“The rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.” That quote is frequently attributed to Mark Twain, but it could also apply to McAfee All Access 2014 ($99.99 per year), a cross-platform multi-device security suite. My McAfee contacts told me All Access had been replaced by McAfee LiveSafe. It turns out statement was a bit premature.
McAfee no longer sells All Access in stores, only online. Existing All Access users can continue with the 2014 edition, for now. It will be phased out; exactly when is unclear. All Access and LiveSafe are identical in many, many ways. That being the case, this review will focus on the differences. While the list price is $99.99 per year to protect all devices for one individual, a current promotion has reduced that price to $49.99 per year.
What’s the Same
Both LiveSafe and All Access provide coverage for all of the devices you own, be they PC, Mac, Android, or BlackBerry; iOS support is limited. In both cases, you log in to an online console to manage your subscription or extend coverage to another device. Both optionally install McAfee SafeKey, a licensed version of Editors’ Choice password manager LastPass 3.0. In addition, both install the SiteAdvisor website reputation tracker.
PCs get full-on protection from McAfee Total Protection 2013. McAfee Internet Security for Mac 2013 doesn’t have quite as many features as the PC edition, but it’s definitely a suite, not just an antivirus.
Android devices get an All Access version of McAfee Antivirus & Security 3.1 Premium (for Android). This suite takes good care of Android devices, with anti-malware, anti-theft, privacy protection, and more. Users of iOS devices don’t get a security suite, but an installation of McAfee SafeKey will let them share the love password-wise.
One impressive feature found in LiveSafe but not in All Access is Personal Locker, an encrypted online storage vault whose contents are protected by both facial recognition and voice recognition. In order to access your stored data, you go through a four step authentication process. First, enter a PIN. Second, let the app snap your photo for facial recognition. Third, read a standard phrase for voice recognition. Finally, to avoid being tricked by a recording, read a phrase that’s different each time.
McAfee’s Android suite includes anti-theft for mobile devices, so you get that with either LiveSafe or All Access. LiveSafe extends that protection to PCs and laptops that are modern enough to include Intel Anti-Theft technology built in. You won’t find that in All Access.
Windows 8 users can download the McAfee Central app for an overview of protection. In All Access, Central is fairly limited, with buttons to launch protection, open the online console, or get tech support. LiveSafe adds buttons for SafeKey and Personal Locker.
All Access Bonuses
All Access users also get some features that aren’t found in LiveSafe. For parental control, All Access includes McAfee Family Protection, a McAfee-branded version of Safe Eyes 6.0, acquired by McAfee a couple of years ago. Yes, my review of Safe Eyes is a little old, but the product hasn’t changed except for re-branding. While it’s not our current Editors’ Choice, Safe Eyes (and by extension McAfee Family Protection) goes way beyond the basics in parental control. It can filter music and videos based on ratings, block email or instant messaging, detect profanity or private information in social media posts, and more.
Do note that LiveSafe users aren’t totally bereft of parental control support. The full security suite includes a parental control component, though it’s definitely limited compared to McAfee Family Protection.
The All Access editions of McAfee Total Protection and McAfee’s Android suite include free online backup, powered by Mozy. That feature was dropped from LiveSafe, along with parental control. Given that you can get hosted online backup direct from Mozy at no charge, this isn’t much of a loss.
There are other products that offer cross-device multi-platform protection, but all have their limitation. Bitdefender Sphere does offer protection for unlimited devices, but its Mac protection is just antivirus and it omits BlackBerry and iOS entirely.
For $99 per year, Norton 360 Multi-Device will protect up to five devices, PC, Mac, or Android. Kaspersky Internet Security – Multi-Device is about the same price, but with Kaspersky you can opt for a three-pack or a ten-pack. Neither stacks up well when compared with McAfee’s all-device protection.
As noted, a current promotion cuts the price of McAfee All Access 2014 from $99.99 per year down to $49.99. However, that price just covers devices belonging to one individual. McAfee LiveSafe covers an entire household, so at $79.99 per year it’s really a better deal.
LiveSafe, Live Long
McAfee really does have the lead position in this market. Unlimited protection; how good is that? But given that McAfee All Access is going away and that LiveSafe is a better deal, McAfee LiveSafe edges All Access out for the Editors’ Choice in this category.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc