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Best Mac VPNs in 2024


Even though Macs are known for their strong security features, they aren't completely immune to threats. This is why using a VPN for Mac is crucial. A VPN protects your data from hackers and government surveillance, and it also helps you access restricted websites and streaming services.

With so many VPN options out there, choosing the right one can be overwhelming. That's why together with the research team, I tested and reviewed numerous VPNs for Mac to bring you the best options. Our focus is on privacy, security, and speed. We also ensure each VPN works well on macOS and can bypass geo-restrictions.

In this article, you'll find detailed reviews of the top five VPNs for Mac. If you're in a hurry, check out our quick picks of the top three.

My top 3 VPNs for Mac picks

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Recent updates
With the latest July 2024 update, I added more information about each provider, including new feature releases and updates. I’ve also updated the article to help readers better understand what they should be looking for when choosing the right VPN in 2024.

Best Mac VPNs in 2024 – detailed list

Although there are many advanced VPN providers to choose from, only a handful of them make a good addition to your Apple MacOS device. Together with a team of expert researchers, I evaluated 2024 best VPNs to determine which ones excel in user data encryption, ease of use, compatibility with macOS, and more.

My top recommendations are NordVPN and Surfshark, as they excel not only as secure but also as smooth VPN apps for Macs, no matter if you’re tech-savvy or just a beginner.

1. NordVPN – the best VPN for Mac

Nordvpn banner
iOS app rating:
4.7
Works on:
Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS
Servers:6400+ servers
Current deal:Get NordVPN, now up to 72% OFF + free travel data!

NordVPN is the best VPN for Mac. The app has a 4.7/5 rating on the App Store, and Surfshark is the only VPN on this list with a better rating by Mac users.

NordVPN is considered a highly secure VPN, and part of that is due to AES-256 and ChaCha20 encryption. These ciphers ensure that your data is completely unreadable, ensuring a fully private online experience. NordVPN is very serious about its strict no-logs policy – it has been assessed by independent auditors (PwC and Deloitte) 4 times.

As for security features available to users, there’s a reliable kill switch, a Dark Web Monitor, and Threat Protection. This security feature stops malware, web trackers, ads, and other web threats. However, the app for Mac doesn’t offer split tunneling.

Compared to other providers, NordVPN offers some useful extras for the same monthly $3.39 pricing. For example, I especially liked NordVPN's unique Meshnet feature, which acts like a LAN network, letting you securely connect up to 60 devices directly. This means you don't need to send files to the cloud, making gaming, collaboration, and file sharing safer. Combined with built-in antivirus, NordVPN offers a comprehensive security suite.

The NordVPN app has a mixed reception. Some users like its larger map-based interface, while others prefer the simpler, clearer style of apps like IPVanish. It's really a matter of personal taste. Personally, I liked the interface and found it really simple to use.

Nordvpn mac interface ui
NordVPN macOS app interface

It’s worth mentioning that NordVPN's Threat Protection has improved significantly. It used to block harmful websites at the domain level with DNS filtering. Now, Threat Protection Pro blocks threats at the URL and Javascript levels, helping you avoid tracking, phishing, scams, malware, and ads. Plus, you can now use the app on 10 devices at once (up from six), and it covers 6400 servers in 111 countries.

2. Surfshark – the best Mac VPN service for value per money

Surfshark banner
iOS app rating:
4.8
Works on:
Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS
Servers:
3200+ servers
Current deal:Get 83% OFF Surfshark + 3 months FREE

Surfshark is another great VPN for Mac, which has the best App Store rating out of all providers on this list – 4.8/5. Just like NordVPN, it provides excellent services at an affordable $2.19/month price and offers unlimited simultaneous connections.

Surfshark focuses heavily on user privacy and safety. That’s why, just like NordVPN and Surfshark, it upholds a strict no-logs policy that has been independently audited. And while the VPN is based in the Netherlands – a 9-Eyes alliance member – it upholds strict GDPR measures to ensure users’ privacy.

