As an Apple user, you probably think you don’t have a need for a VPN, given Apple’s air-tight security for all its devices. However, even as Mac users, your ISP can track your browsing activities and collect your IP address for the websites you visit. macOS cannot prevent ISPs from doing either of these, whereas a VPN can.
The best VPN for Mac can ensure your data is encrypted, and your activities aren’t traceable. A reliable VPN will make it seem like you are browsing from another country. It’ll even keep you safe as you surf the web on public Wi-Fi.
Therefore, to help you choose a suitable Mac VPN, we have finalized a list of the best Mac VPNs based on rigorous testing criteria so you can obtain top-notch online protection while even using public Wi-Fi.
We tested these best VPNs on MacBooks and iMacs to see how it works since there aren’t many MacBook-specific options on the market. The chosen best VPN client for Mac will protect your online data, offer lightning-fast connection speeds, and have intuitive and well-designed apps.
The Best VPN for Mac in 2023 – Quick Overview
Looking for the best VPN for MacOS? Here is a brief overview of the best VPN for Mac in 2023:
- ExpressVPN: Overall the Best VPN for Mac. This VPN for Mac offers top-notch security, fast speeds, exceptional unblocking capability, and servers worldwide. Costs just $6.67/mo .
- Surfshark: Budget-friendly Mac VPN. It costs just $2.30/mo and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- NordVPN: Fast Speed VPN for Mac Users. This best VPN Mac offers the fastest speeds and a huge server network globally. It costs just $3.99/mo .
- CyberGhost: Popular Mac VPN with Great Additional Features. Among the best VPNs for Mac, CyberGhost offers the most user-friendly features. It costs just $2.11/mo .
- Private Internet Access: Best Torrenting VPN on Mac. You can use this best Mac VPN for easy P2P sharing since it offers optimized servers. PIA costs just $2.11/mo .
Also, check out: Best Mac VPNs – Detailed Analysis | FAQs
Why Do I Need a VPN for macOS?
You need to use a VPN on your Mac device so that even if you’re using public Wi-Fi, your device can be kept safe from any hacking attempts. Apart from that, a VPN can also assist in unblocking the geo-restricted content of other countries or anonymously browsing the web without your ISP spying on you.
Here are some reasons why you might want to consider using a VPN on your Mac:
- Protect your online privacy: While Apple devices are generally considered secure, they are not immune to online tracking and surveillance. When you use the best VPN for Mac and iPhone, your online activity is encrypted, and your IP address is masked, making it more difficult for third parties to track your online activity and collect data on you.
- Security: A VPN adds an extra layer of security by offering military-grade encryption for data protection. This way, your connection would be encrypted, and you’ll be secure from various nasty exploits.
- Bypassing geo-restrictions: While traveling abroad, you won’t be able to access your favorite streaming services in your native country due to geo-restrictions. However, by connecting to a VPN server back home, you can unblock your favorite streaming services and enjoy content on them.
- Speeds: Your activities are often subject to throttling, especially if you’re gaming or torrenting. A VPN can help you bypass this so you never get slow speeds.
- Accessibility: Being an Apple user, you’re often denied multiple Media Services. Also, if you live in restrictive countries, then you won’t be able to access certain websites unless you use a macOS VPN.
The Best VPNs for Mac – Detailed Analysis
In the industry, you have a lot of advanced VPN options to choose from; however, only a handful work well with Mac. That’s why we’ve tested over 150+ VPNs based on their speed, macOS compatibility, server network, encryption, and more for your Mac devices.
Here are the 5 best VPN services for Mac in 2023:
1. ExpressVPN – Overall the Best VPN for Mac
- 3000+ servers in 94 countries and 25 server locations in US
- Kill switch, IP address masking, 256-bit AES encryption
- Runs natively on Apple silicon (M1 / M2)
- 5 simultaneous connections
- Compatible with Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, Linux, PS4, Router, Chromebook, Xbox, Smart TVs, Roku, Firestick, and Android TV box
ExpressVPN is the best VPN for Mac, with an excellent reputation in this category. It offers the best security, performance, and unblocking ability. The VPN also offers 3000 servers in 94 countries, helping users unblock Netflix and other restricted channels/websites.
ExpressVPN also offers a Lightway protocol that is faster than OpenVPN and a great alternative to the WireGuard protocol.
ExpressVPN’s app for Mac is very user-friendly, and there is an Automatic connect button that connects you to the best possible server according to your location. Its servers are categorized into three sections – country, recommended, and recent. There is also a search bar so that you can search for your desired location. Moreover, it is also the best VPN to access HBO Max outside USA.
We also tested ExpressVPN on iPhone as well as its macOS app is a lot like its iOS app. Both are easy to use with advanced features. However, ExpressVPN’s iOS app lacks the kill switch feature available on the macOS app.
As for speeds, during the ExpressVPN speed test, it was fast as it delivered an average download speed of 95.39 Mbps and an upload speed of 80.46 Mbps on a 100 Mbps connection, with less than a 7% drop in speeds. This drop in speed was barely noticeable. That’s why it is the fastest VPN for Mac thanks to its Lightway protocol.
During testing, it only took us about 15 minutes to download a 3 GB file. As there are no bandwidth limitations, you can stream and download with ExpressVPN as much as you want. The AES-256 encryption, like other top virtual private networks, is used by default in the ExpressVPN macOS app. Also, it offers an internet kill switch to defend against accidental data leakage.
This VPN is available for just $6.67/mo (Get 49% Off + 3 Months FREE on its 12-Month Plan), and there is also ExpressVPN free trial, so you can try it risk-free on your Mac. You can also cancel ExpressVPN’s subscription and claim a refund if you don’t like its Mac VPN app. We tested this policy and got our refund within 30 days.
If you’re looking to read more about this VPN, then you just need to go through our ExpressVPN review.
- Compatible with Mac OS Ventura, 0.13 (High Sierra), 12 (Monterey), 10.15 (Catalina), etc
- Independently audited VPN with no-logs policy
- Offers a kill switch, split tunneling, no logs, and more
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Slightly expensive plans
- Limited features for Mac
2. Surfshark – Budget-friendly Mac VPN
- 3200+ servers in 100 countries and 600+ servers in US
- Simultaneous connections: Unlimited Devices
- Unlimited bandwidth for Ultra HD streaming
- Camouflage mode, MultiHop servers, CleanWeb, and ultimate privacy with Kill Switch
- Supports macOS Catalina 10.15 and later: Big Sur, Monterey, Ventura
- Compatible with: Windows, iOS, Android, Mac, PS4, Linux, Chromebook, Xbox, and Android TV box
Surfshark is a budget-friendly Mac VPN that’s loaded with many features. Mac users are likely to find it appealing because it is only priced at $2.30/mo (Get 84% + 2 Months FREE on 2-Year Plan). Plus, it allows unlimited simultaneous connections on its single account. It means you can secure all your Apple devices (and other non-Apple devices) with Surfshark and share them with your friends and family.
In addition, it performs well when it comes to unblocking geo-restricted content. We easily unblocked various Netflix libraries (including US, UK, and CA), along with Disney+, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu with Surfshark. Being the best multiple-device VPN, you can install Surfshark on iPhone and Apple TV easily.
Surfshark for MacOS offers an easy-to-use app with access to 3200+ servers across 100 countries.
Its macOS app offers all the best features like an automatic kill switch, CleanWeb (adblocker), Whitelister (split tunneling), DNS/IPv6 leak protection, MultiHop, and Surfshark’s Camouflage Mode.
Surfshark also supports torrent/P2P activities and is quite secure. All its servers are P2P-friendly. It also offers reliable connection speeds for downloading large files. During our Surfshark speed test, it managed to deliver an average download speed of 75.12 Mbps and an upload speed of 62.30 Mbps on a 100 Mbps connection.
