Reading Time: 9 minutes

Best-Free-VPN-for-Mac

Latest update: Apple unveils a new iCloud+ service with 3 major security features. They are Private Relay (Will keep all users’ iOS traffic encrypted), Hide My Email (Will allow users to hide their emails), and unlimited Home Secure Video cameras. One great thing is that Apple refused to raise its prices while offering these features. 

Recently Apple’s head of software, Craig Federighi, testified in the Apple v. Epic Games trial, and said, “Today, we have a level of malware on the Mac that we don’t find acceptable and that is much worse than iOS.” Therefore, Mac devices are not as secure as you might believe.

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 free for use on my MacBook, but only six were secure and legitimate enough to be trusted.

Free VPNs for macOSData limit
ProtonVPNUnlimited
Windscribe10 GB/ month
Hide.me10 GB/ month
TunnelBear500 MB/ month
Betternet500 MB/ day
Hotspot Shield‭ 500 MB/ day

All free VPNs for Mac that I tested, came with issues such as data and speed caps, fewer servers, and lack of support for streaming services. A better option is to opt for a paid VPN service like ExpressVPN as it not only offers a 30-day money-back guarantee but also offers a 3-month worth of free subscription if you opt for its 12 moths plan.

The limitations of Free VPNs

Free VPNs do not come with a single problem. They come with a variety of restrictions that are actually frustrating at some point. For example, free VPNs:

  • Do not offer unlimited data bandwidth. 
  • Offer limited servers if compared to the extensive server networks of paid VPNs.
  • Most free VPNs are also subjected to ads and collect logs
  • Sell your information to advertisers 

In this scenario, it’s better to opt for a premium service that actually offers what it claims. Unlike free VPNs, paid premium VPN services offer top security and unlimited bandwidth, and high-speed servers.

  • 3,000+ Servers in 94 Countries
  • Hard disk free infrastructure (RAM only)
  • 256-bit Military-Grade Encryption
  • Excellent unblocking capability for Netflix, Hulu & more
  • 5 Multi Logins
  • Zero-knowledge DNS
Excellent - 4.6
Based on 100 reviews

The Best Free VPNs for MacBook in 2021

  1. Windscribe – Overall Best free VPN for Mac
  2. ProtonVPN – Best Free Unlimited VPN for MacBook’s
  3. Hotspot Shield – Best Secure Free Mac VPN
  4. Hide.me – Best Free VPN for macOS devices
  5. TunnelBear – A Popular Free VPN for Mac
  6. Betternet – Best Beginners Free iPhone VPN 

Side-by-Side Comparison of the Best Free VPNs for Mac in 2021

Here is a quick comparison of the top 6 best free VPN for Mac in 2021:

VPNsProtonVPNWindscribeHide.meTunnelBearBetternetHotspot Shield
JurisdictionSwitzerlandCanadaMalaysiaCanadaCanadaUSA
SecurityAES 256 BitAES 256 BitAES 256 BitAES 256 BitAES 256-bitAES 256-bit
Data Usage LimitUnlimited10 GB/mo10 GB/mo500 MB/mo500 MB/ day500 MB/day
Server Locations3 locations (USA, Netherlands, and Japan)10 locations5 locations (US East/West, Canada, Singapore, Netherlands)Over 20 locationsUSUS
Simultaneous connections1051555
StreamingNetflix, YouTube, HBO and MoreNetflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and MoreNetflix, YouTube, HBONetflix, Youtube, and MoreYouTube, HBO and MoreNetflix US
CompatibilityWindows, Mac, Android, iOSWindows, Mac, Android, iOSWindows, Mac, Android, iOSWindows, Mac, Android, iOSWindows, Mac, Android, iOSWindows, Mac, Android, iOS
LimitationsExtremely slow speedsOnly unblocks Netflix US and UKSingle connection per accountVery less free dataOnly works with Netflix US, Ad supportedFree version supported by Ads
Trustpilot3.5/54.7/54.8/53.0/54.0/54.2/5
More InfoProtonVPN ReviewWindscribe ReviewHide.me ReviewTunnelBear ReviewBetternet ReviewHotspot Shield Review
Visit SiteVisit SiteVisit SiteVisit SiteVisit SiteVisit Site

A Closer Look at the Best Free VPN for Mac in 2021

The VPN services mentioned below are all competent tools you can use for free on Mac Mojave, Sierra, Catalina, and other macOS versions. However, I must warn you that all VPNs covered below have limitations restricting their functionality in certain areas.