Sufshark also includes a kill switch to prevent data leaks and ISP or government monitoring. A few other Surfshark’s privacy and safety features worth mentioning include NoBorders mode to bypass censorship and Rotating IP, which helps you remain anonymous by automatically changing the IP address while you’re connected. Websites often ban certain IP addresses to prevent abuse or suspicious activity. Rotating IP addresses helps avoid these bans, ensuring continuous access.

I liked that Surfshark offers unique Incogni tool. It’s a service that automatically requests the deletion of your personal data from data brokers. This helps protect your online privacy from invasive data-tracking practices. Incogni can remove your private information from more sites than similar services, including marketing, recruitment, financial, risk mitigation, and people search websites.

Talking about interface, the simple, modern and user-friendly Mac app makes Surfshark easy to use. Thus, it’s a great option for beginners like NordVPN. However, the app window isn't resizable, and the kill switch status isn't shown on the home screen, which can be a bit annoying compared to Surfshark's Windows app. Despite this, the Mac app stands out with its auto-connect feature, ensuring you're always connected to a secure Surfshark server.

surfshark mac
Surfshark macOS app interface

Surfshark has recently rolled out some great updates. Apple enthusiasts will be pleased to know that Surfshark VPN is now available for Apple TV. Additionally, the Surfshark Alert feature has been enhanced, allowing you to monitor the security of your ID in over 90 countries, significantly boosting user protection. Lastly, Surfshark also has 2400 servers in 55 countries now.

3. IPVanish – one of the fastest VPN services for Mac

IPVanish banner
iOS app rating:4.5
Works on:
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
Servers:2400+ servers
Current deal:Get 83% OFF IPVanish + 3 months FREE!

IPVanish is also one of the top-rated VPNs for Mac devices. It’s overall user ranking on the Apple Store, at the time of publication, was 4.5/5.

Just like NordVPN or Surfshark, IPVanish keeps no logs of user activity. However, since it is based in the United States, keep in mind that it still can permit government agencies to monitor your activity. Fortunately, IPVanish is still safe to use, all thanks to AES-256 and ChaCha20 encryption – the same that is used by Surfshark and, to a more advanced degree, NordVPN.

This provider is the only VPN on my list that offers split tunneling for Mac. For $2.19/month IPVanish security features also include traffic obfuscation, Threat Protection, reliable kill switch, and Network Trust.

What’s a Network Trust you may ask? Well, it’s a one of IPVanish's best features is which acts like network filtering. When IPVanish detects that you've connected to an untrusted network, it automatically deems it unsafe and connects to a fast, secure VPN to ensure your internet connection is encrypted and protected.

Overall, compared to Surfshark and NordVPN, despite all the handy features, IPVanish’s macOS app interface is a bit outdated. While it’s still quite simple to navigate, it’s not as intuitive. Personally, I preferred other provider apps because they felt more modern and visually appealing.

ipvanish mac
IPVanish macOS app interface

Like its competitors, IPVanish recently launched an antivirus feature called Threat Protection. Additionally, IPVanish now offers a VPN kill switch for iOS devices. However, compared to NordVPN and Surfshark, IPVanish has fewer worldwide servers – 2400+, making it not the best possible choice for streaming and bypassing geo-restrictions.

4. ExpressVPN – user-friendly and secure VPN for macOS

ExpressVPN banner
iOS app rating:4.7
Works on:
Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
Servers:Servers in 105 countries
Current deal:Get ExpressVPN, now 49% OFF + 3 months FREE!

In my hands-on review of ExpressVPN, it emerged as one of the best services, and the Mac version is equally impressive. With strong encryption, a reliable kill switch, and auto-connect, your privacy is well-protected. It has a 4.7/5 rating on the App Store.

if you prioritize online security, ExpressVPN is a highly secure VPN for Mac. It uses top-tier encryption protocols (AES-256 and ChaCha20) that would take hundreds of years for an experienced hacker to crack. Also, ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, which means the provider is fully supported by local regulations in keeping all user data under wraps.

The advanced protection features include a Threat Manager that blocks trackers and malicious sites, an Ad Blocker that blocks ads, and Parental Controls that block adult sites.

I was most surprised to see a password manager among ExpressVPN features. While NordVPN also offers this extra to increase password security, you don’t get it with the entry plan, Basic. ExpressVPN, on the other hand, doesn’t have different plans, so it’s included automatically.

