7 Best VPN Services for Mac in 2021

Most VPNs can work with macOS. But only seven can make it to our A-list.

In this article, we’ll:

  • Discuss the upsides and the deficiencies of our top picks.
  • Describe the steps on how to set up a VPN on Mac.
  • Highlight the features to look for when sizing up macOS-friendly VPNs.
  • Answer common questions like, is there a free Mac VPN?

Let’s get it on!

Show more

1. CyberGhost

CyberGhost has carved a niche for itself as the top VPN for Mac for streaming. Its server list sells on its own. Another thing we love about CyberGhost is its confidence. Not all VPNs (including quality ones) are brave enough to grant full refunds. But this vendor’s money-back guarantee is second to none. Full Review

  • Optimized servers for streaming
  • Malicious content blocker
  • WireGuard protocol
Visit Website

Show More

CyberGhost has carved a niche for itself as the top VPN for Mac for streaming. Its server list sells on its own. Another thing we love about CyberGhost is its confidence. Not all VPNs (including quality ones) are brave enough to grant full refunds. But this vendor’s money-back guarantee is second to none. Full Review

HQ

Romania

Zero-Log Policy

Adequate

Number of Locations

113

Number of Protocols

Three

Simultaneous Device Connections

Seven

Kill Switch

Supported

Malware Protection

Supported

Free Trial

One day

2. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is a suitable VPN service for Mac owners who want to connect to as many locations as possible. It has gone the extra mile to offer the longest list of unique IP addresses. As a result, you’ll be spoilt for choice when faking your location over the internet. Full Review

  • 160 locations
  • Private DNS
  • RAM-only servers
Visit Website

Show More

ExpressVPN is a suitable VPN service for Mac owners who want to connect to as many locations as possible. It has gone the extra mile to offer the longest list of unique IP addresses. As a result, you’ll be spoilt for choice when faking your location over the internet. Full Review

HQ

British Virgin Islands

Zero-Log Policy

Adequate

Number of Locations

160

Number of Protocols

Four

Simultaneous Device Connections

Five

Kill Switch

Supported

Malware Protection

Unsupported

Free Trial

Seven days

3. NordVPN

NordVPN is unparalleled at keeping your identity a secret online. In our book, it’s better than many VPNs for Mac with “privacy” in their brand names in this respect. No competitor can match its arsenal of functionalities specifically designed to hide your online activity, including VPN use. Full Review

  • CyberSec
  • Private DNS
  • VPN obfuscation
Visit Website

Show More

NordVPN is unparalleled at keeping your identity a secret online. In our book, it’s better than many VPNs for Mac with “privacy” in their brand names in this respect. No competitor can match its arsenal of functionalities specifically designed to hide your online activity, including VPN use. Full Review

HQ

Panama

Zero-Log Policy

Adequate

Number of Locations

82

Number of Protocols

Three

Simultaneous Device Connections

Six

Kill Switch

Supported

Malware Protection

Supported

Free Trial

Unavailable

4. Perfect Privacy

Perfect Privacy is the right VPN software for Mac if you want to make the lives of snoopers a living hell. It’s a bona fide IP masker extraordinaire. When used to maximum effect, Perfect Privacy can make the head of any party trying to trace your online spin. Full Review

  • AI-powered data routing
  • TrackerStop
  • RAM-only servers
Visit Website

Show More

Perfect Privacy is the right VPN software for Mac if you want to make the lives of snoopers a living hell. It’s a bona fide IP masker extraordinaire. When used to maximum effect, Perfect Privacy can make the head of any party trying to trace your online spin. Full Review

HQ

Switzerland

Zero-Log Policy

Adequate

Number of Locations

39

Number of Protocols

Three

Simultaneous Device Connections

Unlimited

Kill Switch

Supported

Malware Protection

Supported

Free Trial

Unavailable

5. PIA

PIA deserves the title of the leading VPN for Mac for security on many levels. With this service, you’ll be one step ahead of cyber threats and meaningfully neutralize attacks should they occur. Its enhanced malware defense and data breach monitoring capabilities are good enough to be sold separately. But PIA is generous to a fault. Full Review

  • 10Gbps servers
  • Open-source code
  • MACE
Visit Website

Show More

PIA deserves the title of the leading VPN for Mac for security on many levels. With this service, you’ll be one step ahead of cyber threats and meaningfully neutralize attacks should they occur. Its enhanced malware defense and data breach monitoring capabilities are good enough to be sold separately. But PIA is generous to a fault. Full Review

HQ

USA

Zero-Log Policy

Tried-and-true

Number of Locations

106

Number of Protocols

Two

Simultaneous Device Connections

10

Kill Switch

Supported

Malware Protection

Supported

Free Trial

Seven days

6. Surfshark

Surfshark is a Mac VPN client that makes the internet borderless (as it should be). It has no shortage of options to defeat internet censorship. No matter how sophisticated the tech behind geo-restrictions gets, it’ll still have a trick up its sleeve to bypass it. Full Review

