Best VPN for iOS
Top 5 Best VPNs for iOS
Searching for a Virtual Private Network that works with your iPhone without reducing performance is no longer the fruitless exercise it was in the past.
Thanks to the relentless march of iOS, you can now find a mobile VPN app that’s relatively lightweight – and easy to use. The even better news is that iOS VPNs are explicitly designed with the Apple platform in mind, instead of being a workaround hack from an existing app. They are optimized, too, so you needn’t sacrifice your privacy and security any longer.
With the recent explosion in remote working, there has been an exponential growth in mobile VPN downloads. And there are no signs that remote working is going to decrease any time soon.
Right now, there are a multitude of free mobile VPNs. However, we would recommend ignoring these and going straight for a paid subscription. Free VPNs are severely hobbled in terms of speed, bandwidth, and server availability. They are, in essence, a tiny taste of the service, not a workable long-term solution. To help guide you to the best VPNs for your iPhone and iOS devices, we have compiled this review of the providers we feel go above and beyond what you may expect for way less than $10 per month.
- Easy app interface
- Powerful iOS app
- Over 3,000 servers
- Servers located in 65 locations
- Unlimited devices
Since Surfshark exploded into the crowded waters of VPN, they have proven to be a fast and secure ally of the iOS platform.
Their dedicated iOS offering is surprisingly intuitive, even if you have never been near a VPN service before. It is a powerful piece of kit that combines ease-of-use with customization features. The app’s start screen features only four tabs and a single click button to get you safely connected via the VPN.
It’s a clean, neat design that lets you get on with your life while at the same time providing a simple route to its privacy toolkit and connection options. One of the most striking features of the iOS VPN app is the multi-hop feature. This lets you route your traffic through multiple countries to do an even better job of covering your digital tracks.
Also, rather pleasingly, Surfshark has included a tool within the iOS app to let you raise a support ticket and access their various customer support channels. There’s also clear signposting to their library of user guides.
However, the ace up their sleeve is unlimited device support. You can safeguard your iPhone and iOS devices from the bad guys with just one subscription. And all your other devices too!
You can, therefore, keep all the family safe online. Or even use Surfshark to run your office VPN. And what’s more, Surfshark comes with malware protection, ad and tracker blocking as standard.
So it is refreshingly easy to get your online life back by shielding your iPhone and iPad, etc., with a VPN. Not only will you remain able to browse at high speed, but Surfshark’s servers are also RAM-only to provide yet another layer of privacy.
There’s no reason, then, not to take steps to ensure your privacy and security. The Surfshark service is compatible with iPhone 11, iPhone SE, iPhone X, and others. Plus, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Fast and effective iOS VPN
- Over 3,000 servers
- Servers located in 160 locations
- Easy interface
ExpressVPN has emerged as one of the speediest VPNs around. They have taken their winning formula and distilled it down into a highly usable app for iOS.
But this cutdown version is no poor relation. It’s a handy tool that maintains ExpressVPN’s emphasis on elegant simplicity. This ethos is clear from the outset. The land screen is stripped down to the bare essentials to make protecting your iPhone or iOS as fuss-free and straightforward as possible.
Like the race car that has shed weight to go faster, the same ethos has been applied here. All you get on the landing screen is a single connect button and a drop-down menu. You can select the server from the drop-down, though the fastest and nearest server is pre-selected for you. What more do you need?
The other ExpressVPN options are neatly hidden under a three-bar icon at the top left. From there, you check such things as your current IP address, whether anything is leaking, and a convenient password generator.
ExpressVPN is also very keen on privacy, which is reassuring. According to the company, their server network is based around TrustedServer technology. This tech ensures no logs or traces of users are ever retained.
Like the others we highlight here, ExpressVPN also features a kill switch to prevent any data leakage should a user’s VPN tunnel cave-in. Another nice privacy touch is that the company also allows payment by BitCoin for even greater privacy levels.
