The Best Free VPN for Mac: 7 Truly Free Mac VPNs

Mac laptop, trophy and Free VPN shield icon on a dark background
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Summary: The Best Free VPNs for Mac

If you want to use a VPN for free without a time limit, you need one of the best VPNs for Mac that are truly free. We’ve rounded up the best Mac VPNs that offer free subscriptions so that you don’t have to pay a cent. Here’s our top seven:

  1. PrivadoVPN: The best free VPN for Mac users
  2. ProtonVPN: The best free VPN for Mac without data limits
  3. Hide.me: Surprisingly good customer service for a free Mac VPN
  4. TunnelBear: The best free Mac VPN for server choice
  5. Windscribe: The best free Mac VPN for unlimited connections
  6. Atlas VPN: The best free VPN for iOS
  7. ZoogVPN: The best free VPN with a referral system

For more information on the best free VPNs for Mac, check out our full writeup below!

The number of users on macOS compared to Windows has more than doubled in the last decade. Hackers tend to follow the money. So, as more users pick up a Mac, there are more people to target. That’s why you should be using a VPN on Mac to protect yourself and your personal information.

The benefits of using a VPN extend beyond simply protecting your data from hackers. A VPN connection can also help you bypass content restrictions, and they’ll help to stop your internet service provider from seeing what you do online.

The best VPNs usually require a subscription, but free Mac VPNs can provide a service that’s good enough for all but streaming services, gaming, and torrenting. We tested dozens of free VPNs and rounded up the top five best free VPNs for Mac.

The Best Free VPNs for Mac — Our Top 7 Recommendations

Below, we’ve rounded up the best free VPNs for Mac that’ll let you browse the internet with protection. With a VPN, your internet connection will become encrypted, and your IP address will be hidden from prying eyes. Most free VPNs are actually just free versions of premium services — but they can still safeguard you and your data.

In the table below, you’ll see a comparison of the top five VPNs on this list.

FeaturePrivadoVPNProton VPNHide.meTunnelBearWindscribe
Unlimited speeds
Free data per month10 GBUnlimited10 GB500 MB2 GB
Number of free servers24100+5UndisclosedUndisclosed
Countries with serversUS, UK, Canada, Netherlands, and moreUS, Netherlands, and JapanUS, Canada, Netherlands, and GermanyUS, UK, Canada Australia, and moreUS, UK, Canada, Netherlands, and more
Zero-logs
Unblock Netflix
ProtocolsOpenVPN, IKEv2OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireguardOpenVPN, IKEv2, SSTP, WireguardOpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSecOpenVPN, IKEv2, Wireguard
DownloadGet PrivadoVPNGet Proton VPNGet Hide.meGet TunnelBearGet Windscribe

Ready to dive in? Let’s look at the seven best free VPNs to use with your Mac.


1. PrivadoVPN: The best free VPN for Mac users

Screenshot of PrivadoVPN website homepage

  • No speed cap to slow your internet connection
  • 10 GB monthly data cap
  • Capable of unblocking American Netflix
  • Strong data encryption standard
  • Allows torrenting (with paid data upgrades)
  • Zero-logs policy

PrivadoVPN is our best free VPN for Mac, coming with no speed cap and 10 GB free data per month. There are 12 free server locations to choose from, which includes the US. You’re typically able to unblock Netflix (including American Netflix), as well as YouTube, Spotify, and most of the top social media websites. Though, remember that free users will only be able to watch around two full movies with that data cap.

PrivadoVPN uses 256-bit AES encryption, just like top paid VPNs, such as Surfshark and CyberGhost. In addition to supporting iOS and other mobile devices, PrivadoVPN supports both Windows and Mac. What’s more, the experience on Mac isn’t stripped-back compared to the experience on a PC. The Mac app offers a one-click approach to getting a new IP address quickly.

PrivadoVPN also works with torrenting, which is something we’ve tested for ourselves in our best VPNs for Mac comparison. The software also has a built-in, automatic kill switch for further browsing protection. This is a feature that’s often only seen with premium, paid-for VPNs, so it’s a great addition.

Visit PrivadoVPN

Is PrivadoVPN safe?

From a review of recent security breaches in the cybersecurity industry, Privado comes up squeaky clean. There have been no notable incidents reported on PrivadoVPN as of late. In fact, one of the main draws of PrivadoVPN is the fact that it’s headquartered in Switzerland, and Switzerland has strict laws around privacy.


