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1 Best Overall
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Best Overall mobile VPN service
30-day money-back guarantee

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Detect malware during mobile downloads

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Servers in 100+ countries
Award-winning mobile VPN service

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Unlimited simultaneous devices & connections

VPN access in restricted areas

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Servers in 50 U.S. states
Privacy protection experts

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Specialized servers
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Smart mobile rules reduce security risks

Four types of specialized VPN servers

Remaining anonymous online is challenging, and even Mac computers and Apple mobile devices are vulnerable to unauthorized activity tracking and data theft. Virtual private networks (VPNs) help individuals and businesses securely stream, torrent and share files, even on public networks, by cloaking IP addresses, encrypting connections and routing transmissions through protected servers.

What does a Mac VPN do and how does it work?

A virtual private network, or VPN, lets you connect you Mac to the internet securely, whether in a coffee shop, vacationing or at home. It hides your location and identity by masking your Mac’s IP address and sending data through an encrypted tunnel. Most also do not keep any record of your online activity; this means that if a government or other authority requests your activity history, none can be made available to them.

Here’s how a Mac VPN works:

  • Download VPN apps for any devices you want to use with the VPN services. Providers often offer Mac and iOS apps, along with solutions for Windows, Linux and Android.
  • Once you create a VPN account and log into it on your Mac or Apple device, click to establish a secure connection, or in some cases, you will choose a server first. 
  • Some Mac VPN providers let you pick a server or will automatically select the best one based on your location. 
  • The VPN dashboard on your Mac or Apple device will display your connection status, and if it’s green, you are connected, and all web traffic will go through the VPN.
  • Whether sending an email, streaming a movie or browsing, your activities go through the secure tunnel to the VPN server.
  • VPN services may let you exclude certain online activities (like music streaming) or networks (home printer) from using the VPN (called split tunneling).
  • Simply tap the button to disconnect the service when you’re finished using the internet on that device.

When do you need a Mac VPN?

People use Mac VPNs for professional and personal use, at home and while traveling. Anytime you connect to public Wi-Fi or want to keep your location or online identity private, a VPN is necessary. In addition, anytime you need your data encrypted and hidden from cybercriminals, a VPN can help. It provides extra security when entering bank or credit card data online. 

Mac VPNs help people in certain areas access blocked content and overcome ISP restrictions or throttling. Since a VPN privatizes your browsing and location data, you may see fewer targeted ads and prevent third parties from tracking your online activities.

Best Overall VPN Service for Mac
Stay safer online with the leading mobile VPN service.
NordVPN offers a fast VPN that supports all Mac and Apple devices and operating systems. Plans include additional cybersecurity features for securely browsing the internet on multiple devices at fast speeds.

How to choose the best Mac VPN for your needs

With dozens of Mac VPNs on the market, finding the right one for your needs can be challenging. To understand the latest best practices for online security and VPNs, we spoke with Joshua Tucker, COO of Designli, an app development company.

He says, “simple VPNs work for most people.” But, “not all Mac VPNs are created equal.” Therefore, it’s vital to compare various factors before choosing a service. Take these steps to choose the best VPN for your Mac and Apple devices.

Consider your budget and priorities

Decide what you want to pay monthly, whether that’s nothing, under $10, or up to $15 or higher. Aside from free versions, VPN prices start as low as $3.19 per month with NordVPN’s two-year plan to $22.95 monthly for Surfshark’s top-tier package.

Also, consider if you will pay monthly or annually or prefer longer terms, like NordVPN’s two-year plan. Prepaid plans can cut the monthly fee in half, or more, for our top-rated VPN picks. For example, monthly plans for NordVPN start at $12.99 per month, but when you prepay a two-year plan, that monthly price point drops to $3.19 per month – a 61% savings.

Evaluate hardware and connection requirements

Individuals who want VPNs for their personal Mac desktop computer and laptop, iPhone and iPad may not need an unlimited VPN plan. But gamers might prefer expanded VPN services that make it easier to connect their favorite smart devices or gaming systems.

On the other hand, if you want to share your VPN with your entire family, roommates or even your business team, VPNs with device limitations may not work. So, add up how many devices will be online at once to ensure your VPN choice can accommodate your needs and support various device brands and operating systems.

Then consider if you have any particular hardware concerns, like wanting a pre-configured router. For households or businesses that don’t want to pay for unlimited connections, using a pre-configured router can mean more connections for less money. 

Think about must-have Mac VPN features

The best VPNs for Mac provide standard features, including anonymous browsing, DNS protection measures to encrypt your data and kill switches to ensure you’re never connected without VPN protection. Kill switches and split-tunneling tools — which allow you to choose what data goes through your VPN — often only work on specific hardware. 

For instance, NordVPN supports all Mac and Apple devices and offers VPN versions for older and newer macOS and iOS operating systems. In contrast, some VPNs only offer limited features and support on older or newer Apple or Mac devices and operating systems.

Additionally, Tucker says, “it’s helpful to know how many servers a provider has and if those servers have good reputations. Some known VPN servers are on a lot of block lists.”

Decide how important the following factors are:

  • Server quantity and locations.
  • Download and upload speeds.
  • Available VPN protocols.
  • Kill switch device operability.
  • Multi-factor authentication (MFA) sign-on options.
  • Availability in restricted regions.
  • IP address availability. 
  • Dark web monitoring.

Try free trials and versions before committing 

Regardless of your research, nothing beats giving the service a trial run before committing to a long-term plan. Even for those that don’t offer a free version or trial, you may be able to try them risk free. Most Mac VPNs that don’t offer a free version provide a money-back guarantee. Always read the terms of service carefully, especially the fine print on qualifying for the money-back guarantee and how you can terminate the service. 

Best Overall VPN Service for Mac
Stay safer online with the leading VPN service.
NordVPN offers a fast VPN that supports all Mac and Apple devices and operating systems. Plans include additional cybersecurity features for securely browsing the internet on multiple devices at fast speeds.

Get 68% off NordVPN + 3 extra months
Get 68% off NordVPN + 3 extra months
Best Overall VPN Service For Mac
Get 68% off NordVPN + 3 extra months
Easy to setup and use
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