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 it can be overprotective at times 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. 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 temporarily disable McAfee Total Protection on a Windows PC.

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

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

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

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

    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 window pops up, 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

    You can re-enable scanning automatically at a later time by first choosing one of the specific time 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 and choose 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 red shield, located in the upper right-hand section of your screen next to your Mac's battery indicator and Wi-Fi icon.

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

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

  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. 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.

  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.