McAfee Antivirus review: Is it worth the hype?

In this McAfee Antivirus review, we delve into its features, performance, and value to help you decide if it lives up to its reputation.

May 30, 2024 - 12:22
May 30, 2024 - 12:32
McAfee Antivirus review: Is it worth the hype?
McAfee Antivirus

Our Verdict

Our Verdict

McAfee+ offers robust malware protection and a wide range of identity theft safeguards. While it performs well on mobile devices, it may encounter performance and usability challenges on desktops.

like Pros

  • Guarantee of virus protection
  • Flawless scores in laboratory tests
  • Outstanding results in our practical tests

dislike Cons

  • Failed to detect one customized ransomware sample
  • Several previously included features are now missing
  • Protection limited to Windows with no bulk pricing available
star star star star star
Our ratings take into account a product's cost, features, ease of use, customer service and other category-specific attributes. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.

Starting price

From $39.99/year

Identity monitoring


Parental controls

Yes (but limited to Family plans)

What is McAfee Antivirus?

McAfee Antivirus, created by the cybersecurity company McAfee, is software designed to safeguard computers and devices from online threats like malware, viruses, and spyware. It provides a variety of features including identity monitoring, password management, and firewall protection. McAfee offers both individual and family plans.

How McAfee Antivirus works?

McAfee Antivirus is user-friendly, with a simple installation process. Download the McAfee Software Install Helper tool, sign in to your account, and follow the prompts to install the software. Here's how to install McAfee Antivirus in three easy steps:

  • Step 1: Download and run the McAfee Software Install Helper tool.
  • Step 2: Log in to your McAfee account, where you can oversee your subscriptions, auto-renewal settings, downloads, and connected devices from the central dashboard.
  • Step 3: Initiate the download and installation procedure from this point. Ensure to agree to the license terms and adhere to the instructions provided. Depending on your device and internet speed, the installation process could take 15 minutes or longer.

Does McAfee Antivirus suit my needs?

McAfee Antivirus is ideal for individuals and families seeking to safeguard their devices and data from online threats. It offers user-friendly solutions with plans tailored for individual consumers and families. While the basic plan covers only one device, premium options provide coverage for unlimited devices.

For businesses, McAfee Antivirus offers enterprise-level security solutions to protect multiple network devices. Its comprehensive security features, including data encryption, web filtering, and advanced threat detection, make it a strong choice for organizations needing to protect sensitive data and networks from cyber threats.

However, McAfee Antivirus may not be the best choice for Mac and iOS users, as its features on these platforms are limited compared to its comprehensive features on Windows. For example, features like App Lock, Guest Mode, and Track Data Usage are available only for Android apps and not for iOS.

Additionally, McAfee Antivirus may not be suitable for professionals seeking email security, as it lacks certain features for protecting emails from spam or viruses.

What makes McAfee Antivirus stand out?

More than 30 years since its first product launch, McAfee now offers a diverse range of products to meet various needs and budgets.

McAfee provides the following products:

  • McAfee+ Advanced: This product includes protection and privacy features such as transaction monitoring, credit monitoring, and identity monitoring, starting at $89.99 for the first year. It also offers personal data cleanup to prevent the sale of personal information online.
  • McAfee+ Premium: Positioned as McAfee's midrange offering, McAfee+ Premium provides core features like antivirus protection for unlimited devices, secure VPN, full ID theft protection, and identity monitoring. Pricing starts at $49.99 for the first year.
  • McAfee Antivirus Essential: For basic protection against ransomware, online viruses, and malware for up to five devices, consider McAfee Antivirus Essential, priced at $39.99 for the first year.
  • McAfee Safe Connect: This package includes McAfee Secure VPN, which features bank-grade encryption, automatic protection, and anonymous browsing. Pricing starts at $39.99 per year for the first year.
  • McAfee Mobile: McAfee Mobile Security offers protection for Android and iOS devices, with separate features designed for Apple and Android devices.
  • McAfee PC Optimizer: McAfee PC Optimizer helps declutter your PC and eliminate unnecessary background programs to improve speed. The cost to speed up your PC for the first year is $34.99.
  • McAfee TechMaster Concierge: This service provides concierge-level assistance for all your tech needs, including computer scanning, protection, app installation and configuration, and setup and protection of connected IoT devices. Prices start at $69.95 for a single device.

