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McAfee Antivirus LiveSafe Review (2024): The Pros & Cons

By Tibor Moes / Updated: November 2023 / Rating: 5 of 5

McAfee Antivirus LiveSafe Review 2024

McAfee Antivirus LiveSafe 2024: Review Summary

McAfee is ranked #5 of 28 antivirus brands.

McAfee Antivirus LiveSafe is one of the best antivirus software. It has perfect anti-malware protection, no impact on the speed of your PC, an intuitive design, and all the security features you need.

Buy it if you want complete protection. You will get anti-malware, anti-phishing, a firewall, a password manager, and a VPN.

Alternatively, you could consider Norton 360 Deluxe. It offers the same excellent protection and security features, but costs less.

  • Malware protection: 100%. Mcafee detected and removed each of the 1,200 malware samples in our test.
  • Speed impact: 100%. McAfee’s anti-malware engine is lightweight and did not slow down our test PC.
  • Features: 100%. McAfee LiveSafe includes anti-malware, anti-phishing, firewall, VPN, password manager, and more.
  • Price: 90%. McAfee LiveSafe is more expensive than similar products at Norton.

Thanks to the 60-day return policy, you can try it risk-free.

Ranking  #5 of 28
Password Manager
Unlimited VPN
Operating systems Windows, macOS, iOS, Android
🔥 Discount Save 60% on McAfee 🔥
McAfee Antivirus - Dashboard

McAfee Antivirus LiveSafe 2024: Full Review

McAfee is ranked #5 of the 28 best antivirus of 2024.

After weeks of in-depth testing on various devices, we found McAfee to be a top-tier antivirus program in 2024. It’s both easy to use and highly reliable.

McAfee Antivirus - Anti-Malware


In our tests, McAfee stood out for its effective malware detection. It combines traditional methods with behavioral analysis. We put it through the wringer, downloading an extensive mix of malware types—viruses, trojans, ransomware, and more. After running a full system scan, McAfee caught 100% of the threats. This performance matches top competitors like Norton and Bitdefender.

The full scan took about an hour, similar to Bitdefender but slower than Norton and Avira. If you’re in a hurry, McAfee’s quick scan is done in less than 2 minutes. Custom scans vary in time, based on what you choose to scan.

However, there’s a downside. We noticed system lag during the scan, particularly when attempting to watch videos or play games. On the bright side, McAfee allows scan scheduling, so you can run full scans when you’re not actively using your device. Some competitors like TotalAV don’t have this slowdown issue, though.


McAfee excels in detecting a wide range of malware and offers versatile scanning options. The only hiccup is the system slowdown during scans, but that can be sidestepped by scheduling scans. If you’re after robust, multi-device protection, McAfee is a solid choice.

McAfee Antivirus - Anti-Phishing


McAfee’s WebAdvisor is a standout feature for online safety. Compatible with multiple browsers, this tool actively blocks phishing sites and other online threats. In our testing, it caught every single phishing attempt, outdoing the native protections in Chrome and Firefox. It’s on par with Norton and Bitdefender in this area.

WebAdvisor also comes with a Secure Search mode, which color-codes the safety level of websites in your search results. We found it particularly useful for flagging unsafe sites while not giving false alarms for safe ones. Additionally, it rates social media links with impressive accuracy. For instance, it correctly identified phishing links on a compromised Instagram account.

However, we found a small hiccup. Downloading WebAdvisor for Firefox and Edge wasn’t straightforward. Instead of linking to it through the app, we had to go to McAfee’s website to install it. But this is a minor drawback.


WebAdvisor excels in online safety, offering superior protection against phishing and other threats compared to built-in browser features. It even helps identify risky sites in search results and social media. The installation could be a bit more user-friendly, but overall, it’s one of the best tools for web security.

McAfee Antivirus - Firewall


McAfee’s firewall is robust and user-friendly, offering tailored security that’s also plug-and-play for the less tech-savvy. In our evaluation, it flagged network intrusions, exploit attacks, and suspicious program behavior effectively. Its capabilities match up well against Norton’s Smart Firewall and easily outperform the native firewalls in Windows and macOS.

You can get as granular as you like with settings. It lets you control program web access, manage network ports, adjust network trust settings, and even whitelist specific apps. For those who prefer a hands-off approach, the firewall can also auto-block suspicious activities with minimal user input.


McAfee’s firewall offers top-notch network security with the flexibility to cater to both tech enthusiasts and average users. It’s highly effective, but we wish the threat diagnostics were a bit more informative. All in all, if you’re seeking powerful network protection, McAfee is one of the best options available in 2024.

McAfee Antivirus - Password Manager

Password manager

McAfee’s True Key offers a straightforward approach to password management. During our tests, it performed well in safely storing and syncing passwords across different platforms. It uses strong 256-bit AES encryption and zero-knowledge architecture, ensuring your data remains private.

