Apple has taken a number of steps in recent years to secure users’ personal data, but once you start interacting with the internet, you can still be identified by your IP. That’s where an iPhone VPN comes in.
Using the best VPN is a quick and easy way to stay more anonymous online, but there’s also a lot more a VPN for iPhone can do than that. If you stream on your commute, you’ll be able to access geo-blocked content on Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney+ and tons more.
Thankfully there are tons of iPhone VPNs to choose from, but picking the one that best matches the performance and impeccable design of Apple’s products as well as delivering powerful privacy can be tricky…
What makes the best iPhone VPN?
There are three major things we want to see in the best iOS VPN: speed, security, and support – and it doesn’t hurt if it looks great, either. While that might sound simple, many VPNs can’t tick all these boxes. However, our top pick ExpressVPN does, and it has them in spades.
There are also a number of other features we love to see in iPhone VPNs – all of which Express boasts, too. A wide network of servers in plenty of countries is great if you want to either sidestep national censorship or stream geo-blocked media from abroad, like Netflix US from Spain, BBC iPlayer outside the UK, or Gmail in China.
App design is important, too. Your iPhone’s screen is nowhere near the size of a PC monitor, and that means every pixel counts. Whichever iPhone VPN you choose, it should be optimized for a mobile form-factor. It doesn’t have to be bare and minimal, but it does have to work intuitively – and you’ll want to get one which matches the quality and polish you’re used to as an iOS user.
So, below is our rundown of the five very best iOS VPNs and what they can do for you – all you need to do is pick which one to go with.
The five best iPhone VPN for iOS today
ExpressVPN simply provides everything you need from an iPhone VPN. It’s quick, private and simple to use, and seeing as the apps over all platforms are virtually identical, once you’ve used one you’ll have mastered them all.
You’ll get over 3,000 servers in 94 countries, meaning wherever you are you’ll be able to get a quality connection. Plus, all your data’s protected by AES-256 encryption as standard, with a selection of protocols, and a kill switch.
Beyond technicalities, though, ExpressVPN’s iOS interface is excellent and makes it super simple to access these in-depth features, meaning you can have as basic or as complex an experience as you want – perfect for novices and experts alike.
However, things can go wrong with even the best services, so having a stellar support system in place is essential. Thankfully, ExpressVPN has you covered with its 24/7 live chat. You’ll reliably get responses in minutes – often in seconds – and the operators are incredibly helpful and have never failed to resolve one of our queries.
If we had to split hairs, we wish ExpressVPN offered a few more simultaneous connections. Five is plenty in practice, though, and while you can only use five devices on the same account at the same time, you can have the app downloaded on as many as you like. That’s plenty for the vast majority of users – and if it’s not, you’re covered by a no-quibble 30-day money-back guarantee.
Overall, Express offers the most fully-featured iPhone VPN app money can buy, so if you want the best, you need look no further.
If you’ve heard of any VPN before, it’ll have been NordVPN. The security giant provides hugely popular and secure services, and its iPhone VPN is no exception, impressing us in our full NordVPN review.
With great speeds across the majority of its 5,000+ servers, Nord’s sure to provide you with a good connection, and its top-tier encryption plus extra features like Onion over VPN and Double VPN should keep you nice and anonymous.
While it’s effective, NordVPN’s app design isn’t quite as clean as Express’s – it retains the map-based interface, and this doesn’t work as well on mobile as it does on a monitor, making it slightly awkward to use. This is a very minor issue, though, as you won’t really be spending more than a couple of minutes in the app itself.
Other features include two kill switches, DNS leak detection and auto-connect, and Nord has now even introduced Siri support which we’re sure someone will find useful.
Other than that, Nord’s great for streaming as well, so if you’re on a trip and don’t fancy hauling out your laptop when you’re on the train, you’ll be able to unblock pretty much everything straight from your phone. Plus, if you’re deep in the Apple ecosystem, it works great as a Mac VPN too.
If you’re after a security-focused iPhone VPN that will do everything you need it to and more, NordVPN could be the right choice for you – and a 30-day guarantee covers you in case it’s not.
If you’re looking to get the cheapest iPhone VPN that’s going to actually do its job well, Surfshark should be on your shopping list. At less than $2.50 a month you might think that it’s cut corners and is no competition to costlier options. But, in fact it’s a well-rounded service that would be impressive at any price, and scored well in our Surfshark review.
The iPhone app is totally plug-and-play, but while many will be satisfied with just pressing auto-connect, you’ll also be able to explore some other features. For example, you can switch protocol between OpenVPN UDP and TCP, and IKEv2, and use a kill switch to ensure your connection doesn’t become compromised – plus it’s an good Netflix VPN.
One of its biggest selling points, though, is Surfshark’s unlimited simultaneous connections policy. That means you’ll be able to cover every single device (whether that’s 10 or 100) in your house on your bargain-basement plan. That’s incredible value.
While it’s not quite as powerful as ExpressVPN or Nord, Surfshark provides a deceptively simple iPhone VPN that punches well above its weight and genuinely competes with the very best, regardless of price.
