Today we're releasing VPN Tracker 365 version 21, better known as 'the Big Sur release'.
- VPN Tracker 365 for macOS Big Sur is now available!
- VPN Tracker 365 version 21 offers full support for macOS 11 and upcoming Apple Silicon Macs, as well as some key behind the scenes changes.
- Download the latest version here
It's been a busy few months re-building VPN Tracker to get things ready for today, so we wanted to share some of the behind the scenes with you. Let's dive in…
Behind the scenes of VPN Tracker 365 version 21
For a few years now, Apple has been encouraging developers to stop using so-called Kernel Extensions (KEXT) – bits of code that can run at the lowest levels of the OS.
VPN Tracker used a KEXT to receive, decrypt and send network packets at a low level, in order to be able to do more advanced routing and create non-standard packets required to work with certain VPN gateways.
At WWDC 2020, Apple announced macOS Big Sur – along with several new and updated APIs – and without support for Kernel Extensions.
But did Big Sur have the new APIs we needed to build a KEXT-less version of VPN Tracker?
An all new VPN engine
VPN Tracker 365 supports 5 different VPN protocols: IPsec, L2TP, SonicWALL SSL, OpenVPN and PPTP. Unlike some VPN apps that repackage 3rd party libraries, VPN Tracker 365 is the only VPN client that has custom protocol implementations. This allows VPN Tracker to fully manage your VPN connection and makes multiple connections work together seamlessly.
To get VPN Tracker 365 ready for Big Sur, we needed to re-architect the entire app using the new APIs – kind of like ripping the engine out of a car and replacing it with an entirely new motor.
Our team has been working on the new update since June and after a long beta period, we've successfully got most VPN protocols working perfectly with macOS Big Sur – we're still putting the final touches on PPTP support, which we hope to have ready shortly.
Sign up to email updates and get informed when PPTP support for Big Sur is available in VPN Tracker:
One more thing…
Apple will announce Macs using Apple processors today… and VPN Tracker 365 is ready. We've built the new version to run natively on Apple Silicon, so you'll get the full performance of your VPN from day one.
Nitty Gritty Details
- The new VPN engine uses a modern XPC-based architecture to allow the various VPN protocols to talk to the main app and each other
- With the new System Extension APIs, we're still able to support complex IPsec VPN devices that aren't supported by any other VPN client on the Mac, including SonicWALL with Simple Client Provisioning and devices that only support old NAT-T standards
- We've updated the UI for macOS Big Sur with slightly lighter colors, a new-look app icon, and new preference icons for a fresher feel
- The new VPN engine architecture is only used under macOS Big Sur – macOS Catalina and below still use the tried and tested VPN engine optimized for those OS versions (though with a newer version)
- VPN Tracker's versioning is now easier: it's just plain old "21", the "365" is no longer part of the version number you'll see in the Finder
- The first time you launch the new version, you'll need to install an updated VPN engine and go through some setup steps
- For admins managing teams using MDM software, note that you'll need to add Team ID "MJMRT6WJ8S" to your allowed list of System Extension providers
Get it today
The new version will be rolled out to existing customers via an in-app update over the next week and can be downloaded immediately.
And that wraps up our major new version – we're excited to get this version out in time for macOS Big Sur and look forward to your feedback!
Your VPN Tracker Team
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VPN Tracker securely connects thousands of Macs worldwide with VPNs every day. VPN Tracker was developed from the ground up in our head office in Munich. You can trust in our long experience working with advanced VPN technology.