Other than that, Surfshark is a great choice if you need to amp up your privacy on the macOS. On Mac, you can choose from various security VPN protocols, including IKEv2, OpenVPN, WireGuard, and Shadowsocks. You’ll have to set up Shadowsocks manually on iOS and macOS devices.
The provider adheres to a zero-logging policy, which is pretty reassuring. Surfshark is also audited by third parties, including Cure53. You can check the full audit report, as no major issues were detected in its browser extension.
It also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can test it risk-free on your Mac for 30 days. There is also a Surfshark free trial for 7 days on iOS and Mac users. Moreover, Surfshark offers excellent customer service with 24/7 live chat support, so you can contact support and claim your refund.
If you’re looking to read more about this VPN, then you just need to go through our Surfshark review.
- Compatible with Mac OS Ventura and above, Catalina, Monterey, Mojave, etc
- Gives data breach alerts
- Offers a great service at a cheap price
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Does not provide Shadowsocks/Whitelister feature on the Mac app
3. NordVPN – Fast Speed VPN for Mac Users
- 5500+ Servers in 60 Countries, including 1970+ servers in 15 US States
- Unlimited bandwidth for streaming
- 6 Simultaneous Connections
- Custom DNS, Threat protection, App kill switch, Onion over VPN, and Double VPN
- Supports macOS 10.15 Catalina, macOS 11 Big Sur, macOS 12 Monterey, and macOS 13 Ventura.
- Compatible with: Windows, iOS, Android, Chromebook, Linux, Android TV box, and Firestick
NordVPN is a fast-speed VPN for Mac users with the best speeds and privacy features. In addition, it offers a huge global server network of 5500+ servers across 60 countries.
NordVPN offers a lot of security features on its macOS app. A Double VPN feature encrypts your data twice for additional security. There is also an Adblocker called CyberSec that works like a charm. We tested this feature on NordVPN’s browser extension, and it removed all side banners and popups from web pages, making it one of the best VPNs with an ad blocker.
NordVPN uses 256-bit AES encryption and a wide range of protocols for data protection. You can choose from OpenVPN, NordLynx, IKEv2, L2TP, and more. There is also a NordVPN kill switch that shuts down your internet connection in case the VPN connection drops. If you see the NordVPN no-logs policy, you will know that it does not keep logs of its users.
NordVPN also works with all the popular streaming platforms, such as using NordVPN with Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and more. During testing, we unblocked 30+ streaming sites, including niche websites like Crunchyroll.
When we did the NordVPN speed test, it offered an average download speed of 82.45 Mbps and an upload speed of 50.12 Mbps on a 100 Mbps connection.
NordVPN offers apps for various platforms, such as Windows, Android, iPhone, and more. You can even use NordVPN with FireStick, Roku, Kodi, and other streaming devices.
NordVPN is available for only $3.99/mo (Get 57% Off + 3 Months FREE on 2-Year Plan), and there is a 30-day money-back guarantee and 7-day NordVPN free trial for Android users.
You can also claim your refund by contacting customer support, as it also features a human live chat option that is available 24/7. If you’re looking to read more about this VPN, then you just need to go through our NordVPN review.
- Top VPN for Mac and iOS
- Compatible with macOS 13 Ventura, 10.13 High Sierra, 11 Big Sur, 0.14 Mojave, etc
- P2P-optimized servers
- Comes with Double VPN, CyberSec, obfuscated servers, and more
- Independently audited no logs policy
- Comes with six multi-logins only
4. CyberGhost – Popular Mac VPN with Great Additional Features
- 9700+ servers in 91 countries and 1353 servers locations in US
- Unlimited Bandwidth and Buffer-Free Streaming
- 7 simultaneous connections
- Works on all MacBook | MacBook Air | MacBook Pro | iMac | iMac Pro | Mac Pro | Mac mini
- Compatible with any version above High Sierra (10.13)
- Other compatible OS includes Windows, iOS, Android, and Linux.
CyberGhost is the most user-friendly Mac VPN that is super easy to use and a great choice for beginners. CyberGhost offers 9700+ servers in 91 countries, and all these servers are organized into categories.
