McAfee LiveSafe 2020 Test & Review

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McAfee LiveSafe is an excellent choice for Windows and Android devices: Great protection and an excellent password manager.

Refund Policy: 30 days
Customer Support: 24/7 Free
Protected Devices: 1 – Unlimited
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS 

The Good

  • Excellent protection for Windows and Android: McAfee scores top marks in the tests, proving it will keep you safe from malware.
  • Your devices will remain as fast as ever: McAfee scores almost perfect results in the performance tests.
  • Great user reviews: McAfee scores an 8.8 out of 600.000 user reviews in the Google Play Store and on TrustPilot.
  • Most advanced password manager: McAfee’s True Key password manager can use facial recognition as a login.

The Bad

  • Limited protection for iOS: Only anti-theft.
  • Parental control not as good as the competition.


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McAfee LiveSafe 2020: Full Review

Below you can find the full review, test methods, and data sources

How We Test

Protecting your devices with the right antivirus software is crucial. 

To help you decide whether McAfee LiveSafe is right for you, we have analyzed it according to 6 categories. All of them are important, but not equal. 

In the graph below you can see all 6, and the impact they have on the final score. If you are unfamiliar with the terms, don’t worry. A bit further down the page, we explain each category in detail and tell you how McAfee performed. 

Finally, at the bottom of the page, you can find a detailed explanation of the sources used in this analysis and links to each of them.

  • Protection from Malware 50% 50%
  • Impact on Performance 15% 15%
  • Devices and Features 10% 10%
  • User Reviews 10% 10%
  • Value for Money 10% 10%
  • False Positives 5% 5%

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Tibor Moes

Tibor Moes

Technology analyst

Tech enthusiast and founder of SoftwareLab. He has degrees in Engineering and Business, and has been active in the analysis of software, electronics and digital services since 2013.

McAfee 2020: Protection from malware

The Good: McAfee has excellent protection scores for Windows 10 and Android. Meaning it will keep you safe from all malware and online threats.

The Bad: It was not tested for Mac by the independent labs.

What is a protection test?

The world’s leading antivirus test organizations, AV-Test and AV-Comparatives, run several protection tests per year.

During these tests, they analyze the top antivirus software on their ability to protect you from malware. Generally speaking, the antivirus software have three methods they apply to keep you safe. The test labs measure their performance in each of them.

1. Protection from known malware

Known malware is the easiest to discover.

You can imagine it as a criminal that has been arrested before, and whose fingerprints have been taken. In the future, if his fingerprints appear on a crime scene again, it will be very easy to recognize him.

Detection known malware works in a similar way. When a malware threat has been detected once, its digital signature (like a fingerprint) gets uploaded to a very large database. If the malware ever resurfaces in the future, the antivirus software will be able to recognize it easily.

This method of detection is called signature-based detection, and is often referred to as virus scanning.

2. Protection from unknown malware

Unknown malware are much more difficult to detect.

As they have never been countered before, the antivirus have no digital signatures to recognize the malware with. They must, therefore, use a different strategy. This strategy is called heuristic-file scanning or behavioral scanning.

In this method, the antivirus searches for suspicious behavior. A great example is a file trying to replicate itself rapidly across a range of devices and networks.

When the antivirus spots a file acting this way, it will flag the file as potential malware and investigate it further.

3. Protection from user-focused threats

Finally, there are threats that target users directly. These are tough, too.

A common example is a phishing email. Here, you might get an email that pretends to come from PayPal, and asks you to verify your login details. In reality, though, this email doesn’t come from PayPal at all, but from a criminal, who is trying to get your login information.

To protect you from phishing and similar scams, antivirus have developed a range of user-focused protection features. These include anti-phishing, web and wifi advisors, hardened browsers, and password managers.


McAfee has only been tested on its antivirus protection for Windows 10 and Android. Neither AV-Test nor AV-Comparatives, have included McAfee in their antivirus tests for Mac. So we have no data there.

McAfee 2020: Windows 10 protection score

McAfee scores excellently in the Windows 10 tests. Especially in the most recent tests, McAfee’s results keep on improving. Great.

McAfee 2020: Android protection score

For Android, McAfee has close to perfect scores in the tests from both test organizations.

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McAfee 2020: Performance Impact

The Good: McAfee has excellent scores in the performance tests. Meaning your PC will stay as fast and smooth as ever when using McAfee.

The Bad: Nothing.

What is a performance test?

Every antivirus software requires some resources to protect you. After all, while you surf the web or watch Netflix, it is working the background to keep you safe.

However, some antivirus require much more resources than others. And this can slow your device down. In the performance test, the independent labs analyze just how big the speed impact is of each antivirus program.


McAfee was only tested for Windows, not for Mac. And for Android, there are no performance tests.

McAfee 2020: Windows 10 performance score

McAfee scores excellently. Although it doesn’t reach the top marks, like BitDefender, it is more than fast enough. You’ll hardly notice it’s there.

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McAfee 2020: Devices and Features

The Good: McAfee offers a complete security solution on Windows, Mac, and Android. It also has the most advanced password manager.

