Most VPN providers offer an app for Mac computers, but it can be difficult to choose the right provider with so many options available. Based on our extensive research and hands-on testing of VPNs over the years, these are the most important factors to consider when choosing a VPN:
The primary consideration for any VPN -- including a Mac VPN -- should be privacy. If your Mac VPN is unable to sufficiently protect your online privacy, then your VPN is useless. At a minimum, your VPN should employ industry standard AES 256-bit encryption along with offering basic privacy protections like a kill switch, DNS leak protection and a no-logs policy. For critical privacy needs, you'll also want a VPN provider that's based in a privacy-friendly jurisdiction, offers obfuscation and has a RAM-only server architecture. Additional privacy features to look out for include Tor over VPN capabilities, ad and tracker blockers and multihop connections. Also, look for a VPN that undergoes regular third-party security audits, as audits can help bolster trust in the VPN's ability to protect its users' privacy.
Mac computers are generally known to be pretty fast, so you'll probably want a fast VPN that can deliver excellent speeds. The speed of your VPN can have a major effect on activities like streaming, downloading, video conferencing, gaming and general web browsing. To keep things running as smoothly as possible, you'll want to look for a VPN that will have as minimal an impact on your regular internet speeds as possible.
MacOS is designed to be clean and intuitive, so if you're used to the feel of the operating system, you'd probably want a similar experience with the VPN software you use. A good Mac VPN should run smoothly and have a decluttered user interface that's easy to use regardless of your technical expertise. It should have a large network of servers around the world so you can connect easily and reliably from wherever you are, and it should be able to help you access geo-restricted content from various regions.
VPN pricing varies greatly from provider to provider, so if you're on a budget, you may want to consider the cost and overall value of your MacOS VPN. Typically, you can expect to spend about $5 to $13 a month for a monthly VPN subscription plan. If you want to save money, you can opt for an annual subscription, where prices can range from roughly $30 to $100 a year. Be careful with free VPNs, though, because you may end up putting your privacy at risk instead of protecting it if you go with a free option. Proton VPN is currently the only free VPN that CNET recommends. However, most VPNs offer a money-back guarantee that can be anywhere from a week to 45 days. You can also get a seven-day free trial with many VPNs if you sign up through Apple's App Store. So you'll most likely have options to try various Mac VPNs risk-free before you decide whether to fully invest in one.