McAfee 2016 Review: Virus Protection Across Devices and Operating Systems

In terms of features, ease of use, reliability, and value, McAfee’s AntiVirus Plus software ranks among the highest in the industry.

Our review of McAfee’s antivirus programs takes an in-depth look at McAfee’s suite of three virus protection options, helping you pick the best antivirus software for your needs.


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New for the 2016 release of McAfee:

The yearly subscription to the software allows you to install McAfee virus protection on every device you own, truly redefining what it means to be completely protected from viruses and other malicious attacks.

The truly versatile system can be installed across multiple operating systems, including Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.

McAfee Antivirus Status Screenshot

Mcafee Antivirus System Status

For those who are looking for the most comprehensive protection...

McAfee offers three packages:

Known for its ease of use, McAfee is an excellent choice for those who are looking for a hands-off, integrated approach to internet security with an excellent user interface and easy to understand features.

McAfee Product Comparison

Compare the Features of the McAfee Products

Take a look at the rest of our McAfee review for our full recommendation.

Pros and Cons


  • Unlimited licenses
  • Thorough and accessible customer support
  • Intuitive user interface
  • A variety of packages
  • allowing you to purchase the software that best fits your needs
  • A wide menu of features
  • Well-reviewed and extremely effective anti-virus


  • Hefty price tag for those seeking only one installation
  • Slightly lower performance than other comparable anti-virus products
  • McAfee AntiVirus Plus does not come with some of the advanced features available in Internet Security and Total Protection

Ease of Use

McAfee’s antivirus software is well-known for being one of the most user-friendly available.

The simplicity of the dashboard makes operation of the anti-virus intuitive!

It ensures that all users can easily inform themselves about the security statuses of all their devices, whether at home or on the go.

The McAfee dashboard also makes it easy to perform on-demand quick scans or full scans at the touch of a button.

For users who don’t want to manually configure each setting, all the McAfee antivirus programs comes with all features enabled and pre-configured, making set-up easy.

Those who would like to manually configure individual settings can do so, but this is by no means necessary.

Reliability and Performance

Occasionally, McAfee has scored remarkably well on several third party lab testing, with scores ranging from good to excellent, but different labs and testing over time paints the complete picture of an antivirus software which isn't bad but also not that good.

McAfee’s virus protection software has also won awards from PC Magazine,, and AV-Comparatives, among others.


McAfee AntiVirus Software allows you install the software on all of your devices – Mac, Android, and iOS included.

McAfee Mac Virus Protection

On Macs, you can install the Mac version of McAfee Internet Security, a slightly less robust version than the Windows equivalent.

The essentials are included: malware quarantine and detection, download scanning, and warnings about apps that lack proper certificates.

The firewall component also enhances the existing firewall protection built into OS X.

The software also blocks access to phishing sites and other dangerous links and flags potentially dangerous search results and social media links in Firefox and Chrome.

McAfee Android Virus Protection

McAfee Antivirus Plus includes full protection for your Android devices.

The software includes malware scanning, automatically scanning new apps.

You can also lock any app with a PIN – useful if you share your device and would like certain apps to be off-limits.

The unique anti-theft protection includes remote locate, lock, wipe, and alarm managed through McAfee’s online portal.

Additional features include a “Battery Optimizer”, contacts back-up, Web Protection, and a handy tab that allows you to check your security status.

McAfee iOS Virus Protection

As a result of the lack of iOS malware, there isn’t a need for iOS antivirus software.

The McAfee iOS version instead allows the user to back up contacts, locate, wipe the device, and trigger an alarm in case of theft, and copy and store pictures inside of McAfee’s secure vault.


McAfee’s AntiVirus Plus contains a serious amount of features to ensure maximal protection for each of your devices.

Multi-Device Security

McAfee’s user-friendly dashboard gives the user an overview of the security status on each of the protected devices, regardless of operating system.

The current device appears largest at the top of the screen, with the other secured devices (alternate computers or mobile devices) indicated below.

While you can click to view their status (or for mobile devices, their location) you can’t remotely make any changes – changes to each device’s security need to be made on that device.

Adding another device is as simple as selecting “Protect more” from the bottom-left corner of the screen.

McAfee Antivirus Plus Software Status Screen

McAfee Multi-Device Management Screen


McAfee’s WebAdvisor, part of AntiVirus Plus, is an improvement on the brand’s old incarnation, SiteAdvisor.

WebAdvisor promotes safe internet browsing by checking all downloads for malware and warning about risky behaviors such as going online without the real-time virus protection turned on.

WebAdvisor also marks up search results and social media pages for potentially dangerous links, helping us distinguish between a helpful and a potentially harmful page before we even click on it.


Phishing sites, which try to steal sensitive information such as passwords and credit card numbers, are no match for the McAfee AntiVirus Plus software.

The antivirus program’s WebAdvisor component doesn’t just rely on a blacklist of bad URLs, but rather actively checks pages for signs of phishing.

In this manner, it is able to actively determine if a site could be dangerous – even if the site is new and previously unknown to the system.


McAfee is one of only several antivirus software providers that includes firewall protection in the basic antivirus package.

In tests of the firewall, the software has been found to perform admirably, providing 100% protection.

Given that Windows and Mac operating systems include an effective firewall, many of the other best antivirus software programs no longer include this feature, which is only critical in cases where the OS firewall is disabled or fails.

