McAfee Antivirus Protection

  • Antivirus software starts at $24.99 a year
  • VPN, password manager, identity theft protection, and bundle options
  • 30-day Total Protection trial for Windows PCs
McAfee Web Protection Menu

If you’ve heard of one antivirus software, it’s most likely McAfee. But unfortunately, like many of its competitors, McAfee’s website is an overwhelming combination of many different products and prices, so it can be hard to find what you’re actually looking for. Don’t worry, we’ve compiled all this seemingly disparate information into one page to help you make your buying decision.

McAfee Web Protection Menu
McAfee Web Protection Menu

McAfee Antivirus: Is There Such Thing As A Free Lunch?

If you have a Windows PC, an iOS device or an Android device, then you’re in luck: McAfee gives Windows users a 30-day free trial called Total Protection, which are completely free versions of both mobile apps. However, there’s no free version of the Windows app that lasts forever, so after the first month, you’ll need to pay for it.

Note: Only the iOS and Android apps have free subscriptions that don’t end. On Windows, the free version only lasts for 30 days.

Subscription Options for McAfee Antivirus

McAfee calls its flagship subscription service Total Protection, which, as the name suggests, offers complete protection from several threats to our digital safety. Total Protection includes antivirus software, a VPN, a password manager, and identity theft protection, among other things, and the price ranges from $29.99 to $64.99 for the first year.

Besides Total Protection, McAfee offers standalone Android and iOS antivirus plans, LiveSafe, AntiVirus Plus, and plans for gamers and small businesses, so there are tons of options for antivirus shoppers. What’s the right one for you?

Total Protection

Total Protection comes in four plans: Basic, Plus, Premium, and Ultimate, but all four plans include the same base features:

  • Antivirus software
  • Firewall
  • Password manager
  • Identity theft protection service
  • Safe Browsing browser extension
  • PC Optimization software
  • File Shredder software
McAfee Full Scan In Progress
McAfee Full Scan In Progress

So, how do the Total Protection plans differ from one another? The chart below lays it all out for you.

McAfee Plans and Prices

Total Protection Plans Basic Plus Premium Ultimate
Device limit 1 5 10 Unlimited
VPN access No Yes Yes Yes
VPN device limit n/a 5
(unlimited if you enable plan auto-renewal)
5
(unlimited if you enable plan auto-renewal)
Unlimited
Parental controls No No Yes Yes
Identity theft insurance No No No Yes
First-year price $29.99 $39.99 $44.99 $64.99

For our McAfee antivirus review, we purchased the Basic plan, which cost us $29.99 for a one-year subscription. Not bad, considering the amount of features it included. However, it’s not for everyone due to its one-device limit.

If, like most of us these days, you have more than one device, the Plus plan might be a great fit. For $39.99 a year, it protects up to five devices and provides access to McAfee’s VPN.

Lastly, if you want protection for the whole family, the Premium and Ultimate plans are your best options. The Premium plan protects up to 10 devices, while the Ultimate plan lets you secure an unlimited number of devices. On top of that, both plans give parents extra control over their children’s device and browser usage.

McAfee Identity Protection Menu
McAfee Identity Protection Menu

Android Mobile Security

With Android, there’s a free option that lasts indefinitely, but it only covers one device and lacks a VPN, safe web browsing, and some other features. However, for basic antivirus protection, we think the free Android Starter subscription is sufficient.

Starter Standard Plus
Number of devices covered 1 1 1
Security scan Yes Yes Yes
Privacy check Yes Yes Yes
Anti-theft Yes Yes Yes
Safe Wi-Fi Yes Yes Yes
Battery booster Yes Yes Yes
Memory booster Yes Yes Yes
Storage cleaner Yes Yes Yes
Track data usage Yes Yes Yes
Media backup No Yes Yes
24/7 phone support No Yes Yes
No ads in app No Yes Yes
Secure app lock No Yes Yes
Guest Mode No Yes Yes
Safe Web No Yes Yes
VPN No No Yes
Yearly cost $0.00 $29.99 $79.99

iOS Mobile Security

The deal works the same way for iOS devices, with a free Starter subscription that covers one device. Again, if you want a simple scan of your iPhone or iPad, this plan will work for you for free.

Starter Standard Plus
Number of devices covered 1 1 1
System and Wi-Fi scan Yes Yes Yes
Media vault Yes Yes Yes
Anti-theft Yes Yes Yes
Contacts backup Yes Yes Yes
24/7 phone support No Yes Yes
No ads in app No Yes Yes
Safe Web No Yes Yes
VPN No No Yes
Annual price $0.00 $29.99 $79.99
McAfee PC Protection Menu
McAfee PC Protection Menu

LiveSafe

Yet another antivirus bundle is LiveSafe, which combines antivirus protection with a VPN, parental controls, identity theft protection, anti-spam software, a password manager, Web Advisor for safe browsing, optimization for PCs, and more. It covers as many devices as you want for a year, starting at $39.99 for the first year. But note that it only includes a VPN if you enlist in auto-enroll, a relatively new feature.

FYI: LiveSafe is McAfee’s most affordable antivirus software that covers an unlimited number of devices.

Sound familiar? Technically, LiveSafe has a lot of the same features as Total Protection, but it’s more budget-friendly. It protects an unlimited number of personal devices for $39.99 for the first year, which is $20 cheaper than the Total Protection Ultimate plan. However, LiveSafe lacks a VPN, unless you select auto-enroll, essentially signing yourself up for two years.