McAfee Antivirus features

Here are the key features offered by McAfee:

  • Antivirus scanner: McAfee's Antivirus Scanner includes Real-Time Scanning, which detects and blocks threats as they happen, and On-Demand Scanning, which allows you to scan specific files, folders, or software for potential threats.
  • Firewalls: McAfee's firewalls add an extra layer of security by controlling incoming and outgoing network traffic, protecting your home network from unauthorized access and malware.
  • VPN: McAfee Safe Connect VPN provides encryption for up to five devices, enhancing your privacy and offering access to 50 server locations worldwide for faster internet speeds.
  • Password Manager: McAfee's Password Manager securely stores and manages your passwords and credit card information, generating complex, unique passwords for each account and auto-filling credentials for easy login.
  • Parental controls: With McAfee's family plan, you can monitor and protect your children with parental controls, including viewing their device activity, tracking their location, and setting age-appropriate rules and time limits.
  • Security: McAfee offers various security features, such as a file shredder for deleting sensitive files, an Individual Protection Score for assessing your online safety, and antivirus, web protection, firewall, and expert online support.
  • Browser extensions: McAfee WebAdvisor is a free Windows-only product that provides anti-phishing and anti-exploit capabilities, identifies safe links with a color-coded system, and scans downloads for potential risks.
  • Identity theft protection: McAfee offers identity theft protection features, including credit report monitoring, alerts for suspicious activity, assistance with canceling and replacing lost credit cards and identification, and access to licensed experts for identity and credit restoration in case of theft.

McAfee Antivirus pricing and plans

Essential Premium Advanced
Pricing The cost for the initial year is $39.99, with an annual renewal rate of $119.99. The cost for the initial year is $49.99, with an annual renewal rate of $149.99. The cost for the initial year is $89.99, with an annual renewal rate of $199.99.
Number of devices 5 Unlimited Unlimited
Identity monitoring Yes Yes Yes
Password Manager Yes Yes Yes
Identity theft coverage No No Yes
Credit monitoring No No One bureau
Security freeze No No No
Parental controls No Yes, but it is restricted to the Family Plan exclusively. Yes, but it is restricted to the Family Plan exclusively.
Customer support Yes Yes Yes


McAfee's Essential Plan is its basic antivirus software package, starting at $39.99 for the first year. It includes a password manager, VPN, and identity monitoring for up to five devices. Key security features consist of a file shredder, web protection, firewall, and antivirus.


The Premium plan includes everything in the Essential plan but covers unlimited devices. It also offers personal data cleanup to prevent the sale of your online identity.


The Advanced plan builds on the Premium plan by adding identity theft coverage, credit monitoring, lost wallet protection, and access to identity restoration experts. This plan is ideal for individuals seeking comprehensive protection in case their financial accounts are compromised.


McAfee offers various pricing options, including individual and family plans. There are no monthly options; all plans require a minimum one-year commitment. However, with a 30-day money-back guarantee, you can try out different plans to find the best fit for your needs.

McAfee's plans cater to one, five, 10, or unlimited devices. It's important to assess your needs before subscribing. The single-device plans offer most security features, so opting for a higher-tier plan is primarily for covering multiple devices.

Customer service and support

McAfee provides round-the-clock live chat support for addressing customer queries. Additionally, it offers a customer service portal featuring instructional videos, detailed articles, and the option to contact support.

Other notable McAfee features

McAfee offers various plans tailored to different requirements. However, McAfee Security Scan Plus, a free product, scans your PC for potential vulnerabilities and recommends the antivirus, firewall, or online protection you may need. This tool allows you to evaluate your system's security requirements before making a purchase.

Fine print

McAfee software functions effectively on Windows and Android platforms, but its iOS and Mac editions offer fewer features. For example, features such as App Lock, Guest Mode, and Track Data Usage are exclusive to Android apps and are not available on iOS.

The McAfee Scanner might cause system slowdowns, particularly for apps that require more space. To mitigate this issue, you can schedule scans for times outside of your typical working hours.

Like Avira and Avast, McAfee offers core antivirus features such as a VPN, parental controls, identity monitoring, and identity theft coverage. In terms of pricing, McAfee falls within the same price range as Avira. Norton, on the other hand, is priced considerably lower than both McAfee and Avira, but many essential features are restricted to its higher-tier plans.

Comparing McAfee Antivirus to Norton, McAfee is generally more expensive but provides more value for money with features like a VPN and identity monitoring available in its basic plans. Norton, on the other hand, is more affordable but offers fewer features in its lower-priced plans. For a detailed comparison, you can read our Norton review.

When comparing McAfee Antivirus to Avira, both offer a range of features including firewall protection and a file shredder. Avira focuses more on antivirus protection and includes a VPN as an additional feature. However, McAfee offers a family plan with features tailored for parental control. While Avira's premium plans can support up to 25 devices, McAfee's higher-tier plans can cover unlimited devices.

In comparison to Avast, both McAfee and Avast are effective antivirus programs, but the best choice depends on individual needs and preferences. Avast offers a free plan that can block viruses, ransomware, malware, and spam messages, albeit with limited features. McAfee, while lacking a free plan, includes a password manager, web protection, and multi-platform compatibility in its primary offering. For more details, you can refer to our Avast review.

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