For a quite premium price of $6.67/month, ExpressVPN’s Mac app and web extension are very user-friendly and easy to navigate. The downside of the Mac app relates to the split tunneling feature – like with NordVPN and Surfshark, it is not available on macOS (only available with older versions of Mac).

expressvpn mac
ExpressVPN extension user interface

As for news, you can now use the same ExpressVPN account on 8 devices simultaneously, up from the previous limit of 5. While this is a commendable improvement, competitors like Surfshark offer unlimited connections at a lower price. Still, it's great to see ExpressVPN adding more value for customers. Additionally, the introduction of ExpressVPN Keys – a robust password manager – is exciting. This new feature shows that the premium provider is committed to enhancing its range of security and privacy products, addressing one of its key weaknesses. Also, ExpressVPN doesn’t officially share how many servers it has, but they are dispersed across 105 countries. We can assume that the number of servers are growing, which means it can support users globally and offer streaming opportunities.

5. CyberGhost – Mac VPN with a massive server fleet

CyberGhost VPN banner
iOS app rating:4.2
Works on:
Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
Servers:11500+ servers
Current deal:Get CyberGhost VPN, now 84% + 4 months FREE!

The final VPN for Mac on this list is CyberGhost. This provider stands out for its extra large server fleet, robust security and dedication to no logs policy. However, although one of the cheapest VPNs with $2.03 price monthly, CyberGhost has the lowest user ranking on the App Store among the VPNs on this list – 4.2/5.

CyberGhost, like NordVPN, Surfshark, and all other VPNs on this list, has an independently audited no-logs policy. However, it does ask for some permissions on apps that slightly contradict their privacy pledge. Nonetheless, just like Surfshark, it is also based in the EU (Romania), so it follows GDPR laws.

Overall, its well-functioning kill switch and safe tunneling protocols (WireGuard and OpenVPN) ensure a generally safe and private use. I also enjoyed the kill switch, ad blocker, and NoSpy servers. Also, there are specialty servers to choose from: optimised for downloading or for streaming.

I liked that the app offers Smart rules. This feature lets users manually set Wi-Fi and startup rules.

As for the Mac app interface, CyberGhost is pretty straightforward. While it’s not as visually appealing as, for example, NordVPN, CyberGhost is very easy to navigate. However, when reviewing CyberGhost, the kill switch on macOS didn’t work the best, and there are connectivity issues when the system wakes up from a sleep state.

cyberghost mac
CyberGhost macOS app interface

On the other hand, the provider recently introduced Leak Protection for macOS users to prevent data leaks. While CyberGhost doesn’t have any special extras, when compared to some other providers on this list, it certainly covers the basics.

Best Mac VPNs comparison

BrandRatingiOS app ratingMacOS compatibilitySecurity featuresPrice
NordVPN
4.9
4.7From 10.15 Catalina (2019) onwardsAES-256 encryption, ChaCha20 encryption, NordLynx protocol, RAM-only servers, Kill switch, Threat Protection, Dark Web MonitorFrom $3.39/month
Surfshark
4.7
4.8From 10.15 Catalina onwards (older OS supported by Legacy app)
AES-256 encryption, WireGuard protocol, Kill switch, RAM-only servers, CleanWeb feature, Surfshark AlertFrom $2.19/month
IPVanish
4.5

4.5From 10.13 High Sierra (2017) onwards
AES-256 encryption, Kill switch, WireGuard protocol, Threat Protection, Obfuscated serversFrom $2.19/month
ExpressVPN
4.3
4.7From 10.13 High Sierra (2017) onwardsAES-256 encryption, Kill switch, Lightway protocol, IP & DNS leak protection, Threat Manager, Malware protectionFrom $6.67/month
CyberGhost
4.2
4.2From 10.13 High Sierra (2017) onwardsAES-256-GCM encryption, Kill switch, WireGuard protocol, Content blocker, RAM-only serversFrom $2.03/month

How I tested Mac VPNs

To thoroughly evaluate Mac VPNs, together with the research team I used a MacBook Air, M2 with Sonoma 14.5 for all testing. The testing process involved several key factors, each weighted according to its importance:

