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Compare McAfee vs Norton

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Norton Antivirus.
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McAfee vs Norton: Which One is the Best in 2020?

As inconvenient as it is, the progress in malware appears as fast as it is in security software, if not even faster. In fact, it is the reason why antiviruses get hundreds of updates. The more dynamic and adjustable an antivirus is, the better protection it offers, as malware developers get extremely creative in their ways of accessing your computer and your data. Attackers become more sophisticated in their approach to hacking, which is why antivirus solutions must be complex and holistic to prevent malware from accessing your gear. 

To pick the best level of protection, you should consider your particulate security needs. They are determined by the way and purpose of using the computer as well as the level of protection that the antivirus suggests, its set of features, and, clearly, its price. Today, many antiviruses offer a decent set of features even in the free version, but, unfortunately, it may not be enough. To help you clarify what is best for your particular case and what features to look for in security software, we will compare McAfee and Norton antiviruses. They both have a good reputation in the market and a great deal of customers. Yet, one of them may suit you better than the other, so we will find out which one it is. 

In this comparison, we will take a close look at the vendors, their features, and security capacities. Also, we will review their compatibility with various devices and the frequency of updates that they have. Here, you will see what is better for protecting your particular device based on what you usually do on your computer.

Features Comparison of Norton vs McAfee

The first thing to tell about the two antiviruses is their overall reliability, regardless of the particular features and their performance. To support it with numbers, we use the results of laboratory tests. According to figures, Norton internet security shows better results in blocking zero-day attacks and potential threats, as it handled 100% of them. However, McAfee demonstrated the 98.7% reliability, which is close to perfection but not identical to it. Still, both antiviruses did great at blocking the malware that is already known. 

We will look closer at the features and tools the programs offer for different platforms and their performance. It is a section about the paid plans for each antivirus, and we will talk about free plans later on.

McAfee Antivirus

McAfee LiveSafe Interface.

The first on the table is the cheapest individual plan for McAfee that is quite impressive in terms of features-to-price ratio. It clearly detects and blocks malware, yet, this version goes with a firewall for protecting your home network. With this feature, you hotspot at home, and all the devices connected to it are protected from hackers. Another feature for your convenience and security is the use of traffic: the antivirus will block the emerging videos from playing automatically. 

Another security feature in the package is a reliable password manager. It keeps your credentials in one place, and they are always accessible to you. If your passwords are not strong enough, the program can suggest a strong combination and save it for you, so you don’t even have to memorize the characters. You can change the generated passwords as well, and McAfee will save it for you. Plus, you can secure storage protected with 256-bit AES encryption along with the basic McAfee plan. It keeps the files on your computer safe. If there are any sensitive files you wish to delete with no trace, there is McAfee Shredder.  

Another feature worth mentioning is Safe Web Browsing. It blocks suspicious and risky sites while you surf the internet. If there are any threats on the internet, the antivirus will detect and disable them before they can harm your gear. Your security is enhanced by online support and full technical assistance. You can connect them at any time should you have questions. 

As for the more expensive McAfee plans, the multi-device ones offer apps for different devices at your disposal. Additionally, they have an advanced feature of Identity Theft Protection. It is quite handy for identity monitoring and recovery in case it is stolen. Finally, the most expensive package is the Family plan. Another feature that goes in it is Save Family that makes limitations for children online.

Norton Antivirus

Norton Antivirus Full System Scan.

Admittedly, Norton proves to have a broader range of features than McAfee. Besides, there are some unique functions available only in it. The cheapest package in the line is Norton AntiVirus Plus. It provides protection malware, viruses, spyware, and ransomware. There is also a firewall to keep your computer and data safe from online threats.

This plan already has a Cloud Backup feature. It backups the data on your computer automatically. All the data is perfectly safe in the cloud repository in case anything happens to your device. Norton has a Password Manager, just as McAfee does. What is different in this feature is the Virus Protection Promise. The promise is that the company will return you money for the device if your device gets an unremovable virus. 

The next stage in Norton is the 360 Standard package. There are significantly more useful features than the cheaper plan. There is a VPN service in it, which protects your connection if you use public Wi-Fi spots. Another advanced feature is PC SafeCam. It is a function that protects your webcam from hacking. This plan also monitors the Dark Web to prevent data leakage and ensure the security of your data and identity. 

