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Best Free VPN for Mac in 2021

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Illustration of MacOS devices, an iMac and a MacBook
Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN
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Simon is a recognized world expert in VPNs. He's tested hundreds of VPN services and his research has featured on the BBC, The New York Times, CNet and more. Read full bio

The best free VPN for Mac will improve your online privacy and the security of your MacBook or iMac. VPNs add a layer of encryption to your internet connection and hide your real IP address from third-parties.

The most effective free VPNs for Mac can also bypass geo-restrictions and unblock web content all over the world. The very best Mac VPN clients even work with geo-restricted streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer.

The issue is that many free VPNs don’t provide apps for MacOS. For the ones that do, our tests found that most of them were too slow, leaked our IP location, and even passed on personal information to advertisers.

After testing over 30 free Mac VPNs, we’ve found five that will keep your web activity safe, secure, and anonymous.

The best free VPNs for MacBooks and iMacs are:

  1. Windscribe: The #1 free VPN for Mac. Read summary.
  2. ProtonVPN: Trustworthy free VPN with an unlimited data allowance. Read summary.
  3. Hide.me: Private logging policy and fully-optimized for MacOS. Read summary
  4. Hotspot Shield: Extremely fast free VPN with support for torrenting. Read summary
  5. TunnelBear: Fully-featured VPN client with a 500MB monthly data cap. Read summary

Want extra features? See the best premium VPNs for Mac here.
It is worth remembering that every free VPN comes with some limitations: slower speeds, data caps, or the inability to unblock popular websites and apps. That said, we’ve verified that all the free VPNs we recommend are fast, secure, and come with a user-friendly native app for MacOS devices.

Big Sur Update:

Despite incorrect information from some publications, MacOS Big Sur does not bypass VPNs. All of the Mac VPNs we recommend work as intended and will encrypt all traffic. You can read more on this here.

5 Best Free VPNs for Mac in 2021

  1. 1. Windscribe: 10GB Free Data Per Month

    Fast and secure free Mac VPN that unblocks US Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

    Ranked #1 for Free VPNs for Mac
    Windscribe mobile screenshots
     100% 
    (2 user reviews)
    Visit Windscribe
    1. Generous 10GB monthly data cap
    2. Works with Netflix & other streaming sites
    3. Fast speeds
    4. Allows torrenting on free servers
    5. Works in China
    6. Unlimited simultaneous connections
    1. Menu bar app
    2. Minor MacOS compatibility issues
    3. No live chat support
    4. No WireGuard on Mac

    Windscribe Free is the best free VPN for Mac. The VPN comes with a generous monthly data allowance of 10GB and can be used on an unlimited number of devices at once. It’s fast, it has strong security, and its MacOS app is easy to use.

    Top Download Speedi

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

    54Mbps
    Data Cap10GB Per Month
    MacOS CompatibilityYosemite & Later
    Mac App StoreNo
    Email Address RequiredYes
    Compatible with
    1. macosMacOS
    2. iosiOS
    3. appletvApple TV

    The best free Mac VPN for streaming

    Windscribe is unique as it’s the only safe free VPN that works with streaming sites, including US Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and HBO Max. During our tests, we were also able to access geo-blocked movies and TV shows from all 10 of Windscribe’s server locations.

    With Windscribe’s fast speeds and WireGuard support, we were able to stream TV shows and movies in HD without any buffering. We also set up our Mac as a virtual router, allowing us to share our Windscribe VPN connection with other devices. By doing this, we were able to unblock streaming sites on devices that don’t support VPN connections, like our Apple TV and PS4.

    The only drawback to using Windsribe’s free plan for streaming is its 10GB monthly data allowance. We were only able to stream four hours of HD content before running out of data. You can increase your allowance by 5GB by tweeting the company, but this is still not enough bandwidth if you plan on streaming regularly.

    Works in China & for torrenting

    Windscribe’s Mac app comes with a ‘Stealth’ connection protocol which obfuscates VPN traffic to bypass censorship. Testing Windscribe through our strict China VPN testing methodology and using our remote server located in Shanghai, we found that the VPN is a reliable option for connecting out from China and accessing blocked websites and apps, like YouTube and Instagram.

