iPhones are amazing devices that can allow you to do so many fun and useful things. However, as your smartphone has become more versatile, it also started holding a ton of your personal and private information. To protect that info, you are going to need the best VPN for iPhone.
What is VPN on iPhone? A good VPN for a phone works in the same way as it would on your computer. The biggest difference is that you need it to be active almost all the time. You seldom turn off your phone or disconnect it from networks. Because it is always sending and receiving data, it needs a VPN that can offer protection at all times. You want to find the best VPN on the App Store for what you plan on doing so that you stay safe and private.
There are many VPNs available that claim to be useful for iOS, but some options work far better than others. You want to make sure that your VPN is safe and reliable. It has to have useful features that will help you in every situation. Here are our choices for the best VPN for iPhone and the runner up that will help you enjoy the most out of your VPN experience.
Best VPN for iPhone and iOS
In our opinion, ExpressVPN is the best VPN for iPhone. You can connect to numerous places, with servers in 160 different locations in over 90 countries. It offers lightning-fast speeds, which means you can stream and download what you want without buffering.
It has an abundance of additional features, like dedicated servers for streaming and P2P, split tunneling, Always-On, and a kill switch. With their protocol options and encryption, you will keep your data safe and secure. You can choose your protocols so that you can find the right speed and security for every activity.
Overall, ExpressVPN gives you a nice mix of features, security, and speed. It is capable of doing everything you’ll want to do online. It will provide you with a wonderful experience using a VPN with an iPhone.
Runner Up: NordVPN
We also think that NordVPN is a great option. It connects to over 50 different countries, which still gives you plenty of options for streaming. It offers a ton of useful features like double VPN and dedicated servers for P2P and Onion use.
NordVPN offers advanced and unique protocols for your data encryption. You can choose which of these protocols you use, or the app will pick the useful ones for your activity. These can help make the VPN a very private and secure option.
NordVPN allows you to do everything you want online. It excels at security. Even with fewer options for server locations, you will still gain access to many streaming options. If very tight security is the most important thing you are looking for, then NordVPN is a solid option for you.
Smartphones and Private Data
Cell phones used to be pretty basic devices. They were able to make a phone call and store some contact information. Over time cell phones started adding more data options with text messages, cameras, and other programs, including games. In 1992 the Simon phone changed everything as phones gained the ability to add more data and internet to their phone.
When people started using the internet on the phone, it was just barely functional. Even as late as the early 2000s, You could get a handful of news stories, stock info, or game scores. As the tech got better and people got more comfortable on their devices, People started doing more and more online activities on the phone.
In 2007 the iPhone was introduced to the market. It changed the mobile data landscape. People started using smartphones to do everything. In 2020 nearly 50% of eCommerce purchases were made on smartphones, and that is growing. Ecommerce, banking, bill paying, and money transfers are all done on phones daily now. So extra security and privacy have become very important for your smartphone.
What Makes a Good VPN for iPhone
Security and safety are crucial for your iPhone and iOS devices. You have to find an iOS VPN that gives you helpful options for protection and privacy. You want to look for a few features and options to make sure you get an effective VPN.
An App Available in the App Store
A dedicated app is essential to be the best VPN for iPhone. The dedicated app will work better on your device, and it will offer you more control over the features and benefits of the VPN. Though some VPNs will work on your device even without an app, the app makes the whole thing much more straightforward.
The app should also be available in the App Store. The store helps verify apps, and it has some quality control over what is offered. If the VPN app is only available as an .IPA file online, you should be suspicious. The legitimate VPNs will be able to get a spot in the App Store. An app in the store will be safer for you in almost every situation.
Having a VPN that offers Always-On can help you make sure that your phone stays safe from hackers and data leaks at all times. It will encrypt all info to and from your phone, and it will help you keep your privacy. Your phone is almost always on and connected to networks, so having your VPN stay on can be very helpful.
Always-On makes sure that you know you are connected to the VPN and safer online. The kill switch will stop all internet use on your phone if the VPN goes down for any reason. You can bypass the kill switch, but by doing that, you will know you are not using your VPN. This knowledge gives you have time to stop anything that you would like to keep secure. Knowing when your VPN is on or off gives you more control over your data.
A double VPN allows you to encrypt your data through two different connections. Double VPN offers you even more protection than normal. It also makes everything a little slower because you are encrypting data twice when you send it this way, but it dramatically increases your security. Double VPNs are great for whenever you need to communicate and keep your privacy safe.
Some are probably wondering why every VPN doesn’t offer double, triple, and quadruple VPNs. In theory, that would be incredibly safe, but it is not practical. Even using a double VPN slows down your connection, and at some point, the extra VPNs have diminishing returns. Each VPN after two takes away more speed with only a little extra security.
