Apple Macs may have a stronger resistance to malware and viruses than other computers, but you still need a VPN for your MacBook or iMac. Most big-name VPN providers now offer dedicated MacOS clients, but not all of them are worth using.
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 though, 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?
Our best VPN picks for Mac have the fastest results in our speed tests around the world. They also consistently unblock popular streaming services, such as Netflix. We favor transparent, minimal logging policies along with advanced privacy features to make sure you’re always protected.
We spend hours testing every VPN on all available platforms, including MacOS, to make sure that you’ll have the best experience possible.
Don’t worry, our highest-scoring VPNs are constantly being tested and retested, so our recommendations are always up to date.
How to Use a VPN on Mac
If you’re not too tech-savvy then you can breathe a sigh of relief: installing a VPN on MacOS is just as simple as installing it on Windows, with no special extra steps required.
So long as your chosen VPN has a Mac-specific program it will usually be as simple as running the install file.
You can often decide 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 continue to 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 browsers.
How to Choose a VPN for Mac: 7 Tips
Almost all major VPN providers offer a dedicated app for Mac users, but the quality of these can seriously vary from one provider to the next.
Our top 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 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.
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 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 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.
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 server network, the majority of providers 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 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.