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If you’re looking for a Mac compatible VPN for Mac but don’t want to pay for it, we’ve looked at the best free VPN for Mac of 2021.

All of the VPNs featured here have a Mac desktop client that work on Intel and M1 chip Macs but they also work on Windows so these reviews will be of interest to users on all platforms.

Firstly, it’s important to be aware that there are very few reliable free VPNs for Mac on the market.

There’s a good reason for this too. Providing secure, reliable VPNs requires a lot of investment from VPN providers as they require servers, development teams and constant maintenance.

In the case of macOS, there is less choice than on Windows as VPN providers have to keep updating the apps for the latest versions of macOS such as Big Sur and Monterey.

If you therefore want a secure, fast VPN that guarantees that you can surf privately and unblock services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer with official apps for M1 Macs, we strongly recommend checking out our guide to the best VPNs for Mac first before trying an inferior free solution.

The best VPNs like Surfshark or NordVPN offer incredibly cheap deals of little more than $50 for 2 year subscriptions and offer both rock solid security and speed.

They also offer free trials which are far superior to anything you’ll get in a free VPN.

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Free VPNs For Mac: What’s The Catch?

As you might expect, there are some disadvantages to free VPNs to be aware of.

The main drawback of free VPNs is that many of the reasons for using a VPN in the first place don’t apply to free VPN services.

That means that essential features such as security, privacy, speed and server location choice are all either compromised or inferior to paid VPN services.

Free VPNs are only suitable for limited internet surfing as they all have different restrictions such as data limits, speed throttling, limited server choice and may not be as secure as paid VPN services.

From a usage standpoint, the main problem you’ll find with most free VPNs is that they limit the amount of data or bandwidth you can use.

This means that after a limited amount of surfing or streaming – typically up to 10GB of data per month – they will stop working.

So if you’re hoping to use these free VPNs to unblock Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime or HBO Now you may be disappointed.

Another common drawback with free VPN services is that they often display invasive ads while you’re surfing or streaming video.

From a security point of view, free VPNs also likely to sell your data to third parties so for those that want a VPN for privacy purposes, it’s much safer to subscribe and pay for a VPN instead.

In the worst cases, some free VPNs actually install malware on your Mac. According to one study, 4 out 10 free VPNs installed malware on a computer. These can do everything from steal your passwords to hijacking your computer.

Finally, if you have any problems using a free VPN such as slow speeds or connection failures then there’s usually no support with free VPN providers.

What We Looked For In The Best Free Mac VPN

Although there are many Mac compatible VPN services out there, these are some of the things we looked for when selecting the best ones.

  • Mac App: The most important thing we looked for was that the VPN offered a Mac desktop client showing a clear commitment to macOS and Mac users. Note that although all of these VPNs work on M1 Macs using Rosetta, only paid VPNs offer native Mac desktop apps for M1 chip Macs.
  • Speed: There’s absolutely no point using a free VPN if it’s too slow to use. All of the VPNs here provide satisfactory speeds with some faster than other. Some are not suitable for streaming services such as Netflix however and we have made this clear in the reviews.
  • Security: Many free VPNs either sell your personal data or log your activity. We looked for VPNs with a strict no logging policy and other factors such as whether they are located in Five Eyes, Nine Eyes or 14 Eyes countries, DNS or WebRTC leaks and strong encryption on connections.
  • Features: Some VPNs offer more tools than others such as split tunneling, kill switches, multi-hop and double-hop for added encryption and protection of your IP address.
  • Support: Most free VPNs don’t offer the same level of support (if any) compared to the paid or premium versions. However, we looked for free VPNs which at least offer

Best Free VPNs For Mac Compared

 ProtonVPN FreeHide.me FreeHotspot Shield FreeWindscribe FreeAtlas VPN FreeTunnelBear Free
Servers35N/A11320
Countries35USA only11320
Data LimitUnlimitedUnlimited500MB/day10GB/monthUnlimited500MB/month
Mobile App✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️
Displays Ads✔️✔️✔️
Simultaneous Connections135553
Speed LimitNo but prioritizes premium usersNo2MB/sNoNoNo
No Logs✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️
Kill Switch✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️
Mac Desktop App✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️

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With all this in mind, here are the best free VPNs for Mac of 2021.

1. ProtonVPN Free

best free vpn for mac - protonvpn

ProtonVPN For Mac is one of the best free VPNs for Mac of 2021 because it’s one of the only free VPNs that offers unlimited usage in the free version.

Proton VPN Free only offers 3 server locations in the US, Japan and Holland but if this isn’t an issue for you, the unlimited surfing is a huge bonus.

Unusually for a free VPN, ProtonVPN Free even allows split-tunneling so you can restrict it to certain apps or software and DNS leak protection for added security.

The main downside to ProtonVPN Free is the speed which is nowhere near as fast as the paid version and it doesn’t support streaming services like Netflix or YouTube.

You can also only connect one device to ProtonVPN with the free version and support is limited to raising tickets via email.

All you need to starting using ProtonVPN Free For Mac is an email address and create a username.

To remove all limits ProtonVPN For Mac is also currently offering up to 33% off paid plans.

Pros:

  • No surfing limits
  • Swiss based with strict no logs policy
  • Supports split tunneling
  • DNS leak protection

Cons:

  • Slow speeds as premium users take priority
  • Only 3 server locations in US, Japan & Netherlands
  • Limited email ticket support

2. Hide.me

hide.me vpn for mac

What we like about Hide.me For Mac is that it gives you 10GB of data per month and doesn’t plague you with ads like some services.

In fact, the free version of Hide.me features almost all the same features as the paid version with a strict no logs policy, no speed throttling and no trackers.

