How to fix unable to connect issues on macOS

In this tutorial, you will learn how to troubleshoot connection issues on your macOS device.


We will go through the following solutions:

  1. Change the installation method
  2. Change the server
  3. Change the connection protocol
  4. Set custom DNS
  5. Disable IPv6
  6. Disable potentially interfering applications

NOTE: Typically, connection problems can be resolved with a few simple steps. However, due to the varying configurations of home, work, and school networks, some of them may have specific restrictions that could prevent the VPN connection from working.

Change the installation method

There are two ways to install Surfshark on your macOS device. The first one is through the App Store, and the second one is by installing it directly with a .DMG installation file, which can be found on the Surfshark VPN for Mac download page.

If you installed Surfshark with the .DMG file from our website and you experience issues with it, try the App Store version and vice versa. Make sure to use the latest version of the app.


Change the server

If restoring the application did not help, double-check to see if you cannot connect to various locations. For example, if you tried connecting to our United States — Detroit server, try our Germany — Berlin server and others.

You might be unable to connect to one particular server as it could be experiencing some issues. If so, please let our Customer Success team know about the location you are struggling to connect to, and our team will take immediate action.


Change the connection protocol

Different VPN protocols use different network ports to connect. That said, you might have a specific port blocked on your home, work, or any other network. Make sure to test all the available protocols in the Surfshark application, as this has a high chance of resolving the issue.

  1. Open the Surfshark application and go to the Settings tab.

  2. Open the VPN Settings tab.

  3. Click on Protocol, and try connecting with all available protocols.


Set custom DNS

Setting custom DNS on any device can change the overall connection, increase the speed, resolve unstable connection issues, or help you connect to the VPN. Check out how to set custom DNS on macOS device.


Disable IPv6

At the moment, Surfshark does not support the IPv6 protocol. Having IPv6 enabled on your network might make it complicated to connect to our servers in some situations. That's why we recommend disabling it for all our customers to improve the overall connectivity experience.

Check out how to disable IPv6 on macOS.


Disable potentially interfering applications

It's possible for your VPN connection to be blocked by your antivirus program or another VPN application installed on your device. In order to avoid this, it's important to disable your antivirus and remove any other VPN applications. Restart your device afterward.

Our VPN application makes minor modifications to your connection settings, which may be flagged as a security threat by some antivirus software, resulting in a blocked connection attempt. Additionally, different VPN applications may use conflicting connection configurations, leading to connection cancellation.

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