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If you’re wondering which is the best VPN for Mac, we’ve looked at the best Mac compatible VPNs that work on the latest versions of macOS including Monterey, Big Sur and M1 Macs.

Whether you want to protect your data and privacy online or access websites that are restricted in your region, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is definitely your best option.

But choosing the best VPN software for Mac isn’t easy nowadays with so many options available.

The good news for Mac uses is that the VPN market for Mac computers has never been more competitive with huge discounts available on subscriptions.

After extensive research, we chose NordVPN as the best VPN for Mac due to its rock solid security measures, fast, stable VPN connections worldwide and support for Apple Silicon M1 Macs.

Do Macs Have A Built-In VPN?

You can setup a VPN on a Mac manually without subscribing to any VPN services if you choose so that you can access a Mac remotely or connect to a home office network.

However, you’ll need to know there server address and password of the virtual private network you want to connect to such as for an office or business.

You’ll then need to configure and setup the VPN via your network settings which requires some technical knowledge.

Your Mac’s built-in VPN also won’t allow you to stream content from other countries and protect your identity as securely as the paid VPN services reviewed here.

Best VPN For Mac: What We Looked For

There are a few essential features we looked for when choosing the best VPN app for Macs.

  • Mac Desktop Client: Most VPNs work across platforms nowadays via a browser but not all offer a Mac desktop app. All the VPNs featured here have a Mac desktop app and are guaranteed to work seamlessly on macOS Monterey and Big Sur.
  • M1 Compatibility: All of the VPNs reviewed here work with M1 Macs. However, some VPNs require Rosetta to “translate” them to work on M1 chips which doesn’t work as well as native M1 chip compatible VPN clients. It also drains your MacBook battery much quicker if the app is not optimized or native for M1 Macs. We have made it clear which VPNs reviewed here are natively compatible with the M1 chip and are the best VPNs for M1 Macs.
  • Safari Support: Although VPNs work with almost any browser, all of the VPNs we reviewed are the best VPNs for Safari which is Apple’s browser that is installed on all Macs.
  • Multiple Servers: The more servers a VPN tool has, the more locations can you can mask yourself in and generally the more reliable the service is in terms of up time as it can fall back on another server if one fails.
  • Strong Encryption: Almost all offer a minimum of AES 256-bit encryption which is extremely strong. However, some like NordVPN offer “double encryption” for extra security. Terms such as “military grade” or “bank level” security is purely sales talk and AES 256-bit encryption or better is what to look for.
  • Simultaneous Connections: If you want to connect your phone or more than one Mac/PC, most VPN services support multiple connections usually anything from 3 to 7 depending on the service. However, some providers allow unlimited VPN connections.
  • Kill Switch: If your internet connection fails for any reason, it’s important your VPN connection cuts the connection to prevent your data being suddenly exposed. All reputable VPNs include a kill switch which triggers automatically in the event of an outage or security issue.
  • No Log Policy: Most VPN providers do not log any history your internet usage for your own protection and privacy. This also protects the VPN services as they have none of your data to steal or hand over. However while some have strict no-logging policies, others promise that your data will be deleted periodically.
  • Leak Protection: This protects you against holes in any software that you’re using that may allow your ISP to discover your identity or track your activity.
  • OpenVPN Integration: OpenVPN is an open source VPN protocol which is widely considered the most secure there is. Many of the best VPN apps for Mac are based on OpenVPN and in some cases, OpenSSL too.
  • Split Tunneling: Many VPNs do not support split tunneling on Mac in the latest versions of macOS and M1 Macs which allows you to select which apps use the VPN and which don’t. This is useful if you want to print over a VPN for example. We highlighted those VPNs for Mac that do support split tunneling.
  • Customer Support: Without doubt, at some stage you’ll have problems whichever VPN client you choose on your Mac. Many sites, especially streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, are constantly updating their technology to block things like VPNs. Good customer support can help you find a solution to this and all of the VPNs featured here have responsive and helpful online assistance.
  • Money Back Guarantee: All reputable VPN software allow you to get your money back if you’re not satisfied. This is usually 30 days but can be as much as a few months. Most VPNs also allow you to try them for free first.

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Best VPNs For Mac Compared

Before we review the best Mac compatible VPNs in more detail, here’s a comparison table to see how they compare side-by-side.

