McAfee antivirus review Australia

McAfee antivirus is one of the big antivirus names on the block. Let’s see how it fares for everyday use.

McAfee
McAfee antivirus
4 out of 5 stars
4
First-year price
$74.95 (three devices)
Threat protection
96.1% effective blocking
Free version
30-day trial
May 30, 2022
5 min read

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Quick verdict: McAfee antivirus
While we’d advise people dipping their toes in the antivirus waters start with a truly free version, I like that McAfee offers a 30-day trial without the need to input payment details. If you try McAfee you’ll find it’s easy to use and has some great features. Still, it has comparatively expensive initial and ongoing annual pricing, plus it’s a step behind its closest competitors when it comes to real-world threat protection in the latest tests.
pro
Pros
pro Easy to use
pro Lots of features
pro 30-day trial (no payment details)
con
Cons
con Comparatively behind on real-world threat protection
con Expensive pricing
con Parental controls only available for McAfee Premium

Compared to peers like Norton, Bitdefender, Kaspersky, Avast and AVG, McAfee is an expensive antivirus service. The cheapest version of McAfee costs $64.95 for the first year before reverting to a $99.95 annual fee, but that’ll only protect one device.

It’s more practical, then, to go with McAfee Standard as the starting plan, which protects up to three devices on PC, Mac, Android or iOS. McAfee Standard costs $64.95 for the first year but is typically $119.95 per year. McAfee Plus protects five devices for an initial $84.95 annual fee (typically $149.95 per year), while McAfee Premium covers up to 10 devices per year for $94.95 (normally $195.95).

In comparisons to other antivirus software competitors, McAfee has the best value for McAfee Standard in terms of typical pricing and the lowest price jump between first-year and ongoing fees. Still, it’s beaten out in every other pricing comparison by one of the aforementioned antivirus providers.

Photograph of McAfee Antivirus in store

How much does McAfee antivirus cost in Australia?

Starts at $64.95 for your first year.

Compared to peers like Norton, Bitdefender, Kaspersky, Avast and AVG, McAfee is an expensive antivirus service. The cheapest version of McAfee costs $64.95 for the first year before reverting to a $99.95 annual fee, but that’ll only protect one device.

It’s more practical, then, to go with McAfee Standard as the starting plan, which protects up to three devices on PC, Mac, Android or iOS. McAfee Standard costs $64.95 for the first year but is typically $119.95 per year. McAfee Plus protects five devices for an initial $84.95 annual fee (typically $149.95 per year), while McAfee Premium covers up to 10 devices per year for $94.95 (normally $195.95).

In comparisons to other antivirus software competitors, McAfee has the best value for McAfee Standard in terms of typical pricing and the lowest price jump between first-year and ongoing fees. Still, it’s beaten out in every other pricing comparison by one of the aforementioned antivirus providers.

McAfee everyday user experience

Easy to install and straightforward to use.
McAfee Antivirus app screen

If you’re curious about McAfee, start with the 30-day trial, which is available on any of the four supported platforms: PC, Mac, iOS and Android. While it’s not great to see parental controls paywalled behind more expensive versions, there’s also a 30-day trial of McAfee Safe Family, which is a separate download.

Across my Windows and Android tests, McAfee is as easy to use as you’d expect from antivirus software these days. You do need to create an account for the free trial, but you can use your 30 days across multiple devices. In terms of day-to-day use, it’s great to see functions contextualised with a punchy description.

If you just want McAfee for real-time threat protection, it’ll happily run in the background as you go about your internet goings-on. Running manual threat scans takes between five and 15 minutes to complete, and you shouldn’t have any trouble with playing around with basic protection features on computer or mobile versions.

Info Box
What is McAfee?
McAfee is a global security company based in America. Despite some name changes over the years, McAfee has been around since 1987 and is renowned for software security solutions for computers and mobile devices.

McAfee virus protection and performance impact

Very effective at blocking threats but still a step behind the competition.

In recent real-world threat protection tests from the respected analysts at AV-Comparatives, McAfee had some promising results when it came to the main function of its antivirus. It blocked 96.1% of the tested threats, with only 1.1% threats and 2.8% user-dependent threats let through. McAfee also reported a low number of false positives (four). While those numbers are impressive, McAfee is behind Norton and Bitdefender (both blocked 100% of threats) as well as AVG, Avast and Kaspersky (all blocked 99.4% of threats). Check out the full scores below.

