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Even if you think that your Mac is completely immune from online security threats (they're not, by the way, as ZombieLoad recently once again proved), there are loads of reasons why downloading and installing a Mac VPN is becoming an ever more popular thing to do on Apple computers.
Whether it's because you're trying to use your Mac to access websites that are blocked by your office, school or ISP (or even your government!) or just want to watch foreign TV shows, getting a Virtual Private Network makes sense.
And because Apple’s desktop computers and MacBooks are being increasingly targeted by cybercriminals, it never pays to let your guard down. Getting the best Mac VPN you can is a good option to help give you extra online security.
As well as competent antivirus, folks with a Mac need a quality VPN just as much as anyone on Windows – although not every one of the best-rated VPN options provides a client or satisfactory support for macOS users. However, if you’re stuck as to which provider to go with, help is at hand with TechRadar's dedicated best Mac VPN guide.
- Check out our guide to the overall best VPN service of the year
The best Mac VPN 2019
Number of servers: 3000+ Server locations: 160 IP addresses: 30,000 Maximum devices supported: 312 months
ExpressVPN is our top choice for the best all-round VPN on the Mac. The firm's dedicated app is intuitive and very user-friendly, featuring a one-click option for connecting, as well as some advanced options.
It uses 256-bit encryption over OpenVPN UDP by default and the app comes with a kill switch and split tunnelling functionality.
There’s also a very good iOS app and Safari browser extension, so you get a complete Mac VPN experience. More than that, Express's advanced features (and their in-depth tutorials) are great for Apple users. For instance, if your Mac connects to the internet by a wired connection, you can set it up as a wireless hotspot for your local devices, allowing them to connect via the VPN without having to be set up for ExpressVPN themselves.
ExpressVPN includes fast VPN servers across 94 countries and unlimited bandwidth. That makes for a solid choice for anyone using the VPN for P2P traffic or unblocking content on streaming services like Netflix.
The provider is a tad pricier than most other VPNs, but may be a great fit for those who want the best experience for Mac. ExpressVPN doesn’t come with a free trial, but there is a 30-day money-back guarantee for reassurance.
The company offers three price plans, with the 12-month plan offering the best value (you get an extra three months into the bargain). The packages available are:
Get the best Mac VPN 2019: $6.67 per month (with 3 months FREE)
You can tell that we really rate Express - it's the VPN we'd choose if we were getting one and it's hard to argue with the provider's 30-day money-back guarantee. And the good news is that TechRadar readers can get a little perk when they sign up, too. ExpressVPN has agreed to give readers three months extra FREE when they sign up for a year.
Number of servers: 3,600+ Server locations: 60+ IP addresses: N/A Maximum devices supported: 736 months
We found that Mac VPN provider CyberGhost certainly has the smarts to easily back up its claims. Let's start with the basics: more than 3,600 servers spread across 60 countries, no bar on torrents and some really handy live chat support if you ever run into difficulties.
Guaranteed no logs, rigorous encryption and a trigger-happy kill switch for any breaches in security mean it's certainly strong. But it's the added little extras that make CyberGhost stand out from the rest. Wanting to unlock Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, YouTube or something else? No worries, as CyberGhost will automatically connect you to the server best poised for the purpose. It can also block ads, trackers and malicious websites.
CyberGhost has recently improved its interface - previously one of main gripes with this Mac VPN. Now that only gives us room to moan about the odd bit of clogging, which lead to reduced speeds from servers in the far reaches of the globe. There's still room for improvement on website-based support pages, too - an area where ExpressVPN has everybody else licked.
- CyberGhost VPN subscription options:
- 12 month plan - $5.99 per month ($71.88 total cost)
- 1 month plan - $12.99 per month ($12.99 total cost)
Number of servers: 5400+ Server locations: 60+ IP addresses: N/A Maximum devices supported: 636 months
When it comes to security, NordVPN does it like no other. Its own ‘Double VPN’ technology encrypts data twice – in other words, it passes your data through two separate VPN servers to make things even more secure – while there are additional security extras such as encrypted chat, web proxy extensions and so on.
NordVPN’s clients for both macOS and iOS are rather basic compared to others, but keeping things simple can be advantageous for novices.
That's not to say that you don't have options...NordVPN gives Mac users more choice than the average provider, with an IVEv2 version of its client available on the App store, and an OpenVPN version available directly from the NordVPN website. And that's not all-- you can also manually set up to use OpenVPN without installing either of the clients.
This provider is also P2P-friendly and has a strict ‘zero logs’ policy. Performance was slightly above average in our testing.
