At a Glance
- Good, customizable set of security tools for multiple devices
- Background scanning feature comes in handy
- Program feels laggy when initially launched
- McAfee demands your credit/debit card to create an account and download and use the software, even on a 30-day trial basis
McAfee Total Protection offers some good tools with good background protection and customization as well as an easy means of keeping your devices secure, but the fine print for not ending the 30-day trial on time makes one wince…
For years, the name McAfee has been synonymous with antiviral and security software. Its Total Protection suite for the macOS continues to be steadily updated (currently version 184.108.40.206) and offers a good suite of anti-viral, anti-malware, identity protection, VPN, and scheduling tools.
As expected, Total Protection’s bread and butter of antiviral and anti-malware tools remains ever-present, and it’s easy to download the software, install it, give it its requisite access to your hard drive through the macOS Privacy and Security settings, update the virus definitions, and go from there.
The software allows you to perform a full scan of your hard drive as well as scan custom locations such as external volumes, schedule scan times, and control the actions of what Total Protection does when it finds suspect files, such as notifying you, quarantining them, or deleting the files.
A real-time background scanning feature not only comes in handy but is able to catch suspect files as they surface and then offers you a choice as to what to do with the detected files. During my tests, it located and quarantined two suspected virus files I didn’t know about, thereby earning its keep.
McAfee Total Protection locates two suspect files during a background scan.
Total Protection’s ID Protection tool may be spartan, but it’s still effective. The program compares your email address to known data and password breaches, then offers a detailed view as to what information may have been compromised. It can’t fix the past, but it can tell you which of your subscriptions have been compromised and which passwords to reset.
Total Protection locates a suspect file and offers options as to what to do with it.
Where network security is concerned, Total Protection adds a reliable firewall and allows you to quickly set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) through its Secure VPN feature. This allows you to customize your location and functions as a basic VPN for when you might have to access a public Wi-Fi network or hotspot on the road. Devoted VPN clients offer additional features and customization, but this can work in situations where you’re on the road and have to hop online safely. McAfee still offers its WebAdvisor web browser extensions for free outside of the Total Protection suite, and they act as a filter but will need to be downloaded and installed separately from the Total Protection package.
Secure VPN setup in Total Protection.
McAfee’s Total Protection package extends up to five devices on one account, so it’s easy to add the app to other Macs, iPhones, iPads, and Android-based phones and tablets as needed, then log into your account on those devices. The software allows you to scan the wireless network you may be on and gauges your security, offering suggestions as to how to improve it if needed.
When we reviewed the previous version in 2021, McAfee Total Protection felt laggy when initially launched, and this hasn’t changed. While the software is quick and responsive after initially loading, this felt out of place on an M2-based MacBook Pro.
The largest caveat is the fact that downloading and installing a 30-day free trial of the software requires you to not only create an account but also requires you to enter your credit/debit card information. Once this account has been created, you face the fine print, which can be found here. McAfee also makes it difficult to cancel your subscription, and you’ll have to go to this page to turn off the auto-renewal function, which then generates two screens in which they cite the attributes of the program and make sure you want to stay.
Should you decide to stay with Total Protection, the software will cost you $39.99 / £34.99 for the first year, and offer protection for up to five devices. After the first year that price goes up to $119.99/£95.99 a year. Alternatively, in the UK you can sign up for two years and pay £69.99 upfront, this deal doesn’t appear to be available in the U.S. unfortunately.
Total Protection spots and eradicates a wide range of potential threats and unwanted software activity, and it can cover mobile devices as well as Macs and PCs. We did notice an impact on our Mac’s performance during our tests but overall it did its job well and was usually quite unobtrusive.
You can also read about other packages we’ve reviewed in our roundup of the best Mac antivirus software.