As a merely 3-year young VPN, Windscribe continues to garner seemingly disproportionate amounts of attention from both fans and skeptics alike. Is it the next flagship of online anonymity, or just a covert mining op run by a bunch of crypto-scammers?
Well, it’s probably neither. What it most definitely is, however, is a damn good VPN for Mac. Still, let’s take a look at what you should know before you buy the Windscribe Mac app.
Why use a VPN for Mac
Contrary to popular belief and Justin Long’s humblebrags in decade-old “Get a Mac” commercials, the many reasons to secure your web traffic are not relegated to PC users alone. In fact, a VPN provides plenty of advantages for Mac users as well.
Installing a VPN on your Mac will allow you to:
- Spoof your IP address and protect your privacy
- Secure your internet traffic wherever you are
- Play region-restricted online games
- Unblock geo-restricted streaming platforms like Netflix
- Bypass bandwidth throttling measures potentially deployed by your ISP
Windscribe is a relative upstart in the VPN industry with a rapidly growing user base and a network of over 480 servers in 60+ countries and 100+ locations.
Despite several privacy scandals in the past and the fact that its parent company is based in Canada (a member of the Five Eyes alliance), Windscribe does not comply with any data requests due to its no-identifying-logs policy and offers a plethora of solid security features.
While not the ideal choice for die-hard anonymity fiends, Windscribe offers all the necessary perks for the general VPN user population. These include great multi-platform support, P2P and torrenting servers, a “stealth” Wstunnel protocol for users in heavily restricted countries, as well as robust geo-unblocking capabilities for fans of Netflix and other online entertainment platforms.
Windscribe has a free version with a limited number of servers and a 10GB bandwidth cap (as well as a past accusation of working as a crypto mining app), a 3-day money-back guarantee, and a Pro version with build-your-own pricing plans.
How to download and install it
To download and install the Windscribe Mac client, visit the Windscribe.com website and click the Download Windscribe button.
In the next screen, click Mac, and the installation image will automatically download to your computer.
Once it’s downloaded, run the image and drag the W icon to your Applications folder.
To use your new Windscribe Mac app, find and click it in your Launchpad. If you want it to run automatically on system startup, change the app settings.
How to use Windscribe on Mac
Using Windscribe on Mac is a breeze. After launching your app, you’ll have to specify if you already have an account. If not, you’ll be redirected to the Windscribe website for the sign-up process.
If you’re a registered user, click Yes and enter your login details.
Once you log on, you’ll see a clean and intuitive home screen with a drop-down server list.
This is where you can simply press the Power button to automatically connect to the best possible location or select a server manually.
Note the Firewall slider beneath Power button: this additional security feature (which is practically a kill switch) should turn on automatically when you connect to a server. However, when it’s enabled, your internet connection will be disabled until you connect to the server of your choice. In other words, it’s a kill switch in all but name.
You can disconnect from the server by clicking the same Power button or change your location by simply clicking your preferred location name in the drop-down list.
Windscribe Mac Preferences
The Windscribe Mac app has a surprisingly wide array of customization options. To find these preferences, click the hamburger icon in the top left of the main screen and select Preferences from the menu.
This is what you’ll see in the Preferences window:
You’ll land in the General tab. This is where you can toggle your usual startup and general behavior settings, such as language, notification, server sorting, and auto-connection preferences.
The Connection tab allows you to choose your preferred VPN protocol and port number, as well as fiddle with DNS preferences. These options are useful in case a certain port is blocked or if you live in a censorship-heavy country that employs Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) to track down your VPN usage.
In the Proxy tab, you can enter your proxy server settings in case you already have one set up in your workplace or at home.
The aptly stated warning tells you to “Don’t touch it unless you know what you’re doing,” which basically means “leave it to your office IT person to do this for you.”
Using the Share tab, you can create a secure proxy server on your LAN network and configure your Smart TV, game console, or any other proxy-capable device to take advantage of your secure connection.
The Debug tab allows you to view and send logs to the Windscribe team in case you’re having problems with your VPN app and have to troubleshoot it.
The Windscribe Mac version has a dedicated button for contacting the support team that you can access by clicking the Help Me! link on the hamburger menu in the upper left corner of the app.
Once clicked, it will take you to the Windscribe support webpage, where you’ll be able to access the knowledge base and the FAQ section, as well as submit a support ticket or “talk” to Garry the support bot in case you have any difficulties or need technical assistance.
Windscribe Mac vs Windows client
While the VPN clients made by some providers have stark differences between their Windows and Mac versions (usually not in the Mac version’s favor), Windscribe’s Windows and Mac apps are pretty much identical.
If you compare the Windscribe Mac client to the Windows app, you’ll see the same options and settings across all the tabs in the Preferences window.
This is something we have to applaud Windscribe for since it’s rare for a VPN provider to offer a Mac app that’s not inferior to the Windows version at least in some aspect, and usually in more ways than one.
The Windscribe Firewall “kill switch” feature deserves a special mention here. Instead of forcing Mac owners to wade through manual setup instructions or use third-party apps to install an OpenVPN client, Windscribe developers have put in the hard work to make sure you have a kill switch built-in for a plug-and-play VPN experience. Kudos, Windscribe!
Windscribe for Mac – your go-to VPN?
Past questionable practices aside, Windscribe is definitely a good choice for Mac users in 2020:
- It’s powerful but easy to use
- It performs well even with a relatively limited server network
- It’s (mostly) torrent-friendly
- It unblocks the Netflix US catalog like a charm
- It works in China and other restricted countries
- There’s an in-built “kill switch”
What else would you want? No wonder it’s sitting in our “Best VPN for Mac” and “Best free VPN for Mac” lists.
That said, it’s not the ideal VPN in general. Like any product in any category, Windscribe has its own problems. But that’s out of the scope of this guide. For a more in-depth look at Windscribe, be sure to read our full Windscribe review.