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Best Free VPN for Mac

Charlotte Darrell
By Charlotte DarrellUpdated
A Macbook and iMac running a VPN

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

Maybe you’re not ready to commit to a VPN subscription yet, or you’d like to test out a few before you do, there are plenty of free VPNs with custom apps for MacOS.

We’ve reviewed loads of them, and have found some awful (and dangerous) ones out there to avoid. You won’t find any of those here, though – these are our top five picks to try before you buy.

Here are the Most Important Factors When We Review a VPN

  1. Strong privacy features
  2. Transparent and privacy-focused logging policies
  3. Fast and reliable speeds
  4. Works to unlock Netflix
  5. Well-designed and easy to use apps
  6. High quality customer support

Wondering why you should trust our reviews? Take a look at How We Test VPNs

See More Detailed Information on Our Top 5 Free VPNs for Mac

Ranked #1 for Free VPNs for Mac

Works with

Torrenting

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  1. Straightforward MacOS app
  2. Fast local performance
  3. 10 countries plus city-level servers
  4. Minimal logging
  1. 10GB data cap
  2. No live chat support
The Bottom Line

Windscribe is our top free VPN overall and it has a fantastic custom app for MacOS (plus a range of other devices) too.

It’s reliably fast locally and comes with some great security extras, such as a VPN kill switch and DNS leak protection.

There are no limitations on the number of devices you can use it on simultaneously. Just be aware of the (pretty generous) 10GB data cap.

Ranked #2 for Free VPNs for Mac

Works with

N/A

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  1. Simple, intuitive app for MacOS
  2. Fantastic local speeds
  3. DNS & IPv6 leak protection
  4. Privacy-friendly logging policy
  1. Limited to three server locations
  2. P2P not permitted
  3. Can’t watch Netflix or iPlayer
  4. No kill switch for MacOS
The Bottom Line

ProtonVPN doesn’t quite match up to Windscribe’s free offering for MacOS, but it’s still a great choice. Best of all, there’s no restrictive data cap.

P2P activity isn’t allowed on the free servers and there’s no access to Netflix, but performance is pretty fast locally.

ProtonVPN’s free app is pretty private too, but we do miss the VPN kill switch, which isn’t available on MacOS.

Ranked #3 for Free VPNs for Mac

Works with

N/A

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  1. MacOS app is sleek and quirky
  2. Quick local speeds
  3. VPN kill switch & DNS leak protection
  4. Access to 22 servers
  5. Close to zero-logs
  1. Restrictive 500MB monthly data cap
  2. Streaming sites remain blocked
  3. Very little customer support
The Bottom Line

TunnelBear’s free 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 Mac software.

TunnelBear is known for its cutesy custom apps, and the one for MacOS is no different. But don’t let the animated bears fool you, it’s still pretty powerful.

It’s fast locally, comes with DNS leak protection and a VPN kill switch, and TunnelBear’s logging policy is pleasingly minimal.

Ranked #4 for Free VPNs for Mac

Works with

Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, HBO, Torrenting, Kodi

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  1. User-friendly MacOS app
  2. Decent local performance
  3. Strict zero-logs policy
  1. 2GB monthly data cap
  2. International speeds are awful
  3. Five server locations only
The Bottom Line

Hide.me offers a slightly higher monthly data allowance than TunnelBear at 2GB, but it’s slower and you can only choose between five server locations.

Nevertheless, it’s one of the most private free VPNs around, with a strict zero-logs policy, a VPN kill switch for MacOS as well as DNS leak protection.

We found it to work with Netflix in our tests on some occasions but not on others. Even then, the data cap will kick in after an hour or so of HD streaming.

Ranked #5 for Free VPNs for Mac

Works with

N/A

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  1. MacOS app couldn’t be easier to use
  2. Local performance fast enough for browsing
  3. Choice of 25 countries
  4. Minimal logging
  1. 1GB monthly data cap
  2. No VPN kill switch
  3. No customer support for free plan
The Bottom Line

Avira Phantom is geared towards VPN newbies – it’s not the most private (although the logging policy is minimal) and performance isn’t great.

However, you can choose between 25 countries, which is more than all of our other top picks offer, and use it on any number of devices at one time.

The MacOS app comes with DNS leak protection, but the VPN kill switch is reserved for paying customers, as is tech support.

How We Picked the Best Free VPN for Mac

Our top free VPN recommendations have user-friendly, intuitive, and secure custom apps for MacBooks and iMacs.

We tested their speeds on local and international connections too, and they’re some of the fastest in their field.

Many free VPNs come with data caps, so we’ve chosen VPNs that allow you to do what you want online – within reason.

Most importantly, out top picks have minimal logging policies that put user privacy first. They come with extra security features like a VPN kill switch and leak protection too.

How to Use a Free VPN on Mac

Each of our top picks 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 Choose a Free VPN for Mac: 5 Tips

  • Does it have a user-friendly MacOS app?

    If you’re not keen on manual config, you’ll need to get a VPN that offers a custom app for MacOS devices.

    Make sure it’s easy to use and offers the security features for the level of privacy you need.

  • How restrictive is the data cap?

    Loads of free VPNs – especially the ones that care about your privacy – put data caps on their service so that you’re able to test it out before purchasing the premium plan.

    If you need a VPN for general browsing you won’t need a large data allowance, but if you’re a streaming fan or heavy torrenter you’ll need the biggest possible.

  • How fast is it in your preferred locations?

    No one like buffering or snail-pace downloads, so the faster the VPN the better. Take a look at the Speed & Reliability sections of our independent VPN reviews to find out how each performed locally and internationally.

  • Will it work with your favorite websites and apps?

    Popular streaming services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer often block VPN traffic, so not all will allow you to watch your favorite shows.

    Free VPNs are even trickier – more often than not, they aren’t reliable for streaming. Take a look at the Streaming & Torrenting sections of our reviews to find out if they work with your favorite services.

  • Does it have a privacy-friendly logging policy?

    Your VPN is responsible for loads of your online data, so be sure to pick one that doesn’t keep detailed logs of what you do online.

    Ideally, choose one that doesn’t collect your true IP address as this can be used to identify you. There are some zero-logs free VPNs out there, but more often than not they have to collect some data in order to monitor and maintain server performance.