a Great Price

McAfee’s Total Protection Plus plan offers a ton of great features, and it covers up to 5 devices and provides up to 5 VPN licenses (for auto-renewal subscribers only). Its features include:

  • Antivirus scanner.
  • Unlimited secure VPN (must be enrolled in auto-renewal).
  • Firewall.
  • Identity monitoring.
  • Web browsing and anti-phishing protection.
  • Password manager.
  • File shredder.
  • 24/7 online support.

At just $39.99 / year, this plan is on par with the Norton 360 Standard plan, and it offers excellent protection across all devices. Users looking for excellent protection at a bargain price should check out this plan (although the lack of parental controls means it’s not as good for families).

Total Protection Premium — Overall Best Value

McAfee’s Premium plan allows coverage on an unlimited number of devices and provides all of the features of the Plus plan. It also includes Personal Data Cleanup tools (manual removal only), and online account cleanup (which checks if businesses you don’t use are holding onto your data).

Total Protection Premium for individual users costs only $49.99 / year, which is a really good bargain. The family plan adds parental controls, which worked really well on all of my devices.

Overall, Total Protection Premium is the best-value plan for both individuals and families that want to protect all of the devices in their households, and it’s cheaper than many competing brands that offer far fewer features.

Total Protection Advanced — Good Plan for Identity Protection

McAfee’s Advanced plan adds full-service Personal Data Cleanup, identity theft coverage of up to $1 million, Lost Wallet Protection, and Security Freeze, as well as offering all of the features of the Plus and Premium plans across unlimited devices.

The Advanced plan starts at $89.99 / year, which is a lot more than the other plans, but it’s pretty good for people who are looking for enhanced identity protections. That being said, I prefer Norton 360 with LifeLock Select (only available in the US), which includes $25,000 in identity theft coverage, $1 million in legal assistance, and 100 GB of cloud storage for just a little bit more.

Total Protection Ultimate — Most Comprehensive Plan

McAfee’s Ultimate plan adds $25,000 of ransomware protection and comprehensive transaction monitoring — it monitors a wide variety of accounts including credit card, bank, 401K, investment, and loan accounts.

The Ultimate plan costs $199.99 / year and covers unlimited devices. It’s pretty pricey, but it offers the most comprehensive identity and credit protection.

McAfee Ease of Use & Setup

How to Install McAfee (Just 3 Simple Steps):

  • Purchase McAfee and create an account. Choose the McAfee product that best suits your needs. After selecting your plan, you’ll be prompted to create an account. Follow the on-screen instructions to set up your McAfee account.
  • Download the McAfee installer. Once your account is set up, you’ll be redirected to a page featuring a “Download” button. Click on it to begin downloading the McAfee installer tailored for your operating system. After the download is finished, locate the installer on your device and open it. Simply follow the on-screen instructions to install the software.
  • Activate and set up McAfee. After installation, open the McAfee software. You’ll be prompted to log into your account. Once logged in, take a few moments to customize your security settings and you’re good to go!

McAfee’s download and installation only took a few minutes. Immediately after installation, McAfee offered to run an antivirus scan, which took about an hour on my PC.

McAfee’s dashboard seems simple enough, but it’s more confusing than it needs to be. There are 6 main features on the home screen:

  • Antivirus.
  • Tracker remover.
  • Check your protection score.
  • Secure VPN.
  • ID protection.
  • Protect more devices.

Some of these buttons are useful — for example, the Antivirus button pulls up a window where you can easily schedule a scan, select from different scan types, or run a quick scan on your system.

McAfee Ease of Use & Setup

However, I don’t think the protection score McAfee gives you is that important — you can raise it by installing McAfee’s web protection tools and by resolving data breaches, but that’s all it really covers. Also, I found it kind of annoying that other McAfee features could only be accessed from the My Protection sidebar, which displays features like real-time scanning, the file shredder, and the quarantined file list. Clicking on some of these features simply takes you to McAfee’s Protection Center website.

McAfee Ease of Use & Setup

Accessing the parental controls and identity theft protections is also a hassle — they’re only accessible through McAfee’s online dashboard, which means you have 3 different menus to navigate to get to these features. And that’s not even mentioning the password manager and identity protection, which are both siloed into separate apps! Ideally, I’d like to see McAfee integrate all of its features into a single intuitive interface, like TotalAV and Bitdefender do.