    The vast majority of premium VPNs fail to work in China, so the fact Windscribe’s free tier manages to work is extremely impressive. Equally, Windscribe allows torrenting traffic on all of its free servers. We were able to download a legal torrent file in seconds on our test iMac thanks to Windscribe’s fast local speed performance.

    The VPN comes with a kill switch, built-in DNS leak protection, and secure AES-256 encryption, too, so our torrenting activity was kept private from our ISP.

    Poor customer support & minor app issues

    Windscribe’s MacOS app is very easy to use, with a simple layout and large button for easy connections. However, if you do encounter any issues, there is no human live chat support. You can speak to Garry, Windscribe’s automated chatbot, but we have never found it to be useful.

    Instead, we recommend emailing Windscribe’s customer support team. Although relatively slow to respond (approximately one to three days), they will almost always provide an adequate answer to the issue you’re facing.

    The only other downside to Windscribe is that the Mac app is a basic menu bar app. The problem with these kinds of apps is that they are often small, limited in functionality, and hard to configure. The small text size makes changing Windscribe’s protocol a frustrating process, for example.

    Along with this, Windscribe’s Mac app doesn’t behave like a typical menu bar app. When interacting with it, it forces you out of the foremost app and jumps to the desktop. If you’re regularly altering your server location, you will have to switch back and forth multiple times, which is an annoyance we’d like to see fixed.

    In the latest release of the app, released for MacOS Big Sur, the VPN does finally allow you to detach the app from the menu bar. However, this simply turns the app into a floating window and doesn’t particularly improve the user experience. We prefer VPNs to have a fully-fledged native app, as these generally come without all these limitations.

    Don’t let these issues prevent you from using Windscribe, though – it’s still a clear winner for our best free VPN for Mac. We just hope that Windscribe can remedy these small problems soon.

    How to use Windscribe for free on Mac:

    • Sign up for Windscribe via the registration page.
    • To increase your monthly data allowance from 2GB to 10GB, provide a username and password.
    • To get an extra 5GB of data and increase your bandwidth to 15GB per month, tweet about Windscribe. Login to your account and click ‘Tweet 4 Data’.
    • Download the Windscribe Mac app and log in using your account details.
  2. 2. ProtonVPN: Unlimited Free Data

    The only trusted free Mac VPN with no restrictions on data usage.

    Screenshot of ProtonVPN Free's Mobile App
     100% 
    (2 user reviews)
    Visit ProtonVPN
    1. Unlimited data allowance
    2. Fast speeds
    3. Strong security features
    4. Open-sourced & audited apps
    5. IP & DNS leak protection
    1. Mac app only supports IKEv2
    2. Just one simultaneous connection
    3. Only three server locations
    4. Doesn’t work for streaming
    5. Blocks torrenting traffic
    6. No live chat customer support

    ProtonVPN is the safest and most secure free VPN for Mac. It has an effective kill switch, a privacy-friendly logging policy, and it comes from a well-respected cybersecurity company. If you want a free VPN primarily for encrypting unsafe networks and hiding your IP address, ProtonVPN is the best option.

    Top Download Speedi

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

    60Mbps
    Data CapUnlimited
    MacOS CompatibilitySierra & Later
    Mac App StoreNo
    Email Address RequiredYes
    Compatible with
    1. macosMacOS
    2. iosiOS
    3. appletvApple TV

    Unlimited data allowance, but no streaming

    ProtonVPN is the only safe free VPN that offers unlimited data and bandwidth. This means that, unlike the other VPNs in this list, you can use it as much as you want. Therefore, you can secure and encrypt your traffic at all times without having to manage what traffic is included in the VPN tunnel.

    The main problem with ProtonVPN, though, is that you won’t be able to benefit from most high-bandwidth activities while connected to a free server. The VPN doesn’t work with US Netflix, Hulu, or any other streaming site. Also, torrenting traffic is actively blocked by the VPN, so you won’t be able to use it with any torrenting clients or with Kodi. This is disappointing as it makes ProtonVPN’s unlimited data allowance less useful than we’d hope.

