McAfee Total Protection 2024: Review Summary
McAfee is ranked #4 of 28 antivirus brands.
McAfee Total Protection 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, a VPN, and, depending on where you live, identity theft protection.
Alternatively, you could consider Norton 360 Deluxe. It offers the same excellent protection and security features McAfee Total Protection Premium, 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 Total Protection includes anti-malware, anti-phishing, firewall, VPN, password manager, and more.
- Price: 90%. McAfee is slightly more expensive than Norton. But, in some countries, you can protect an unlimited number of devices.
Thanks to the 60-day return policy, you can try it risk-free.
|Ranking||#4 of 28|
|Operating systems||Windows, macOS, iOS, Android|
|🔥 Discount||Save 60% on McAfee 🔥|
McAfee Total Protection 2024: Full Review
McAfee is ranked #4 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, covering anywhere from 5 to unlimited devices—a rare offer in the market.
We put McAfee’s antivirus scanner to the test, loading our computer with all kinds of nasty malware like trojans, rootkits, and ransomware. The scan aced it, detecting every single threat. Only Norton and Bitdefender have shown similar prowess in our tests.
McAfee’s full scan took about an hour, similar to Bitdefender. Norton and Avira were quicker, wrapping up in just 40 minutes. McAfee’s quick scan was a breeze, finishing in less than 3 minutes. You can also customize scans to fit your needs.
The downside? Some system lag. While scanning, we noticed our PC slowed down. Web browsing was fine, but forget about gaming or watching videos. The good news is you can schedule scans for times you’re not using your computer. Some rivals like TotalAV don’t affect performance during scans, though.
In summary, McAfee offers top-notch protection with great flexibility in scan options. The only hiccup is the system slowdown during scans, but that’s easy to work around. If you need solid, reliable protection, McAfee is a strong choice.
We tested McAfee’s WebAdvisor and found it to be a robust tool for online safety. It successfully blocked every phishing site and exploit attack, outperforming even Chrome and Firefox’s built-in security. In terms of web protection, it’s on par with top performers like Norton and Bitdefender.
WebAdvisor isn’t just limited to browser safety; it also offers an optional Secure Search mode. During our tests, it flagged risky sites accurately without mislabeling safe ones. Additionally, it rated links on social platforms like Facebook and Instagram, catching phishing links effectively.
The only hiccup we experienced was finding the WebAdvisor installation page for Firefox and Edge; you have to download it directly from McAfee’s website instead of through the app. But that’s a minor inconvenience.
To sum it up, WebAdvisor is a powerful tool for staying safe online, outclassing even built-in browser protections. Its search engine ratings and social media link ratings make it user-friendly and particularly useful for those who might struggle to identify unsafe sites.
We gave McAfee’s firewall a rigorous workout and came away impressed. It detected network intrusions, exploit attacks, and malware activities, performing on the same level as Norton’s Smart Firewall. It also outshone the default firewalls on both Windows and macOS.
What we loved about McAfee’s firewall was its versatility. Advanced users can dig into settings like choosing which programs can access the web, adjusting network trust levels, and whitelisting programs. But if you’re not into the technical stuff, McAfee can handle things automatically, blocking suspicious activity with minimal user input.
If we had to nitpick, we’d say that the firewall could offer a bit more info on detected threats in its diagnostics. But that’s a minor issue.
To wrap up, McAfee’s firewall delivers top-notch network protection with options for both advanced users and those who prefer a hands-off approach. It’s one of the best we’ve tried this year.
We tried out McAfee’s True Key password manager and found it to be a solid, basic option. It uses robust 256-bit AES encryption and zero-knowledge architecture, ensuring only you can access your stored data. Compatible with multiple platforms and browsers, True Key offers unlimited password storage, secure notes, and a password generator.
However, we noticed some gaps. Unlike top competitors like 1Password and Dashlane, True Key lacks secure 2FA options and features like password vault auditing or breach monitoring. Also, while it supports auto-filling passwords, it doesn’t offer secure password sharing.
Another point to consider is account recovery. If you forget your master password, McAfee will email you a reset link. Convenient, yes, but not the most secure approach.
To sum up, True Key is user-friendly and offers good basic features. But if you’re after more advanced functionalities, you might find it a bit limited compared to standalone password managers. It’s a handy addition to Total Protection, but not a complete solution in itself.
During our tests, we had multiple occasions where McAfee’s Safe Connect VPN did not connect. When it did connect, we found it to be a user-friendly and speedy option, thanks to its partnership with TunnelBear. The VPN covers the basics well, encrypting data with 256-bit AES encryption and offering a kill switch for extra safety.
Safe Connect has a good range of servers across 45+ countries, although it doesn’t match standalone giants like ExpressVPN in terms of network size. On the privacy front, we appreciated its strict no-logs policy, which is independently audited.