For the most part, though, all of McAfee’s features are easy to use. I had some frustration finding the system tune-up features, and I wish that the Identity Monitoring and Safe Family apps were included in the McAfee dashboard, but considering how many features it has, McAfee makes its internet security tools pretty simple to find and utilize.

McAfee Mobile App

McAfee Mobile App

McAfee’s mobile app, Mobile Security, is available for both iOS and Android. You can activate your mobile subscription by emailing or texting yourself a link from McAfee’s online dashboard, or you can just download the app from your device’s app store and enter your login information.

The mobile app’s interface is uncluttered and easy to navigate. You can activate some tools using the buttons on the screen, and the rest can be accessed from the menu at the top right corner.

McAfee detected all of the Android-specific malware on my device after a 10-minute scan. I was pretty impressed with the speed and accuracy of this scan — many competitors fail to catch files like rootkits, adware, and data-gathering spyware apps.

The real-time Scam Protection is another handy feature given the rise of scam text messages. McAfee Scam Protection quickly identifies and alerts you to malicious links in your texts using Artificial Intelligence (AI). Once it’s set up, it automatically scans all your messages for risky links and blocks them, providing a good level of protection without any ongoing effort on your part.

McAfee doesn’t offer an antivirus scanning feature for iOS, because iOS apps can’t be infected with traditional malware files, but it does offer excellent anti-phishing protections, which can detect malicious websites.

Unfortunately, McAfee lacks basic anti-theft features. However, there are still some other useful features of McAfee’s mobile app, including:

  • Wi-Fi network scanner. Scans every Wi-Fi network for security issues.
  • Secure VPN. Encrypts your browsing traffic and protects your true IP address (but it’s not as good as standalone VPNs like ExpressVPN).
  • ID theft protection. Alerts you if your email address is found in any data breaches.

McAfee’s mobile app isn’t the most feature-rich option (I much prefer Norton’s mobile app) but it’s an affordable choice for both iOS and Android — especially if you get it with McAfee’s Premium plan.

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McAfee Customer Support

McAfee’s customer support options include:

  • 24/7 live chat support.
  • 24/7 phone support.
  • Support forum.
  • Online knowledge base.

Being able to contact McAfee’s support team by phone is extremely handy, particularly when you have a pressing query. When I encountered a problem with my plan, the phone support team efficiently upgraded my plan, handled my refund, and even provided a discount within just a few minutes.

I also had a good experience with McAfee’s live chat support team. Before I could access the chat, I had to fill in a form with my details and submit my question in writing. Then I had to wait for an available support person. I contacted McAfee’s live chat a few times, and on all occasions, I only had to wait a few seconds for someone to become available — which is really good, especially compared to slower competitors like Norton! Every McAfee support person I chatted with was knowledgeable, polite, and to the point.

McAfee Customer Support

McAfee’s chat agents always offered to take control of my PC through a downloadable applet and fix the issue for me while I watch them do it. Beginner users might find this option appealing, but I prefer to just ask for instructions and do everything myself — and McAfee’s support staff were fine with that, too. My questions were always answered in detail, and I was given a case number for every inquiry in case I needed to follow up on it.

McAfee’s support forum is highly active and swiftly responds to queries. Your questions can be addressed by both the McAfee support team as well as the user community. I managed to get an answer to my query in less than 5 hours, which is impressively fast!

I found the online knowledge base somewhat frustrating. Many of the FAQ responses only relate to older versions of the software, making it nearly impossible to get the answers you need without interacting with a live support representative. However, given McAfee’s responsive live chat and phone support teams, this shouldn’t be an issue for most users.

Overall, I found McAfee’s support excellent — easily one of the best out of all antivirus brands that I have tested. And I was very impressed that its 24/7 live chat support is available for all users, so you can access it even if you just have a free trial.

What McAfee Can Do Better

McAfee is a great antivirus, but with some changes, it could be even better. To start, I’m a little disappointed with the firewall. Most top antiviruses come with their own secure firewalls, but McAfee opts to fortify your built-in firewall. There aren’t many customization options and I had trouble just starting it on my Mac. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot better than the default firewall that comes with Windows, but I’d prefer to see something like Norton’s customizable smart firewall.

The Safe Family feature could use a bit of work to be on par with top competitors like Qustodio, too. It has good web and app blocking capabilities, but it lacks YouTube monitoring, text and phone monitoring, and emergency contact features. Plus, the iOS version is pretty light on features.

