Apple Macs may have a stronger resistance to malware and viruses than most other computers, but you still need a VPN for your MacBook or iMac.
Most big-name VPN services now offer custom MacOS clients, but some provide faster speeds and a higher level of privacy than others.
Out of the 99 VPNs we’ve reviewed, these five are the best VPN services we recommend to Mac users.
Carry on reading for our unbiased review on each of these five VPNs, including some of their flaws. If you’re after a free VPN service we recommend these free VPNs for Mac.
The Most Important Factors When We Review a VPN for Mac
- Sleek, user-friendly Mac apps
- Fast local and international speeds
- Useful privacy features
- Transparent, fair and privacy-focused logging policies
- Works with Netflix
- High quality customer support
Wondering why you should trust our reviews? Take a look at How We Test VPNs
Read More Information on Our Top 5 Best VPN Services for Mac
Why Are These the Best VPNs for Mac?
We favor transparent, privacy-friendly VPN logging policies along with advanced security features to make sure you’re as safe as possible online.
We spend hours testing every VPN on all available platforms, including MacOS, to ensure a slick, user-friendly experience.
Don’t worry, our best VPNs for Mac are constantly being tested and retested, so our VPN recommendations are always up to date.
Do I Need a VPN on Mac?
If you want to keep yourself safe online, you absolutely need a VPN on Mac. Not only will a VPN encrypt your web traffic, making it impossible for anyone to see what you’re doing online, it will also stop your ISP and any other third parties from viewing your true physical location.
Using a VPN on your Mac is also vital if you’re in a high-censorship country, such as China, and want to access content that would otherwise be blocked in your location. A VPN will allow you to appear to be connecting from a free-speech country, and therefore bypass any existing content restrictions.
How to Use a VPN on Mac
Installing a VPN on MacOS is just as simple as installing it on Windows, and requires no special extra steps.
As long as your chosen VPN service has a custom Mac app, it will usually be as simple as running the install file.
You can also choose to install your VPN at router level so that every device on your home network is covered at once – this is a little more technical, but it can be a great workaround for VPNs that aren’t available on Mac.
Once you’re connected, the VPN will run in the background and you can carry on using your Mac as normal. For more information, hints, and tips, check out our guide How to Install a VPN on Your Mac.
How to Add a VPN to Safari
If Safari (for desktop) is your web browser of choice, and you want to use a VPN extension/add-on with it, then we recommend you use ExpressVPN.
It’s the only top-tier VPN service that has a VPN extension for Safari, and it works very well. To add the ExpressVPN add-on to Safari, follow our step-by-step guide on adding VPN extensions to Google Chrome.
What is the Best Free VPN for Mac?
If you’re not ready to commit to a paid VPN subscription, or you’d like to test out a few before you do, there are a few free VPNs for Mac that provide a good level of security.
Out of the 99 VPN services we have tested, our favorite free VPNs for Mac are Windscribe, ProtonVPN, TunnelBear, Hide.me, and Avira Phantom. For a more detailed overview, you can read our best free VPNs for Mac roundup here.
Does Mac Have a Built-In VPN?
All Mac devices come with the capability to connect to a VPN, but you’re better off signing up to a well-known VPN service rather than attempting to configure your own.
Not only does this save you the hassle of fiddling around with manual VPN setup, it also means the entire installation process is as simple as clicking a few buttons and then entering your login details.
How Do I Change the Location of My Mac?
The easiest way to change the location of your Mac is to use a VPN or proxy, as this will spoof your IP address on every website you visit. You can also fiddle with the network and location settings if you’d rather do that, but this won’t encrypt your web traffic.
If you don’t want any websites to be able to see your true location, you can disable location services in Safari in the ‘Preferences’ menu. You can do this on a per-website basis, or just for every site you visit using Safari altogether.
We’ve put together a guide on How to Change Your IP Address that shows you several different ways to change your IP address on Mac, as well as the possible reasons for doing so. You can also take a look at our Best VPNs for Hiding Your IP Address.
What Is the Best VPN for Mac Torrenting?
Torrenting on Mac works largely the same as it does on Windows, so any VPN service that’s good for one is generally good for the other. Among our top picks for torrenting are ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and P2P specialist IPVanish, all of which have sleek, user-friendly custom VPN apps for Mac.
You can check out our Best VPNs for Torrenting here.
What Is the Best VPN for Mac in China?
A VPN is essential if you want access to the unrestricted internet in China. Not all VPNs will work in China, though, as the censorship measures in place (so-called the Great Firewall) are notoriously difficult to bypass successfully without being detected and blocked.
All of our top VPN services for China offer custom VPN apps for Mac devices, so as long as you stick with one of those, you can’t go far wrong.
How to Choose a VPN for Mac: 7 Tips
Almost all major VPN services offer a dedicated app for Mac users, but the quality of these can seriously vary from one provider to the next.
Our top VPN picks all have sleek, user-friendly Mac apps that still pack in loads of configurable manual settings without being too cluttered or confusing.
There’s no point in choosing a VPN service with a super-sleek Mac app if the performance is no good.
As a general rule, the faster speeds the better – and you should also look for low latency on local servers for a seamless browsing experience on Mac.
Just remember that you won’t get fast speeds without a good internet connection in the first place.
The closer the VPN server to your physical location, the better the performance. A higher number of servers tends to mean less congestion and improved speeds, although there’s no guarantee.
We make sure to test every VPN we review on its speed and latency when connecting to a wide range of popular locations all around the world.
All our VPN recommendations on this page will protect every internet-connected app and program on your Mac.
Not only that, but we also check to find out if they’ll grant you access to some of the most popular websites and services, like Netflix or BBC iPlayer.
The sheer amount of VPN jargon can be overwhelming, which is why we make sure to spell out when a product is the real deal and when it’s talking nonsense.
Do look out for OpenVPN though, as this VPN connection protocol offers the best overall blend of speed and security. Ignore talk of military or bank-grade encryption and just look for AES-256, as that’s the gold standard for VPNs.
A VPN kill switch is the most vital extra feature as it will protect you from exposing your real IP address should your connection drop unexpectedly.
Most VPNs will claim to be ‘zero logs’ – but the reality is a little more complex.
In order to deliver consistent performance across a vast VPN server network, the majority of VPN services will need to monitor at least some connection details of their users. There’s good ways to do this, and very, very bad ways – we’ve seen equal measures of both.
The Logging Policy section of our VPN reviews saves you having to read through reams of small print, as we tell you all the information in plain English.
Even the most expensive VPN plans can be made affordable by taking out a longer subscription.
Don’t bother with a one-month plan – 12-month plans typically offer the best value and you can reduce the risk of buyer’s remorse by choosing one with a long refund period.
We’d advise a 30-day no-questions-asked guarantee – they essentially act as a free trial period.
Make the right choice, though, and you hopefully won’t be thinking about a refund at all.