Expert McAfee Review 2020

In a nutshell: One of the oldest and most trusted names in the antivirus industry, McAfee has extremely high detection rates and protects both PCs and smartphones. Year after year, McAfee proves its technological abilities and updates its software to protect against the newest online threats. The software is non-intrusive meaning it won't interfere with your computer's performance and speed.


Founded in 1987, McAfee is one of the leading antivirus software providers on the market, with over 30 years experience when it comes to protecting your devices. In addition to their award-winning antivirus software, McAfee also offers a selection of scans, system tune-ups, encryption and a firewall to ensure your devices run at their best and remain free of any viruses or threats. 

McAfee offers a complete security package that goes beyond basic virus protection. If you read a McAfee antivirus software review online or in a magazine, you’ll find that they often outperform their competitors in key areas. 

In fact, McAfee has been rated favorably by almost all independent labs including ICSA Labs and West Coast Labs. In an antivirus comparison test run by West Coast Labs, McAfee was tested against other leading antivirus programs, with malware files provided by both WCL and McAfee. 

McAfee proved its technological capabilities and was able to detect 96% of harmful files provided by WCL and 99% of files in the McAfee collection. Only Avira surpassed McAfee’s detection rate. This strong file-detection rate was also awarded an Advanced+ (the highest possible rating) by AV-Comparatives, an independent antivirus testing platform that conducted a McAfee anti virus review. 

Another advantage of the software that’s mentioned in many McAfee reviews is that it is extremely easy to install and configure. The important features such as real-time scanning and automatic updates are enabled automatically. There are also longer, scheduled scans which, by default, are performed at 4:00 AM, once a week. These scheduled scans ensure the continued health of your device and will thoroughly check your PC for viruses and other threats.



McAfee works well on both PC and Mac, though antivirus software is no longer a must just for computers. The software provides necessary protection for other devices such as tablets and smartphones as well. 

McAfee also has a mobile security feature which protects your device from threats while using and downloading apps, browsing online, making payments, or using social networks. This software is compatible with iOS and Android phones. Read on to review McAfee antivirus’ performance when it comes to mobile device protection.


Spyware, Malware & Ransomware Scans

Detecting and removing malware, spyware, and Ransomware is no simple task. Very few antivirus solutions can remove all infestations. However, when compared to other antivirus products, McAfee fares quite well. 

In tests run by PC Magazine for a McAfee security solutions review, McAfee was found to have an approximately 75% detection rate and could remove almost all threats found. Furthermore, McAfee really stands out when it comes to malware blocking as mentioned in many McAfee antivirus reviews when McAfee is compared to other antivirus software companies. 

McAfee can block possible threats on multiple levels by detecting malicious websites before you even click on a link. McAfee, on average, has a 92% success rate when it comes to blocking malware and spyware, while its Threat Intelligence Exchange swiftly detects Ransomware and eliminates it.


Email Scans

A comprehensive McAfee virus protection review must address how McAfee performs when it comes to email protection. Many times, viruses, worms, and other security threats originate via ordinary looking emails. To combat and detect these threats, McAfee Security for Email Servers provides a comprehensive email scanning solution. This includes thorough inbound protection for blocking spam and other malicious incoming emails. The email security feature protects your email will from phishing, viruses, spam surges and DoS attacks. In fact, the service has over 99 percent accuracy, ensuring that any virus trying to reach your device via email, will be stopped in its tracks. 

McAfee also allows you to filter out messages based on size, content, or attached content. You can block or quarantine messages that contain specific words and use McAfee’s comprehensive prebuilt dictionary to cover any potentially harmful emails. Furthermore, this email solution also offers email encryption to prevent data loss. When it comes to protecting and encrypting emails, McAfee offers outstanding protection.


Download Protection

McAfee will automatically scan every file you download beforehand, keeping your computer safe and virus-free. Depending on the protection level you set, McAfee will either stop a download or ask for your permission to continue with the download. This pertains to websites you visit as well. 

When you perform a Google search, for example, McAfee scans and rates every site so you know whether or not to click on a link. This even works on social media sites, ensuring you never click on malicious links or download harmful content.


Resource Usage

It goes without saying that running an antivirus in the background can impact the running of your computer. The good news is that, on average, McAfee performs much faster than other antivirus solutions. A February 2019 test run by AV-Test for a McAfee antivirus review found that McAfee only slowed down PC performance by about 5% compared to the industry average of 19%. This was tested after visiting 50 websites and means that you are very unlikely to notice that McAfee slows down performance at all. The same is true of app usage and of other software performance. McAfee will run in the background, protecting your device, without slowing anything down significantly.


Real-time Scanning

Like other leading antivirus providers, McAfee offers real-time virus scanning to help protect your device from incoming threats. This real-time scanning feature checks files for viruses each time you or your PC accesses them. For maximum security, we recommend keeping the real-time scanning feature activated. 

This scanning feature is also customizable and can be tailored to your needs and browsing habits. For example, there’s an option to have McAfee alert you when a website uses cookies. Other options include using real-time scanning for local or network scans exclusively.



McAfee's Total Protection antivirus plan starts at $29.99 for 10 devices. All plans have basic features such as antivirus, anti-Malware, anti-Spam, ransomware protection, PC boost, and more. However, only the 5 device plan and 10 device plan offer identity theft protection. Meanwhile, only the 10 device plan comes with family safety features. It's important to remember that the number of devices includes smartphones, whether Android or iPhone devices. These devices contain sensitive information and are by no means immune to viruses and other threats. 

The main differences between the plans are outlined in the chart below. Aside from these differences, all plans offer the same antivirus, anti-malware, anti-spam, and other security features.

