Technically, no since Mac and iOS are both two different platforms of the same operating system, therefore a Mac OS VPN should not work with your iPhone or iPad. However, most VPN providers offer multiplatform clients therefore, you can run the VPN app on your iPhone or iPad.
VIRTUAL Private Network (VPN) apps should be the first port of call for anyone looking to protect their data or online browsing history.
We've tracked down some of the best free and paid-for VPNs out there on a host of devices, so read on for our recommendations.
It's important to note that VPNs can be used to get around geo-restrictions that stop you watching videos in certain countries. This is illegal, so it's important not to use them for this purpose. VPNs should only be used to help protect your personal data from snoopers.
More recently, the backlash over Snapchat's app redesign had some utilising a VPN to get around the update – although the company's official Twitter account warns against it, and so do we.
There are plenty of VPN programs popping up online all the time, so we've taken the liberty of finding the best paid and free ones to keep you secure.
The best VPN apps for PC
- NordVPN (£9/month, £52/year) - Get it here
NordVPN offers clients for Windows, Mac, and Linux – plus a Chrome plug-in and Firefox add-on. It's an easy-to-use tool that boasts double encryption to ensure the most secure solution around. The search bar offers quick access to global servers, and there's extra privacy through connection to the Tor onion network (an anonymous web browsing software used by major sites like The New York Times and Facebook).
- TunnelBear (free/paid) - Get it here
Like most free VPNs, TunnelBear boasts a premium version that ditches the download limit restrictions. But, if you're okay with a data cap of 500MB of traffic each month, this is a solid free VPN. We'd recommend using it intermittently to get around the constraints, and you'll probably enjoy the cutesy design while you're at it.
The best VPN apps for Mac
- VyprVPN (£6.95/month, £49/year) - Get it here
A lightning-fast VPN for Mac, this Switzerland-based provider owns and operates all of its servers. Auto-selection of the fastest servers is just one of the paid perks, along with auto-encryption of untrusted WiFi networks, and unrestricted connections by IP address.
- Betternet VPN (free) - Get it here
Betternet's free-forever service doesn't come with a data limit. But be warned, it's considered one of the worst for intercepting malware and you won't be able to choose the server you connect to.
The best VPN apps for iPhone
- Opera VPN (free) - Get it here
You may have heard of the Opera web browser, well the company behind it also boasts a VPN app. Its free and unlimited, and also blocks ads and trackers. So what's the catch? It can be slow and unresponsive at times. But you get what you pay for (or in this case, what you don't pay for).
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The best VPN apps for Android
- ExpressVPN (£6.48) - Get it here
- OpenVPN Connect (free) - Get it here
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You Need a Mac VPN
There's a dangerous belief out there that macOS is somehow immune to attacks, that Apple's computers need no antivirus, and that Macs are intrinsically protected against spies and hackers. While it's true that Windows machines see more attacks, perpetrators of mass surveillance and online data thieves aren't discerning. That's why virtual private networks, or VPNs, are so important, even for Mac users.
The problem isn't your Mac, per se. It's the fundamental structure of the internet. The first bricks of the web were laid by government and university academics who were interested in making information sharing faster and easier. Privacy and security were secondary concerns. Fast-forward a few decades into the future, and things are quite different.
Today, we use the web for far more than just trading academic papers. We transmit important documents filled with personal information; we file our taxes; we send money to our friends and request money from our enemies; we even exchange incriminating emails and compromising photos. And we do it all over a system that makes finding your location and intercepting your information very easy.
Editors' Note: IPVanish is owned by j2 Global, the parent company of PCMag's publisher, Ziff Davis.
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Who Wants Your Data?
In short, just about everyone wants your data. Your personal information is valuable to hackers because it can be sold and resold on Dark Web marketplaces. Scammers and other criminals can then buy that information in order to commit fraud, which is not something people usually enjoy having done in their name.
