Got one of the best VPNs on your Mac already? Thinking of getting a Mac VPN? You'll probably also be thinking about how to use it and, in many cases, the question will be whether you need the VPN running all the time. You probably already have enough running so being efficient is important.

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So can you afford to cut back VPN use in order to save on processing power and battery life when on the move? That compromise means losing anonymity and security while online. To make the balancing decision you need to know what this entails so read on to find out more about using your VPN on Mac.

What is your Mac VPN for?

How you want to use your VPN on your Mac is a big part of how efficient you can be with it. For example, if you're just using it as a Netflix VPN to watch shows and need it to get around geo-restrictions, then outside of those usage times you can turn it off. That's presuming you don't need or want the security of having the VPN on.

If you're running on battery and want to watch shows, which already chews through power, then you may want the VPN off in between viewing times to being optimally efficient. If you're using a free VPN and want to conserve your limited data allowance, it's best to turn off your VPN whenever you don't actively need it.

But, simply put, if your VPN is all about your security and anonymity then you're going to want to leave it on as much as possible. Even if your laptop is closed, for example, the VPN can still be working to make sure you're kept secure. Should your connection drop or change then the VPN will block the connection to make sure it's running before you connect — so you always stay hidden, private, and secure.

If you're using a VPN on your Mac for banking or PayPal money transfers, you'll need to be careful as they can lock you out if a VPN is detected. Avoid this by connecting to a local server, something that's easy to do on most decent VPN offerings, especially via the computer app. Then, when done, you can turn it off again if you feel comfortable.

Save battery using a Mac VPN

Battery life as an issue is only for mobile Mac users, with a laptop. But for desktop iOS users there is the factor or CPU processing power to consider too. VPNs are largely very efficient and minimal programs that don't use a great deal of processing power or battery. But should you want to make sure you're optimally efficient, then turning the VPN off where possible is a great solution.

Cutting back on apps running, sending data in and out, will also help allow the VPN to keep its activities to a minimum. So by fully closing apps when not in use, you can leave the VPN running to stay secure without compromising as much power use in your Mac.

What is the best VPN for Mac?

Our overall favorite VPN is ExpressVPN but there are other great options like NordVPN and Surfshark which offer lots of options to help keep you secure without compromising battery life or processing power on your Mac device.

Be sure to check out our roundup of the best VPN deals to help you save on your new subscription.

Best Overall

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ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN has more servers in more countries to help you tap into any information you need while keeping your online activity secure and private.


We test and review VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. For example:

1. Accessing a service from another country (subject to the terms and conditions of that service).
2. Protecting your online security and strengthening your online privacy when abroad.

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