Overpriced For What You Get
Price & Value for Money
Price & Value for Money Rating: 5.0/10
Given its relative lack of quality, Safe Connect VPN is not cheap. The McAfee Safe Connect monthly package costs $7.99, or you can lower the cost to $2.92 if you pay for a year upfront.
The annual package also has the additional bonus of being eligible for a 30-day money back guarantee, whereas the monthly plan is not.
These prices are fine, but certainly not great. For just 50¢ extra per month, you are able to get access to our third favorite VPN provider IPVanish. You can read more about how IPVanish provides a much better bang for your buck in our full IPVanish review.
However, if you are interested in the broader McAfee product range, you can save a bit of money with McAfee Total Protection Ultimate. This bundle works out to be just $5 per month and includes access to Safe Connect, McAfee antivirus, McAfees password manager, and McAfees web protection software.
If you just want to test out McAfee Safe Connect, there is a decent free plan available. Youre not obliged to enter any email address or payment information to get access to the free tier ensuring that you dont get surprised by any unwanted outgoings on your next bank statement.
The McAfee support pages claim that the free plan only allows a VPN connection to your nearest server, but this is not true. We were able to connect to all 23 of Safe Connects servers, ranging from France to Singapore.
Why Did I Get An Expiration Warning
There are a couple of reasons why you might see a notice warning you that your McAfee antivirus protection has expired. If you have cancelled your CenturyLink internet service, you can no longer get CenturyLink Security by McAfee. You can still use other McAfee products, at your own choice and cost. If your device has been disconnected from the internet for over 30 days, you will get a warning. The McAfee program keeps itself updated and activated while it’s connected to the internet, so if you’ve been offline for too long, the program will not have been updated.
Mcafee Safe Connect VPN Security And Protocols
McAfee Safe Connect for PC and mobile uses the Catapult Hydra protocol for encryption and managing your private connection. This has been criticized because its not open source like OpenVPN and has had security vulnerabilities in the past.;
Catapult Hydra is Hotspot Shields proprietary protocol, developed by AnchorFree. Notably, this protocol isnt compatible with routers and consoles.
McAfee is not open about the protocol, which is a bit of a red flag. Another downside is that this is the only option available, and there is little in the way of tweaks or settings. You get what you get.
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Change Your VPN Software
PIA, also known as Private Internet Access is a great VPN software that will surely prevent you from encountering the wide range of issues you found with McAfee.
The features offered by this software not only surpass, but leave the features found in McAfee in the dust.
With top-of-the-range network connection encryption features, this software protects your identity online from any cyber-attack, and provides a safe environment for gaming and torrenting.
PIA works perfectly on a variety of operating systems, including Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome, etc. This ensures that no matter what device you use, you can still take advantage of the incredible set of options and features.
To make things even better, the user interface is extremely intuitive and easy to use, thus not requiring you to know any sort of networking-related terms to use it to the full extent of its capabilities.
How Good Is Mcafee Safe Connect VPN For Torrenting
McAfee Safe Connect torrent use and other P2P sharing are possible. You should be able to fire up your favorite P2P app and receive reasonable speeds, including when uploading, as long as youre securely connected. With the addition of a kill switch, even if theres uncertainty over their overall privacy policies, which you can read about below.;
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Make Sure That Your Pcs System Date And Time Is Correct
Sometimes you can face this issue if you move to a different time zone, but you can easily fix it by adjusting its settings:
After following these steps, your date and time should be automatically updated and the issue fixed.
Note that you can also click on the Change button, to manually set the correct values.
Check Your Internet Connection
Here are some important elements that you need to consider before checking out the solutions presented in this guide:
- Make sure you have a good, stable internet connection If not, contact your Internet Service Provider).
- Check the indicator lights on your router or modem If everything looks ok, contact your ISP.
- Connect to another network Doing so helps you determine if the issue is with your network or your router. This can also determine if your Internet Service Provider is censoring or restricting your VPNs connectivity
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Mcafee Safe Connect VPN Privacy And Jurisdiction
McAfee Safe Connect security is what you would expect from a VPN, but its logging policy is one of the worst. The cornerstone of a VPN is its ability to keep you anonymous. Not only does it fail to mention a logging policy at all, but in the course of this McAfee VPN review, I discovered it wanted my home address and phone number, not just payment info and an email address like most providers.
Furthermore, it logs private information, including:
- Session times
- Your IP addresses and geo-location
- Browser type
- The sites you visited before and after turning on the Safe Connect app
- And most flagrantly the requests you make while using a McAfee Safe Connect server itself.