These categories include servers optimized for streaming, torrenting, gaming, and NoSpy servers. You can easily choose the best server for your needs.
For P2P, you can connect to its torrenting-optimized servers that are offered in more than 50 locations. These servers also show load percentage in the list, so you can connect to a server that offers better speeds and isn’t too overcrowded. For example, when conducting a CyberGhost speed test, it offered an average download speed of 71.42 Mbps and an upload speed of 45.11 Mbps on a 100 Mbps connection.
CyberGhost also offers advanced security features for macOS users to boost their online privacy. There is 256-bit encryption, an automatic kill switch, and multiple protocols.
There is also a data compression feature that makes sure you stay within your bandwidth limit on your Mac. You can connect up to 7 devices with a single CyberGhost account. What’s best is that you can even set it up with your router and use it on your other Apple devices to bypass restrictions. You can also set up CyberGhost on Apple TV using its SmartDNS feature optimized foqr streaming.
CyberGhost is also reasonably priced at $2.11/mo and comes with a generous 45-day money-back guarantee. There is also a 24/7 live chat feature that you can use to connect to agents if you’re facing CyberGhost not working issue. You can also opt for CyberGhots’s free trial to test the features first-hand on iOS and Android smartphones.
If you’re looking to read more about this VPN, then you just need to go through our CyberGhost review.
- Compatible with macOS Ventura, High Sierra (10.13), Mojave (10.14), etc
- Unblocks multiple streaming services, like Netflix, Hulu
- Offers 7700+ servers in 90 countries
- Allows 7 multi-logins
- Offers an ad-blocker, kill switch, and WireGuard protocol
- Comes with a 45-day refund policy
- Some servers offer below-average speeds
5. Private Internet Access – Best Torrenting VPN on Mac
- 35000+ servers in 84 countries, 50+ servers in US
- Unlimited bandwidth for Ultra HD streaming
- Simple Apple Integration, Network surveillance protection, No ISP/admin surveillance, Highly encrypted traffic
- Unlimited Simultaneous Connections
- Supports macOS 10.13 and newer.
- Compatible with: Windows, Android, Linux, Chrome, iOS, Opera, Firefox, and more!
PIA is the best VPN for torrenting on Mac. PIA performed exceptionally well while torrenting on Mac. All of its servers are optimized for P2P, and it also offers a SOCKS5 proxy and port forwarding feature to boost performance. Overall, PIA is a strong choice if you want to torrent safely on your Mac devices.
One of the most distinguishing features of PIA is its large server network. It offers more than 35000+ servers in 84 countries.
PIA’s macOS app is packed with all the latest security features. For example, you can choose between AES 128-bit and AES 256-bit encryption. If you want faster speeds, you can select 128-bit encryption, but we recommend using 256-bit encryption to ensure the safety of your Mac device on unsecured public Wi-Fi.
There is also a kill switch feature that you can toggle on and off according to your needs. It also offers a feature called MACE that blocks ads and malware. Despite offering all these features, its macOS app is easy to use with a clean interface.
Using its Mac app, you can unblock various streaming services, including BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Hotstar, and Netflix with PIA. Also, with so many servers to choose from, you also get good speeds.
During our PIA speed test, it delivered an average download speed of 61.91 Mbps and an upload speed of 40.67 Mbps on a 100 Mbps connection. However, on long-distance servers, you might experience slower speeds.
One concerning thing about PIA is that it is headquartered in the USA (a major member of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance). However, the provider offers a strict no-logs policy that is safe to use. In addition, PIA does not log any identifiable user data, so you are safe with this provider.
PIA is the best VPN software for Mac that’s highly affordable, costing only $2.11/mo . PIA is compatible with many devices, including Windows, Android, iPhone, and more. You can also install PIA on Roku and other streaming devices.
For this price, you also get unlimited simultaneous connections and a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can also check PIA free trial to check its feature.
If you’re looking to read more about this VPN, then you just need to go through our PIA VPN review.
