McAfee for Students: Discount & Download Tutorial (Mac/PC)

Privacy is a hot topic due to frequent data breaches and identity thefts. McAfee is antivirus software that protects your device against the latest viruses, Trojans, worms, malicious codes, spyware, spam and fraud. According to Federal Trade Commission, online fraud increased by more than 70% compared to the year before.

This article will cover the steps to download and install the latest version of McAfee for students and faculty staff.

To have peace of mind when browsing the web and researching, especially if you often visit the “dark web” through the Tor browser, we highly recommend installing antivirus software. Also, McAfee safeguards your email inbox from phishing attacks and malicious websites.

At the end of the tutorial, we share a few cheaper and free alternatives to McAfee for students and teachers.

McAfee offers basic anti-virus protection and premium internet security. Students can access McAfee for free only if it is included as part of the school’s software suite. Otherwise, every plan option can be tested with a limited 30-day trial period, which you must cancel 7 days before the expiry date to avoid getting charged. McAfee doesn’t have a free download option. If you use .edu email address from your school than you will get an additional 10% discount on any plan.

System requirements


  • Operating system version: 8.1 (32-bit and 64-bit), 10 (32-bit and 64-bit), 11
  • Processor: Any CPU that is compatible with Pentium and supports SSE2 will be enough for antivirus installation however, slower processors might decrease the overall performance of the device. We recommend running antivirus scanning when you are not performing other demanding tasks.
  • RAM: There are no requirements, but we recommend at least 2 GB. If you notice a decrease in device performance, consider adding more RAM.
  • Disk space: 500 MB minimum


  • Operating system version: Mac OS x 10.10, 10.11, 10.12, 10.13, 10.14 (Mojave), 10.15 (Catalina), 11 (Big Sur), 12 (Monterey)
  • Processor: Intel
  • Disk space: ~ 300 MB


  • Operating system version: Ubuntu 16.04 (32-bit and 64-bit), 18.04, 20.4
  • Processor: Atom CPU
  • Disk space: 500 MB minimum
  • RAM: 1-GB RAM or higher with integrated video memory

It is recommended that a device is connected to the internet and has any of the following browsers installed: Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari. Check out the full requirements for every McAfee product and device.

How to download McAfee for students

  1. Check with faculty staff or at the school’s website if McAfee is provided as a free antivirus program
  2. Obtain NetID credentials using your school ID to access web-based university systems and products
  3. Uninstall any existing antivirus programs
  4. You will be prompted to log in using your University NetID and password
  5. Log in to your University student download page and find McAfee
  6. Select the operating system of your device and click on the download button
  7. Save the installation file to your device and open it once it finishes downloading
  8. Agree to terms and conditions and follow the on-screen installation instructions

Free trial activation

Sometimes, you might want to check quickly to see if your device is infected with a virus or malware. Maybe you visited a suspicious website or downloaded a file from untrusted sources. Whatever the reason, with the free trial option, you can clean your device in a matter of hours. Here is how to do a free cleanup with the trial account:

  1. Go to the official McAfee free trial page. You will access the Total Protection product, which can be used on up to 5 devices.
  2. Click on the “free 30-day trial” button
  3. On the next page, enter your email address and your billing details. You won’t be charged now.
  4. Once the file is downloaded to your device, follow the on-screen instruction to install the software

Remember, to avoid getting billed, you must cancel your account seven days before the expiry date. The trial can be used on a device only once. You won’t be able to run a trial version on the same device, even if you try it after a certain period.

Features & benefits of McAfee

  • Protection is available on multiple platforms: Windows, Mac OS, iOS and Android
  • Personal data cleanup for risky online data brokers
  • Computer cleanup and virus removal to improve device performance and stream faster
  • Identity theft coverage for losses of up to $1 million (advanced plans only)
  • Advanced firewall protection
  • Secure VPN connection
  • Secure password management
  • Web browsing protection
  • Constant identity monitoring

Free McAfee alternatives

Avast – Award-winning and lightweight free antivirus software for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS. Even though it’s 100% free, it provides full protection using AI and the latest cybersecurity best practices from the biggest threat-detection network of almost half a billion users. For advanced protection, they have a premium plan that is much cheaper than McAfee and starts from $39.99 a year.

Malwarebytes – Another trusted, free solution for protecting your devices from viruses, spyware and ransomware available for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android devices.

Avira – Lightweight free antivirus that protects your computer from spam, scam and viruses.

Alexei Miron
Lead content writer and tech enthusiast bringing a decade of experience in the software industry to students. Father of two little princesses and a passionate table tennis player.