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Best free VPNs for Mac | Stay private online for free

With so many VPN services on the market, there's never been a better time for online privacy – but censorship, government surveillance, and cyber criminals have also grown with the times. In order to stay secure online and gain watertight privacy, we recommend you use a VPN for Mac.

VPN services can often be expensive, which can put some people off. We believe everyone should have the right to protect their privacy, so we have listed the best free VPNs for Mac users. Free VPN services have some limitations compared to paid services, which we will also explain in this article.

What is the best free VPN for Mac?

We have listed the best free VPNs for Mac below. If you want to know more about why we've chosen each provider, please keep scrolling to see our in-depth analysis.

  1. Hotspot Shield - The best free VPN for Mac. It comes without data limits and is great for bypassing geo-restrictions.
  2. AtlasVPN - A great all-round free Mac VPN. Free plan offers some (limited) premium features, high speeds, and unlimited simultaneous connections.
  3. Hide.me - The fastest free VPN for Mac. Offers free users 5 locations with up to 10 Gb of data use per month and great Mac software.
  4. ProtonVPN - This is a very secure service that boasts a completely uncapped free plan so you can use it as much as you want.
  5. Windscribe - A reliable free Mac VPN. Offers a 10 GB per month usage limit on its free plan, strong encryption, and great MacOS software.

These free services will provide users with strong encryption and will keep you safe and secure online, however, they aren't great for streaming. Unfortunately, these services have the following limitations:

  • Fewer server locations to connect to.
  • Usage limits/download limitations.
  • Bandwidth restrictions (slow connection speeds).
  • Inability to unblock Netflix and access other such services – check out our Netflix VPN guide for a list of services that work with Netflix.

Best free VPNs for Mac – In-depth analysis

We take a closer look at our recommended free VPNs for Mac below. For more information on any of the listed providers, be sure to click through and check out our in-depth VPN reviews.

Hotspot Shield is the best free VPN for Mac. It gives users plenty of options with unlimited data allowance and superb privacy features.

  • Free option

    Yes

    Pricing

    • 36 months: $2.99/mth
      76% OFF
    • 12 months: $7.99/mth
      38% OFF
    • 1 month: $12.99/mth
    • Free: $0/mth
  • Pros

    • Great apps for Mac, Android, iOS, and Windows
    • Browser extensions and router and smartTV support
    • Proprietary Hydra protocol, very fast and secure
    • Good speeds for more data-intensive tasks
    • No data caps
  • Cons

    • Based in the US
    • No Linux support with free plan
    • Some invasive policies even on elite
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Website

AirVPN Demo

AirVPN Demo AirVPN Demo


Hotspot Shield is a US-based free VPN that provides unlimited service, without data caps. This is very generous and quite rare for free VPN providers! Admittedly, free users may only connect to a server in the US, but this will suit many people because it will let them safely access the most in-demand content.


Impressive speeds


Hotspot Shield provides fast speeds, making it a good choice for your data-heavy tasks. It comes with its own proprietary Hydra protocol, which ensures impressive speeds, without compromising your security. You get to access all popular social media platforms (even from China), such as Instagram and Twitter, and streaming services like YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Twitch.


Bear in mind that the free plan offers only one server location, so if you wish to access a greater variety of international content, consider upgrading to Premium. The upgrade will give you access to all of its 115 locations and you'll be able to use the servers that are specially optimized for streaming.


Free but secure



Hotspot Shield operates on a "freemium" business model, so unlike most other free VPNs, it's transparent where its earnings are coming from. This provider uses the money from its paid subscriptions to offset the costs of the free ones. So you don't have to worry that by using its free service, you'll get involved in any kind of illegal data trade or such. You will, however, be seeing some ads with the free plan, which aren't there with the Premium one.


We love Hotspot Shield because it has helped millions of users worldwide during times of political upheaval – allowing them to access blocked social media and news in their time of need.


Beginner-friendly


Hotspot Shield is a hustle-free VPN, that's perfectly suitable for VPN newbies. Its download and setup will only take a few minutes of your time, and then you're ready to protect your browsing and other activities. It's worth mentioning as well that its Premium plan comes with a generous 45-day money-back guarantee, so if you ever decide to upgrade, you can do it without risking your cash.

AtlasVPN is an all-round free VPN for Mac, with great customization on offer and impressive speeds. Premium plan includes additional services like ads and malware protection.

