A hand holds a compass that shows the Safari logo on its face

Hello Safari user! So you’re looking for a Safari-dedicated VPN (Virtual Private Network)? Well, look no further — it doesn’t exist. And while you might’ve heard of Apple’s pseudo-VPN that works similarly to a Safari VPN extension, it’s not the same.

The good news is that thanks to how a VPN works, you can get all its benefits even when using a browser without a dedicated extension, such as Safari. What is the best way to do that? Let’s explore.

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    Does Safari have a VPN?

    Despite Safari having VPN extensions in the past, they’re no longer available. But maybe that’s a blessing in disguise. Why is that?

    A VPN browser extension encrypts only the browser data and not the rest of the internet traffic. Desktop or mobile apps such as Google Maps, Netflix, and µTorrent use traceable data. What about encrypting them? You should look for something that encrypts the rest of the data traffic. I wonder what that could be.

    Best VPN for Safari = best VPN for Apple OS

    Safari’s a browser that comes preinstalled on all Apple products, so what you need is a VPN for an Apple device. There’s no such thing as THE BEST because it depends on the use and the user. But there are certain things to look out for when picking the best for you.

    If you’re looking for an Apple-compatible VPN with additional features, like an ad blocker, Surfshark is the one. Also, you can add Surfshark to Siri’s shortcuts and manage your VPN connections with clever automation.

    Whatever you choose, here’s what to consider when choosing a suitable VPN for your iOS (or macOS):

    • Compatibility with iOS/macOS;
    • Provider’s track record;
    • Provider’s upheld privacy policies;
    • VPN features;
    • Service speed;
    • Pricing;
    • Available locations.

    To keep your browsing and searching history private, download Surfshark, a VPN for your Mac, and run it in the background, effectively making it a VPN for Safari (and encrypting ALL your internet traffic data). Or even better — set up a VPN on a router and run it on all your iOS devices.

    Remember, the VPN market is booming, and there’s no cure-all VPN. Many of them offer different features within their bundles. However, if you’re hellbent on it being an Apple product, there is, in fact, something close to a VPN for iOS. It’s called Private Relay.

    Is Apple’s Private Relay just a VPN for Safari?

    No, but Apple’s iCloud+ Private Relay is the closest thing to a dedicated Safari browser extension. The issue is that Private Relay is only compatible with Safari. So if you’re on Chrome on your Apple device, that’s a big red NO to any encrypted and safe browsing. The upside — it works on every Apple device. The downside? To use Private Relay, you must be an iCloud+ subscriber.

    Private Relay vs. VPN

    Two puzzle pieces — extensions — that are connecting; one has ''Private relay'' written on it, and the other has the icon of Safari on it.

    Private Relay is a preinstalled piece of software on your iOS device. When enabled, it encodes your DNS (Domain Name System — the phonebook of the internet) information, IP (Internet Protocol) address, and whatever you’re accessing on the internet. Doing so stops user fingerprinting — collecting bits of info about you and building your profile without your knowledge.

    So, it acts similarly to a VPN — it encodes your information. However, the similarities pretty much end here, as it lacks other features. As for the differences between Apple’s iCloud Private Relay and premium VPNs, here are the main ones:

    Private Relay
    Kill Switch
    DNS leak protection
    IP encryption and provision of a new one

    Despite these differences, if you’re already an iCloud+ subscriber, you can treat Private Relay as a free VPN. Or as something close to it. Just remember to turn on private browsing on Safari to maximize privacy.

    However, a premium VPN would provide you with many more benefits.

    Why should you use a VPN on your Apple devices?

    Having a VPN on iPhone or Mac, and not only its extension, means having better security — all of your device’s online data is encrypted and secure.

    Also, when you buy a premium VPN, you get a bundle of features and benefits. And many VPN providers will also offer you unique add-ons. That means there’s no such thing as THE BEST VPN since the user defines that value. It all depends on what you need and what features you’ll use.

