McAfee Antivirus Review – Can You Count On It in 2021?

McAfee Antivirus Logo

There is no wonder that McAfee is one of the most popular cybersecurity applications in the world. McAfee is one of the most popular antivirus products in the world. McAfee Antivirus provides both PC and Mac users with comprehensive protection against cyber threats. This software guards against viruses and spyware, rootkits, web attacks, and other kinds of harmful malware. In addition, you can easily customize this software to your needs. But is it really as good as they say it is?

In this review, we’ll review McAfee’s history, features, functionality, lab test results, and cost of ownership to answer the question: Is McAfee worth it?

McAfee: A Brief Overview

McAfee is a leading tech company that has been making high-quality antivirus software for more than 30 years. It also has been a pioneer in internet security. 

It is committed to supporting innovation and delivering a portfolio of intelligent, practical solutions. They help to solve businesses and consumers’ complex security challenges worldwide. Whether it is at home or on the go, McAfee provides powerful protection against viruses, spyware, hackers, identity theft, and more.

McAfee Total Protection Home Page
Your journey with McAfee starts here

In 1989 one of the first mass-market computer viruses, Brain, was discovered spreading via shared disks. John McAfee and his wife’s computer got infected by the virus. They then developed an antivirus program using the signature they had stolen from the original virus’s author and subsequently distributed it as McAfee Anti-Virus. Today, McAfee is a well-established name in data security and regulation. It is one of the largest antivirus providers in the world with over 2 million subscribers headquartered in San Jose, CA. 

In 2011, Intel purchased McAfee and all its assets and the product subsequently become a part of the Intel Security Division. After Intel a strategic deal with TPG Capital they created a joint product and kept the McAfee name. In October 2020, McAfee and its shareholders raised $740 million in the initial public offering and the company was valued at about $8.6 billion. McAfee’s customers include 80% of Fortune 100 companies, 87% of the world’s largest banks, and more than 600 million devices which makes it a very trustworthy company that meets the highest cybersecurity standards.

What Features Are Offered With McAfee Antivirus?

McAfee offers a very sophisticated set of features that complement each other and make it one of the most dependent contestants on the market. Those include VPN, Shredder, and various techniques to identify, disarm and eliminate malware. Let’s take a deeper dive into the features that make McAfee stand out.

Virus Detection

McAfee keeps a database of viruses that’s being automatically updated by a web crawler that searches for new threats online. When a user launches a scan on their computer, McAfee compares files on their computer to those in the database and if there’s a match – it means that the device is infected. But McAfee goes beyond that. It adds two more advanced layers of security.

The Firewall

Once a threat was detected, McAfee strengthens the firewall on your computer so that those threats can’t penetrate your device anymore. With a strong firewall, like the one provided by McAfee, nothing can penetrate your computer without you knowing about it. It will warn you about any downloads and you can allow or deny them. If you accidentally allowed a malicious file to your device, there’s one more line of defense – a regular scan that wipes out all the viruses that were able to bypass firewall and real-time protection. 

Does it Provide Good Ransomware Protection?

Ransomware attacks typically use a combination of social engineering, encryption, and preventative measures against restoration to ensure that systems are not quickly restored. 

A ransomware infection is created by a malware program designed to block access to a computer. Some ransomware programs include a function known as “cryptoviral extortion,” The attacker holds the data “hostage” until a ransom is paid.

McAfee® products leverage a number of technologies that help prevent ransomware. Here are some out-of-the-box detection capabilities:

  1. Signature-based detection: include more than 8 million ransomware signatures, including CTB-Locker, CryptoWall, and its variants.
  2. Reputation-based detection – McAfee GTI.
  3. Real-time static analysis and emulation
  4. Used for signature-less detection.
  5. Custom YARA rules.
  6. Full static-code analysis
  7. Reverse engineers file code to assess attributes and function sets and fully analyze source code without execution.
  8. Dynamic sandbox analysis.

It sounds like a lot of complicated information, but what’s important is that McAfee keeps ransomware away. In fact, it takes one step forward and provides a feature called ransom guard.