The Norton 360 Deluxe package will be perfect for you if you have children. There is a parental control feature that ensures children’s online security, access to possibly sensitive content, and accidental transactions. The most expensive plan is Norton 360 with LifeLock Select. The extra feature in it is Identity protection: it will notify you if anything happens to your credentials. Should anything happen to it, Norton’s Identity Restoration Specialists are there to settle the situation. 

Another security feature in the mentioned plan is the protection of your wallet. The logic behind it is as follows: if your physical wallet gets stolen, so can be your identity, so you can use it to manage credit cards or documents that were in your wallet. Another promise, along with it, is your expenses covered if you cannot restore your identity when it is stolen. The company offers $1 million for that. On top of that, Norton watches after everything about your credit file and makes sure there is no fraud related to it. 

With a close look at functionality and variety of features McAfee and Norton present, it is a clear Norton’s win. It concerts both a variety of features and the way software presents them. 

Сomparison McAfee vs Norton for Android

There are applications for Android in both Norton and McAfee plans. Both of the antiviruses do a decent job of protecting the device from different kinds of threats. McAfee’s app is there protecting the device from malware, ransomware, and viruses. It scans all the installed apps on the phone or tablet, checks the wireless connection, and scans the files. There is a VPN service Safe Web Browsing, for Android devices as well. They protect your gear while you use public or unsecured networks. With this app, your mobile device is as protected as your computer.

McAfee Mobile Security.

You can set the app to block the chosen apps or prevent unauthorized access to them. If your device is stolen, the company promises to help you recover it. If the battery on your phone is not the strangers, McAfee app has the instruments to improve its performance. 

As for Norton’s app for Android, it protects the device from malware, ransomware, and viruses and well. However, some features make it stand out and win the competition with McAfee. So it is the feature protecting you from adware and privacy leaks. The application scans the entire device for vulnerabilities and secures the spots that may allow hackers to get into your device. The mobile antivirus detects malicious sites, determines spam, and blocks fraud calls.

Norton Mobile Security interface.

In fact, both antiviruses do a good job on Android devices. McAfee and Norton give comprehensive protection with their different approaches and sets of functions. The decision is up to you, as only you can tell what is more important in your situation.

Сomparison McAfee vs Norton for Mac

There is a popular myth that MacOS computers are invincible to viruses and thus do not need any additional security software. Unfortunately, it is not so. The truth is that modern Mac computers are as vulnerable to different and especially new viruses as Windows are. To protect them, Norton and McAfee offer antiviruses as well.

McAfee Antivirus for Mac.

The features of every antivirus are already described above, so all we need here is a little recap. The basic set of features in McAfee protects the device from malware and ransomware. It provides a firewall, a Password Manager, and a secure storage space for the files. There is a Shredder tool to wipe files with no trace and the feature that blocks websites from auto-playing videos. The next level of paid protection goes with the Identity Protection feature. The most expansive plan is for those with kids who want to secure their online experience.

Norton Antivirus for Mac protection.

Just like McAfee, Norton has all the mentioned security features and a firewall. There are almost the same Password Manager and storage backup in the basic plan. What is more, Norton promises to cover your expenses if the software fails to protect your device from an unremovable virus. The next-level package includes VPN, webcam, and identity protection. The higher-priced plan is there to protect your children online, and the most expensive suite contains all the extra features for multiple devices. All of the same features go in antiviruses for Mac.

McAfee vs Norton for Windows

The software from both McAfee and Norton is the same, whether it is Mac or PC. No need to review the features again, so better to check how the promised functions perform.

McAfee LiveSafe: review, pros and cons, installation, interface.

McAfee’s set of features is standard, yet the combination of all makes the protection comprehensive and reliable. Whether you surf the internet, install software, or download files, you can be sure your Windows device is safe. However, Norton’s comparison proves the webcam security feature to be lacking, as it is now a common practice for hackers to spy their victims via the camera and then blackmail them.

Norton Antivirus for Windows, installation.