  • CleanWeb
  • VPN obfuscation
  • Shadowsocks proxy
Visit Website

Show More

Surfshark is a Mac VPN client that makes the internet borderless (as it should be). It has no shortage of options to defeat internet censorship. No matter how sophisticated the tech behind geo-restrictions gets, it’ll still have a trick up its sleeve to bypass it. Full Review

HQ

British Virgin Islands

Zero-Log Policy

Adequate

Number of Locations

108

Number of Protocols

Three

Simultaneous Device Connections

Unlimited

Kill Switch

Supported

Malware Protection

Supported

Free Trial

Seven days

7. TunnelBear

Without question, TunnelBear’s free VPN for Mac solution is worth your while. Its user interface is also a departure from the usual VPN aesthetics. It’s deceivingly powerful. So, don’t let its narrow feature set and simplistic design fool you. Full Review

  • Lifetime free version
  • Cool user interface
  • VPN obfuscation
Visit Website

Show More

Without question, TunnelBear’s free VPN for Mac solution is worth your while. Its user interface is also a departure from the usual VPN aesthetics. It’s deceivingly powerful. So, don’t let its narrow feature set and simplistic design fool you. Full Review

HQ

Canada

Zero-Log Policy

Proven

Number of Locations

41

Number of Protocols

Two

Simultaneous Device Connections

Five

Kill Switch

Supported

Malware Protection

Unsupported

Free Trial

Unavailable

The Best VPNs for Mac for 2021

In summary, the strong suit of our top picks are:

 

Detailed Reviews

CyberGhost
CyberGhost

BEST FOR

Streaming

Visit Website
  • Optimized servers for streaming
  • Malicious content blocker
  • WireGuard protocol
  • 45-day money-back guarantee

CyberGhost is the ultimate streaming VPN for Mac owners. But it’s just one of this service’s many selling points.

Overview

CyberGhost is compatible with macOS 10.12 (Sierra) and more recent versions. You can use it on all Macbook and iMac models.

If you have one of each said device, you can use this virtual private network on all of them simultaneously. It allows up to seven connections at the same time.

CyberGhost has 7,248 servers across 91 countries and territories. Its hardware in over 70% of its global coverage supports P2P (peer-to-peer) file sharing.

As mentioned, this VPN service for Mac is great for streaming. It has optimized servers for unblocking 40 streaming platforms, including Netflix, Spotify, Disney+, and YouTube. It offers unlimited bandwidth, so you can watch as much as you want without worrying about internet throttling.

With CyberGhost, you can have access to IP addresses from 113 locations. Thirty-six of them are virtual.

With this VPN service, Mac users can rest assured their DNS (Domain Name System) queries won’t be revealed when using their browser. That’s because CyberGhost comes with DNS leak protection

Also, to protect you when your VPN is off or when it suddenly drops, you can use its automatic kill switch.

On its Privacy settings, you can activate its content-blocking capability. It can stop domains used for malware, trackers, and ads. This feature works with WireGuard only, though.

The other tunneling protocols you can choose from are:
  • OpenVPN
  • IKEv2 (Internet Key Exchange v2)

With such options, you can secure your traffic data with 256-bit AES encryption, today’s standard.

CyberGhost has so-called NoSpy servers. It has an independently operated data center to prevent third-party intervention. It makes sense since its Romania headquarters are out of reach of the Fourteen Eyes Alliance.

In case the authorities demand for its records, they would gain nothing. This VPN for MacBook and iMac keeps no connection logs.

Moreover, this VPN vendor prides itself on being the first to release transparency reports. These insightful docs can shed light on important, verifiable statistics about CyberGhost like malware activity flags and copyright infringement complaints.

Lastly, this VPN’s Smart Rules can protect your Mac when connecting to a new Wi-Fi network on your own terms.

Likewise, you can set which location to connect to when it automatically powers on upon startup. You can also pick which app to auto-launch whenever you establish an encrypted tunnel.

Pricing

CyberGhost can be a free VPN for Mac, but just for a day. Outside of this free trial, it’s available for $2.26 per month for 26 months for first-time subscribers. After that, it becomes an annual plan for the same upfront price.

Have a look at its regular subscription costs below.

  • 1 month: $12.99
  • 6 months: $6.39/month
  • 1 year: $4.87/month

CyberGhost’s monthly plan is fully refundable for 14 days, whereas the other plans are for 45 days. Its subscriptions are subject to auto-renewal.

When you’re ready to purchase, you can pay with your Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, PayPal, bitcoin, and more.

Verdict

You don’t need to have a streaming subscription to appreciate CyberGhost’s value. Regardless of how you want to use your VPN, it’s certainly one of your safest bets.

ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN

BEST FOR

Location spoofing

Visit Website
  • 160 locations
  • Private DNS
  • RAM-only servers
  • Lightway protocol

The server network of ExpressVPN yields an incomparable number of IP addresses. Find out how it does it and what else it has to offer. 

Overview

Like CyberGhost, the ExpressVPN Mac app works on all Apple desktops and laptops. However, it’s compatible with more macOS editions. The oldest version it supports is macOS 10.10 (Yosemite).

Whatever OS your Mac runs on, you can get all of ExpressVPN’s standard features. They include Network Lock (kill switch) and advanced leak protection.

The only exception to the rule is split tunneling. It’s unavailable in the ExpressVPN app for macOS 11 (Big Sur).

Which IP addresses can you access with this VPN for MacBook and iMac?

Its global network of more than 3,000 servers covers 160 locations in 94 countries.

This vendor houses its hardware in over a quarter of its advertised locations elsewhere. Specifically, ExpressVPN maintains servers in Brazil, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Netherlands, the UK, and the US. This approach enables it to defeat more IP blockers than it otherwise could.

Furthermore, this VPN service for Mac supports streaming and torrenting. However, it has no optimized hardware for either activity.

Nevertheless, ExpressVPN has no data cap and protects up to five simultaneous connections.

Also, it runs its own encrypted, private DNS on every server. For this reason, no party could block or hijack your DNS requests. You’ll be able to hide your IP address and freely access Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, and any apps wherever you are.

And what if a powerful government wants to get its hands on ExpressVPN’s database? How likely could it succeed?

Unlikely

But why? What sets this service apart from other Mac VPN solutions?

First, ExpressVPN has chosen the BVI to be its base to stay away from controlling regimes. Second, it processes no activity or connection logs. Third, its servers run on RAM only, erasing their data whenever they reboot.

If hackers decide to attack your ExpressVPN-protected Mac, they won’t be able to steal anything.

This VPN vendor’s selection of tunneling protocols consists of OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, and Lightway, a proprietary one. OpenVPN and Lightway are available in TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) and UDP (User Datagram Protocol) modes.

All of them use 256-bit AES encryption by default. This cipher has proven to resist brute-force attacks to this day.

Pricing

The ExpressVPN Mac client doesn’t have a free trial. But the app for iOS does, which is good for seven days. Using the iOS free trial, you’ll be able to experience ExpressVPN at no cost for a week.

Once that’s up, you can upgrade to any of these regular plans:

  • 1 month: $12.95
  • 6 months: $9.99/month
  • 1 year: $8.32/month

All of ExpressVPN’s recurring plans are fully refundable for 30 days. This VPN vendor accepts nearly 20 payment options, including credit card, PayPal, and cryptocurrency.

Verdict

Whether you like practically countless location options or not, ExpressVPN is definitely worth a try.

NordVPN
NordVPN

BEST FOR

Internet privacy

Visit Website
  • CyberSec
  • Private DNS
  • VPN obfuscation
  • NordLynx protocol

NordVPN is synonymous with anonymity. Here’s why every discerning Mac user who’s concerned about ID theft gravitates toward it:

Overview

NordVPN for Mac works best with:

  • MacBook Air
  • MacBook Pro
  • iMac
  • Mac Pro
  • Mac Mini

With just one NordVPN subscription, you can protect up to six devices at the same time.

It has no bandwidth limit, so it’s suitable for streaming. Its SmartPlay makes it possible to unblock IP-restricted media and access regional content libraries right away using its entire network.

How much choice do you have? Nearly 5,238 servers comprise its fleet, which covers 59 countries and territories.

In addition, you can use IP addresses from multiple American, Australian, Canadian, French, German, Indian cities.

This VPN vendor offers nothing but 82 virtual locations. And it keeps its servers in undisclosed places.

NordVPN for Mac comes in two versions: OpenVPN and IKEv2.

The OpenVPN iteration supports macOS 10.10 (Yosemite) or later. It’s in UDP mode by default, but you can switch to TCP if necessary.

NordVPN also has CyberSec, its native malware blocker, stopper of trackers, and botnet neutralizer. 

Also, the type of kill switch it has operates on the app level. In other words, it disables your chosen app when your VPN connection fails to prevent unsecured traffic.

Lastly, this NordVPN Mac client lets you use its own nameservers or your preferred custom ones.

The IKEv2 edition, on the other hand, is engineered to work with at least macOS 10.12 (Sierra).

This version lets you use all tunneling protocols: IKEv2/IPSec, OpenVPN (UDP or TCP), and NordLynx.

It has a kill switch too, but it applies system-wide. What this means is that it disconnects your whole device from the internet until your VPN service is back on.

Split tunneling is unavailable in either version. But you can access all server categories, whichever NordVPN Mac app you install. You’ll be able to use specialized hardware for P2P traffic, VPN obfuscation, double VPN, and Onion over VPN connection.