- Offers a server network of 35000+ servers in 84 countries
- Comes with SOCKS5 and port forwarding support
- Offers MACE, split tunneling, and kill switch
- Provides unlimited multi-logins
- Based in the United States
- Some servers make take a lot of time to connect
How We Tested and Selected the Best VPNs for Mac
Before opting for a VPN, you need to ensure the features it is providing are useful for macOS users. With thousands of VPNs out there, it may be hard to pick the right one. That’s why we relied on the following criteria to select the best Mac VPN:
- macOS client: The best Mac VPNs should support multiple macOS versions, including macOS 11, 10.15, 10.14, and more. So, we included all VPNs that offer native Mac clients and are easy to install and set up.
- Security: The logging policy and encryption mechanism as per standards to avoid surveillance. Similarly, it should also offer 256-bit AES encryption, a strict no-logs policy, and a kill switch.
- Speed: We tested the speeds of the VPNs based on macOS using speedtest.net. Choosing a high-speed VPN is a must because, generally, VPNs tend to slow down speeds, so with a fast VPN, speed decline is not noticeable. This is why we ensured that the VPNs we list do not drop your speed by more than 30%.
- Unblock sites: The capacity of the VPN to unblock geo-restricted sites like Netflix from abroad. The best Mac VPN services should be able to unblock streaming sites and blocked channels on Mac from anywhere in the world.
- Pricing: Keep in mind the more you invest doesn’t mean the better the VPN will be. Only a few VPNs provide value for money. You wouldn’t want to pay for a VPN that doesn’t even work. Most of the VPNs we’ve recommended offer a money-back guarantee and free trials so you can test them first-hand before getting a subscription.
The best Mac VPNs we listed come with a variety of security features that ensure keeping users private and anonymous at all times.
How do I Set up VPN Software on my Mac?
You can set up the Best VPN software for Mac in 3 ways:
Install via the App Store
Learn how to install VPN on Mac via the app store:
- Go to the app store and search for your chosen VPN provider. Our best recommendation is ExpressVPN, which is currently 49% discounted.
- Click Get to confirm your Apple ID.
- Install the app, then connect to any country of your choice.
Install via Web page
Get the best VPN software for Mac, i.e. ExpressVPN, as it offers the best VPN apps for Mac.
- To download, go to the download page of the provider’s website.
- Choose your OS version and download the.dmg file from there.
- You’ll have to install it on your computer once it downloads (open the file and follow the instructions)
- After the installation, you may log in with your credentials and browse securely.
How to manually configure a VPN for Mac
You may manually set up a VPN on your Mac as well. But this procedure is a little trickier than just downloading a VPN. Anyhow, here’s how to go about it:
- Navigate to the Apple menu, select System Preferences, and then select Network.
- Click the Add button, then select VPN from the Interface menu.
- Select the VPN connection type by opening the VPN Type menu. Select Create after naming the service.
- Enter the account name and server address for your VPN connection.
- Enter the information you were given by the network administrator in Authentication Settings.
- To enter more information, select Advanced.
- Select Apply, then click OK.
Is it Safe to Use a VPN on Mac?
Yes, using a VPN on a Mac is completely safe, and we even recommend our readers use a VPN for Macbook when using a public Wi-Fi network to prevent hacking. Moreover, they can be used to access streaming services from different countries or just to increase your privacy when dealing with your internet service provider.
You can use a safe UNIX-based operating system and route your Internet connection through encrypted channels by combining the OS’s general security with the security provided by a VPN.
However, keep in mind that several free VPN services have a bad reputation for gathering your data and selling it to outside parties. Such options won’t increase your privacy and can even compromise your security.
So, when choosing a VPN Macbook service provider, always conduct your research. If a VPN is solely offered as a free service, be sure to investigate how it is supported. As always, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Which is the best free VPN for macOS?
There are only a handful of free VPNs for Mac that work perfectly well. However, there’s a reason we didn’t recommend a free VPN for macOS. Primarily because free VPNs have had a long history of not providing the features one may need in a macOS. Even the best free VPN for macOS may not work as efficiently as you’d hope.
