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Best Free VPN for Mac

By Simon Migliano | Updated October 14, 2019

Illustration of MacOS devices, an iMac and a MacBook

Using a VPN to protect your Apple MacBook or iMac is essential for privacy and security reasons – even if Macs are more resistant to viruses and hackers than Windows devices.

VPNs not only prevent your ISP or any other third parties from snooping on your personal data but they also unlock content from all over the world.

But maybe you’re not ready to commit to a VPN subscription yet, or you’d like to test out a few before you do.

You’re probably wondering, are there any free VPNs available for MacOS?

The answer is yes, there are countless free VPN clients that work with Mac. But not all of them are good; in fact, some free Mac VPNs are dangerous. That’s why we’ve put together a list of our top VPN recommendations for MacBook and iMac users.

Every one of the best VPNs for Mac in this list comes with a simple, user-friendly custom app for MacOS devices, and they are all super safe to use.

Free VPN apps do come with some restrictions, though, so if you want the full package check out our overall best (paid) VPNs for Mac.

Our Selection Criteria for Free Mac VPNs

  1. User-friendly free VPN app for MacOS
  2. Fast and dependable connection speeds
  3. Hides your true IP address (no IP or DNS leaks)
  4. Strong privacy features (e.g. a kill switch)
  5. Bulletproof logging policy
  6. Reliable customer support

Wondering why you should trust our reviews?
See How We Review VPNs.

Best Free VPN Clients for iMac, Macbook & Mac Pro

1. Windscribe Free

Ranked #1 for Free VPNs for Mac

  1. Straightforward MacOS VPN app
  2. Fast download speeds on nearby VPN servers
  3. VPN servers in 10 countries plus city-level choice
  4. Minimal VPN logging
  5. Torrenting permitted on some free VPN servers
  6. Great security features to keep you safe
  1. 10GB monthly VPN data cap
  2. No live chat support
  3. Doesn't work reliably with Netflix
  • Top Speedi

    54Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    10 countries

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

Windscribe is the best free VPN around and it has a fantastic custom VPN app for MacOS (plus a range of other devices) too.

Windscribe’s free Mac app can be used on both MacBooks and iMacs with very little setup – even those with no VPN experience will be able to install the software in a matter of minutes.

Windscribe Free is reliably fast on nearby VPN servers and comes with some great security extras, such as a VPN kill switch and DNS leak protection, to keep you safe online.

You can use Windscribe Free on any number of devices you’d like – at the same time. Just be aware of the 10GB monthly VPN data cap. That’s a pretty generous allowance for free VPNs, though.

Like most free VPNs, Windscribe Free doesn’t often work with Netflix and, due to its limited server network, it’s impossible to stream BBC iPlayer. Torrenting is permitted on some of Windscribe’s free servers, though.

For a more in-depth look, read our full Windscribe Free review.

2. ProtonVPN Free

Ranked #2 for Free VPNs for Mac

  1. Simple, intuitive VPN app for MacOS
  2. Good VPN speeds on nearby servers
  3. Unlimited VPN data
  4. Privacy-friendly VPN logging policy
  5. Loads of security extras
  6. Works on range of other devices too
  1. Limited to three VPN server locations
  2. P2P not permitted on any free servers
  3. Can’t watch Netflix or iPlayer
  4. Can only use on one device at a time
  • Top Speedi

    59Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    3 countries, 8 servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid

The Bottom Line

ProtonVPN’s free VPN for MacOS isn’t quite as good as Windscribe’s, but it’s still a great choice.

ProtonVPN’s free MacOS app is very private and safe, with a VPN kill switch and DNS leak protection, as well as a pleasingly minimal logging policy.

Unlike most other free VPNs, ProtonVPN doesn’t limit users with a restrictive VPN data cap – you can use the VPN as much or as little as you want.

While ProtonVPN Free does have a range of custom VPN apps for different devices – it’s not just for MacOS – you can only use it on one device at a time.

P2P activity isn’t allowed on any of ProtonVPN’s free servers and it doesn’t grant access to Netflix, but this free VPN’s performance is pretty fast if you can connect to a server near you.

For a more in-depth look, read our full ProtonVPN Free review.

