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McAfee Antivirus Review — Is It Good Enough in 2023?

Updated on: September 18, 2023
Fact Checked by Katarina Glamoslija
Eric Goldstein
Eric Goldstein
Published on: September 18, 2023

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).
  • Performance optimization.
  • 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’s unable to access some popular streaming sites (it works with Netflix and Amazon Prime, but not with 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 — and all of this for a very low price.

McAfee offers 1-year subscriptions for all of its plans as well as a discounted 2-year subscription for its Plus plan, which includes coverage for up to 5 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
🔥 Firewall
(unlimited data)
🎁 Free Plan
💵 Pricing Starting at $39.99/year
💰 Money-Back Guarantee 30 days
💻 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 2023 — 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).

McAfee Premium - 63% off
Discount applied automatically at checkout.

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.

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McAfee Security Features

McAfee’s firewall is powerful, easy to use, and highly customizable — but if you’re not tech-savvy, it also runs perfectly well out of the box. In my testing, McAfee detected a variety of my test threats, including network intrusions, exploit attacks, and malware programs attempting to communicate with remote servers. McAfee’s firewall protection was as good as Norton’s Smart Firewall and substantially more accurate and effective than the built-in firewalls provided by both Windows and macOS.

McAfee’s firewall has a ton of security capabilities — for example, McAfee allows users to:

  • Decide which programs can access the web.
  • Open and close specific network ports.
  • Choose 4 different levels of intensity for network protection.
  • Adjust trust settings for saved networks.
  • Activate software intrusion detection.
  • Whitelist specific programs.

McAfee Security Features

I really like the variety of options that McAfee’s firewall provides — but less tech-savvy users can also simply set the firewall to automatically block suspicious activity with almost zero user input.

McAfee Security Features

McAfee’s firewall provides state-of-the-art protection for network users — I really like its program-blocking tool, network intrusion protection, and advanced settings for tech-savvy users. While I would like to see McAfee’s diagnostics offer a little more information on the threats it detects, it’s still one of the best firewalls I’ve used in 2023.

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VPN (Virtual Private Network)

McAfee Security Features

McAfee Safe Connect VPN is powered by top standalone VPN TunnelBear — 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, but unfortunately not 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 Safe Connect VPN’s network includes 1,900+ servers in 45+ countries — this is a pretty good server network, but it’s not as big as what standalone competitors like ExpressVPN offer (ExpressVPN has 3,000+ servers in 90+ 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.

McAfee’s Safe Connect VPN has adopted TunnelBear’s 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. Plus, TunnelBear’s no-logs policy is independently audited and confirmed every year.

In my tests, I could access Netflix and Amazon Prime, but not Disney+ or Hulu. I also watched TV shows and movies on lesser-known streaming services like Pluto TV, but I was blocked by others like Crunchyroll. If you’re looking for a VPN that consistently works with streaming services, I recommend ExpressVPN.

Another drawback is that McAfee’s 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 bypass firewalls in restrictive countries).

However, McAfee Safe Connect 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 for smooth browsing 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 Safe Connect 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 Mac, and it’s missing a lot of extra features that are normally included in many standalone VPN providers.

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WebAdvisor (Windows & Mac Only)

McAfee WebAdvisor blocks phishing sites, exploit attacks, and browser-based cryptojackers, and it also provides security ratings for some websites. It’s a free Windows-based tool that can be downloaded separately as an add-on to your browser, and it’s also offered as part of Total Protection. WebAdvisor is available for Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Explorer, and Safari 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.

WebAdvisor 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.

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Performance Optimization

Total Protection offers 2 decent performance optimization tools — Tracker Remover and Web Boost — 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.
  • Windows active history.
  • Recycle bin items.
  • Temporary files.

McAfee Security Features

Tracker Remover’s scan freed up nearly 300 MB of space on my computer, and it took less than 1 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.

Web Boost is a Chrome extension that stops videos from auto-playing — this can be useful for improving browser speeds, but I mostly found it annoying, as it prevented thumbnail previews on YouTube from loading.

Overall, McAfee’s performance optimization tools are pretty good — I found Tracker Remover easy to use and helpful, and I liked how detailed its scan results are. That said, I don’t think the Web Boost extension is very useful.

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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 2023.

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 secure 2FA option (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).

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.

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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 on our list 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.

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Identity Monitoring

McAfee Security FeaturesMcAfee’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.

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.

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Additional Features

McAfee Total Protection offers many more security tools, such as:

  • Home network analyzer. Alerts you if an untrusted device tries to connect to your network.
  • Vulnerability scanner. Ensures that all of your programs are up-to-date.
  • Secure file shredder. Writes over your sensitive deleted files so they cannot be restored.

I really like McAfee’s home network analyzer, which offers an easy-to-understand map of any network, allowing users to identify and troubleshoot the devices on their router.

The vulnerability scanner is another 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 2023).

I also like McAfee’s secure file shredder, which can completely remove files from your desktop in just a few seconds.

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

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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 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 $54.99 / year Starting at $79.99 / year $199.99 / year
Number of devices 5 Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Malware scanning and removal
Real-time protection
Web protection
Wi-Fi protection
Password manager
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

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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).

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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).

Total Protection Premium for individual users costs only $54.99 / 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.

