Picking the best free VPN is always a gamble. At best, you might stumble upon one that actually gets the job done for your mac, but with certain limitations. At worst, you might get scammed and have your privacy compromised.
I’ve tested 23 VPNs that are free for use on my MacBook, but only ten were secure and legitimate enough to be trusted.
Note that there are always going to be limitations with free VPNs for Mac such as data and speed caps, lower number of servers, and lack of support for streaming services. So, a better option is to opt for a paid VPN service like Surfshark that offers a 7-day free trial and a 30-day money-back gurantee.
If you’re interested in getting the best totally free VPN options for Mac, then I’ve prepared a list below consisting of free VPNs that you can download and start using right now.
How We Choose The best free VPNs for Mac
All the VPN apps that are added in this article were selected on the basis of a few important factors as follows:
- No logging policy — A lot of free services neglect to ensure that no privacy-sensitive information relating to the user is stored or sold. All the VPN providers mentioned above are chosen in this list because of their trustworthy logging policies.
- Strong protocols — Most free VPN providers don’t offer the type of protection needed to secure user privacy. Only those VPNs that implement modern encryption and tunneling protocols to establish VPN connections are mentioned in this list.
- Dedicated Mac apps — A free VPN should be easy to use and offer apps for different devices. All the VPNs above offer well-designed VPN apps for various versions of macOS.
The Best Free VPNs for MacOS (All versions) – Tested in 2021
The VPN services mentioned below are all competent tools that you can use for free on Mac Mojave, Sierra, Catalina, and other macOS versions. However, I must warn you that except for Surfshark, all other VPNs covered below have limitations that restrict their functionality in certain areas.
Here are the top free VPN for Mac in 2021:
1. Surfshark — Best free VPN for Mac with a 7-day trial and a 30-day trial
Surfshark is not completely free for Mac. However, it offers a generous 30-day money-back guarantee which effectively works as a free trial for a whole month. It is compatible with all latest macOS versions including macOS 10.12, 10.13, 10.14, and 10.15.
If you sign up for the subscription keeping in mind the 30-day refund period, you’ll still get all the Surfshark features that are primed for enhancing your web privacy including CleanWeb, MultiHop, and kill switch. Together, these mechanisms make sure you remain safe and protected online from all sorts of privacy-threatening issues on the web.
Surfshark is also highly effective for unblocking US Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and other popular streaming platforms with its very easy to use app.
The dedicated app for Mac allows you to choose a server from a list of 3200+ servers in 65 countries, and gain access to any Geo-restricted website of your choice. What’s more, this VPN is rated as the fastest in our paid VPN guide.
There are many servers within Surfshark’s network which support torrenting. So, if you frequently download torrents on your Mac, Surfshark has you covered. All you need to do is choose a VPN server with P2P support. It also offers the industry-standard AES 256-bit Data Encryption.
In case you do decide to stick with a Surfshark subscription beyond the initial 30-day refund window, it would only cost $2.49/mo of you go for the 2-years plan.
For more information, see this Surfshark review.
2. Windscribe — Free VPN for Mac with a 10 GB monthly bandwidth limit
Windscribe is absolutely free for Mac and offers 10 VPN server locations with no hidden costs. Some of these servers support P2P activities and torrenting, but Windscribe is very unreliable for streaming. It also has a kill switch feature to protect you in case your internet dies while browsing.
Users can enjoy up to 10 GB of bandwidth for free every month with this VPN. The logging policy is highly oriented towards privacy, which makes this VPN quite a trustworthy one among free providers.
Windscribe works nicely with Mac 10.6.8, 10.9.5, all the way up to the latest 10.15. Basically, anything above Mac OS X 10.9 is supported. However, the 10 GB/month data might run out too soon, which is disappointing. But you can’t complain since it’s still a pretty good deal for free.
You can learn more about this service in our Windscribe VPN review.
3. ProtonVPN — Totally free Android VPN that offers unlimited data limit
ProtonVPN offers one of the best VPN available for free on Mac. This VPN has the rare distinction of being one of the few services to offers unlimited bandwidth that won’t run out of you no matter how much you utilize it.
The ProtonVPN Mac client uses a strong and fast IKEv2 protocol. The logging policy of the provider is pretty good which makes it a good option to consider for privacy-conscious Mac users.
The major limitation of this VPN is that it only offers 3 server locations: US, Netherlands, and Japan. Nonetheless, it delivers remarkably fast speeds for a free VPN, so you can comfortably browse websites with this VPN while keeping your privacy secure.
If we talk about compatibility, it supports almost all versions of Mac from 10.7.5 to 10.15. You can learn more about this service in our ProtonVPN review.
4. Hotspot Shield — Free forever VPN with 500 MB per day data limit
Hotspot Shield is a popular name in the free VPN market. The provider has a beautiful app for Mac compatible with macOS 10.12 or later that features a modern design and is super-easy to use even for novice users. It comes with the company’s proprietary Hydra protocol that maintains good speeds on your Mac, something that is rare for free VPNs.
But, as is always the case, there is a catch here: Hotstspot Basic (the free plan) has a 500 MB/day bandwidth limit. You can stream for about 30 minutes with 500 MB of data, but that’s not the only problem.