Ever-improving, ProtonVPN is now one of the best services on the market, and its iPhone VPN is seriously powerful. Unlike much of the competition, the iOS app keeps almost all the functionality of the desktop apps and transfers them to a handheld platform.
First and foremost, ProtonVPN is a privacy-focused product. Based in Switzerland with a private VPN DNS network, super secure servers and a verified zero-logging policy, for those that prize their anonymity, it’s great choice.
Surprisingly, though, there are few sacrifices to be made. If you love streaming on the go or always watch TV on your iPhone or iPad, ProtonVPN is second only to ExpressVPN when it comes to unblocking exclusive content on Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney+ and more.
If you enjoy digging around in settings, you’ll be pleased. Head over to the settings tab and you’ll see a choice between WireGuard, OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols, NetShield malware blocking, a kill switch, VPN Accelerator, and and huge amount more. Don’t be overwhelmed though – it works perfectly out the box, too.
One of our few issues with ProtonVPN is the fact that its live chat support isn’t 24/7 yet, although we hear that’s in the works. Overall though, it’s a very powerful VPN for iPhone, and if you want to test it out, you can even try the free VPN first.
IPVanish is one of the old guard – well-known and loved by those who were using VPNs years ago, and now trusted by the new wave looking for iPhone VPNs, too. If you want great speeds – especially in the US – it’s a good option, and in our IPVanish review we saw it race to the head of the pack when using the WireGuard protocol.
The app’s design is divisive, and whether you like it will depend on what you want to see in your VPN. In-use, you’re provided with a heck of a lot of info, including data up and down, IP address, server name and more. While the iPhone app has been toned down from the desktop version – reminiscent of The Matrix’s black and neon green color scheme – it’s not as clean as the rest on this list.
If you like that, though, IPVanish provides tons of in-depth features like auto-connect, a kill switch and a choice of protocols. However, IPVanish currently isn’t hugely strong as a streaming VPN, thanks to its failure to unblock Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video.
If you like to see a lot of techy data and aren’t scared of a graph or two, IPVanish offers a seriously powerful iPhone app that can cover all sorts of VPN uses. However, for casual users, the options higher on this list deliver cleaner, easier user experiences.
Sign up now on the IPVanish website.
Best iPhone VPNs for iOS FAQ
Do I really need a VPN on my iPhone?
If you want to make sure your sensitive information is kept safe and out of the hands of ne’er-do-wells, an iPhone VPN is an essential bit of kit.
However, security isn’t the only use for an iPhone VPN. If you’re traveling abroad and have a subscription to a service like Netflix, you may find that your favorite shows aren’t available where you are. If you’ve got access to a quality VPN, you can virtually relocate yourself back home and get access to what you’re used to.
The opposite is true as well, though, and you can globe-trot around Netflix libraries to explore what other nations get with their subscription.
Finally, you might question if you need a VPN on your iPhone as well as your computer. There’s a simple answer to that, and it’s ‘why not?’. All the VPNs above offer multiple simultaneous connections, so you may as well use as many as you can.
What does a VPN for iPhone do?
Once your iPhone is connected to the internet, be it through your network connection or Wi-Fi, it’s at risk. In the case of unsecured public Wi-Fi, like at coffee shops, hotels and airports, this risk is even greater. Risk of what? Your data being exposed. That’s is where a VPN works to keep you safe.
By routing your connection through its own servers, it can make you appear somewhere you’re not. It will also assign you a new IP address, which makes you appear to be someone you’re not. Essentially, all your traffic is encrypted, and that keeps you – and your iPhone’s data – safe.
Are iPhone VPNs fully featured?
Overall, VPNs for iOS have most of the same features of VPNs on other platforms, but there are a couple of limitations.
Most notably, iPhone VPNs can’t support split tunneling due to a restriction in iOS’s code. However, few users on an iPhone will miss this feature.
Some smaller providers also may not have put as much effort into their iPhone apps and they have with Windows and Android, due to iOS’s smaller userbase, but all the providers we recommend here are clean, easy to use, and powerful.
Can I get a free iPhone VPN?
Free VPN services can be very tempting, but while there are some good options, they’re all limited in some way or another.
While functionality is an issue (most have data caps or throttles speeds), when considering free iPhone VPNs there’s a very real danger to the user. Free services on the App Store have been known to be ‘fleeceware’ – offering a free trial and secretly charging massive weekly fees afterwards – while other simply don’t work and will give you a false sense of security.
Due to the fact that you simply haven’t got the configuration of a desktop Mac or PC on a iPhone, there’s a risk that you’ll be caught out by a scammer, and any settings you’re not happy with might not be available to change.
For both VPNs for iPhones and Android VPN, we wholeheartedly recommend going with a paid service, or at the very least one of our top-rated free providers. Don’t just go searching the App Store and download the first free iPhone VPN you come across.
Does my iOS device have a VPN built in?
Since iOS 2.0, iPhones and other portable Apple devices have supported VPN connections – but they’ve never come with a VPN built in.
However, VPN integration is now absolutely seamless, so if you pick any of the best iPhone VPN services from our list, you can be sure that you’ll get – and stay – protected in seconds.