  • Free option

    Yes

    Pricing

    • 24 months: $2.05/mth
      82% OFF
    • 12 months: $3.29/mth
      71% OFF
    • 1 month: $10.99/mth
  • Pros

    • Impressive speeds (even with the free plan)
    • Unlimited simultaneous connections
    • A highly customizable VPN service
  • Cons

    • Free plan limited to 5,000 MB off data traffic per month
    • Fewer server locations than VPNs above
    • No Linux support
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

AtlasVPN Demo

AtlasVPN Demo AtlasVPN Demo


AtlasVPN is another stellar free VPN choice for Mac. It comes with excellent apps for this and all the other popular platforms, including iOS, Windows, Android, Mac TV, and Amazon Fire TV. 


No speed limitations


You get unlimited simultaneous connections even with the free version, which means online protection for your entire household. However, as usual, I recommend upgrading to a premium plan (don't worry, it comes without a premium price tag). Only then can you unlock the full potential of this VPN, with access to hundreds of blazing-fast servers, unlimited data traffic, and premium features.


If you prefer to stick to the free version, the good news is it comes with no speed limitations (its speeds are impressive for a free service provider). But, to avoid disappointment, remember you could experience some slowing down during the peak hours. The reason for this is you only get to choose between three free server locations, which can get congested if all the other free users connect at the same time.


Strong privacy features



Privacy and security-wise, free AtlasVPN is a superb choice. You get robust encryption, a choice of VPN protocols (including the latest and greatest WireGuard protocol), advanced features like SafeBrowse, which blocks malicious websites, and a kill-switch.


You won't experience bandwidth limitations with the free plan, but you only get an allowance of 5,000 free MB a month. Admittedly, this is less than what ProtonVPN offers, but more than most other VPN data allowances on this list.


Great value VPN


To sum it up, AtlasVPN is a free VPN of great value, with a slick and easy-to-use free app for Mac and other devices. It's perfect for browsing and protecting your device on less secure public networks.


And if, at any point, 5,000 MB becomes insufficient for your day-to-day needs, you can easily upgrade to a premium plan and go unlimited – for less than $2 a month, and with a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

Hide.me is the fastest free Mac VPN. It's super-fast, so you can unblock content in complete privacy without paying a dime. It comes with up to 10 GB a month and has fantastic Mac software.

  • Free option

    Yes

    Pricing

    • 24 months + 2 months FREE: $3.84/mth
      62% OFF
    • 12 months: $6.66/mth
      34% OFF
    • 1 month: $9.95/mth
    • Free: $0/mth
  • Pros

    • Up to eight server locations with the free plan
    • Apps for all popular platforms
    • No logs
  • Cons

    • Limited features with free plan
    • Only 10GB a month for free
    • Only one device connection with the free plan
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Website

Hide.me Demo

Hide.me Demo Hide.me Demo


Hide.me is a Malaysian VPN that provides an extremely generous free plan that's great for Mac users. The VPN is secure thanks to strong OpenVPN encryption and has a zero-logs policy to ensure your web browsing habits are always private. That means you can trust this VPN to provide data privacy and security for your MacBook both at home and on public WiFi.


Servers in key locations


For free, users get access to five server locations (Netherlands, Germany, the US West, the US East, and Canada). This is more than most other VPN providers on this list, which means less congestion and better speeds. Not to mention, these are all great server spots, so you'll be able to access a plethora of international content. 


However, if you're looking for a server in Australia – or another country that's not on this list, you will need to upgrade to a paid plan or try a different free VPN for Mac. On the plus side, Hide.me lets you download 10 GB of data each month at speeds of up to 80 Mbps – which makes this free VPN for macOS extremely versatile!


Highly customizable


Hide. me is also the most feature-rich VPN on this list. Unfortunately, most of its premium features don't become available to you unless you subscribe to a paid service, however, you get the same level of privacy and security as with the Premium plan. Besides, regardless of which plan you choose, Hide.me won't log any of your online activities thanks to its strict privacy policy.


Some of the advanced features which hide me offers include:



Independently audited


Not many free VPNs, or even paid ones, boast audited services – and even fewer of them have been independently audited. Hide.me, on the other hand, was among the first VPNs to get independently audited in 2015. This shows a great deal of transparency and dedication, and it's exactly the attitude we like to see in a VPN provider.