In a similar vein, advertisers are keen to get your information so that they can better target you with online advertisements. Special trackers note information about you when you visit a website. When you navigate to a website that hosts another tracker from the same ad company, your movements are correlated across the web.
Even internet service providers (ISPs) are starting to get in on the act, now that Congress has given them the go-ahead to sell anonymized metadata about user activity. The ISPs argue that if advertisers can get a cut of the sweet>
Stay Safe and Private on Your Mac
Apple has polished macOS to a shine, and the company has always paid careful attention to stability and security. But out on the web, anything goes. That's why you need a VPN to provide a critical layer of security and privacy. It's a simple but powerful tool, and you'll be grateful for taking better control of your online experience.
While you're thinking about privacy for your Mac, you should also consider security. If you're not protected yet, you ought to read our roundup of Mac antivirus software.
Best Mac VPN Services Featured in This Roundup:
NordVPN (for Mac) Review
Pros: Largest collection of servers. Specialized servers. Six simultaneous connections. Well designed, consistent user interface. Ad blocking and web protection.
Cons: Expensive. Lackluster speed test scores.
Bottom Line: NordVPN provides Mac users excellent network security, impressive features, specialized servers, and the largest network of VPN servers on the market, making it one of the best VPNs for macOS.Read Review
Private Internet Access VPN (for Mac) Review
Pros: Thousands of servers across dozens of locations. Good speed test scores. Excellent, advanced tools. No logging. Works with Netflix.
Cons: Minimal interface. No free version.
Bottom Line: The perfect choice for a security wonk, Private Internet Access is a no-frills macOS VPN with the most robust network we've yet seen, at a very reasonable price. Don't expect much hand-holding from the interface, however.Read Review
TunnelBear VPN (for Mac) Review
Pros: The best overall speed test scores for macOS. Friendly, charming interface. Blocks ads. Excellent privacy policies. Unique features specifically for macOS. Plays nice with Netflix. Bears.
Cons: Few server locations. No P2P or BitTorrent allowed.
Bottom Line: TunnelBear has always offered a great experience and excellent protection with its VPN software, and it shines on macOS. With a robust network of servers, a killer interface, strong speed test scores, and unique features for macOS, it's an Editor's Choice.Read Review
PureVPN (for Mac) Review
Cons: Few servers. IKEv2 and OpenVPN not supported in client. Unfriendly interface.
Bottom Line: PureVPN offers robust protection for your web data with an excellent collection of servers and strong privacy protections, but it isn't the fastest Mac VPN we've tested.Read Review
Golden Frog VyprVPN (for Mac) Review
Pros: Robust features, including split tunneling. Supports multiple protocols. Allows P2P and Bittorrent. Direct control of servers. Geographically diverse server options. Some stand-out speed test scores.
Cons: Lacks ad-blocking. Small number of servers.
Bottom Line: Golden Frog VyprVPN not only provides the secure encryption of a virtual private network, but it also packs a host of advanced features into a slick macOS app.Read Review
TorGuard VPN (for Mac) Review
Pros: Numerous advanced settings. Very robust network of some 3,000 servers. Five simultaneous connections.
Cons: Unfriendly interface. Does not automatically select best server. Fewer options than Windows version.
Bottom Line: TorGuard is meant to be the VPN for BitTorrent acolytes, and it delivers a raft of advanced features confident users will appreciate, but it's not for networking newbies.Read Review
KeepSolid VPN Unlimited (for Mac) Review
Pros: Affordable, flexible pricing structure. Nifty Touch Bar integration. P2P and BitTorrent allowed. Supports OpenVPN. Specialized servers. Information-dense client.
Cons: Lackluster overall speed performance. App Store and downloadable versions offer different features. Small number of servers.
Bottom Line: KeepSolid VPN Unlimited is a solid service with unparalleled flexible pricing, and robust security technology, but its interface feels clunky for a Mac app, and its speed tests results were only fair.Read Review