NordVPN for Mac Review: Is It Safe To Use?

VPNs offer several benefits, like protecting your IP address for increased online privacy and bypassing geo-restrictions. But with so many options available, choosing the right one can be difficult. That’s why I’ve put together this comprehensive review on NordVPN for Mac.

Let’s explore it in detail and go over the essential security features, along with the pricing for each plan. I’ll also highlight the pros and cons of using this VPN and outline whether I think it’s worth purchasing based on my first-hand experience using it.

NordVPN Security Features

NordVPN has several features to enhance your online protection, including DNS filtering and anonymity on networks that you’re connected to. You can also increase your online security with Double VPN and various other features.

To help you make a better purchasing decision, I’ll go over all of NordVPN’s most important macOS security features.

1. Threat Protection

NordVPN designed its Threat Protection tool to keep your Mac and personal information safe from potential dangers on the web. The feature does this via its ad, malware, and web tracker-blocking tools. NordVPN also has a URL trimmer that makes it harder for advertisers to identify online activities.

As for files, the Threat Protection solution scans everything you download to check if malware is present. If NordVPN identifies such threats, the software automatically gets rid of them. You can also receive warnings if apps you download are deemed to be a potential risk for your Mac.

The Threat Detection window in NordVPN

You can set up Threat Protection from the second icon in the left-hand toolbar.

2. DNS Filtering

When you set up Threat Detection in NordVPN on your Mac, you can also opt to turn on DNS filtering. If you do, blocked threats—such as dangerous domains—will automatically get blocked. In the Threat Protection section, you’ll see a DNS filtering toggle that you can switch on. Note, however, that the feature only works when you’re connected to a VPN server.

3. Double VPN

NordVPN states that Double VPN can hinder internet speed and isn’t required for ordinary browsing. This added layer of security is made for users who carry highly confidential PII on their Mac or live in regions with rigid internet surveillance guidelines.

Once you activate the Double VPN feature, NordVPN will encrypt your online browsing information twice. As such, third parties who want to see what you’re doing online will have a much trickier time. Instead of connecting to an ordinary server, follow these steps to connect to a Double VPN:

  1. Scroll down to the bottom of your servers until you see Specialty Servers.
  2. Expand the three dots icon next to Double VPN.
    Connect to a Double VPN in NordVPN
  3. Choose the server you want to connect to.
    Choose the Double VPN you want to connect to in NordVPN

If you want to up the level of protection for your device, consider checking out antivirus solutions for your Mac that also include a VPN.

4. Onion Over VPN

NordVPN’s Onion Over VPN solution helps hide your IP address from people who run onion networks. It’s also another way to protect yourself if you carry sensitive information or want to block trackers on your Mac.

To set up Onion Over VPN, scroll to the bottom of your servers but pick Onion Over VPN instead of Double VPN. Note, however, that Onion Over VPN only has three available servers (these are based in the Netherlands and Switzerland). On the other hand, Double VPN has 82.

5. Local Network Anonymity

Browsing on public networks can pose substantial threats to your online information, but you aren’t 100% protected on private connections either. Regardless of where you use the internet, NordVPN’s local network anonymity feature is designed to ensure that your Mac doesn’t appear.

Note icon NOTE
This extra security comes with a trade-off: you can’t use wireless printers when local network anonymity is switched on, nor will you be able to use AirPlay. If you don’t need any of these and think adding extra anonymity is worthwhile, activate this feature.
  1. Go to Settings > General.
  2. Toggle on Stay invisible on a local network.
    The option to stay invisible on a NordVPN local network

7. Additional Nord Apps

In addition to NordVPN, you can improve your device’s security further with a handful of other apps.

  • NordPass: Password manager
  • NordLocker: Encrypted cloud-based file storage
  • NordLayer: A business-focused VPN service

NordPass is included in Plus, Complete, and Ultra subscriptions. If you don’t have these subscriptions, you can purchase an add-on. NordLocker and NordLayer are available as separate plans.

8. Presets

To make setting up your VPN easier, NordVPN offers presets in its Mac app. Here, you can set up shortcuts and pick the country you want to connect to under certain conditions. NordVPN can also connect you to a recommended country’s server.

The presets section in NordVPN's app

You can add your NordVPN shortcuts to different apps and websites. Click on the second tab from the bottom—titled Presets—to access all of these features.

Add apps and presets to the NordVPN app

NordVPN for Mac Pricing

NordVPN has a comprehensive pricing structure with monthly, annual, and two-year subscriptions available. It also has three plans: Basic, Plus, and Ultimate. While Basic offers NordVPN’s core features and multi-device connectivity, you’ll need a more advanced subscription for other tools, including:

  • NordPass
  • Malware warnings
  • Ad and tracker-blocking solutions
  • Data breach scanning

NordVPN Ultimate offers 1TB of cloud storage in addition to the above. Moreover, you can get up to $1 million in identity theft coverage and cyber extortion protection up to $100,000.

Below is a pricing breakdown for each of NordVPN’s plans:

NordVPN BasicNordVPN PlusNordVPN Ultimate
Annual $112.35/yr$158.85/yr$298.35/yr
Two-Year Plan$202.83 for two years$285.93 for two years$537.03 for two years

NordVPN often offers significant discounts for the first year when you purchase multi-year subscriptions, so it’s worth keeping an eye out for these if you already plan to commit for the long term. While no free trial is available, the company does have a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Mac Browsers You Can Use NordVPN Within

NordVPN has Mac browser extensions for Google Chrome and Firefox. You can also get a proxy extension for Google Chrome. Unfortunately, NordVPN doesn’t have a browser extension for Safari.

The NordVPN browser extension lets you quickly connect to a server and browse your notifications. Moreover, you have the choice to alter your settings where necessary. You can download the extension for free. Once you’ve done that, simply log into your account and you’re good to go.

The NordVPN Google Chrome Extension

NordVPN Mac App Functionality

From personal use, I found NordVPN Mac app quite intuitive. You get a simple toolbar on the left where you can connect to servers, adjust your settings, set up Threat Protection, configure presets, and so on.

I was also able to edit my settings in the NordVPN app without too many problems. Meanwhile, you can choose whether you want to access the Knowledge Base, receive email support, or view activity logs via the question mark and speech bubble icon.

If you’re looking for an easy-to-navigate app, NordVPN is a viable option.

NordVPN for Mac Pros and Cons

NordVPN has several benefits, including advanced security features and reasonable prices. Even if you don’t upgrade to the most expensive plan, you still get a good range of VPN coverage. On the flip side, NordVPN’s downsides include not having a Safari extension.

Here’s a rundown of the biggest pros and cons of using NordVPN on your Mac.

Advanced security features (e.g. Onion Over VPN)You have to pay for many add-ons
Simply your VPN setup with presets No browser extension for Safari
Easy-to-use interface with usage statistics and settings
Comprehensive threat protection to protect against identity theft and malware
Local network anonymity to hide your device from others on the same internet connection

Is NordVPN Worth Buying for Mac Users?

NordVPN has several advantages for Mac users, such as local network anonymity and simplifying the connection process via multiple presets. I also like that NordVPN offers both Double VPN and Onion Over VPN solutions to offer extra protection where needed.

On the other hand, I dislike that NordVPN only has extensions for Chrome and Firefox on my Mac. A Safari extension would’ve been welcomed. Similarly, needing to pay for many add-ons is quite irritating; I personally didn’t need these, but someone else might find that bothersome.

Despite those drawbacks, I think NordVPN is worth buying for most Mac users, especially if you work with sensitive information. The value for money you get is pretty good, and everything works most of the time. Moreover, the customization features are great if you’re a beginner to using VPNs.

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