Even though it’s generally known as a secure operating system, iOS has its own kinks when it comes to security and privacy, especially with today’s ever-looming onslaught of assorted vulnerabilities and exploits.
Of course, using one of the best VPN providers gives you an extra layer of security, not to mention a few additional perks like bypassing censorship and access to geo-restricted content. When it comes to the VPN offerings aimed at iOS, the majority of efforts are concentrated on the mighty iPhone. However, Apple’s iPad is seeing its fair share of VPN support as well, with many providers producing dedicated iOS apps that are also designed with the tablet in mind.
Best iPad VPNs in 2020
Number of servers: 3,000+ | Server locations: 160 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5
Performance-wise, this British Virgin Islands-based provider delivered solid results in our performance tests. ExpressVPN also offers a native iPad app, and it supports iOS 8 (or better). It’s neatly organised so that you can connect with one click and immediately hook up with the fastest server available. For older iOS versions, there is a detailed setup instruction for configuring the VPN manually, thus making it a great fit for older-generation iPads.
On the security front, ‘best in class’ 256-bit encryption is in place, along with support for OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, and PPTP protocols, and a private, encrypted DNS. The only drawback here is that the iOS app is missing a kill-switch. ExpressVPN doesn’t log any traffic data, DNS queries, or anything that could be used to identify the user.
A quick glance at the pricing scheme shows that the service costs more than most VPNs. You don’t get to try it out through a free trial, but there is a 30-day 100% money-back guarantee available. Going the yearly route is the most affordable option of the three price plans on offer. The packages available are:
- [$12.95 a month] 1-month
- [$9.99 a month] 6-months - $59.95
- [$6.66 a month] 15-months [3 free months] - $99.95
Best all-round VPN
Number of servers: 1,300 | Server locations: 75 | IP addresses: 40,000+ | Maximum devices supported: 10
IPVanish proved to offer excellent speeds in our testing, so much so that it actually improved our download speeds over long distances compared to our normal rates, and even more so on shorter hops.
The native app supports iOS 9 and newer versions, featuring lots of server selection tools, as well as both basic and advanced options. iPad support includes usage in either orientation (portrait or landscape) and a multitasking split view. The service boasts unlimited P2P traffic and plenty of servers in 60+ countries.
For security, the provider supports the IKEv2, IPSec, and PPTP protocols, along with 256-bit encryption. Unfortunately, the iOS app has no kill switch. A zero logs policy gives you total privacy with no tracking of your internet activities.
The only thing that somewhat curbs the enthusiasm here is the pricing. IPVanish doesn’t offer a free trial and you’ll pay slightly more than elsewhere. The three plans include a 7-day money-back guarantee with the 1-year subscription being the most affordable choice. The packages available are:
Most secure VPN
Number of servers: 5,600 | Server locations: 60+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 10
NordVPN’s provides a huge network of servers, one of the biggest in the business, so finding the right connection shouldn't be a problem. The iOS app is neatly organized and generally user-friendly, although the interface can be clunky and a bit disappointing. To run the app, you'll need iOS 9.0 or higher.
NordVPN truly shines when it comes to security. The app is powered by the IKEv2/IPsec security protocol with 256-bit encryption, and an automatic kill switch is available too. Furthermore, with double data encryption, your data passes through two separate VPN servers, which add even more security. NordVPN states that is has a ‘no logs’ policy, which is always good to hear.
The provider does offer a 3-day free trial, but oddly enough it's hidden away on the website. That being said, apart from the monthly plan which is quite expensive, the other plans are much more affordable. Out of four plans, the limited three-year plan offers the best value. The packages available are:
- [$11.95 a month] 1-month
- [$6.99 a month] 1-year - $83.88
- [$3.99 a month] 2-years - $95.75
- [$2.99 a month] 3-years - $107.55
Best balance of performance and price
Number of servers: 3,300+ | Server locations: 50+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 10
PIA performed quite well when it comes to the performance, and on top of that, there are over 3000 servers available, so you won't have any trouble finding a fast and reliable connection. To use the native client, you'll need iOS 9 on 64-bit or higher. The app itself works pretty well, even if it's mostly short on features.
Security wise, the provider supports the L2TP/IPSec, PPTP and OpenVPN protocols with 256-AES encryption (by default, it's 128-AES but you can change it to 256-AES). The iOS app also has a kill-switch which is always a nice addition. As for the privacy, PIA states that they keep no-logs of any kind.
While you won't find a free trial, all plans are very affordable and you have a 7-day money back guarantee. If you don't mind the commitment, the two-year plan is clearly the best choice here (at the moment you'll also get 3 extra months). The packages available are:
Most affordable VPN
Number of servers: 400+ | Server locations: 34 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5
SaferVPN manages its own network, and it really showed in our performance tests. Overall the performance was pretty good, even over longer distances. The native app is very well done (requires iOS 9.0+) with the ability to connect with a simple tap without any prior configuration. This is possible because the app automatically chooses a server that will give you the best optimal performance.
The provider supports IKEv2, OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, and PPTP protocols, with 128-AES and 256-AES encryption. The iOS app also automatically protects data over an unsecured Wi-Fi hotspot. When it comes to privacy, things could've been better as this provider records some session data, although it's nothing related to your online activities, it still might be an issue for some.
SaferVPN offers a free 24-hour trial to check it out, which is good since the monthly plan is expensive. Still, the yearly plans are very affordable, with the limited 3-year plan offering the best value. The packages available are:
- [$10.99 a month] 1-month
- [$5.49 a month] 1-year - $65.88
- [$3.29 a month] 2-years - $78.96
- [$2.51 a month] 3-years - $90.50
- We’ve rounded up the best free VPN services of 2018
How to choose the best iPad VPN
As mentioned, a lot of providers offer dedicated apps for iOS, so obviously in an ideal world you want to use one of those firms. And that native client should be able to satisfy both basic and advanced users, aiming to be user-friendly, while still offering plenty of settings and tweaks for those who wish to delve deeper.