If you’re a Mac user looking for more privacy online, Opera VPN for Mac is the answer to your prayers. The best part about using Opera’s venerable browser is that it comes with all the bells and whistles one could wish for “in the current year,” along with an absolutely free and unlimited VPN service built-in, among other goodies (like an ad-blocker and a battery saver). And before you ask, a free VPN is a rather unique feature in 2020, as we are not aware of any other web-browser to offer such a service to its users.
How does Opera VPN for macOS work?
A VPN service is a layer of protection between you and the internet, acting as an intermediary of sorts, which protects the privacy and security of your data from everybody, including your ISP (internet service provider). If you want to get technical, all the data generated from your web browser is encrypted then re-routed to the VPN service provider’s servers, and from there, to your desired destination (search engine, video sharing website or whatever).
It’s important to learn that the VPN software encrypts the data from your browser even before it’s released “out in the wild,” so not even your ISP can see what you’re up to. Basically, when you’re using a VPN encrypted connection, no one knows what you’re doing on the internet, or what websites you are visiting — no one, except your VPN provider.
Well, there’s one important thing we should add – Opera VPN is more like a proxy than a VPN since there is no true tunneling protocol used to encrypt your data. Your IP is hidden, and that’s about it, and they use HTTPS/SSL, just like any secure website. That’s about as far as that goes.
How to choose a good VPN for Mac
There’s no magic bullet, as not all Mac users are looking for state of the art (as in impossible to break) internet security. Most people surfing the internet use VPNs to browse anonymously, or to hide their IP address from prying eyes, to access geo-restricted content, or to unblock firewalls.
A good VPN for Mac should keep minimal logs (zero logs would be awesome), and also be as fast as possible, use strong encryption, allow simultaneous connections from different devices, and, last but not least, must work with Netflix.
Why Opera VPN for Mac?
Opera VPN Mac is one of a kind, as it makes for a VPN service that can only be accessed through the Opera browser. Unlike other VPN providers, which require you to install third party software or browser extensions, Opera VPN Mac comes as a built-in feature in the browser. On top of that, you’ll get free and comprehensive ad-blocking, also built into the browser, but that’s another story for another time.
So, why use Opera VPN for Mac? First and foremost, if you’re looking for privacy while surfing the web without having to pay a dime, there aren’t so many viable options out there. Also, since Opera VPN Mac is enabled from within the browser, it’s exceptionally easy to use, even if you’re not tech-savvy. And, despite being free of charge and offering reasonably-fast unlimited traffic, Opera VPN comes with zero ads and zero nagging; moreover, it doesn’t even require you to sign up for anything.
How to use Opera VPN for Mac
All you have to do is to download the Opera browser, install it, enable the VPN feature by accessing the “Privacy and security” menu in Settings, and that’s about it.
Here’s how to do it, step by step:
- Download and run the Opera browser
- Go to the Preferences menu as per the picture below
- Access the Privacy and Security tab, then find the VPN button at the bottom and enable it (check out the image below):
- After you’ve successfully enabled the VPN feature, you’ll see a blue icon to the left of the browser’s address field labeled VPN:
By clicking on this icon, you can enable or disable the VPN feature instantly, and also choose your preferred location. The default location is Optimal, which seems to work best.
Opera VPN for Mac is the definition of effortlessly simple, and it delivers surprisingly good download speeds (provided you’ve set Optimal location), and minimal setup. And we must emphasize it again: it’s completely free of charge, ad-free and all that, which is a pretty rare thing for freeware.
The user interface is very clear and intuitive, the design is clever and eye-catching, and if you’re already familiarized with the Opera browser, you’ll definitely love the VPN, as it’s basically the same thing.
Speaking of privacy, Opera boasts a no-logs policy, which means that the company does not collect identifiable user personal data. However, be aware that Opera does collect some information, which cannot be connected to you directly (or so they claim). Simply put, Opera does not have a “zero logs policy.” Truth be told, they don’t even pretend to do such a thing in the first place, and that’s to be expected from a free VPN service after all. Here’s from the company’s Terms of Service:
When we collect your data, we associate it with a unique ID and a unique device ID that are generated when you install an Opera product or begin using one of our services. These identifiers are anonymized and cannot be linked to you as an individual person. We also take measures to remove any possible connections between these IDs and other types of personal data.
Since Opera’s VPN is a free product, it’s probable that your metadata is shared (sold) with third parties. Always remember: whenever a digital company offers free stuff, it means that you are the product. In our case, your metadata may be sold to advertisers.
But I’ve saved the best for last: unlike other free VPNs, Opera works with Netflix.
Opera VPN for Mac downsides
There are a few downsides with using Opera VPN for Mac. First of all, it only works for browser generated traffic, hence it’s not a “proper VPN,” but more of an encrypted proxy. What does it mean? Well, the Opera VPN only encrypts and protects web-traffic from your browser. The rest is up for grabs, and by the rest, we’re referring to stand-alone email clients, torrents, video-chat software like Skype (you can use the web-based Skype version to protect the traffic with Opera VPN), etc.
Also, there’s no iOS version, which means you cannot use it on your iPhone. Moreover, the number of servers is very limited. You can only choose between Europe, the Americas, and Asia, with the default location being Optimal, which incidentally works flawlessly even for the pickiest users.
For P2P aficionados, Opera VPN for Mac doesn’t do the job. Because it’s a browser-based VPN, torrenting is not protected by this VPN. Customer support is mostly a “DIY” job, which means searching through the Help Page. However, Opera VPN works flawlessly and is incredibly easy to set up. Hence it’s very probable you’ll never require tech-support. If you do, we suggest checking our Opera VPN troubleshooting page.
Opera VPN for Mac is great for casual users who are looking to enhance their privacy and anonymity on the internet, making for a no-nonsense, browser-based, fast proxy service that’s free of charge, and easy to use. However, those who want full protection should check out for a real VPN for Mac.