That doesnt necessarily mean its handing any of this off to anyone else, but it certainly conflicts with the principles of a virtual private network. Youd struggle to find another provider that would collect such information.
More worrying is McAfees headquarters in the United States. The country is a member of the Five Eyes alliance, which requires companies to hand over data to the government if requested. Most VPNs have strict no-log policies, so theres nothing to hand over. McAfee does not seem to be such a fan of internet privacy.;
Of course, the old saying if youve got nothing to hide, youve got nothing to worry about might get bandied around. Other McAfee Safe Connect reviews suggest it could be appealing to its existing mass customer base, who are not well versed in the concept of VPNs.
Is Mcafee Safe Connect VPN Safe For Torrenting
Our direct answer in a word is no!
But why? We hear you ask.
Well, the prime issue with torrenting is that it has a gray reputation. The authorities, on a state-basis or country-basis, often aggressively block torrenting. Some regions even consider torrenting as illegal due to the potential piracy and copyright violation issues executed through this utility.
Therefore, if youre torrenting in a repressive region, you need a VPN that ensures your online activities utmost security and anonymity. You need a bold no-logs, highly secure, and customer-oriented platform.
Unfortunately, McAfee Safe Connect VPN does not fit into the category of safe VPNs. While it does protect you from malicious online tracking, it doesnt secure you from government surveillance.
In fact, they log your data, and they have publicly disclosed about the potential sharing of logs with governments as and when required legally.
It means if you perform any activity while using this VPN that violates the regulations of your country, this VPN wont protect you. Rather it will easily share your data with the government as and when asked. Eventually, youll have to face legal consequences for the violations.
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True Key Password Manager
Your McAfee Total Protection subscription also gets you premium access to the True Key password manager. In fact, you get five licenses for True Key, so five individuals in your household can each have their own personal password manager. And each of those users can install True Key on all their Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices. Please read our review for the nitty gritty on this product.
This tool has had a couple of enhancements since our previous review. It now supports Microsoft Edge, and it supports AutoFill in iOS.
True Key syncs nicely across devices, and supports a dazzling array of multifactor authentication options, including email verification, trusted device management, master password, fingerprint recognition, Windows Hello, and Apple Face ID. You can even reset a lost master password using multiple other authentication factors. With almost all other password managers, losing your master password means you’ve lost all your data.
True Key’s multifactor authentication system works nicely, and it handles standard password manager functions, but it lacks advanced features found in the best competing products. There’s no secure password sharing, password inheritance, or automated password updating. It doesn’t even fill personal data into web forms. Getting it free as part of this suite is great; if you paid for five licenses individually, they’d cost $99.95 per year. But you can do better by choosing one of our Editors’ Choice password managers.
Can Mcafee Safe Connect VPN Bypass Geoblocks
We should clarify that the VPN McAfee site promotes itself as having no geo-restrictions whatsoever. Weve already seen that this isnt always the case for streaming services. However, it unblocks bog-standard websites like GDPR-blocked news sites just fine.
When conducting my McAfee Safe Connect review, I found anything purely web-based without an added component like streaming or gaming can be unblocked. Thus, it deserves some credit for doing what a VPN should.
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How To Disable Mcafee Disable Mcafee In The Browser
McAfee has also implemented several browser extensions, such as McAfee WebAdvisor, which allows you to receive alerts about infected sites while browsing with Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer. If you have installed this extension and now you need to temporarily disable it, here are all the steps you need to take.
- Chrome if youre using the Chrome browser, click the button? located at the top right and select the items Other instruments> Extensions from the menu that appears. In the tab that opens, find the extension of McAfee and remove the check mark from the entry that affects the latter. The extension will be deactivated instantly.
How to disable McAfee
- Firefox if you use Mozilla Firefox, presses the button? located at the top right and select the item Add-ons from the menu that appears. In the tab that opens, click on the Extensions icon on the left, find the extension of McAfee and proceed to the deactivation of the latter by pressing the button Disable
How to disable McAfee
- Internet Explorer to disable the extension of McAfee in Internet Explorer, click on the gear icon located at the top right and select the item Manage additional components from the menu that appears. In the window that opens, click on the entries for McAfee extensions and click on the Disable button located at the bottom right.
How to disable McAfee
Learn How To Activate Mcafee VPN On Your Pc
Once you installed the software, you will need to activate it. Hence, look at the below-listed steps and follow them carefully.
