How to Turn off McAfee Antivirus?

This guide is all about How to Turn off McAfee antivirus software on your Windows or Mac laptops.

With over five hundred million customers worldwide, McAfee antivirus has a well-deserved reputation for security and reliability. When browsing the internet nowadays, it’s always a great idea to have an antivirus to protect your computer. From malware in spam emails to sketchy links and pop-up ads, there are many ways for malicious agents to infiltrate your PC. A strong antivirus like McAfee keeps you safe from all that.

However, a time may come when you want to disable your McAfee antivirus. Perhaps you’ve decided to switch to some competing antivirus product. Or, McAfee is erroneously blocking some apps or sites you want to access. Maybe you want to free up some space on your PC or are annoyed by the constant notifications! Either way, turning off your McAfee software is relatively straightforward. However, there are several steps you need to follow.

To make your life easy, we’ve sketched out a detailed process of how to turn off your McAfee antivirus. To know more, keep reading!

Turn off McAfee Antivirus on Windows:

To turn off your McAfee antivirus software on a PC running the Windows OS, follow these steps:

  • Open the McAfee program: Click on the Windows icon in the bottom left corner of your screen. In the search bar that appears, search for “McAfee.” Doing so searches in your computer for the McAfee program. From the search results list that appears, click on the option “McAfee® TotalProtection.” This will be at the very top of the results list, with the caption “Desktop App” below the name.
  • Open PC Security: In the upper left corner of the taskbar, between Home and Identity, you will see the option PC Security. Click on it. Then, at the top of the menu on the left side of the screen, you will see the option Real-Time Scanning. Open this tab.
  • Turn off Real-Time Scanning: In the upper right corner of the page, you will find the option to “Turn Off” Real-Time Scanning. Turn it off. A drop-down menu will then appear, giving you a list of options for the time limit after which your PC should reactivate Real-Time Scanning. The time limits are in 15-minute increments – 15 minutes, 30 minutes, and so on. If you want to keep McAfee disabled until you manually turn it back on, select the option “Never” at the very bottom of the menu. Then, turn off Scanning and exit this page.
  • Open Firewall: In the same menu on the left side of the page where you located Real-Time Scanning, you will find the Firewall tab. This will be just below Real-Time Scanning. Open this Tab.
  • Turn off Firewall: Again, on the upper right-hand side of the page, you’ll see the option to Turn Off Firewall. Choose this option. If your Firewall page is blank, your McAfee Firewall is already turned off. Otherwise, you will again see a drop-down menu of time limits until the Firewall reactivates. Select “Never” from the bottom of the menu, then turn off the Firewall. Exit this page by clicking the “x” in the window’s top right corner.
  • Turn off Automatic Updates: In the same menu on the left side of the page, below “Firewall,” you will see the tab for Automatic Updates. Open this tab. Again, in the upper right corner of the page, there will be the option to Turn Off Automatic Updates. Select this option, and then exit the page.
  • Turn on Scheduled Scans: In the same menu on the left side of the page, click on Scheduled Scans, just below Automatic Updates. In the upper right corner of the page, find the button to Turn Off Scheduled Scans. Click on it.

McAfee Antivirus software’s services on your PC are now disabled! If the above process doesn’t work, you can go the scorched earth method of removing McAfee Antivirus from your PC entirely.

In the Settings Menu, go to the list of Apps. Scroll down until you find McAfee. If you click on it, you will be presented with the option to Uninstall. Click on Uninstall, and follow the instructions on your screen till the software is completely removed from your PC.

Process of turning off McAfee Antivirus on Mac:

If you want to turn off McAfee Antivirus on a PC running the macOS, follow these steps:

  • Open the McAfee Antivirus Program: On the upper right side of your PC’s menu bar, you’ll see a white “M” on a red shield icon. This is the McAfee Antivirus icon. Click on it to open the McAfee program. If you can’t find the icon, go to the search bar in the upper right corner of the page. Type in “McAfee,” and then click the option subtitled Internet Security.
  • Open Total Protection Console: At the bottom of the McAfee drop-down menu, you’ll find the option Total Protection Console. Click on it and open the Console.
  • Open Home: On the upper left side of the open page, you’ll see a tab called Home. Open this tab. Then, in the upper right corner of the Home tab, you’ll see the gear icon that represents Settings. Click on it to open Settings.
  • Open Real-Time Scanning: A drop-down menu will appear if you click on the gear icon. At the top of this menu is the option for Real-Time Scanning. Click on it.
  • Turn off Real-Time Scanning: First, click the lock icon. Then, type in your administrator password, and select OK. Click the Real-Time Scanning toggle in the top right corner to turn off this feature. Then, close the window.
  • Open and disable Firewalls: Click the gear icon again; in the drop-down menu just beneath Real-Time Scanning, you’ll find Firewall. Click on this tab. Follow the same steps as you to turn off Real-Time Scanning to Disable the Firewall feature. Exit the window.
  • Open and disable Automatic Updates: In the same menu as before, just below Firewall, you’ll see the Automatic Updates option. Follow the same steps as you did to disable the first two features, and disable Automatic Updates. Then, close this window.
  • Open and turn off Scheduled Scans: Click the Gear icon again to access Scheduled Scans. It’s below Automatic Updates, at the bottom of the group of options titled Mac Security. Now, unlock the Full and Custom Scans Settings page. Enter your administrator password when asked to do so, and then click on OK. On the far-left side of the Scheduled Scans page, you’ll see an option called “Weekly.” Clicking on this will open a drop-down menu. At the bottom of this menu, select the option “Never.” This prevents McAfee from automatically reactivating itself to scan your computer.

If you can’t find this menu, click the Scheduled Scans tab on the top left side of the page. You should be able to find the menu now.

  • Open the McAfee Site Advisor: From the drop-down menu that opens by clicking on the Gear Icon, open the McAfee Site Advisor. You’ll find this particular tab near the bottom of the menu. Site Advisor is the feature in your browser that analyses the sites you visit to detect possible security threats posed by them.
  • Disable Site Advisor: By selecting the toggle in the upper right corner of the page, you can turn off McAfee Site Advisor. Do so. Please note that before turning it off, you may have to click on the lock icon and enter your administrator password.
  • Close the Settings Window: Exit from the Settings Window. All the features offered by McAfee on your Mac are now switched off.

If you want to remove the McAfee software from your Mac altogether, you’ll have to uninstall it.

To do so, open Finder. Click the Applications folder on the left side of Finder, or click “Go,” and then from the drop-down menu which appears, select “Applications.”

Find and double-click the McAfee® Total Protection Uninstaller app. Click Continue, and enter your administrator password when asked to do so. Click OK, and then click Finish to complete the uninstall process.

McAfee Antivirus software should now be removed entirely from your PC!


Whenever you remove McAfee antivirus from your PC, you’ll need to turn off all the services offered by McAfee, from Real-Time Scanning to Scheduled Scans. And if you want to get rid of the software completely, you can always uninstall it entirely. Uninstalling the software entirely will also prevent it from showing unnecessary notifications!

Please remember that if you switch off McAfee without using an alternative antivirus, your computer will be very vulnerable to viruses and other forms of cyberattack. But, if you have found an alternative antivirus, you can use these steps to quickly turn off McAfee, whether you are on Windows or Mac.

We hope you found this guide on how to turn off your McAfee antivirus software helpful!

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Aronjit Roy
Aronjit Roy
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