NordVPN sells dedicated IPs as an add-on, which costs $70 a year. Despite their good online reputation, they’re not ideal for torrenting. A dedicated IP also decreases your allowable simultaneous connections to two devices.

Since Panama is the center of its operations, NordVPN has strategically placed itself away from the Fourteen Eyes’ control.

Even if the Panamanian government forced this company to give up its database, it couldn’t reveal anything about its users. It records no personally identifiable information, online activity, and any data about VPN sessions.

Pricing

The single biggest downside to NordVPN is its lack of any free trial for VPN Mac users.

However, its subscriptions aren’t entirely risky. All of them come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. You have an entire month to decide whether it’s worth keeping.

In addition, you can take advantage of two introductory offers. One is $4.92 a month for 12 months. And the other is $3.67 a month for 27 months.

When either special ends, it will become a regular annual plan. You’ll have to pay the full VPN cost only by then. Here’s how much NordVPN subscriptions would normally set you back:

  • 1 month: $11.95
  • 1 year: $8.25/month

When it comes to payment, you can use major credit cards, leading digital wallets, bitcoin, and some of the top altcoins.

Verdict

To say that this top VPN for Mac has a knack for safeguarding users’ internet privacy is a gross understatement. Its over-the-top ID protection capability justifiably merits every penny it charges.

Perfect Privacy
Perfect Privacy

BEST FOR

IP masking

Visit Website
  • AI-powered data routing
  • TrackerStop
  • RAM-only servers
  • Four-local multihop

Calling Perfect Privacy the best VPN for IP masking is bold. But it’s not really that controversial if you understand how it really works.

Overview

Perfect Privacy is the top VPN for Mac to offer multiple installation methods.

The easiest one is by downloading its VPN Manager app from its site.

But if you’re up for a less straightforward setup, you can use Perfect Privacy’s OpenVPN configuration files for Tunnelblick.

Or, you can set up an IPSec/IKEv2 connection manually on your Mac. It’s feasible only if your device runs at least macOS 10.11 (El Capitan).

Perfect Privacy also supports SSH, a VPN alternative. Using the Secure Pipes app, it can create secure HTTPS and SOCKS5 proxies.

With SSH, you can tunnel the traffic of individual apps instead of the entire device’s. It’s like split tunneling. Like OpenVPN, SSH can encrypt data with AES-256.

All of Perfect Privacy’s setup methods, except for IPSec/IKEv2, work with the latest three macOS versions. So, you may have found the VPN for your MacBook Pro.

In terms of global reach, Perfect Privacy’s fleet covers 25 jurisdictions only. It has a total of 58 servers spread across 39 locations.

Its list includes China, but not the mainland. Upon closer inspection, it keeps its hardware in Chinese territory in Hong Kong.

This VPN vendor has no virtual server locations. Its hardware is exactly where it’s advertised to be.

Almost 9 in 10 Perfect Privacy servers support both IPv4 and IPv6 connectivity. And nearly three-thirds of its network doesn’t block P2P traffic.

Streaming isn’t this VPN service provider’s forte. But it has no usage limit and can protect an unlimited number of devices at the same time. Also, 81% of its servers are optimized for up to 1,000 Mbps.

What makes this VPN service for Mac special is NeuroRouting. 

It uses artificial intelligence to pick the most efficient way to send traffic data to its intended destination. It can dynamically change your IP address while your traffic remains inside the encrypted tunnel. As a result, your actual location is harder to trace, and none of your data is readable to prying eyes.

Perfect Privacy is big on security too.

Using its VPN Manager’s multi-hop, you can route your traffic to up to four servers and create more layers of encryption.

The kill switch of this native VPN app for Mac is available in three modes.

By default, it deactivates when you manually turn off Perfect Privacy. But if you wish, you can disable your apps from sending unsecured traffic when changing locations. And you can set it to keep your Mac from going online when there’s no VPN connection.

Moreover, this Mac VPN client has TrackerStop that can insulate you from social media tracking. Using its adjustable settings, you can steer clear of malicious places on the Web, particularly phishing sites.

Is Perfect Privacy really perfect for privacy?

Well, the company operates in Switzerland. It’s outside the influence of the Fourteen Eyes Alliance.

It does collect some data, but it keeps no user traffic logs. It uses RAM for storage, not hard drives. So, it doesn’t retain the minimal information it processes for a long time.

This VPN vendor openly allows anonymous email providers too. It doesn’t mind masked email addresses from the likes of Blur.

However, Perfect Privacy’s obfuscation technology isn’t available in its Mac client yet.

Pricing

Perfect Privacy’s prices are some of the highest. And you can’t get a two-day free trial for its VPN Manager without a coupon.

What mitigates the risk of buying a Perfect Privacy subscription is a seven-day money-back guarantee

Here’s the VPN cost of its plans:

  • 1 month: $12.99
  • 1 year: $9.99/month
  • 2 years: $8.95/month

On the bright side, Perfect Privacy supports more than 50 payment options, from credit cards to cryptos. Some payments are nonrefundable, though.