This one’s a bit of a minor nitpick, but I wish some of McAfee’s features were a little easier to find. Not that any of the apps were hard to use, but because features were split between the app, the web portal, and the browser extension, it sometimes took me awhile to find the tool I was looking for.

Overall though, McAfee provides a powerful security suite. The malware scanner is great and the product is packed with a wide range of features. While some features could use some improvement, it’s still better than a lot of antiviruses on the market.

Is McAfee the Best Antivirus in 2024?

McAfee’s Total Protection is a well-rounded security suite, and its antivirus scanner is one of the best I’ve ever tested — McAfee scored a 100% detection rating in my testing, successfully identifying and removing all types of malware. The only minor downside is that the full system scan may cause system slowdown, but this can be prevented by scheduling scans when you’re not using your computer.

I like McAfee’s firewall well enough. It’s an improvement over built-in firewalls from Windows and macOS, but it doesn’t measure up to what you get from other top antiviruses. McAfee’s web protections are exceptionally good, and its parental controls and mobile apps have excellent features inside intuitive interfaces across a variety of devices. I think McAfee’s VPN and password manager are decent, but they aren’t nearly as good as the top standalone VPNs and password managers.

Overall, McAfee is one of the best internet security suites on the market, with a huge number of useful features and super affordable plans for individuals and families. Whether you pick up the Plus plan for 5 devices or the Premium and Advanced plans for unlimited devices, you’re getting excellent malware protection for PCs, Macs, Androids, and iOS devices for a great price.

McAfee also offers excellent customer support, and it has a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

If there’s something we haven’t covered in our McAfee review that you’re curious about, send us a message — we’ll be happy to carry out extra tests and answer any questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is McAfee a good antivirus?

Yes. McAfee ranks among the top anti-malware scanners on the market, with a consistent 100% detection rating for a variety of malware, including trojans, rootkits, spyware, adware, and more.

In my tests, McAfee’s full system scan took about 1 hour to complete, which is comparable to top competitors like Bitdefender. McAfee allows you to conveniently schedule scans and there’s also an option to customize your scan (you can select specific files to scan).

McAfee offers affordable antivirus plans for individuals and families across a range of devices.

Will McAfee remove malware from my computer?

Yes. McAfee is a reliable antivirus that you can use to scan your PC for viruses and protect it in real time. It performed consistently well in my tests, detecting all kinds of malware, such as ransomware, spyware, cryptojackers, adware, etc.

Also, this antivirus is backed by the McAfee Virus Protection Pledge. This means that the company promises to give users their money back at any time during their subscription if McAfee is unable to remove malware from their devices (Norton has a similar deal with their products, as well).

Will McAfee detect spyware?

Yes. McAfee’s malware scanner is designed to detect and remove every type of known malware (including spyware and adware). It also includes a real-time protection engine in all of its plans, which can block malware files — like spyware — from being downloaded or opened on your device.

If you’re curious about the difference between standalone anti-spyware software and more comprehensive anti-malware programs, SafetyDetectives did a full breakdown on the best anti-spyware solutions in 2024.

Will McAfee slow down my computer?

Maybe. McAfee slowed down my PC during a full system scan, but users can also schedule scans during the night and avoid any slowdown whatsoever. When you’re not performing a scan, McAfee is unlikely to slow down your system. That said, if you’re looking for a very lightweight antivirus, take a look at Bitdefender, which is extremely easy on system resources.

Does McAfee have a free version?

McAfee doesn’t have a free version, but it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee with all of its plans (extended to 60 days for auto-renewal customers).

Is McAfee available for iOS and Android?

Yes. McAfee Mobile Security is available for both iOS and Android.

McAfee’s mobile app offers advanced anti-malware and anti-phishing protection, a Wi-Fi security check, and a VPN. It’s one the best mobile apps on the market today — and it’s extremely affordable when purchased as part of any Total Protection multi-device plan.

Which McAfee should I buy?

It depends on what you need! To cover 5 devices and benefit from McAfee’s excellent malware protection and most of its extra features, you can opt for the Total Protection Plus plan.

But if you have a larger household and would like unlimited device coverage, the Premium plan is a great option, and if you want comprehensive identity theft protection, you should check out the Advanced plan. Finally, if parental controls are important to you, take a look at the Premium and Advanced family plans.

Can McAfee be trusted?

