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Best free VPN for Mac in 2023


Free VPNs should never be used blindly. After all, there have been cases that disclosed how they snatch your data and sell it to the government or third parties. Whereas a premium VPN offers strong encryption and overall advanced protection to improve your online privacy.

Meanwhile, free MacBook VPN services barely invest in their apps and you receive an outdated suite of features. And to push you towards paid plans, free VPN versions come with rough data caps, small numbers of servers, slow speeds and more.

However, not all free VPNs for macOS are villains. To guide you in the right direction, we have tested and selected the best 6 free VPNs for Mac in 2023 in terms of security, privacy, features, ease of use, unblocking capabilities, and more. Read on and find the one that suits you!

Leading free VPN alternative
NordVPN is the best risk-free alternative to a free MacBook VPN. With it, your online security and privacy are improved using advanced encryption, market-leading tunneling protocols, and a strict no-logs policy.
cybernews® score
4.9 /5

With this in mind, we have assembled a list of the best free VPNs for macOS in 2023. Here, you will find only trustworthy services to boost your online safety.

Top 5 best free VPNs for Mac:

  1. Atlas VPN – overall the best free VPN for Mac in 2023
  2. Hotspot Shield VPN – free MacBook VPN with the IP protection
  3. Proton VPN – free macOS VPN without data caps
  4. Windscribe VPN – free VPN that unblocks Netflix
  5. Hide.me VPN – feature-rich free VPN for Mac

📢 LIMITED OFFER: Try NordVPN risk-free for 30 days!

What features to look for in the Best free VPN for Mac?

To get the most out of a free VPN for MacBook, it’s important that the provider offers these features:

Data cap:Unlimited or at least 500 MB
Encryption: AES-256
Privacy policy:No-logs policy
OS requirements:From macOS Sierra 10.12 to the latest version
  • Strong security. The best free VPN should offer robust online protection. For this, advanced AES-256 encryption, a functional kill switch feature, and more are crucial.
  • Strict privacy policy. It’s been reported that some VPNs collect their users’ activity logs and sell them to third parties. Consequently, ensure your selected free Mac VPN follows a strict no-logs policy.
  • Fast tunneling protocols. Unfortunately, free VPNs initially aren’t the best pals with fast connection speed. To improve the situation, choose a VPN that offers market-leading tunneling protocols that ensure a fast connection without compromising your security.
  • Data cap. Staying protected at all times is, without a doubt, a priority when getting a VPN. Due to free VPNs limiting your data, make sure you choose the one that doesn’t or offers a larger amount of protected data.
  • Features. Usually, free VPNs have no extra savings to invest in a robust security suite. And yet, some features must be included in the app. These include specialized servers, IP leak protection, and more.

Also, keep in mind that majority of VPNs tend to offer quite dull applications for Macs compared to Windows. That being said, ensure your selected free VPN has a fully functional and intuitive application without any crucial feature excluded.

The best free VPNs for Mac in 2023 – our detailed list

There’s no doubt that free applications are very tempting. Yet, the VPN market isn’t exactly the perfect place for trusting every free service you come across. So, to help you find a good and reliable VPN, we have tested and picked out the 5 best free VPNs for macOS.

Each listed VPN was tested following specific criteria regarding security, ease of use, price, and overall performance. Read below and choose your favorite one!

1. Atlas VPN – the best free macOS VPN in 2023

Atlas VPN banner
Simultaneous connections:
Unlimited
Data cap:
5 GB
Unblocks Netflix:Yes (paid-only)
Current deal:🔥 Get Atlas VPN, now 81% OFF! 🔥

Atlas VPN is the best free VPN for MacBooks that guarantees only the best-quality free protection and content unblocking capabilities with a free trial.

Security and privacy: like most premium VPNs, Atlas VPN also uses unbreakable AES-256 encryption. With it, your network traffic will be as secure as the government data would be. To ensure your security and privacy, Atlas VPN promises not to collect any of your data even if you’re using its free version.

Performance: not too many free VPNs offer the WireGuard tunneling protocol for their users, but Atlas VPN does. Considering that, a free version ensures respectful speeds. And if you decide to pay for the service, the experience gets much better with a larger server fleet (750+ servers in 38 countries) as you wouldn’t have to use overcrowded servers.

Features: a free Atlas VPN version allows you to use a functional kill switch feature that protects your IP address when a VPN connection drops unexpectedly. You can also use all of its servers for torrenting. And set the app to start on the launch for more comfort and better protection.