True Key provides basic features like unlimited password storage, secure notes, and a password generator. Its auto-fill feature is pretty convenient, filling in your details with a single click or even automatically when you land on a saved site. But there are limitations. It lacks advanced 2FA options, secure password sharing, and breach monitoring, features commonly found in standalone password managers like 1Password and Dashlane.

One thing to note: True Key offers an easy master password recovery via email. While convenient, it’s not as secure as the recovery methods used by top-tier password managers.


True Key is a functional, user-friendly option that gets the basic job done with advanced encryption. However, it falls short in advanced features compared to specialized password managers. If you’re looking for a basic, easy-to-use password manager that integrates well with broader security features, True Key is a good addition to McAfee’s LiveSafe suite.

McAfee Antivirus - VPN


McAfee’s Safe Connect VPN, powered by TunnelBear, offers a straightforward, user-friendly experience with solid speeds. Available as part of McAfee’s LiveSafe package—though not for macOS—it employs strong 256-bit AES encryption and features a kill switch for added security.

The VPN has a network of 1,900+ servers in over 45 countries. While extensive, it’s not as vast as competitors like ExpressVPN. A key highlight is its strict no-logs policy, which undergoes independent annual audits.

Performance and Limitations

During our tests, we had multiple occasions where the VPN did not connect.

When it did connect, the VPN excelled in speed, especially on local servers. Long-distance connections in Europe and South America also maintained decent speeds for seamless browsing, though Australian servers were slower. It worked with Netflix and Amazon Prime, but couldn’t bypass Disney+ or Hulu.

McAfee’s VPN lacks advanced features like split-tunneling and obfuscated servers. These missing extras could be critical for users looking to bypass stringent firewalls or for those wanting to manage local and VPN traffic separately.


McAfee Safe Connect VPN is a fast option for basic online activities. However, it doesn’t offer the advanced features or extensive server network found in specialized VPN services. On top of that, on multiple occasions, we had trouble connecting the VPN server.

If you’re after a basic VPN for general browsing and streaming, this is a decent addition to McAfee’s LiveSafe suite.

Other security features

Performance optimization

McAfee’s LiveSafe includes two performance tools for Windows and Chrome: Tracker Remover and Web Boost. In our tests, Tracker Remover quickly cleared about 300 MB of clutter like cookies, history, and temporary files. It categorizes files for removal, allowing advanced users to make informed choices. Web Boost prevents videos from auto-playing, supposedly speeding up browsing. We found this feature more annoying than helpful, as it interfered with YouTube previews.

Parental controls

McAfee’s Safe Family offers decent parental control features but requires a separate purchase or a premium family plan. Available for Windows, Android, and iOS (but not Macs), it allows you to filter content, limit screen time, and even locate your child’s device within 10 meters. In our testing, Safe Family blocked inappropriate content and apps effectively and provided an intuitive interface.

However, Safe Family lacks some features available in other parental control software, such as YouTube monitoring and text message tracking. Also, some features don’t work on iOS devices, which makes it less versatile for Apple users.

Identity monitoring

McAfee’s Identity Monitoring scans for a wide range of personal information, from social security numbers to bank accounts, using dark web and credit network monitoring. We found it particularly useful in alerting us to potential identity theft risks. For example, we were notified of our email appearing in nine data breaches and could swiftly change passwords using McAfee’s True Key manager.

If you go for McAfee Advanced, you’ll also get up to $1 million in identity theft coverage, Lost Wallet Protection, and a Security Freeze feature to halt unauthorized account openings. We also liked the Personal Data Cleanup tool, which scans data brokers for your information and assists in removing it, ensuring your privacy.

Additional features

Other tools include a vulnerability scanner that notifies you of outdated apps—a must-have with increasing cyber threats in 2024. Real-time Scam Protection uses AI to identify malicious links in text messages and blocks them. The Secure File Shredder deletes files permanently, making recovery impossible.

Mobile app

McAfee’s mobile app is simple and user-friendly, available for both iOS and Android. We tested it on Android and found that it caught all the malware on our device in just 10 minutes, which is commendably fast and accurate. Though iOS doesn’t support antivirus scanning, McAfee’s app offers solid anti-phishing protection. Key features include a Wi-Fi scanner, Secure VPN, and ID theft alerts. Compared to Norton, it’s less feature-rich but still a good, affordable option, especially when bundled with McAfee’s Premium plan.

Customer support

Customer support is one area where McAfee truly excels. We had a smooth experience with both their 24/7 phone and live chat support. Calls were quickly answered and issues resolved efficiently. The live chat was equally impressive, connecting us to knowledgeable agents within seconds. Although the support forum is active, the online knowledge base could use an update. However, given the quality of live support, this isn’t a major drawback.