Plan details McAfee LiveSafe
Compatible devices Windows, macOS, iOS, Android
Price for first year $39.99

AntiVirus Plus

For those on a tight budget who want antivirus protection and nothing else, McAfee has a subscription called Antivirus Plus. This subscription offers protection for up to 10 devices to the tune of $24.99 a year. It covers antivirus protection, PC optimization, and Safe Search browsing.

Subscription information McAfee AntiVirus Plus
Number of devices 10
Price for first year $24.99

Gamer Security

Subscription information McAfee Gamer Security
Price for first year $19.99
Number of PCs 1

Gamers will appreciate the antivirus software from Gamer Security; aside from detecting viruses, it also optimizes your device so that you minimize lag while gaming.

Small Business Security

Small Business Security
Compatible devices Windows, macOS, iOS, Android
Price for first year $94.99

McAfee Small Business Security is a scalable antivirus solution that protects up to five desktops and an unlimited number of Android and iOS devices for your business, initially. It has flexible licensing, which means that as your business starts to grow and the number of your devices increases, it will be easy for you or your IT administrators to protect more devices.

Cancelling McAfee Antivirus

You have 30 days from your purchasing date to cancel an annual subscription from McAfee for a full refund. In fact, it’s a money-back guarantee! However, monthly subscribers will not be able to get their money back.

Other McAfee Software and Pricing

McAfee is more than just an antivirus company with 7.5 percent of the market share (sixth largest, overall) as of 2020.1 They also offer plenty of standalone services that you can use to increase your digital security and data privacy.

Safe Connect VPN

We go into this in more detail in our review, but at first glance, McAfee’s pricing is pretty fair, especially if you sign up for a year.

Features McAfee Safe Connect
Compatible devices Windows, Chrome, Android, iOS
Number of licenses 5
Monthly cost with monthly plan $7.99
Monthly cost with annual plan $1.66
Total amount billed with annual plan $19.99 for first year, $47.99 for second year and beyond

Safe Family

As of 2018, 94 percent of American kids ages three to 18 already had access to the internet in their homes.2 So how can you keep them from viewing unsafe or inappropriate content? Safe Family lets parents set parental controls, block websites or apps, set limits on screen time and track their children’s locations.

Features McAfee Safe Family
Compatible devices Android, iOS, Windows
Length of free trial in days 30
Monthly cost with monthly plan $7.99
Monthly cost with annual plan $4.17
Total amount billed with annual plan $49.99

Identity Theft Protection

While McAfee used to have standalone identity theft protection plans, it has since migrated the service to its Total Protection plans. Now, if you want identity theft protection from McAfee, you’ll need to purchase a Total Protection plan.

The upside of that is that you’ll have access to antivirus protection, McAfee’s VPN, and numerous other digital safety features. The downside is that Total Protection plans cost more than the usual identity theft protection service, which is often in the $20 to $40 price range. Granted, you’ll get more features with Total Protection, but if you’re shooting for a standalone identity protection service, McAfee probably isn’t for you. Also, keep in mind that of the four Total Protection plans, only the Ultimate plan includes identity theft insurance.

Secure Home

Just as there’s more than one way to skin a cat, there’s more than one way to protect your Internet of Things, or IoT devices. One way is to buy a secure router. While McAfee doesn’t sell them directly, their Secure Home Platform is available on routers from D-Link and Arris. Essentially, these routers put McAfee’s device protection into any devices on these routers’ networks, which is ideal for someone with an extensive smart home. But if you already have a router that you don’t want to replace, another option is simply to get a VPN that you can configure on your router, protecting any and all devices on its networks. All of the best VPNs for Xbox, for example, can be connected to routers.

Our Favorite Things

We’ve thrown a lot of information your way, so to quickly summarize what we liked about McAfee antivirus:

  • Fair prices
  • On-demand and on-access malware scans
McAfee Scan Options
McAfee Scan Options
  • Behavior-based detection
  • VPN, identity theft protection, safe browser, parental controls and more products available
  • Subscriptions for individuals, couples, families and businesses
  • Detected 99.9 percent of malware on Android
  • Free apps for iOS and Android
  • 30-day free trial for Windows PCs
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • McAfee Mobile Security app has a 4.7 rating on the Apple store
  • Mobile Security: VPN Proxy & Anti Theft Safe Wi-Fi has a 4.5 on the Google Play store
  • Year-long contracts

Recap

McAfee Home Screen
McAfee Home Screen

That covers all there is to know about McAfee’s pricing and plans, but if you want to explore other options, we recommend checking out our page on the best antivirus software. We test out each software, along with researching its costs so that you can make an informed decision.

Frequently Asked Q’s

Here are the most frequently asked questions about McAfee:

  • Is McAfee a good antivirus software?

    McAfee is a good antivirus software that detects 99.9 percent of all major Android malware. In our personal testing, it detected three out of five viruses, which was one of the higher detection rates compared to competitors.

  • Which is better, Norton or McAfee?

    We prefer McAfee over Norton because it has free iOS and Android apps and subscription options for an unlimited number of devices, while Norton only protects one PC or Mac. McAfee also works on more types of browsers like Edge, Chrome, Internet Explorer and Firefox.

  • Is there a free version of McAfee?

    There is a free version of McAfee for iOS and Android as well as a 30-day free trial for Windows PCs.

  • What does McAfee protect you from?

    McAfee protects you from viruses, unsafe websites, identity theft and more.

Editors Rating:
8.8 /10
Citations
  1. Statista. (2021). Global market share held by Windows anti-malware vendors 2020.
    statista.com/statistics/271048/market-share-held-by-antivirus-vendors-for-windows-systems/

  2. National Center of Education Statistics. (2020). Children's Internet Access at Home.
    nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/pdf/coe_cch.pdf