How a VPN Can Boost Your Security and Privacy on Mac

By Moses Johnson - Managing Editor
13 Min Read

Everything we do now revolves around being online at all times

In today’s digitally connected world, online privacy has become a growing concern for many. As you browse, stream, and interact online, keeping your information and data secure is crucial. One effective solution to protect your online privacy is using a virtual private network (VPN) on your Mac. But how exactly does a VPN work on a Mac, and why do you need one?

The M1-powered 13-inch MacBook Pro.

In this comprehensive guide, we dive into the nuts and bolts of VPNs, exploring how they function, their advantages, and why they’re essential for safeguarding your privacy in the digital age by protecting your Mac.

What is a virtual private network (VPN), and how does it work?

A VPN creates a secure, encrypted connection between you and the internet. The VPN masks your IP address and location through an encrypted virtual tunnel. This ensures a protected connection that makes your IP address and online activities invisible to everyone.

Your Internet service provider (ISP) gives you a unique number known as an Internet Protocol (IP) address, which allows you to access the Internet. However, your online activities can be traced back to your physical home address using this number. Your ISP can also see everything you do by default, which isn’t great for privacy concerns. A virtual private network (VPN) service stops them from snooping on you. A VPN conceals your home IP address and encrypts your data through a secure tunnel, ensuring that your online activities remain private and inaccessible to third parties. Not even your ISP will know what you’re doing online.

When connected to a VPN, the initial web traffic starts its journey by authenticating your client or device with the remote server location. That data is encrypted based on the security protocol you use, sent to the remote server, and out to the public web. Your actual home IP address is faked or hidden using the new one from the VPN service or provider. Since encrypted data packets are sent between you and the remote VPN server when browsing online, you stay safe and secure no matter what. This entire process is often referred to as VPN tunneling.

Privacy Breaches and Data Leaks: How Mac Users Without VPNs are at Risk

Mac users who do not utilize a VPN are putting their privacy and data at significant risk. Without a VPN, your internet connection is vulnerable to interception by hackers and cybercriminals. Sensitive information, such as passwords, credit card details, and personal documents, can be easily accessed by malicious individuals.

Moreover, without the protection of a VPN, your online activities can be monitored and tracked by various entities, including government agencies and internet service providers. This invasion of privacy can lead to targeted advertising, identity theft, and even blackmail.

By not using a VPN, Mac users are essentially leaving their digital footprint exposed for anyone to exploit. It is crucial to prioritize online security by employing a reliable VPN service that encrypts your data and shields your identity from prying eyes.

The M1-powered MacBook Air in rose gold.

How a VPN Increases Security and Privacy on Your Mac

Evading Government Surveillance and Censorship Using a VPN for Mac

Government surveillance and censorship are growing concerns in today’s digital age. Mac users can benefit greatly from using a VPN to bypass these restrictions, ensuring secure internet browsing.

With a VPN, Mac users can hide their online activities from prying eyes, including government agencies that monitor internet traffic. By encrypting data and routing it through remote servers, a VPN provides an added layer of protection against surveillance.

Moreover, some countries impose strict censorship on internet access or block certain websites and services. With a reliable VPN service on your Mac, you can easily bypass these restrictions, gaining access to blocked content while maintaining your privacy.

Using a VPN not only enhances security but also empowers Mac users to take control of their online experience by evading government surveillance and censorship effectively.

Shielding Your Mac from Cyber Threats: Enhancing Security with a VPN

With the continuous rise of cyber threats, protecting your Mac from potential dangershas become more crucial than ever. Using a VPN for secure internet browsing is one of the best steps you can take to enhance your online security. By encrypting your connection and masking your IP address, a VPN shields your Mac from hackers and other malicious actors.

A VPN also offers an additional layer of protection when using public Wi-Fi networks, which are notorious for their vulnerabilities. With a trusted VPN service, you can browse the web with peace of mind, knowing that your sensitive information is safe from prying eyes.

Investing in a reliable VPN not only safeguards against cyber threats but also preserves your privacy by preventing unwanted tracking and data collection. Don’t compromise on security – make sure to incorporate a VPN into your Mac usage for safer internet browsing.