Plans and pricing

In the table below are the core products with their features and prices.

The prices shown are from the USA. However, most brands have different prices (and currencies) in other regions. So visit the brand’s website to see the price in our country.

McAfee LiveSafe comes pre-installed on many laptops. Feature-wise, it includes the same as McAfee Premium.

Starting price
Operating software
VPN datalimit
File shredder
Password manager
Identity monitoring
Parental controls
Identity theft protection
Max identity theft protection
McAfee Basic
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
McAfee Essential
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
McAfee Premium / LiveSafe
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
McAfee Advanced
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
McAfee Ultimate
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS

Plan description

McAfee LiveSafe comes pre-installed on many laptops. Feature-wise, it includes roughly the same as McAfee Total Protection Premium.

McAfee Total protection offers five different pricing tiers, with added benefits if you opt for auto-renewal like VPN and ID theft protection.

Here’s a quick rundown:

Total Protection Basic – Best Budget Option

Priced at $29.99/year, this plan offers comprehensive protection for 1 device. It includes key features like antivirus scanning, firewall, and identity monitoring. It’s a good deal, especially if you compare it to Norton’s similar plan, but it lacks parental controls.

Total Protection Essential – Best Budget Option

Priced at $39.99/year, this plan offers comprehensive protection for up to 5 devices, including the same features as Total Protection Basic.

Total Protection Premium – Best Value

At $49.99/year, the Premium plan offers unlimited device coverage and adds Personal Data Cleanup tools. It’s a great deal if you want to protect multiple devices and it even includes parental controls for families.

Total Protection Advanced – For Identity Safety

Starting at $89.99/year, this plan has all the features of the previous plans plus robust identity protection tools, including $1 million in identity theft coverage. While it’s pricier, it’s a good pick for those focused on identity safety.

Total Protection Ultimate – Most Comprehensive

Costing $199.99/year, the Ultimate plan offers all-inclusive identity and credit monitoring along with ransomware protection. It’s expensive, but provides the most comprehensive set of features.

Refund Policy

You can request a refund within 30 days of purchase, within 60 days of automatic renewal, or anytime if McAfee fails to remove malware, which offers peace of mind.

In summary, McAfee provides a range of plans to suit different needs and budgets, from basic protection to all-out identity and financial safety. We recommend Total Protection Premium for most users due to its value and comprehensive feature set.

Test score comparison

Next to our own anti-malware tests, we analyze those by AV-Test. We’ve compared the results of the 10 most recent tests for Windows 10. The tests were performed by AV-Test, the German anti-malware test lab. They use three factors:

  • Protection (1-6): Antivirus protection against malware attacks.
  • Performance (1-6): System slowdown caused by the antivirus.
  • Usability (1-6): Frequency of false alarms and disruptions.

We used their results, and this formula, to calculate the final score:

Final Score = 60% Protection + 20% Performance + 20% Usability.

Brands not listed in the table haven’t participated in the analysis by AV-Test. This is usually not a good sign. Because most reputable brands, except Panda, ESET, and Sophos, partake in the test.

Source: AV-Test.

Final Score

Price comparison

We’ve compared the prices of the top antivirus products for Windows. To make it a fair comparison, we looked at what it would cost us, to protect a  single Windows PC with the most essential features:

  • Anti-malware
  • Anti-phishing (web protection)
  • Firewall
  • Password manager
  • Unlimited VPN (no data limit)

A few notes:

  • Some brands are missing features, lowering their value for money.
  • Prices are second-year prices in the USA, without first-year discounts.
  • Prices are rounded up for readability (e.g., $99.99 becomes $100).

Brands have different prices outside the USA. See those on their website.

Total price
Missing features
$ 50
No firewall, password manager, and VPN
$ 80
No firewall and password manager
$ 90
No firewall
$ 130
No password manager
$ 180
No firewall

User reviews

We’ve compared the user reviews of all antivirus brands. We’ve used the scores and review count of TrustPilot, a leading user review platform. However, take these results with a grain of salt, as some brands actively attempt to increase their ratings.

Personally, we are wary of exceptionally high scores. Especially those by brands such as TotalAV, known for aggressive marketing and sales tactics.

We consider scores between 4.0 and 4.5 good and realistic. Higher scores are dubious, and lower scores indicate that the brand might have a poor product or customer service. McAfee’s scores, for instance, are worrying.

Source: TrustPilot.

Review score
Review count

Company Profile

McAfee is a prominent player in the online security industry, dedicated to making the internet a safer place for all. With a history spanning over 35 years, the company employs more than 1,800 people and serves a broad customer base of 108 million across 182 countries. They protect over 600 million devices, ranging from personal computers to mobile gadgets.