Here are the top free VPN for Mac in 2021:

1. Windscribe — Free VPN for Mac with a 10 GB monthly bandwidth limit

Total Servers: limited for free users | Countries: 10 | Bandwidth: 10 GB/mo | Trustpilot Rating: 4.7 | Maximum Devices: unlimited 

Windscribe-mac-free-vpn

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 an Internet 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, making this VPN quite trustworthy among free providers. Although, there is one way to increase that 10 GB bandwidth to 15 GB bandwidth. All you have to do is post about Windscribe on Twitter, and you will immediately receive the extra 5 GB bandwidth. This way, your total bandwidth will be converted to 15 GB.

Windscribe had good speeds when I connected to servers in Canada, France, Hong Kong, the UK, and the US. It wasn’t as fast as ExpressVPN. Every server is protected by 256-bit encryption. With its servers in the US and UK, I accessed Netflix US, Hulu, Disney+, and BBC iPlayer at a good streaming quality.

Country Download Speed (Mbps)Upload Speed (Mbps)Pings (ms)
US (United States)43.8212.09152
UK (United Kingdom)‭32.5610.8303
CA (Canada)23.979.02259
FR (France)30.128.67330
DE (Germany)26.87.1259

Windscribe works nicely with Mac 10.6.8, 10.9.5, all the way up to the latest Big Sur 11. 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. It has a high rating on App Store with satisfied customer reviews.

Windscribe-app-rating

You can learn more about this service in our Windscribe VPN review.

Compatible with: iOS, macOS, Android, Windows, browsers, Linux
Works with: Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, HBO

Pros
  • 60+ countries support for Premium users
  • Double-hop encryption
  • Clean and intuitive interface
  • P2P support
  • Compatible with multiple devices
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
Cons
  • Headquarter in Canada
  • Netflix only works for U.S and U.K
  • No live chat support and slow response time

2. ProtonVPN — Totally free Android VPN that offers unlimited data limit

Total Servers: limited for free users | Countries: 3 | Bandwidth: Unlimited | Trustpilot Rating: 3.5 | Maximum Devices: 5  

ProtonVPN-mac-free-vpn

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.

While this provider has 1,200+ servers in 55 countries, it offers very few servers for free 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 and stream Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu with this VPN while keeping your online privacy secure.

Even with such a low number of servers, the speed it gave us was similar to the result of a top-tier premium VPN provider. With about 54.73 Mbps, not only streaming becomes smooths, but a delicate purpose such as file-sharing can be very much enjoyable.

Country Download Speed (Mbps)Upload Speed (Mbps)Pings (ms)
US (United States)54.7311.89114
NE (Netherlands)‭20.983.49390
JP (Japan)19.085.2629

All of your internet traffic is secured with military-grade encryption, and none of your data is collected due to the strict no-logs policy. That said, you should be aware that ProtonVPN’s Mac app only supports IKEv2 connections. While it’s a secure protocol against OpenVPN, it is not the strongest, and we would like to see OpenVPN support soon. If we talk about compatibility, it supports Sierra 10.12, High Sierra 10.13, Mojave 10.14, Catalina 10.15, and Big Sur 11. You can also use this VPN for Mac 10.9.5.

This provider’s premium version comes with a handy 30-day money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied with the service performance. It is also considered the best free VPN for Ubuntu and other Linux software as well as many devices. This VPN is also a great UK free VPN. It is rated 3.9 on App Store, with amazing user reviews.

protonvpn-app-rating

You can learn more about this service in our ProtonVPN review.

Compatible with: iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, Linux.
Works with: YouTube, Kodi
Pros
  • Headquartered in Switzerland
  • Robust encryption
  • Supports torrenting
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Built-in ad blocker
Cons
  • No security audit
  • Needs WireGuard support
  • No Live Chat support

3. Hotspot Shield — Free forever VPN with 500 MB per day data limit

Total Servers: multiple | Countries: 1 (US) | Bandwidth: 15 GB/mo | Trustpilot Rating: 4.2 | Maximum Devices: 5

Hotspot-Shield-free-vpn-mac

Hotspot Shield is a popular name in the free VPN market. The provider has a beautiful app for Mac compatible with Sierra 10.12, High Sierra 10.13, Mojave 10.14, Catalina 10.15, and Big Sur 11 that features a modern design and is super-easy 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.