- Launch the McAfee Safe Connect VPN software on your device. On the main window, read both the License Agreement and Privacy Notice by clicking on their specified links. If you agree, click on the Accept button.;
- In the next software window, click on I have an activation code link. You can acquire the activation code from the order confirmation that you have received when you made the purchase. So, mention the Mcafee 25-digit activation codeinto the space provided and then click on the Activate button.;
- If you are prompted to sign in, provide your true and valid credentials registered with McAfee for login into your account. Now, to detect your current Wifi network, click on the Refresh button.;
- Finally, click on the Start Protection tab to enable the security features of McAfee Safe Connect VPN. You may click on Stop Protection whenever you want to disable VPN on your device.
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Highlights Of Mcafee Safe Connect VPN
- With one subscription, you can use the VPN on up to 5 devices.
- The VPN is also available for free with data limitation.
- McAfee Safe Connect VPN can bypass geo-restriction on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other similar streaming platforms.
- The VPN has a built-in browser for your internet needs.
- It has free 24/7 customer support.
How Much Does Mcafee Total Protection Cost
McAfee has long been famed for its unlimited licensing practices. Previously, youd pay $119.99 per year for a license that allowed installation on every Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS device in your household. That unlimited license is still available, though it now costs $159.99. The old $119.99 price now gets you 10 licenses. You can also pay $99.99 for a five-license subscription, or $79.99 to protect a single, lonely device. But seriously, given that you can get unlimited licenses for roughly twice the one-device price, theres no point in meddling with those lower price points.
Why did McAfee back off from all-unlimited? My guess is that doing so let the company charge a more reasonable amount for no-limits security. At lower levels, pricing is in line with the competition. For example, the three-license price is the same as youd pay for an entry-level suite from Bitdefender or Kaspersky. The five-license price matches that of Kasperskys two top-tier suites. To get unlimited Norton 360 with LifeLock licenses, youd pay $349.99 per year. Admittedly, this also gets you top-level LifeLock support, 500GB of storage for your online backups, and unlimited VPN licenses. McAfee does include its own take on identity protection, but even at the top level it gives just five VPN licenses.
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Mcafee Safe Connect VPN Speed
Data has to travel through encrypted servers, resulting in speed drops whenever you use a VPN. To test how much of an impact McAfee had, I used SpeedTest.net to compare my unprotected internet connection speed with other servers provided by McAfee. My regular speed in the UK came out as follows:
When selecting the US as a location using McAfee Safe Connect desktop, speeds actually increased, suggesting some ISP throttling may be going on. However, the ping was more than double, which could be an issue for gaming lag if it gets much higher.
When using France as a location , speeds were even better without much ping difference at all. This reinforces the notion that McAfee can bypass ISP throttling. On the other hand, if you personally have particularly fast internet, the results might not be as impressive even if your ISP artificially slows down speeds.
As expected, going halfway across the world to New Zealand resulted in the biggest drop in the download speed of around 31% and almost seven times the ping latency. Meanwhile, upload speed stayed remarkably strong even faster than without the MacAfee Safe Connect protection.
To conclude, McAfee produces speeds well within the average for VPNs, despite not having a lot of locations. Moreover, in apparent cases of ISP throttling, it provides impressive results. I can upload faster from a server in New Zealand than when not using a VPN at all.
Mcafee 2021 Review: Bottom Line
From its basic Antivirus through Internet Security to Total Protection and LiveSafe, McAfee’s software and services hit most of the hot buttons for the security-conscious, often at a bargain rate considering how many devices can be covered by a single license.
The only major chinks in McAfee’s online armor are the lack of a dedicated defense against webcam hijacking or a hardened browser for online commerce, plus the fact that some other brands detect more malware. It’s also a bit stinky that the VPN and identity-theft protection won’t work if you turn off subscription auto-renewals.
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Live Support Is Not Very Helpful
Customer Support Rating: 4.0/10
Despite being convenient with its 24/7 availability, McAfee Safe Connects customer support is really poor.
McAfee shares one knowledge base for its entire suite of products, but of 360 total articles, only eight of them mention Safe Connect.
Like with the rest of Safe Connect, it proves here again to be the neglected child of McAfee.
Safe Connect does have a phone number that you can contact, but we were told on two separate occasions that we would be called back and these calls never came.
Frustratingly, the live chat disconnects multiple times during a conversation. It will reconnect, most of the time, but we completely lost contact a few times.
McAfee Safe Connect shares a support infrastructure with the broader McAfee product line and its clear the agents have not been adequately trained to deal with the VPN product.
The support agents were unable to answer routine questions, like whether Safe Connect could be used to bypass geo-restricted content and how many total VPN servers there are.
On top of this, Safe Connect seems stifled by the legacy baggage of McAfee. For example, you are forced to provide your full name, email address, and phone number before initiating a live chat.
For a product that exists to protect your personal information, the requirement to provide information that can be used to personally identify you is self-defeating.