A quick search for “VPN” in the Apple app store will reveal hundreds of apps claiming to be the best VPN for iPhone. Pretty much any iPhone or iPad VPN can hide your IP address, but the best VPNs for iOS can do much more to improve your privacy, security, evade censorship, and unblock geo-locked content like Netflix and Hulu. An iPhone VPN app is in most cases indistinguishable from an iPad VPN app.
Why you need a VPN?
Simply put, a VPN is a service that creates a private, secure network over a public one. There are two benefits to this:
When your iPhone connects through a VPN, all your traffic is routed through a secure tunnel. This encrypts all your data, making it indecipherable to whoever wishes to take a look including your ISP, the government or hackers.
A VPN allows you to unlock restricted content. Some websites and services are blocked by ISPs on behalf of the government, while other services, like video streaming sites, might be geo-restricted for use in specific countries.
In most countries, nowadays, governments force ISPs to retain data such as web browsing histories. This is an invasion of privacy. In the USA, ISPs are even allowed to sell user's web browsing histories to third parties. A VPN stops ISPs from being able to track what iPhone users do online. The result is that they can't track your activity and sell your information to the highest bidder.
We’ve curated our list of the best VPNs for iPhone and iPad based on the following criteria:
- Easy-to-use iOS client available in the App Store
- Support for multiple versions of iOS
- Don’t keep logs of user’s internet activity
- Fast speeds
- Strong security features and encryption
- Work well for streaming content such as Netflix and Amazon Prime
Here is our list of the best VPNs for iPhones and iPads:
ProtonVPN is an excellent new VPN that is extremely easy to use on an iPhone. ProtonVPN keeps no logs and permits users to install the software on 5 simultaneous devices. Using ProtonVPN on iOS requires the third party OpenVPN connect software. This is free, easy to use, and is available on the app store. That software will also protect you with our recommended encryption protocol OpenVPN.
ProtonVPN has servers in 14 countries, and because it operates a Secure Core network - those servers are all fast for streaming in HD. ProtonVPN allows people to test the service for free. However, the free version does have bandwidth limits (meaning it isn't as fast as the premium version).
ExpressVPN’s app will run on iOS 7 and newer and is protected by their “no-fuss 30-day money-back guarantee” so you can try it risk-free. It can be installed on iPhones, iPads and even the iPod Touch. The company operates VPN servers in over 78 countries and does not limit your bandwidth or the number of times you can switch servers. One of the best features is their logging policy stating that they don’t keep records of your traffic while connected to their servers. They also receive some bonus points for accepting many different payment methods: all the major credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin and others.
ExpressVPN is fast, great at protecting privacy and works to unblock geo-restricted apps like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, BBC iPlayer and just about every other geo-blocked service we have tested. It will also work in countries like Turkey and China where many other VPN services have been blocked.
VyprVPN is one of the few providers to own and operate all of its own servers and data centers. That means you get blazing fast speeds across all 70+ server locations. All connections are 256-bit encrypted, and there’s no data cap or bandwidth limit. VyprVPN offers three tiers with two, three, and five simultaneous connections.
VyprVPN excels at bypassing censorship, whether you’re in China or just stuck behind a firewall at the office. You can also use it to unblock geo-locked sites and apps from abroad, including Netflix US. VyprVPN is the only provider on this list to prohibit torrenting on its network so torrent users should look elsewhere.
IPVanish is a no-logs VPN service that utilizes military-grade encryption and a zero-logs policy to ensure both privacy and security. Features like unlimited P2P traffic, anonymous torrenting, a SOCKS5 web proxy, and unlimited server switching are just the beginning. IPVanish lets you connect up to five devices simultaneously with unlimited bandwidth. IPVanish owns and operates its own servers rather than renting them, as is the status quo, ensuring you can always find a fast, uncongested connection.
While not as adept at unblocking video streaming sites as others on this list, IPVanish is a favorite among Kodi users thanks to its easily navigable interface and ability to work with any Kodi addon. If you need an iPhone or iPad VPN to use with Kodi, IPVanish is a top contender.
CyberGhost makes a slick, friendly VPN app that allows you to choose a server not just based on location, but based on how you plan to use the VPN. For example, the app will automatically select the best server for streaming Netflix or P2P filesharing, taking out the guesswork that comes with most other VPNs. It can also unblock BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime, among other streaming channels.
CyberGhost has ramped up expansion and now boasts over 1,000 servers in 60 countries. Every connection is protected by 256-bit AES encryption, DNS leak protection, and an optional kill switch that halts all internet traffic should the VPN connection drop. The provider keeps no logs of your activity while connected.
Goose VPN is also a good option if you're looking for a VPN for your iPhone. It's fast and easy to use, with a simple interface perfect for new users.
There's a 30-day free trial available, after which the subscription costs as little as £2.99/$4.17. That's for 50GB, though, which might not be enough for all users. The one-year plan without the 50GB limit is £4.99/$6.97 per month.
There aren't huge numbers of servers and countries available via Goose VPN. There are just 27 countries available and 77 server locations. We'd recommend taking advantage of the trial to check whether the server locations you require are available.
Private Internet Access is another of the best VPNs that also comes a low-price tag, and it has one of the highest server numbers at 3,402. That is across 33 countries rather than the wider spread from some rivals, though.
At less than £2.10/$3 per month for a two-year subscription, it offers anonymous browsing and access to blocked content including Netflix US so is a recommended VPN for iPhone.
The app is incredibly simple and easy to use, and it's also super-speedy.
Using a Free VPN for IOS
A bunch of supposedly free VPN apps for iOS are listed on the App Store that aren’t actually VPNs. Hola is one such “service”. Instead of connecting your computer to a VPN server, Hola connects your computer to a community-powered P2P network to provide supposedly anonymous internet access. The problem here is that the actual provider has no direct control over any of the nodes in the network as each node is a privately-owned computer of one of its 55 million members. The lack of strong encryption makes your traffic vulnerable to interception or inspection by any node and, worst of all, your internet bandwidth is sold to third parties who may or may not also have access to your computer’s resources through Hola’s software. This has all the makings of a botnet and should be avoided at all costs.
Tor does something similar, but uses very strong encryption and does not sell anyone’s bandwidth. Tor’s software also does not grant anyone else access to the resources of the device that it’s running on or make your device available to anyone else for any kind of misuse or abuse.
Finally, most of the supposedly free VPNs include features that most users will want to avoid. Things like injecting advertisements into your web browser traffic, using weak or even no encryption, selling your personal information or detailed logs of your internet activities to third parties of their choosing, and even installing unwanted software on your devices, like adware, viruses, trojans, botnet clients, and other forms of malware.
Not every VPN is created equally. Some have poor privacy policies that allow them to perform invasive data practices, serve adverts, and even sell consumer data to third parties. This is the opposite of what a VPN is supposed to do. A VPN for iPhone should provide you with watertight privacy. This is why you must take care when choosing an iOS VPN.
Sadly, it can be very hard for consumers to tell whether a VPN is good. VPN providers are known to lie on their websites, which is why we never take what they say at face value. Instead, we thoroughly test each service in our VPN reviews section. Our team carefully researches their data practices, Terms of Service, and privacy policies, as well as their performance levels. All of the VPNs in this guide provide security, reliability, privacy, and value for money.