Verdict

This VPN client for Macintosh isn’t without risk. But considering what it impressively brings to the table, it takes little persuasion to buy and keep it.

PIA
PIA

BEST FOR

Cybersecurity

Visit Website
  • 10Gbps servers
  • Open-source code
  • MACE
  • Email breach monitoring

PIA stands for Private Internet Access. But it might as well add “security” in its name because of its exceptional ability to keep hackers at bay.

Overview

As a VPN client for Mac, PIA works with macOS 10.13 (High Sierra) or later. Also, it’s compatible with 64-bit Mac devices only.

It has more than 25,600 VPN servers scattered across 78 countries and territories. But a considerable percentage of them are in the US, where PIA is headquartered.

Overall, it offers IP addresses from 106 locations, 35 of which are virtual. The hardware in these locations are in the following places:

  • Amsterdam
  • Bucharest
  • Hong Kong
  • Miami
  • Singapore
  • Tallinn
  • Vilnius
PIA’s VPN for Apple and Mac has a kill switch and split tunneling.

This VPN vendor offers next-gen VPN servers, which are souped-up to deliver 10Gbps. Its unlimited bandwidth policy means it won’t throttle your connection no matter what you do.

PIA supports port forwarding too. This feature has many uses, including faster P2P file sharing.

If you have to buy a dedicated IP, PIA is at your disposal. For only $5 a month, you can have your own IP and avoid getting blacklisted. You can choose from 16 Australian, Canadian, German, UK, and US locations.

In terms of security, PIA uses AES-128 by default for speed. But you can go up to AES-256 if you feel stronger encryption is in order.

AES is an option only with OpenVPN. If you use the WireGuard tunneling protocol, you’ll secure your traffic with ChaCha20 instead.

PIA’s VPN client for Mac comes with MACE. This native blocker of trackers, ads, and malicious code. MACE works on the DNS level to efficiently catch and stop unwanted requests before they happen.

At no extra cost, you can enjoy an email breach monitoring solution. PIA can scan your inbox and alert you if it sniffs any security concerns.

Also, PIA is open-source. Ethical hackers don’t need permission to evaluate its code in search of any weak point.

Although PIA answers to Uncle Sam, its zero-log policy has withstood scrutiny twice. Just ask the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Pricing

Like ExpressVPN, PIA has no free trial for its Mac app. But it’s one of the unique perks of its iOS client.

To enjoy this free VPN for Mac for seven days, create an account with it using your iPhone first. Then once you have your login credentials, you can use them to log into your macOS app.

After exhausting your free trial, here’s how much PIA normally charges:

  • 1 month: $9.95
  • 1 year: $3.33/month
  • 3 years: $2.19/month

You can buy a PIA subscription with your Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, Amazon Pay, or PayPal. You may also use anonymous payment options like cryptos and third-party gift cards from Walmart or Starbucks.

If you don’t want to keep your paid subscription over the long term, you may ask for your cashback. It’s refundable for 30 days.

Verdict

Earning the label “best VPN service for Mac for security” is no easy feat. But there’s solid evidence that no VPN fits the bill better than PIA.

Surfshark
Surfshark

BEST FOR

Censorship circumvention

Visit Website
  • CleanWeb
  • VPN obfuscation
  • Shadowsocks proxy
  • RAM-only servers

Surfshark isn’t the only VPN capable of getting around robust geo-restrictions. But it’s the “apex predator.” You’re about to discover why it’s peerless in this regard.

Overview

Similar to Perfect Privacy, Surfshark has unlimited bandwidth and unlimited simultaneous device connections. It’s perfect for the whole family, especially those that love to stream all sorts of media.

With Surfshark’s NoBorders mode, you’ll be able to get around the toughest geo-restrictions. It’s helpful for surfing the internet in highly restrictive countries and for using your streaming subscriptions when traveling overseas.

This VPN client for Macintosh uses OpenVPN (UDP or TCP), IKEv2, and WireGuard to circumvent geo-restricted content. If none of them do the job, you can switch to Shadowsocks. It’s a proxy meant to move internet traffic through the infamous Great Firewall of China unnoticed.

This VPN company has a network of over 3,200 servers in 65 jurisdictions. It can help you obscure your assigned IP address with its 108 locations. It offers IPs from Chile, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela whose servers are elsewhere.

Surfshark’s entire server fleet can camouflage VPN traffic to avoid giving your ISP (internet service provider) any idea.

Also, 100% of its VPN servers benefit from private DNS and are P2P-friendly.

This VPN for Mac has a kill switch. 

But Whitelister, Surfshark’s native split tunneling functionality, is unavailable.