There's a free 7-day trial, and otherwise NordVPN is one of the most affordable VPN options for your Mac. The packages available are:
- NordVPN subscription options:
- 36 month plan - $2.99 per month ($107.64 total cost)
- 12 month plan - $6.99 per month ($83.88 total cost)
- 1 month plan - $11.95 per month ($11.95 total cost)
Number of servers: 1300+ Server locations: 60+ IP addresses: 40000+ Maximum devices supported: 1012 months
The Mac app from IPVanish features a nifty design and a few welcome options like a kill switch and automatic IP switching. The US VPN is blazingly fast, and it’ll automatically hook you up to the fastest server available, a nice touch on the convenience front. Not only are download speeds fast with this VPN, it allows P2P.
OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP protocols are supported, and there’s also decent iOS support and a wide coverage of servers, with no logging of the user’s activities.
IPVanish doesn’t have a free trial, sadly, although there is a 7-day money-back guarantee with all three available plans. The 1-year subscription is clearly the best choice in terms of outright value. The packages available are:
- IPVanish subscription options:
- 12 month plan - $4.87 per month ($58.44 total cost)
- 3 month plan - $6.75 per month ($20.25 total cost)
5. Hotspot Shield
A great option for online privacy
Number of servers: 2,500+ Server locations: 50+ IP addresses: N/A Maximum devices supported: 536 months
The premium offering from Hotspot Shield is a great mix of price and privacy. The prices start low and we found in our tests that its encryption was strict in ensuring your anonymity online will be protected.
Plus, thanks to its pretty cool sounding Catapult Hyrda protocol, it recorded some of the fastest times of any VPN as well. So if the main reason for installing a VPN on to your Mac is for gaming or streaming, then you shouldn't be dogged with laggy interruptions that some lesser Virtual Private Networks can cause.
And then there's the numbers. For a start, you can connect up to 5 devices simultaneously from one account - so that's your Mac, smartphone (iOS or Android), Smart TV and games console with room for something else on top. Hotspot Shield has access to more than 2,500 servers across 25 countries and offers 24/ 7 support. The 7-day trial and 45-day money back guarantee makes Hotspot even more attractive to try, and these are its current plans in full:
- AnchorFree Hotspot Shield subscription options:
- 36 month plan - $2.99 per month ($107.64 total cost)
- 12 month plan - $5.99 per month ($71.88 total cost)
- 1 month plan - $12.99 per month ($12.99 total cost)
How to choose the best Mac VPN
It’s not always easy to find a Mac-friendly VPN. Obviously enough, it’s important to choose a provider that offers a pre-configured client for its service. Having a good Mac client is a huge boon in terms of simply making things as easy as possible. Solid iOS support is also a welcome feature if you’re heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem and have an iPhone as well as a Mac.
- Ready to make the switch from Mac? Check out the best 2-in-1 Windows laptops
- Looking for a freebie? Then here's our pick of the best free VPN providers
- Get more from your Mac - these are our pick of the best Mac apps in 2019
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Email is, in many ways, the hub of modern life. Finding the best email app for your needs is key to a having a more manageable and productive digital experience, whether you're communicating with friends or restoring forgotten passwords. With Google's recent announcement that it will pull the plug on Inbox by Gmail in March 2019, and both Newton and Astro meeting their makers even sooner, you may be in the market for a replacement.
The best email apps help you manage the most important aspects of your digital life without making them more complicated. Some let you turn your inbox into a to-do list. Others are deeply customizable, giving you greater control. What makes the best email apps different from one another, and which one is right for you?
What Makes a Great Email App?
For this list of the best email apps, we only considered email clients, leaving out email services and email assistant apps. An email client is a piece of software you install on your computer or mobile device to access email, even if that email is hosted by another service. An example is the Mail app that comes pre-installed on iOS devices. By way of the Mail app, you can access a Gmail account and a Yahoo Mail account. Gmail and Yahoo Mail in this case would be email services, which we did not consider for this list of the best email apps. Client apps almost always let you access multiple email accounts, giving you the option to see all your messages in one consolidate view.
We also homed in on email apps for personal use, which nixed from consideration a few apps that tend to be more prominent in the business world, such as Microsoft Outlook (desktop app) and IBM Notes. They both have their place among email aficionados but tend to be more well suited for organizations than individuals.
As mentioned, we did not consider email assistant apps, or services that work within your existing email to make it better in some targeted way. An example is SaneBox, a service that works inside your existing email service to automatically sorts incoming messages (among other things). Another example is Boomerang, which adds new features and tools to Gmail and Outlook that help improve your writing and help you remember when to follow-up on messages. Both these apps are highly capable, but they aren't clients and so they weren't considered for this list.