    Robust security features

    ProtonVPN’s free tier benefits from the same best-in-class security protections as the paid version. ProtonVPN Free encrypts traffic using the secure AES-256 cipher, data is authenticated using an SHA-348 hash, and connections are established via an RSA-4028 handshake. The Mac app comes with a kill-switch enabled by default, too, so you won’t accidentally leak your true IP address if your VPN connection suddenly disconnects.

    On top of this, the VPN comes from the same company behind ProtonMail, which is an acclaimed encrypted email service. It also operates under a minimal-logs privacy policy and is based in Switzerland, a jurisdiction that does not mandate any data-gathering for VPN providers. All this adds up to make ProtonVPN one of the most trusted VPNs for keeping your data both private and secure.

    One simultaneous connection and no OpenVPN

    In addition to the lack of streaming and torrenting support, there are a few issues with ProtonVPN that mean we don’t recommend it as highly as Windscribe for Mac users. Most noticeably, you can only use ProtonVPN Free on one device at a time. While this will be enough for a single iMac or MacBook, you won’t be able to secure your iPad or iPhone, along with any of your family’s devices.

    To get around this, you’ll have to install ProtonVPN onto your router. This can be quite difficult to set up, but once configured, you can secure every device on your network with ProtonVPN.

    Unlike the app for other platforms, ProtonVPN’s MacOS app only supports IKEv2 connections and doesn’t use our preferred protocol, OpenVPN. Although IKEv2 is popular and relatively secure, it’s closed-source and is less-trusted than OpenVPN. Given that ProtonVPN is a security-focused VPN and that all of its other apps include options, we’re disappointed that the Mac app misses out on such a key feature.

    How to use ProtonVPN for Free on Mac:

    • Sign up for ProtonVPN via the registration page. You will need to provide an email address and password.
    • Download the ProtonVPN Mac app and log in using your account details.
    • No other configuration is required. You will automatically be given unlimited data allowance and the choice of three server locations.
  3. 3. Hide.me: 10GB Free Data Per Month

    Quick torrent downloads and an enhanced app for MacOS.

    Hide.me mobile screenshots
     100% 
    (1 user reviews)
    Visit Hide.me
    1. Available through the Mac App Store
    2. Updated for Apple Silicon
    3. No account registration required
    4. Fast speeds on nearby servers
    5. Allows P2P traffic
    6. Attractive and user-friendly app
    1. Only four server locations
    2. WireGuard blocked for free users
    3. Doesn’t work for streaming

    Hide.me is a fast, secure, and trusted free VPN for Mac. You don’t have to provide any account details to sign up, and it comes with a generous 10GB data allowance. Although it doesn’t have as many features as some other VPNs in this list, Hide.me is an excellent and easy-to-use Mac VPN.

    Top Download Speedi

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

    72Mbps
    Data Cap10GB Per Month
    MacOS CompatibilityCatalina & Later
    Mac App StoreYes
    Email Address RequiredNo
    Compatible with
    1. macosMacOS
    2. iosiOS
    3. appletvApple TV

    Optimized for MacOS

    Unlike all other free VPNs for Mac, Hide.me has fully-optimized its apps for MacOS. Firstly, Hide.me is one of only a few services available to download through the Mac App Store. The benefit of downloading through the App Store is that you benefit from Apple’s app sandboxing requirement. This limits what parts of your system the VPN can access, increasing privacy and reducing any security risk.

    Downloading via the App Store also means that you can use your existing Apple ID payment method to subscribe to Hide.me, and the app is kept up-to-date through automatic updates. These relatively small improvements combine to make Hide.me a convenient and enjoyable experience on MacOS.

    Also, Hide.me is the first VPN provider to be fully compatible with Apple Silicon. Apple Silicon is the new line of processors that power the latest MacBook Airs, MacBook Pros, and Mac Minis. All the other VPNs we recommend require software translation to function on these machines, which can negatively impact performance. By running natively, Hide.me is faster and runs with fewer issues than non-optimized VPN apps.

