The Best Free VPNs for Mac 2024

Discover the best free VPNs for Macs, with Proton VPN offering unlimited data and Windscribe for accessing streaming content.
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Featured

4.4
Editorial Rating
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On PrivadoVPN's website

PrivadoVPN
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Best for unlimited data usage

4.9
Editorial Rating
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On Proton VPN's website

Proton VPN
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Best for streaming

4.1
Editorial Rating
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On Windscribe's website

Windscribe
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The best VPN for your Mac should offer security, usability, performance, and in this case, a free plan. Among the many free options on the market, Proton VPN and Windscribe stand at the top.

Proton VPN stands out for offering unlimited data usage, something that is quite rare among free VPN services. And Windscribe offers specialized features, like superior access to streaming content.

We’ll go over the best free VPNs for Macs, for those who are seeking quality security without the financial commitment.

In this article
The best free VPNs for Macs
Proton VPN: Best for unlimited data usage
Windscribe: Best for accessing streaming content
Best premium VPNs for Macs
How we tested the best free VPNs for Macs
Best VPNs for Mac FAQs
Bottom line: The best free VPNs for Macs

The best free VPNs for Macs

Our top three free VPNs for Macs offer a compelling mix of features tailored to enhance the Mac user experience. From high encryption standards and no-logs policies to user-friendly interfaces and compatibility with macOS, all three provide a solid foundation for securing online activities.

Top 3 free VPN services for Mac compared

VPN
Starting price Starts at $1.11/mo Starts at $4.99/mo Starts at $1.00/mo
Free version
Money-back guarantee Yes — 30 days Yes — 30 days
Streaming support Yes — Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and more Yes — Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, HBO Max, and more Yes — U.S. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Disney+
Learn more Get PrivadoVPN

Read PrivadoVPN Review

Read Proton VPN Review Read Windscribe Review

Proton VPN: Best for unlimited data usage

4.9
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Proton VPN's website
Proton VPN
  • Easy to use
  • A strict no-logs policy that’s been tested in court
  • More expensive than NordVPN, Surfshark, and CyberGhost

Who it’s best for

Proton VPN is the go-to choice for Mac users who don't want to worry about hitting a data cap with their free plan. It’s ideal for heavy internet users — such as streamers, gamers, or those working from home — who require a stable and secure VPN connection throughout the day.

Proton VPN comes with a split tunneling feature, which allows you to exclude certain apps or software from having to use a VPN connection.

What we liked

Proton VPN impresses with its robust security features, including the use of WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2/IPsec protocol, ensuring that your internet connection is not only secure but also versatile across different networking environments. For example, WireGuard is known for its speed and efficiency, while OpenVPN is highly regarded for its strong encryption capabilities. IKEv2/IPsec, on the other hand, offers excellent stability and is often used for mobile connections.

Proton’s free version offers servers in five countries (U.S., Romania, Japan, Netherlands, Poland). It also offers a range of essential features, including a strict no-logs policy, unlimited volume/bandwidth, DNS leak prevention, and a kill switch. Additionally, users on the free plan can access Proton Mail Free, Proton Calendar Free, and Proton Drive Free.

A good VPN doesn't come with DNS leaks, and Proton VPN offers full-time DNS leak protection to keep your data secure.

What we didn’t like

Although Proton VPN provides unlimited data, there are areas where it falls short. The free version's limitations, such as access to servers in only five countries, can be a significant constraint for users looking to bypass geo-restrictions or seeking optimal server connections worldwide.

In our testing, Proton VPN performed well overall. However, there was a speed reduction when connecting to distant servers, especially from the U.S. to Australia. There was also an increase in latency, which could impact gaming and high-definition streaming.