    I’ve compiled a unique VPN feature list offered by different VPNs. Remember that not all VPN providers have all the listed features and some (like the antivirus or the ad blocker) come as an additional software.

    VPN feature
    What’s it do
    VPN provider that has it*
    Ad blocker
    Blocks intrusive and malicious ads
    Surfshark, NordVPN, Private Internet Access, CyberGhost, TunnelBear, ProtonVPN
    Pretty self-explanatory by this point
    Surfshark, Private Internet Access, CyberGhost, TunnelBear, ProtonVPN
    Nexus routes your traffic through a VPN server network, making staying on the web that much safer
    Enables access to other devices via encrypted tunnels
    Nord VPN
    Blends encrypted data with regular internet traffic to not attract attention
    Surfshark, NordVPN, ExpressVPN, IPVanish, ProtonVPN
    DNS leak protection
    Keeps your DNS info safe by adhering to the no-logs policy
    Surfshark, NordVPN, CyberGhost, ProtonVPN, PureVPN
    Kill Switch
    Protects you from being exposed when the VPN service connection drops
    Surfshark, NordVPN, IPVanish, ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, Private Internet Access, PureVPN, ProtonVPN
    MultiHop (Double VPN)
    Uses a ton of dedicated servers to cover your tracks and grant you access to anything geo-restricted — an internet without borders
    Surfshark, NordVPN, Proton VPN, ClearVPN, Hide.me VPN, Private Internet Access

    *The list of providers isn’t full, and there are more providers that offer some of the features

    Looking through an objective lens, besides being Apple-exclusive, Private Relay software doesn’t offer anything unique to the market.

    The lack of connections to a multitude of servers (or the ‘’double-hop’’ feature, as Apple puts it) translates into the inability to overcome geographical restrictions, censorship, and price differential.

    Even if you’re not aiming to be a part of Anonymous, better personal data protection should be everyone’s priority.

    How do I enable VPN on Safari?

    To enable Surfshark, get the app, run it, log in, and press Quick-connect.

    If you already have a VPN on your Mac but want to fiddle with its settings manually, follow these steps:

    • Go to System Preferences, and hit Network;
    • Press the plus sign at the bottom left corner of the white table with your connections; 
    • Choose VPN from the Interface dropdown menu, and pick a VPN protocol you’d like to use from the VPN type dropdown menu;
    • Create or choose a Service Name and click Create;
    • Fill in the server details using the VPN settings provided by the service and click the Authentication Settings;
    • Enter your authentication credentials supplied by your VPN provider and click OK;
    • Click Advanced… and check the option to Send all traffic over VPN connection;
    • Then hit Apply and Connect;
    • Your VPN is now linked to the Mac you’re using. To disconnect, click Disconnect.

    A VPN for Safari? Try Surfshark

    No premium VPN provider has a VPN extension for Safari. However, there is a way to be safe.

    Many VPNs are compatible with both Apple operating systems. But do you know what one of the best VPNs with desktop and mobile apps (a shameless plug-in coming up) is? Surfshark.

    Just to name a few, Surfshark stands out in three categories when compared to other VPNs — low monthly price, an abundance of security features, and unlimited simultaneous connections.

    What else is needed when exploring the far reaches of the internet?

    Explore Safari safely

    Get Surfshark


    Does Safari have a VPN?

    Safari doesn’t have a built-in VPN. However, Surfshark is a great option offering VPN protection on iOS and macOS Safari.

    Is there a free VPN for Safari?

    Yes, one of the most popular is Windscribe. But paid VPNs are better than free ones. Many of them make money by possibly selling user data to third parties. So do a background check when using something for free (especially when your privacy’s at stake).

    Which VPN works with Safari?

    All the major ones, but Surfshark meets Safari users’ needs and offers secure browsing at an affordable price. Along with Siri’s recent ease-of-use update — add Surfshark to your shortcuts and use it with clever automation.

    Do Apple devices need a VPN?

    We advise you to have a VPN if you want your browsing to be encrypted and safe from prying eyes (i.e., the internet service provider) and keep your data safe when on public networks.