    Fast download speeds & private torrenting

    In our latest tests, Hide.me achieved a download speed of 81Mbps when connected to a nearby server. This is a speed loss of just 11%, which is very impressive for a free VPN.

    We were able to achieve these speeds as the VPN does not throttle its free servers. After contacting it, a representative from Hide.me told us that the free VPN doesn’t put any speed caps on users’ traffic, which should mean that they experience speeds similar to premium users.

    You can make use of these fast download speeds by using the VPN for torrenting, too. Hide.me allows P2P traffic on its free servers, it has a functional kill switch, and can be bound to your torrenting client via the SOCKS proxy. This kept our torrenting activity private while keeping speeds fast.

    The only caveat is that Hide.me’s four server locations — US, Canada, the Netherlands, and Germany — are all similarly located. As a result, if you’re in South America, Africa, or Asia, you may experience slower speeds as there’s no nearby server to connect to.

    10GB monthly data cap

    Hide.me’s biggest limitation is that it only allows you to use 10GB of data each month. Although this is relatively high for a safe free VPN, Windscribe’s maximum data cap is 50% larger, and it doesn’t come close to ProtonVPN’s unlimited bandwidth.

    This is plenty if you plan on using Hide.me for casual browsing, securing unsafe public WiFi networks, and occasional torrenting. However, it’s worth looking elsewhere if you perform high-bandwidth activities often.

    How to use Hide.me for free on Mac:

  4. 4. Hotspot Shield: 500MB Free Data Per Day

    Very fast and easy-to-use VPN with just one server location.

    Hotspot Shield mobile screenshots
     88% 
    (5 user reviews)
    Visit Hotspot Shield
    1. Easy-to-use MacOS app
    2. Download through the Mac App Store
    3. Doesn’t require account details
    4. Very fast download speeds
    5. Works with torrenting
    1. Just one server location (US)
    2. Logs some user data
    3. 500MB daily data cap
    4. Based in the privacy-hostile US

    Hotspot Shield is a very fast free VPN for Mac. The client can be downloaded through the App Store, it has a built-in malware blocker, and uses military-grade encryption. However, the VPN is based in a Five Eyes jurisdiction and collects some user data. Hotspot Shield is still a good choice if you prioritize speed, but we don’t recommend it for privacy.

    Top Download Speedi

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

    44Mbps
    Data Cap500MB Per Day
    MacOS CompatibilitySierra & Later
    Mac App StoreYes
    Email Address RequiredNo
    Compatible with
    1. macosMacOS
    2. iosiOS

    Superb speeds

    Thanks to its proprietary Catapult Hydra VPN protocol, Hotspot Shield Basic is a very fast free VPN. In our latest round of tests, we experienced a 0% speed loss when using Hotspot Shield, with the service keeping our speeds at 100Mbps.

    The VPN does claim that peak speed is capped on the free server to prioritize traffic for premium subscribers. However, we did not notice any difference in speed when connecting to both the paid and free US servers. In both cases, speeds remained fast and reliable.

    However, Hotspot Shield Basic does come with one major downside that prevents it from being the fastest free VPN: you can only connect to a US server. Although our speeds remained fast connecting from the UK, you’ll experience a more significant drop in speed if connecting from a further-away location, like Australia or India.

    Intuitive & attractive app for MacOS

    Hotspot Shield’s MacOS app is attractive, easy-to-use, and it features a useful dashboard that displays information about your current session. To connect to the VPN server, simply click the large ‘On’ button from the main screen. Once connected, you’ll be able to see your new IP address, server load, the amount of data transmitted, and a live gauge of speed performance.

    Like Hide.me, Hotspot Shield’s app is also only available via the App Store. This means you benefit from automatic updates and also from the App Store’s security and privacy protections.

    Hotspot Shield Basic also doesn’t require an account, so you can use the VPN without entering any personal details, like your email address or payment details. It also comes with built-in malware protection. While this is certainly no replacement for a fully-featured digital security product, Hotspot Shield will notify and block you from accessing sites infected with malware.