Ransom Guard

It’s a real-time protection feature that prevents your data from being encrypted while you’re online. The great thing about Ransom Guard is that it doesn’t interrupt your online activity at all. In fact, you won’t even know it works unless the issue was found.

Vulnerability Scanner

It’s a feature that allows McAfee to automatically search and offer you available updates for the apps that are already installed on your computer. Now, what my game update has to do with security? Simply put, updates often patch security holes that have been detected since the last update. Some of them just little things, others – not so much, for instance, identity theft or other nasty hacking business has become possible through this ‘hole. A good thing about McAfee is that it also tells you how important certain updates are, so you can immediately start updating high-priority apps.

Quick Clean

Quick Clean is a cool feature with dual functionality. It removes temporary files by which speeds up your computer and prevents hackers from stealing valuable information about you.

McAfee WebAdvisor

The McAfee WebAdvisor is a free product that helps you avoid malicious websites and warns you before downloading any suspicious attachments. The WebAdvisor icon appears in your browser, next to the web address, displaying an image of a shield. Clicking the icon opens a page with more information about any site from which it detects suspicious activity.

Most of the time, WebAdvisor blocks web pages correctly. However, sometimes it stops pages because of advertisements, even if these were perfectly safe paid commercials. To McAfee’s defense, all antivirus products do that and you can whitelist websites that you trust and use often.

McAfee web boost

Web Boost is a free feature of McAfee’s Internet Security that will temporarily disable the ability for videos to run in your browser. 

Web Boose Feature of McAfee Total Protection
With McAfee, you have better control over your web browsing

McAfee’s Web Boost lets you stop annoying auto-play videos with a single click. It will also optimize your browser and extend your battery life so you can stay alert and engaged online.

Altogether, those features can significantly speed up your computer’s performance.


It’s a feature that makes sure when you delete anything from your computer it’s really gone. Even if you moved files to a recycling bin, they stay on your disk and still can be accessed if someone gets a hold of your computer. McAfee offers three levels of shredding: Basic, Safe and Complete with 3,5 and 10 times file overwriting respectively. You can use this feature as you would a paper shredder, to safely dispose of your private files.

McAfee Password Manager

Password Manager securely stores your passwords so you don’t have to memorize them all. It works and syncs across all of your devices – from your iPhone and Android to PC.

McAfee Mobile protection

McAfee offers decent features for mobile devices in a free package, but if you want to get complete protection – it can get pretty pricey. The free version has some good features like anti-identity theft, good malware protection and wi-fi protection that is usually only available with paid packages, but it’s full of annoying ads and constant offers to upgrade.

In the premium version of McAfee for mobile, you get additional features like VPN Guard, Guest mode, and App lock. It gives you all the essential features at a place otherwise you need to install several applications for the different tasks. Using the app lock feature, you can hide the required mobile application from the main screen. You can also customize the list of apps that should be accessible by the guest users only.

All the things considered, we believe it only makes sense to use a free version of a product or if your desktop version is bundled with the mobile app. If you want an antivirus product for your phone and your phone only – there are more affordable options with similar functionality on the market.

McAfee Gamer security

McAfee provides advanced security features for gamers’ peace of mind

Game hackers are gamer’s worst nightmare, but McAfee Gamer Security protects your computer from unseen threats. It is a fully-featured yet easy-to-use security suite designed by gamers for gamers. 

The AI-based McAfee game security console detects your activity while you enter a gaming zone. At that time, it prioritizes the applications to give you the best fun while playing the games. In doing so, it stops or pauses all the unnecessary programs that are running in the background and utilizing the major section of the system resources.

This way, the application acts like an auto booster software that focuses on giving you full concentration by hiding the possible notifications and updates that can annoy you in the middle of the game.

You can also customize the setting if your graphics card is under excessive stress or any particular software is eating up too much CPU, RAM, and other resources. With this detailed information in hand, you can make adjustments to help optimize your PC for a better gameplay experience.

At the same time, the McAfee antivirus protects you against phishing and other cyber attacks by using cloud technology. It decreases your limited system resources in the process of virus prevention. Hence, it gives you double benefits by putting the unnecessary applications to sleep and managing other security protection activities using a cloud server.

