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Do You Need a VPN for Mac?

Apple claims to have a strong stance on user privacy, which has been part of the sale pitch for its products. Could that be a misleading, dated, and dangerous claim? Using Mac doesn’t guarantee you 100% protection online. That’s where a VPN comes in handy.

A quality VPN for Mac significantly bolsters your online privacy and security by establishing a protected network connection over the internet. It’s worth noting that the exponential growth of Mac makes its users a lucrative target for cybercriminals.

Macs are just as vulnerable as PCs. While you don’t want your personal information to fall into the wrong hands of hackers, your ISP, or other third parties, a secure VPN will be a go-to solution to your data privacy issues.

In addition to browsing the web anonymously, a VPN allows you to access censored streaming sites that would otherwise be off-limits due to geo-restrictions.

It’s by using an all-around Mac VPN that you’ll binge-watch your favorite content on foreign Netflix catalogs. Mac users can also torrent on public Wi-Fi networks knowing that their privacy won’t get compromised.

However, not all VPNs are reliably compatible with macOS. Quite a few don’t offer apps for Mac – others have shady apps that are daunting to set up. After hundreds of hours of research, hands-on testing, and user ratings, I put together the best VPNs for Mac.

My top pick is CyberGhost. Its load of advanced security features, lightning-fast speeds, streaming capabilities, and intuitive interface are second to none. On top of that, you can test it out risk-free for 45 days. If you’re not satisfied, cancel anytime and request a full refund within the specified time.

In A Hurry? Here Are the Top VPNs for Mac In 2024

  • CyberGhost – Secure, blazing speeds and optimized servers for streaming, torrenting, gaming on your Mac.
  • NordVPN: An easy-to-use MacOS app packed with industry-grade encryption and NordLynx protocol to secure your personal data.
  • IPVanish: Protects your data from hackers, your ISP, and other prying eyes with a no-logging policy.
  • Surfshark: Most affordable VPN with proven privacy, competitive speeds, and excellent streaming features for Mac users.
  • PureVPN: Great VPN for Mac equipped with solid security features, keeps no logs, and supports WireGuard technology.
  • TunnelBear: Has a simple Mac app with top-notch security features.

All the listed VPNs work smoothly on any Mac computer. Most of them are premium paid VPNs, but you can take advantage of their free trials and money-back guarantees. Let’s review every VPN to figure out why it makes up our list.

  • Secures your Mac with multi-grade encryption and a no-logs policy
  • Lightning-fast optimized servers for streaming, torrenting, and gaming
  • Easy to use the native app for Mac
  • Huge server network
  • 45-day money-back guarantee

CyberGhost is by far the best VPN service for Mac users who want to surf the web privately and anonymously. Packed with powerful features, the VPN strikes a balance between server speeds, security, and privacy, unblocking power without sacrificing ease of use.

Starting out, the CyberGhost app for Mac doesn’t skimp on any of the innovative features we’ve seen of late. It’s intuitive, featuring a one-click option for easy connection. That means you can encrypt your web traffic on public, unsecured Wi-Fi networks in just one click.

CyberGhost servers

When I tested CyberGhost, it took me less than 3 minutes to download, install and connect. Once you’ve used it once, you’ll master it right away. We also appreciate that the Mac desktop client is highly configurable, primarily by veterans who know what they’re doing.

“User security first” – that’s the company motto. CyberGhost secures your digital footprint on Mac with AES 256-bit encryption. It’s the highest level of encryption that governments and banks deploy to shield their data.

Add a built-in kill switch, IP & DNS leak protection, and solid VPN protocols to your security feature cabinet. When I lost my VPN connection, the kill switch automatically disconnected my Mac from the internet.

CyberGhost privacy settings

CyberGhost gives Mac users the option to choose from multiple protocols, with both OpenVPN and IKEv2 available. Even better, CyberGhost added WireGuard, which is more effective than legacy protocols in terms of speed and security.

If your main motive is streaming, then CyberGhost is your great companion for that. Out of its total tally of 7600+ servers across 91 countries, the VPN service provides streaming-optimized servers. You get optimized servers for torrenting, P2P file-sharing, and gaming too.

