While MacBooks and iMacs have historically been much less prone to security vulnerabilities than Windows devices, this system-level protection does not necessarily apply to online activity.
Macs don’t come with any form of built-in security features that prevent your ISP or hackers from snooping on your online traffic. This makes a VPN essential for your MacBook or iMac.
Here’s a quick summary of the main benefits of using a VPN on your Mac:
1Encrypt and anonymize your web traffic
A VPN encrypts and anonymizes your internet traffic, making it impossible for anyone to see the data being passed through the VPN tunnel.
This is particularly useful when you connect to an untrustworthy public WiFi network. These WiFi networks are often unsecured and are easy targets for hackers to carry out MITM attacks. If you use one of these networks without a VPN, your most sensitive information is left vulnerable.
If you’re unaware of the dangers of unsecured public WiFi networks, read our guide to help understand the risks and why connecting to a VPN will protect you.
2Hide your IP address
Your IP address is your unique identifier on the web. It allows websites and applications to know your location, and third-parties, like governments and advertisers, to track and target you.
When you connect to a VPN server, your real IP address is replaced by an anonymous IP address from the VPN server. Once connected to a no-logs VPN, your web activity is virtually untraceable. This conceals all of your online activity from any third-parties, including advertisers and surveilling governments.
3Stream geo-blocked content
VPN software allows you to geo-spoof your location and access TV shows and movies that aren’t available in your region. As a result, with a good Mac VPN, you can stream services like US Netflix from anywhere. The US Netflix library has the most video titles in the world, so a VPN allows you to get the maximum value from your existing Netflix subscription.
All five of our best VPNs for Mac work with other streaming services, too. This means that no matter where you’re located in the world, you can watch titles from sites like BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and Hulu in HD.
4Bypass online censorship
Countries with a large amount of government censorship often ban websites and apps that do not conform to the ideals of the government. For example, Instagram and YouTube are banned in China, and ProtonMail and Dailymotion are banned in Russia.
The best VPN clients use clever obfuscation tools that beat censorship in countries like China. This means that using the VPN will allow you to circumvent web censors and access all previously restricted websites and apps.
If you plan on using your Mac VPN in a heavily censored region, we recommend using ExpressVPN, Surfshark, or PrivateVPN. These VPNs have been the most reliable at bypassing censorship in all of our tests.