In line with McAfee’s emphasis on a user-friendly interface, the firewall runs seamlessly while in “Smart Access” mode.

This means that the firewall makes its own decisions about application permissions without interrupting the user.

Users who would like a greater degree of control over the firewall can set it to “Monitored Access” or taking advantage of the many options for the firewall’s configuration.

For example, one firewall feature called “Net Guard” allows internet access to questionable programs but then denies them “risky” connections.

Special Features

McAfee AntiVirus Plus includes several features that, while not key to virus protection, improve the user experience!

This has helped McAfee stand out from the crowd and become one of the best antivirus software options today.


Ever tried to delete a file from your hard drive completely?

Usually, when you delete something, it moves to the recycle bin, and then it needs to be deleted again...

But the deleted file’s data never really is wiped from your disk.

McAfee’s shredder lets you easily delete files completely and securely, ensuring that all the file’s data is completely erased and untraceable.

Quick Clean

This McAfee feature saves users time by cleaning up useless files and browsing history, freeing up space on your hard drive.

For a truly hands-off experience, users can save additional time by programming this feature to run on a weekly or monthly basis.

Vulnerability Scanner

This feature alerts the user to potential security threats created by not installing available operating system patches and due to outdated programs.

McAfee Internet Security and McAfee Total Protection Additional Features

While the anti-virus protection afforded by McAfee AntiVirus Plus suffices for most users, some of us require additional features to provide additional security for our online activity.

Users who require the features below should purchase McAfee Internet Security or McAfee Total Protection, which provide these additional layers of safety.

Parental Controls

For each child’s account on either Internet Security or Total Protection, you can configure it to block access to inappropriate websites.

You can even control the times that the child is allowed to access the internet!

McAfee Internet Security Parental Control Settings

McAfee Parental Control Settings


With either Internet Security or Total Protection, this McAfee software provides comprehensive spam filtering.

By default, the filter is set to a balanced level, aiming to keep spam out of your inbox but also to avoid marking safe emails as spam.

As tested by PC Magazine, the anti-spam worked with complete success without needing to adjust the filter – no tweaking needed.

Password Storage

The True Key password manager is new in this year’s edition of both Internet Security and Total Protection.

After easily installing the system, True Key will invite you to log in to a list of common sites so that it can gather and store your passwords.

From there on, it will capture all your logins and even suggest a password for you when you register for a new site.

Thanks to True Key, you’ll never forget another password!

Another feature of True Key is the “True Key Profile”.

This helps to add additional layers of authentication, including email, a second device, and even facial recognition via a front-facing camera.

McAfee True Key Password Manager Profile

McAfee True Key Password Manager Profile

Encryption Software

Available only on Total Protection, this feature, known as File Lock, lets you create encrypted file vaults to hold your most sensitive files.


McAfee Antivirus Plus is currently priced at a yearly plan of $59.99, with unlimited installations to your devices – Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.

McAfee’s other two more premium products – Internet Security with the additional identity management and Total Protection with identity management and privacy protection – will run you $79.99 and $89.99 respectively.

It’s important to consider that this pricing is on a yearly, subscription basis, for an unlimited amount of installations, making it a bit tricky to compare it to some of the other top 10 antivirus software products.

Money Back Guarantee

If for any reason you are not satisfied with the McAfee software and wish to return it, the program comes with a 30 day money-back guarantee.

Value for Money

Although it is a bit pricier than some of the other best antivirus software solutions available, the wide range of features that McAfee provides makes it one of the most popular antivirus programs.

In addition, its user-friendly, hands-off approach to internet security makes it particularly appealing to a wide audience.

Not only does it protect the user from the hazards of the internet, it also saves headaches and time by performing the most critical of its tasks automatically in the background, quietly recognizing dangerous files and links.

The biggest benefit of the McAfee AntiVirus Plus (and, accordingly, of the other McAfee products, Internet Security and Total Protection) is it can be installed on all your – and your family’s – devices.

If you have at least several devices to secure, it’s likely that McAfee’s antivirus software might represent the best value for you.

For not much more than some competitors charge for three licenses (or sometimes even just one!), McAfee AntiVirus Plus gives you unlimited licenses, allowing you to install on as many devices as you desire and manage them all together.

Customer Support

All of McAfee’s antivirus programs come with free 24/7 support for the duration of the subscription.

Included in the support are an online help center which includes:

Should users require or prefer a human support technician, you can easily contact a McAfee employee by telephone or online chat.


If you’re looking to add the protection of one of the best anti-virus programs away to your PC or mobile device, look no further than the McAfee AntiVirus Plus.

And, if you require additional security, McAfee’s more robust product offerings of Internet Security and Total Protection might do the job.

McAfee’s unique multi-device pricing and structuring represent a true game-changer, and also give this virus protection software a great value.

Check the McAfee site for product specifications and more information about how to best secure your online life with McAfee.

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Danielle P

A creative and literary prodigy with an astounding ability to write about anything. While Danielle doesn’t have a vast technical background, her research capabilities are limitless and she can write about anything her heart desires.

Recently acquired by Intel, McAfee now also goes by the name of Intel Security. McAfee provides average protection against online threats, so it's not a bad choice for virus protection. While the best antivirus companies limit the number of licenses you can purchase, McAfee offers to protect unlimited devices with one subscription. It's a great option for a large family, especially if you purchase the Internet Security plan which includes parental control.

Date published:March 6, 2017
6.6 / 10 stars


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