McAfee Total Protection Review 2023: Does the Longtime Antivirus Still Offer What You Need?

McAfee has been around for a long time and is one of the most well-known antivirus programs available. Does it still offer trustworthy virus protection?
Patti Croft, Author
Steph Trejos, Editor
Last updated Jan 19, 2023
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On McAfee's website

  • Excellent protection
  • Additional features like a file shredder and parental controls
  • Multiple pop-ups for text notifications can be annoying

With 560,000 new pieces of malware detected each day, you don’t want to take chances when it comes to your antivirus software. Currently, there are over a billion malware programs in existence. Finding protection for your device is crucial, but there are so many to choose from, it’s hard to know which one is best for you.

McAfee Total Protection still offers excellent security with good pricing options. AV-Comparatives named it a product of the year in 2021, after rigorous testing. In our McAfee antivirus review, we’ll take a look at how this software performs. Keep reading to find out if McAfee Total Protection is the best antivirus software for your needs.

In this article
McAfee Total Protection overview
McAfee Total Protection features
McAfee Total Protection test results
Our McAfee Total Protection experience
McAfee Total Protection compatibility
McAfee Total Protection customer support
McAfee Total Protection cost
McAfee Total Protection FAQs
Bottom line

McAfee Total Protection overview

Price $89.99 to $279.99/yr
Free plan No
Number of devices protected Up to unlimited
Malware scans Manual and scheduled
Firewall Yes
Phishing protection Yes
Parental controls Yes

All About Cookies Rating
"McAfee is a robust software that offers premium security for your device. There are several pricing tiers, so you can fine-tune your antivirus selection for your specific needs. It is a full security suite, with a firewall, parental controls, phishing protection, and more."

Who is McAfee Total Protection best for?

  • Recommended for individuals who want top-notch protection with extras like parental controls and firewall security

McAfee is a robust software that offers premium security for your device. There are several pricing tiers, so you can fine-tune your antivirus selection for your specific needs. It is a full security suite, with a firewall, parental controls, phishing protection, and more.

McAfee Total Protection pros and cons

Pros
  • Excellent protection
  • Additional features like a file shredder and parental controls
  • Several pricing tiers are available
Cons
  • Multiple pop-ups for text notifications can be annoying
  • VPN is capped at 500 MB of data per month unless you set up auto-renewal

McAfee Total Protection features

You know that antivirus software prevents viruses, but McAfee Total Protection does offer more than a basic software package. Opting for this suite, you’ll have access to a secure virtual private network (VPN), identity protection, browser security, and tracking removal.

The virus scanning offers a Full scan and a Custom scan. The only downside we found was that there is no obvious Quick scan feature for Macs. You’ll need to set up the Custom scanning feature to match your preferences.

Malware and antivirus scan

McAfee Total Protection gives you automatic and manual scans. As mentioned, since we were testing the antivirus with a Macbook Air, there was no Quick scan option. You can run the Full scan and schedule scans to run for the most convenient times.

We did a full scan and were pleased that it took less than 10 minutes to scan over 400,000 files. Full scans can sometimes take 30 minutes to an hour to run, so this was a nice surprise.

The Custom scan option allows you to specify file locations and choose the items you want to scan. You can add and remove locations according to your preferences.

The McAfee antivirus scan page.

Phishing protection

McAfee Total Protection also offers phishing security. The provider includes a firewall and web browsing advisors to reduce online phishing threats. It also helps verify that websites are safe when you’re accessing them online.

Your McAfee software helps protect you when you don’t realize it’s working. The antivirus inspects software while running in the background. You may not notice it while working, but as it continuously runs it gives you more phishing security from cybercriminals.

McAfee goes a step further and invites you to report suspected fraudulent emails. If you use the antivirus and think you’ve received a phishing email, send the information to [email protected].

Firewall

A firewall is great to have with your antivirus software because it filters information coming through your internet connection. Your McAfee Total Protection firewall is the first line of defense for stopping malicious attackers and programs from gaining access to your device.

The firewall safeguards your network and blocks hackers from invading your system. You get a two-way firewall that filters incoming and outgoing internet traffic. Your firewall also protects you on the go, so you have more security when you’re mobile.

