Now owned by the US-based VPN provider StackPath, IPVanish is currently one of the more popular VPNs on the market.
At the same time, IPVanish is distrusted by some due to a past privacy scandal. The scandal revealed instances of sharing user data with American Homeland Security. Since then, IPVanish has come under new management. And the new owners claim that the service does not collect any personally identifiable data.
That said, let’s see if the current positives outweigh the past negatives. Also, should you consider using IPVanish on your Mac desktop? Get your answer below.
Why use a VPN for Mac
There are a number of good reasons to use a Virtual Private Network for Apple desktop users. For one, in today’s world of rapidly multiplying threats to user privacy, Mac’s reputation for security ain’t what it used to be. That said, securing your online privacy is far from the only reason to get a VPN.
Installing a VPN on your Mac will allow you to:
- Spoof your IP address and unblock geo-restricted streaming platforms like Netflix
- Play region-restricted online games
- Secure your internet traffic wherever you are
- Defeat bandwidth throttling measures enacted by your local ISP
Despite its US location, IPVanish comes with a “strict no logs policy,” which would alleviate privacy concerns. If only its previous owners hadn’t been caught logging back in 2016. After that kind of breach of trust, IPVanish still has a long way to go towards earning it back in full.
Feature-wise, however, IPVanish comes with an all-around great offering. Firstly, there’s a solid variety of tunneling protocols and security options. Secondly, multiplatform compatibility and customization options are also good.
Even for Mac owners. Which are, more often than not, offered far less feature-dense apps than PC users.
What’s more, IPVanish operates more than 1300 servers in 50+ countries, as well as 40,000+ IP addresses. All of these servers are owned and maintained by IPVanish, which is somewhat of a rarity among VPN providers. A server fleet of this size all but guarantees good speeds for torrenters and speed freaks alike.
Streaming fans, however, should look for another option. Sadly, IPVanish is not the best choice for unblocking Netflix or other entertainment platforms.
How to download and install it
To download and install the IPVanish client, visit ipvanish.com website, go to the Apps tab and click the Download Now button.
On the next screen, click Download Mac App, and the installation image will be automatically downloaded to your Downloads folder. Once the download is complete, click the .dmg image and drag the IPVanish icon to your Applications folder.
To use your new IPVanish Mac app, find and click it in your Applications folder or Launchpad.
How to use IPVanish on Mac
Overall, using IPVanish on Mac is quite a piece of cake. If you have an account, simply enter your login credentials after starting up your app. If not, create on the IPVanish website.
Once you log on, you’ll land on the QuickConnect screen with drop-down server options and a Connect button.
Press the Connect button to automatically connect to the nearest server or select a server manually from the three lists of available locations and IP addresses. You can cancel your connection to the server by clicking the Disconnect button.
In the Server List screen, you’ll see the full list of available IPVanish servers, which you can sort by country or find by typing the name of your preferred location into the search bar.
IPVanish Mac preferences
The IPVanish Mac app has an unexpectedly wide variety of options to customize. To find the Preferences, click the IPVanish icon on your taskbar, then – the cog icon in the top right corner of the window that pops up.
Let’s take a look at what you’ll see in the Preferences window:
The first tab in the Preferences window is the General tab, where you can switch startup and default server connection options.
The IPVanish Connection tab allows you to select the tunneling protocol and port number. Also, you can toggle the kill switch feature and IPv6 leak protection here.
In the IP Settings tab, you can change your DNS preferences to third-party if you don’t want to use IPVanish servers. This is an option for advanced VPN users – if you’re a beginner, you should leave it as is.
The Diagnostics tab allows you to see and send logs to the IPVanish troubleshooting team if you’re having any problems with your VPN app.
IPVanish Mac vs Windows client
Although most providers tend to produce Mac apps that are almost unrecognizably different compared to their Windows versions, IPVanish offers Mac owners a very similar user experience to their Windows app.
If you compare the IPVanish Mac app to the Windows client, you’ll see most of the same options across all tabs in the Preferences window. Which, for some reason, does not appear on the main IPVanish interface.
Although there are some minor differences – most notably, the aforementioned Preferences screen – the user interface is largely the same, which is a big plus in our book.
IPVanish for Mac – should you use it?
Logging scandals by the provider’s previous owners and streaming difficulties aside, we can recommend IPVanish for Mac owners who want a streamlined VPN for worry-free torrenting or general browsing privacy and security.
The app itself is easy to use yet highly customizable, while any speed drop-offs when connected to the VPN are respectably low.
The provider offers just enough to not dismiss it out of hand. If you want to have a deeper look at IPVanish and its pros and cons, however, feel free to read our full IPVanish review.