Conversely, there is a webcam security feature in Norton antivirus. However, while McAfee is about the security of your particular device, Norton is about the security of your identity. The initial plans are similar to those of McAfee, yet, the Standard Norton plan already has a Dark Web monitoring for any violation of your identity security.

The security of your identity increases along with the price for each plan. The functions that go in the most expensive plans are designed for situations that are nearly impossible in everyday life. Yet, it is nice to know they are taken care of. The bottom line is that it is up to you what to choose, and the features introduced make the user feel safe.

Compare McAfee Free vs Norton Free

If you are looking for a free antivirus, none of the companies offer it. However, they both understand the importance of testing before buying, so they offer a free trial. If you are curious about McAfee, you can use the McAfee Total Protection during the trial period. It ensures protection from viruses and malware, Safe Browsing feature, password manager, and the encrypted storage for local files. On top of that, you can try the identity protection features and see if they work for you.

McAfee Free Antivirus.

If you want to try McAfee, you don’t have to provide any credit card data. It works for the first 30 days and then gets inactive. Based on your experience then, you can either purchase the chosen plan or delete the software without paying for anything.

Norton Antivirus Free.

There are three free trials you can choose from if you want to try Norton antivirus. One of them is for Android devices. During the free trial, you get access to all the paid features for 30 days and take your time to decide if it works for you. The same principle works for iOS devices. So, whatever your mobile platform is, you can try Norton antivirus on it.

If you want to try it on a computer, whether it is PC or Mac, you can access the Family Premier plan with everything good about Norton antivirus. As you can see in the sections above, this plan is packed with features, and you can try all of them during the 30 days of the trial period.

McAfee vs Norton Price Comparison

PackageFirst-Year PricingRegular price
McAfee Total Protection Individual $34.99$79.99
McAfee Total Protection Multi-Device$39.99$99.99
McAfee Total Protection Family$39.99$119.99
Norton AntiVirus$19.99
Norton 360 Standard$39.99$79.99
Norton 360 Deluxe$49.99$99.99
Norton with LifeLock Select$99.99$149.99

McAfee’s Individual plan offers:

  • Protection from viruses, malware, and other threats
  • Firewall
  • Bandwidth minimization (blocks auto-play videos)
  • Password Manager
  • Safe Browsing
  • File Shredder
  • Encrypted Storage
  • Online Support

The Multi-Device suite supports different devices and adds Identity Protections to all the listed features. And the Family plan also protects kids online.

Norton’s AntiVirus plan offers:

  • Protection from spyware, viruses, malware, and ransomware
  • Online Threat Protection
  • Cloud Backup (2GB cloud storage)
  • Firewall
  • Password Manager
  • Cost coverage if you catch and unremovable virus

Norton 360 Standard also offers:

  • 10GB cloud storage
  • Web camera protection
  • Dark Web monitoring

Norton 360 Deluxe offers 50GB cloud storage and parental control feature. And the LifeLock Select provides users with lots of advanced identity protection features and 100GB cloud storage.

Which is Better: McAfee or Norton?

As you can see, there are plenty of nuances to each antivirus in this McAfee and Norton comparison. All the criteria suggest that one is eventually better than another. As for detecting and blocking zero-day attacks, Norton is better. However, the user experience turned out to be better in McAfee.

Both antiviruses have decent packages of features, although the focus is placed differently: on the security of the gear in McAfee and on the security of the identity in Norton. So, this is purely up to the user what is more important to them.

Finally, the two antiviruses are in the same price range regarding the features they offer and the performance of the features. If you want basic protection for your device, you can get all you need with Norton for $20 a year, as the antivirus did great in the competition. However, make sure you remember to check if the price changes, as it can be different the following year.

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Highlights McAfee vs Norton


  • Intuitive navigation and simple interface
  • High-quality real-time virus and malware scanning
  • Protection against ransomware
  • Excellent customer support
  • Detects 99% of malicious files and URLs


  • Full-featured protection
  • One of the most user-friendly and intuitive options on the market
  • Offers great value for money
  • 60-day money-back guarantee 
  • Protection for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices
  • Doesn’t need much processing power to run in the background
  • Various Norton Security packages to choose from

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