Updated May 16, 2024

McAfee Total Protection Review

Ranked #5 out of 19 Antivirus

User Rating
4.2/5
Expert Rating
8.4/10
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Table of contents

McAfee Total Protection Review 2024 — Is It Truly Reliable

McAfee Total Protection is a comprehensive cybersecurity suite designed to protect devices against a wide range of digital threats. It’s marketed as a tool for complete privacy, identity, and device protection. But can it really give you optimal protection online? 

To satisfy my curiosity, I tested all of McAfee Total Protection features to see how it stacks up against the competition. I tested it’s Antivirus, VPN, Identity Theft Protection, and more. Here is a detailed review based on the results of my tests. 

🐞 Malware detection rate99%
⚔️ Advanced threat protectionYes
🔥 FirewallYes
🌐 VPNYes(Available in premium plans)
💵 PricingStarts at $29.99 per year
💻 Operating SystemsWindows, Mac, Android, iOS

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Robust features and add-ons. Has top-tier security features, including a VPN and tracker remover. Jump here to see all it has to offer. 
  • Blocked all viruses, malware, and other threats. I was impressed by its performance during my tests. See how well it performed here. 
  • Supports most popular operating systems. You can use it to protect most of your devices from online threats. See all the devices it supports here.
  • Easy to install and use. It’s easy to set up and use even without any technical knowledge. Find out how to protect your devices here.
  • 30-day trial period. Enough time to test out the service for yourself without risk. See more about its pricing and plans here. 
  • Excellent customer support. Very keen and knowledgeable support staff. Check out how to contact support here. 

Cons

  • McAfee collects a lot of personal data. You might need to provide your phone number, too. See what data I had to give here. 
  • There is no free package. McAfee doesn’t offer a free plan. Jump here to see how you can test it out without risking your money. 
  • Pricier than some budget antivirus options. Some competitors offer cheaper plans. See how much each package costs here. 

What Is McAfee Total Protection?

The origins of McAfee trace back to 1987 when John McAfee founded the company to create antivirus software. Over the years, McAfee has evolved from focusing solely on antivirus protection to offering a broad range of security services, including identity theft protection and internet security.

A screenshot of McAfee homepage showing all the services offered

McAfee Total Protection is its most recent packaged product, offering comprehensive protection against viruses, malware, and online threats. It includes features like antivirus protection, a firewall, web and email protection, and a file shredder for securely deleting sensitive data. It also has a Password Manager for secure password storage and management. 

What does McAfee Total Protection protect against?

McAfee Total Protection is designed to protect you against:

  • Viruses
  • Malware, including ransomware and spyware
  • Phishing attacks
  • Identity theft
  • Unsafe websites
  • Email threats
  • Online data breaches

Key Features in Detail

McAfee is a feature-rich antivirus with many tools to keep you safe. 

A screenshot of McAfee Windows app dashboard showing some of its features

Antivirus

McAfee antivirus uses both traditional and heuristic scanning to identify threats. It does this by checking files against its extensive virus database and observing file behaviors for anything suspicious. 

I tested it by downloading a trojan onto my computer. After installing McAfee and running a full scan, it immediately caught and contained the malware. It worked so much faster than most of the other antiviruses that I have tested.

A snapshot of the Windows app dashboard showing threats fixed after a full scan

McAfee took about 55 minutes to complete a full scan of my device. This was quite impressive because it takes more than 1 hour when I use competitors like Norton and Bitdefender. 

However, I should also mention that the virus that I had downloaded on my computer would automatically block the internet when I tried running the scan. I was a little disappointed that McAfee couldn’t bypass this block and kept asking me to connect to the internet. 

A snapshot of a Windows app showing a notification that the device is offline

I also noticed that when the scan started, my connection slowed down slightly. I could still load my Roblox game, but my character would randomly freeze mid-session. However, I don’t think this is a big issue since McAfee lets you schedule scans, so you can let the scan run when you know you won’t be using your device. 

Overall, McAfee Antivirus is one of the most effective in the market today. It offers strong protection against both well-known and new threats thanks to its excellent malware detection and quick scans. 

