If you're looking for an iPhone VPN, but are overwhelmed by the choices available on the app store, you're in the right place. In this guide, we'll cover the best VPNs to use on iPhone and iOS to protect your device online.
What are the best VPNs for iPhone & iOS?
These are the top VPNs we recommend for iPhone and iOS today:
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As highly praised as Apple is for its vigilance against the government's intrusive attempts to surveil iOS devices, the only way iPhone and iPad users can get true privacy is by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
Not only does an iOS VPN app ensure your digital privacy by preventing authorities and your internet service provider (ISP) from tracking you, it can also improve security on public Wi-Fi, and help you access websites and watch content blocked in your location.
Update: iOS 14
iOS 14 is here! This update brings a whole host of helpful features to help protect your privacy. Want to know more? Click here to see what's new!
Before we recommend a VPN for iPhone or iPad, we make sure:
- It's secure & private
- It has fast VPN speeds
- It offers easy to use and set up iOS apps
- It has a large server network
- It's good value for money
Only VPN services that can meet all the above criteria are eligible for inclusion in our list. So, now we what makes a VPN for iOS stand out, let's take a look at the providers we'd recommend!
The best VPN for iOS (iPhone and iPad) in 2020
This is a full list of all the VPNs we recommend using for iOS devices (iPhone & iPad):
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Which is the fastest VPN for iPhone and iOS?
Speed is always going to be an important consideration when comparing VPNs – particularly if you want to game, torrent or stream. To help you understand how fast our recommended iOS VPN apps are, we run daily speed tests on them. You can view the most recent results in the table below.
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How do we decide on the best VPNs if you're using iOS?
There are hundreds of VPN providers on the market – but it's important to understand that not all of them are safe. Some will have poor privacy policies that allow them to collect user data. Others will have concerning apps and invasive permissions.
The other thing is that a secure VPN may not have apps that run well on iPhones and iPads, either. Apple's iOS is generally under-represented when it comes to VPN apps, so finding a good one can be tricky.
When we search for the best VPNs to use, we consider several important factors:
- The log policies of the company – No logs make sure your personal information stays private.
- Connection speeds – A fast VPN is needed for data-intensive tasks like streaming or video calling.
- Server locations – Reliable, quality servers in key locations are essential for unblocking geographically-restricted content.
- Security features – Robust encryption, DNS leak protection & Kill switches to keep you anonymous.
- Ease of use – Of course, the app needs to be slick, user-friendly, fast, and well-built.
- Compatibility with different versions of iOS – Ability to use on older iPhones and iPads.
- Money-back guarantee length – Lets you test the service before fully committing.
- Simultaneous connections – Allows you to share and protect all your iOS devices.
All of our recommended VPN services have been hand-picked, primarily because they perform excellently in the categories mentioned above. And, if you have more specific needs, you can check out our summaries and reviews to see how each VPN fared when put to the test.
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What is a VPN on iOS?
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It's a versatile piece of tech that can hide your location while encrypting your web traffic inside a secure VPN tunnel.
With a VPN, you'll have access to much more online freedom on your iPhone. You can achieve this by using your VPN to geo-spoof your location, which enables you to pretend to be in a different country as soon as you connect to a foreign server. You'll be able to access websites that are currently blocked in your location or check out geo-restricted streaming libraries from around the globe. Plus, a VPN gives you peace of mind, keeping your data secure from hackers and government snoops.
This is a very brief overview of what a VPN is, but you can find out more information in our what is a VPN? guide.
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What can you do with a VPN for iPad and iPhone?
By using a VPN, iPhone and iPad users can:
- Bypass censorship and access geo-restricted content.
- Stream and download movies securely. Find out how with our guide to safely downloading torrents on your iPhone.
- Stop your ISP tracking your web habits and collecting metadata on behalf of the government.
- Encrypt all your data to stop it from being hacked on public WiFi.
- Access streaming sites currently blocked in your region, such as US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and countless other online services.
For more information, check out our guide to streaming US Netflix on your iPhone.