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 only small comfort here is that you get 15 GB of data each month.

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 Hotspot Shield’s US servers in the free plan, so that’s another major limitation. While browsing, I received decent speeds, but there are fluctuations during peak hours since all free users share the same few servers.

hotspot-shield-speedtest

The great thing is that the Hotspot Shield version provides the same protection level in the free app for MacOS as in the paid version. For instance, you get AES-256 encryption and Internet Kill Switch in the free Mac app for added security and privacy. It has a 4.5 rating on App Store.

hotspot-shield-app-rating

You can learn more about this service in our Hotspot Shield review.

Compatible with: iOS, macOS, Android, Windows, Chrome and Firefox.
Works with: YouTube TV, Netflix, Kodi
Pros
  • 1,800+ servers in 80+ countries
  • No-logs policy
  • 5 simultaneous connection
  • Internet Kill Switch for extra security
  • Supports torrenting
  • Works in China
Cons
  • Headquartered in the United States
  • Free Apps may share information with advertisers
  • No router  support

4. Hide.me — Offers 10 GB monthly data for free that’s enough for streaming

Total Servers: multiple | Countries: 5 | Bandwidth: 10 GB/mo | Trustpilot Rating: 4.8 | Maximum Devices: 5

HideMe-free-mac-VPN

Hide.me is a fairly decent VPN that you get for free on your Mac. For free subscribers, 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. Premium users can enjoy its vast network of servers which are spread across 75 different locations. You can enjoy thousands of IPs from 6 continents anytime.

Hide.me offers 10 GB of free data each month, which I believe is sufficient for casual browsing, checking social media, and streaming on different media platforms such as YouTube. With my 10 GB, I connected to Netflix US and streamed several hours of movies and shows in both HD and SD.

Hide.me’s speeds are also fairly decent, and it also supports P2P/File-Sharing on certain servers. It currently only supports macOS 10.15 and Big Sur 11.

Country Download Speed (Mbps)Upload Speed (Mbps)Pings (ms)
US (United States)38.128.51150
DE (Germany)‭13.984.08398
CA (Canada)25.714.62462
NE (Netherlands)19.3710.9189

There’s also IP leak protection and Split-Tunneling feature for additional security and online privacy. While hide.me’s built-in IP leak protection keeps your IP hidden even if there is a malfunction in the application, its Split-Tunneling feature lets you route some of the traffic over your VPN and the rest through your local ISP internet connection. It’s worth noting that Hide.me supports file-sharing for torrenting within your data cap, though your speeds may be slow. It is rated 4.5 out of 5 on App Store.

hide.me-app-store-review

You can learn more about this VPN software in our Hide.me review.

Compatible with: iOS, macOS, Android, Windows, browsers.
Works with: HBO, YouTube, ABC, Sky Go.
Pros
  • Improved security features
  • No-log policy
  • IP, DNS, and Internet Kill Switch Protection
  • Supports torrenting
  • 10 GB bandwidth
Cons
  • Limited locations with a free account
  • Single connection per account
  • Unreliable customer support

5. TunnelBear — User-friendly best free VPN Mac with 500 MB monthly data limit

Total Servers: 20+ | Countries: 23 | Bandwidth: 500 MB/mo | Trustpilot Rating: 3.0 | Maximum Devices: 5 

TunnelBear-free-mac-VPN

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 its way the map as you switch server location.

The provider offers over 26 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. 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. If you tweet about TunnelBear or refer them to a friend, you can receive 1 GB additional bandwidth for free.

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.  TunnelBear is easily connected to Netflix in the US and the UK without being detected. However, I couldn’t watch anything with such limited data, even though I received decent speeds.