Secure VPN

McAfee VPN keeps your online activities private and secure by encrypting your internet connection and hiding what you do online. It uses AES 256-bit encryption, which is extremely secure, and it doesn’t record your browsing history. This means you can browse the web without being tracked and stay completely anonymous.

I had an easy using the McAfee VPN feature. To connect, simply select your preferred server and then click the connect button.

 screenshot of a Windows app showing how to connect to a server

McAfee has servers in 45+ locations, so it’s easy to find a fast server that is not overcrowded. If you don’t have a preferred server, simply click the connect button, and you will be connected to the fastest available server. You can also select Fastest Location for similar results. 

A snapshot of the Windows app showing how to connect to a fast server

Speeds

When testing, I was impressed that my speed dropped by only about 13% from my base speed. This was impressive since even some of the best VPNs I have tested drop speeds by up to 25% on distances beyond 3,000 km. 

Screenshot of Ookla speed test results while connected to server in Germany and the US

Other servers also gave me pretty decent speed for lag-free browsing:

Server

Speeds
Australia 9.07
Canada 8.96
Italy 8.02
Japan 7.98
UK 8.76
Denmark 8.95
Finland 8.08

Considering that my base speeds are pretty low and I can still enjoy my online activities, you don’t have to worry about slowdowns with SecureVPN, especially if you have higher base speeds. 

Unblocking Capabilities 

I was very disappointed to find out that I couldn’t use Secure VPN to unblock some of my favorite streaming services, such as Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney +.  I tested it with Hulu and couldn’t even get past the login page. 

A snapshot of Hulu homepage showing Secure VPN blocked by the streaming service.

McAfee also couldn’t unblock any Netflix libraries that are unavailable in my region. I tried it with Netflix UK and US and couldn’t access any restricted titles. 

A snapshot of the Netflix homepage showing McAfee Secure VPN unable to unblock other libraries

I reached out to customer support to ask whether the VPN works with any streaming service, and the agent confirmed that it doesn’t. They said this is because unblocking streaming sites goes against the platform’s terms of service. 

A screenshot of a chat page showing a response from McAfee customer support

Therefore, you will need to find another top VPN, like Surfshark, if you want to access any streaming services. Although McAfee Secure VPN will keep you safe online, it won’t allow you to access content that is not available in your country. 

Gaming and Torrenting

Although I couldn’t use it for streaming, I was happy that I could use Secure VPN for secure gaming and torrenting. While connected to servers nearby, I tried it with Roblox and had no problems enjoying the game without lag. 

A screenshot of a Roblox game being played with McAfee’s Secure VPN Kenya servers

However, servers far away have much higher ping, so I struggled to stabilize my character, and it kept freezing randomly. For reference, you need a ping that’s below 80ms to get quick responses to your inputs while gaming. 

Similarly, I could download files without much delay with servers nearby, but servers far away always gave me long wait times. 

Identity Theft Protection

McAfee offers one of the best Identity Theft Protection features that I have ever tried. It lets you monitor your Social Security Number (SSN), phone numbers, and other personal details to ensure they don’t fall into the wrong hands. 

I was disappointed that this service is only available in about 30 countries — UK, the US, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Spain, and a few more. However, it does support a lot more countries compared to competitors like Total AV, which supports only the US.

McAfee also gives you tips for securing your personal information if it’s involved in a data breach. For instance, my friend in the UK tested this feature, and I found 9 breaches. McAfee directed them to the affected sites so they could change my passwords quickly. They told me that changing their passwords only took a few minutes​​ using McAfee True Key.

Tracker Remover

This tool is designed to clean up potentially unwanted cookies, cached files, and other items that could be lingering on your desktop or browser. When I tested it, I was able to free up more than 1.6 GB of data on my device.

A snapshot showing how much data McAfee cleaned on my Windows device

Tracker Remover also allows you to customize your scans — to delete temporary files, empty the recycle bin, remove cookies, trackers, and clear your browser history. It’s a useful tool for cleaning up unwanted files from your computer.

However, it’s important to note that while it removes these elements to enhance privacy and potentially speed up your device, it doesn’t prevent applications or web pages from actively tracking your online activities or address telemetry technologies built into Windows.