What Features Does it Offer in Terms of Phishing Protection? 

Hackers often use phishing emails to steal valuable information that can be sold on black markets. As a result, they tend to target users that maintain active email accounts, such as AOL, Yahoo Mail, or HotMail. Some time ago, phishing was pretty obvious. We all have received emails stating that we won money or a car or something crazy like that.

But now, phishing got to a whole new level. Those emails look like they were sent by a retailer or a bank where you hold an account. That’s why it’s super hard to distinguish those emails as malicious with a naked eye, especially if the user is tired or not paying attention to details. Also, phishing was in top-3 most widespread attacks in 2020. That’s why a layer of anti-phishing protection is a must-have for every decent cybersecurity tool.

McAfee Total Protection Home Screen
The user interface is well-designed and clean

McAfee offers a tool called anti-spam. When you click on a link in an email that leads to a fraudulent website, McAfee automatically redirects you to a safe website that provides information on why you shouldn’t access the website you were trying to and what’s wrong with it.

If you are 100% positive that the website is fine, but McAfee keeps blocking it – you can go to your antivirus settings and manage the whitelist. Once you have added a certain website to a whitelist, it won’t get blocked again.

Benefits Include

McAfee prevents you from accessing fraudulent sites that try to obtain your personal information – it can be used with any Internet browser (for example, Firefox and Internet Explorer).

With McAfee phishing protection, you’ll always be confident that you’re safely reaching your favorite websites. 

An icon displays in the address field of your Internet browser to let you know when there’s a threat, and it warns you before you enter any sensitive information. It even helps to protect against malware, so it won’t be through a phishing attack if your data is compromised.

Can McAfee Keep Your Devices Safe from Malicious Software?

Yes, it can. For years on end, McAfee has been recognized as one of the most reliable cybersecurity products on the market by multiple reliable testing labs. It not only provides on-point malware protection but also has tons of tools that prevent it from slowing down your computer. It provides great features and up-to-date protection regardless of what kind of device you’re using.

Check out the Lab Test Results section to see its performance for yourself.

Guaranteed privacy features

McAfee products and services are designed to help you protect your computer, computer network, mobile devices, and other electronic information and devices from viruses and other security risks.

McAfee does not control or regularly monitor the information collection or dissemination practices of our distribution partners. McAfee protects consumers from fraud and identity theft and helps their devices run smoothly and securely. 

They can provide early warnings about potentially harmful websites, filter out viruses and other online threats, protect against online bullying, manage wireless home networks, help users recover lost data, ensure your privacy when shopping or banking online, track lost or stolen devices and provide a safe place for your digital records.

With the paid version of the product, you’d also get unlimited VPN uses bank-grade AES 256-bit encryption, which will make your online activity untraceable and protect your privacy. 

If you’re looking for a cybersecurity solution for your business, we also recommend reading this article to find out what kinds of information McAfee collects.

Additional Features of McAfee Antivirus

McAfee spam Blocker provides a front-line defense against the rapidly evolving threat landscape. McAfee spam Blocker combines advanced machine learning with an easy-to-use interface to provide near real-time protection from ever-changing threats.

McAfee Real-Time monitoring is designed to protect your entire business with a communication layer that delivers all the protection needed by different technologies.

McAfee Antivirus provides malware protection with strengthened threat analysis, combined with a firewall, antivirus, anti-spyware, and identity theft protection for your computers for one year. 

McAfee Total Protection delivers complete protection for you and your family. It offers industry-leading protection against viruses and malware, spyware, and phishing. It also protects against malicious websites that seek to steal your personal information or lock up your computer and demand ransom in exchange for your files.

Lab Test Results

We rely on test results from reputable cybersecurity testing labs because they spend a lot of time picking and choosing threats that they’re going to introduce to the tested vendors in order to test their real-life threat detection possibilities. 

AV-Comparatives Real-World Protection Test, February 2021

For instance, AV-Comparatives introduced 736 versatile threats to contestants. McAfee was able to identify 733 of them. It’s a very good result that indicates that McAfee is a reliable vendor you can trust.

McAffee was also named a top product in terms of performance, protection and usability by AV-Test Lab.