Also, unlike most free VPNs, Hide.me provides 24/7 free customer support to ALL its customers. This is a great benefit, especially for VPN newbies. You get to explore all the advantages of this VPN with peace of mind, and you'll always have somebody to contact in case you encounter a bump on the road. A 30-day money-back guarantee is included too, for those willing to try Premium, without the risk of losing money.

ProtonVPN offers an unlimited free VPN plan and great MacOS software, with access to servers in The Netherlands, Japan, and USA.

  • Free option

    Yes

    Pricing

    • 24 months: $4.99/mth
      51% OFF
    • 12 months: $5.99/mth
      41% OFF
    • 1 month: $9.99/mth
    • Free trial: $0/mth
  • Pros

    • Accepts payment in Bitcoin and cash
    • DNS leak protection and a kill-switch
    • No logs
  • Cons

    • Free plan is limited to three servers
    • No kill switches for macOS or iOS
    • Servres' congestion sometimes lead to slowing down
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

Proton Demo

Proton Demo Proton Demo


ProtonVPN is an excellent free VPN by the developers of Proton Mail. This makes it a highly trusted service in terms of privacy. It is a zero-logs service based in Switzerland that lets Mac users enjoy VPN usage on an unlimited basis.


Truly unlimited free VPN


ProtonVPN is the only VPN on this list, aside from Hotspot Shield, that doesn't measure or limit your data transfers or your speeds. That's pretty mind-blowing because it means you can use it all day every day, without worrying about when your free VPN allowance will get used up.



Free users get access to servers in the Netherlands, Japan, and the USA, which is less than you get with Hide.me but it still gives you plenty of options for streaming and browsing. However, please bear in mind that speeds will get deteriorated at peak hours to prevent congestion. That said, I found it to provide pretty good speeds for a free VPN.


Layered security


ProtonVPN is another security-driven software product by famous Proton Mail developers. The company is Swiss-based, so you can rest assured your privacy is well taken care of. And, for those who are still not convinced, ProtonVPN applies a strict no-logs policy, which is another great layer of security.


On top of that, this VPN provides strong OpenVPN encryption to ensure your data is always safe. A great free VPN that is well worth trying, but is missing some of the advanced features you get with the premium version. The good news, though, is that you can always easily upgrade to a premium plan – and with a 30-day money-back guarantee.


Exceptional cross-platform compatibility


With ProtonVPN you get free apps for all your devices, including GUI apps for Linux and Chromebook. All its apps are slick, modern, and ad-free, so you can get the best out of ProtonVPN service, hustle-free. But why trust us, when you can try it and use it for free?

5. Windscribe

Windscribe is a reliable free VPN for Mac. It offers most of its premium features in its free plan, only limited by a data cap. It has great MacOS software and a strong encryption.

  • Free option

    Yes

    Pricing

    • 12 months: $4.08/mth
    • 1 month: $9/mth
    • Free: $0/mth
  • Pros

    • Strong encryption options
    • Customizable plans
    • Add and malware blocking tool
  • Cons

    • Live chat support, but can be slow
    • WebRTC IPv6 leak on Mac
    • Based in Canada
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix

Windscribe Demo

Windscribe Demo Windscribe Demo


Windscribe is a free VPN for Mac that is good for those who need plenty of use of a VPN for free. It is a secure service with apps for all platforms that will let you connect to servers in a total of 10 countries.


Versatile service


Overall, I found the VPN to be versatile and secure thanks to its no-logs policy and watertight encryption. However, do bear in mind that it is based in Canada which means the provider is subject to Canadian surveillance laws and FIVE EYES snooping. This may put some users off depending on their threat model.


However, we still think this is a useful free VPN that anybody can use to bypass restrictions and censorship. A secure service that does not skimp on privacy and stores zero logs. 


More than just a VPN


Windscribe's plans, both free and paid, are highly customizable. The free plan offers a whopping 10 server locations, with an option to choose your servers for $1 per location per month. On top of that, you get to earn more data and more bandwidth via Twitter and various referral programs.



Its ad and malware blocking tool, called R.O.B.E.R.T., can also be adjusted according to your needs and is available with all plans – a great bonus for free subscribers. A long list of advanced app and in-browser features will become available to you if you decide to upgrade to the Windscribe Pro plan – and you can check if they're worth the money with a 30-day money-back guarantee!

6. TunnelBear

TunnelBear offers a fantastic free VPN for Mac users that want a large server network. It lets users access 19 server locations, has a 500 MB monthly data limit, and has a slick MacOS app.