AV provider
Compromised
User dependent
Blocked
False positives
Norton0%0%100%35
Bitdefender0%0%100%6
Kaspersky0.60%0%99.40%1
AVG0.60%0%99.40%2
Avast0.60%0%99.40%2
McAfee1.10%2.80%96.10%4

AV-Test tests a little differently across PC, Mac and Android platforms (not iOS, unfortunately), and grades antivirus providers from zero to six across protection, performance and usability metrics. The latest versions of McAfee were recently tested by AV-Test on Android and Windows, and McAfee earned an almost-perfect scorecard. Android was slightly lacking for protection, with a 5.5 rating instead of the sixes everywhere else. Check out how McAfee fares in comparison to other close competitors on the AV-Test scores below.

Antivirus
Protection
Performance
Usability
Avast Mobile Security 6.46 (Android)666
Avast Security 15.1 (MacOS)666
Avast Free AntiVirus 21.11 (Windows)666
AVG AntiVirus Free 6.46 (Android)666
AVG AntiVirus 20.1 (MacOS)666
AVG Internet Security 21.11666
At the time of writing, the Real-World Protection Test Feb–Mar 2022 was the latest analysis available from AV-Comparatives, while it was a mix of March and February 2022 tests for AV-Test

McAfee additional features

Some great advanced features, though parental controls are paywalled.

When you pay for a reputable antivirus service these days, you can safely expect that it’s built to handle both viruses and malware. Given the rising subscription costs, though, it’s also great when an antivirus service offers more security add-ons.

McAfee antivirus bundles a bunch of great extra features. It starts with a nonintrusive firewall and digital file shredder, then extends to handy features like a web protection and the option to monitor up to 10 email addresses for identity threats. There’s an unlimited VPN for up to five devices, but we wouldn’t recommend the McAfee VPN over some of other best VPN picks.

All of these features are available across versions, including McAfee Basic, but parents may be tempted to pay extra for McAfee Premium to access parental controls.

Is McAfee antivirus software worth paying for?

An easy-to-use antivirus service with solid features.

McAfee is a solid place to start if you’re happy to go with the 30-day trial to see what the antivirus fuss is all about. For those who do go on to pay, you’ll receive respectable real-time threat protection that’s not as flash as competitors, but there are some great advanced features that help boost the overall value.

How we review antivirus software

We understand that the main job of antivirus software is to effectively protect devices from viruses, malware and, ideally, other looming threats like ransomware. While our team collectively shares decades of experience across consumer tech and software, we lean on antivirus experts when it comes to real-time threat protection.

AV-Comparatives and AV-Test are the two big ones, and we use their latest available reports at the time of reviewing to determine how effective antivirus software is at blocking real-world threats. AV-Test also performs tests to determine the performance impact of antivirus software and its usability, across three of the four main platforms that antivirus services tend to protect.

Our more active hands-on testing involves downloading, installing and using antivirus software or apps under everyday conditions. We test across computer and mobile versions and keep an eye out for any instances where it impacts everyday functionality. When it comes to scoring, we value real-time threat protection above all else, then factor in pricing (initial and ongoing) relative to the competition and included features.

McAfee FAQs

Here are the most frequently asked questions about McAfee antivirus
Yes, McAfee is a good antivirus program and, in terms of its advanced features, it’s great in some areas. That said, there are alternatives like Norton or Bitdefender that offer better real-time threat protection.
While McAfee and Norton scored identical reviews for us, we think Norton has the edge because of its superior real-time threat protection. McAfee has a longer trial, though, that doesn’t require payment details.

No, unlike other antivirus services, there isn’t a fully free version of McAfee. That said, there is a 30-day trial. 

Nathan Lawrence
Written by
Nathan Lawrence
Nathan Lawrence has been banging out passionate tech and gaming words for more than 11 years. These days, you can find his work on outlets like IGN, STACK, Fandom, Red Bull and AusGamers. Nathan adores PC gaming and the proof of his first-person-shooter prowess is at the top of a Battlefield V scoreboard.

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