5 best free VPNs for Mac | Stay private online for free

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With so many VPN services on the market, there's never been a better time for online privacy – but censorship, government surveillance, and cybercriminals 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. ProtonVPN - This is a very secure service that boasts a completely uncapped free plan so you can use it as much as you want.
  2. Hide.me - Offers free users 5 locations with up to 10 Gb of data use per month and great Mac software.
  3. Windscribe - Offers a 10GB per month usage limit on its free plan, strong encryption, and great MacOS software.
  4. TunnelBear - The largest free server network with 19 servers. It has a slick MacOS client and 500MB monthly download limit.
  5. Hotspot Shield - Offers a browser extension for free, a generous 500MB per day data limit, and is great for unblocking content.

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.

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.

ProtonVPN is an unlimited free VPN for Mac. It has great MacOS software and gives free users access to servers in The Netherlands, Japan, and USA.

  • Free option

    Yes

    Pricing

    From  $3.29 - $5.00
  • Available on

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

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

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. That is pretty mind-blowing because it means you can use it all day every day. However, please bear in mind that speeds will be capped at peak hours to prevent congestion. That said, I found it to provide pretty good speeds for a free VPN. Free users get access to servers in the Netherlands, Japan, and the USA. And the 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. 

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

  • Pricing

    From  $2.43 - $12.95
  • Available on

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

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

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 Wi-Fi.


For free, users get access to five server locations (US East, US West, Singapore, the Netherlands, and Canada). So, if you need a server in the UK – or elsewhere, you will need to try a different free VPN for Mac. On the plus side, hide.me lets you download 10GB of data each month at speeds of up to 80 Mbps – which makes this free VPN for macOS extremely versatile!

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.

  • Pricing

    From  $4.08 - $9.00
  • Available on

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

    • Netflix

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. 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. 

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

  • Pricing

    From  $3.33 - $9.99
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
  • Unblocks

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. The big drawback with TunnelBear, is that it 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. For streaming and other data intensive tasks, stick to a VPN above. Despite this, TunnelBear provides plenty of location choices – making it useful for bypassing censorship without paying.

Hotspot Shield is the fastest free VPN For Mac. It gives users a generous data cap of 500MB per, which stacks up. It's great for unblocking content, however, it lacks strong encryption.

  • Pricing

    From  $3.88 - $16.84
  • Available on

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

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

Hotspot Shield is a US based free VPN that lets people have 500MB of free use every day. This is very generous, when you add that up across a whole month! Admittedly, for free users may only connect to a server in the US; but this will suit many people because it will let them unblock most important things. Hotspot Shield provides fast speeds, making it good for heavier tasks. However, it doesn’t provide OpenVPN encryption, so if you want the best encryption protocol you may want to stick to one of the services above. However, 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.

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 you 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 Wi-Fi 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 five of the best VPNs for Apple Mac users.

What to look for in a free VPN for Mac

Whilst there aren't an overabundance of free VPNs for Macs out there, you can still afford to be picky – don't get suckered 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.

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.

ProtonVPN is an unlimited free VPN for Mac. It has great MacOS software and gives free users access to servers in The Netherlands, Japan, and USA.

  • Available on

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

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

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. That is pretty mind-blowing because it means you can use it all day every day. However, please bear in mind that speeds will be capped at peak hours to prevent congestion. That said, I found it to provide pretty good speeds for a free VPN. Free users get access to servers in the Netherlands, Japan, and the USA. And the 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. 

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

  • Available on

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

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

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 Wi-Fi.


For free, users get access to five server locations (US East, US West, Singapore, the Netherlands, and Canada). So, if you need a server in the UK – or elsewhere, you will need to try a different free VPN for Mac. On the plus side, hide.me lets you download 10GB of data each month at speeds of up to 80 Mbps – which makes this free VPN for macOS extremely versatile!

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.

  • Available on

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

    • Netflix

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. 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. 

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

  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
  • Unblocks

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. The big drawback with TunnelBear, is that it 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. For streaming and other data intensive tasks, stick to a VPN above. Despite this, TunnelBear provides plenty of location choices – making it useful for bypassing censorship without paying.

Hotspot Shield is the fastest free VPN For Mac. It gives users a generous data cap of 500MB per, which stacks up. It's great for unblocking content, however, it lacks strong encryption.

  • Available on

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

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

Hotspot Shield is a US based free VPN that lets people have 500MB of free use every day. This is very generous, when you add that up across a whole month! Admittedly, for free users may only connect to a server in the US; but this will suit many people because it will let them unblock most important things. Hotspot Shield provides fast speeds, making it good for heavier tasks. However, it doesn’t provide OpenVPN encryption, so if you want the best encryption protocol you may want to stick to one of the services above. However, 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.

FAQS

Written by: Hannah Hart

Originally hailing from Wales, Hannah 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, Hannah 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, she 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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