Yes. McAfee is safe and secure software that you can install on your Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices. McAfee is a legitimate cybersecurity company and doesn’t engage in any shady endeavors, such as logging your data and selling it to third-party advertisers. It scans, detects, and removes malware from your devices and helps prevent real-time cyber threats like phishing attacks, ransomware, rootkits, and trojans. It also offers a lot of extra features, including a firewall and a VPN.

Is there a better antivirus than McAfee?

To be honest, my favorite antivirus is Norton, which offers the best protection on the market. Its scans take less time to complete, it has better parental controls and a better password manager, and it comes with other features that McAfee lacks, such as webcam protection and cloud backup. That being said, McAfee’s malware detection rate is just as good as Norton’s, it’s also feature-rich, it offers competitive pricing plans, and it’s an overall excellent value.

McAfee Products & Pricing

Plus
$39.99 / year
Free Trial
Premium
$49.99 / year
Free Trial
Advanced
$89.99 / year
Free Trial
Bottom Line

McAfee is one of the best antiviruses in 2024. Its powerful anti-malware scanner has perfect detection rates for all kinds of cyber threats, it includes excellent real-time web protections, and it comes with reliable extra features like a password manager, parental controls, identity theft protection, and much more. McAfee has easy-to-use apps with intuitive dashboards, and its customer support platforms are excellent. However, I’d like to see McAfee improve its VPN — it doesn’t work with all streaming sites and doesn’t offer extras like split-tunneling. That being said, McAfee is still a great value, offering budget-friendly payment plans for both individuals and families. All of McAfee’s plans are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

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About the Author
Eric Goldstein
Eric Goldstein
Chief Editor

About the Author

Eric Goldstein is Chief Editor at SafetyDetectives. As an internet security researcher and IT journalist, he has over 3 years of experience writing and editing articles and blog posts about VPNs, parental controls, and other cybsersecurity products and tools. In addition, Eric writes and edits news stories focused on cybersecurity issues for SafetyDetectives. He also spent 20+ years as a sportswriter for multiple media outlets and served in a communications role for a national corporation. When he's not working, he can be found spending time with his family, working out, and watching his favorite sports teams.

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McAfee User Reviews

*User reviews are not verified

114 161
Based on 275 reviews in 27 languages 6.6
Language
You can trust the Community! Companies can't ask us to delete or change user reviews.
Amelia Winslete
Amelia Winslete
India
8.0
McAfee Activation
Windows User
If you are one of those who are working on computers or other gadgets to handle office or some important work, you can choose this McAfee antivirus software to keep your system safe and secure.
Zanmeister
Zanmeister
United States
2.0
The inside scoop from a customer
Mac User
1) The 1st year is $39.99 but renewals are more like $115.60/year (with tax)
2) Yes, you can cancel at any time - BUT – if you pay for the entire year, you will probably wait until the subscription will renew. HOWEVER, if remove AUTO RENEW MCAFEE will not stand behind virus protection (NO 100% guarantee on virus protection if you remove auto renew).
3) OFFSHORE customer support; Let’s hope you do not ever need to speak with customer support. I had numerous issues with them.
a) Scheduled calls which they set the day/time for but then they would never call during those times.
b) They would always call me very late at night (India Hours); or late SUNDAY night (8pm)
c) They left voice messages, but their English was so bad I could not unde...Show More
JOANNE GILLET
JOANNE GILLET
United States
2.0
TIME CONSUMING
Mac User
I HAVE USED MCAFEE FOR A FEW YEARS OR MORE AT LEAST. I CHANGED OVER FROM NORTON A WHILE BACK. BUT I CANNOT REACH SUPPORT AND ALWAYS GET A CHAT PERSON AND AFTER AN HOURS TIME THEY STILL CANNOT HELP. THIS HAPPENED LAST YEAR. TILL A SUPERVISOR CALLED ME AND FIXED IT.
I THINK THEY ARE NOT TRAINED AND READ FROM A MANUAL AND WHEN THERE IS SOMETHING THAT IS NOT WORKING THEY CANNOT HELP SO THYE JUST WASTE MY TIME!!
I HAVE PC'S AT THE OFFICE THAT ARE COVERED. TO RENEW IT SAID $99. THEN I GOT SOMETHING AFTER I RENEWED ON MY MACBOOK THAT SAID $59. AND I HAD ALREADY PAID TH E$99.
I CANNOT LOAD THE PROGRAM AND HAVE FOLLOWED GUIDELINES TO THE T. IWAS ON CHAT FOR ALMOST AN HOUR AND ENDED UP IN SAME PLACE AND HE TOLD ME TO RESTART COMPUTER AND I LOST CH...Show More
user avatar
Bubba Jones JOANNE GILLET
All cap typing is very poor forum etiquette, and highly frowned upon. Typing in all caps implies YELLING AND SCREAMING, certainly not your intent. Sentences and paragraphs in all cap words are more difficult reading than all lower...Show More
Victor
Victor
United States
1.0
Update Notices
Windows User
Every 4 hours, without fail, in the middle of whatever I'm doing, I get a pop-up that asks me to check if there is an update. There is never really an update, I can't turn the notification off, and I must stop and deal with it.