3. TunnelBear Free

Ranked #3 for Free VPNs for Mac

  1. MacOS VPN app is sleek and quirky
  2. Quick download speeds on nearby servers
  3. Close to zero-logs
  4. Access to 22 VPN servers
  5. Useful security features
  6. Torrenting permitted on all VPN servers
  1. Restrictive 500MB monthly VPN data cap
  2. Streaming sites remain blocked
  3. Very little customer support
  • Top Speedi

    52Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    22 countries

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid

The Bottom Line

TunnelBear’s free VPN plan isn’t much of a long-term solution due to the stingy 500MB monthly data cap, but it’s good for testing out the MacOS software.

TunnelBear is known for its cutesy custom VPN apps, and the one for MacOS is no different. But don’t let the animated bears fool you, the free VPN software is still pretty powerful, and very easy to use.

There’s a VPN kill switch and DNS leak protection to keep your personal data safe and private, and TunnelBear doesn’t log any personally identifiable user information.

TunnelBear Free is pretty quick if you connect to a nearby VPN server, but the monthly data cap will be a huge restriction.

For a more in-depth look, read our full TunnelBear Free review.

4. Hide.me Free

Ranked #4 for Free VPNs for Mac

  1. User-friendly MacOS VPN app
  2. Speedy downloads on nearby VPN servers
  3. Privacy-friendly logging policy
  4. Good range of security features
  5. Torrenting permitted on some free VPN servers
  6. 24/7 live chat support
  1. 2GB monthly VPN data cap
  2. International speeds are awful
  3. Five VPN server locations only
  4. Unreliable access to Netflix
  • Top Speedi

    81Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    4 countries, ? servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

Hide.me Free offers a slightly higher monthly VPN data allowance than TunnelBear at 2GB, but you can only choose between five VPN server locations.

Nevertheless, Hide.me is one of the most private and secure free VPNs around, with a minimal logging policy, a VPN kill switch for MacOS, and DNS leak protection.

Torrenting is permitted on a couple of the free Hide.me VPN servers.

We found Hide.me Free to work with Netflix in our tests on some occasions but not on others. Even then, its restrictive VPN data cap will kick in after an hour or so of HD streaming.

If you have any issues while using Hide.me, there’s 24/7 live chat support available to free users, which is much better than most complimentary VPN services.

For a more in-depth look, read our full Hide.me Free review.

5. Avira Phantom Free

Ranked #5 for Free VPNs for Mac

  1. MacOS VPN app couldn’t be easier to use
  2. Quick same-country downloads
  3. Minimal VPN logging
  4. Browser extension available for Google Chrome
  5. Use it on any amount of devices as you like
  1. Automatic VPN server selection only
  2. 1GB monthly VPN data cap
  3. No VPN kill switch
  4. Not a good choice for Netflix
  5. No customer support for free plan
  • Top Speedi

    51Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    1 countries

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid

The Bottom Line

Avira Phantom Free is geared towards VPN newbies who want to secure their personal data on public WiFi. It’s not the most private free VPN (although the logging policy is minimal) and performance isn’t great.

We like that you can use Avira Phantom on an unlimited number of devices at the same time, even if you’re not able to connect to a specific VPN server location.

Avira Phantom’s free MacOS VPN app comes with DNS leak protection, but the VPN kill switch is unfortunately reserved for paying customers, as is tech support.

There is a free browser extension for Google Chrome, though, which is an added bonus.

For a more in-depth look, read our full Avira Phantom Free review.

Popular Questions

What Is the Best Free VPN for Mac?

The best free VPN for MacOS is Windscribe – it’s safe, secure, fast, and gives you access to VPN servers in 10 countries worldwide.

Screenshot of Windscribe Free MacOS VPN app

However, even the best free VPNs come with limitations, like restrictive data caps. If you are looking for the absolute best VPN for your MacBook or iMac you’ll need to pay for it.

Do I Really Need a VPN for Mac?

MacBooks and iMacs are known for being more resistant to malware and viruses than Windows devices, but you still need to use a VPN to protect yourself from hackers and snoopers.

Having a good Antivirus isn’t enough to keep you safe online.

A VPN encrypts all of your internet traffic with strong protocols and ciphers so that you can safely use your devices at home and on public WiFi.