There can be some confusion about email clients and services, however, because some apps cover both ground. Gmail, for instance, is not just an email service but also has a mobile email client app by the same name. The Gmail mobile app lets you read and reply to messages from not only your Gmail account, but also your Yahoo Mail address, Microsoft Office 365 account, and others.
In addition to being email clients, the apps in this list meet other criteria, such as being in a state of full release. In other words, no beta products allowed. (Don't worry. We have an eye on some of the more interesting email apps in the works, such as Pigeon and Superhuman. But we can't accurately assess them until they're fully released.) Ease of use played a major role in our decision-making, as did stability. We also looked for apps that had at least one standout feature or reason for choosing it, which is listed in the 'best for' line in each app's description below. Finally, if you're in search of an app with a specific feature in mind, see the comparison table at the end of this article.
When it comes to email apps, there's no reason you can't choose several to use for different purposes. You might have one app you adore installed on your personal computer, something else for work email, and yet another on your phone. Which ones you choose will depend on how you like to interact with your email and what you do with it. Whatever the case, the best email apps have you covered.
The 15 Best Email Apps
- Airmail (iOS, macOS)
- Edison Mail (Android, iOS)
- eM Client (Windows)
- Front (Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, web)
- Gmail for Mobile (Android, iOS)
- Mail and Calendar by Microsoft (Windows)
- Mail by Apple (iOS, macOS)
- Mailbird (Windows)
- MailMate (macOS)
- Outlook Mobile (Android, iOS)
- Polymail (iOS, macOS, web)
- Postbox (macOS, Windows)
- Spark (iOS, macOS)
- Spike (Android, iOS)
- Thunderbird (Linux, macOS, Windows)
Airmail (iOS, macOS)
Best email app for customizing your inbox
Airmail started out as a simple email app, but over time, it grew with features, and today it's one of the most powerful email client apps available. Customizable notifications make sure you only get alerts when you receive emails from your most important contacts. Swipe gestures are also customizable. Airmail can help you write faster, with built-in templates for your most-used responses. And, it works with your favorite productivity apps, including Fantastical, Evernote, OmniFocus, Dropbox, and others.
Price: $4.99, $9.99
Edison Mail (Android, iOS)
Best email app for categorizing messages automatically
Edison Mail is a mobile email client app designed to give you assistance with sorting and organizing your email. It can automatically sort incoming messages into appropriate groups, such as messages that contain tracking numbers for shipping, those pertaining to subscriptions, and receipts. An undo-send button gives the app universal appeal, and option to turn off read receipts make Edison even more valuable to people to like to be in control of their email. Don't confuse this app with the Edison Assistant (formerly called EasilyDo or Smart Assistant by EasilyDo), as the latter is does more to help you organize your life beyond email alone.
eM Client (Windows)
Best email app for merging email, calendar, contacts, tasks
If you're looking for a powerhouse of an email app for Windows, eM Client is a great option. It not only combines email, calendar, contacts, and tasks in one place, but also supports touch interfaces. While the price for a Pro account may sound a little steep, eM Client offers some functionality that's rarely found in other email apps, such as language translation. That's reason enough to choose eM Client if you frequently send and receive messages in multiple languages and aren't fluent in all of them.
Price: free; $49.95 for Pro
Best email app for team collaboration
Front app lets teams manage a single inbox collaboratively. With Front, you connect shared inboxes, such as catchall addresses like [email protected], and then anyone with access can answer or assign messages for other people on the team to answer. Front also lets you connect social media accounts, which teams may also tend to collaboratively.
Price: from $15/month per person, minimum 2 people
Gmail Mobile (Android, iOS)
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Best email app for searching and organizing messages
While Gmail is the gold standard among webmail services, its mobile app is surprisingly light on features. But that's not the deciding factor on whether to choose the Gmail app for your phone. The real selling point of this app is how fast and capable it is at searching even the most bloated inboxes. When you use it with a Gmail account (or two; it supports multiple Gmail addresses), you get the same great options for automatically sorting mail into tabs that the service creates for you: Primary, Social, and Updates. With limitless ways to sort mail with filters and labels and exceptional spam filtering, Gmail makes it a breeze to see your most important messages quickly.
Mail and Calendar by Microsoft (Windows; mobile equivalent is Outlook Mobile)
Best email app for keeping email simple
Mail and Calendar by Microsoft is a Windows desktop app that keeps email simple. Formerly called Outlook Express, this app covers the basics of email without adding excessive features. It offers threaded email conversations, notifications, and flags to mark your most important messages, along with Outlook-style calendar integration. It's also touch-enabled. If you're a Windows users who prefers to not be distracted by added features, it's a good option.