Hide.me For Mac supports P2P and torrents in 5 different locations and unlike most free VPNs, even includes 24/7 support. We also like the fact that Hide.me supports a generous 10 simultaneous connections on different devices which is double that of most other free VPNs.

On top of all this, the free version also guarantees the same 99.9% uptime as the paid version.

There are of course advantages to subscribing to the paid version of Hide.me including Split Tunneling, Stealth Guard, Advanced IP Leak Protection, IPv6 Support, WireGuard and of course, no limits on data usage or bandwidth.

The paid version also gives you access to over 1900 servers in 75 locations.

There’s no registration or sign-up required to get started with Hide.me Free For Mac now.

Pros:

  • 10GB of data per month
  • No ads
  • No logging
  • Supports 10 connections at once
  • Free version includes support

Cons:

  • Free version only allows access to 5 servers

3. Hotspot Shield Free

hotspot shield for mac

Hotspot Shield For Mac is the best free VPN for Mac and is made by Silicon Valley’s AnchorFree which was one of the very first VPNs on the market.

The free version of Hotspot Shield Basic for Mac has many drawbacks the main one being you are limited to 500MB of bandwidth per day or 15GB per month which means that you can only do a limited amount of surfing and streaming before it stops working.

The 500MB per day limit does not roll over to the next day either so you can’t “save” the data to use more the next day.

Other drawbacks of the free version include ads (although not on the Mac version anymore) while you’re using the free mobile VPN, US only servers, a smaller choice of servers, a limitation of five devices connected and no support.

The full Hotspot Shield Elite network is ad free with over 1800 servers in more than 80 countries, supports up to 5 devices at one time and offers 24/7 support.

The free version of Hotspot Shield is however secure using the same military grade encryption as the paid version.

Although the paid version Hotspot Shield Elite is known for offering some of the fastest VPN connections on the market thanks to its proprietary Hydra VPN protocol, the free version is limited to a maximum transfer rate of 2MB/s.

You can download Hotspot Shield Free for Mac here.

You can also try Hotspot Shield Elite free for 7 days to see how the full version performs.

Hotspot Shield is currently offering 77% off on two-year subscriptions which works out at $3.99 per month.

Pros:

  • One of the first VPNs on the market
  • Generally fast connection speeds
  • Easy to use
  • Military grade encryption
  • Supports 5 devices per account

Cons:

  • No technical support
  • Only US based servers in free version
  • No native M1 Mac version
  • Serves ads on mobile client
  • Free version is limited to 500MB of data

4. Windscribe

 

windscribe vpn for mac

The free version of Windscribe For Mac offers a generous 10GB per month surfing limit as long as you provide your email address.

If you don’t want to provide your email address, you can still get 2GB a month as standard with Windscribe for completely anonymous surfing.

Windscribe VPN Free offers 11 server locations around the world including several in the US.

We like the fact that you can also choose to use Windscribe either via the Mac desktop client or a Chrome extension. Using the browser extension also includes an ad blocker and malware blocker for added security and privacy.

Windscribe also works for unblocking Netflix and BBC iPlayer although the 10GB a month streaming limit will not allow much for that.

As with most free VPNs, the speed of Windscribe VPN can also be slow but for surfing the net anonymously for free, it’s fine.

You can use Windscribe VPN For Mac for free to see for yourself.

Pros:

  • Up to 10GB free data limit
  • 11 different server locations
  • Use via desktop app or Chrome extension with ad blocker
  • Can also be used with your own VPN servers

Cons:

  • Speeds can be slow
  • Logs some basic data for 10GB a month

5. Atlas VPN

atlas vpn for mac

The free version of Atlas VPN for Mac is one of the few free VPNs with no data limits although it only allows you to access 3 servers worldwide.

However, it’s also the only free VPN that supports an unlimited amount of devices – normally you’d only get that with paid VPNs like Surfshark.

Atlas VPN For Mac takes security very seriously and guarantees no logging of your data. However, the free version of Atlas VPN is ad supported which can only be removed by subscribing to the paid premium version.

The premium version of Atlas VPN offers faster speeds, streaming-optimized servers and more safety features to protect you online.

This includes ultra-strong AES-256 encryption, over 700 servers to handle everything from 4K streaming to torrenting, or casual browsing.

The paid version of Atlas VPN can also block ads, suspicious websites and can even check if your personal details have been exposed online.

You can sign-up for the free version of Atlas VPN For Mac here.

Pros:

  • No data limits
  • Supports unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Strict no logs policy

Cons:

  • Supported by ads
  • Only 3 servers to choose from
  • Lacks added privacy protection of the premium version

6. TunnelBear

 

tunnelbear for mac free vpn

What we like about McAfee owned TunnelBear is its jargon free, user-friendly approach to VPNs. Canada based TunnelBear is also one of the most secure VPNs out there as it has been independently audited for security.

Although most VPNs are easy to use nowadays, TunnelBear is about the easiest you can use with a simple interface that shows you where in the world you’re connected and other locations available.

TunnelBear uses strong AES 256-bit encryption and blocks any unsecured traffic with a strict no-logging policy so that your activity or data isn’t logged anywhere.

There are 20 servers in different locations available in TunnelBear which is generous compared to many free VPNs with all major regions covered.

The big drawback to the free version of TunnelBear is that it only gives you 500MB of data per month which is the least generous allowance we found in any free VPN for Macs and makes it almost useless for serious surfing or streaming.

If you want to remove this limit, TunnelBear is currently offering 58% off 12 month subscriptions which works out at $4.17 per month.

You can download the free version of TunnelBear for Mac to see for yourself.

Pros:

  • Subjected to independent security audits
  • Very easy to use
  • Strict no logs policy
  • Servers in 20 countries

Cons:

  • Limited to 500MB of data per month
  • Not many server locations
  • Not many advanced configuration options
  • No native M1 Mac version

About The Author

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