The Bad: Protection for iOS is limited to anti-theft.

What is a devices and features test?

Not all antivirus support each operating software. Some, such as BullGuard and Panda, don’t have protection for iOS. This is a shame.

Although it’s true that iOS is safer than Android, its users still use unsafe wifi networks and have their iPhones stolen. Therefore, even a basic iOS solution, like that of BitDefender which offers a VPN and anti-theft tools, is better than none.

So in this test, we analyze which operating software the antivirus supports and which features they offer on each.

McAfee 2020: Supported devices score

As with all antivirus software, McAfee’s core focus is Windows. Their advanced features, such a the True Key password manager, the file encryption or the cloud back-up, are all limited to Windows.

On Mac, only a few features are available. Here you’ll get the basics, such as anti-malware, a firewall, a network manager and a web advisor. Although less than what you would get from BitDefender, it is still a fairly complete solution, and definitely more than you would get from Panda.

For Android, McAfee offers a really good security suite. It provides a few optimization tools to speed up your device, anti-phishing protection, file encryption, real antivirus scanning (not just app scanning like BitDefender and Norton), and a few powerful anti-theft tools.

For iOS, there is only an anti-theft option, allowing you to locate your phone, wipe your data and activate an alarm. Don’t let this put you off though, that is standard practice on iOS. Only BitDefender goes one step beyond on iOS, by including a free VPN and parental controls.

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McAfee 2020: User Reviews

The Good: McAfee scores an average of 8.8 out of almost 600.000 user reviews in Google Play. That is an incredible amount of user confidence.

The Bad: Nothing.

What is a user review test?

User reviews form an important part of a purchase decision. In order to base our score on the largest and most credible data, we have analyzed the user reviews from TrustPilot and the Google Play Store.

McAfee 2020: User review score

Overall, McAfee does very well. Especially in Google Play, where it scores an 8.8 out of almost 600.000 user reviews.

However, on TrustPilot, 183 user reviews gave the product a score of 2.4. A stark contrast to the 8.8 score in the Google Play Store.

Of course, when you take an average of 580.000 and 183 user reviews, the latter completely disappears. And probably for good reason, achieving 580.000 – mostly positive – reviews in an incredible achievement.

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McAfee 2020: Value for Money

The Good: If you opt for McAfee’s premium LiveSafe with unlimited installs, the value for money is among the absolute best in the industry.

The Bad: Among the more basic packages, antivirus and internet security, McAfee is not the cheapest.

What is a value for money test?

To calculate this score, we compare the protection and features offered, with the price of the product. We then compare this to the other antivirus software, to find out which offers the most value for money.

McAfee 2020: Value for money score

McAfee antivirus is a great product. It has solid protection scores in all tests and doesn’t have a significant performance impact. And although it isn’t the cheapest, it comes at an acceptable price.

Especially when you opt for McAfee LiveSafe, its premium product which you can install on an unlimited amount of devices, the value for money is as good as it can get. After all, if you install it on 20 devices, the price per install goes down significantly.

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McAfee 2020: False Positives

The Good: McAfee mistakes almost no clean files for malware, giving it a very good score in the false positives test.

The Bad: Nothing.

What is a false positive test?

When an antivirus tool mistakes a legitimate program for malware, it is called a false positive. The test labs have dedicated tests to measure how many false positives each antivirus detects on Windows, Mac, and Android.

False positives shouldn’t keep you up at night. All antivirus software have them, only some more than others. This is not a security threat, but it can be annoying when an antivirus blocks a program you want to use.

McAfee 2020: Windows 10 false positives score

McAfee scored very well. A bit behind BitDefender, but well ahead of the industry average, including Norton and Panda.

McAfee 2020: Mac false positives score

McAfee, like every other antivirus for Mac that was tested, had a perfect score in this test.

McAfee 2020: Android false positives score

As on Mac, a perfect score for McAfee.

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Data Sources

Below you can find all the sources we have used in our analysis

Data sources we use

Protection, performance, and false positives data:

This is the core of the analysis. Together these 3 factors make up 70% of the final grade. We get this data from AV-Test and AV-Comparatives, two IT security test institutes that are globally recognized for thorough and objective analysis.

They perform several tests per year, and we have analyzed all tests since January 2017. This timeframe includes more than 30 tests, spanning over 20 antivirus software. We have found BitDefenderNortonPandaBullGuard, McAfee, and Avast, to be the best performers. See our comparison of the best antivirus to find out which of these is the best one.

Rather than grading the antivirus with the latest test scores, we take their average of all tests scores since January 2017. This allows you to get a better picture of their overall performance, and what you can expect from them in the future. The same goes for the industry average scores, which is the average since January 2017 of all tested antivirus. 

User review data:

We have analyzed the data by Trustpilot and the Google Play Store.

TrustPilot is the international leader in the collection of user reviews from consumers. These have analyzed over 200.000 business with 45 million reviews on its platform.

Google Play Store is the app store for Android apps and has one of the largest data sets in the world when it comes to user reviews.

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