How to Set Up and Use the ExpressVPN Mac App – Version 7.x on Mac OS X

You can find out your Mac version by clicking on About This Mac in the Apple menu located in the top-left corner of your screen.

Download the app

Open the Welcome Email you received when you signed up for ExpressVPN. Click the link in the email.

Welcome Email ExpressVPN

If you can’t find the link, sign in to your account here.

sign in to your account expressVPN

Once you’ve clicked the link in the welcome email or signed in to the website, click on Download for Mac. This will start the download for your app.

Download for Mac ExpressVPN

Do not close the window! You will need it for the next step.

If you want to download and run an older version of ExpressVPN, click Show all versions and download the app version you want. You can find the setup instructions for other ExpressVPN Mac apps here.

Get your activation code

To use ExpressVPN on your Mac computer, you will need your activation code.

To copy your activation code to the clipboard, click the copy code icon in the top-right corner of the box containing the code. You will be asked to provide it later.

Get your activation code ExpressVPN

Install the app

Locate the downloaded file on your computer and open it. A window will pop up, saying, “This package will run a program to determine if the software can be installed.” Click Continue, and keep clicking Continue until you reach the Installation Type screen.

Install the app ExpressVPN

After selecting install destination, click Install.

Install ExpressVPN

You will see the following window ONLY if you have installed ExpressVPN on your Mac before. If you don’t see this screen, skip ahead.

  • Select Keep existing account if you are reinstalling ExpressVPN with the same activation code as before.
  • Select Remove existing account and let me switch to another account if you are using a new activation code.

Select your preference and click Continue.

Install ExpressVPN

Wait for the installation to complete, then click Close.

Install ExpressVPN

Set Up ExpressVPN

After the installation is complete, the ExpressVPN app will open automatically. Click Sign In.

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Select your preference and click Continue.

On the ExpressVPN Setup screen, paste your activation code. This is the code you found earlier. You can paste it by pressing Command + V, or right-clicking the rectangular field and clicking Paste. Then click Sign In.

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You’ll be asked if you want ExpressVPN to launch on startup. Select your preference to continue.

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Finally, you’ll be asked if you want to share anonymous diagnostics with ExpressVPN. This helps ExpressVPN continually improve its products and services.

Select your preference and continue.

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Congratulations! You are now ready to access our many VPN server locations.

Connect to a VPN server location

To connect to a VPN server location, click the big red button. By default, ExpressVPN will suggest the location that provides the optimal experience for you, called Smart Location.

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Once you see the “CONNECTED” message on the app screen, you can begin surfing with freedom and security!

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You can add or remove shortcuts to your favorite apps and websites by clicking on the gray (+) icon. This opens the Shortcuts screen.

Click the + sign to add a shortcut, up to a limit of five. To remove a shortcut, highlight it and click the – sign.

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Note: A single ExpressVPN subscription can be used simultaneously on three devices, regardless of platform. If you try to use more than three devices simultaneously on one subscription, you will see the below screen:

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Disconnect from the VPN server location

To disconnect from the VPN server location, click the “Disconnect” button while the VPN is on.

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You will know you are disconnected when the “NOT CONNECTED” message is shown.

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Choose a different VPN server location

To choose a different VPN server location, click on the three dots (…) to access the list of VPN locations.

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To connect to a server location, double-click the location.

The list of VPN locations features three tabs: Recommended, All, and Recents.

The Recommended tab shows you ExpressVPN’s top picks for you to connect to.

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The All tab lists the VPN server locations by region. You can expand and collapse the lists by tapping on the triangular arrowheads.

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The Recents tab has two sections. “Recently Connected” shows the three most recent locations you connected to. “Favorites” shows the locations you have saved as a favorite by clicking the star icon next to the location name.

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You can also search for your desired server location by using the search bar. Inside the search bar, type the name of your desired server location and then double-click the server location in the search results to connect to it.

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After disconnecting from a server location you selected, you can return to your Smart Location (the location recommended for the smoothest experience) by clicking Smart Location.

