Macs have been around since the 1980s, made and manufactured by Apple, and popular with millions of users around the world. And even though Macs are famed for their strong security features, statistics have shown a startling rise in the number of macOS users falling victim to cyberattacks of all kinds.
Unfortunately, your Mac can’t protect your personal data and documents on its own, and it certainly can’t keep you safe from prying eyes of hackers, companies, and even your internet service provider. The only thing that can do all of that is a VPN. This guide will look at how VPNs work, why Mac users should consider getting them, and how to find the best VPN for Mac.
What Is a VPN and How Does it Work?
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. A lot of people struggle to understand all the technical complexities of how VPNs work, so here’s the simple version: a VPN increases your online security and privacy by encrypting your internet connections, rerouting them through a network of secure servers in locations all over the world in order to hide your IP address, secure all your online activity, and keep you safe from hackers and anyone else who might want to see or interfere in your online activity.
VPN providers usually have lots of servers in countries far and wide across the globe. When you connect to a VPN, your internet connection passes through these servers, giving you an added layer of security and letting you access sites and services anonymously. It offers a lot of advantages, with many people turning to VPNs in order to enjoy safer and more private web browsing and other online activities.
Do I Need a VPN for My Mac?
One of the first things you might be thinking is “Do I really need a VPN for my Mac?” After all, Macs are famous for their reliability and smart, secure designs. That’s one of the key reasons why a lot of people opt for Macs over PCs.
Unfortunately, the truth of the matter isn’t quite so simple. When you actually look at the statistics for cyberattacks and hacks, macOS users are more or less just as much at risk as Windows users.
Back in the early 2000s and early 2010s, the numbers of cyberattacks targeting Mac users were pretty low, but they’ve skyrocketed in recent years as hackers have developed smarter and more sophisticated ways to get around Mac protections.
All of this means that Mac users who want to be safe and secure online do need to consider getting a Mac VPN in order to protect their connections and enjoy true peace of mind when visiting their favorite sites, chatting to friends, or downloading files online.
Not only that, but even if security isn’t your biggest concern, a VPN for Mac can still be helpful for helping you get around geo-restrictions, access content from other countries, and use the internet anonymously, away from the prying eyes of ISPs and site owners.
What Are the Advantages of a VPN for Mac Users?
There are plenty of key advantages that you can enjoy when installing a VPN for Mac, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Anonymity – Even if you’re not too concerned about security issues, you might not like the idea of companies, internet service providers, and even government agents being able to see what sites you visit, what files you download, and everything else you do online. With a VPN, your IP address becomes cloaked, hidden away from prying eyes, letting you do anything you want without the worry of someone seeing it.
- Security – Security is absolutely one of the biggest reasons people, including many Mac users, choose to invest in a VPN. When you connect to the internet via a VPN, your connection will be encrypted and secured, offering much greater levels of protection to your computer, your accounts, and your personal data and drastically reducing the risk of you becoming a victim of cyberattacks or hacking.
- Bypass Geo-restrictions – Another interesting and popular use of VPNs is to get around geo-restrictions on certain sites or services. Imagine if you want to access BBC iPlayer while outside of the UK, for example, a VPN will allow you to do so. It also lets you access region-specific Netflix content and other streaming services, as well as other sites that are normally blocked in certain parts of the world or only available in one specific country.
What Do I Risk If I Don’t Have a VPN for Mac?
Without a VPN, you may be putting yourself at various risks, even if you’re the sort of person who invests in strong anti-malware software and other forms of digital protection. ISPs and companies are always able to spy on users and monitor their browsing history when VPNs aren’t used, and companies can use your online activities to build up profiles of you to use against you.
Those who choose not to use VPNs are also at greater risk of hacking and other cyberattacks, both on their own home networks and especially when connecting via public Wi-Fi hotspots like those found in airports and hotels. What’s more, if you go on vacation without a VPN, you won’t necessarily be able to access the same sites and services while outside your home nation, like your Netflix account or your favorite news site.
Can I Use a Free VPN for Mac?
It’s certainly possible to use a free VPN on a Mac. There are plenty of free VPN services out there, but they’re usually a little limited in terms of features and functionality when compared to the paid alternatives. Often, free VPNs limit you in terms of how much data you can use or may not have the strongest security features, so you need to be careful, but they’re still a good option for anyone wanting to see what a VPN can do without paying for the privilege.
Do All VPNs Work on Mac?
Statistics show that about 1 in 5 desktop devices today are running on macOS, and since Macs are so popular, the vast majority of VPN providers don’t want to block off their services to such a big audience. This means that most VPNs, including some of our top-rated VPNs, are fully functional and compatible with Macs, but not every single VPN has been designed to work on macOS.
Are the Best General VPNs also the Best Mac VPNs?
When looking at lists of the best VPNs, you’ll usually find the top-rated and recommended options are based on how they perform on Windows devices, since these are much more commonly used than Macs. The best VPNs for Windows might not necessarily be the best option for Mac users. However, in general, the top VPNs work equally well across all platforms.
How Do I Get a VPN for Mac?
Getting a VPN for Mac is super simple. First, we recommend reading through some reviews to learn more about the different VPNs out there and find the right one for you, paying special attention to aspects like security, anonymity, number of servers, location of servers, and customer service in order to make the right decision.
Once you’ve settled on a VPN that sounds like it’s right for you, you can head over to the official website of your chosen provider and then click on the corresponding Download button or link to the App Store to download the VPN for Mac. Once the download has been completed, you can open up the software and make your account to start using your new VPN.
Can I Use a VPN for Mac on Other Devices?
Usually, yes. The vast majority of the best-rated VPNs are compatible with many different devices, working flawlessly on Macs, PCs, laptops, iOS phones and tablets, Android devices, and even game consoles too. With the best VPNs, there’s no limit to the different devices you can use and they’ll even let you connect with multiple devices simultaneously too.
How Do I Choose the Best VPN for Mac?
The best VPN for Mac can make a real difference to your online activities, helping you stay safe and secure online, protecting you from any prying eyes that might want to spy on your browsing history, and perhaps most importantly, providing you with some much-needed peace of mind too, but how do you choose which VPN to use?
We recommend thinking about a range of different factors when trying to pick the best possible VPN for Mac, starting off with security and privacy features, as these tend to be the most important aspects of any VPN for 99% of users, but also think about the server locations if you plan on accessing any geo-locked content or doing a lot of traveling, and don’t forget to consider the customer service options and price plans on offer too.