How to Disable McAfee

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

A name synonymous with antivirus applications for decades, McAfee is one of the most popular software packages for protecting your devices from malware and other unwanted programs or attacks. But there may be times when McAfee can be overprotective and block programs you actually trust from performing their desired functions. In cases like these, it's good to know how to disable McAfee's protection temporarily.

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 temporarily disable McAfee Total Protection on Windows PCs.

Disabling your antivirus protection or firewall could leave your computer vulnerable to outside attacks or infections. Remember to re-enable these protections once you've completed the task that McAfee is blocking.

  1. Click the McAfee icon, represented by a red shield, located in the Notifications section of the Windows taskbar in the lower right-hand corner of your screen.

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

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

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

    McAfee Total Protection PC Security tab
  5. The Real-Time Scanning dialog should be displayed, overlaying the McAfee Total Protection dashboard. Click 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. Click Turn Off to continue.

    McAfee Total Protection Real-Time Scanning confirmation message

    Choose to re-enable scanning automatically at a later time by first choosing one of the specific intervals provided in the drop-down menu under When do you want to resume Real-Time Scanning?

  7. To disable McAfee Firewall as well, repeat the steps above, choosing Firewall instead of Real-Time Scanning in step 4.

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 shield, and located in the upper right-hand section of your screen next to your Mac's battery indicator and Wi-Fi icon.

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

  3. The McAfee Total Protection console should be displayed. Select the Mac Security tab.

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

    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-hand corner.

  6. When prompted, enter your macOS password 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.

  9. You've disabled McAfee's Real-Time Scanning functionality. Repeat the above steps for the McAfee Firewall, if you wish, by selecting Firewall in step 4.