How to Disable McAfee

Tired of McAfee popping up or blocking apps? Turn it off for a bit

McAfee is a popular antivirus application for protecting devices from malware, unwanted programs, and attacks. It can be overprotective at times and block programs you trust from performing their functions. In cases like these, it's good to know how to disable McAfee's protection temporarily. We show you how.

These instructions apply to most versions of Microsoft Windows and macOS.

Virus detected alert message with magnifying glass
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How to Disable McAfee Total Protection in Windows

Follow the instructions below to disable McAfee Total Protection temporarily on a Windows PC.

Disabling your antivirus protection or firewall could leave your computer vulnerable to outside attacks or infections. Re-enable these protections after you complete the task McAfee blocked.

  1. Select the McAfee icon located in the Notifications section of the Windows taskbar in the lower-right corner of the screen. It looks like a red shield.

  2. When the pop-out menu appears, select Open McAfee Total Protection.

    Alternatively, open the program from a desktop icon, if there is one, or search for it using the Windows search bar.

    McAfee Total Protection taskbar menu on Windows 10
  3. Go to the PC Security tab.

    McAfee Total Protection dashboard on Windows 10
  4. Choose Real-Time Scanning, found in the left menu pane.

    To disable McAfee Firewall, choose Firewall.

    McAfee Total Protection PC Security tab
  5. The Real-Time Scanning dialog window appears, overlaying the McAfee Total Protection dashboard. Select Turn Off to disable active scanning.

    McAfee Total Protection Real-Time Scanning interface
  6. A confirmation message appears asking if you're sure you want to turn off real-time scanning. Select Turn Off to continue.

    McAfee Total Protection Real-Time Scanning confirmation message

    To re-enable scanning automatically at a later time, select the When do you want to resume Real-Time Scanning drop-down menu and choose a time interval.

How to Disable McAfee Total Protection in macOS

Take these steps to disable McAfee Total Protection temporarily on your Mac:

  1. Click the McAfee Total Protection logo, represented by a red shield, located in the upper-right corner of the screen next to the battery indicator and Wi-Fi icon.

    If you don't see this icon, open McAfee by selecting the magnifying glass icon in the upper-right corner, typing McAfee, then selecting Internet Security.

  2. Select Total Protection Console from the drop-down menu.

  3. In the McAfee Total Protection console, go to the Mac Security tab.

    McAfee Total Protection dashboard on macOS
  4. Select Real-Time Scanning, located in the left menu pane.

    To disable McAfee Firewall, select Firewall.

    McAfee Total Protection Mac Security tab
  5. The Real-Time Scanning settings options should appear, overlaying the Total Protection console window. Click the Lock icon, located in the lower-left corner.

  6. Enter your macOS password when prompted and click OK to continue. 

    McAfee Total Protection Real-Time Scanning changes
  7. Click the On/Off toggle, located in the upper-right corner of the Real-Time Scanning dialog, so that it turns from blue (On) to gray (Off).

    McAfee Total Protection Real-Time Scanning settings on macOS
  8. Click the X in the upper-left corner to close the Real-Time Scanning dialog box.

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