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Time for an ExpressVPN Mac update: Latest version compatible with M-series chips

All Mac devices

(Image credit: Marta Filipczyk@Unsplash)

ExpressVPN, our highest rated VPN, has released the latest version of its Mac program. ExpressVPN for Mac is now designed to work natively on newer devices with M1 or M2 chips without first being translated by a third-party program. According to ExpressVPN, the app “works even more seamlessly on the newest Mac computer model, allowing users to enjoy a performance boost along with lower battery consumption.”

ExpressVPN for Mac uses a universal binary code, so even older Macs can use the program with any issues. Other important feathers of ExpressVPN for Mac include servers in 94 different countries, enhanced DNS leak protection, and split tunnel capabilities. ExpressVPN is also available in 16 different languages.

 What are Apple’s M1 and M2 chips?

For years, Apple, along with most of the tech world, used Intel CPU chips in its devices. CPUs streamline all the processes within the computer, manage memory, instruct other parts of the device how to do its job, and keeps everything powered up. In a way, the CPU is the brain of a computer.

Over the last two years, Apple has begun manufacturing its own CPUs knows a M-series chips. The first one, dubbed M1, was released at the end of 2020, was a little buggy and a bit slower than Intel CPUs. But it was also a good starting point for Apple to learn more about what was needed in real-life applications. Over the next year Apple released M1 Pro and M1 Max. The latest chip, M2, was released this last June. So far it has been an impressive upgrade to the M1 chips with faster process times and less battery usage.

Because the M-series chips are so new, many Mac apps aren’t designed to directly run on these processors. Instead, Mac programs have to be translated by a third-party program, known as Rosetta 2, in order to work. In some ways, it’s similar to running an iPhone 10 app on an iPhone 13. Users can get some benefit from the program, but will likely notice some lag, differences in operations, and some lack of functionality. Once a 10 version is available, the entire program works as it should.

Until now, ExpressVPN hasn’t been fully compatible with M1 and M2 chips. As with most Mac programs, when installed, users would be prompted to also download and set up Rosetta 2. ExpressVPN’s latest release means Mac users have full access to its features and functions without the need for extra steps or programs.

 Other VPNs optimised for M1 and M2

ExpressVPN is one of the most widely known VPN companies in the world. It has an impressive user base and has been providing privacy protection since 2009. However, it isn’t the first to offer an M-series native VPN.

NordVPN first released its native M1 version in August 2021, a full year ahead of ExpressVPN. Because it was already supporting Mac at the basic level, it wasn’t hard to tweak it to run seamlessly with other M chips as they were released.

Another early company to offer a native M1 VPN was SurfShark VPN, which released its program in May 2021. As with ExpressVPN and NordVPN, SurfShark used a universal code to ensure easy updates and quick compatibility for other M-series chips.

The earliest M1 native VPN client to be released was from VyprVPN. This app was released in March 2021 and is also now compatible with other Apple M chips.

Nicole Johnston

Nicole is a commissioned editor for TechRadar covering internet security solutions. With over 17 years of research and writing experience, and 10 years of testing and reviewing internet security solutions, Nicole knows how to dive deep to get the information consumers need to make better buying decisions. She is also a mom to 10 children, and personally uses many of the products she reviews to ensure the safety of her own family. 

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