This firewall is included when you install McAfee Total Antivirus Protection. There is nothing to set up or tweak unless you want to dive into the Advanced Settings feature. That option allows you to change traffic protocols, so it’s not needed for most individuals wanting optimal firewall protection.

The McAfee firewall settings page.

Real-time protection

Your real-time protection is always on with this antivirus. Individual files and apps are scanned when you access them. There’s also a scanner that continually monitors your device, even if you don’t set up the Scheduled or On-Demand scans. This protection makes sure whatever you access is safe. If there’s a threat, the Real-Time Scanner will block it, which stops it from spreading throughout your device.

Real-Time Scanning is automatically set up to clean malicious files when found. You can change the default options to scan mail messages, archived files, and network volumes. We had no trouble using this protection since it was turned on when we installed the software.

Ransomware protection

McAfee Total Antivirus Protection blocks ransomware attacks. McAfee is designed to auto-update so users always have the latest ransomware protection.

For the Mac version, there’s no setting that strictly shows the ransomware feature, but there is the auto-update section that is turned on by default. You can also adjust the settings for more convenience. This is another automatic feature you get with McAfee that runs in the background while you’re online.

The McAfee autoupdate page for ransomware protection.

Anti-fraud protection

McAfee includes identity theft protection with its antivirus software. You have to give the software full access to your settings, but that was an easy task. McAfee lets you know you’re protected with a message that shows you’re 100% secure. Along with identity theft protection, you get McAfee WebAdvisor, which protects against malicious websites. You can block by category, rating, and website.

The McAfee WebAdvisor feature page.

Bonus features

With McAfee, you get a suite of extra features included like identity features, privacy options, and security features. When you use these extra options, you can monitor your credit for breaches as well as use the VPN for more security when using your at-home network and while you’re out and about accessing public Wi-Fi.

Identity features

With McAfee’s identity features, you get dark web monitoring, identity theft coverage up to $1,000,000, and lost wallet protection. If your IDs or credit cards are lost or stolen, McAfee will contact the credit companies on your behalf to cancel the cards and get them replaced with little effort on your part.

Privacy features

The privacy features offered by McAfee are the VPN and personal data cleanup. The personal data cleanup works by scanning high-risk data broker sites to see if any of them are collecting and selling your data. You can request the removal of your information or McAfee will contact the website broker for you.

Security features

Many antivirus programs don’t come with a file shredder or web protection, but McAfee Total Antivirus Protection includes these security options. The file shredder feature makes sure your unwanted files are gone forever. It overwrites the file’s data several times before it gets deleted. Another security feature is the True Key password manager.

You also get the WebAdvisor installed for security. This feature gives you a safer online experience by blocking unsecured websites. WebAdvisor provides phishing and malware protection without affecting the device’s performance. With this browser extension, you control how the websites are blocked and which ones are blocked.

The McAfee WebAdvisor block by rating page.

McAfee Total Protection test results

SE Labs gives consumers reports on various internet security products. This is effective when choosing which antivirus program you want to buy because you can see how it ranks. SE Labs uses cutting-edge methodologies to test security products, and you also get the most recent updated testing scores. The tests used are run with real threats found in targets that are popular today.

McAfee had no false positive scores and an almost perfect score on protection accuracy, achieving 98%. The software received a 100% score on legitimate accuracy. The total accuracy score for McAfee is 99%.

McAfee Total Protection SE Labs results

Test type Score (%)
Total accuracy rating 99%
*As of October 2022

Our McAfee Total Protection experience

Overall our experience with this product was a good one. We liked how fast the full scan ran and enjoyed the firewall feature that makes online browsing more secure. We did notice that when testing this antivirus on our Macbook Air using Big Sur 11.3, we weren’t able to access some of the identity features without switching web browsers, which was the instruction we received from tech support.