During my speed tests, the Netflix-optimized servers gave me a consistent speed of 82 Mbps. That was enough to watch movies in HD quality from my Mac without buffering. I accessed the stringent Netflix US, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu without getting proxy error messages.

Android, Windows, iOS, Linux, and Fire Stick TV apps join the dedicated Mac app I used throughout the testing. Secure up to 7 devices simultaneously around you, plus a 45-days money-back guarantee.

  • Unrivaled security and privacy features
  • Global server network
  • Intuitive Mac app
  • Unblocks geo-blocked content
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

For Mac users, it’s the right time to give your online life an additional layer of protection with NordVPN. With the Panama-based VPN installed in your MacBook, you can stay untraceable thus keeping all spying eyes at bay.

I like the NordVPN Mac app for its simplicity. Once I logged in, it was easy to get started and activate advanced features on display. You can navigate the settings as per your desire and preferences, even if you’re new to VPNs. The overall MacOS interface is aesthetically appealing to the eye as well.

NordVPN commands a global server network. MacBook and iMac users get instant access to over 5200 encrypted servers spread across 60 countries. That said, you won’t experience server congestion on your quest to safeguard your digital information.

It’s a matter of clicking the location of your choice from the list or map. Connecting and switching between servers to find the fastest ones just took a few seconds. Thanks to its obfuscated servers that help bypass the Great Firewall of China with your Mac.

On the security front, NordVPN comes with bank-grade encryption and best-in-class VPN protocols to keep you safe when handling sensitive data online. When doing leak tests on my Mac Pro, NordVPN hides your IP address so that no one eavesdrops on your online activity.

Nordvpn Privacy features

Thumbs up to NordVPN’s DNS protection alongside Tor and multi-hop connections that ensure your private data is secured all the time. The company implements a strict no-log policy. That perfectly suits advanced macOS users who love to tweak things.

NordVPN made its home in Panama, a non-member of the 14-Eyes Alliance. This puts it out of reach of government surveillance.

I was impressed with NordVPN unblocking capabilities. In the round-up tests, NordVPN bypassed Netflix geo-restriction barriers of Netflix US, Amazon Video, and iPlayer. I did download torrents too. All these were achieved through high-speed servers, unlimited data, and bandwidth.

You can also turn on the CyberSec feature to block annoying ads, malware, and spyware. Don’t just take our words for it. You can claim a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’re not satisfied, ask for a refund.

  • Privacy-focused VPN
  • User-friendly app for macOS
  • Covers all your Mac (unlimited device connections)
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

The constantly improving, IPVanish ticks a lot of boxes. From beautifully easy-to-use Mac app and watertight no-logs policy to fast connections and unblocking streaming sites, IPVanish is a fine top-tier package.

If your priority is about getting a security-focused VPN, IPVanish will impress. The VPN vendor provides Mac users with a strong AES 256-bit encryption to keep off a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack.

That means no attackers can secretly intercept the communication to modify the traffic between the two targets or alter your web activities on Mac. An automatic kill switch is always ready and waiting to block your online traffic in case the VPN connection drops.

ISPs too often use Deep Packet Inspection to snoop on your web traffic to throttle the internet speed. With IPVanish on your Mac, this is a thing of the past. I found that split tunneling is available on Mac devices except macOS 11 (Big Sur).

IPVanish also puts a watertight zero-logging policy in place, much like other high-end VPNs. It doesn’t monitor, collect, or store data. That’s to say; the company can’t hand over any data to government authorities even if served with a warrant.

At the time of testing, IPVanish boasted 2,000+ servers in 75+ locations, giving me the power to my Mac all the time. I run several servers to see if IPVanish is suitable for unblocking streaming sites. The results were pleasing as I could effortlessly unblock US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and HBO Go on my first attempt.

At an average speed of 55.23 Mbps, I accessed Ultra HD Netflix videos with zero lags. The WireGuard technology improved my speeds. One paid subscription covers as many Macs as you like. That’s because of its unlimited simultaneous connections offering.