This company doesn’t keep tabs on your online activity and whereabouts on the internet at all. If that doesn’t give you peace of mind, it does its daily operations in the BVI. It’s thousands of miles away from the nearest Fourteen Eyes country.

As do ExpressVPN and NordVPN, Surfshark leverages RAM-only servers. Any data it processes get totally erased when its hardware turns off.

On the security front, the app’s CleanWeb can protect against dangerous cyberattacks, sneaky trackers, and annoying ads.

If you can afford to lose some connection speed, you can encrypt your traffic twice with MultiHop. Surfshark is one of the VPNs for Mac on this list to introduce this feature for increased privacy. With it, you can reroute your traffic multiple times before reaching its desired destination.

With its set of tunneling protocols, it supports AES-256 and ChaCha20. Either is a stellar cipher.

Lastly, you can buy Surfshark One as an add-on for $2.49 a month. It includes Surfshark Alert for data breach monitoring and Surfshark Search for private browsing and quality, organic search results.

Surfshark Antivirus should be in there too, but it’s unavailable in macOS yet. But the company may include it in the package sooner rather than later.

Pricing

This Apple VPN service provider offers a seven-day free trial via the App Store. You have to download its iOS app first to register. Once you have a username and a password, you may use the Mac client at no cost for a week.

This free trial requires payment information. But you’ll be charged only if you don’t discontinue the free unlimited VPN for Mac before its trial is up.

As follows are the regular plans of Surfshark:

  • 1 month: $12.95
  • 6 months: $6.49/month
  • 1 year: $4.98/month

As a first-time subscriber, you may sign up with its 24-month plan for just $2.49 a month. When its term expires, the VPN cost is that from the annual subscription plan,

This introductory offer has a 30-day money-back guarantee. The other plans are not fully refundable.

Students can purchase a Surfshark subscription 20% off. To qualify for the discount, you have to pass the Student Beans verification process.

If the US dollar isn’t your native currency, you may buy a Surfshark subscription in:

  • Australian dollar
  • Canadian dollar
  • Chinese yuan
  • Euro
  • British pound

Payment-wise, you can use a credit card, PayPal, Amazon Pay, Google Pay, Alipay, and cryptocurrencies BTC, ETH, and XRP.

Verdict

You don’t need to deal with an authoritarian ruler daily to benefit from Surfshark. If you hate internet censorship as much as the next person, this is the VPN service for Mac to buy.

TunnelBear
TunnelBear

BEST FOR

Free VPN service

Visit Website
  • Lifetime free version
  • Cool user interface
  • VPN obfuscation
  • Transparent reporting

The functionality of TunnelBear can’t blow our other picks out of the water. But here’s why we dig it and crown it as the top free VPN client for Mac:

Overview

TunnelBear has the narrowest feature set on this list. But many of its capabilities are extra useful for private browsing, which it’s primarily used for.

It has a kill switch called VigilantBear and supports VPN obfuscation through GhostBear.

TunnelBear spreads its network of 1,800 servers across 41 countries. Its global infrastructure won’t be the envy of the industry soon. At least it has a fun user interface, though.

It has a map instead of a location list. Thus, it takes a bit more work to navigate. But you can instantly use the best server at the time of connection through Fastest Tunnel.

With TunnelBear’s Trusted Networks, you can whitelist safe Wi-Fi networks. When enabled, the app automatically encrypts your traffic data when connecting to an unlisted one.

TunnelBear can detect unsecured networks too.

This VPN vendor’s Mac client supports OpenVPN and IKEv2. By definition, it secures your online activity with AES-256.

You don’t have to buy a paid subscription to use TunnelBear. Its free VPN Mac license is available on tap. Although it limits monthly usage to 500MB, you can get an extra 1GB of free data if you give TunnelBear a shoutout on Twitter.

It offers a free edition in the hope that you’ll like its service enough to buy a regular plan. A paid TunnelBear subscription comes with unlimited bandwidth and up to five simultaneous device connections.

Being a brand under the McAfee umbrella, you’d think that TunnelBear has a cross-platform ad and malware blocker. But it doesn’t. Its Blocker is compatible with Chrome only.

This free Mac VPN vendor calls Canada home. In other words, its HQ is deep into the Fourteen Eyes territory. So far, however, it has managed to protect the private business of its users.

According to the TunnelBear Transparency Report for 2020, it received a grand total of 22 government authority requests. On one occasion, the company confirmed that an individual has an account with them. But it shared zero usage data.

TunnelBear’s database doesn’t contain any:

  • IP address
  • DNS query
  • Connection timestamp
  • Other info that can identify users on its private network

Pricing

Due to the availability of TunnelBear’s VPN for Mac Free plan, its Unlimited plan has no free trial anymore. But it provides a student discount. And it offers an introductory price of $3.33 a month for the first 36 months for non-students.

The Unlimited plan is subject to auto-renewal. You can buy it with your Mastercard, Visa, American Express, or bitcoin.