    Not recommended for privacy

    Hotspot Shield is let down by its sub-par privacy policy. Although the VPN has recently improved its logging practices, it still collects too much personal information.

    Hotspot Shield Basic logs the following information:

    • Your IP address
    • The domains that you access
    • Your approximate geographical location

    After contacting it, a Hotspot Shield representative told us that in all cases, this information is aggregated, encrypted, and not tied to your account in any way. We were told that this is to prevent fraudulent activity and that your IP address will be deleted from the system at the end of your session.

    Although Hotspot Shield claims this logging could not be used to identify you from your online activity, it is clear that the VPN collects far more information about you than other VPN services. Although we trust the VPN to adequately protect this information, we recommend you don’t use this VPN if you prioritize privacy and anonymity.

    How to use Hotspot Shield for free on Mac:

  5. 5. TunnelBear: 500MB Free Data Per Month

    Beginner-friendly Mac software with an insufficient monthly data allowance.

    TunnelBear VPN
     100% 
    (2 user reviews)
    Visit TunnelBear
    1. Simple & user-friendly Mac app
    2. Private logging policy
    3. Torrenting permitted on all VPN servers
    4. 23 server locations
    5. AES-256 encryption & other security features
    1. 500MB monthly data limit
    2. Menu bar app
    3. Doesn’t work with Netflix
    4. Limited customer support
    5. Based in a Five Eyes jurisdiction

    TunnelBear is a beginner-friendly VPN with a fun and easy-to-use app for MacOS. It’s a good choice for privacy and security, as TunnelBear conducts regular independent audits and is transparent about its security and logging practices. That said, its tiny 500MB monthly data allowance makes the VPN useless beyond occasionally encrypting public WiFi sessions.

    Top Download Speedi

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

    52Mbps
    Data Cap500MB Per Month
    MacOS CompatibilitySierra & Later
    Mac App StoreNo
    Email Address RequiredYes
    Compatible with
    1. macosMacOS
    2. iosiOS

    Large server network

    TunnelBear is the only VPN in this list that doesn’t limit the number of servers that free users can connect to. You can utilize all the same servers as paying subscribers, without any limit on speed performance or locations.

    In total, TunnelBear has servers in 23 countries, which is by far the most we’ve seen from a free Mac VPN. This includes popular locations like the US, UK, and Japan, along with less-common countries like Brazil, India, and New Zealand. As a result, you’ll be able to get an IP address from almost any location with TunnelBear.

    Strong privacy & security

    Although TunnelBear is a free VPN, it benefits from the same high-level privacy and security features as the paid version. TunnelBear was one of the first VPNs to be audited by a third-party cybersecurity firm and the VPN now completes one of these audits every year, with the most recent in January 2020.

    The reports regularly find TunnelBear to be an extremely safe and secure VPN, with security protocols that lead the industry. The service operates under a private logging policy, and its Mac app uses strong AES-256 encryption, SHA256 data authentication, and Perfect Forward Secrecy via 3072 bit DH key exchange. In short, you can trust TunnelBear with your most sensitive data.

    The only drawback is that TunnelBear is based within Canada, which is part of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance. This is a group of five countries, including the US and UK, which have systems in place to collect and supply surveillance data with one another. In theory, one nation could collect data from a VPN user and share it with another Five Eyes member.

    However, as TunnelBear is a privacy-first VPN and collects only anonymous server data, it does not have any user data that could be handed over to a surveilling government. In fact, TunnelBear has been asked to provide user data on 14 separate occasions and has been unable to every time.

    500MB per month is not enough

    TunnelBear’s free plan comes with just 500MB of data allowance per month, which is far lower than all the other free VPNs we recommend for Mac. Similar to Windscribe, you can tweet the company to get an extra 1GB of data. However, this is single-use, so you’ll still be given 500MB of data the following month.

    Given the low data cap, TunnelBear is not a viable long-term option. You will use up your allowance very quickly if torrenting or streaming, and it won’t last long for general web browsing, either. Unless you want a quick and simple way to encrypt and anonymize a single network session, you should avoid TunnelBear.