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Switch to a different VPN protocol

VPN protocols are the methods by which your device connects to a VPN server. Switching to a different protocol can help you achieve faster connection speeds.

To switch to a different protocol, click on the hamburger menu (≡), then click Preferences…. Make sure you’re not connected to the VPN when doing this.

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In the Protocol tab, select the protocol you want to use, then return to the app’s home screen.

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Launch and connect ExpressVPN on startup

To launch and connect ExpressVPN when starting up your Mac:

In the ExpressVPN app, go to Preferences > General.
Under Startup, check the boxes for launching ExpressVPN on startup and connecting to your last used VPN location.

Use the VPN Speed Test

To use the VPN Speed Test, you must be disconnected from the VPN.

Click on the hamburger menu (≡), then click Speed Test.

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On the Speed Test screen, click Run Test. The test will take a few minutes to run.

After the test is finished, select the locations with HIGH Speed Index, LOW Latency, and HIGH Download Speed.

Use Connection Per App (split tunneling)

This feature allows you to decide which apps use the VPN and which apps do not use the VPN when you are connected to ExpressVPN.

Note: You must be disconnected from the VPN to change your split-tunneling settings.

To change your “Connection Per App” settings, click the hamburger menu (≡) and go to Preferences….

Tick the box in the Connection Per App section and click Settings.

From there, you can decide which of your apps will use the VPN and which ones will not use the VPN when you are connected to ExpressVPN.

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Enabling Split Tunneling

Note: The below instructions are only for macOS High Sierra (10.13) users.

Follow the steps above in this section, but when prompted, click Open System Preferences.

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You will see a notification for “System Extension Blocked.” Click OK.

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In System Preferences, click Allow next to System software from developer “ExprsVPN LLC” was blocked from loading. You may need to click the lock icon and enter your password to make changes.

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You will now be able to go back to the app and change the split-tunneling settings.

Optional: Use the Menu Bar

If you don’t want to use the ExpressVPN app via the main window, you can choose to operate it by just using the Menu Bar. This grants almost all of the functionalities of the app as when it is operated by the app window.

To operate the app from the Menu Bar only: On your desktop (while the main app window is displayed), click the ExpressVPN Menu Bar icon and then click Preferences….

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In the Advanced tab, select Menu Bar & Dock.

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You can repeat the steps above to select whether to use ExpressVPN from both the Menu Bar and Dock, from the Menu Bar only, or the Dock only.

Use the Spotlight Search to connect instantly

Mac power users, now you can use the Spotlight Search to connect to your Favorite, Recommended, or Recently Connected server locations instantly.

How to connect instantly via Spotlight Search:
Hit Command (⌘) + spacebar.

In the Spotlight Search, start typing: Connect to [server location name]

Select the location you wish to connect to and press Return, or double-click it.

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This will open the ExpressVPN app and automatically connect you to your server location.

How to disconnect instantly via Spotlight Search
Hit Command (⌘) + spacebar.

In the Spotlight Search, start typing: Disconnect

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This will open the ExpressVPN app and automatically disconnect you from your server location.

Use the ExpressVPN browser extension

If you’re using version 6.4 (or later) of the ExpressVPN app, you can download and use the ExpressVPN browser extension to remotely control the ExpressVPN app from your browser. The extension is currently available for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari.

From your app, click the hamburger menu (≡), select Preferences…, then go to the Browsers tab. Click Get Browser Extension and follow the on-page instructions.

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Note: To use the ExpressVPN browser extension, you need to have the ExpressVPN Mac app (version 6.4 or newer) downloaded and activated. You cannot use the ExpressVPN browser extension without the ExpressVPN app.

Access printer and shared folders on local area network

Some users may experience problems with accessing shared folders and printers on LAN while connected to the VPN.

Uninstall the app

To remove the app from your Mac computer, you must first close the app.

Open Terminal by going to Applications > Utilities > Terminal


Type “yes” when asked, then enter your password to confirm you want to remove the app from your computer.

For assistance, see Network Lock instructions and instructions on adding your printer IP address.

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Close Terminal. ExpressVPN has been removed from your machine.