McAfee Antivirus Review

McAfee, LLC, is a security software company with a long and prosperous history. Based in Santa Clara, California, this team has been in the business for more than three decades now (since 1987). In 2011, Intel bought McAfee, and that allowed the developer to invest even more time and resources into the product. Today, it offers one of the most reliable and capable solutions on the market.

In third-party lab tests, McAfee always makes it into the top 10 and stands alongside the likes of AVG, Norton, Kaspersky, and Bitdefender. With excellent 24/7 support, a free trial, and support of all major platforms, this is one of the most attractive deals for users looking to get reliable protection. However, it’s not all perfect, and there are also some cons, including a somewhat high system impact and average real-time protection.

In this review, we’ll go over all the critical aspects of any antivirus, including reliability, pricing, ease of use, customer service, and more. You’ll find detailed lists of pros and cons and a verdict at the very bottom. Let us start with the table of features and go from there.

McAfee Antivirus Price & Plans

For desktop computers, there are only two packages available – Total Protection and Live Safe. Plus, there are also free apps both for Android and iOS; the Android users can go with a paid plan as well. First, let’s take a look at the prices. Next, we’ll talk about all the features that come with each plan:

McAfee Total Protection:

  • 1-Device Plan – $35 (50% off for the first year; $70 for the renewal)
  • 5-Device Plan – $40 (55% off for the first year; $90 for the renewal)
  • 10-Device Plan – $45 (60% off for the first year; $110 for the renewal)

McAfee Live Safe:

  • Unlimited Plan – $105 (covers an unlimited number of devices)

Mobile Security for Android Standard:

  • 1-Month Plan – $3
  • 1-Year Plan – $25 (30% off)

McAfee Total Protection: It’s important to note that there are several differences between Total Protection 1-, 5-, and 10-Device. As for Live Safe, it is almost 100% identical to the 10-Device Total Protection plan. Here is a list of all the important features that TP comes packed with:

  • Antimalware And Anti-Spam Protection
  • Ransomware Protection
  • SES (Secure Encrypted Storage – offers 128-bit encryption for sensitive files on your PC)
  • Safe Web Browsing (warns the user of any potentially dangerous websites)
  • PC Optimization Tools (includes a File Shredder and a Quick Clean option)
  • Firewall, Network Monitoring
  • Password Manager (a multi-factor password managing program)

The following two features are only available with the 5- and 10-device packages:

  • ITF (Identity Theft Protection – 24/7 agents and Dark Web monitoring)
  • Parental Controls (self-explanatory: turn the Internet into a safe place for your children)

Mobile Security For Android: The aforementioned free edition is quite feature-packed. Still, if you want to get the most out of McAfee mobile, we recommend upgrading to the paid edition. Here is what free has to offer:

  • Antivirus Scan
  • Anti-theft & Device Locator (allows you to locate your lost device quickly)
  • Data Backup
  • Performance Optimization (boosts overall Android performance)
  • Wi-Fi Security Check
  • Privacy Check

And here are all the additional features that you’ll get with Mobile Security For Android Standard:

  • Safe Browsing
  • App Lock
  • Guest Mode
  • No Ads
  • Media Backup

It’s also important to mention that McAfee offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for all the paid plans and also a 30-day free trial. Make sure to take advantage of the trial before committing to any of the packages. The money-back guarantee, in turn, allows you to get a complete refund within those 30 days.

McAfee Pros


  • Easy-to-use, highly user-friendly
  • Industry-leading protection and virus detection rates
  • Detailed descriptions of every single detected threat
  • Decent customer Support (Via Email And Live Chat)
  • Fully compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android

Easy-to-use, highly user-friendly

If you’ve been looking for an antivirus with a friendly, easy-to-understand interface, you’re in luck, because McAfee is incredibly simple. All the essential info can be found on the main dashboard, and everything is self-explanatory. Navigation is fast; users can access every single tool/feature, including the firewall, parental controls, and scans with one single click.

The major options include Home, Security, Identity, Privacy, and Account. To some, the main menu might look a bit strange with those big buttons and “empty” windows, but it’s actually quite alright. As for the scanning options, you can choose between a quick and a full scan. Detection rates are above average, and the false positives rate is very low.

Industry-leading protection and virus detection rates

Offline scanning and real-time protection – those are the two main factors that should be tested in the first place. As always, we gathered the results of several independent lab testers and compared them to our tests to know precisely how McAfee performs against modern-day threats. In the traditional virus detection test ran by AV-Comparatives, this product earned the highest possible score.

However, in real-world scanning, it only achieved an above-average result and can’t compare with some of the leaders. That doesn’t mean that McAfee is a bad antivirus. On the contrary: the overall performance is impressive, and it has a detection rate of 99.6 percent, which is only 0.1% lower than Avira and Kasperksy.

AV-Test also checked McAfee and gave it the highest possible rating. As for the ransomware test, while this antivirus failed at recognizing the malicious test files that we deliberately planted, during an extensive real-world test, it performed flawlessly. In the anti-phishing test, McAfee and Kaspersky are the only two solutions with a 100% detection rate.

Detailed descriptions of every single detected threat

After each scan, be it the quick or the full one, McAfee will provide detailed information about every single threat it found. The same goes for online threats, the ones that it manages to block before they make it into your system. While most antivirus products have similar lists, they don’t quite compare. Even when you try to visit a potentially dangerous website, McAfee tells you what you’re dealing with (whether it’s adware, spyware, or a keylogger).