 NordVPNSurfsharkCyberGhostExpressVPNPrivate Internet Access (PIA)OVPN
Servers52383000+7200600030,000+2500+
Countries629491947025
Mobile App✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️
Simultaneous Connections6375105
No Logs ✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️
Kill Switch✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️
Mac Desktop App✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️
Works With Safari✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️
Native M1 App✔️✔️
Discount
Free Trial

Free Trial

Free Trial

Free Trial

Free Trial

Free Trial

With all this in mind, here are the best VPNs for Mac of 2022 in order of ranking.

1. NordVPN (Best Overall & For M1 Macs)

best vpn for mac - nordvpn

We ranked NordVPN as the best VPN for Mac of 2022 due to a combination of rock solid privacy, reliability and native M1 Mac support.

Canada based NordVPN has a strict zero logs policy which means it does not record any of your user data or browsing history.

Most people who want a VPN are looking for privacy protection and NordVPN takes measures to protect you that go that little bit further than any other service.

Most VPNs encrypt your internet traffic once.

NordVPN uses a special “Double VPN” system which encrypts your traffic not just once but twice making it virtually impossible to read or decrypt.

Not only this, but NordVPN is extremely fast with over 5000 servers in 62 countries. This makes it easy to stream content that’s usually not available in your region or download via P2P.

For those that are trading crypto on a Mac, this double security measure also makes NordVPN the best VPN for crypto on Mac.

In addition, NordVPN offers not one, but two different Mac desktop apps for two different security protocols.

The Mac desktop app from the NordVPN website supports the most secure OpenVPN protocol and we strongly recommend downloading that one.

However, there is also a NordVPN app on the Mac App Store but we don’t recommend it as it can only use the IKEv2 protocol which isn’t quite as secure.

Both apps support the latest Apple Silicon M1 Macs and NordVPN was the first VPNs to support M1 chip Macs natively making it our choice for the best VPN for M1 Macs too.

NordVPN also includes its own specially encrypted chat tool for chatting securely online, special browser extensions for extra protection and integration with OpenVPN.

NordVPN also allows you to easily switch region and stream content that’s blocked in your country including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu and Amazon Prime.

NordVPN also has a very easy to use mobile app for iOS so you can use it on iPhone and iPad.

You can currently get a massive 59% off NordVPN for Mac on 2 year subscriptions. 1 year subscriptions are currently 39% off.

You can try a free trial of NordVPN for Mac and then you have the choice of 4 different plans with a 30 day money back guarantee.

You can also check out our full NordVPN for Mac review for a more in-depth look.

Pricing: Starts at $3.29 per month with 59% off.

Pros:

  • Incredibly secure
  • Huge choice of servers worldwide
  • Fast, reliable and stable
  • Easy to share connections with other devices
  • Works natively on M1 Macs
  • Added security for crypto trading on a Mac

Cons:

  • Supports maximum of 6 devices on one subscription
  • Split tunneling not supported on macOS Monterey, Big Sur or M1 Macs

2. Surfshark (Best For Multiple Connections)

surshark mac desktop app

Surfshark is one of the best VPNs for Mac due to an impressive combination of value for money, performance and features.

SurfShark is definitely one of the cheapest VPNs out there offering up to 81% off and yet in our tests, the performance and features are up there with any VPN provider on the market.

Even better, unlike most VPNs there are no device limits with Surfshark so you can use one subscription with your Mac, iPhone, Apple TV, Playstation and any other supported device at no extra cost.

Once the app is installed and you open it, you’ll see a two-panel window.

To the left you’ll see the servers of which country and city you’d like to connect to, and to the right is the connect button.

Just choose server, press connect and that’s it. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. You can choose to select from either the Fastest Server or Nearest Country.

If you don’t want to connect to a dynamic IP address, you can also choose a static IP list for selected countries (currently UK, USA, Germany, Japan and Singapore) which means every time you connect, it will be with the same IP address in that country.

This may be necessary if you’re connecting to a network or service that only allows static or restricted IPs.

If you want to be extra secure, Surfshark also offers a “MultiHop” list which means it connects to a VPN in one country and exits the connection in another making it almost impossible to trace your IP address.

There’s no display of latency in each location but the app automatically recommends your fastest options to stream based on server loads.

Establishing a connection is very quick – usually no more than 5 seconds and you’re good to go.

If you minimize the desktop app, you can still access Surfshark via the macOS Menu Bar and switch between VPNs if you want.

Like with most VPNs, the longer you sign up for, the cheaper the price.

Surfshark is offering 82% off plus 2 months free on 24 month subscriptions which works out at just $2.49 per month.

You can also try a fully functional 7 day free trial to see how Surfshark performs first.