The outstanding features we liked best were:

  • Short scanning time for the full scan
  • No noticeable performance issues while scanning
  • WebAdvisor options to sort and block websites by category and rating
  • Real-time scanning running in the background
  • Firewall for monitoring incoming and outgoing traffic

When you open the McAfee Internet Security Console, you have the security check mark that shows your device is protected. You can also add more devices like your smartphone or tablet. It’s also nice that you get a message that shows there’s nothing else needed on your part and your device is 100% secure. That gives you peace of mind as a user while browsing the internet.

The McAfee mobile app notifying you that you are secure.

The McAfee desktop application notifying you that your Mac is secure.

McAfee Total Protection compatibility

You want to check compatibility when shopping for an antivirus program. When you are defending your device against the latest malware, you need to know the antivirus you choose can stay on top of your privacy needs. McAfee Total Protection is compatible with the following operating systems, mobile devices, and browsers:

  • Windows
  • macOS
  • iOS
  • Android devices
  • Firefox
  • Google Chrome
  • Safari
  • Microsoft Edge

McAfee Total Protection customer support

When checking out the McAfee customer support service, we found different categories you can click on to help tailor assistance options. There are also videos to help with installation and download issues. McAfee also offers 24/7 phone support. We emailed support with a question and are waiting for a reply.

When we called support, we were connected with a knowledgeable and courteous rep within three to five minutes. The representative was able to help us look into the issue and gave us the information to move forward.

McAfee Total Protection cost

McAfee offers different pricing tiers so that you can choose the subscription that works for your budget and software needs. You can also get discounted pricing for the first year and then auto-renew after that.

The discounted pricing is competitive with other antivirus products, but once it renews you may be able to find some cheaper options out there. Still, with features included like privacy protection, VPN, and a firewall, we think McAfee is worth the cost of computer virus protection, especially considering the SE Labs scores. If you want to try it out, McAfee offers a 30-day, free trial guarantee on all their products.

McAfee Total Protection plans and prices

Total Protection BasicTotal Protection Plus McAfee + PremiumMcAfee + Advanced
Price for first year $24.99 $34.99 $49.99 $89.99
# devices supported 1 5 Unlimited Unlimited
Compatible with Windows, macOS, Android, iOS Windows, macOS, Android, iOS Windows, macOS, Android, iOS Windows, macOS, Android, iOS
Manual and auto scan
Phishing protection
Firewall
Real-time protection
Ransomware protection
Parental controls
Performance optimization tools
VPN
Details Learn moreLearn moreLearn more Learn more
Prices as of 12/13/2022
If you're on the fence about getting McAfee Total Protection, take advantage of the 30-day money-back guarantee. You'll get a complete refund if you don't like the product.

McAfee Total Protection FAQs


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What are the disadvantages of McAfee?

The main disadvantage of McAfee is that the renewal pricing may be more than you want to pay if you don’t need the extra features it offers. For example, you can get a one-year basic McAfee subscription for $24.99 for the first year. After that, the price is $89.99 per year.


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Is there a better antivirus program than McAfee?

There may be antivirus programs that suit your needs or budget better, but with the SE Labs score of 99%, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better antivirus program than McAfee.


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Does McAfee slow down laptops?

There is a possibility that McAfee could slow down your device. That can be due to excess junk files, outdated McAfee versions, and limited disk space. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to fix slow performance issues after installing McAfee.


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How much does McAfee cost per year?

The cost of McAfee depends on the version you get. For the first year, prices range from $24.99 to $89.99.

Bottom line

Is McAfee Total Protection a good antivirus program? The truth is this is stellar software that offers you a ton of bang for your buck! With all these features and high scores from SE Labs, we have no issues recommending McAfee Total Protection for your next antivirus install. If you want lots of cybersecurity features you won’t get with other programs, like a firewall, VPN, and privacy controls, this may be the best software you can buy.

If McAfee doesn’t seem right for you, we recommend looking into Norton, AVG, and Avast for alternative antivirus software.

Learn More
On McAfee's website

  • Excellent protection
  • Additional features like a file shredder and parental controls
  • Multiple pop-ups for text notifications can be annoying

Author Details
Patti Croft has a B.S. in Computer Information Systems and an MBA. She also worked in Information Technology for 16 years and loves everything tech and gadgets!