Virus Scanner

We noticed that the Full Scan seems to take a lot longer than Quick Scan and takes up many more resources, but I’m not sure why? Maybe it’s scanning for particular things, or perhaps it starts by checking a drive and then moves on to another.

McAfee Total Protection File Scanning Process

Once you’ve run a scan, the antivirus will analyze the results and will create a dash with four different tabs to display it more clearly. There’s a “Potential Threats” tab to display potentially dangerous items found, a “Passed” tab for those items that have passed two or more scans, a “Suspicious Activity” tab for files that were flagged but didn’t turn out to be dangerous in the end, and an “Excluded Items” section.

Is McAfee Antivirus safe?

Suppose you are looking for a decent antivirus, then McAfee is a good choice. It is easy to install, relatively user-friendly and works well. In addition, if it gets any new virus signatures, it is always one of the first to get them.

How Much is McAfee Per Month?

With ’30 Day Trial’ on the product page, you can take advantage of the free 30-day trial before purchasing. Once downloaded, you’ll be able to run McAfee and test its capabilities for yourself.

However, McAfee also provides 4 premium protection plans to keep your devices safe from any infections.

Single device

A single device gives you all core protections: Windows antivirus, a firewall, malicious URL filtering, a password manager, plus other utilities and other features. Plus, you can manage devices using an inventory of machines with ease. McAfee for a single device can cost you $29.99.


It has all the same features as a single device. And in addition, it has five additional devices with Theft protection support. The cost of an individual McAfee plan is $34.99.


It covers all the benefits of single + individual, and on top of that, it allows ten device support for $39.99.


It covers all other three packages and allows unlimited device support at the cost of $34.99.

What payment methods does it support?

McAfee takes Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and in some countries, JCB. McAfee also accepts PayPal, ClickandBuy, and TeleCheck (the US only). Alternatively, you can go to a 3rd party retailer or PC shop.

How Does The Use of The McAfee in Question Affect Computer Performance?

McAfee has a set of tools to maximize the performance of your computer which has proven to be very effective. According to reputable Australian testing Lab AV-Comparatives, McAfee is one of the top-performing vendors that don’t have a drastic effect on a device’s performance. 

Performance Report 2021 by AV-Comparatives

McAfee got an Advanced+ award for their performance.

Does it Work for Mac?

Mac products tend to be more secure than Windows-based ones, but more and more hackers develop Mac-specific threats. The number of malicious programs targeting Mac computers increased by over 1,000 percent in 2020!

Many providers create a separate macOS product, but McAfee has one Total Protection product that covers all your devices. Of course, it has more features for Windows-based computers, but let’s not forget that Mac already has built-in protection that other devices lack.

Regardless of whether you have a Mac or PC, McAfee Antivirus Plus offers robust protection against all types of viruses and malware. Unfortunately, McAfee’s solution for Mac wasn’t tested by reputable labs in the past couple of years, that’s why it’s kind of hard to compare it to closest competitors but users are happy with the way it works for them.

Can You Count on McAfee to Protect Your Android Device?

Android mobile devices offer a world of convenience in the palm of your hand. But with all of the new features, ensuring your privacy and security aren’t compromised can be difficult.

McAfee Mobile Security protects what you care most about; your privacy, financial data, information, and personal identity on your mobile devices from hackers and harmful apps with its unique cross-device protection.

McAfee Total Protection for smartphones

With McAfee Mobile Security, you get all the best-in-class security features you expect from McAfee, plus cross-device protection that keeps you protected on every device – even when visiting the most popular social media sites. Now you can browse and shop fearlessly on your phone or tablet.

McAfee’s customer support

Their customer support is all good, and they answer the questions of the customer via different mediums. They also have a phone and chat service to make the process smooth.

