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McAfee Total Protection Review

McAfee Total Protection is a real Swiss Army antivirus package, comprising parental controls, file deletion, a password manager and system optimisation tools, as well as automatic and manual malware scanning. But how does it stand up to the competition?


McAfee Total Protection doesn’t protect as effectively or reliably as Windows Defender, and none of its extra modules are particularly remarkable when compared to its biggest rivals.


  • Wide range of security and system optimisation tools
  • Low impact on system performance


  • High renewal costs
  • Lower protection rating than Windows Defender

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £44.99
  • Clients for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS
  • 10 devices
  • Firewall
  • Browser link checking
  • Password manager
  • Silent detection mode
  • Parental controls

What is McAfee Total Protection?

McAfee, currently operated as a joint venture between Intel and private equity firms TPG Capital and Thoma Bravo, has improved both its system malware protection and its impact on system resources in recent years.

We continually check thousands of prices to show you the best deals. If you buy a product through our site we will earn a small commission from the retailer – a sort of automated referral fee – but our reviewers are always kept separate from this process. You can read more about how we make money in our Ethics Policy.


Total Protection

Sign up to McAfee Total Protection and start surfing the net with peace of mind on a whopping ten devices. For just £39.99 for your first year, saving you £50 as well as a 30-day money back guarantee.

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McAfee Total Protection – Features, set-up and usability

McAfee has to be activated online, a process which creates an account for you and enables auto-renewal. You can deactivate this at any point – which we strongly recommend doing – and you can avoid setting it up by closing the payment information box when it appears.

Total Protection is massively feature-packed, including not only McAfee’s antivirus engine for real-time, on-demand and scheduled malware scanning, but also McAfee’s password manager, parental controls, file deletion and system optimisation tools.

McAfee’s default firewall rules aren’t as stringent as some of its rivals, and it didn’t balk at our use of RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) over a public network – a plus for usability, but a warning about network status would have been welcome.

Total Protection’s App Boost feature, enabled by default, reassigns system resources to demanding applications on the fly, while a Web Boost can be set up to make auto-playing videos load more smoothly. They’re not make-or-break tools, nor are they unique, but McAfee Internet Security – which includes the same utilities – did conspicuously well in AV-TEST’s latest performance and system impact assessments, getting a full six out of six points, with conspicuously quick application launch speeds compared to Windows Defender.

There are also the usual cookie removal tools, web protection extensions and a file encryption utility. The Safe Connect VPN, available as an add-on or included in some versions of Total Protection, such as that provided for review, supports up to five simultaneous connections, keeps logs, has endpoints in 22 countries and was detected by Netflix in the U.S. If you don’t have a subscription, there’s also a free version with a 250MB per month data cap.

Related: Best Antivirus 2019

McAfee Total Protection – Performance

Testing facility AV-TEST AV-Comparatives SE Labs
Real-World Threat Protection 99.45% 99.7% 99%

McAfee’s antivirus engine typically does well in tests. It protected against 99% of threats in the most recent SE Labs real-world malware exposure tests, with no false positives, and 99.7% of AV-Comparatives’ real-world tests, with three false positives. It protected against all AV-TEST’s reference samples, but its accuracy dropped to 98.9% for one month’s worth of real-world zero-day malware. Please note, however, that Windows Defender, which comes free with your operating system, provided better protection against malware in all three firms’ latest tests.

Should I buy McAfee Total Protection?

If you buy it direct from McAfee, Total Protection is among the most expensive security suites on the market, with a £44.99 first-year subscription fee that goes up to £89.99 for subsequent renewals.

However, it’s more generous than most of its rivals, with a single subscription getting you 10 cross-platform installs. McAfee Internet Security has most of the same features, without parental controls and for only one user, at £34.99 for your first year.

In either case, you should be able to get a better price by buying a retail edition, but currently Total Protection isn’t as effective as Windows Defender or feature-packed commercial rivals Kaspersky Internet Security and Symantec Norton 360 Deluxe.


McAfee Total Protection and McAfee Internet Security offers a compelling range of security and privacy tools, even if the latest round of testing sees the malware detection aspect of these suites pale in comparison to paid rival Symantec and the free Windows Defender offering.

We continually check thousands of prices to show you the best deals. If you buy a product through our site we will earn a small commission from the retailer – a sort of automated referral fee – but our reviewers are always kept separate from this process. You can read more about how we make money in our Ethics Policy.

Best Paid Antivirus

Symantec Norton 360 Deluxe

Norton 360 Deluxe includes both antivirus and vpn software protection on up to 5 devices. Sign up for a year and save 62%.

Kaspersky Total Security

This multi-award winning cyber security product will protect you at all angles - from hackers, to malware and viruses. Sign up to Kaspersky Total Security for a year and save 30% off plus free installation.

Bitdefender Total Security 2020

Bitdefender Total Security 2020 - Rated 3rd top antivirus software on the market. Sign up now for a year and receive a near 60% off. This allows you to stay secure on the internet on up to 5 of your personal devices.

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