    How to use TunnelBear for free on Mac:

    • Sign up for TunnelBear via the registration page.
    • To increase your first monthly data allowance from 500MB to 1.5GB, tweet the company. Once verified by its support team, you will be granted an additional 1GB of data.
    • Download the TunnelBear Mac app and log in using your account details.

Free Mac VPN Comparison Chart

Methodology: How We Tested Free VPNs for Mac

To ensure the free Mac VPNs that we recommend are the best available, we follow a strict and scientific review process. We test each and every VPN on our iMac, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini — allowing us to verify a service’s quality across a range of MacOS devices.A visualization of Top10VPN.com's 10-step review process
Here are the essential features we check for in Mac VPNs:

Easy-to-use & Customized for MacOS

Before testing the VPN’s advanced features, we make sure that there is a native app for MacOS that can be easily downloaded either via a web page or through the App Store. We then check to see how simple it is to connect to a VPN server and change IP location. This verifies that all the VPNs we recommend are as intuitive to use as Apple’s built-in apps.

Private Logging Policy & No Data Collection

As free VPNs have to make money somehow, many of them resort to intrusive data collection on users that can then be sold to advertisers. This makes using one of these VPNs as a tool for privacy and security essentially pointless. All the services we recommend are freemium VPNs, which means paying subscribers subsidize free users, so no data collection is necessary. All five of these VPNs will keep your data secure, safe, and private.

No Ads or Pop-Ups

Some free VPNs even include advertisements within the app to support their business. While this is an annoyance and worsens user-experience, these ads also pose a threat to your privacy. For example, Betternet is a free VPN that does not outright collect user data, but the free version includes Google Ads.
Betternet’s privacy policy states that Google Ads collects personal data to serve you more targeted ads — including your “mobile advertising identifier, IP address, and device information.” For this reason, none of the services we recommend include in-app advertisements.

Strong Encryption & Additional Security Features

Although Macs are less susceptible to viruses and malware than Windows PCs, your Mac still requires protection from a range of security threats. All the VPNs we endorse come with strong encryption techniques to securely tunnel traffic, with Perfect Forward Secrecy and an AES 256-bit cipher, which are universally regarded as unbreakable. The VPNs also come with a kill switch, IP, DNS, and WebRTC leak protection, and privately-owned DNS servers. These features prevent your identity from being revealed at any point.

Fast Speeds & Reliable Connections

Many free VPNs often oversell their server space, meaning too many users are connected to one server at any given time. This results in slow speeds, connection dropouts, and an overall frustrating experience. However, all of our picks either allow you to access the same servers as paying subscribers or use clever techniques, like load balancing, to reroute traffic to a larger pool of servers. This makes these VPNs fast enough for HD streaming and quick torrent downloads.

Free Mac VPNs to Avoid

VPN services require constant investment from the provider to function property. This money goes towards server infrastructure, support staff, development costs, and a range of other essential components.

In the absence of paying subscribers, many free VPN services fund their service through objectionable means. These methods include collecting and selling user data to advertisers, refusing to pay the costs involved to implement safe security practices, and some are simply scams.

Here are some popular free Mac VPNs that you should not use under any circumstances:

Hola

Despite its popularity, Hola is one of the very worst VPNs and does not attempt to protect its user’s privacy and security.

Our Hola VPN review found that it’s not a VPN at all, as it does not encrypt any of your internet traffic. Instead, it is a peer-to-peer network where the true IP address of each user is shared. This means that while using Hola, you will give your IP address to another user and will be accountable for any activity they perform.

To function in this way, Hola logs the websites you visit, your IP address, and a whole range of personally identifiable information. You should avoid Hola at all costs.

Opera VPN

Opera VPN is a free service that’s built-in to the popular Opera web browser. However, it’s actually a proxy service and doesn’t come with the level of protection or anonymity as a fully-featured VPN service.

Opera VPN only routes traffic from within the browser through the VPN tunnel. This means that any other activity, like torrenting or iCloud photo syncing, is left unencrypted and vulnerable.