Proton VPN specs

Price range $4.99–$9.99/mo
Money-back guarantee Yes — 30 days
Number of servers 4,400+ in 91 locations
Number of free server locations 5
Number of connected devices 10
VPN protocol WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec
No-logs policy No logs
Unblocks Netflix? Yes
Torrenting support Yes
Learn more Read Proton VPN Review

Windscribe: Best for accessing streaming content

4.1
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Windscribe's website
Windscribe
  • Unlimited device connections
  • Has a customizable plan if you only need access to servers in specific countries
  • No 24/7 live chat option

Who it’s best for

Windscribe is the prime choice for Mac users who prioritize accessing a wide range of streaming content from around the globe. This VPN is especially beneficial for those who enjoy watching movies and TV shows on platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer, which have geographical restrictions.

Windscribe’s ability to bypass these restrictions seamlessly, coupled with competitive speeds, makes it an ideal option for streaming enthusiasts.

What we liked

Windscribe sets itself apart with a robust feature set tailored for streaming. Having free servers in 11 countries provides a decent number of options to bypass geo-restrictions and enjoy international content. Its R.O.B.E.R.T. feature, which blocks IPs and domains on all your devices, enhances browsing security and can improve streaming speeds by eliminating ads.

The available VPN protocols cater to a wide range of user needs, providing flexibility in connection types and additional security layers. The Stealth protocol encapsulates VPN traffic within an SSL/TLS connection, making it difficult to detect and block by network firewalls. On the other hand, Websocket Tunnel uses a web-based protocol to transmit VPN traffic over port 443, which is commonly used for regular HTTPS connections.

The Connection page on the Windscribe VPN app, highlighting the Connection mode section.

The option for unlimited connections, even on the free plan, is another significant benefit, allowing you to protect all your devices without additional costs.

What we didn’t like

Despite its strong offerings, Windscribe has some drawbacks. The main issue might be the 10 GB data limit on the free plan, which can be quickly exhausted with heavy streaming, potentially limiting its appeal to users who consume a lot of media. Although upgrading to unlimited data is reasonably priced, the absence of a money-back guarantee might deter those hesitant to commit without trying the full service first.

Additionally, while Windscribe performed well in our speed tests, it significantly reduced download speed when connecting to distant servers like Australia. This could affect streaming quality, especially for HD and 4K content.

Windscribe specs

Price range $3.99–$15.99/mo
Money-back guarantee No
Number of servers 134+ server locations in 69 countries
Number of free server locations 11
Number of connected devices Unlimited
VPN protocol OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard, Stealth, Websocket Tunnel
No-logs policy No logs
Unblocks Netflix? Yes
Torrenting support Yes
Learn more Read Windscribe Review

Best premium VPNs for Macs

While the focus in this review has been on the best free VPNs for Macs, there are premium VPN services that offer advanced features and enhanced performance for those seeking more from their VPN experience. These services didn't make it into the top three primarily because they do not offer free plans, but if you’re willing to pay for VPN services, you might want to consider one of these:

  • NordVPN: Nord boasts one of the largest server networks with over 6,300 servers in 100+ countries, ensuring you can connect virtually anywhere with high speeds and reliability. Additionally, it comes with double VPN, which routes your traffic through two VPN servers for added encryption and security, a feature not commonly found in free VPNs.

    Get NordVPN | Read Our NordVPN Review

  • Surfshark: Surfshark offers unlimited simultaneous connections, allowing you to protect as many devices as you want with a single subscription — a rare find even among premium VPNs. It also features CleanWeb, which blocks ads, trackers, and malware, ensuring a cleaner and faster browsing experience.

    Get Surfshark | Read Our Surfshark Review

  • ExpressVPN: Known for its lightning-fast speeds and optimized server technology, ExpressVPN is perfect for streaming and gaming on a Mac. It stands out with its proprietary Lightway protocol, designed to offer faster connections without sacrificing security.

    Get ExpressVPN | Read Our ExpressVPN Review

How we tested the best free VPNs for Macs

In our quest to identify the best free VPNs for Macs, we prioritized features crucial for security, performance, and usability. This approach ensured that the VPNs recommended not only offer robust protection and privacy but also deliver a seamless and enjoyable online experience for Mac users.

