- Very easy to use
- Plenty of additional features
- Customizable firewall protection
- Multiplatform support for computers and mobile
- Attractive pricing
- 30-day free trial
- Noticeable performance impact of quick and full scans
- Lack of scan customization
- VPN and Identity Theft Protection features require auto-renewal
McAfee is one of the most reputable companies in the world, with a vast catalog ranging from free to premium internet security solutions for computers and mobile devices. While each customer is welcome to purchase any product individually, McAfee Total Protection is the preferred tool for those who seek comprehensive protection for up to ten devices. The arsenal of features includes not only an antivirus, but also a robust firewall, a dedicated section for improving computer performance, network protection tools such as a VPN, and much more. This versatile suite starts at $34.99 for the first year, but the best news is that the company offers a full-program, 30-day free trial.
McAfee Total Protection is a security suite dedicated to less experienced users. In other words, there isn’t much to customize in terms of scanning patterns or general program behavior. As such, the tool was clearly made for those who seek more than just an antivirus but still rely mostly on preconfigured settings – an understandable decision by the company since this is the category most home users belong to anyway. Notwithstanding, some others will likely feel the need to know and determine with precision what files, directories, or sections of the computer to scan individually.
But this limitation is easily overshadowed by the vast range of tools – undoubtedly the strongest aspect of McAfee Total Protection. In addition to the scanner for getting rid of all the menaces found, users also have an app optimizer, a password manager, and encrypted storage to save their most sensitive information. Navigating securely on the internet is another McAfee concern and something its customers have nothing to worry about, since the program also boasts a strong firewall (with customizable settings), Wi-Fi protection that includes a VPN, and even the company’s WebAdvisor tool that warns against malicious websites. Speaking of which, parents can ensure their kids’ devices are always protected against intrusive or inappropriate content too, and can safely delete cookies and online tracers from all sources.
Given that user interaction is kept to a minimum, for our testing purposes both the quick and full scans were run with preconfigured settings on a Windows 10 computer. At the end of the experience, we were left with mixed feelings.
On the one hand, the time it took for both scans to be completed was not an issue given how many files were put to scrutiny: the quick scan took around 15 minutes to analyze over 7,500 files, while the full scan took precisely two hours to inspect nearly 360,000. However, both tests had a noticeable impact on the computer. This doesn’t mean the scanning should be an isolated process, as other tasks could still be performed while it ran. But with McAfee Total Protection working hard in the background during the full scan, other programs were constantly slower to respond. Therefore, given that the quick scan is already comprehensive enough, this is the preferred option over longer scans, allowing some time to be saved while ensuring the computer is kept clean and healthy.
Fortunately for us, none of the scans returned any worrying issues, but those who are not so lucky can remove their infected files immediately after the scan, or move them to quarantine.
One thing that can be edited by the user is the scan scheduler. McAfee Total Protection schedules tests once a week by default, but users can change this freely to fit their needs. Unfortunately, apart from the option to overlook Windows updates on quick scans, this is as far as user interaction goes in terms of setting custom scanning patterns.
As previously mentioned, McAfee Total Protection is a well-oiled machine composed of many tools that are also worth mentioning. One of them is the fully customizable firewall, for which users can choose different levels of traffic control and intrusion detection, decide which programs can access the internet, and adjust other advanced settings. For security enthusiasts, this tool provides the insight and sense of control that the virus scanning doesn’t.
McAfee Total Protection also doesn’t fail when it comes to optimizing computer performance, since it also features an app and browsing booster. The first one is a Windows 10 exclusive and, according to the company, can help load apps up to 14% faster by allocating additional processing resources. The latter essentially prevents videos from auto-playing, saving bandwidth and battery life.
A subscription to McAfee Total Protection also includes True Key and Safe Family – two separate add-ons. The first is a password manager that is set on internet browsers to save and automatically fill in usernames and passwords when required, while Safe Family is installed on parents’ and their kids’ devices and allows limiting which apps and online content children can access, seeing their physical location on a map, and scheduling offline times.
On top of these, McAfee Total Protection users also have Wi-Fi protection, a file shredder, encrypted storage, and a password manager. The VPN and identity theft protection are also interesting features that are part of this suite, but they come in the form of auto-renewal benefits for those who opt for this at the time of purchase, and are therefore unfortunately out of reach for some.
McAfee Total Protection is a true multiplatform suite intended to be used by anyone. As such, the company has made it compatible with computers running Windows 7 + and macOS 10.12 or higher, as well as Android and iOS mobile devices from versions 4.1 and 10, respectively. Furthermore, browser extensions are also available for internet Explorer (10.0+), Firefox, Chrome, Safari (for iOS only), and Edge.
McAfee Total Protection comes in three different plans, each one a bit more complete than the other. Pricing starts at $34.99 for the Individual plan for installation on a single device, while the next option – Multi-Device – already supports up to five devices and adds encrypted storage and identity theft protection to the bargain, all for an extra five dollars. However, the third and last plan is the best option, since for $44.99 users can protect up to ten devices with McAfee Total Protection. In addition, this is the only plan benefiting from Family Protection.
All these prices correspond to an annual subscription and are valid for the first year only. After that, users who want to keep using McAfee Total Protection will have to pay the annual amount of $79.99 for the Individual plan, $99.99 for Multi-Device, and $119.99 for the Family option.
On top of the very attractive first-year pricing, users can also try the program before subscribing. McAfee has a 30-day free trial policy without any strings attached, meaning that the full program is available for anyone to test as much as possible. Even better, no credit card or other payment details are required beforehand; all that’s necessary is to create an account and download the package from the site.
In addition to the free trial, users also benefit from a 30-day money-back guarantee. Although a payment must be made initially, customers can always obtain a refund if they cancel during that period. Payment methods include credit cards, PayPal, and Google Pay.
Despite the quality of the internet services McAfee delivers, a company is only as famous and reputable as its customers allow. A top service must have top customer support, and that’s the perfect description for McAfee’s, which presents several options for users around the world. Most basic and technical questions are answered by a simple visit to the very complete FAQ and knowledge base pages, but those who require a more direct contact with the team can resort to different methods. The preferred one is the live chat available 24/7, but McAfee also provides help via phone, email, and social media such as Twitter and Facebook.
At the end of the day, McAfee Total Protection is a tool that will please the everyday user looking for the extra protection a simple antivirus can’t provide. The app’s design is simple, intuitive, and requires just a bare minimum of interaction to work, as everything is set up appropriately by default. The less experienced user will never feel like they’re diving into uncharted waters, but more experienced ones will likely miss some customization, namely in the scanning process, where it could be useful to relieve some performance impact of both quick and full scans.
But there are a lot more upsides than downsides to McAfee Total Protection, and the number of available features makes this suite one of the best of its class. The computer performance, privacy, and family protection tools are surely the biggest highlights of a versatile and multiplatform program that has very attractive pricing for those wishing to commit for just a year.
Best Alternative Internet Security Suites