Even though Atlas VPN has a free version, it still comes with some drawbacks. While you can connect unlimited devices simultaneously, you get only 5 GB of monthly data, so if you plan to enjoy it for streaming – this might be a downer.

All in all, Atlas VPN is the most reliable free VPN for macOS. Yet, to fully experience what the service has to offer, we recommend choosing a paid plan with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Take a look at our Atlas VPN review to learn more.

2. Hotspot Shield VPN – free MacBook VPN with IP leak protection

Hotspot Shield banner
Simultaneous connections:up to 5
Data cap:None
Unblocks Netflix:Yes (paid-only)
Want to try the premium version?🔥 Save up to 40% OFF Hotspot Shield! 🔥

Hotspot Shield is a good free VPN for Mac users that covers essential online security needs. Whereas its premium version is a game changer in terms of security and unblocking Netflix.

Security and privacy: Hotspot Shield ensures durable protection by encrypting your data with the AES-256 cipher, which is the strongest encryption on the market. And the provider also promises not to collect your activity logs.

Performance: this free VPN for Mac is one of a few that uses the Catapult Hydra tunneling protocol. For a premium user, this would mean great connection speeds and strong security. Yet, for a free user, the case is different since Hotspot Shield has a speed limit of up to 2Mbps. Finally, you get to choose from over 160 servers globally.

Features: even though a free Hotspot Shield version lacks some critical features, such as the kill switch feature or split tunneling, there are other ones that still enhance your online safety. For example, IP leak protection ensures you stay anonymous at all times, obfuscated servers help you use a VPN in countries with VPN blocks, and DNS filtering blocks malicious websites.

When testing the free Hotspot Shield VPN, it seemed like a blessing in disguise. Whenever we spotted a kink, a good thing came along. That being said, we loved that this VPN doesn’t limit your data, but the speed limit got us upset. Nevertheless, it’s a really worthy free VPN for Mac.

And if you’re looking forward to unblocking some streaming services and enjoying fully-fledged Mac VPN, subscribing to Hotspot Shield premium and benefiting from a free trial should be on your to-do list.

To find out more, read our in-depth Hotspot Shield VPN review.

3. Proton VPN – free MacBook VPN with unlimited data

ProtonVPN banner
Simultaneous connections:10
Data cap:None
Unblocks Netflix:Yes (paid-only)
Want to try the premium version?🔥 Get up to 50% OFF Proton VPN! 🔥

Proton VPN is an excellent free VPN for Macs for unlimited safe browsing. However, not only does it not have a data cap but it also doesn’t restrict your connection speed

Security and privacy: with this free VPN, you get a solid protection and privacy layer. Market-leading encryption, the advanced WireGuard tunneling protocol, and a strict no-logs policy ensure robust online safety.

Performance: the implementation of the WireGuard tunnel is good news not only in terms of security but also in connection speed. That being said, this tunneling protocol ensures good connection speed without compromising safety even for free users. On the other hand, a server fleet distributed in only three locations (Japan, the Netherlands, and the US) might impact the performance.

Features: even though the majority of features, such as P2P file sharing or unblocking capabilities, are kept for premium users only, free users still can use a couple of essential features. The kill switch feature will keep your IP protected at all times, as well as DNS leak protection.

Proton VPN is overall one of the most secure VPNs on the market. Fortunately, its free version is also worth throwing caution to the wind. After all, you’re protected using advanced security features, and you can secure unlimited data.

It’s no secret that the online experience gets even better with Proton VPN premium. To feel that, try out the service using a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Learn more about the provider in our Proton VPN review.

4. Windscribe VPN – free VPN for Netflix

Windscribe banner
Simultaneous connections:Unlimited
Data cap:2GB (no email) or 10GB (with email) per month
Unblocks Netflix:Yes
Want to try the premium version?🔥 Get 55% OFF with a 1-year plan! 🔥

Windscribe is a perfect free choice if you want to enjoy Netflix on your Mac and scroll on your iPhone at once. It allows unlimited simultaneous connections so you can use a VPN on all your devices.

Security and privacy: with a questionable country of jurisdiction (Canada), Windscribe succeeds in keeping its promise not to collect your activity logs. Plus, it uses strong encryption to hide your traffic from prying eyes.

Performance: the implementation of the WireGuard tunneling guarantees you decent connection speeds. However, out of 60+ premium server locations, a free user gets only 11. Meaning, it’s quite easy to come across an overcrowded server.

