McAfee Total Protection review: A new interface and a low price can’t save McAfee

McAfee has parted ways with former owner Intel – and found a fresh new look. Gone is the clunky grey and green interface of yore, replaced by a more tasteful, modern design.

The main functions now lurk at the bottom of the homescreen: from here you can scan for viruses, check your system for vulnerabilities and outdated apps, and clean up cookies and junk files. You can also set up True Key – an advanced password manager that supports face and fingerprint recognition alongside regular passwords, and works across Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. The free version lets you store up to 15 passwords, but your McAfee subscription comes with unlimited access for up to five users – a nice touch that others could learn from.

Browse through the program settings and you’ll also find McAfee’s firewall: it’s annoying to configure, though, thanks to an interface that frustratingly hides everything in dropdown menus. A rudimentary parental control module lets you set simple screen-time limits, and block or allow 20 categories of website.

File-security features are included too – there’s a shredder that lets you permanently delete sensitive files, to ensure they can’t be recovered, while the standalone File Lock utility lets you store private files in encrypted archives. The only catch here is that, as with Bitdefender, you need to have the McAfee software installed to access your encrypted files, so it’s not ideal for sharing confidential data with others.

McAfee Total Protection review: Verdict

Despite a new interface and a low price, therefore, we can only advise you to steer well clear. After all, this is a suite that stopped fewer viruses than Windows 10’s built-in Defender client – and managed to pick up more false positives. In other words, installing McAfee Total Protection leaves you at greater risk than doing nothing at all.