Country Download Speed (Mbps)Upload Speed (Mbps)Pings (ms)
US (United States)46.1219.08133
UK (United Kingdom)‭55.8110.839
CA (Canada)46.0210.73251
AU (Australia)52.9013.93331
DE (Germany)49.337.3559

It supports Mac operating system version Sierra 10.12, High Sierra 10.13, Mojave 10.14, Catalina 10.15, and Big Sur 11. At the same time, its macOS application may have a playful bear theme but don’t underestimate its security features. It is equipped with military-grade encryption to encrypt your traffic, secure your private data, and protect you from DNS leaks. It is rated 4.6 out of 5 on App Store.

tunnelbear-app-rating

For more information, see this TunnelBear review.

Compatible with: iOS, macOS, Android, Windows
Works with: YouTube, Netflix, Kodi, HBO GO.
Pros
  • Support file-sharing
  • Offers Internet Kill Switch and GhostBear mode
  • Annual audits
  • Excellent privacy policies
  • Ad-blocker
Cons
  • 500 Mb bandwidth per month
  • Less diversity in server locations
  • Unstable speeds

6. Betternet — Simple to use VPN free for Mac 500 MB data limit

Total Servers: 20+ | Countries: 1 (US) | Bandwidth: 500 MB/day | Trustpilot Rating: 4.0 | Maximum Devices: 5 

BetterNet-free-mac-vpn

 

Betternet is an ad-supported free VPN for Mac 10.9.5 and other versions 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. For a VPN for Mac free download, you will need a VPN that works with your device. You can get Betternet for macOS 10.12, High Sierra 10.13, Mojave 10.14, Catalina 10.15, and Big Sur 11.

Betternet supports torrenting on all of its servers. Both free and premium users can torrent, although the free tier has an overall 500 MB bandwidth cap per day. However, you may find that the limited server network and inconsistent speeds aren’t the best for torrenting.

Although it offers only one server, the speeds Betternet offers are quite reliable for streaming purposes. Unfortunately, you can’t unblock any streaming services such as Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix US, or Hulu with low bandwidth allocation.

betternet-speedtest
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. It is rated 4.5 on the App Store which is quite impressive.

betternet-app-store-reviews

You can learn more about thisprovider in our Betternet review.

Compatible with: iOS, macOS, Android, Windows, browsers, Linux
Works with: Netflix, YouTube, HBO

Pros
  • 5 simultaneous connections
  • Supports torrenting
  • No registration required
  • AES encryption
Cons
  • Headquartered in the United States
  • Only one server location (i.e. US)
  • Keeps logs
  • Single location for free users
  • IP and DNS leaks

How do I get a free VPN on my Mac?

Download a free VPN for Mac OS x 10.7.5 and other versions. Here’s what you’ll need to do.

  • Get a totally free VPN.
  • Download and install the MacOS app on your device.
  • Once the installation is complete, launch the VPN.
  • Connect to your desired server from the country list and enjoy complete online anonymity and freedom.

How we chose the best free VPN for Mac

We selected the best free VPNs for Mac based on the following criteria. Note that you use them as a VPN for Mac 10.9.5 and other versions.

  • Device Compatibility: The free VPN works with all macOS versions old and new including other Apple devices like iPhones, and iPad. You would require this information before VPN for Mac free download.
  • Server Network: Has a large server network with servers in all countries so you can unblock international content and bypass geo-restrictions.
  • Data Limit: Free VPN for macOS should offer a large data limit so you can stream and browse as much as you want without worrying about running out of free data.
  • Unblocking ability: The VPN should have a strong unblocking capability so you can bypass geo-restrictions and firewalls to get unrestricted access to the internet and stream popular platforms like Netflix.
  • Security Features: The VPN should have all the basic security features like top-notch encryption, kill switch, leak protection, and obfuscation.
  • No logging policy — Many 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.
  • Ease-of-use: It should be easy to use on macOS for beginners as well as advanced users.

Free Mac VPNs to Avoid in 2021

Not all free VPN services are secure and offer performance that they promise. Similarly, most free VPNs make up for the free service in other ways like Ads, tracking and more. Almost 40% of the free VPNs were found leaking user data and selling it to third party advertisers. As Daniel Markuson, Digital Privacy Expert at NordVPN says:

There is no such thing as a free lunch. If a user does not pay for a service, there must be an alternative price to be paid. And, very often, it’s privacy.