Protecting Your Online Privacy: Why Mac Users Need a VPN

As a Mac user, your online privacy should be one of your top concerns. In today’s digital age, cyber threats are becoming more sophisticated and prevalent than ever before. Hackers can easily intercept your internet connection and gain access to your personal information, including passwords, financial details, and browsing history.

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is an essential tool that provides an added layer of security for Mac users. By encrypting your internet traffic and masking your IP address, a VPN ensures that your online activities remain private and protected from prying eyes. Moreover, it prevents advertisers and ISPs from tracking your behavior and selling your datawithout consent.

With the increasing number of cyber attacks targeting Mac users specifically, using a VPN has become vital for safeguarding both your personal information as well as maintaining control over who has access to it.

Safeguarding Personal Information on Public Wi-Fi Networks with a Mac VPN

Public Wi-Fi networks can be incredibly convenient, allowing us to stay connected while we’re on the go. However, they also pose significant risks to our online security and privacy. Hackers often target these networks to steal personal information or intercept sensitive data.

That’s where a VPN for Mac becomes essential. By encrypting your internet connection, a Mac VPN creates a secure tunnel between your device and the websites you visit. This means that even if someone tries to access your data on a public Wi-Fi network, they won’t be able to decipher it.

With a Mac VPN, you can confidently browse the web, check emails, or use online banking services without worrying about potential threats lurking in public Wi-Fi hotspots. Protecting your personal information has never been easier!

Should you use a free or premium paid VPN service?

That all comes down to what you need and how often you plan to use a VPN with your Mac. Clearly, free VPNs have their downsides. But are there any instances when they’re worth using? The answer is yes, although it depends. If you’re someone who’s never used one of these services before and want to try one out before buying a premium version, then downloading a free VPN isn’t a bad idea. It’ll give you an idea of what VPNs can do.

If you don’t plan on using a VPN often and want it for a specific task, then a free version should be fine. But again, they’ll lack a lot of features and won’t offer the best performance. Overall, paying for a premium version will not only provide more capabilities but will be much safer to use. And many of these services are actually quite cheap, costing as low as $2 per month which is negligible considering the additional privacy features, server selection, and modern VPN security protocols. And many of the well-known VPN services offer excellent multi-year subscription discounts, making it a small price to pay in the long run.

MacBook Air in midnight displaying a wallpaper.  

What can you expect when using a free VPN service?

A lot of the time, free VPNs make money through in-app advertisements. But these are often intrusive, make apps frustrating to use and can even affect device performance. To make things worse, these free services aren’t always legitimate; there have been many instances of malware masquerading as VPN services. So instead of improving online privacy and security, free VPNs can make your Mac less secure.

It’s also worth noting that free VPNs may employ weak or outdated encryption protocols, leaving your data vulnerable to interception and unauthorized access. Premium VPN services however, use advanced encryption standards and industry-standard networking protocols to secure your online communications and data transmission.

Many free VPN services also have various paid options, but that may not always translate to them being trustworthy with your personal data. Depending on the VPN service’s reputation and logging policy, they may collect or misuse your data even if you’re paying for a premium subscription tier. It’s also a good idea to avoid the random free VPN apps that pop up overnight on the Apple App Store. Most of them aren’t designed with your best interest in mind. Their sole purpose is to siphon your data without you ever knowing.

What about premium paid VPN services?

On the other hand, a premium paid VPN service typically offers more unique features than what you get with a free option. With a premium VPN, like ExpressVPN, NordVPN or Surfshark, you can strengthen your defenses through real-time malware defense, ad blockers that stop sneaky tracking practices, and protection from most known malicious websites. Additionally, a premium paid VPN service prioritize your security and employ robust encryption protocols to ensure your online activities remain private. Premium VPN service also operate with a strict no-logs policy, meaning they do not monitor, collect, or store your internet traffic.

A premium paid VPN service also tends to have an extensive selection of high-quality servers you can access worldwide. Since there may be times when a server gets bogged down due to high traffic, the more options you have, the better. In this case, your connection speed can suddenly drop and become unstable, so server hopping would be beneficial. You also get more VPN security protocol choices, including Wireguard and other unique implementations. For example, NordVPN has NordLynx, while ExpressVPN offers Lightway. Both protocols are built around the needs of their respective customers.