There’s much more to Surfshark than this and we recommend checking out our full Surfshark For Mac Review for more.

Pricing: Starts at $2.49 per month with 82% off

Pros:

  • Supports an unlimited number of devices
  • Lots of servers
  • Connections are stable and fast
  • Extremely easy to use
  • Great for unblocking Netflix and BBC iPlayer
  • Works natively on M1 Macs

Cons:

  • Not many advanced configuration options
  • No split tunneling or GPS spoofing on Mac

3. CyberGhost (Best For Torrents)

cyberghost for mac

CyberGhost has been in the VPN business over 15 years and is one of the most well known providers out there.

CybrerGhost for Mac offers ultra high privacy with a no logs policy and if there’s any interruption to your encrypted connection, CyberGhost immediately triggers a kill-switch.

CyberGhost is extremely easy to use. Just flip a switch and you are instantly connected to one of CyberGhost’s 3000+ servers in over 60 countries and totally anonymous online.

CyberGhost even has special servers dedicated to delivering high-speed torrent downloading.

For streaming blocked content in another country, you can instantly switch to an IP address in that region and get around geo-restrictions.

Finally, you can also customize CyberGhost to trigger depending on which WiFi network or device you’re connecting from.

Overall, CyberGhost is extremely fast, safe and easy to use.

On the downside, CyberGhost does not work natively with Apple Silicon M1 Macs. It’s hard to find any information about whether a native M1 Mac version of CyberGhost will be released but at the moment it only works on M1 Macs via Rosetta which isn’t optimal.

CyberGhost is currently offering 85% off subscriptions making it just $2.33 per month with a 45 day money back guarantee.

You can try CyberGhost free for 24 hours before you buy too.

You can also check out our full CyberGhost For Mac review for more.

Pricing: Starts at $2.33 per month on 3 year plans with 85% off

Pros:

  • Specializes in torrents and streaming via VPN
  • Lots of servers
  • 45 day money back guarantee

Cons:

  • Free trial is only 24 hours
  • Not natively compatible with M1 Macs
  • Only allows 7 connections at once
  • Split tunneling not supported on macOS Monterey, Big Sur or M1 Macs

4. ExpressVPN (Best For Split Tunneling)

 

expressvpn for mac

ExpressVPN is extremely simple to use with lightening fast connections and huge selection of regions to choose from. With ExpressVPN’s Lightway feature, it provides some of the fastest connections we’ve ever seen using a VPN.

ExpressVPN boasts one of the widest networks of more than 3000 servers of any VPN service with 94 locations covered.

So if you need to stream content from a specific country, it’s probably covered by ExpressVPN.

We also like the fact that ExpressVPN makes it very easy to setup split tunneling which means you can specify which apps can and can’t use the VPN connection on your Mac.

Unfortunately however ExpressVPN split tunneling does not work on the latest versions of macOS Monterey, Big Sur or Apple Silicon M1 Macs though.

In terms of security, ExpressVPN also uses the open source OpenVPN protocol which is widely recognized as the securest VPN standard there is.

Not only this but ExpressVPN is one of the few VPN providers that owns its DNS servers which means that your data or IP address is not contracted out to a third party.

It also has a open source browser extension for enhanced security which has passed an external security audit.

ExpressVPN has a desktop client for Mac and works on all version of macOS. There are also apps for iPhone or iPad and you can even setup for Mac to share a VPN connection over WiFi with other Macs or devices.

The main downside is that ExpressVPN is limited to 5 simultaneous connections on one subscription but this means you can easily connect a couple of Macs, iPhones and an iPad.

Unfortunately there’s still no native M1 Mac version of ExpressVPN yet although the company stated in December 2021 that it is working on one.

There’s no free trial of ExpressVPN but ExpressVPN is currently offering 35% off 12 month subscriptions making it $8.32 per month with a 30 day money back policy.

You can also check our full ExpressVPN For Mac review.

Pricing: $8.32 per month on 12 month subscriptions

Pros:

  • Huge choice of locations worldwide
  • Verified secure by an independent audit
  • Supports split tunneling
  • Easy to use
  • 24/7 live chat support

Cons:

  • Only supports 5 devices at once
  • No free trial
  • No native M1 Mac app
  • Split tunneling doesn’t work on Monterey, Big Sur or M1 Macs

5. Private Internet Access (Best For Servers)

pia vpn for mac

Private Internet Access (PIA) is often overlooked by Mac users because it’s not so well-known but it’s actually a very secure, solid and fast VPN app for macOS.