However, the VPN has limitations. It allowed us to stream Netflix and Amazon Prime but faltered with Disney+ and Hulu. If streaming is your primary reason for a VPN, you might want to look elsewhere. We also noted the absence of advanced features like split-tunneling and obfuscated servers.
Speed-wise, Safe Connect impressed us with fast local connections and decent overseas speeds, though it slowed down noticeably when connecting to Australia.
In summary, McAfee’s Safe Connect is a good, basic VPN option for general browsing and basic streaming, but it lacks the extra features and wider server selection offered by standalone VPN services. On top of that, it didn’t always connect during our testing, making it somewhat unreliable.
Other security features
We took a deep dive into McAfee’s additional features. Here’s what we found:
Total Protection has two key tools: Tracker Remover and Web Boost. Tracker Remover cleaned nearly 300 MB of space in under a minute in our tests. It sorts files into categories, making it simple for both tech-savvy and novice users. Web Boost, a Chrome extension, blocks auto-playing videos. While this could speed up browsing, we found it more annoying than helpful, as it stopped YouTube previews.
McAfee’s Safe Family app is sold separately or bundled in family plans. It’s feature-rich but not the market leader. You can filter web content, set screen time limits, block specific apps, and even track your child’s location. In our tests, Safe Family was intuitive and effective at blocking undesirable content and apps. The location tracking feature was impressively accurate, better than Apple or Google’s options.
However, Safe Family lacks in some areas. For instance, it doesn’t offer YouTube monitoring or call and text tracking. Additionally, some features don’t work on iOS devices.
McAfee excels at identity theft protection. Available in 30+ countries, it goes beyond competitors like TotalAV that cater only to U.S. users. The service scans a wide range of personal info, such as Social Security Numbers, email addresses, and even bank accounts. When we found our email in 9 data breaches, McAfee guided us to change our password swiftly via its True Key password manager.
Different plans offer different levels of protection, from basic dark web monitoring to advanced features like $1 million in Identity Recovery Insurance and Lost Wallet Protection. A standout feature is the Personal Data Cleanup tool that prevents data brokers from selling your personal information.
Total Protection also includes a vulnerability scanner, real-time scam protection, and a secure file shredder. The vulnerability scanner notified us about apps needing updates, important for protecting against new cyber threats. Real-time Scam Protection automatically flagged malicious links in text messages, while the secure file shredder effectively deleted sensitive files.
McAfee’s Mobile Security app is available on both Android and iOS. We found the app easy to use, with a clutter-free interface. On Android, it detected all malware types within 10 minutes, an impressive feat. While iOS doesn’t allow for traditional virus scanning, the app offers strong anti-phishing features. It lacks anti-theft options but provides Wi-Fi scanning, a basic VPN, and ID theft alerts. Although not as feature-rich as Norton’s mobile app, it’s a solid choice for both Android and iOS, especially if you opt for McAfee’s Premium plan.
McAfee offers round-the-clock support through live chat, phone, and a support forum. When we encountered an issue, phone support resolved it swiftly, even throwing in a discount. Live chat was equally effective; we waited just a few seconds to connect with a knowledgeable agent. The support forum is active and quick to respond, though the online knowledge base felt dated.
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 offers five pricing plans, and each caters to different needs.
Total Protection Basic
At $29.99/year, this plan covers 1 device and offers a well-rounded set of features like antivirus, firewall, identity monitoring, and 24/7 support. The plan also includes a VPN if you opt for auto-renewal. We think it’s a good deal, especially compared to Norton 360 Standard, although it lacks parental controls.
Total Protection Essential
At $39.99/year, this plan covers up to 5 devices and offers the same features as Total Protection Basic.
Total Protection Premium
Priced at $49.99/year, this plan covers unlimited devices and includes all Plus features. It also offers manual Personal Data Cleanup. A family option adds parental controls. We found this to be the best value, offering a wide range of features at a competitive price.
Total Protection Advanced
For those prioritizing identity protection, this $89.99/year plan covers unlimited devices and adds $1 million in identity theft coverage, Lost Wallet Protection, and Security Freeze. It’s a pricier option but valuable if identity protection is a key concern.
Total Protection Ultimate
At $199.99/year, this is McAfee’s most comprehensive plan. It offers all the above features plus $25,000 in ransomware protection and extensive transaction monitoring for various accounts. It’s pricey, but for those needing ultimate protection, it could be worth it.
Refunds are available within 30 days of purchase, 60 days of renewal, or anytime if malware isn’t removed. Auto-renewal subscribers also get additional perks like VPN and ID theft protection. Overall, McAfee offers a range of plans suitable for various needs and budgets.
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.
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-phishing (web protection)
- 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.
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.
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.
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
- 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?
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
Founder & Chief Editor at SoftwareLab