  • Compatibility with Mac (35%). I tested each VPN for compatibility with macOS by installing the VPN app directly from the provider's website or the Mac App Store. I evaluated the user interface and overall usability of the app. This included navigating settings, connecting to servers, and troubleshooting any issues. I assessed the ease of setup, from downloading and installing the app to creating an account and connecting for the first time. For those with iOS devices, I checked if the VPN provider offered a compatible app and how well it integrated with both macOS and iOS.
  • Security and privacy (25%). I verified that the VPN uses AES-256 encryption, which is the industry standard for secure data transmission. I reviewed the VPN provider’s privacy policy to confirm that they do not keep logs of user activity. I tested the kill switch feature to ensure it effectively stops internet traffic if the VPN connection drops, protecting user data from exposure. I also looked for features like DNS leak protection, split tunneling, and multi-hop connections, which enhance privacy and security.
  • Speed (30%). I tested speed using different VPN protocols, including OpenVPN, IKEv2, and WireGuard, to see how they affected performance. I measured download and upload speeds, as well as latency, across various server locations to evaluate how the VPN impacts internet performance. Speed tests were conducted using services like
  • Price (10%). I compared the pricing plans of each VPN, considering monthly, annual, and multi-year subscriptions. I assessed whether the features offered justify the cost, looking at factors like the number of simultaneous connections allowed and any additional benefits provided by the VPN service.

The most important factors were security and privacy features, as these are crucial for protecting user data. Speed was also highly prioritized, as a VPN must maintain a good balance between security and performance. Compatibility with Mac was essential for ensuring a seamless user experience, and while price was considered, it was less critical than the other factors in determining overall value.

Factors to consider when choosing a Mac VPN

When choosing a VPN for your Mac, there are several key factors to consider. Privacy and security should always be your top priority, even if your main goal is streaming services like Netflix. Look for VPN services that have been audited and offer zero-logging policies, ensuring your data remains private and secure.

Consider your specific needs for the VPN. If you frequently torrent, make sure the VPN provider supports P2P file sharing on a wide range of servers. If streaming TV shows and movies is your primary concern, choose a VPN known for its reliable unblocking capabilities and wide server fleet. Speed is also crucial, especially for streaming and downloading. Fortunately, advancements in VPN protocols have made it possible for most VPNs to deliver speeds faster than the average internet connection.

The app interface is another important factor. A user-friendly interface can significantly enhance your experience, making it more likely that you'll use the VPN regularly. If you prefer a more complex VPN, like Cyber remember that most providers offer a 30-day refund policy if you're not satisfied with the software.

Think about the range of servers offered by the VPN. If you travel frequently or want to access content from different regions, a VPN with a wide array of servers worldwide is essential. Leading providers like NordVPN, Surfshark, and ExpressVPN offer servers in over 100 locations, giving you plenty of options.

Lastly, consider the price. Most VPNs cost between $3-5 per month when you choose a long-term plan. NordVPN, for instance, falls within this range, offering a balance of cost and quality. By weighing these factors – privacy, specific use cases, interface, server range, and price – you can find the best VPN to suit your needs on a Mac.

Expert comment
Security advocate and senior tech writer

Does MacBook have a built-in VPN?

No, Macs don’t have built-in VPNs. MacOS just has built-in support for VPN connections. You can configure VPN settings manually through the Network section in System Preferences. However, it does not come with a VPN service by default – you need to have VPN details from a VPN provider to set it up.

If you wonder which VPN would be good for your Mac, you can choose any of the providers on this list. I recommend NordVPN, as it offers a Mac-dedicated app, extensive security features, and more.

What is the best VPN client for Mac?

In my opinion, NordVPN is the best VPN client for Mac. It’s a leading VPN service known for its security, ease of use, and impressive speed. While there are cheaper options with unlimited connections and more features, NordVPN excels in speed, privacy, unblocking capabilities, and overall user experience, making it our top choice.

Additionally, NordVPN is compatible with macOS 10.15 Catalina and later versions, making it highly accessible. And during in-house testing, I had no trouble connecting to a server from my MacBook Air – the process was straightforward and easy.

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