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McAfee Total Protection review

McAfee Total Protection covers all the bases with one all-inclusive security program that does the job, but doesn't push the boat out.

McAfee Total Protection review
(Image: © McAfee)

Our Verdict

McAfee Total Protection takes the hassle out of choosing an antivirus program, but its one size fits all approach isn't for everyone, especially when compared to the competition.


  • One size fits all
  • Great antivirus performance
  • Good feature set


  • One size fits all
  • Outdone by competition.

Choice is great, but sometimes too much choice can leave us paralyzed by indecision. So when you’re looking for the best antivirus software and you run into the myriad of options and packages that many providers offer, it can be refreshing to find a single, all encompassing offering like in the case of McAfee Total Protection. 

This means that, like most of the best internet security software packages, McAfee Total Protection has antivirus and malware defense alongside other important features like VPN access and identity protection. So if you’re just looking for a cheap and cheerful antivirus solution then this might not be the best option for you, but for those looking for the complete package, McAfee offers a competitive contender.

But how does it stack up against the other big hitters in the industry like Norton 360 and Bitdefender? We’ve run down all the features and pricing information below, while also reviewing how effective the software is at protecting against virus attacks by drawing in expert opinions to give you the most comprehensive McAfee review we can.

McAfee review: McAfee Total Protection

So, if it’s only offering a single, all encompassing security package then McAfee Total Protection better be a good one, right? Thankfully, all the bases seem to have been covered here. As you’d expect there’s a comprehensive antivirus, malware, spyware and ransomware protection that forms the core of the security system. What’s more, McAfee Total Protection works on Windows, Mac, and mobile devices so you should be able to cover all of your gadgets and gizmos without needing to worry about compatibility.

Alongside the antivirus suite there is also a built-in firewall to help keep hackers and other unauthorized users out of your systems and files. There’s also a password manager to help you keep your passwords secure while keeping you from having to remember loads of different passwords. Oh and there’s a file shredder, so you can obliterate files containing sensitive information or old high school photos that you don’t want anyone else to see.

If your subscription is set to auto-renew, there are a couple of bonus features that you will also get access to. First off, there’s access to a secure VPN which keeps your online activities anonymous and encrypted. 

McAfee Total Protection (Tom's Guide)

(Image credit: Future)

VPN services hide your IP address and physical location from websites and advertising agencies, meaning that you can be sure that your online activities aren’t being monitored. You can also use them to connect to location locked content (called geo-restricted content), such as websites or TV streaming services that can only be accessed in certain countries.

The other feature that is locked behind auto-renewal is identity theft protection, which gives you access to McAfee’s identity monitoring and recovery tools. These tools will keep an eye out for suspicious activity using your name or financial information to try and spot potential identity theft. If an issue is flagged up, McAfee will help you to resolve the issue.

It’s a shame these features are locked behind the auto renew paywall, but savvy customers should be able to just leave the auto renew enabled and disable it at the last second just before their subscription expires, so it doesn’t really cost you anything extra.

McAfee review: How good is McAfee Total Protection?

When looking at the antivirus and malware performance of McAfee Total Protection, we turned to experts in assessing internet security programs such as AV Test and AV Comparatives to identify any long-term issues that wouldn’t show up in during the timescale of a normal review.

McAfee Total Protection (Tom's Guide)

(Image credit: Future)

In the latest round of testing in February 2020, AV Test found that McAfee Total Protection blocked 97.8% of malware attacks that it subjected the program to, while it blocked 99.1% in the previous month. AV Test also found that McAfee Total Protection’s influence on performance was well below the industry average, meaning it won’t cause slowdown while running on your device. McAfee’s programs have historically caused significant performance slowdown, so it’s great to see the latest version address these issues.

McAfee Total Protection also performed well in AV Comparatives’ latest round of real world performance tests in February/March 2020, blocking 98.4% of malware that was set against it. It should be noted that while this is a great result, many of McAfee’s competitors like Kaspersky and Norton 360 performed better.

McAfee Total Protection review: Price

While there is only a single product on offer from McAfee, it does offer three different subscriptions based on the number of devices you would like to cover. Single device cover starts at $29.99 for the first year, and then $79.99 thereafter. The next tier up covers five devices for $34.99 for the first year and then $99.99 annually after that. Finally, there is the ten device option which costs $39.99 for the first year and then $119.99 each year after that.

McAfee Total Protection (Tom's Guide)

(Image credit: Future)

Obviously the ten device option offers the best value for money on a cost per device basis, but it really depends on how many devices you need coverage for. The ten device option is really meant for families with children as you’re unlikely to have ten individual devices otherwise.

If you’re not sure whether McAfee Total Protection is for you, there is a 30-day free trial so you can give it a spin to see how it works first. The trial lets you cover ten devices too, so you can see how it works on multiple different platforms before making a decision.

Should you buy McAfee Total Protection?

There’s certainly something to be said for McAfee’s straightforward approach to antivirus and internet security. While many other providers offer loads of different packages, McAfee’s one size fits all solution takes a lot of the stress out of choosing the best solution for your needs. The antivirus performance is good (if not industry leading) and the pricing and feature set is competitive. 

If you don’t want the hassle of choosing between multiple packages then McAfee is the way to go, but otherwise we think there are better options out there.