Skip to main content

Do you need a VPN on Mac?

Do you need a VPN on Mac?
(Image credit: Photo by Christopher Gower on Unsplash)

One of Apple’s key talking points is that their products “just work.” For example, it’s commonly believed that Mac computers are somehow “immune” from viruses, without the need for any additional software. While Mac computers are generally safe from threats like malware, a Mac VPN can keep your information private from your boss, network administrator, ISP, and third parties.

In this article, we’ll cover a few ways that Mac users can benefit from installing a VPN. Make sure to read our guide to the best VPN services to learn more about your options, and what exactly they can do for you.

Stay safe on public Wi-Fi

If you frequently connect to the internet at cafés, libraries, and other hotspots, you may be vulnerable to attacks from third parties. These networks are often accessible to the public and offer little security for the average user. A well-known threat is the man-in-the-middle attack, in which a third party intercepts communications to and from your device.

With a VPN, the contents of your internet activity will be encrypted and hidden from the network administrator, as well as any hackers looking to extract data. You should never enter any passwords or access any sensitive information on a public Wi-Fi network unless you’re connecting through a VPN.

Avoid targeted ads and trackers

Targeted advertising is a rapidly growing field, and advertisers pull your information from a variety of sources to provide more narrowly targeted content. While a VPN won’t stop you from seeing ads on its own, it will stop companies from building up a personal profile based on your browsing data.

Unfortunately, some VPNs make money by selling the same data that they claim to protect, so it’s critical to find a provider with strong security practices and a transparent privacy policy. Free VPN services are generally more likely to sell user information in order to generate income, so if you’re considering one, it’s well worth researching the provider you choose.

How to set up a vpn

(Image credit: ExpressVPN)

Stay safe while torrenting

Whether you’re on a Windows, Mac, or even mobile device, it’s critical to use a VPN whenever you torrent files. This has become even more important ever since net neutrality was abandoned in the US in 2018.

Internet service providers can now throttle particular types of traffic, and torrenting is one of many popular targets. With a VPN, your activity won’t be available to your ISP, so it won’t have any way to tell that you’re torrenting in order to slow down your internet connection.

Plus, the added anonymity of a VPN means anyone on the peer-to-peer network you’re using won’t be able to identify you and start trying to hack. Many people think the possibility of downloading illegal content is the only risk with torrenting, but it can go far deeper than that. Check out our torrenting VPN to learn more.

Stream more content

Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming platforms have cracked down on streaming VPN providers over the last few years, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get around their region controls. Some of the top VPNs can still consistently circumvent regional blocks for tons of the most popular streaming services.

Whether you’re trying to access content that’s only available in another country, or you’re traveling and want to access content from your home country, a paid VPN is the most reliable way to get what you’re looking for. Unfortunately, some VPNs have trouble connecting to particular sites, and different VPNs also have servers in different locations.

Which VPN do we recommend for Mac?

The top-rated Mac VPN service available today
Simply put, ExpressVPN is the best service, and has been for a long time. With super-simple apps and easy connections for the newbies, but serious power and configuration under the hood for those that want to tinker, it offers the best of both worlds without compromise.

You'll get unlimited access to over 3,000 servers in 94 countries, and you'll also be able to access pretty much every streaming service wherever you are. If you're not sure, Express also offers a generous 30-day money-back guarantee, and Tom's Guide readers can claim three months absolutely FREE when signing up to a 12-month plan. What's not to like?View Deal