Pros and Cons

Just like all the software on the market, McAfee antivirus has its advantages and disadvantages. And here’s what I found:


  • This McAfee has excellent features. Once activated, it is complicated for anyone to infect your computer with a virus, worm, or other malicious code. I have not experienced a single occurrence of any intruder while being protected by this program.
  • The automatic updates are also handy as they can tell the user when and what to update to the newest definition of intruders worldwide. 
  • With the e-policy orchestration management of the McAfee console, we can control our clients remotely by running scans on their endpoints and updating their virus definitions forcefully. 
  • The multi-layered protection helps in detecting a variety of threats and blocks them. It provides the complete visibility and control of endpoint management, network protection in addition to user controls.


  • The installation process is as easy as possible, but the uninstallation process is complicated.
  • When we installed McAfee on our PCs, it sometimes conflicted with other software installed on their computers. This meant that before the software could be used, the customer had to uninstall some other software and re-install it. We experienced this problem while installing McAfee (Security Center) and Norton Anti-Virus on Windows Vista in a test environment.
  • Sometimes the computer’s performance slows down, and sometimes it automatically shuts down. It’s not a big problem. You can also clean useless files and registry entries from your PC to speed up your PC.

Is it enough to protect your computer and devices?

McAfee antivirus protects your Macs, PCs, and other devices with powerful, award-winning software. Made for a new generation of threats, this software detects and blocks viruses, spyware, hackers, and phishing attempts before they can infect your device. 

McAfee home screen with security features

In addition, the McAfee LiveSafe service lets you install protection on all the computers, mobile devices, and tablets you care about. As a result, you’re protected from all digital viruses, everything from ransomware and email fraud to identity theft.

If you are looking for a good antivirus program, then you should strongly consider McAfee Antivirus. McAfee Password Manager protects you from hackers and identity thieves by safeguarding your passwords and other web information.

Suggested Alternatives


The primary objective of Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2012 is to keep your system safe from contemporary computer threats. The product performs a complete repair of disks affected by malicious files, keeping the PC in top condition so you can work and play without interruption.


Quick Heal is a powerfully built, fast, and secure IT security solution that protects your network against any kind of latest Internet threats, fraudulent emails, cyber mobiles, etc.


Norton Antivirus software is created to protect the security and performance of your PC from online threats. Norton, the trusted name in PC protection, provides a multi-layer defense to stop viruses, spyware, and other online threats before they can reach your PC.

FAQs about McAfee Antivirus

Why do you need antivirus protection?

The antivirus software integrates with the Internet Security Suite to deliver layered security solutions for the enterprise, SMB, and consumer markets. In addition, an advanced firewall and spyware protection scan your system for suspicious files that could contain hidden threats before the Windows operating system opens them.

Can you use it for Android?

Yes, McAfee Mobile Security for Android provides extra security layers that help you stay out of harm's way. This app offers uncompromising privacy & protection for your device and all your data. Unfortunately, despite how easy it is to install apps, lookups, and emails on Android devices, there are countless ways that cybercriminals can access your private information.

How is McAfee's App for iOS?

McAfee Mobile Security is a free app for iOS devices that protects your phone from malware and viruses and locates your lost or stolen phone. Its scan feature will detect malicious apps you may have unknowingly installed and show you how to delete them. This app also uses Google Maps to track down your lost mobile device when it is out of range, in case you misplace it.

Is McAfee reliable?

McAfee is a name you can trust. Their products provide comprehensive security to help protect you from viruses, spyware, vulnerabilities, identity theft, and other online threats. 

How to uninstall McAfee Antivirus?

Open the Control Panel. If you still using Windows XP, click on the Start button and then click on Control Panel. If you have Windows 7,8 or 10, just right-click on the Start button in the lower-left corner of your screen. Then left-click on the Control Panel. Once the Control Panel window is opened, find out the McAfee VirusScan Enterprise and click Uninstall.
How to uninstall McAfee antivirus

How long does it take to scan the computer?

It really depends on the number of files on your PC. The Quick Scan feature is the fastest way to find and remove viruses, spyware, and other potentially unwanted software from your computer. Quick Scan searches over 100 popular locations where malware can reside. This includes documents, image tools, browsers, the registry, and more.
How long is virus scanning with McAfee

Is there a free plan for McAfee?

McAfee Total Protection provides essential security for your PC, devices, and identity. Plus, Cloud Storage to help safely store and share your files, photos, and more. It also has free trial software that you can access for a month.

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