Advanced Firewall

McAfee has its own firewall that’s easier to use than the one Windows provides. It controls how applications access the internet, letting you decide which ones can connect freely and which ones need your permission first. 

A snapshot showing McAfee firewall on a Windows app

McAfee focuses on stopping dangerous outgoing connections, while the Windows firewall mainly blocks unsafe incoming ones. Together, they work to keep your computer safe from online threats. This feature plays a crucial role in preventing unauthorized access and monitoring network traffic for suspicious activity.

Real-Time Protection

McAfee Real-Time Protection uses AI to automatically stop new threats, keeping your personal data safe when you bank, shop, or surf online. It keeps your computer secure from cyber threats while you use the internet. I tested it by trying to download malware from the EICAR website, and McAfee blocked every attempt.

A screenshot of a Windows app showing how to turn on Real-Time Protection

I also liked that it allows you to skip certain files during its real-time scans. This feature is handy because sometimes, even safe files are mistakenly identified as dangerous by antivirus software. To use this feature, go to the real-time scanning settings and add the files you want to exclude. McAfee won’t scan those files anymore.

File Shredder

McAfee File Shredder is a tool designed to securely and permanently delete files from your computer, much like how a paper shredder destroys documents. When you delete files normally, they can often be recovered with special software. File Shredder ensures that deleted files cannot be recovered by overwriting them with random data.

A snapshot of Windows app showing the File Shredder feature

You can use File Shredder to delete various data types, such as temporary files, items in your recycle bin, cookies, trackers, and browser history. This tool is handy for removing sensitive or private information from your system. It ensures that once it’s gone, it’s truly gone and cannot be accessed by others.

Password Manager

McAfee Password Manager, also known as True Key by McAfee, is a tool designed to enhance your online security by managing your passwords efficiently. It works by generating strong and unique passwords for each of your online accounts and securely storing them.

A snapshot of Windows app showing the Password Manager feature

With this tool, you only need to remember one master password to access all your saved passwords. This master password is the key to unlocking your vault of stored passwords across different websites and applications.

The password manager also offers features like auto-filling your login information for faster access to your accounts and making your online experience more seamless across devices. Plus, it offers storage for passwords, addresses, cards, licenses, and other sensitive data.

Set Up and Ease of Use

Downloading and installing McAfee Total Protection was pretty straightforward for me. I also like that it’s compatible with various operating systems, including Windows (8.1 and above, both 32-bit and 64-bit), macOS (10.12 and above), iOS (14 and above), Android (8 and above), and iOS. This means you can easily protect all your devices without any issues.

Desktop Apps

It took me less than 3 minutes to download and start using the Windows app. 

A snapshot showing the Windows app's uncluttered dashboard

 

The Windows and macOS apps are pretty similar and feature user-friendly designs that are easy to navigate. They include a handy sidebar on the left, allowing you to quickly access all the app’s features with just a few clicks.

Mobile Apps

The Android and iOS apps are also pretty similar and have similar features. To start using your subscription on a mobile device, you can send yourself a link via email or text from the McAfee online dashboard or scan a QR code from the dashboard on your primary device. Alternatively, download the app from your device’s app store and log in with your information.

I found the Android app dashboard to be uncluttered and easy to navigate. When I tested it, it detected all the Android malware on my device in less than 10 minutes. I found the scan’s speed and precision impressive, especially since some competitors often miss rootkits, adware, and spyware apps designed to collect data.

A snapshot showing the Android app's uncluttered dashboard

The only difference between the Android and the iOS apps is that McAfee doesn’t have an antivirus scanning feature for iOS since iOS apps aren’t vulnerable to traditional malware. However, it provides strong anti-phishing protection to identify harmful websites.

Pricing Plans

McAfee Total Protection has 3 packages: Starter Plan, Single User, and Family Plan. 

A snapshot showing McAfee’s 3 pricing packages

Each package also has its own plans. For example, the starter package has basic, essential, and advanced plans (and two additional plans). Starter Basic is the most affordable, starting at $29.99. I suggest subscribing to McAfee $39.99/year Total Protection Plus plan for the best value. Please note that this is a discounted price, and you will be charged full price upon renewal. 