The Mac app is very easy to understand but is somewhat clunky. However, a fantastic Mac-dedicated 24/7 support is responsive and there for any help.

Every subscriber gets a 1-month risk-free trial. If it doesn’t meet your online demand, IPVanish gladly refunds as long as you request within 30 days from the date of the purchase.

  • Most affordable VPN
  • Minimalist interface
  • Unblocks most Netflix regions and catalogs

Surfshark isn’t an old-guard, well-known VPN like NordVPN and CyberGhost, but has built an impeccable reputation to be loved by the new wave looking for the best Mac VPNs. During my testing process, I was impressed with how Surfshark combines security and privacy, speed, and unblocking, which is an easier demonstration of why you Mac users trust the service.

The Mac app is simply plug-and-play. Its minimalistic design is simple so that you don’t mess around if you’ve never used VPNs before. Although most users are satisfied with just pressing ‘Auto-connect”, I was able to explore other advanced features.

One of Surfshark’s selling points is its commitment to user privacy. I was impressed by its zero traffic logs. The privacy policy states, “We don’t collect, monitor, or log user browsing activity.” It’s worth pointing out that they collect aggregated performance data, though. But they claim this is only for improving product performance, functionality, diagnosing crashes, and optimizing server performance on your Mac.

Surfshark enjoys a fleet of servers (3200+ servers well-distributed in 65 countries) to choose from. You’ll automatically get connected to the faster servers on your Mac and be protected by 256-bit encryption, a customizable kill switch, IP & DNS leak protection. It took me only 2 minutes.

Using my Mac, I did access a huge base of Netflix catalogs to stream my favorite movies and shows. It also unblocked other geo-restricted sites, including BBC iPlayer and Hulu.

When I reached out to its support during downtime, its profound developers fixed all tech issues. The 24/7 live chat is instrumental to optimal customer support. Give it a shot, secure an unlimited number of devices with one account, and claim a 100% money-back guarantee for your first 30 days.

  • Multi-grade 256bit AES Encryption
  • Strict no-logs policy
  • WireGuard and split tunneling not supported on Mac app

PureVPN won’t match CyberGhost on sheer quality, but its latest upgrades impressed me during my recent review. These include good speeds, unblocks major streaming services, and more.

As of now, PureVPN lets you browse fast through over 6500+ servers worldwide. The servers are well spread across 78+ countries, with options to rely on in all five main continents.

The vertical list of servers may feel cluttered at first, but you have the “Auto-connect” feature to bank on. You can as well choose your fastest servers and save them your “Favorites” list for easy access.

Most importantly, the VPN provider prioritizes easy customization for users’ online needs. So, you won’t sacrifice much of your time as the Mac app is easy to navigate.

PureVPN unblocks Netflix. I found that its servers circumvent around 7 Netflix libraries like nothing else can– Netflix US, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Japan.

When I connected to its New York servers, I binged the latest episodes of Season Break Series.” On the flip side, the speeds were slightly moderate, but I could still watch movies in standard definition with my MacBook Pro.

Installing PureVPN adds another layer of protection to your Mac devices. Your data is protected with multi-grade 256bit AES Encryption, internet Kill switch, and dedicated IPs (a paid add-on).

Be that as it may,  Mac users will miss out on some irreplaceable features. Mac app versions don’t support the new WireGuard protocol and split tunneling. They’re only available on Android and Windows clients. Instead, you can employ both OpenVPN and IKEv2.

While using PureVPN, you’re entitled to a 31-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it out risk free.

  • Best for light Mac users
  • Undergoes security audits annually
  • Unblocks Netflix US

TunnealBear is a cheap, competent VPN for Mac, but hardly one without flaws. The McAfee-owned VPN scores high for privacy and security, with a thorough zero-logs policy and solid encryption.

At first glance, the VPN features a uniquely quirky personality, which is reflected in its cute site. Users who’ve already checked out the TunnelBear site know that the service does things differently compared to others. The use of animated bears all around the website makes it an ideal package for Mac users wanting something user-friendly yet straightforward.