  • Free option

    Yes

    Pricing

    • 24 months: $4.17/mth
      58% OFF
    • 12 months: $4.99/mth
      50% OFF
    • Free: $0/mth
  • Pros

    • Strong OpenVPN encryption
    • Pretty good connection speeds
    • "VigilantBear" killswitch feature
  • Cons

    • Email support only
    • Only 500MB of downloads per month
    • No money-back guarantee with paid plans
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
  • Unblocks

Tunnelbear Demo

Tunnelbear Demo Tunnelbear Demo


TunnelBear VPN is a free service for Mac that is also based in Canada. Again, this isn’t the best location we can think of for a privacy service to be based. However, it keeps no invasive logs that could put you at risk and its service has been audited to show that it is secure.


A complete servers' list for free


TunnelBear offers servers in 47 countries worldwide, all of which are available to you with the free plan. This is the only VPN on our list which allows you to access its complete servers network for free, so it's ideal for the folks who like to have more options.



Strong AES 256-bit encryption and Ghost Bear feature are other good reasons to consider this VPN. Ghost Bear makes you less detectable to governments, ISPs, and various other third parties, so your online activities remain private. This also means you can bypass various firewalls, including the great firewall of China.


Secure your browsing


On the downside, TunnelBear only lets users have 500MB of downloads per month – which means it is only going to be useful to people who want to read restricted news or secure their browsing. For streaming and other data-intensive tasks, stick to a VPN above.


Still, TunnelBear provides more location choices than any other VPN on this list, making it useful for circumventing censorship without paying. Also, if you decide to upgrade to an unlimited data plan, this VPN is quite an affordable option. 

What's the catch with using a free VPN for Mac?

There are hundreds of free services on the market, and the vast majority of them log your data to sell to third-party crooks and provide little, if any, encryption. This is the polar opposite of what a VPN is supposed to do, and if you value privacy, it is important to stay away from these services. The providers behind these use the services to catch people out and steal user data.

Luckily, there are some free VPNs for Mac that you can trust. While it is extremely generous of some of the best VPN services to let consumers use their service for free, there are some caveats.

A free service is likely to cap your data. You'll have a daily or monthly allowance, and if you run over it, you'll no longer be able to use the VPN. This means your normal internet connection will resume, and both restricted and geo-blocked sites will become inaccessible once more.

Free services usually offer limited bandwidth, too. This isn't ideal for streaming as it can cause buffering and can slow down your connection.

A free VPN for Mac is likely to:

  • Have monthly data caps.
  • Use bandwidth limitations.
  • Limit the number of servers you can choose from.
  • Be unable to unblock anything.

Anything claiming to have unlimited internet for free is risky and you should steer clear. If you pay for a VPN, you'll have your pick of all of its servers. This isn't the case with most free services. They will usually have a reduced number of servers available for free users, and sometimes they simply won't be in the locations that you need them to be for unblocking content.

At the end of the day, there is no real way to get a full premium VPN experience for free. So if you require a VPN on a daily basis, it is probably worth investing to get a full unrestricted experience. There are plenty of cheap VPN services out there that are fantastic for streaming and have excellent privacy and security features, this could be an option.

Don't despair, however. A free VPN for Mac users can still be a powerful privacy tool, provided you don't need to stream.

Why use a free VPN for Mac?

Using a VPN will make your Mac more secure. Macs are just as susceptible to viruses and malware as a Windows machine. They're also being targeted by hackers more often now, thanks to a rise in popularity. Luckily, a VPN is the perfect tool to safeguard against malware and tracking – and even a free VPN for Mac can do more than you might expect.

A VPN conceals your IP address, thereby preventing your online activity from being logged by the sites you visit or your ISP. You can also access geo-blocked content with a VPN. This includes streaming sites, news outlets, and social media pages that might otherwise be restricted (either by your workplace or government). Additionally, by installing a VPN on your device, you'll be able to use it safely when in public, seeing as public WiFi connections are notoriously dangerous.

It can be tricky to find VPN software compatible with Macs, and that goes double if you want a free service. This is due to OpenVPN not being built into the macOS. Luckily, other secure protocols exist, and below, we've run through 6 of the best VPNs for Apple Mac users.

What to look for in a free VPN for Mac

Whilst there isn't an overabundance of free VPNs for Macs out there, you can still afford to be picky – don't get sucked in by the promise of a "free” service without checking the small print. All the providers we've listed above should be more than enough to protect your average browsing session, but there are things to look out for when shopping around:

How to install a free VPN for Mac?