The other problem is that Hotspot Shield does not work with popular streaming services like Netflix, HBO GO, Amazon Prime Video, etc. So, you’re going to need to upgrade your plan and pay for a subscription if you want access to these through Hotspot Shield.
You only get access to US servers of Hotspot Shield in the free plan, so that’s another major limitation. While browsing, I received decent speeds, but there are fluctuations during peak hours since the same few servers are shared by all free users.
The great thing is that the Hotspot Shield version provides the same level of protection in the free app for MacOS as in the paid version. For instance, you get AES-256 encryption and kill switch in the free Mac app for added security and privacy.
You can learn more about this service in our Hotspot Shield review.
5. Hide.Me — Offers 10 GB monthly data for free that’s enough for streaming
Hide.Me is a fairly decent VPN that you get for free on your Mac. It offers 5 server locations in Singapore, Canada, Netherlands, US East, and US West and comes with AES-256 encryption and a no-logs policy. Overall, it can keep your Mac well-guarded from online threats.
What’s more, it offers a 10 GB/month data allowance for Mac users. This is pretty generous. If we talk about user experience, its Mac app is neatly designed and doesn’t even show you any ads.
Hide.Me’s speeds are also fairly decent and it also supports P2P traffic on certain servers. You can get the Hide.Me app for macOS 10.15 and above.
You can learn more about this VPN software in our Hide.Me review.
6. TunnelBear — User-friendly free VPN for Mac with 500 MB monthly data limit
TunnelBear is considered one of the most user-friendly VPN that you can get for your Mac for free. It boasts excellent usability and an appealing GUI with an animated burrowing his way the map as you switch server location.
The provider offers over 23 servers without charging you anything which is pretty impressive. From a privacy standpoint, TunnelBear is a great VPN to have as it follows a proper no data retention policy. Furthermore, it uses AES-256 encryption to keep your VPN sessions private, hides your IP address, and protect you from DNS leaks.
But there’s just one issue with TunnelBear. The most disappointing fact about this VPN service is that the free version only allows 500 MB per month of data. Therefore, unless you have very small monthly VPN usage requirements, you will run out of available bandwidth very quickly. Nonetheless, for users that only occasionally use VPNs to perform privacy-sensitive tasks, such as online transactions, TunnelBear is the best VPN service to have free of cost for Mac.
For more information, see this TunnelBear review.
7. Opera VPN — Free browser built-in VPN for macOS
Opera VPN is a browser-based VPN built into the Opera browser. To use it, you’ll need Opera installed on your MacBook. Since it is a browser extension only, this VPN will only mask traffic that is originating from Opera. All activities outside the browser will use your regular unencrypted connection and real IP address over the web.
The VPN offers unlimited bandwidth so you can transfer as much data as you want while connected to Opera VPN. However, you have very limited control over the servers that you can choose. The provider offers servers in Europe, Asia, or the Americas, but you can only make the selection on a continent level rather than choosing the server of any specific country/city.
To make up for its small network of servers, Opera VPN works with Netflix sometimes. But it randomly chooses any region, mostly in Switzerland during my testing. That being said, you can’t unblock other streaming services at all such as BBC iPlayer or Hulu, so it’s not really the ideal option for streaming.
Overall, Opera is a decent free VPN for Mac users that doesn’t enforce any data caps and even works with certain Netflix regions at times.
For more information, see our Opera VPN review.
8. Speedify — Speed enhancing free VPN for Mac with Channel bonding technology
Speedify is a VPN that is available for free with a 2 GB of data limit per month. This VPN is for the most part, a basic VPN, but it does use an innovative technique for maximizing connection speeds.
Speedify implements channel bonding which essentially combines the frequency channels of WiFi and cellular data to transmit and receive data packets at a faster speed. You can get Speedify on macOS 10.12 or later.
What’s more Speedify offers hundreds of server locations for free, but you sadly can’t bypass geo-blocks on services like BBC iPlayer, and Netflix with it.
One of the drawbacks is that it keeps some logs such as your VPN IP address, timestamps, and even your browsing activities. That’s a tad too much for privacy-sensitive MacOS users, but if you’re not too worried about your privacy, Speedify is a decent free VPN service.
Learn more about this VPN in our Speedify review.
9. Betternet — Simple to use free mac VPN 500 MB data limit
Betternet is an ad-supported free VPN that will display ads during your browsing sessions and share some of your information to third parties for personalized ads. As such, MacOS users that are unwilling to compromise on privacy might not want to opt for this VPN. You can get Betternet for macOS 10.12 or later running a 64-bit processor.
There are several redeeming qualities in Betternet, however. For instance, it offers a 500MB data limit that is renewed every day, but you can only connect to US servers. This means your unblocking ability will only be limited to US websites.
Although it offers only one server, the speeds Betternet offers are quite reliable. Unfortunately, you can’t unblock any streaming services with Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, or Netflix US or Hulu. Though you can torrent with Betternet, the data transfer limit of 500MB/day won’t allow for any serious torrenting.