Here are its two billing options:

  • 1 month: $9.99
  • 1 year: $4.99/month
  • 3 years: $3.33/month

Generally, TunnelBear provides no money-back guarantee. However, it accepts refund claims submitted no later than 30 days from the date of purchase. It approves requests on a case-by-case basis.

Verdict

Clearly, TunnelBear has some work to do. But we have to give it credit for being a reliable free VPN client for Mac. If you’re not ready to spend some money or go through the hassles of a free trial, download this one.

How To Use a VPN for Mac

To get started, set up the native app like how you normally would when installing an app. To do the following steps smoothly, create an account or buy a subscription from your chosen VPN vendor:

  1. Download the installer from your VPN service provider’s site or the Mac App Store.
  2. Double-click the installer in the Downloads folder.
  3. Read and follow the instructions on the pop-up window.
  4. Enter your Mac credentials to confirm the installation.
  5. Click Move to Bin to delete the installer after installation.
  6. Decide whether you agree to send anonymized data to your VPN vendor (if asked).
  7. Log into the VPN app for Mac.
  8. Click Allow to add VPN configurations.
  9. Pick a location.
  10. Choose Always Allow after hitting Allow Keychain Access.

After completing the installation, you can now use your Mac as usual with your VPN on. Play with the available features, and use different functionalities as you see fit.

Don’t forget to test the kill switch (if it’s available).

To see if it works, make sure it’s enabled. Then, switch your VPN on. You shouldn’t be able to go online until your VPN is on.

Moreover, you can configure a virtual router on your VPN-protected Mac. This way, you can share your VPN connection to all of your Wi-Fi-enabled devices in your network.

How To Choose the Best VPN for Mac

How do you know which macOS VPN is the one? The key factors below separate the supreme providers from the average ones.

Compatibility

Not every VPN supports macOS, but all mainstream ones do.

However, you can’t expect every Mac VPN client to work with all versions.

Fortunately, the developers of VPNs on the Mac App Store are compatible with the latest macOS iterations. If you search hard enough, you may come across some engineered to run on rather older versions too.

Installability

Most Mac-friendly VPNs come with a native macOS client. You can download and install such an app like normal. But you may also encounter different versions with extra demanding setup requirements.

Why would you go with a VPN product that requires manual configuration? The answer: potentially additional features.

It’s imperative to know what functionalities you stand to get (and you can’t get) from a certain VPN product. This way, you can judge whether harder installation steps are worth it.

The good thing is that most reputable Mac VPN vendors have guides. They realize that not all users are technically proficient enough to set up their products instinctively.

But if you can’t find tutorials, consult customer support. A rep should be able to provide you helpful resources since they may be buried in their database.

Simultaneous connections on multiple devices

Users of Apple devices are a loyal bunch. In fact, American households own at least two Apple products on average. The wealthiest families in the States have nearly five Apple devices.

If your personal computers are part of the macOS ecosystem, use a VPN that lets you simultaneously connect multiple devices. Most VPN vendors impose a limit per subscription, but you’ll encounter some with unlimited connections.

Server network

In a perfect world, every VPN has hardware in every country and territory on the planet. In reality, no VPN app for Mac can give you access to IP addresses from all jurisdictions.

The best ones have VPN servers in popular locations. Some of them can help you surf the Web as though you’re browsing from exotic places.

Unfortunately, some countries and territories are not politically friendly to VPN vendors. That’s why service providers tend to offer virtual server locations.

Servers in virtual locations aren’t physically present where they’re advertised to be. Not all VPN vendors would be forthcoming about using virtual server locations. And those that don’t keep such information under wraps would feel comfortable disclosing where they’re really housing the hardware.

It can be ironic for companies that sell privacy as a commodity to observe secrecy. But at the end of the day, you have to take a leap of faith. After all, you shouldn’t use a VPN for MacBook or iMac that you don’t trust anyway.

Moreover, find out how many servers your prospective vendor has in certain locations if you can.

This information can help you avoid performance issues, for all hardware has limitations. If lots of users share a few servers simultaneously, they’re bound to work less efficiently. Many factors can affect server speed, but high usage is certainly one of them.

It’s not always necessary, but it helps to have the option to pick IP addresses on a city level. This is particularly important when connecting to large countries like the US.

Specialized servers

Many Mac VPN vendors optimize some of their servers for specific activities like streaming and torrenting.

Not all companies that support streaming and P2P file-sharing have dedicated hardware for said uses. But specialized servers help increase your chances of getting around IP blockers and/or keeping your online activity private.

Furthermore, some servers hide the fact that you’re using a VPN. Called VPN obfuscation (sometimes stealth VPN), this technology can make it appear like you’re using the internet normally.

It can be useful to avoid internet throttling, which is the intentional slowing down of an internet connection. ISPs commit throttling to penalize customers for using a VPN client for Macintosh and doing other things they don’t like.

