You probably have already heard that there are many VPN services on the market today. Indeed, to choose the right one isn’t easy. Maybe you’ve browsed several “Best of the best” lists and still remain unconvinced that any service you’ve seen suits you.
Another problem is that there are often differences between what features a VPN app has on various operating systems. Sometimes, you may look at advertising and think the service is great for you, buy it, and only then find out that the feature you wanted the most is unavailable on macOS.
These simple tips will show you what to look for in a VPN for Mac and where to look for this information.
1. Should have a Mac app
What to look for: You’d be surprised but not all VPN services today have a Mac application. Most of them are designed, first and foremost, with Windows in mind while some others only provide apps for mobile platforms. Some don’t have apps at all and have to be configured manually – doable but not very convenient. So you need to make sure the VPN you’re looking at has a Mac version.
Where to look for it: Don’t be shy to click that Buy or Download button on the developer’s website. Don’t worry – you won’t purchase anything by doing so but instead will be taken to the page that lists all the supported platforms. There you’ll see if this is a VPN for Mac or not.
2. Shouldn’t keep logs
What to look for: A VPN provider that keeps users’ logs is not your friend. There’s no telling what can be done with them, ranging from being sold to advertisers to target you based on your browsing habits to being given to copyright trolls should you ever wander too close to torrenting websites even only with perfectly legal intentions. In any case, this isn’t what you want. So do make sure that the provider of your choice does not keep logs.
3. Should have a good jurisdiction
What to look for: Every VPN provider has to be officially registered in some country to function. Not all countries are equally good places for that, though. Some of them are members of intelligence alliances like the 5, 9, and 14 Eyes. This fact allows surveillance agencies of the member states of the alliance to gather intel on the people and organizations of each other. So, you don’t want your VPN provider to be based in:
· the USA
· the UK
· New Zealand
· the Netherlands
4. Should support strong encryption protocols
What to look for: Most Apple devices have built-in support for the IKEv2 protocol. It is not a bad one but it has some drawbacks like the impossibility to use it with the TCP Internet communication protocol. However, many VPN providers take the easy route and only offer IKEv2 to macOS users. If you want to add extra security to your Mac device, it makes sense to check if a VPN provider supports the more powerful and versatile OpenVPN protocol for your OS.
Where to look for it: Many providers put information about their protocol support either on the main page or on theFeatures page of their site. However, often only the features available on Windows are listed there as it is usually the most well-developed version. In case you don’t see it specified that OpenVPN is supported on Mac devices, you may want to check the FAQ page and look for the Mac section. If that doesn’t help either, reading or watching reviews of this service will likely give you the information you need.
5. Should have a kill switch
What to look for: A kill switch is a feature that shuts down your Internet connection if your VPN tunnel fails and your traffic becomes decrypted. Almost all VPNs have it but sometimes, there are peculiarities of how it works on different platforms so it’s best to see in advance if it works fine on Mac.
Where to look for it: The best way to check this feature out is to use a free trial of a VPN. It will give you the most recent information about the kill switch. Some services do not have the free trial option on Mac or at all, in which case you may want to read a review of that VPN or look for another one.