The device support by the iOS VPN is extensive and runs through iOS 14 to 10. This compatibility enables you to protect a ton of Mac devices, including iPhone 12, 11, SE, XS, XR, and X, as well as iPad Pro, Air and Mini, and older devices. Plus, ExpressVPN backs all their subscription deals with a no-fuss 30-day money-back guarantee. What are you waiting for?
- Fast connection speeds
- Ease of use
- Over 5,200 servers
- VPN servers in 62 locations in 59 countries
- NordVPN proprietary protocol
This heavyweight VPN promises to supercharge your internet connection with the fastest security on the planet.
NordVPN is nothing if not modest. But they may actually have a point. NordVPN has an incredibly resilient platform and a reputation that’s second to none. And they have brought this VPN nous to iOS with a charming app that’s a joy to work with.
Again, with the superlatives, NordVPN claims theirs is the easiest iOS VPN app. Possibly in the entire universe.
However, despite their overblown chest-beating, the iOS app is rather neat, we have to admit. You can get online via a hardened VPN tunnel in a matter of seconds. A tap on Quick Connect, and off you go to the nearest and fastest server currently available.
If you have used the NordVPN desktop app, there will be zero learning curve with their iOS variant for use with your iPhone or iPad.
Unlike up-and-comer, Surfshark, NordVPN only allows six simultaneous connections. So if you have multiple devices or want to protect you and your family, NordVPN may not be the best option.
That said, it’s challenging to fault NordVPN on much else. Their in-house developed protocol, NordLynx, is faster than greased lightning. Plus, a subscription plan gets you on to their world-class network and renowned stability and security levels. So you may want to do a quick digital device inventory first before looking elsewhere.
In terms of iOS, NordVPN is difficult to beat, whether working from home, on a business trip or connecting to a public WiFi hotspot. You can relax knowing your data is being shielded and has a kill switch to drop any compromised connection before data can leak out.
- Highly customizable app
- 1,300 servers in 60 locations
- Flexible and suitable for beginners
- Auto-connects to IPVanish
- Defaults to fastest nearest server for you
This American VPN is an excellent choice if you are a complete beginner when it comes to Virtual Private Networks. No prior knowledge is required to get to grips with IPVanish’s iOS mobile app quickly.
You will get started in no time and browse with your iPhone or other iOS devices in total security mode. There’s much to be said for peace of mind in terms of your online privacy and security.
IPVanish has accomplished quite a feat. They have managed to pack the iOS VPN app with most of the features you get on the desktop version. And they have done so without shoehorning as much as possible into a small screen and making it look cluttered.
The other trick that IPVanish pulls off is that they have made their iOS app accessible for learners but featured enough for advanced users to configure to their preferences. That’s quite a balancing act in anyone’s book. And IPVanish managed to accomplish it with aplomb, though their iOS app only supports 11 or greater.
IPVanish is also right up there with their support for Netflix, and impressively, the opening source streaming service, Kodi. No one saw that coming.
While not the cheapest around, it is slightly disappointing that IPVanish has chosen not to offer an entirely industry-standard 30-day money-back guarantee. Instead, they have decided to offer a seven-day free trial to allow you to check out their digital wares. A week is a touch miserly to allow you to try everything out and assess whether IPVanish does everything you want it to do.
Despite these shortcomings, IPVanish makes a fantastic choice in terms of speed, security, and usability.
- Over 3,200 VPN servers
- Servers located in 80 plus countries, and over 35 major world cities
- A critically-acclaimed protocol, Catapult Hydra
- Unlimited bandwidth
- 45-day money-back guarantee
Though it appears last in this review, do not take that to mean Hotspot Shield is in any way inferior. Quite the contrary.
In fact, Hotspot Shield is the iOS VPN your father would choose. By that, we mean it works as you would expect, it’s no-nonsense, it’s reliable, and in it for the long haul. To use yet another analogy, Hotspot Shield is the friendly Labrador dog you regularly meet at the park.
But enough ridiculous metaphors. Hotspot Shield is basic, cheap, and you can count on it. And what’s not to love about that combo of traits?