Features: Windscribe offers one of the most extensive free suites of security. With it, you can protect your IP with the kill switch feature, avoid adware with the adblock, set up a secure hotspot, and even more. But, most importantly, it’s one of a few free Mac VPNs that might unblock Netflix!

All in all, Windscribe is a great free VPN to snatch for your MacBook. Although its initial data cap of 2 GB per month is quite sad, you can increase the amount to up to 10 GB per month with a confirmed email address.

A free version is great, but a premium one is much better. See it yourself by signing up for a premium account and using a money-back guarantee.

Find out more in our Windscribe review.

5. Hide.me VPN – free VPN version with many features included

Hideme vpn banner
Simultaneous connections:10
Data cap:10GB per month
Unblocks Netflix:Yes (paid-only)
Want to try the premium version?🔥 Get Hide Me VPN 70% OFF + 3 months FREE! 🔥

This Malaysian free macOS VPN – Hide.me VPN – is exotic not only by its country of jurisdiction but also by the number of features you can use. It’s great for standing against various cyber threats.

Security and privacy: apart from a privacy-friendly country of jurisdiction, this VPN also has an audited no-logs policy by DefenseCode Ltd. Moreover, your traffic is always encrypted using industry-leading AES-256 encryption.

Performance: unlike other free VPNs for Mac, Hide.me allows its users to differentiate between tunneling protocols. So, you can select the stable one – OpenVPN, IKEv2 which is more suitable for phones, and the IP versions (IPv4 or IPv6). As a free user, you can choose from four different server locations, including the US, Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands.

Features: now, that’s the part Hide.me can be proud of as a free VPN service. Whether you’re a free or a premium user, you receive all the same features. The crucial ones, like kill switch and split tunneling for filtering the apps and websites that go through a VPN connection. And there are also custom DNS, P2P file sharing, and other features.

The number of features you get here can be a real selling point. However, remember that a free Hide.me gives you only 10 GB per month, which is not a miracle considering the amount of time we spend online these days.

To stay protected at all times, we suggest going for a paid plan that comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can see what a premium feels like.

Find out more about the features in our Hide.me VPN review.

6. ZoogVPN – free anonymous VPN

ZoogVPN banner
Simultaneous connections:Up to 5
Data cap:10GB
Unblocks Netflix:Yes (paid-only)
Want to try the premium version?🔥 Get up to 85% OFF Zoog VPN! 🔥

ZoogVPN is a decent free VPN for Mac solution that doesn’t require your payment details and select a subscription to use the service. It offers robust security features that can noticeably improve your online safety.

Security and privacy: as for a free user, ZoogVPN offers AES-128 encryption to hide your traffic. It also follows a strict no-logs policy and the only thing it captures is your email. You also can connect to 5 servers in three countries (the US, the UK, and the Netherlands).

Performance: in terms of tunneling protocols, you can select from several options, however, these are not the most advanced on the market. There are OpenVPN, IKEv2, PPTP, and L2TP/IPSEC tunnels.

Features: indeed, a free version is nothing compared to the premium one. Nevertheless, with a free ZoogVPN, you receive a fully functional kill switch feature that protects your IP when a VPN connection is lost. There’s also an obfuscation feature and the Dutch server supports torrenting.

Putting it all together, ZoogVPN is enough to stay secure while browsing. But that’s only if you use less than 10 GB of data per month. Plus, the free version is available for only 7 days.

When the free week ends, pick a subscription plan and use a 7-day money-back guarantee for another risk-free week.

Free Mac VPNs compared

To simplify choosing the best free macOS VPN for you, we have gathered the most important details in one place. Find the table below, and compare each VPN to find the one that suits your needs the best.

Atlas VPNHotspot Shield VPNProton VPNWindscribeHide.me VPNZoogVPN
Brandlogologologologologologo
Rating
4.3
3.5
4.2
3.7
3.5
3.5
LoggingNo logsNo logsNo logsNo logsNo logsNo logs
Country of jurisdictionUnited StatesUnited StatesSwitzerlandCanadaMalaysiaGreece
Free data cap (per month)5GBNoneNone2GB (no email) or 10GB (with email)10GB 10GB
Connection speed capNoYesNoNoNoNo
macOS compatibility:Has a personalized macOS appHas a personalized macOS appHas a personalized macOS appHas a personalized macOS appHas a personalized macOS appHas a personalized macOS app
Works with Safari:
Unblocks Netflix✅ (paid version)✅ (paid version)✅ (paid version)✅ (paid version)✅ (paid version)
ReviewAtlas VPN reviewHotspot Shield VPN reviewProton VPN reviewWindscribe reviewHide.me VPN review -

How we tested these free Mac VPNs

Choosing a free VPN for macOS might be a bit confusing. After all, there are key points to pay attention to when considering the service. Below, you can see what criteria we have followed to test and pick only the best free VPN for Macs.