Still not convinced? We recommend checking out our Do I need an iPhone VPN? guide to find other ways that you could benefit.
iOS 14 privacy enhancements
iOS 14, Apple's newly released mobile operating system for iPhone and iPad, is chock-full of excellent security enhancements that will work perfectly hand-in-hand with your VPN for iOS in optimizing your privacy.
There's one new feature in particular that created waves after Apple released iOS 14's developer beta: it notifies the user if an app or widget accesses any content a user copies to their clipboard. Whilst testing the beta, researchers found that TikTok (and plenty of other apps) had no business accessing clipboard data, but had been doing so, anyway. This new iOS feature provides much-needed transparency into what apps are secretly doing while you're using your phone.
Approximate and precise location data
Another useful feature introduced in iOS 14 allows users to decide whether to provide apps for their precise location or instead, their approximate, general location. Of course, users can still disable location services entirely for any app they choose, but the option to provide only an approximate location can be very helpful in certain use cases. It's obviously beneficial to provide your precise location to your maps app so that you can receive accurate directions, but for your weather app, for example, it's not absolutely necessary to provide your precise location. An approximate location will be more than enough for a weather app to show you the weather around where you are located.
Private addresses for WiFi
When it comes to protecting your privacy, the new option to use a private address when connecting to WiFi is especially beneficial. If you enable this setting, it'll prevent network administrators – and others – from monitoring what you do on your iPhone. This is particularly advantageous if you plan to use public WiFi, and pairs excellently with your VPN's ability to protect your privacy on public WiFi networks.
Other helpful features
Another outstanding security feature has been bundled into the iOS 14, giving users the option to only share specific photos with apps, and an indicator when an app is using the camera or microphone.
iOS 14 does a stellar job of providing privacy improvements, and security-minded users are bound to be impressed. These enhancements offer an excellent complement to your iOS VPN when it comes to ensuring your privacy and security as you use the device – wherever you use the device.
Can you get a free VPN for iPhone?
While there are some free VPNs for iOS that you can trust, however, it is important to be aware of their limitations. It is also important to understand why it is vital to stay away from many free options for iPhone, since some can even put your privacy at risk.
Many free VPNs on the app store are too slow or limited in the data they offer, which makes anything outside of the most basic day-to-day browsing activities a struggle. What's worse is that some services will even collect data on you to sell to third parties. This is the exact opposite of what a VPN program should be doing!
There are some free VPNs you can trust, you can find a list of them in our free VPN page.
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Still want a free iOS VPN? We recommend Windscribe (free option)
If you're looking to protect your wallet, then Windscribe is a great free VPN service. Not only does it offer the same solid security measures that you'd get on its paid plan, but it also gives users a 10GB data allowance each month. This might not go far if you're streaming HD content, but it's more than enough for your usual day-to-day browsing.
Want more choice? Visit our free VPNs for iOS guide for some other solid recommendations.
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When should I be using a VPN?
iOS devices have an excellent reputation for security. However, when it comes to hacking on public Wi-Fi – or tracking performed by ISPs and local network admins – Apple's iPhones are just as vulnerable. If you are often connected to public Wi-Fi hotspots with your iPhone or iPad, it is important to use an iPhone VPN app.
If you're not using a VPN, it's possible to fall victim to "evil twin" hotspots set up by hackers. You could also have your data, logins, or debit card details stolen because of mis-configured Wi-Fi hotspots. A VPN is the only way to protect yourself against Wi-Fi hacking – so keep it switched on!
Don't worry if you've never used a VPN before, however. We have plenty of guides you can check out to get better acquainted with the tech.
Still got questions? We cover some common queries we get asked by iOS users.