Luckily, there's nothing to it. All you need to do is pick a provider – we've highlighted five of the best – and follow these three steps. You'll have your shiny new free VPN for your Mac up and running in no time!

  1. Navigate to your VPN provider's homepage and download the Mac OS X files.
  2. Follow the installation wizard when it begins, and log in using your credentials.
  3. Pick a server (this might be affected by which locations are available or the content you're trying to access) and hit connect – Voila! You're all ready to go.

How we picked the best free VPNs for Mac testing methodology

Finding a reliable and secure VPN is not easy, especially among the free VPNs. This category of VPNs is particularly risky because many of them use unscrupulous methods to earn money – seeing as they're not charging for their services. That's why we rarely recommend free VPNs, and if we do, those are usually the VPNs that also offer paid plans. To them, free plans serve as a promotional strategy, and premium ones are how they pay their bills. So at least you know where their money comes from and there's less chance they are involved in any sort of data trade or similar fishy activities.

Of course, there's much more to it when choosing a good free VPN. ProPrivacy has a team of experts who compare and review market-leading providers daily, and who are always up to date with the latest news and innovations from the world of VPNs and cybersecurity in general. With each guide or comparison, we apply our thorough review and testing methodology, composed and perfected over the course of almost 10 years.

Our testing consists of many important steps, and we never skimp on details. For a start, we check whether a VPN has strong encryption to keep your browsing and other online activities safe. Multiple encryption protocols are a big plus as well. We make sure there are no DNS leaks, so you get the VPN privacy you need. Naturally, the VPNs we recommend must be fast enough and have stable connections to be useful.

Here you can see the other important factors we took into consideration when picking the best free VPNs for macOS:

Conclusion

We'd recommend any of the free VPNs for Mac users, but note that they are limited services. This doesn't mean that they're useless, however. A free service can still provide much-needed security for day-to-day browsing, and journalists and reporters can use them to quickly and freely access sites that would otherwise be restricted.

Depending on what you're doing online, a free VPN for Mac could be all you need or a great way to decide whether you want to take the plunge and commit to a premium plan.

From $0.00/month

The best free VPN for Mac. It comes without data limits and is great for bypassing geo-restrictions.

ProPrivacy TrustScore:
10 out of 10
Simultaneous connections
5
Server locations
115
Free trial
Yes

From $2.05/month

A great all-round free Mac VPN. Free plan offers some (limited) premium features, high speeds, and unlimited simultaneous connections.

ProPrivacy TrustScore:
9.9 out of 10
Simultaneous connections
Unlimited
Server locations
44
Free trial
No

From $0.00/month

The fastest free VPN for Mac. Offers free users 5 locations with up to 10 Gb of data use per month and great Mac software.

ProPrivacy TrustScore:
9.8 out of 10
Server locations
75
Free trial
Yes
Simultaneous connections
10

From $0.00/month

This is a very secure service that boasts a completely uncapped free plan so you can use it as much as you want.

ProPrivacy TrustScore:
9.7 out of 10
Simultaneous connections
10
Server locations
61
Free trial
Yes
Windscribe

From $0.00/month

A reliable free Mac VPN. Offers a 10 GB per month usage limit on its free plan, strong encryption, and great MacOS software.

ProPrivacy TrustScore:
9.6 out of 10
Simultaneous connections
Unlimited
Server locations
63
Free trial
Yes

FAQS

PRIVACY WARNING: The sites you visit know who you are

Any website you visit can access the following information:

Your IP Address: 35.245.201.229
Your Location: Washington, Washington, D.C.
Your Internet Provider: Google LLC

This information could be used to monitor your internet usage or target ads.

Using a VPN will hide these details and protect your privacy.

We recommend using a VPN to hide these details and protect your privacy. ExpressVPN - #1 0f 51 vpns in our tests. It offers outstanding privacy features and you can currently get three months extra free.

Written by: River Hart

Originally hailing from Wales, River Hart graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University with a 1:1 in Creative Writing, going on to work as an Editor across a number of trade magazines. As a professional writer, River has worked across both digital and print media, and is familiar with collating news pieces, in-depth reports and producing by lines for international publications. Otherwise, they can be found pouring over a tarot deck or spending more hours than she'll ever admit playing Final Fantasy 14.

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