2. Proton VPN: The best free VPN for Mac without data limits

Screenshot of ProtonVPN, website homepage

  • Unlimited bandwidth (No data limitations)
  • No speed caps, though slower servers than PrivadoVPN
  • Strong focus on security and privacy
  • Users will have to look elsewhere for torrenting
  • Zero-logs policy

Proton VPN is another free VPN for Mac that has its headquarters in Switzerland. Unlike PrivadoVPN, ProtonVPN has unlimited data for its free users. It also has no speed limits, though its servers were a little slow during our speed tests.

In addition to working on your Mac, Proton VPN is also compatible with Windows, Android, Android TV, iOS, and more. Among its many free services, the VPN app for Proton VPN also has a kill switch. It’s also the best VPN for Android devices based on our tests.

Another comparison to draw between PrivadoVPN and Proton VPN is that Proton VPN doesn’t support torrenting. You also won’t be able to unblock Netflix; this is an advantage that often works only with Proton’s premium service. That said, Proton VPN remains one of the best free VPNs for Mac thanks to its lack of speed and data caps, plus a strong focus on user privacy.

Visit ProtonVPN

Is Proton VPN Safe?

Back in 2021, Proton VPN had an issue whereby the company had to hand over user data after being forced to do so by Swiss authorities. However, the company has since passed its no-logs security audit in April 2022, which means you can browse safe in the knowledge your activity isn’t being logged.


3. Hide.me: Surprisingly good customer service for a free Mac VPN

Screenshot of Hide.me website homepage

  • Excellent, 24/7 customer support, especially for a free VPN
  • Has a 10GB monthly data limit but no speed limits
  • Five VPN servers across four countries
  • Zero-logs policy

With Hide.me, you’ll have access to five VPN servers across The Netherlands, Germany, Canada, and the East and West US. Hide.me combines some of the best bits of PrivadoVPN and Proton VPN, with no speed limits and support for torrenting, which is a fairly recent addition. Unfortunately, though, you don’t get unlimited data. There’s a monthly data cap of 10 GB.

Note that Hide.me won’t let you unblock Netflix abroad. We tested this multiple times over the past year. Netflix is cracking down on VPNs, and with less money behind them, free VPNs struggle to get around blocks. So, to unblock Netflix USA, you’ll want to use PrivadoVPN or another well-known, paid-for service like NordVPN.

Visit Hide.me

Is Hide.me safe?

We’re happy to report that we’ve not read about any recent data or security breaches affecting Hide.me. It’s also worth mentioning that in 2018, Hide.me integrated a popular tool into their free service, known as “Have I Been Pwned.” You may already be aware of this handy tool, which can tell you if your email address has been included in any hacked password lists.


4. TunnelBear: The best free Mac VPN for server choice

Screenshot of TunnelBear, website homepage with added logo in the corner

  • 500 MB free data per month, smaller than some
  • Offers 5 simultaneous device connections
  • VPN servers in 49 countries
  • AES-256 bit encryption
  • Zero-logs policy

One of TunnelBear’s unique advantages is the fact that you can access VPN servers in 49 different countries. Most free VPNs give you a much narrower list of countries to choose from. However, you’re trading the ability to stream or download torrents in exchange for a wider server network. TunnelBear’s data limits are capped at just 500 MB per month.

Still, it’s great for accessing your usual accounts when you’re abroad, or if you want to safely use public Wi-Fi network. You can also connect five accounts simultaneously, so in addition to your Mac, you can get the whole family online, securely. And while TunnelBear won’t normally unblock Netflix, bypassing regional restrictions with this VPN will get you into Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and YouTube.

Visit TunnelBear

Is TunnelBear safe?

We’ve not recorded any recent data or security breaches from TunnelBear. That is, unless you count “TunnelPhish”, an operation conducted by TunnelBear themselves in 2017. The company phished itself to provide a detailed example of the dangers of phishing. Otherwise, we’ve recommended this as a good VPN for Mac when you need extra browsing security but don’t care about data limits.


5. Windscribe: The best free Mac VPN for unlimited connections

Screenshot of Windscribe, website homepage with added logo in the corner

  • Allows 2GB data usage per month
  • Connect as many devices as you like simultaneously
  • VPN servers in 10 different countries
  • Also supports Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, and FireTV

Windscribe is another VPN for Mac that also supports the other most-common operating systems on mobile and desktop. This provider is pretty unique, in that you can simultaneously hook up as many devices as you want. This isn’t something you tend to get from a free VPN service. However, you only get 2 GB of data each month, so you’ll surely get through it quickly if you use multiple devices.

This VPN uses 256-bit AES encryption and allows torrenting. There are no speed limits, and we’ve found Windscribe VPN servers to be particularly fast. You can also choose from VPN servers in ten different countries.

Visit Windscribe

Is Windscribe safe?