[[post-object type="accordion" question="Should I leave my VPN connected all the time?" answer="No, you don't necessarily need to keep your iOS VPN connected around the clock. For example, if you're at home and using your own secure network, it's not as crucial (though you'll need to be connected to your VPN to unblock geo-restricted content from another country). It's basically a necessity to switch it on anytime you're out in public or when connected to a WiFi hotspot, however." /]]
[[post-object type="accordion" question="Does my iPhone have a built-in VPN?" answer="Not exactly. iOS devices offer built-in VPN compatibility, not a full VPN service. This means that it is possible to configure a third-party VPN provider's configuration files to use on your iOS device if the provider doesn't offer a full-on iOS app. The VPN providers we list in this guide, however, all offer fully-functional iOS apps that complete the setup for you automatically so you don't have to configure the files manually on your iPhone." /]]
[[post-object type="accordion" question="Will an iPhone VPN drain my battery faster?" answer="Any app running on your phone is going to drain the battery, unfortunately. A VPN is no exception. A VPN is not particularly battery-hungry compared to other apps, though. So, you shouldn't see your battery drop to alarming levels if the app is optimized. If you find that you're having consistent battery issues when connecting to a VPN app, we'd recommend switching it out for one of the providers recommended in this article. Each service offers a properly optimized app for use with iOS devices." /]]
[[post-object type="accordion" question="Will these VPNs work on iPad?" answer="Yes! You'll be able to set up our hand-picked VPNs on an iPad the same way as you would on an iPhone. Older generations may not work perfectly, but newer models should work with no issues at all. If you want to know how to use VPN on iPad, simply follow the walkthrough in our <a href='/vpn/guides/how-to-install-vpn-iphone'>setting up a VPN on iPhone</a> guide, the process is identical." /]]
[[post-object type="accordion" question="Are VPN apps legal?" answer="Yes! It's perfectly legal to use a VPN on your phone in most countries. The technology does face prohibition in Russia, Iran, China, Egypt and North Korea, however, so we'd advise caution if you live in a country with a totalitarian government. However, on the whole, it is the act of unblocking restricted website content (and not VPN use) that is illegal in those countries. For more information, check out our <a href='/guides/are-vpns-legal'>are VPNs illegal? Guide</a>." /]]
[[post-object type="accordion" question="How do I use VPN on iPhone for unblocking content?" answer="It's easy! All you'll need to do is connect to a VPN server outside of your own country. Once that's done, you'll be able to view geo-restricted films, TV shows, music and other content without being beholden to those pesky blocks. Check out our guide to <a href='/vpn/guides/geo-spoofing-location'>geo-spoofing</a> for step-by-step information and screenshots." /]]
[[post-object type="accordion" question="Can I tether my iPhone VPN connection?" answer="Absolutely. Any device that you share your iPhone internet connection with – via tethering – will benefit from your VPN encryption. This includes laptops and other devices. It's an easy way to secure a secondary device without installing VPN software directly onto the machine. Do keep in mind, however, that all of our recommended VPN services offer simultaneous connections. Thanks to this, you can just as easily install the VPN on the device you want to protect and connect (at the same time as your iOS device)."/]]
[[post-object type="accordion" question="How do I set up a VPN on my iPhone?" answer="It takes roughly 10 minutes to set up a VPN on an iPhone. We even have a handy guide to walk you through the process of <a href='/vpn/guides/how-to-install-vpn-iphone'>installing a VPN on iOS,</a> and it covers all you need to know! You'll find out how to set up with an iOS app, using the third party OpenVPN connect app, and using the iOS setting menu to install the VPN manually using L2TP/IPsec or IKEv2." /]]
[[post-object type="accordion" question="Can you download a VPN without using the App store?" answer="It's very unlikely. A reputable iOS VPN will publish their app via the App Store – and so it's definitely the best way to acquire an iPhone VPN. It may be possible to pick up a VPN app from a random app repository if you jailbreak your phone, however. You'll run the risk of downloading an unofficial version that's been infected with malware by doing so – and we wouldn't recommend it. Stick to the vetted and official VPN apps found in the iOS app store!" /]]
[[post-object type="accordion" question="Can I use a proxy service to unblock content and perform geo-spoofing on iOS?" answer="Whilst proxies used to be a viable alternative and could unblock online content, nowadays, they're outdated and rarely work. In some cases, a proxy will even harvest your data to sell to third parties. Obviously, you don't want this. We'd recommend sticking to a VPN and avoiding an iPhone proxy." /]]
Now that you have all the information you need about VPN apps on iOS, let's review our top picks:
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