I was impressed with the provider’s commitment to maintaining a no-logs policy. In fact, it underwent a third-party security audit just recently. You can stop ISPs, hackers, and malicious actors on your Mac from interfering with your connection. Just turn the VigilantBear, which basically acts as a kill switch.

TunnealBear will defend your online traffic, albeit some negative variables – tiny server network, slow speeds, and limited support. If you do a lot of streaming on Netflix, you’ll be pleased. The service accessed Netflix US with ease in my streaming tests.

When digging around the site, I found TunnelBear states categorically that it doesn’t support subvert geo-restrictions of copyright material, although I had no trouble watching US Netflix and the BBC iPlayer.

There is a limited free version that gives you 500 MB of monthly data, which is good enough for basic protection. However, if you want premium protection, you will need to purchase the premium package.

How We Test VPNs for Mac

Choosing the right VPN for Mac can be a real challenge for starters. What makes the best Mac VPNs? When testing and evaluating VPNs from the Mac user’s perspective, we considered the following:

  • Compatibility with Mac – Look for VPNs that offer native apps for Mac. The app must support the latest Mac versions, including macOS Big Sur, Mojave, Catalina, High Sierra, Maverick, and El Capitan
  • Easy-to-use app – Any Mac VPN app worth downloading should function perfectly, be easy to use (install and navigate) so that you don’t waste time setting complicated apps.
  • Best-in-class privacy and security tools – The main function of a VPN is online anonymity. There are plenty of features we love to see in any VPN – multi-grade encryption, strict-logs policy, a kill switch, secure VPN protocols, and leak protection. Even an ad blocker is a bonus.
  • Speed performance – Of course, good performance doesn’t hurt, especially for Mac users who focus on streaming, torrenting, gaming, and more. If you’re a movie fan, settle for a VPN with a strong reputation for bypassing streaming sites like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu, among others. Decent speeds and unlimited bandwidth are vital for this.
  • Huge global network – A reliable server network is a must. That’s the only way you can access servers from anywhere.

Best VPNs for Mac



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CyberGhost Review: Optimized Servers but Is It Still Secure in 2024?



NordVPN Review: Great Speeds and Fast Download – But is it Secure?



IPVanish Review: Budget Friendly VPN, but Is It Any Good?



Surfshark: Comprehensive Security Features – But Is It Reliable?



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Are There Any Free Mac VPNs?

There are Freemium VPNs with security and privacy features. Although they can protect your Mac, be a cautious VPN user. Some demand your credit card information before permitting the use of the products.

Failure to do that, they will bombard you with pop-up ads, slow speeds, data limits, and limited device connections. All our VPNs above come with money-back guarantees. Take advantage of them, instead.

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Do Macs Have a Built-in VPN?

The absolute answer is no. Macs don’t have their own built-in VPN just yet. You better use a VPN with a dedicated app for Mac. It’s more safe and secure.

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What Does a VPN for Mac Do?

Once your Macbook is connected to the public Wi-Fi network or your mobile hotspots, your data is at risk. It can be exposed to hackers, ISPs, or any other unauthorized person with malicious intent.

A VPN routes your connection through its own servers. In turn, this makes you appear in a location you’re not. It conceals your IP address and assigns you a new one.

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Can a VPN Slow Down My Mac speeds?

It’s a no-brainer. While using a VPN, expect speed loss. But the difference between your baseline speed and VPN server speed is minimal.

The Bottom Line

It’s easy to assume that deploying anti-virus software as a backup is enough to protect your Mac from cybersecurity threats. Beware; the notion that Macs are invincible to identity theft and malware is misguided. You won’t be 100% safe.

Chances are that your personal data will be compromised if not stolen. That’s why you need a VPN. And most importantly, a reliable VPN will vastly boost your privacy, improve your online security, and allow you access to streaming services and apps.

CyberGhost VPN is the best of the bunch, with a handful of security features, strict no-logs privacy, decent speeds, and optimized servers for unblocking geo-restricted websites.

And with an excellent MacOS app, why risk the safety of your Mac? A 45-day money-back guarantee is worth a look, particularly for Mac users.