I do not recommend Macafuee to anybody who is annoyed by such nonsense, and will delete, expunge, shred and scourge the software off my computer as soon as I find a replacement.
neha sinha
neha sinha
India
1.0
Unauthorized access
Windows User
I have purchased antivirus last year , the renewal cost was more than the purchase cost and when I tried for refund , the refund was not initiated rather that guy tried making transaction from my account , I got the mail from my bank, and i have to block my card for that. I have paid 3000 for the renewal.

how can they try unauthorized access to bank account ???

Bank informed me for the same that somebody tried withdrawing amount , i got a mail also
JohnIL
JohnIL
United States
8.0
My review of 2020 LiveSafe McAfee
Windows User
I recently bought a Dell laptop and it came with a 12 month subscription of McAfee LiveSafe suite. The suite is OK in terms of basic protection, but it tries to constantly nag you about upgrades such a VPN, parental controls, password manager. It also tries to install a extension called WebAdvisor which used to be called SiteAdvisor. It tries to warn you of rogue and malicious web sites. Its OK, but it doesn't always catch every bad web site. Again it relies on a black list that requires updates. The nice thing about LiveSafe is that I can install it on 10 devices which is the most generous out of all the security suites I have seen. I'm gonna to use it for the year and then decide if its worth renewing.
user avatar
BEN MARTENS JohnIL
You don't need this "protection" and there are cheaper and better options for VPNs, etc. It's bundled with manufacturers like Dell because that's how they con people into subscriptions. It's essentially borderline legal malware/ad...Show More
Santoshkumar P
Santoshkumar P
India
2.0
Very Bad
Windows User
I have used this but its make my computer dam slow I have removed McAfee and installed other best antivirus... I did not like McAfee.. I have faced problem with this because had subscription. Finally decided I do not want this and removed.... I future I never use this and never suggest anybody...
user avatar
Jurabek Santoshkumar P
Dear Santosh,

Hi there read your comments regarding McAfee and I think the same also facing with slowness of my PC. Can you please advise which antivirus is best one for personal use, thank you.
Ben
Ben
Canada
2.0
Get ready to lose money
Android User
Bought McAfee kept hijacking my computer and switching my search engine. Also slowed down up loading. Called customer service to politely ask for a refund. The rep started arguing with me that it's impossible. Yet had the same computer for 10 years with no issues. In fact, since deleting the software I never had an issue. I told the rep to keep the money and hung up. The guy called back 3 times.

The rep said it's not possible that it was MacFee yet, as soon as I got rid of it, the issue resolved. Even if it's true what the rep said, then the system is still crap since it missed the virus malware that was causing the issue.

Not only is it a crap system in my opinion, they will no refund your money for a substandard software. My advise ...Show More
Deven
Deven
India
1.0
Total protection
Windows User
This is a rip off company. Even after paying for one year subscription, Their pop up windows shows asking for buying their product. It is very annoying. Besides they ask to remove antivirus for me, even when I have paid for a full year protection for my laptop. I hate them.
JP Gaunt
JP Gaunt
United Kingdom
1.0
Absolute garbage
Android User
downloaded onto my PC went to do a virus check 23 hours later it had only done 21% of the computer...Removed and binned !!!!!
user avatar
KT JP Gaunt
I had paid for a year. I kept getting alerts to say my subscription was finished. Very distracted I paid again unfortunately. The agent would not process a refund. I am supposed to be paid up until 2025 but I keep getting aler...Show More
user avatar
kevin JP Gaunt
It's absolute crap; and nothing and I mean nothing is worth putting up with 3,000 pop ups per second.
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