In the interest of full disclosure, there was one recent security breach in 2021. As we wrote in our Windscribe review, on June 24, 2021, Ukrainian authorities seized two Windscribe OpenVPN servers. The servers in question weren’t encrypted. At the time, the company spoke out in recognition of the error and admitted that some safeguards were missing from the servers. We wouldn’t discount Windscribe as one of the best free VPNs for your Mac solely because of this.


6. Atlas VPN: The best free VPN for iOS

Screenshot of AtlasVPN website homepage with added logo in the corner

  • Unlimited speed, but only 10 GB data per month
  • Only three server locations in two countries
  • User-friendly iOS and Mac app

If you’re going to use a free VPN for both your Mac and your iPhone, then we recommend Atlas VPN. Despite being a fairly new VPN provider, Atlas VPN offers a robust mobile app that comes with some features you usually only see with premium VPNs, such as split-tunneling and a kill switch.

However, there are a few cons of using Atlas VPN. One is that it can’t unblock Netflix or other streaming services. Free users also have access to only three server locations. And lastly, Atlas VPN is not a zero-logs VPN and is based in the United States, a member of the 5 Eyes alliance. Still, for a free VPN, it’s a decent offering.

Visit AtlasVPN

Is Atlas VPN safe?

We’ve found no reports of privacy or security breaches involving Atlas VPN, but it’s worth noting that it’s based in the US. The US is a 5 Eyes country, which means they may be required to share user data if compelled by authorities.


7. ZoogVPN: The best free VPN with a referral system

ZoogVPN website homepage

  • 10 to 50 GB data limit on your VPN connection
  • Three server locations to choose from
  • Allows torrenting
  • Zero-logs policy

ZoogVPN is a free VPN that offers a kill switch, as well as two encryption protocols to choose from (IKEv2 and OpenVPN). It offers only 10 GB of data per month, but you can earn an additional 5 GB of data for every paying customer you recruit to use the service. On top of this, ZoogVPN has fast servers for a free VPN.

There are plenty of downsides to using ZoogVPN, however. It only offers 128-bit encryption instead of the safer and more popular 256-bit AES encryption. There are also only three server locations you can use, and the service can’t unblock Netflix.

Visit ZoogVPN

Is ZoogVPN safe?

ZoogVPN’s history is free of breaches or leaks, which is good news for its users. It’s also based in Greece, which is a country that doesn’t require user data from companies. And lastly, ZoogVPN has a no-logs policy, so in terms of privacy, it’s a good pick for a VPN.


How We Picked the Best Free VPNs

What to Look for When Choosing a VPN iconBear in mind that when choosing a free VPN, it’s important to read comparisons like this one. Some free VPNs are dangerous or may put your privacy at risk. When narrowing down our list of recommended VPNs, we made sure only to recommend the best performing VPNs based on the factors below.

Truly free VPNs

There are a lot of websites recommending the best free VPNs for Mac. The problem is, many of them will rank paid-for VPNs in their top three or five because they offer money-back guarantees. We’ve recommended a couple of these above, but our top five best free VPNs for Mac are all truly free. Unless they suddenly change their business model, you’ll never have to pay for them.

Good support for Mac

Most free VPNs offer a stripped-back experience on certain operating systems. Take Intego Antivirus as an example, even though this isn’t a free VPN. They’ve been operating since the 90s, and Windows support was only recently added. As a result, the Windows experience doesn’t measure up to the Mac version. The same is often true for Windows VPNs that have been extended to Mac.

Strong privacy and security

It’s important that you choose a VPN provider that’ll protect your privacy and security; after all, that’s what a VPN is all about. Look for a no-logs policy and AES 256-bit encryption as a starting point. Features like a kill switch and DNS leak protection are really good bonuses to have too.

Adequate data limits and connection speeds

You may want unlimited data and unbridled connection speeds, but you’re going to have to pay for them. With free VPN providers, you’ll usually be limited on speed, data, or both. While this isn’t always an issue, make sure you choose a VPN that’ll let you do what you want to do. For example, a 500 MB monthly data limit won’t even let you stream a full movie.

The ability to unblock Netflix or other streaming services

Our best VPN for Mac, PrivadoVPN, can unblock US Netflix. However, Proton VPN, Hide.me, and TunnelBear were unable to do so at the time of writing, and usually can’t.

Responsive customer support

Even though these services are free, you’ll still be able to get customer support in some cases. For example, Hide.me offers 24/7 customer support, even if you’re not a paying customer.

Limitations of Free VPNs

To put it bluntly, free VPNs can’t compete with premium VPNs for Mac. If you’re using a free VPN, you’re missing out on features like unlimited data or dedicated servers. Of course, a free VPN can easily address all your needs. But if you find yourself wanting better security features and customer support, then what you need is a premium VPN.