There are numerous VPN services available for Mac, each with its own set of features and pricing plans. Some popular options include:


ExpressVPN owns all of its own ‘TrustedServer’ DNS servers, meaning at no point in the chain is your data ever handed over to a third party. Combine that with impenetrable encryption and a rock-solid, fully audited zero-logging policy, and you can feel safe in the fact that your personal info won’t be compromised.

Proton VPN

Proton VPN delivers excellent protection for its users across the board. Fully audited apps, an excellent no-logging policy and full AES-256 encryption alongside more unusual features like Tor over VPN and its rock-solid Secure Core servers make it a good choice for anyone looking for a properly secure Mac VPN.

Surfshark VPN

Surfshark is an affordable, feature-rich Mac VPN with over 3,000 servers in 65 countries. With full support for WireGuard, OpenVPN and IKEv2, industry-standard AES-256 encryption and a few extra features like split tunneling and Double Hop, it’s a complete package. The simple, friendly interface also makes these features easy to either use or ignore, and just like ExpressVPN it’s a great option for first-timers.


NordVPN offers all the basics like powerful encryption and multiple protocols, but it also delivers a few features that aren’t available with rivals ExpressVPN and Surfshark. The unique ‘Onion over VPN’ setting routes your through the Tor network, which sacrifices speed for unrivalled privacy. You’ll also get two kill switches, and a nifty Double VPN feature.

How can you tell if a VPN service is safe and legitimate?

The first thing to look for in a VPN service is its no-logging policy. You need to be sure your information is safe and won’t be mishandled at any point. Some countries or governments may enforce strict data-logging policies, so look further into the company’s no-logging claims. Find the location or country where the VPN is based, then dig a little deeper using your own independent research. The goal is to see if the country they set up shop in requires a data-logging policy.

Aside from verifying their no-logging claims, you’ll want to learn as much about that VPN company or service as possible. For this part, stray away from their official website and explore other details using a search engine. Find out who runs it and how trustworthy they are based on community feedback. You should look up multiple third-party articles and videos to see if they all agree on its legitimacy. You can also check the user-based VPN app reviews on the Apple App Store for a little extra insight.

Can your personal data still be tracked when using a VPN?

This is a complicated question that often has a misleading answer, inadvertently giving the average user a false sense of security. A VPN can encrypt your internet traffic and keep your browsing session private to an extent. However, it won’t protect you from everything. For example, you can still be indirectly tracked by website cookies, ad trackers, and the information you share on social media. And the more online accounts you log in to that are tied to your factual personal details, the higher your chances of having that data getting tracked, sold, or stolen by an unwanted third-party entity.

A reputable and well-designed VPN does what it was meant to do by keeping your internet traffic encrypted. However, it still falls on the user to practice safe online browsing habits for everything a VPN can’t protect you from. We also trust these big tech companies and websites to keep our online accounts and personal information safe from harm. Still, data breaches and ransomware have been on the rise recently, which is beyond our control. Because of that, your private data can sometimes be taken from you without your consent or knowledge, VPN or not.

Overall, a VPN can encrypt your internet traffic and keep your browsing activities hidden from others on the public web to an extent. Your ISP won’t be able to tell what you’re doing either. They can only see that you’re using a VPN. This allows you to browse the web and use internet-connected devices, without being tracked by the unique IP address given to you by your ISP. Just be cautious about what information you put online, which links or websites you visit, and how much of your personal life you share with strangers on social media.

What are some safe online browsing habits you can use with a VPN?

No amount of VPN security can protect you from sharing private details online that can be tied to your personal information. People often overlook this when using a Mac VPN. It’s not a magic bubble that keeps you protected without thinking about your actions. VPN users must still be careful when freely browsing the open web. The VPN companies or services offering a premium subscription won’t always point this out either. You have nothing to worry about here if you combine various safe online browsing habits while using your favorite VPN provider.