McAfee’s core strength lies in its comprehensive approach to digital safety. Besides its award-winning antivirus software, the company offers robust privacy and identity protection solutions. These services empower users to explore the digital world confidently, irrespective of their location or device.

When it comes to threat protection, McAfee’s capabilities are backed by a team of over 200 threat researchers and a network of 100 million global threat sensors. The company holds an impressive 1,900 security patents and is constantly on the lookout for new threats—discovering 620 of them per minute and blocking 13,669 threats every single minute.

In terms of market recognition, McAfee has been decorated with numerous awards and certifications. These accolades include 33 PC Mag Editors’ Choice wins and top-tier ratings from independent labs like AV-TEST, AV-Comparatives, and SE Labs.

Originally founded by the controversial John McAfee in 1987, the company underwent several ownership changes and even a name change to Intel Security in 2014. However, it reverted back to McAfee in 2016. After briefly becoming a publicly-traded company in 2020, McAfee transitioned back to private ownership in 2021 following a $14 billion buy-out. The company has since focused exclusively on consumer security, having sold off its enterprise division in July 2021.

Customers can purchase McAfee’s solutions through a variety of channels, including online stores, retail outlets, and partnerships with ISPs and device manufacturers. The company remains committed to evolving its offerings to combat emerging online threats, thus ensuring continued customer safety and peace of mind.

How we test antivirus software

Below we describe how we run our tests. For even more details, visit our blog posts on how we test antivirus software.

Anti-malware protection test

We analyze antivirus software’s capability to detect and eliminate known and unknown malware, using heuristic analysis for behavior monitoring.

We conduct in-house tests and analyze those from labs like AV-Test, SE Labs, and AV-Comparatives to determine the best malware protection.

Malware includes adware, keyloggers, ransomware, rootkits, spyware, trojans, viruses, worms, and more. Other cyber threats, usually not classified as malware, are (zero-day) exploits, hacks, identity theft, phishing attacks, scams, and social engineering.

False positives test

False positives occur when antivirus software misidentifies legitimate software, files, or websites as malicious. We rely on AV-Test’s large-scale analysis of false positives in its usability test to guide our evaluations.

System performance test

We measure the CPU load during antivirus software system scans and consider AV-Test’s performance results on the slowdown caused by antivirus software when opening websites and handling software.

Firewall test

We evaluate two-way firewalls that filter incoming and outgoing data and allow users to set rules to regulate data streams. We use the ShieldsUP! test to determine if the antivirus software blocks all ports.

Password manager test

We assess password managers’ ability to create, store, and autofill secure passwords, as well as additional features like two-factor authentication and biometric login.

Virtual Private Network (VPN) test

We evaluate built-in VPNs on their security, privacy, speed, compatibility with streaming services, unlimited data access, and support for peer-to-peer networks and torrent clients.

Parental control test

We examine parental control features, such as screen time rules, website/app blocking, and real-world location tracking. We test these features on a device and attempt to circumvent them, checking if the activity is accurately reported in the parental control admin.

Anti-phishing protection test

We evaluate antivirus browser extensions that block phishing sites by installing them and attempting to visit dangerous URLs.

Ransomware protection test

We assess security suites’ ability to prevent data encryption through exploit prevention and behavioral detection during ransomware attacks.

Bonus features test

We test any additional cybersecurity tools such as:

  • Ad Blocker
  • Anti-theft
  • Dark web monitoring (identity protection)
  • Email protection
  • File encryption
  • File shredder
  • Gaming mode
  • Microphone protection
  • PC maintenance features
  • Secure browser (hardened browser to protect your online banking)
  • Secure cloud storage (cloud backup)
  • Spam filter
  • Startup optimizer
  • Tune up tools
  • Virtual keyboard
  • Webcam protection

Ownership and reputation test

We analyze the trustworthiness of antivirus companies, especially concerning customer data. We read press releases, news articles, and privacy policies to determine their reputation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the most frequently asked questions.

Is McAfee a good antivirus program?

McAfee is ranked #5 of 28 antivirus programs. The ranking is based on its protection, performance, price, and features. Find the best protection in our comparison of the best antivirus of 2024.

How do we test antivirus software?

We analyze the protection from malware, the performance impact on a PC, and the number of false positives. On top of that, we test various security features such as the firewall, password manager, VPN, and more.

Author: Tibor Moes

Author: Tibor Moes

Founder & Chief Editor at SoftwareLab

Tibor has tested 39 antivirus programs and 30 VPN services, and holds a Cybersecurity Graduate Certificate from Stanford University.

He uses Norton to protect his devices, CyberGhost for his privacy, and Dashlane for his passwords.

You can find him on LinkedIn or contact him here.