Opera also admits in its privacy policy that it “makes money by selling your data onto third parties,” so even your traffic within the Opera browser won’t be kept private and anonymous. It’s worth using no VPN at all over Opera.

If you want to read more about its intrusive logging policy and security limitations, read our full guide on Opera VPN.

Betternet

Although Betternet is positively rated on the Mac App Store, it tracks its users and is not very transparent about its ownership structure. Betternet is owned by Aura, the same company that’s behind Hotspot Shield.

However, our most recent investigation into free VPN apps noted that this is not stated anywhere on Aura or Betternet’s site, with the only reference buried in the VPN’s shared privacy policy. In addition to this, an academic report found that Betternet had the highest number of embedded tracking libraries of all the VPNs studied.

Our Betternet review also found that the VPN suffers from DNS leaks if it is not properly configured. In all, Betternet fails as a tool for privacy and you should avoid it.

FAQs

Why do I need a VPN for my Mac?

Here are the three main reasons to use a VPN on your Mac:

  • Hide your internet history and torrenting activity from your ISP. When not connected to a VPN on MacOS, your ISP can see all websites you visit and every torrent file you download. This applies even when in a private browsing session, meaning your web activity can be actively monitored, which could even result in DMCA requests. All the VPNs we recommend have been verified by our team of experts to safely hide your activity without any IP leaks.
  • Encrypt and secure public WiFi networks. ‘Free’ WiFi hotspots in public spaces, like cafes and hotels, are often used by criminals to steal sensitive data from other people on the network. By rerouting all traffic through the secure VPN tunnel, all five of the services on this page prevent hackers from intercepting and stealing your data.
  • Unblock streaming services. To enforce copyright agreements, streaming sites restrict the amount of content available by region. For example, Hulu isn’t available outside of the US and BBC iPlayer is restricted to only those inside the UK. While paid Mac VPNs are typically more reliable at unblocking this content, we found that Windscribe works with streaming sites from around the world.

Will my Mac VPN work with my other devices?

Your Mac is certainly not the only device that needs protection, so it’s important to install the VPN client on as many of your devices as possible.

All the five VPNs on this page have apps for iPhone, iPad, and even allow router-installation, so you can protect your Apple TV, too.

Windscribe is the only one that allows you to use the VPN on an unlimited number of devices at once, though, so that’s the best choice if you have several internet-connected devices.

How do I set up a VPN on Mac?

Each of our top free VPN picks listed above come with a simple custom app for MacOS devices. This means that all you need to do is download the software from the VPN’s website or through the Mac App Store and log in.

If you do need assistance on setting up a VPN, read our guide on how to install a VPN app on Mac.

How do I change my IP address on Mac?

The easiest and safest way to change your IP address on your iMac or MacBook is to use one of the trusted VPN services that we recommend.

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 will now be hidden and replaced by the new VPN IP address.

You can check this by using our IP checker tool or with a third-party site, like ipleak.net. If your displayed IP address is different from your true location, then the VPN has successfully changed your Mac’s IP address.

Does Mac have a built-in free VPN?

Apple MacOS devices have built-in IKEv2 VPN support. You can find VPN configuration options within System Preferences.

To enable the VPN on your Mac, you’ll still need to use configuration files from a VPN service, which can be downloaded through the provider’s website.

You can read more on how to set up Mac’s built-in VPN in our full guide.

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 configured.

Are these VPNs compatible with my version of MacOS?

Here is a summary of the MacOS compatibility of the best free VPNs for Mac:

  • Windscribe — MacOS Yosemite 10.10 (Released in 2014) and later.
  • ProtonVPN, Hotspot Shield, TunnelBear — MacOS Sierra 10.12 (Released in 2016) and later.
  • Hide.me — MacOS Catalina 10.15 (Released in 2019) and later.

If you’re not on a recent version of MacOS, we strongly recommend updating as soon as possible. New MacOS releases often include essential security patches which are necessary to keep your device safe.

About the Author


  • Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

    Simon Migliano

    Simon is a recognized world expert in VPNs. He's tested hundreds of VPN services and his research has featured on the BBC, The New York Times, CNet and more. Read full bio