There are two ways that you get an IP address with a VPN. One is a shared IP address, and the other is static IPs. A shared IP is really good for privacy because you can get lost in a crowd of people using the same address. However, these shared IPs can get you blocked from specific sites. Getting blocked on shared IP is known as the bad neighbor effect. This problem can stop you from using high-security sites like banks and financial logins.
A dedicated IP can help you avoid the bad neighbor effect by giving you a static or dedicated IP address. Static IP is a unique address that you can use to access specific sites. It will help make sure that you can use your VPN when you are most vulnerable online, like banking and making purchases.
Split tunneling allows you to access VPNs servers from your internet connection without going through your network. You can get past third-party restrictions put on your internet by local network administrators. Split tunneling can be really helpful to access connections at work or school where others can block specific sites.
Split tunneling can also allow you to access multiple networks at once. This feature means that you can have your VPN on for specific tasks or activities but still use a local network for others. This feature can be great if you have accountability apps with your work that need to use their network, but you also want access to another network or other internet sites.
Options to Choose VPN Protocol
A protocol is a program VPNs use for encryption. Choosing your protocol is an essential feature in VPNs because it is a big part of what keeps you safe and secure. Specific protocols work better in different situations. There are times you want to maximize speed and minimize security, like when you are streaming video or gaming, Then there are times you want to optimize security, and speed is less of a factor like banking.
To ensure that you can always find the right mix of security and speed, you want to find a VPN that allows you to choose which protocols you are using for specific tasks. Some VPNs offer features that automatically change protocols when they detect your activity. This automatic adjustment can make the VPN easier to use.
Reliable VPN Service
No matter how great a VPN is, it will only protect you if you can turn it on. When you get a VPN, you want to make sure that it has a good history of staying connected.
You also want to make sure that the service has enough bandwidth on the servers you want to access when you want to access them. Some VPNs Offer you more servers where you want, and some offer you better speeds.
It is vital to know that you can easily access the servers when you plan on using them. Some VPNs can get very slow during peak hours at the servers you want to use. If you can look at server stats, you can get an idea of how they are performing, especially when you plan to use them the most.
VPN protocols used on iPhone & iOS
If you are new to VPNs or have a very basic understanding of VPNs, an established, well-supported option would be the easiest to get started with. Get a VPN that has a native iPhone app. However, if you want to go with a less established VPN or one that doesn’t have a specific app, it will work if you have specific protocols and know-how to configure them.
The protocols that work with iPhones are the following:
- Cisco IPSec
If your VPN uses one of these protocols, you will be able to configure it to your iPhone. A native app for a VPN can integrate other protocols, which can add security or speed, but the protocols above will work if you don’t have an app.
The Best VPN for iPhone
Many VPNs work for the iPhone. Almost all have some of the features listed above for being the best iPhone VPN. You want to make sure that you find a VPN that offers all these traits and gives you even more. Identifying what you want to do would be necessary for deciding which one is the best VPN.
NordVPN is a well known and well-respected VPN. It has a native iOS app to work efficiently with your iPhone or iPad. It is known for having one of the fastest VPN networks available, and you can connect to 5,000 servers in 59 countries. You can pick your server, or the app will log you in automatically for easy and secure connections.
NordVPN is incredibly feature-rich. You gain access to TOR and peer to peer servers. It also allows you to use split tunneling and double VPNs. The IKEv2/IPsec security protocol encrypts your data. NordVPN also provides an Always-On option and a kill switch. With that, you gain powerful privacy protection. You can add a static IP address if you need it to access the sites you use.
On this VPN, you can connect up to six devices, which will allow you and your family to stay safer. It is an extremely secure VPN and is wonderful if you plan to use communications that have to be as private as possible.
ExpressVPN has a native app for your iPhone that gives users many options when looking for security and privacy. This VPN uses UDP, TCP, IKEv2, and IPsec encryption protocols. You can pick the one you want to use, or the app will choose it for you so that you have the right protocol for what you are trying to do. They can maximize security or speed, making this VPN one of the fastest options out there. ExpressVPN is one of the most customizable VPNs.
You can connect to 160 different server locations in 94 countries. There are more than 3,000 total servers in the network. The VPN allows you to test server speeds, and then it orders them by the fastest speed. You can use split-tunneling so you can access two different networks at once and bypass third-party restrictions.
ExpressVPN is one of the most versatile VPNs you can get. It has the most server locations to choose from, and it offers excellent security and privacy options. It is designed to help the most significant amount of VPN users, which makes it very useful.