The main feature of PIA for Mac is that it’s completely open source. The source code of PIA is completely free to inspect by anyone that knows what they’re looking for in terms of security holes or anything that could compromise your anonymity when using it.

In fact, PIA users are even able to contribute their own code and modify the app to make it secure against new threats or security issues that affect other VPNs.

The other thing that makes PIA VPN for Mac stand out is that it claims to have more than 30,000 servers in 70 countries and offers multi-gigabit connections for extremely fast connections. This is by far the biggest number of servers in the VPN market and includes Tunnels for OpenVPN, PPTP and IPSEC/L2TP VPN.

PIA does not keep any traffic or request logs, is DD-WRT VPN compatible, allows unmetered VPN transfers and includes a SOCKS5 proxy.

At the moment, there’s no native M1 Mac version of Private Internet Access and no news of whether the company is working on one.

There’s no free trial of PIA but Private Internet Access is currently offering 79% off on three-year deals which works out at $2.03 per month with a 30 day money back guarantee.

You can check out our full Private Internet Access For Mac review for more.

Pricing: $2.03 per month on 3 year deals with 79% off

Pros:

  • Strict no logs policy
  • Open source VPN
  • Over 30,000 servers
  • Unlimited bandwidth and usage
  • Thousands of servers
  • Up to 10 connections at once

Cons:

  • Connections can be unstable
  • Technical for beginners
  • No native M1 Mac support
  • Netflix and BBC iPlayer unblocking can b shaky
  • No free trial
  • Split tunneling not supported on macOS Monterey, Big Sur or M1 Macs

6. OVPN (Best Open Source VPN)

 

ovpn for mac

The main attraction of Sweden based OVPN is that it’s an open source VPN that offers total transparency in the code it’s built on.

What we like about OVPN is that they’re very transparent about what security measures they take even down to publishing the coding they’ve used on servers to prevent logging.

OpenVPN aslo pledges the most extreme “no logs” policy anywhere. Unlike many VPNs, OVPN is configured so that no logs are even temporarily stored on its servers.

OVPN has a browser extension that allows you to easily activate the VPN at any moment.

OVPN even goes as far as taking insurance out for users to help protect members in case of legal demands for user information.

There is no native Apple Silicon M1 Mac version of OVPN however and no news of any plans for one.

OVPN is currently offering 24 month subscriptions for $4.99 per month.

Pricing: $4.99 per month on 2 year subscriptions

Pros:

  • Promises the most “extreme” no logs policy
  • Useful browser extension
  • Even allows users to take out privacy insurance

Cons:

  • Technical for beginners
  • No native M1 Mac chip version
  • Split tunneling not supported on macOS Monterey, Big Sur or M1 Macs

Best Free VPNs For Mac

Some of the VPNs featured here offer a free trial including our top pick NordVPN so you can use them for free before deciding to use them.

While there are some VPN providers that offer free Mac VPNs, none of them come close to offering the kind of security and reliability of the apps featured here.

The most important catch with any free VPN is that they simply do not offer the same level of security, features and privacy as a paid service.

In fact, a trade-off for using the service for free is that your personal data is either exposed or sold on to third parties.

Free VPNs also tend to install either toolbars or third-party software on your Mac so our advice is, if you want a reliable VPN for Mac, you’re much better off paying for one.

In addition, most of them offer very limited bandwidth which means they stop working typically after 500MB of data has been transferred using them.

Paid VPN services are incredibly cheap nowadays and you can get top quality VPNs like NordVPN and Surfshark for just a few dollars per month.

For more, check-out our guide to the Best Free VPNs For Mac.

About The Author

Author

MacHow2 is devoted to helping you get the most of of your Mac. We're passionate about all things Mac whether it's helping users with software recommendations or solving technical problems. If you've got any comments about this article, get involved by leaving a comment below. You can also contact us directly using the contact form at the top of the site. Please note that in the interests of transparency, MacHow2 may sometimes receive compensation from link clicks or vendors.

4 Responses

  1. danny.e

    Big Apple fan here. I have the new iPhone, a MacBook Air, and Apple TV. My friend recently got a VPN and convinced me to get a subscription as well. I think I was bought by the more extensive streaming options on platforms such as Netflix and by the opportunity to get better deals while planning a trip. He was using Surfshark, and since it’s subscription was quite cheap, I decided to try it out as well. So far, everything works okay, I don’t think I made a mistake by choosing this provider.

    Reply

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