For encryption, Betternet uses AES-256 and keeps some logs for displaying ads including approximate location and device identifiers. Betternet is a good basic VPN to have for free, but the above-mentioned options are more well-rounded than Betternet.
You can learn more about this Betternet review.
10. VPNBook — Good free VPN for Mac to tackle geo-blocks
VPNBook does not offer a proper VPN client or app. To use VPNBook, you will need an OpenVPN client that you can get from the App Store for your MacBook. If you can handle manual configurations, then you use VPNBook on MacOS X.
The provider doesn’t place any data transfer limits and you can start using it without even needing to register with an account. That enables users to be completely anonymous while using VPNBook. You can connect to 6 distinct server locations with VPNBook including UK and US.
What really sets VPNBook apart from other providers is that it can actually unblock Hulu, Netflix, and HBO GO. Though you can’t torrent with VPNBook.
Its speeds are reliable enough to support decent quality streams with mild interruptions in the form of buffering. Although installing VPNBook is a lot of work, especially when setting it up for the first time, the official website of the provider offers easy-to-follow guides to help users install it on their Mac.
From a privacy standpoint, the logging policy of VPNBook induces some concern since it stores your real IP address, but these logs are deleted every week.
For more information on this VPN, see our VPNBook review.
How to setup Free VPN on Mac
Setting up a free VPN on a Mac computer is super easy. Here’s what you’ll need to do.
1. Get a totally free VPN or choose Surfshark which is free for 30 days.
2. Download and install the MacOS app on your computer.
3. Once the installation is complete, launch the VPN.
4. Connect to any server of your choice and enjoy privacy and online freedom on your Mac.
Why Free Mac VPNs Can Be Dangerous
Free VPNs can be dangerous. There are certain facts hidden from plain view when it comes to using free VPN services. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the obvious dangers of free VPNs.
1. Dangers to your Privacy
According to TheNextWeb’s article, a number of free VPN services have been involved in selling user data. The very tools that are supposed to be protectors of your privacy are actually involved in destroying it.
This is why it is generally a good idea to avoid free service providers if you value your individual privacy. But if you must use a free of cost VPN, then make sure you go for the one that at least has a good reputation, such as the VPNs mentioned in the list above.
2. Risk of malware infection
Malware can disguise itself, which could be endangering to your Mac and your data if you install it in your system. If your Mac is exposed to malware, you may have to bear the following consequences:
- Identity theft
- Password/login exposure
- Spam and phishing
- Ransomware infection
- Data harvesting/mining
Keeping the above dangers in mind, it is imperative that you choose a reliable and trustworthy free VPN.
3. Limited functionality
Even if the free VPN that you choose is not a threat to your online privacy, you’ll still have to bear limitations in the form of data caps, speed caps, limited access to servers, and advertisements in some cases.
Since a free VPN can’t realistically afford the costs of operations and maintaining their servers, staff, and other resources, they have no choice but to enforce data limitations or support their business through ads.
This is why most providers only offer free VPN as a trial version of the real deal, with limitations on the more valuable features that are only available on the paid versions.
Free VPN for Mac Reddit
Reddit is a great platform to learn what actual users think about free Mac VPN apps. Here’s one Reddit user endorsing ProtonVPN.
Another user suggested using iVPN by MacServe. Although I haven’t used it personally, I’m sure it works great with Macs.
For more choices of free VPNs, check out our article on free Reddit VPN services.
Now that you know what are the best free VPNs for Mac, let’s discuss some frequently asked questions regarding macOS and free VPNs
Can free VPNs secure your MacOS?
Yes, the free VPNs listed above can secure your Mac computer quite easily. But there are some free VPN services that do more harm than good. I have tested a lot of VPNs to find the best ones for you that are completely safe.
Will Free VPNs impact my speed on Mac?
Yes, VPNs do slow down speeds a little because they add encryption to packets transferring from your network and thus it adds overhead. But with a good VPN service, the difference between speeds after the VPN connection is on is barely noticeable.
What’s the best free VPN for streaming Netflix on Mac?
Out of all the free VPNs I’ve covered in this blog, I can only recommend Surfshark for streaming Netflix on Mac. You can try Surfshark for an entire month with its 30-day money-back gurantee.
Are these free VPNs compatible with all versions of MacOS?
Yes. The free VPNs I have listed above are compatible with almost all versions of MacOS. As long as you’re running OS version 10.15 or higher, you should have no issues. However, some VPNs no longer support OS versions that are very old.
Can I use a free Mac VPN in China?
No, you can’t use free Mac VPNs in China because of the Great Firewall. Even paid VPNs are unable to penetrate through strict geo-blocker enforced in China.
Best Free VPNs to Protect your MacOS
If you can’t afford to get a paid VPN, then using a reliable free VPN for Mac is not a bad option. Although you might not get the best protection or be able to access heavily geo-restricted streaming services, at least you’ll get some sort of online anonymity.
Trust me, that’s never a bad thing.
If you want my recommendation for the best free VPN to protect your Mac, I would recommend Surfshark. It offers a 30-day money-back guarantee which doubles as a free trial. It comes with a wide range of advanced features to keep privacy-breaching threats at bay.
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