A snapshot showing McAfee’s Satrater basic 3 pricing packages

McAfee Total Protection has a 30-day free trial period, but you have to enter your payment details. All plans also come with a 30-day money-back guarantee when you buy a subscription and a 60-day guarantee after automatic renewal. 

McAfee offers family versions of its individual McAfee+ plans. While the individual plans already cover unlimited devices, the family plans to add credit monitoring and extra ID protection for several users. These family plans are worth considering if you’re concerned about protecting your family from ID theft.

McAfee only supports PayPal and credit/debit cards. I wish it could also support cryptocurrency for people who want to protect their identity. 

Customer Support

I was really impressed with McAfee efficient customer support. You can contact support through a variety of support channels, including 24/7 live chat, 24/7 phone support, and more. When you first access the 24/7 chat support, you will chat with a bot. But if you want to chat with a human agent, just tell the bot to connect you to an agent. 

I contacted support because I wanted help with resetting my Chrome browser, and was connected within a few seconds. The agent was quick to help me solve my issue. I should mention that I had to allow the agent to connect to my device remotely. If you’re uncomfortable with this, you can request the agent to give you step-by-step instructions so you can solve the issue yourself. 

A snapshot showing McAfee’s customer support response

I didn’t like that you had to enter your email address and actual phone number before you could connect. The agent told me they need this information so they can contact you if the chat is disconnected. However, this can be quite troublesome if you want to keep your identity private.

You can also get help through the McAfee community forums. Creating a forum thread is a smart move if you’re dealing with a unique or specific problem. Someone who has experienced similar issues may reply with a quick solution. With a little research, you can also find solutions from pother previously posted threads.

I also found McAfee knowledge base very informative, with lots of useful information.

McAfee Total Protection VPN FAQs

Is McAfee Total Protection free?

McAfee Total Protection is not free; it is a premium antivirus and security suite that offers various levels of protection through subscription plans. While a trial period might be available to new users for a limited time, continuous use requires a subscription.

Is McAfee Total Protection total protection good?

Yes, McAfee Total Protection is considered a strong antivirus solution. It’s highly effective against viruses, malware, and online threats. It has features like web protection, a secure VPN, and a password manager, which protect your online privacy and identity. Independent tests show it performs well against various security threats, making it a reliable choice for overall digital safety.

Is McAfee Total Protection total protection worth it?

Yes, McAfee Total Protection is worth it if you’re looking for a comprehensive security solution that covers a wide range of threats. It provides antivirus protection, web and Wi-Fi security, a password manager, identity theft protection, and more. With options to cover multiple devices under one subscription, it’s a good value for individuals or families looking to protect their digital life.

Is McAfee Total Protection safe?

Yes, McAfee Total Protection is safe. It offers robust antivirus protection, VPN, web security, and identity theft protection. It’s designed to defend against a wide range of online threats, including viruses, malware, and phishing attacks. It has strong antivirus and online security features that make it a reliable choice for safeguarding your devices and personal information online.

Does McAfee Total Protection protect from hackers?

Yes, McAfee Total Protection helps protect against hackers by offering features like antivirus protection, a firewall, and a secure VPN. These tools work together to prevent unauthorized access to your devices and personal information. This helps safeguard you from various hacking attempts.

Does McAfee Total Protection use a VPN?

Yes, McAfee Total Protection includes a VPN. The VPN enhances your online privacy by encrypting your internet connection, helping to protect your personal information from hackers, especially when using public Wi-Fi. 

Can McAfee Total Protection protect your data?

Yes, McAfee Total Protection can protect your data. It provides robust antivirus protection, identity theft protection, and a VPN for secure internet access. Additionally, it offers identity theft protection and a password manager to secure your online accounts. This suite of tools is designed to safeguard your personal information from all types of cyber threats.

Wrapping Up

After extensive tests, I now understand why McAfee is such a popular and long-standing antivirus. It does an excellent job with virus scanning, has intuitive features, and very impressive customer support. It also offers extensive plan options so you can get one that fits your needs and budget.

Overall, McAfee is a great option for people who want to stay safe online. I especially like that it comes with a reliable 30-day money-back guarantee and an equally long trial period, so you can test the service without worrying about losing money.

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Ranked #5 out of 19 Antivirus