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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 $79.99 / 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.

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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.

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McAfee Ease of Use & Setup

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 my protection score is that important, and I’d rather see other features listed here, like the firewall. 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, the quarantined file list, and the home network scanner.

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 VPN, 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 VPN 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.

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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.

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 has updated its app to remove the anti-theft features, which previously made it one of my favorite mobile security apps. 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.

It’s very convenient being able to reach out to McAfee’s support team via phone, especially when you have an urgent question. When I faced an issue with my plan, its phone support team was able to upgrade my plan, process my refund, and even offer a discount in a matter of 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.

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Is McAfee the Best Antivirus in 2023?

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 really like McAfee’s firewall (which is a major improvement over built-in firewalls from Windows and macOS), and its web protections are exceptionally good. McAfee’s parental controls and mobile apps also have excellent features and 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.

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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 2023.

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.

McAfee Total Protection also includes some decent system tune-up tools, which can help optimize your system startup, clean up junk files, and get a slow computer running faster.

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

McAfee Plus
$39.99 / year
Free Trial
McAfee Premium
$54.99 / year
Free Trial
McAfee Advanced
$79.99 / year
Free Trial
Bottom Line

McAfee is one of the best antiviruses in 2023. 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.

We rank vendors based on rigorous testing and research but also take into account your feedback and our commercial agreements with providers. This page contains affiliate links.
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 2 years of experience writing and editing articles and blog posts about VPNs, antiviruses, password managers, parental controls, and identity protection 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

113 161
Based on 274 reviews in 27 languages 6.6
You can trust the Community! Companies can't ask us to delete or change user reviews.
Quite frustrated with McAfee.
Windows User
I have a McAfee on my laptop. I have their 2-year-plan for 10- devices. My laptop is hacked recently. The hacker successfully penetrated McAfee's internet security. and disabled the real-time protection, antivirus, and VPN. The hacker is remotely controlling my laptop every time I connect to the internet. McAfee's security protection is not as good enough to stop sophisticated hackers as these. I have almost a year left, but I am stopping my subscription and will ask for a refund.
Pop-ups driving me mad
Windows User
Would not recommend. The ammount of scary pop ups will absolutely discourage you from using it. Just try to disable autorenew for even more scary experience.
The firewall will ask you from time to time for internet access for apps that already trusted??!! Why? Is it because something changed in the app? No one will know.
I should have listened to McAfee himself, uninstall it.
Stefanie Lange
Stefanie Lange
United States
Mac User
This company took $129.59 from my account without my authorization. I get nothing but the run around. I want my dam money back. Nothing but thieves
Taiwan, Province of China
Very Good
Windows User
I've used McAfee for 25yrs plus and I have had NO problems whatesoever. I use Total Protection for the family and I can honestly say it has gotton much better recently (no Intel). Small issue is it does try to switch search engines in Chrome...hijacking the browser is WAY too a strong a work for it cos every other search engine out there also tries to add itself. Just go into settings and reset it to Google...or whatever. No biggy. Recommended!
Eddie Crow Sr.
Eddie Crow Sr.
United States
Windows User
Be very very cautious of this company the security software is fairly food but the company practice's leave a lot to be desired. Mcafee uses the autopay option for you to get half of what you pay for and a month before your subscription runs out and before you can remove autopay they renew your subscription. BUYER BEWARE
user avatar
Bob Cunningham Eddie Crow Sr.
This is so true. McAfee is a corrupt company who charged my credit card $82.47 for renewal. I was unable to get this money back and cancelled my credit card and McAfee account. I will continue to monitor my credit cards to make...Show More
Steve Weiss
Steve Weiss
United States
Consistent Issues Running IOS
Mac User
I have many issues running McAfee on Apple IOS platform. It crashes, doesn't load on a machine restart and indicates that my subscription has expired when it hasn't. Spoke with customer many times and uninstalled / restated many time under their direction without any success. The method they use for installing the software is poor and resulted in my frustration.
Maria Davis
Maria Davis
It's good product for protection
Windows User
I have purchased McAfee antivirus now, try to download and install then I trouble a bit but do it successfully. I am very happy about this product, it is the best protection for laptops, mobile and other. I am satisfied with this product.
United States
Pretty good
Windows User
I'm still trying to figure out how to use this software, but it has served me well. It's worth the money by a longshot and I'm really happy with my purchase. I have had no troubles or viruses yet. I hope this helps!
not bad
Windows User
I don't know what other people are using but I use McAfee total protection and had no problem with it. I have no pop-ups, my laptop is not slowed and it can catch viruses. just have a complaint about its VPN which asks for my credit card details for using it. I don't give my card details and not using their VPN.
Peter Stokes
Peter Stokes
United Kingdom
Don't bother
Windows User
You might as well buy

Does what any other anti-virus protection, including free/in-built ones do. Nothing more (except the price). But what they do offer in excess of this, is that if you do not renew your subscription (for example because you are broke, don't have your own home at the moment and are trying to regroup, is a load of horrible, passive-aggressive pop-ups about 'risk' and all the threats to your computer. They also virtually cripple your system. Like the modern version of the protection racket.
user avatar
Andrew Waller Peter Stokes
They also make it exceedingly difficult to uninstall their program. Cannot get rid of them!
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