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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 free VPNs, 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 free VPN picks for Mac to try before you buy.

The Most Important Factors When We Review a Free VPN for Mac

  1. User-friendly free app for MacOS
  2. Strong privacy features
  3. Transparent and privacy-focused logging policies
  4. Fast and reliable speeds
  5. High quality customer support
  6. 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

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 VPN app
  2. Fast local download speeds
  3. VPN servers in 10 countries plus city-level choice
  4. Minimal VPN logging
  1. 10GB VPN data cap
  2. No live chat support
The Bottom Line

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

Windscribe Free is reliably fast locally 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 VPN data cap. That’s a pretty generous allowance for free VPNs, though.

Ranked #2 for Free VPNs for Mac

Works with

N/A

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  1. Simple, intuitive VPN app for MacOS
  2. Fantastic local VPN speeds
  3. VPN kill switch & DNS leak protection
  4. Privacy-friendly VPN logging policy
  1. Limited to three VPN server locations
  2. P2P not permitted on any free servers
  3. Can’t watch Netflix or iPlayer
The Bottom Line

ProtonVPN’s free VPN for MacOS isn’t quite as good as Windscribe’s, but it’s still a great choice. Best of all, ProtonVPN doesn’t limit users with a restrictive VPN data cap.

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.

ProtonVPN’s free MacOS app is very private and safe too, with a VPN kill switch and DNS leak protection.

Ranked #3 for Free VPNs for Mac

Works with

N/A

Available on

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

TunnelBear Free is fast locally and safe to use with DNS leak protection, a VPN kill switch, and a pleasingly minimal logging policy.

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 VPN app
  2. Decent local download speeds
  3. Strict zero-logs privacy policy
  1. 2GB monthly VPN data cap
  2. International speeds are awful
  3. Five VPN server locations only
The Bottom Line

Hide.me Free offers a slightly higher monthly VPN data allowance than TunnelBear at 2GB, but it’s slower and 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 strict zero-logs policy, a VPN kill switch for MacOS as well as DNS leak protection.

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.

Ranked #5 for Free VPNs for Mac

Works with

N/A

Available on

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

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

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

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.

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.

How We Picked the Best Free VPNs for Mac

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

The best free VPNs for MacOS provide fast speeds on local and international connections, without compromising on security and privacy.

Our top free VPN picks are safe to use with minimal logging policies that put user privacy first. They come with extra security features like a VPN kill switch and leak protection too.

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

Do I 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.

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. Here are our top premium VPN recommendations for MacOS.

Does Mac Have a Built-in VPN?

MacOS devices have built-in VPN support – you can find VPN configuration options within System Preferences > Network settings. You’ll still need to use configuration files from a VPN service, though, whether you pay for it or choose a free VPN.

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

What Is the Best Mac VPN for Netflix?

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

Are Free VPNs Safe?

The free VPNs we have listed above are all safe to use, but they do come with some restrictions.

Beware that many other free VPNs are not safe to use. They don’t offer the privacy and security needed to browse safely online, and may even sell your personal data onto advertisers and other third parties.

How to Choose a Free VPN for Mac: 5 Tips

If you’re not keen on manual config, you’ll need to get a VPN that offers a custom app for MacOS devices. That way you can protect your MacBook or iMac in just a few clicks.

Make sure the VPN software is easy to use and offers the security features for the level of privacy you need.

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.

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.

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.

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 a VPN 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.