Keeping this in view, here are some popular free Mac VPNs that you need to avoid using in 2021:

1. Hola VPN

Despite its popularity, Hola VPN is one of the VPNs that you should avoid using on your Mac devices. Hola was found using botnets army for selling user’s idle bandwidth for illegal activities like launching DDoS attacks, distributing pirated movies and a lot more. When user’s connected to the service, other users could access your device when you are not using it, thus taking up all your bandwidth for illegal activities and what not. Learn more about this provider in our Hola VPN review.

2. Opera VPN

Opera VPN is another free service that is built into the Opera web browsers. However, its just a proxy service that doesn’t offer any encryption or level of protection that is needed on Mac devices. Additionally, it only reroutes your traffic from within the browser only – meaning other activities like iCloud, torrenting and more are left unencrypted. You can learn more about this service in our Opera VPN review.

Why do I need a VPN for Mac?

Here are some main reasons why you should use a VPN on your Mac:

  • Encrypt your data: One of the major reasons why you need a VPN for your Mac is to encrypt your traffic and hide your online activities from your ISP. When you are not connected to a VPN, your ISP can see all the websites you visit and whatever you do online. However, with a free Macbook VPN, you can mask your IP address, and avoid ISP snooping.
  • Safely Access Public WiFi: Free public WiFi are no doubt tempting, but they are not safe as WiFi hotspots in spaces like cafes, hotels, and bus stands are used by criminals to steal sensitive information like credit card information, passwords and more. With a VPN, you can secure your traffic on public WiFi through the VPN tunnel, preventing hackers from stealing your data.
  • Unblock Streaming Sites: Most popular streaming services are geo-restricted and cannot be accessed from abroad. For example, Hulu, HBO Max, NBC and more are restricted to the US only. But with a top free VPN for Mac, you can access all streaming sites from anywhere in the world.

Best 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.

protonvpn-Best-free-VPN-for-Mac-and-Macbook-as-per-Reddit-suggestions

For more choices of free VPNs, check out our article on free Reddit VPN services.

FAQs

Now that you know what the best free VPNs for Mac are let’s discuss some frequently asked questions regarding macOS and free VPNs

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 barely noticeable.

How do I know how much bandwidth I will need?

It all depends on the purpose for which you are acquiring the VPN. For example, for normal browsing, 500 MB bandwidth per month is enough, and for streaming and playing online games, around 10 GB bandwidth or more per month is necessary.

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 ProtonVPN for streaming Netflix on Mac because not most free VPNs can bypass Netflix VPN block and geo-restrictions.

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 get a VPN for Mac 10.9.5 or running an OS version 10.15 or higher, you should have no issues. You can also download a free VPN for Mac OS x 10.7.5 easily. However, some VPNs no longer support OS versions that are very old.

Can I use a free Mac VPN in China?

Yes, you can use the best free VPN for Mac like ProtonVPN. You can use its servers that perform the best under different network restrictions, such as China’s Great Firewall.

Can I use a free Mac VPN to bypass geo restrictions?

Yes, you can use one of the best free Mac VPNs mentioned above to bypass geo restrictions. You can access blocked content internationally, but these services offer limited bandwidth for streaming. Meaning, with a free VPN for Macs, you won’t be able to stream geo-restricted content like Netflix, Hulu and more. On most VPNs, you will run out of data limit within a few minutes.

How can I change my IP address on Mac?

The easiest way to change your IP address on MacBook or iMac is to use a VPN. Once you have downloaded and set up a VPN on your Mac, just select a server location and connect. Once the connection is established, your true IP address will be hidden and you will be given a new IP address according to the location you have connected to. For example, if you have connected to a US server, you will get an American IP Address.

Does Mac have a built-in VPN?

MacOS X has built-in support for IKEv2 that you can find in options under System Preferences. However, to enable the VPN on your Mac, you need to have VPN configuration files from a VPN service. OpenVPN configuration files are available on provider’s official site.

You can read more on how to set up VPN on Mac in our detailed guide.

Best Free VPNs to Protect your MacOS

If you can’t afford to get a paid VPN, then using the best free VPN Mac and Macbook 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 online anonymity.

Free VPNs are also offered for other devices. You can always get a free unlimited VPN for Windows or any device you own,

If you want my recommendation for the best VPN to protect your Mac, I would recommend ExpressVPN. It offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. It comes with a wide range of advanced features to keep privacy-breaching threats at bay.