McAfee Antivirus Solutions Review 2021: Good But Not Perfect

Stacks of security features and a few very unusual extras


McAfee Whole Protection has a powerful function checklist, and the limitless VPN particularly makes it good worth. It isn’t all the time simple to make use of, although, and it does not have the facility or efficiency to match the highest competition.


  • Decent worth
  • Unlimited VPN
  • Loads of options
  • Interface aimed at common users, not techies


  • Antivirus protection is average at best
  • Some interface issues
  • Basic VPN has no kill switch, poor unblocking
  • Many features are underpowered

This is our all-in-one roundup reviewing each McAfee consumer safety resolution for 2021. On this web page, after our transient intro, you’ll find

(a) a full analysis of the entry-level McAfee Total Protection, together with our opinions of the extra options integrated with the rest of the range:

(b) McAfee Total Protection Multi-Device / Individuals, and

(c) the top-end package deal McAfee Total Safety Family

You’ll be able to soar to the opinions of those individual merchandise by clicking on the hyperlinks within the bar on the prime of this web page, but keep in mind that this text is actually designed to be learn throughout, because the options of McAfee Whole Protection are additionally current within the higher-level safety suites, of course.

Bitdefender Whole Safety does not have an infinite VPN as commonplace, nevertheless it’s priced at the same $40 to cowl 5 units for the primary 12 months, $90 on renewal ($50, then $100 for ten units.)

Avira’s Prime suite includes a full VPN and is equally priced at $100 a 12 months to cowl 5 devices, $130 to cowl 25.



(Picture credit: McAfee)

McAfee Whole Safety put in with out situation, popping up its dashboard after our preliminary reboot.

Working prime benchmark PCMark Skilled before and after set up, we discovered our rating fell by just one.3%. One or two have achieved higher (Kaspersky managed 0.6%, Bitdefender 1%), however Avast, Pattern Micro, G Data and Norton reduce our speeds by more than 3%.

If you realize what you are doing, this may be frustrating. Instead of a daily firewall standing display screen with all the standard technical terms, you are pressured to discover every space to search out out what it does.

The interface does maintain Whole Safety’s complexities away from its target consumer viewers, although, and should you’re on the lookout for simplicity above all else, it might be value a glance.


McAfee Whole Safety retains its antivirus scanning choices to a minimal: only a Fast Scan, a Full System Scan and the ability to scan custom gadgets instantly from the Explorer right-click menu.

What you don’t get is a particular removable drives scan, a customized scan you may outline from the interface, or the flexibility to set up a brand new scan sort or outline the way it works. For instance, Avast’s Windows merchandise can be utilized to arrange a scan which checks specific file sorts within the folders you want, utilizing the scanning applied sciences and guidelines you outline, and you may then run that scan whenever you like. There’s nothing like that right here.


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AV-Comparatives’ Real-World Protection Test is an intensive benchmark which pits 17 of the world’s largest antivirus engines towards the very newest threats.

McAfee ranked a poor 16th place within the February-May 2020 report with a protection fee of 98.9%, and 16th once more within the July-October report, with its protection fee falling to 98.5%.

To put that in perspective, even Microsoft Defender blocked 99.7% and 99.5% in the identical exams.

The AV-Check Home Windows report for October 2020 found McAfee blocked 100% of take a look at threats. That is extra frequent with this benchmark, although, so we additionally take a look at consistency over time. McAfee solely protected against 100% of threats in two out of the six exams during the last year. Bitdefender obtained an ideal score in all six, Kaspersky managed 5, even Microsoft Defender did the identical in three.

Whereas that’s not good news, take into account that McAfee does detect the vast majority of even model new and undiscovered threats, so we all know its behavioral monitoring works. It did not this time, but solely with a single pattern, and that does not inform us a lot about the suite general.


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otal Safety includes a firewall which automatically makes clever selections about which applications in your system can entry the web. This is tucked away a number of clicks deep throughout the interface, and most customers won’t ever have to know of its existence.

Consultants get entry to a variety of firewall settings, together with the flexibility to open or shut particular ports, or outline custom rules for individual purposes. These choices are more durable to search out than we would like, though, and it took us a while to start to determine what was potential.


McAfee Whole Protection includes its Secure Connect, an infinite TunnelBear-powered VPN for as many units as your license covers. That is a priceless further (even budget VPNs would possibly cost you $40 or extra a year), and an enormous improvement on suites like Bitdefender Whole Security, the place the bundled VPN is the free plan which limits you to 200MB a day.

VPN Locations

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The VPN app is built-in with the Whole Protection interface, and whereas it is ugly and fundamental, it covers some core necessities. There’s an On/ Off change which connects you to the closest server by default; you may select from 22 different international locations (not cities) from a listing; settings allow connecting manually, or it can join automatically while you join through wifi or wired networks.

More features

Whole Protection’s spam filter put in itself by default on our test system, added an extension to our Outlook setup and started filtering mail.

Performance was wonderful, with the filter detecting most spam and never falsely flagging any reliable emails. But when this doesn’t be just right for you, a variety of settings enable customizing the safety to fit your needs.

File Lock Questions

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We had an enormous downside during the overview, though. The ‘Create a Vault Wizard’ requires that you enter an electronic mail address for password recovery, then anticipate a message from McAfee with a verification code. We tried this with one electronic mail address; nothing arrived; one other two, from totally different suppliers, nonetheless nothing arrived. They appeared ultimately, however so late that the codes had expired, and we have been unable to create a vault.

Possibly we have been unfortunate, there was some temporary glitch in the course of the overview. File Lock’s basic specs look good, and it appears a capable encryption device. But the truth that it is potential for such a core function to fail, even quickly, is a priority. If you happen to urgently have to recuperate your password to access some information, and McAfee email delays imply it isn’t instantly possible, that may in a short time become an enormous deal.

Password Manager

(Picture credit: McAfee)

A Net Boost function sounds promising, nevertheless it’s only a separate module which stops movies routinely taking part in in your alternative of many standard web sites (YouTube, Netflix,,, and lots of more). It is a cheap concept, and should nicely make the internet looking rather less annoying (a worthwhile objective all by itself), but it’s most likely not going to ship a lot of a pace boost.

Final verdict

McAfee Whole Protection has lots of options, but none are excellent, and they’re not all the time nicely applied (the VPN has nearly no features, we weren’t to make use of File Lock at all.) There isn’t any doubt you get a lot on your cash, and the target market of undemanding consumers could be joyful, however you’ll find quicker, correct and extra reliable suites elsewhere.