ExpressVPN releases M1 and M2-compatible Mac apps

Apple devices being used at a desk
(Image credit: Marta Filipczyk/Unsplash)

ExpressVPN, which we rate as the best VPN, has released the latest version of its Mac VPN client. ExpressVPN for Mac is now designed to work natively on newer devices with M1 or M2 chips. 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 now uses a universal binary code, so even older Macs can use the app with any issues. However, because the M-series chips are so new, many Mac apps aren’t designed to directly run on these modern processors. Instead, unoptimized Mac apps have to be translated by third-party software, known as Rosetta 2, in order to work.

This causes the software to run slower and less efficiently, so having native compatibility is essential for maximizing the potential of Apple's new silicon chips.

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. Essentially, the CPU is the brain of a computer.

Over the last two years, Apple has begun manufacturing its own CPUs knows as M-series chips. The first one, dubbed M1, was released at the end of 2020 and was a little buggy and a bit slower than Intel CPUs. However, 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, which improved performance. 

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 lower battery usage.

Until now, ExpressVPN hasn’t been fully compatible with M1 and M2 chips. As with most Mac applications, 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.

Other VPNs optimised for M1 and M2

ExpressVPN is one of the most widely known VPN providers in the world. It has an huge 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. Another company to swiftly offer a native M1 VPN was Surfshark, which released its updated app 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.

Remarkably, 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.

Nikki Johnston
Commissioned Editor

Nikki is a commissioned editor for Future Plc covering internet security including antivirus and VPN. With over 18 years of research and writing experience, and 11 years of testing and reviewing internet security solutions, Nikki 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.