Hello Safari users! 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 you can still use and benefit from a VPN service when running Apple’s browser. What is the best way to do that? Let’s explore.

Table of contents

    Does Safari have a VPN?

    No, but maybe Safari not having a VPN extension is a blessing in disguise?

    A VPN browser extension only encrypts the browser data, but not the rest of the internet traffic. Desktop or mobile apps such as Google Maps, Netflix, and µTorrent use traceable data too – what about encrypting them?

    To keep your browsing and searching history private, you could download a VPN app and run it in the background, effectively making it a VPN for Safari (and encoding ALL of your internet traffic data). Or even better – set up the VPN on a router and run it on all your iOS devices.

    Talking about the latter – there is, in fact, something close to an iOS VPN out there. It’s called Private Relay.

    Is Apple’s Private Relay just a Safari VPN?

    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 is it works on every Apple device. The downside? To use Private Relay, you must be an iCloud+ subscriber.

    Private Relay vs. VPN

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

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

    Why should you use a VPN on your Apple devices?

    Having a VPN (and not only its extension) means having better security – ANY and EVERY bit of 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 feature list of different providers that you might find on the internet: 

    • Ad blocker – blocks ads (malicious ones too).

    Offered by Surfshark;

    • An antivirus – pretty self-explanatory by this point.

    Offered by Surfshark;

    • Nexus – makes it easier to stay safer by directing your internet traffic through a network of servers.

    Offered by Surfshark;

    • Meshnet – enables access to other devices via encrypted tunnels.

    Offered by Nord VPN;

    • Obfuscation – blends encrypted data with regular internet traffic to not attract attention.

    Offered by most premium VPNs;

    • DNS leak protection – keeps your DNS info safe by adhering to the no-logs policy.

    Offered by most premium VPNs;

    • Kill Switch – protects you from being exposed when the service connection drops;

    Offered by most premium VPNs;

    • MultiHop architecture – uses a ton of dedicated servers to cover your tracks and grant you access to anything geo-restricted – an internet without borders.

    Offered by most premium VPNs.

    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, then 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 VPN provider has a Safari VPN extension. However, there is a way to be safe.

    Talking about Safari means talking about macOS and iOS, and many VPNs are compatible with both Apple operating systems. Do you know what one of the best VPNs with both desktop and mobile apps (a shameless plug-in coming right 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

    FAQ

    Does Safari have a VPN?

    Yes. Surfshark is a good option offering VPN protection on Mac Safari and iPhone Safari.

    Is there a free VPN for Safari?

    Yes, one of the most popular is Windscribe. But free VPNs are not as good as paid ones.

    Which VPN works with Safari?

    Surfshark meets Safari users’ needs and offers secure browsing at an affordable price.

    Do Apple devices need a VPN?

    Yes, if you want your browsing to be encrypted and your data safe.