  • Security and privacy. In all the VPNs we have tested, we looked for the most advanced AES-256 encryption and the market-leading tunneling protocols, like OpenVPN or WireGuard. Plus, we made sure there would be followed a strict no-logs policy.
  • Unlimited data. The smaller amount of protected data you get, the lesser you can browse safely. We made sure that the service would offer unlimited data or at least 5 GB per month.
  • Speed. The network speed should never interfere with your online experience. That’s why we listed only those VPNs that offer both – great connection speeds and no limits around it.
  • Features. Free VPNs already offer quite poor suites of features. Hence, we looked for those apps with extra features next to the most essential ones.
  • Suitability for macOS. It’s known that Windows users get the most developed applications from all. Yet, there are services that don’t leave macOS behind, so we found them and listed them here for you.

How do I set up a free Mac VPN on my PC?

Nowadays, everything is made to be easy. The rule applies to setting up a VPN as well. To learn how it’s done, see the step-by-step guide below and follow it to install and set up the best-ranked free macOS VPN – Atlas VPN – app on your Mac device.

  1. Choose and download a reliable free Mac VPN. Atlas VPN worked great for us.
download free Mac Atlas VPN
  1. Sign up with your email.
Sign up for a free Mac Atlas VPN
  1. Complete the confirmation via the email address that you’ve signed up with.
  2. Head back to the Atlas VPN application.
  3. Connect to one of the free servers and allow to make the changes.
Connected to a free Mac Atlas VPN

Signing up for a free Atlas VPN service is great. However, if you feel like going for more, click “Go premium”, select the plan of your choice and enjoy a 7-day free trial that you can combine with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

The dangers of free Mac VPNs

A free VPN service always comes with certain dangers. We prepared a list for you of the most important dangers and reasons why free VPNs are better to avoid.

  1. Data collection. Free VPNs collect your data and sell it to third parties in return for income.
  2. Malware and other infections. Unlike premium VPNs, free VPNs direct you to malicious websites.
  3. Free VPNs can plant a tracker. Planting trackers is another way to collect and sell your data to the government or other dangerous websites.
  4. Hijacked browsers. You are redirected to websites that you didn’t intend to visit. Usually, those are malicious websites.
  5. Outdated security features. A free VPN tends to offer you out-of-date encryption or a very limited list of tunneling protocols.

Free Mac VPNs to avoid

Some free VPNs are reliable and strong enough to protect you online. Yet, it’s still important to stay aware and know what exact VPN services are better to pass and not to look back.

Providers, such as Betternet, Hola VPN, or Opera VPN, have been reported to leak their users’ IP addresses which is a critical security and privacy violation. They have also been found to plant trackers, collect your data and sell it to third parties in return for allowance to operate in a specific country, such as China, or simply make some income.

To avoid such types of risks, it’s best to choose a premium VPN service. Keep in mind that nearly all of them offer a free trial and a money-back guarantee. Meaning, you can use a fully-fledged suite of security for free for quite some time.

Pro tip

Considering getting a premium VPN for your MacBook? Well, NordVPN is one of the options that worked great for us! It comes with a geographically-diverse server fleet, an advanced security suite, an audited no-logs policy, and other features that boost your online experience.

Is it worth having a free VPN on Mac?

When it comes to a free Mac VPN, only your needs determine its worth. It’s rather a rule that a completely free VPN will only offer minimal services. You will find only a few servers, one or two features to use, and, overall, worse protection.

More importantly, is that free VPNs tend to compromise your privacy and security. That being said, there have been cases where they collect your data and sell it to third parties. For them, it’s a way to earn an income; for you, it’s a security and privacy loss. Plus, there won’t be a day when the app wouldn’t remind you to upgrade your plan to a paid one.

Overall, a free-of-charge VPN can only be tolerated as a temporary solution. But even for a short time, getting a premium VPN with a free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee is better. This way, you can use all the premium security features, unblock favorite streaming sites, browse global content, and more. If you're considering to get a premium VPN, we suggest going for options like NordVPN or Surfshark.


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