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 loads of free VPNs 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-for) VPNs for Mac.
Before we go into more detail, here’s a sneak peek of the top three VPNs for Mac:
The Most Important Factors When We Review a Free VPN for Mac
- User-friendly free app for MacOS
- Strong privacy features
- Transparent and privacy-focused logging policies
- Fast and reliable speeds
- High quality customer support
- Works to unlock Netflix
Wondering why you should trust our reviews? Take a look at How We Test VPNs
Read More Information on Our Top 5 Best Free VPN Services for Mac
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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