Surfshark is a VPN that offers a native iPhone app, which makes it easy to install and use on your device. You can pick between IKEv2, OpenVPN, WireGuard, and Shadowsocks protocols. These options allow you to find a mix of speed and security for what you are trying to accomplish online. You will be able to log in to over 3,000 servers in 65 countries.
Surfshark has a dedicated IP option, split tunneling, and double VPN features. Surfshark has RAM only servers. The data for these servers is never saved to a disc and is deleted instantly. The RAM servers give you an extra layer of privacy protection. You can turn on Always-On, and it has a kill switch, so you are never using the internet without knowing if the VPN protects you.
Surfshark allows you to have unlimited devices in use simultaneously, so you can keep you and your family safe and secure online. It is also one of the least expensive VPN options available. When saving money is a considerable concern Surfshark is a good choice.
CyberGhost offers you over 6,600 servers in 88 countries. The VPN uses OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard, and L2TP/IPSec, and you can pick the one that works for you, depending on your online activity. There is a native iPhone app. You can use the Always-On options to add protection. You can add a static IP for a fee, and you gain access to split tunneling.
You can see speeds on all of their servers so that you can pick the fastest options. There are dedicated streaming services and peer to peer servers. These servers help you maximize your VPN settings so that you get the fastest speeds and highest security for your activities. You can use up to seven devices at one time.
IPVanish is a VPN that offers protection and speed with a native app for the iPhone. It provides access to over 50 countries, with 1,600 servers in 75 locations. The app helps you connect to the fastest server automatically, or you can pick the area you want to use. The app supports an Always-On option. Knowing if you are connected gives safety and peace of mind.
IPVanish allows you to connect as many devices at one time as you need. That keeps you and your family protected with this service. You can pick from the IKEv2, IPSec, and L2TP protocols depending on what you plan to do online. You gain access to split tunneling, which can help you avoid restrictions. IPVanish also has a secure cloud add-on option that can give you 500GBs of storage.
The Best Free VPN for iPhone
Free VPNs can be great. They offer features that help increase your privacy and security. Some of them provide free VPNs because they believe in creating a safer internet for everyone, and some give free VPNs in an attempt to convince you to purchase their premium VPN once you learn how great they are.
There isn’t a perfect free VPN out there. By their very nature, they all have drawbacks and limitations. These limitations are especially true if you want to download or stream anything with a VPN. However, if you are looking for a free way to make your phone or iOS device safer, some will work. Here are some great options if money is your biggest concern in internet security.
ProtonVPN’s mission is to provide a safer, more secure internet for everyone. To achieve this, they offer unlimited data on their free VPN plan. You can connect to servers in three countries, the Netherlands, Japan, and the US, on the free plan. They have a native iPhone app, which makes them easy to use. With the free version, you get OpenVPN protocols to help encrypt your data and keep you safe.
Even though ProtonVPN has a useful free service, it is not perfect. You only get access to medium speed servers on the free plan. There are no dedicated IP addresses, and you cannot stream or download P2P material at a reasonable rate. When you upgrade, you add many more countries and get access to a ton of useful features.
ProtonVPN is an excellent option if your primary concern is secure communications and web browsing. However, if you want to download P2P, stream shows, or access your banking and financial information with added security, you will have to upgrade to a paid VPN.
Windscribe allows iPhone users access to a secure VPN option in ten countries at no cost. They can use up to 10GBs of data per month if you give an email address and 2GBs of data if you don’t. Windscribe protects your data with OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard, and SOCKS protocols. The native iOS app makes it easy to use with the iPhone.
The biggest downside to this free VPN is the data limit, but ten GBS are not that bad as data limits go. To put it in perspective, you can stream one hour of SD video for one GBs of data. However, you have to spread that over a whole month, and you also have to include the data used for every activity you want to perform online. It’s not perfect, but it is free, and it still offers protection.
TunnelBear is a VPN that has maximized its cuteness factor, offering users a map of server locations featuring cartoons of bears in tunnels. Beyond that, it offers you a native iOS app that uses IPSec protocols that work very well with iPhones. You gain potent encryption and access to over 20 different countries.
Though free TunnelBear seems good, there is a considerable weakness to the plan. You can only use 500 MBs of data a month, or .5 GBs. That is extremely limiting, and it can make it very difficult to use the free VPN option for TunnelBear because of how restrictive it is. Their free version seems to work better as a free trial for the service rather than a legitimate VPN solution.
The Best VPNs for Other iOS Devices
iOS doesn’t just power iPhones. The operating system is the base for iPad, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. Each of these devices needs specific features to use your VPN properly. You will want VPNs to keep each of these safe and let you use them each to their fullest. Here are some of the best iOS VPNs, in our opinion, for each device.