Like almost all VPNs, Hotspot claims to have the best iOS app. Yet, there does appear to be some grain of truth in this as you strip away the marketing hyperbole.
In 2019, speedtest.net found Hotspot Shield to be the fastest; an accolade that Hotspot Shield hasn’t been slow to point out to anyone who would listen. And there’s nothing to suggest that Hotspot Shield’s much-admired speed capabilities have deteriorated since then.
The iOS app is straightforward; it isn’t the proverbial rocket science you may have feared. It’s actually relatively clean and simple. Exactly what you want when you have some serious heavy-duty video streaming lined up, or your working remotely from home or on a business trip.
Regardless of what you have planned, Hotspot Shield is running defense for you, keeping your data secure and your privacy out of reach of snoopers, trackers, hackers, nosey governments, or other bad online actors.
Apple’s App Store gives the Hotspot Shield iOS app an excellent 4.5 stars out of 5 and apparently goes on to endorse its world’s fastest VPN claim. So, take that other VPN providers.
Best VPNs for iOS FAQ
Why do I need a VPN for my iOS device?
Mobile devices, including iPhones, are the frequent target of hackers and cyber-criminal wishing to steal your identity. They hunt their prey in public WiFi hotspots as the security precautions there are lax. Because of this poor security, they can hijack your data and access sensitive personal information.
Mac owners, those of long-standing in particular, are prone to think Apple’s devices are invincible. But sadly, that no longer applies to anywhere near the same extent. Today they are just as vulnerable to intrusion as other platforms. That’s why you need a mobile VPN app to protect all your digital devices with data encryption. Not only will you be protected from criminals, but companies also will not be able to track your web activity and target you with ads.
How do I install an iOS VPN app?
There are two main ways. You can go directly to the provider’s site. We have included links to take you straight to the iOS page of each of the five providers we have reviewed. Alternatively, you can download their apps from Apple’s App Store or Google Play. Downloading and installing is easy and straightforward. The VPN providers we have spotlighted in our best iOS VPN review have all gone out of their way to make the process user-friendly. If you do run in trouble, you can get help via their live chat support on their web sites.
How do you use a VPN on an iPhone and an iPad?
The first thing you will see on the VPN’s landing page on your device is a connection button. One-click and you’re tunneling your way through the internet.
Depending on the VPN provider, most will automatically connect you to the best server for your location. Others ask you which server you want to use. But even with the auto connection, there’s still the option to override the default service and connect to a different server.
And that’s all there is to it, unless you wait to lift the hood and customize your configuration. The iOS VPNs we have spotlighted here are adept at working in the background, letting you get on with whatever you need to do. They have taken steps to be as unobtrusive as possible, without any noticeable impact on your connection speed. In fact, it may even feel like you have a faster connection because the VPN is blocking out ads and trackers that all take time to download.
What can I do with an iOS VPN?
Everything you did before only safer and more securely. The other significant benefit is the ability to move around the internet undetected. By bouncing around servers across the globe, it is possible to make it appear that your iPhone, iPad, or other iOS device is in a completely different country. This IP-spoofing enables you to beat geo-restrictions on content, including video streaming services such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer. And getting lower prices for goods and services in some cases.
If you live or visit a country with heavy censorship, a VPN will help you get around blocking. This ability is particularly handy in countries like Saudi Arabia, which bans many Western websites and apps. Or in China, where the government attempts to insulate the country from outside content via their Great Firewall.
There’s an embarrassment of riches as far as iOS VPN apps are concerned. However, we have come to the rescue with a review of the Best VPNs for iOS. We have sorted out the garbage, chucked the ones that didn’t actually work adequately, and arrived at a shortlist of five.
We are confident that you won’t go far wrong with any of these VPN providers or their iOS apps. Each has expended time, energy, and brains into perfecting mobile apps that are optimized for the Mac platform. An equal amount of effort has also gone into making their iOS offering as straightforward and intuitive as possible. They are suitable for beginners and for more advanced users that wish to tweak their configuration.
All five of the VPN providers we showcased could be crowned the best for various reasons. The final decision is your (iPhone) call.