However, you may try your luck with Windscribe, as it is one of the few good free VPNs for macOS. It offers a native client app, strong encryption, and decent speeds. As a result, you can browse the internet without facing any lagging.
But every free VPN comes with certain limitations. Similarly, Windscribe offers only 11 server locations and 10GB of data bandwidth per month on its free version. To explore more server locations, you’ll need to opt for its Pro version.
That’s why we’d rather suggest if you have to invest in a VPN, you ought to go for value for money. A premium VPN like ExpressVPN offers the best VPN app for Mac.
Does Macbook have a built-in VPN?
No, a Macbook doesn’t have a built-in VPN. Instead, you can manually connect a VPN by entering its Network configuration settings. If you’re unsure about what to enter in the settings section of the VPN, you can contact the VPN provider or your network administrator.
Follow the steps given below to enter VPN settings manually on Mac:
- On your system, go to Apple Menu –> System Settings –> Scroll down and click on VPN in the sidebar.
- Click on Add VPN Configuration –> Choose the connection type.
- Enter a name for your VPN service.
- For an L2TP over IPSec VPN, click on the Configuration pop menu and select. Otherwise, go with Default.
- Enter the required details about the VPN. If necessary, you may also enter additional settings.
- Click on Create.
Apart from that, macOS introduced a handy private relay service called iCloud Private Relay. It acts sort of like a VPN since it can encrypt your web-browsing traffic by passing it through a relay and hiding your IP address, location, and browsing data. So it can somewhat hide your presence across the web and protect your privacy but to a certain extent.
FAQs: Best VPN for Mac
Do Apple devices need a VPN?
Yes, Apple devices need a VPN. That’s because even if they’re super-secure, they can’t stand up to the threats that are lurking on public Wi-Fi networks. Using a VPN can help you secure your data and traffic from being tracked and eavesdropped on. It allows Wi-Fi spoofing so you can avoid cybercriminals easily.
Does NordVPN work on MacBook?
Yes, NordVPN works well on MacBook. It supports macOS 13 Venture, macOS 10.15 Catalina, macOS 11 Big Sur, and macOS Monterey. NordVPN’s native app is available on all Mac devices; Mac Pro, Mac Mini, iMac, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and more.
You simply need to subscribe, get the app on your Mac device, connect to any server you like, and start using NordVPN on MacBook!
Which VPN does Apple recommend?
Based on our experience, we’re sure Apple would recommend ExpressVPN as the best VPN service for Mac. That’s because it offers easy-to-use apps that perform quite well. It also offers P2P sharing and built-in features like Threat Manager, Lightway protocol, Network Lock, TrustedServer Technology, Private DNS, MediaStreamer, and much more.
Does VPN slow down Mac?
Yes, you can experience around a 30% of decrease in speed, when using a Macbook VPN.
Is a VPN necessary for Mac?
Yes, a VPN is absolutely necessary on Mac if you want added security over the internet. The best VPN software for Mac will offer you complete encryption on your network for staying safe and allow you to access geo-restricted sites safely.
Even though macOS come with many in-built security features, there are still some vulnerabilities that are left untreated. To ensure 100% protection of your Mac device, you need a VPN. So which is the best VPN for Mac? It is ExpressVPN, through which you can always add an additional layer of security and encryption to your device.
Using a VPN, you can also unblock geo-restricted streaming sites from anywhere in the world. Of the top 5 VPNs that we shortlisted, ExpressVPN remained the best VPN for Mac, as it offers the best unblocking ability, and macOS compatibility, with great privacy features.
That’s all for our best VPN for Mac 2023 guide. In case of any questions, please ask in the comments.
Do these procedures work for Open Vpn Mac only? I need other than OpenVPN. Update me if that is so. Thanks
Thanks for reaching out to us. You can try out the above mentioned procedures and avail different protocols like PPTP, SSTP, IPsec and others on your Mac devices.