Mail by Apple (iOS, macOS)
Best email app for annotating images, signing documents
The Mail app that comes preinstalled on iOS devices and most Macs may seem like a basic email client, but its simplicity belies the powerful tools under the hood. With its Markup tools, you can add annotations to images and sign documents right from your inbox. You can also use Apple's Mail Drop feature (the same one that works with iCloud) to send extremely large attachments without it eating into your allotted email storage space.
Price: included with Mac and iOS devices
Best email app for increasing productivity with integrations
Mailbird is a Windows email app with a contemporary design. You can personalize your inbox with custom layouts and sidebar themes. It also includes integration options with popular productivity apps, such as Asana, Todoist, Slack, and others. While rich with features, such as the ability to snooze messages until later and automated scrolling for speed readers, some advanced capabilities are restricted to higher tiers of service. For example, an undo send option is only available to Mailbird Business subscribers.
Price: free limited version, $12/year for Pro, $59 for lifetime Pro, $20/month per person for Business
Best email app for composing in markdown
Well suited for those who love plain text and keyboard shortcuts, MailMate lets you jump through your inbox without lifting your fingers from the keyboard. It also supports Markdown formatting and unique views, such as the ability to surface all messages that are similar to the message you're currently viewing. MailMate is perhaps the best Mac email app for power users who value plain text over features such as snooze and undo send.
Outlook Mobile (Android, iOS)
Best email app for viewing a focused inbox
While the Outlook desktop app is as powerful as it is bloated with features, the Outlook Mobile app offers quite a different experience. When you use it with a Microsoft email account, you can take advantage of its Focused Inbox view, which automatically finds emails that are likely to be important to you and filters out other distracting messages, keeping them in a tab called Other. The Outlook mobile app also has customizable swipe gestures for deleting, archiving, marking as read, flagging, moving, and snoozing messages (the snooze function is actually called 'schedule,' but it would be snooze in any other app).
Polymail (iOS, macOS, web)
Best email app for collaborating with a sales team
Polymail's strong suit is that you can use it collaboratively, especially among sales teams. Create email templates, for example, and you can share them with everyone on a team. For groups that use Salesforce, you can connect the two apps and get information you need from Salesforce while writing messages. Teams can also track email stats together to see how much time everyone spends in their inboxes, or how likely each person is to get a reply. Another great feature is Polymail's ability to watch and report back when recipients open your messages, and who among them downloads attachments you send. You'll also notice in the chart below that Polymail is packed with features, everything from the ability to snooze a message until later to an undo send button.
Price: free; paid plans from $13/month
Postbox (macOS, Windows)
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Best email app for organizing multiple inboxes
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Since its inception as a spin-off of Mozilla's Thunderbird, Postbox has grown into a powerful app, rich with options for keeping your mail organized. A tabbed interface lets you keep multiple messages open at once. Tags and folders help you categorize and sort mail. Another stellar capability is how Postbox can display a contact info sidebar, letting you dig into the detail about the sender. There's a lot to explore in this powerful and well designed app.
Spark (iOS, macOS)
Best email app for cutting down time spent in email
Every email doesn't need a lengthy reply. Sometimes a thumbs-up or crying face is all you need. With Spark, that's all you have to send, and in the end, that saves you time. After you read an email, tap Quick Reply to send an instant emoji response and archive the message in one step. Spark also saves you time in how it handles calendar invitations. Instead of a standard invite email, Spark shows you a preview of the event in your calendar with Accept and Reject options. This app has a wealth of other features, too, such as undo send, snooze, reminders, and more.
Spike (Android, iOS)
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Best email app for making email more like messaging
If you prefer text messaging or team chat to email, Spike (formerly Hop) is worth a try. This email client for Android and iOS devices turns message threads into chat-like conversations, so your emails look less like a verbose expanse of text and more like what you see in iMessage or WhatsApp, with GIFs, voice memos, one-tap image sharing, and everything else you'd expect in a chat app. And similar to team chat apps, Spike lets you create channels for organizing conversations around a certain topic. Spike works best when you use it to message with other people who are also using it, too.
Thunderbird (Linux, macOS, Windows)
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Best email app for working in tabs
From the makers of Firefox comes an email application that copies one of the best features of web browsers: tabs. Thunderbird isn't the only email client to use a tabbed interface, but it is one of the best. When you quit the app, Thunderbird saves your open tabs and reloads them the next time you launch it. An extensive collection of add-ons let you expand what Thunderbird can do.
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Originally published 2 June 2015 by Paula DuPont; updated in 2017 and 2018 with new apps and current information. Zapier senior writer and editor Matthew Guay contributed to this article.