Company Headquarters

The government directly regulating an Apple VPN company has the most power over it. To stay in business legitimately, a VPN vendor has to play by the rules. Otherwise, the authorities could chase it out.

The problem is that many so-called democracies covertly invade people’s privacy. And authoritarian ones openly attack VPN users within their borders.

And then there’s a gray area. Some controlling governments allow VPN use but criminalize some of the activities users need a VPN for.

For starters, be mindful of the following countries:

  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • The Netherland
  • The US
  • The UK

These nations make up the Fourteen Eyes Alliance. This is an international intelligence-sharing group. If one gets a hold of your online activity, you can bet that the rest will know about it too.

What’s more, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Israel allegedly work with Fourteen Eyes countries.

Surprisingly, some Mac VPN vendors are directly under the jurisdiction of the Fourteen Eyes Alliance. In other words, powerful law enforcement and intelligence agencies could confiscate or subpoena their data repositories more easily.

However, these VPNs for Mac manage to stay in relatively unsafe territory without compromising their principles because of…

Zero-log policy

A zero-log policy is a pledge of not processing data that may get VPN users in trouble. It’s not a free pass to break the law. Instead, it’s a promise that nobody can track your online activity back to you while using a VPN.

Zero-log policies are not equal, for many VPN vendors simply can’t completely stop logging data. But as long as nobody, including your VPN service provider, can’t snoop into your private business online, then you’re good.

Malware protection

Macs are more secure than PCs, but even macOS isn’t 100% immune to hacking. As its user base increases, it becomes a more appealing target to cybercriminals.

Make no mistake about it — a virtual private network on your Mac can’t be a substitute for an antivirus. But it pays to use one that can help steer you away from malicious sites.

Kill switch

The kill switch separates the good VPNs from the great ones. It’s your last line of defense when your VPN connection is weak or unavailable. If you intend to secure your Mac traffic at all times, then a kill switch is a must.

Pricing

Many of the leading VPNs for Mac are free to some extent. However, you shouldn’t trust one that never asks for your money.

Come to think of it — nothing is really free. A free Mac VPN may not want your cash, but it’s almost guaranteed that it collects and sells your data to advertisers. Worse, its operator may use your device as an exit node for its premium subscribers.

For these reasons, we warn you against any free unlimited VPN for Mac.

If you must test out one at no cost, at least use a free edition with some usage limit. Or use a free trial. Some free trials have registration or a payment info requirement, though.

A word of caution: the marketing teams of some VPNs might bend the truth. They may advertise a free VPN for Macbook trial when in reality, it’s a money-back guarantee

The trial use of a VPN doesn’t require a paid subscription. A money-back guarantee does.

Take note of the prices too. Like other software companies, VPN vendors like to market how much a customer would pay every month. They do this strategy even when selling annual or multi-year plans.

Compared to a monthly subscription, an annual or multi-year one will cost less every 30 days. But the total price of non-monthly plans is billed upfront.

If you don’t pay attention during checkout, you may fork out more cash than what you’re prepared to spend.

Wrap Up

Mac users take pride in having a taste, so just any VPN won’t cut it. The bar is simply too high.

Although the flawless Mac VPN client hasn’t been invented yet, we’re confident that any of our featured services can deliver. We cherry-picked them from the very best, after all.

So, what are you waiting for? Take your pick, and start using the internet freely!

FAQ

Do I need a VPN with a Mac?

Yes, of course.

Being a Mac user doesn’t make you immune to privacy invasion and cyber threats like ransomware. With a VPN, you can hide your assigned IP address, secure your traffic, and more.

What kind of VPN should I use for Mac?

The ideal VPN should be compatible with your device’s macOS version.

Also, it should offer locations you intend to connect and use cutting-edge encryption.

Most importantly, your chosen VPN vendor should keep zero logs of your online activity.

What is the best free VPN for Mac?

TunnelBear is the most viable option for a free VPN for Mac.

It’s a freemium service. In other words, it has a free version with a usage limit.

You only need to upgrade to a premium edition if you want unlimited bandwidth. As long as you can get by with free data every month, there’s no reason to buy a TunnelBear subscription.

Which is the best VPN for Macbook Pro?

Any VPN vendor that claims to be the best at everything is overpromising. In most cases, you don’t have to nitpick to find a weakness or two in VPNs for Mac, including trusted ones.

In our book, CyberGhost is unbeatable in streaming. Meanwhile, no service can aid location spoofing better than ExpressVPN.

As far as internet privacy and IP masking are concerned, NordVPN and Perfect Privacy are unmatched, respectively.

PIA’s cybersecurity prowess is a thing of beauty, whereas Surfshark is second to none for censorship circumvention.

When it comes to pricing, no VPN in its league can dethrone TunnelBear.

Read this piece from the top to gain more insight into our train of thought.