Decent customer Support (via email and live chat)

Customer service is one of the most critical factors of any antivirus, and most leading solutions offer proper support. McAfee isn’t an exception to this rule: with it; you’ll get to choose between email, phone, and Live Chat. Furthermore, on the official site, there’s an extensive knowledge base, along with a FAQ with all the most commonly asked questions. Some people prefer to solve everything on their own, and these two sections are for them.

We tested the Live Chat and were pleased by how fast and helpful the agents are. It is the quickest way to get help, and you can talk to support in real-time. Plus, you can always send an email if that seems like a better option for you. It won’t be as fast as the chat, but, as a general rule, emails go through a more skilled technical team.

So, if you’re not satisfied with the Live Chat, try sending an email. Finally, you can use a phone and talk to the McAfee support team. And if your OS is too slow and laggy, the PC Tune-Up service might be a good pick. The company’s experts will solve the problem by optimizing performance.

Fully compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android

While McAfee doesn’t support Linux, Chromebooks, or gaming consoles, it is fully compatible with the major platforms. The list includes Win, Mac, iOS, and Android. All four apps are flawless, and we never had any problems during our extensive testing. The mobile apps can be installed both on Smartphones and tablets, and with one of the multi-connection subscriptions, you’ll be able to install McAfee on any device you want.

We already talked about the friendly user interface. To learn more about the installation procedure, scroll further down the review. Finally, in the Cons section, we’ll talk about the system impact on the system.

McAfee Cons


  • System impact is a bit higher than the industry average
  • No Virtual Private Network

System impact is a bit higher than the industry average

Here are the official system requirements:

  • Win 7 SP1, 8, 8.1, 10 (both 32- and 64-bit)
  • Mac OS X 10.12 or later
  • 2GB RAM
  • 500MB free hard-drive space
  • 1GHz processor
  • Android 4.1 or higher
  • iOS 10 or higher

And here’s a list of the fully supported browsers:

  • Google Chrome
  • Firefox
  • Internet Explorer (10.0 or later)
  • Safari (only on Mac OS and iOS)

As you can see, the official requirements aren’t very high. However, McAfee gets quite demanding during a scan, especially a full one, and if you own an old device, it might prevent you from using it properly. At the same time, if your computer/mobile device is at least five years old, you won’t have any problems with it. Still, compared to some rivals, system impact is higher than average.

No Virtual Private Network

While Avast, Kaspersky, and other leading antivirus products offer a VPN as part of the paid packages, McAfee doesn’t come with one. Now, there are quite a few decent free Virtual Private Networks on the market, and you can always take advantage of the free trials and discounts of commercial services. It would’ve been nice to see a VPN included with McAfee, though.

How to Install

There’s nothing hard about the installation process: go to the official website and activate the license key that you previously bought. It’s important to note that if you leave the “Automatic Renewal” option checked, that will give you free access to VPP (Virus Protection Pledge). The standalone version costs 90 dollars and offers remote professional virus removal services. And if the team fails at removing the threats, you’ll get your money back.

Everything that comes next is easy: pick a pricing plan you like, hit the download button, and follow the installer’s instructions. Credit cards and PayPal are the only available payment methods. You’ll also have to choose the platform that you want to use McAfee on – Win, Mac, iOS, or Android. Once you’re happy with the pricing plan and the platform, download the installer.

The procedure is the same on all four platforms, and everything is fully automated. So, follow its instructions and wait until the installation is finished. Get ready for a long process: installation might take up to 20, 25 minutes, depending on how old your device is. Most likely, the antivirus will ask you to download all the latest updates after the first launch.

Then, it would be a good idea to run a full scan of the system to make sure that there are no hidden dangers “lurking in the shadows” on your device. The software doesn’t require you to restart the system once the scan is done, unlike most rivaling products.

Our Verdict

It is it for our McAfee review – we’re happy to say that it is, indeed, one of the most reliable solutions on the market. With a slightly above average system impact, but thorough scans and a decent set of additional features, it is a good pick for modern-day users. Customer support is fantastic, especially the speedy and helpful Live Chat. And while the price-tags might be a bit higher than the industry standard, they are still quite affordable.

Summing up, if you’re looking for a reliable antivirus with an impeccable reputation and constant updates, there’s no need to look elsewhere. At its core, this is a highly powerful program with excellent protection against spyware, adware, phishing, ransomware, and all the other types of online threats. It’s on a par with the likes of Kaspersky and Bitdefender and works flawlessly – you won’t have to “fine-tune” it for maximum efficiency.

Frequently asked question

In this section, we’ll quickly go over the most popular questions online about this antivirus product. To learn more about each topic, and to see our detailed analysis, read the Pros and Cons sections. Here, you’ll find general discussions that will help to create an approximate image of McAfee.

Is McAfee a Good Antivirus?

The short answer – yes, it is: McAfee is one of the most respected and capable antivirus solutions on the market. With it, you won’t have to worry about any online threats, including spyware, adware, phishing, ransomware, and more. As we stated in the Pros section, this product’s lab test results prove that it’s a reliable solution for a modern-day user.

Which McAfee should I buy?

The company is continuously updating the antivirus, introducing new modules, and perfecting the existing ones. McAfee is excellent at protecting against all the modern-day viruses, Trojans, and other types of malware. The algorithms might not be new, but, again, just like all the other leading antivirus programs, McAfee is introducing updates and upgrades regularly. This is one of the best solutions for [year], along with Kaspersky and Bitdefender.