And let’s face it, when’s the last time you got something for free that didn’t have drawbacks? There are certain risks and limits that come with using free VPN services. Even if you stick with well-known VPN providers like PrivadoVPN and Hide.me, you’ll have to contend with limited connection speeds or data.

Try a premium VPN trial: NordVPN

In general, we believe that the best VPNs for Mac are premium VPNs. Our top pick is NordVPN. We’ve tested dozens of VPNs, and NordVPN has outperformed them all in terms of speed, security, ease of use, and privacy. It also offers a 30-day free trial and money-back guarantee so that you can try it out for free.

With NordVPN, you’ll benefit from the best speeds from any VPN provider, torrenting support, a zero-logs policy, six simultaneous connections, and extremely comprehensive online security and privacy.

Specifications NordVPN
Operating systems
  • Windows
  • ,
  • Mac
  • ,
  • iOS
  • ,
  • Android
  • ,
  • Linux
Simultaneous connections
  • 6
Torrents
  • Torrenting allowed
Netflix
  • Works with Netflix
Logs policy
  • Zero logs
Protocols
  • OpenVPN
  • ,
  • IKEv2
  • ,
  • Wireguard
Payment methods
  • Other
  • ,
  • Credit card
  • ,
  • Cryptocurrency
Money-back guarantee
  • Yes

How to Install a Free VPN on Mac

Infographic showing how to install a VPN on Mac

The easiest and fastest way to install a VPN is by using the Mac app provided by your VPN provider of choice. While you can set up a VPN manually on Mac, pre-packaged software removes any guesswork or troubleshooting.

Follow these quick steps to install a paid or free VPN on Mac:

  1. Choose a VPN provider, such as PrivadoVPN, our best VPN for Mac.
  2. Download the provider’s software and create an account on their website.
  3. Install the VPN software onto your Mac.
  4. Log into your VPN account to gain access to a list of VPN servers.
  5. Choose a VPN server in any of the locations offered. If you’re trying to unblock a specific website, connect to that country’s VPN server if it’s available.

Free VPNs Mac Users Should Avoid

The above VPNs have been tried and tested on a Mac, and from experience, we’re able to recommend them as safe options. Unfortunately, there are free VPNs for Mac that don’t quite meet the same expectations. We list them below.

VPN ProviderWhy You Should Avoid It
Fresh VPNOnly offers a five-minute trial to test the service, which isn’t enough time to thoroughly test the software.
GoVPNNo longer operational, and some reviews say it doesn’t work properly. Some users report that their IP address was still available.
Opera VPNIts privacy policy states that data needs to be collected to honor partnerships with advertisers.
MacVPN.appA malware masquerading as legitimate software, MacVPN.app is dangerous and shouldn’t be installed on any Mac device.

Download a Free VPN for Mac Today

Securing your browsing with a VPN is a smart way to keep yourself safe online. You’ll also be able to bypass content blocks and enjoy greater internet freedom. If you can stretch to a monthly subscription, NordVPN offers thousands of VPN server locations, uncapped data, and some of the fastest VPN connection speeds available.

But when price is an issue and only truly free VPNs will do, our best free VPN for Mac is PrivadoVPN. With dozens of fast, free servers, the ability to unblock streaming services, and an easy-to-use Mac app, PrivadoVPN is the free VPN provider to beat.

Download PrivadoVPN for Free
The Best Free VPN for Mac: Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re still on the fence with regards to choosing one of the best free VPNs for Mac, check out our frequently asked questions below.

Our pick of the best free VPN service for Mac is PrivadoVPN. There are no speed limits, and this service has one of the largest data allowances offered by a free VPN (10 GB monthly). PrivadoVPN also allows torrenting and can unblock American Netflix. You can find more information about PrivadoVPN in our full article on the best free VPNs for Mac.

Your Mac doesn’t have a built-in VPN, but it does have support to connect to a third-party VPN service. This might be your school, college, or workplace VPN. Remember to only connect to well-known and trusted VPN services. For more information and instructions, check out our guide on how to manually set up a VPN on Mac.

There are two ways to set up a VPN on Mac: either manually or using VPN software downloaded from a trusted internet source. We’ll focus on the latter option here, as downloading an established, trusted VPN is quicker and easier. Here’s how:

  1. Choose one of the best free VPNs for Mac, like PrivadoVPN, and create an account.
  2. Download PrivadoVPN or another VPN onto your device.
  3. Install the VPN software.
  4. Log into your new VPN account.
  5. Choose a VPN server and connect.
Cybersecurity journalist
Chris is a tech journalist with many years' experience covering the latest news in online privacy and cybersecurity. He's also a published author and works as a Product Manager for some of the most innovative software development companies.