Key features we evaluated include:

  • Encryption standards: Ensures that your data is securely encrypted, making it nearly impossible for anyone to intercept or decipher your online activities
  • Speed: A vital factor for streaming, downloading, and general browsing, ensuring minimal impact on your internet speed
  • Server availability: More servers mean better coverage and usually faster and more reliable connections
  • Privacy policy: A strict no-logs policy is crucial for maintaining your anonymity and privacy online
  • Content unblocking: The ability to access geo-restricted content, such as streaming services, is a significant advantage
  • Usability: A user-friendly interface and easy setup process enhance the overall user experience
  • Additional features: Includes options like a kill switch, ad blockers, and malware protection for enhanced security

Which free VPNs for Macs should I avoid?

While free VPNs can offer a convenient and cost-effective solution for enhancing online privacy and security, not all are created equal. Some free VPNs may compromise your security, log your activities, or deliver a subpar user experience due to overcrowded servers and limited features.

We’ve found that the following free VPNs should be avoided:

  • Turbo VPN: Users have reported getting malware from downloading Turbo and it leaks data, among other privacy issues.
  • Betternet VPN: Betternet is prone to embedding trackers and malware into the VPN app.
  • Hola: Hola VPN has been found to log a lot of user data.

When in doubt, here’s some guidance on sketchy or subpar VPNs:

  • VPN services with a history of data breaches: Any VPN that has suffered a significant security breach may not be reliable in protecting your data.
  • VPNs with invasive logging policies: Services that keep detailed logs of your online activities compromise your privacy.
  • VPNs that limit bandwidth excessively: Bandwidth restrictions can severely hinder your internet experience, making even basic browsing frustrating.
  • VPNs with a small number of servers: A limited server network often leads to overcrowded servers and slow speeds.

Best VPNs for Mac FAQs


+

Do Macs come with a free VPN?

No, Macs don’t come with a built-in free VPN. Those looking to add an extra layer of security and privacy to their internet connection will need to explore third-party VPN services, some of which offer free plans or trial periods.


+

How can I use a VPN on my MacBook for free?

To use a VPN on your MacBook for free, start by selecting a reputable VPN provider that offers a free plan. Download and install the VPN app from the provider's official website or the Mac App Store. Once installed, open the app, create an account if required, and connect to a server of your choice.


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Which is the safest VPN for Macs?

The safest VPNs for Mac are those that offer strong encryption, a strict no-logs policy, and additional security features like a kill switch and leak protection. Providers such as ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Surfshark are popular choices.


+

How do I change my IP address on my Mac?

To change your IP address on a Mac, you can use a VPN service. After choosing and installing a VPN, open the VPN app, connect to a server in the location of your choice, and your IP address will be changed to reflect the server's location. This process masks your real IP address, enhancing your online anonymity and security.

Bottom line: The best free VPNs for Macs

When it comes to enhancing the security, privacy, and overall online experience for Mac users, Proton VPN and Windscribe emerge as the top contenders. Both VPNs offer a unique blend of features tailored to specific user needs, from Proton VPN's unlimited data usage, to Windscribe's exceptional capabilities in accessing streaming content.

While limitations exist within their free plans, such as data caps with Windscribe and server selection with Proton VPN, these VPNs provide an excellent starting point for Mac users seeking a more secure and unrestricted internet experience.

3 best free VPNs for Mac

Starting price Best for Learn more
Starts at $1.11/mo Featured Get PrivadoVPN
Read PrivadoVPN Review
Starts at $1.11/mo Best for unlimited data usage Read Proton VPN Review
Starts at Starts at $1.00/mo Best for accessing streaming content Read Windscribe Review


4.4
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On PrivadoVPN's website
PrivadoVPN
  • Affordable pricing and a free plan option
  • Fast speeds and unblocks Netflix
  • Low server count
Author Details
Ryan Clancy is a freelance writer and blogger. With 5+ years of mechanical engineering experience, he's passionate about all things engineering and tech. He loves bringing engineering (especially mechanical) down to a level that everyone can understand.