 Total Protection 1 DeviceTotal Protection 5 DevicesTotal Protection 10 Devices
Price per year$29.99$29.99$29.99
Family Safety Tools  
Identity Theft Protection 
Password Manager1 License5 License5 License


Privacy Policy

In order to better serve their customers, McAfee does collect some non-sensitive personal information all of which is clearly outlined in their succinct privacy policy. This data collection is kept to a minimum and collected in order to improve the overall user experience and to ensure the software provides the best protection possible. McAfee also uses this data to help predict threats and better protect you, your devices, and your information. 

It’s important to keep in mind that McAfee collects a combination of personal and non-personal information, all of which is securely stored, in accordance with the State of California’s privacy laws.


Customer Support

The customer support offered by McAfee is thorough, efficient, and extremely reliable. In addition to a robust knowledge base which offers advice and lets users ask questions, customers can contact support via chat, email or phone. The knowledge base is conveniently organized into Technical Support, Customer Service, and McAfee TechMaster. Each of these support categories consists of the most commonly asked questions and also includes some handy video tutorials. 

For even quicker service, McAfee offers a Virtual Technician which you can download and run on your device. If the Virtual Technician is unable to identify and solve the issue, a McAfee support technician can use the information to fix the problem.


Customer Support What Else Does McAfee Offer?

In addition to its antivirus protection software, McAfee offers a variety of solutions for individuals and small businesses for everything from computer tune-ups to device monitoring for families with children. 

Small businesses looking for protection for multiple devices as their business grows should consider McAfee's Small Business Security product. McAfee provides comprehensive security to 5-25 PCs and Macs as well as unlimited iOS and Android devices and allows you to manage the security on all of your devices from one single location. Business owners can easily add and remove devices from their protection product using the easy-to-use software provided by McAfee. 

If your computer experiences issues like slowness or frequent crashes, McAfee has products that can help. They offer a free downloadable program called McAfee TechCheck that will scan your computer to determine why you're having issues. After scanning your computer, you can use their McAfee TechMaster PC Tune-up product to get any issues resolved so that your computer runs at its best. The TechMaster PC Tune-up product can be purchased for a single tune-up or you can get one year of support for your PC or Mac. Among the features of the product are the ability to remove unwanted programs, remove junk files, and to optimize web browser settings for faster browsing. 

The McAfee Safe Family product allows you to have complete control over your family's digital devices. You can monitor your child's daily activity on their devices and even track their location using their device. The product's other features allow you to restrict what your child has access to so that they're not able to view inappropriate apps or websites. If you feel your child is using their device too much, the McAfee Safe Family product allows you to limit their screen time and even enforce digital time-outs. Many other McAfee antivirus reviews point this product out as one of the features that sets McAfee apart from some of its competitors.


How Does McAfee's Phishing Security Stack Up?

Reviews of McAfee Antivirus by PC Magazine give the software a perfect score on their antiphishing test. Competitors like VodooSoft VoodooShield, The Kure, and F-Secure Anti-Virus don't even provide phishing protection in their software. Other competitors that do provide phishing protection like Emsisoft Anti-Malware and G Data Antivirus are outperformed by McAfee as McAfee's protection is more comprehensive. McAfee provides vulnerability scans and website ratings where many of their competitors do not. 

Within the last year, McAfee introduced McAfee Ransom Guard to protect its users against the ever-increasing threat of ransomware attacks. McAfee Ransom Guard is part of McAfee's machine learning-based anti-virus engine that constantly updates to protect users from ransomware. McAfee Ransom Guard will monitor for suspicious file changes on a computer and warn users that ransomware may be the cause. It then suggests actions that users can take to protect against the ransomware.


Does McAfee Protect Mobile Devices?

Any McAfee review will tell you that they offer protection for both Android and iOS devices. If you have an Android device, you can download their app for free via Google Play. If you have an iPhone or iPad, their app is available for free in the Apple Store. 

The features provided for Android devices include Antivirus protection, Wi-Fi security, and an ad tracker-blocker. McAfee's app protects you from visiting sites that are harmful to your device and makes sure the Wi-Fi networks you're connecting to are safe. Both the Android and iOS apps include a device locator that allows you to find your device if it is lost or stolen. 

In addition to a device locator, the iOS app also comes with protection for the data that's on your phone. The secure media vault allows you to keep files safe and protected and only accessible by entering a PIN. You can also backup, store, and wipe your contact information for protection or for easy transfer to another iOS device.



McAfee VS Norton: Side-by-Side Comparison

McAfee Total Protection 1 DeviceMcAfee Total Protection 5 DevicesMcAfee Total Protection 10 Devices
Price per year $29.99 $39.99 $44.99
Devices 1 5 10
License duration 1 year 1 year 1 year
Advance Firewall
Blocks 250,000,000+ daily threats
Disk Cleaner
Mobile security (for both Android and iOS)
PC Optimization Tools
PC Tune-Up
Start-Up Guard
Supports PC
System Booster
Virus Removal
Real-time protection
Email protection
Wi-Fi protection
Parental control
Identity protection
Supports Mac

Video Review

Joe Schwartz | Antivirus Editor

Our chief content editor, Joe manages a diverse team of content writers. He holds a degree in online communications and his writing has been featured in a wide range of online publications.

  • Doesn't affect performance
  • Accurate spam filter
  • Intuitive interface
  • Sporadic pop-ups
Bottom Line
Complete antivirus solution with above average detection & removal rates.
Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 2000, MAC OS x, iOS, Android, Linux/Unix
Top 5

Compare Similar Products

Removal quality
Threat updates
Detection rates
Technical support
Removal quality
Threat updates
Detection rates
Technical support
Removal quality
Threat updates
Detection rates
Technical support
Removal quality
Threat updates
Detection rates
Technical support
Removal quality
Threat updates
Detection rates
Technical support
Removal quality
Threat updates
Detection rates
Technical support