What is VPN on iPad? You’re going to need many of the same features that you use for your iPhone. Security for your browsing and app usage is still paramount. People still shop online, access financial information, and communicate with their iPads. You are also going to want an iPad VPN for Geo-restricted material. VPN for iPad will have to stream videos and media more often.
NordVPN has an easy iPad VPN setup. Just install the app. The VPN allows you to gain access to new libraries of streaming material. It also has fast speed protocols for streaming. You still gain all of the protocols for safety and privacy that you will need for your browsing. It will cover your iPhone well, and it will help you maximize your iPad use. All these features make NordVPN the best VPN for iPad, in our opinion.
Apple Watch – Cyberghost
Apple Watches contain so much of your personal health data. If a third-party gets information from your Apple Watch, they will have access to health data, sleep data, and even how long you wash your hands. You want a VPN for your Apple Watch to be extremely good at keeping your data safe.
Cyberghost has an app that works directly on your Apple watch. It protects your data and helps you keep your privacy online, which is very important for what you are doing with your watch. Cyberghost also unlocks some geo-restricted material. You will be able to stream more music options if you’re working out with your watch and VPN.
Apple TV- ExpressVPN
There are two significant concerns with Apple TV VPNs. First, it has to run on the Apple TV. You can connect ExpressVPN to your Apple TV with smart DNS or with a router VPN. Second, you want it to open up streaming libraries from most places. Express VPN allows users to connect quickly and easily with a Smart DNS. It also opens up the most libraries with its 160 server locations. These features make ExpressVPN a useful option for using an Apple TV.
iPhone Security & Privacy Tips
Even with a VPN, you will want to make sure that you still take other common-sense steps to protect your iPhone and iOS devices. There are many things that you can do to make your phone more safe and secure.
Use a Random Pin
When you set your pin, it should be random. It shouldn’t be numbers that are important to you. Dates that apply to you are not good, including birthdays or anniversaries. You also don’t want to reuse pins or use numbers connected to you in other ways like phone numbers or social security numbers. That makes it too easy to bypass your pin.
Use Unique Passwords
Everyone has fallen for the convenience of using the same password across multiple platforms at some point. It is easy to start that habit, but it makes you much less secure. If one of your accounts is accessed, every account with that password will become vulnerable.
One of the ways to fix this problem is to get a reliable password manager. It allows you to keep track of your unique passwords with ease. They will remember your passwords for you, and they will even fill in your information if you are logged on to the password manager on your iPhone.
Use Credible Apps
One of the biggest threats to your security is the apps that you download yourself. You want to make sure that the apps you are downloading do what they claim to do. Some apps claim to be certain things, like games, media players, and browsers, but their real purpose is to steal your information, create doors for hackers to access, or spy on you with your iPhones own camera and microphone.
Before downloading any app, you want to research it and make sure that it is safe to use. If you can find it reviewed by a trustworthy site, that can also help show that it is secure. Things like download statistics can help you learn about the app. Some will try to mimic popular apps, but they might not be what they claim if they have low download numbers.
Pay Attention, and Control Your App Permissions
Even if you download a useful and trustworthy app, they sometimes want to access information or programs that they don’t need access granted. By paying attention, you can stop them from gaining abilities on your iPhone that aren’t useful for what they are supposed to do.
Whenever you download a new app, check what permissions they are asking to use. Correct permissions will limit the app from misusing information and data. The fewer things with access to your information will help keep you safer by avoiding mistakes and abuse.
Now that you have compared the best VPN iOS options, in our opinion, you will be able to find the one that works for your specific needs. Remember to look for a VPN that will handle all the things you are interested in while still protecting your information.
ExpressVPN offers great speeds, useful features, and most server locations. These abilities make it our pick for the best overall option out there for your iPhone VPN. The Best VPNs for iPhones will help keep you safe on the internet so you can enjoy your phone to its fullest.
Avoid Free Unknown VPNs From the App Store
If you decide to use a free VPN for iPhone, you will want to do some additional research on them. There are many stories about VPNs stealing and selling all your information. Selling your info is how they make their money. By its very nature, an untrustworthy VPN can learn everything about you and your internet habits.
VPNs should be very transparent with information about the company. You can often find third-party reports about their security, and if not, there should still be information on their privacy policies and where they keep their jurisdiction. If you have a hard time finding information about the VPN, it is probably safer to avoid them altogether.
Choosing a VPN can be a daunting task because the security of your data depends on which platform you choose. To help you make the most educated decision, here are our answers to some commonly asked questions.