If you don’t use a VPN on your MacOS device while browsing, streaming, or torrenting your ISP – and any other unwanted third parties sniffing traffic – will be able to see what you’re doing online.

In some countries, ISPs are required to hand over certain user information to the government, and some sell your data for targeted advertising.

Using your MacBook on public WiFi without VPN protection puts your personal data at risk. Hackers can take advantage of weak network security in order to steal your data, including your credentials for online banking.

Are Free Mac VPNs Safe?

There are loads of free VPNs around, but not all of them are safe to use. Using a free VPN on your MacBook or iMac isn’t always the best choice – some free VPNs suffer from security flaws and others may even sell your personal information to China.

We’ve spent hours testing the free VPNs for MacOS that we’ve listed above and concluded that they are safe to use.

However, if you want to benefit from extra security features such as a VPN kill switch you might need to purchase a premium VPN subscription – NordVPN is a good choice.

Does Mac Have a Built-in VPN?

Apple MacOS devices have built-in VPN support (using the L2TP/IPSec or IKEv2/IPSec VPN protocols) – you can find VPN configuration options within System Preferences > Network settings > + > (Inferface) VPN.

Screenshot of MacOS VPN settings

In order to enable the VPN on your MacBook or iMac, you’ll still need to use configuration files from a VPN service, though, whether you pay for it or choose a free VPN.

We recommend using a custom VPN app for Mac, though, as it’ll not only save you time but it’ll also ensure that the necessary security features are properly set up.

You can also turn an old MacBook or iMac into a VPN server, but this isn’t for beginners.

How to Install, Set Up, and Use a Free VPN on Mac

It’s easy to get a free VPN on your Mac. Each of our top free VPN picks listed above come with a simple custom app for MacOS devices, meaning that all you need to do is download the software from the VPN’s website and log in.

Some of our recommendations provide OpenVPN configuration files so that you can set up the VPN manually. This allows you to install the VPN at router level in order to protect all internet-connected devices in your home.

Once it’s all set up, make sure to enable the VPN kill switch and leak protection if available. All that’s left to do is connect to your preferred server.

If you need a little extra help setting up a VPN on your Mac, check out our guide How to Install a VPN on Your Mac.

How to Change Your IP Address on Mac

The easiest and safest way to change your IP address on your iMac or MacBook is to use a trusted VPN service – one of the free services listed above are good choices.

Once you’ve set up your VPN and enabled all the available security features, just select a VPN server location and click the connect button. Your true IP address should now be hidden and replaced by the new VPN IP address.

You can check this by running a VPN leak test on browserleaks.com:

Screenshot of Windscribe Free's leak test results on browserleaks.com

Windscribe Free leak test results connected to a US VPN server. We test from the UK.

As you can see, our MacOS IP address has changed from one in the UK to another in the US. Our true IP address is safely hidden from any snooping third parties.

What Is the Best Mac VPN for Netflix?

Most free VPNs for Mac don’t work reliably with Netflix and other popular streaming sites.

If you use a free VPN you’ll probably get an error message from Netflix telling you to switch off your proxy, like this:

Screenshot of the Netflix proxy error

If you get that message, you can try again using another VPN server – if the free VPN has many server options that is.

But if that doesn’t work, we’d recommend paying for a premium VPN instead.

The best VPN for accessing Netflix is ExpressVPN – it has a simple and user-friendly custom VPN app for MacOS, and a host of other devices too.

Check out our roundup if you’d like to find out which other Mac VPNs are best for Netflix.

What Is the Best Free Mac VPN for Torrenting?

It’s vital that you use a safe and reliable VPN for torrenting and P2P, and there are a handful of free VPNs that you can use on your Apple Mac device to protect your personal data while you torrent. You can take a look at our list of free (and safe) VPNs for torrenting here.

Like our best free VPN for MacOS, Windscribe comes in at the top of our list of VPN recommendations. However, if you’re a heavy torrenter you’ll need something a little more permanent, without data caps and VPN server location restrictions.

If that’s you, we recommend IPVanish – it’s one of the best VPNs for torrenting on the market, and it’ll keep you safe hour after hour.

About the Author


  • Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

    Simon Migliano

    Simon leads our investigations into VPN safety and internet freedom research. His work has been featured on the BBC, CNet, Wired and The Financial Times. Read full bio