So what are some examples of safe online browsing habits you can use in your personal life? For starters, avoid websites that are unencrypted and marked as unsafe. Web browsers are excellent at alerting you to this, but you still have to back out of the site manually. At the same time, don’t fall victim to spam calls, emails, or text messages. If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. Some VPN services have features to identify and protect you from these common scams.

We also want to touch on two-factor authentication (2FA), which can further protect your online security. In this case, you should ensure your VPN account has a strong primary password and that 2FA is enabled. A VPN might be able to encrypt your web traffic. However, your VPN account is still susceptible to being hacked. Once 2FA is active, you’ll enter a random passcode before you or anyone can log in to the account. You should use 2FA for as many online accounts as possible to keep your personal and private information safe.

Is there another reason to use a VPN ona Mac other than security purposes?

Many Mac users likely use a VPN service for its privacy and security features. Still, another popular reason makes them appealing. Most streaming services offer unique content that can’t be viewed if you live outside a specific country. Using a VPN to spoof or fake your personal IP address in order to bypass these geo-restrictions can give you instant access to many of these shows you couldn’t view before. Some Mac users are less concerned about security and more interested in streaming content outside their own country. For them, the added safety features of a VPN would be a welcomed bonus.

It’s worth noting that using a VPN to bypass geo-restrictions or access blocked streaming content may violate the terms of service for some websites and streaming services. When you sign up for a service, you agree to follow their terms and conditions, which might forbid VPNs. If you ignore those rules and use a VPN, you could risk getting your account suspended or terminated. So, be smart and cautious with your VPN usage when it comes to streaming!

Potential downsides and risks of using a VPN ona Mac

While VPNs offer many benefits to Mac users, there are also some potential downsides and risks to consider. One concern is that using a VPN can sometimes result in slower internet speeds since your data must travel through the VPN server before reaching its destination. This can be particularly noticeable when using a VPN server located far away from your actual location, so it’s best to choose a location that is closer to your current location.

Another concern is the trustworthiness of the VPN provider. When you use a VPN on your Mac, you are essentially entrusting your data to the VPN company. Some VPN providers may log your data or even sell it to third parties, negating the privacy benefits of using a VPN. To minimize these risks, it’s essential to choose a reputable VPN provider with a strict no-logs policy and strong encryption standards.

Step-by-Step Guide to Set Up a VPN on your Mac: Easy Ways to Strengthen Online Privacy

Setting up a VPN on your Mac is easier than you might think. With just a few simple steps, you can enhance your online privacy and strengthen your security. First, choose a reputable VPN service that meets your needs and offers strong encryption protocols. Next, download the VPN client software provided by the service onto your Mac computer.

Once installed, launch the app and enter your login credentials to connect to the server of your choice. Many VPN services offer servers in various locations worldwide, allowing you to bypass geo-restrictions and access content from different regions.

To ensure maximum security, it’s recommended to enable features like kill switch or automatic connection on startup in case the VPN connection drops unexpectedly. You can also customize other settings according to your preferences.

Remember to regularly update both the VPN client software and macOS for optimal performance and protection. By following these steps, you’ll be able to take full advantage of a secure internet browsing experience on your Mac with peace of mind knowing that your data is protected from prying eyes.

Protecting your Mac with a VPN has never been easier

If you’ve gotten this far, you now know that a VPN is an essential tool to keep your personal information safe while using your Mac. With a VPN, your online activities are private and secure, even from your internet service provider. However, a VPN cannot protect you from everything, like sharing private information online or falling for scams. Always practice safe online browsing habits, like avoiding unencrypted websites, enabling two-factor authentication, and being cautious about what information you share with strangers on social media.

While free VPN services may seem tempting, it’s best to invest in a premium paid VPN service to avoid data caps and get extra features like real-time malware defense and ad blockers. Finally, be sure to research and choose a VPN provider with a no-logging policy and a good reputation to ensure your personal data is safe.

Have you ever used a VPN on your Mac, and if not, what’s holding you back? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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By Moses Johnson Managing Editor
Moses Johnson is the Editorial Director of, who has a keen eye for news, rumors, and all the unusual stuff around Apple products. Moses is commonly referred to online as The Professor, with decades of experience in tech under his belt.
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