Apple’s iPhone is known for being a relatively secure and protected smartphone. However it still faces security and privacy issues along with other iOS devices - especially in the current climate of hacking and security breaches. This is where a VPN comes in handy.
Even Apple's App Store is not devoid of its own share of dodgy apps (although truth be said, Google Play is a far more dangerous place to be). In terms of harmful activities, the argument that iPhone users have less to worry than other (especially Android) users certainly has some merit. However, that doesn't mean that they shouldn't be careful.
Using one of the best VPN choices - and, in particular, one of their VPN apps - ensures you maintain anonymity whilst browsing. This allows you to retain your digital privacy, while also allowing for other neat features like accessing geo-restricted content and circumventing censorship.
- Check out the best VPN service of 2020
The best iPhone VPNs
Best all-round VPN app for iPhone
Number of servers: 3,000+ | Server locations: 160 | IP addresses: 30,000 | Maximum devices supported: 5
ExpressVPN is our top pick for best all-round VPN, and specifically for iOS devices. This British Virgin Islands-based provider has a large server network (with 160 server locations in over 90 countries) that managed to provide very good speeds throughout our testing. ExpressVPN also has no trouble helping you access streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, making it ideal for streaming. Its custom traffic obfuscation will allow you to achieve better connectivity in censorship-heavy regions like China and the Middle East.
The iOS client is very easy to set up and boasts a user-friendly interface that focuses on smart server selection via different filters. Users can connect with a single tap and use the VPN seamlessly, with an option to reconnect automatically should your mobile data or Wi-Fi connection unexpectedly drop. The main drawback is the lack of a kill-switch, so that might be an issue for some. There are some unusual extras too, like the ability to switch protocols. The app itself supports iOS 8 and higher, a somewhat better level of support for the iPhone than found elsewhere.
The prices aren’t the cheapest, but may be worth the added cost for those who want the best experience for iOS devices, including iPhones and iPads. The most affordable option is the yearly subscription, for which ExpressVPN throws in 3 additional months for free. The packages available are:
- Exclusive deal [$6.67 a month] 12-months (plus 3 free months) - $99.95
- [$9.99 a month] 6-months - $59.95
- [$12.95 a month] 1-month
Super fast VPN app for your Apple
Number of servers: 1,300 | Server locations: 75 | IP addresses: 40,000+ | Maximum devices supported: 10
IPVanish delivers consistently great performance, and indeed actually improved our download speeds by around 15% over long distances, with even faster results when it came to some short hops. The native client supports iOS 9 or better, works equally well on iPads and connects automatically anytime internet traffic is detected. It also suggests the fastest server based on your location and ping time.
The app itself has some neat properties like the ability to auto-connect when visiting specific domains (especially those that are untrusted) or the option to see the server ping and load times. While the app is missing a kill-switch and the interface could be better, it's still a great piece of software.
When it comes to security, IPVanish offers a broad range of protocols (for iOS, IKEv2 and IPSec are available), and on the privacy front, the provider doesn’t record any online activity or connection data while using the iOS app.
In short, the only niggle with IPVanish is its pricing. There is no free trial available and it's slightly more expensive than others. That said, the three plans include a 7-day money-back guarantee. The 1-year subscription is the most affordable option. The packages available are:
One of the most secure VPN apps for iPhone
Number of servers: 5,600+ | Server locations: 60+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 6
NordVPN’s iOS app is user-friendly where everything is well organized, with at-a-glance information displayed by the ‘quick connect’ widget which details the closest server, availability, load percentage and so on. However, the interface as a whole could have been better. This provider’s network boasts a plentiful amount of servers, and offers perfectly acceptable performance.
Since the last time we properly tested the Nord app, there have been some handy additions for iPhone users. The app now includes an auto-connect feature to automatically connect the VPN when it detects you're using an untrusted network or Wi-Fi. There's added Siri capability, too (if you're in to that kind of thing).
On the security front, NordVPN supports 256-bit encryption, and offers an automatic kill switch, along with double data encryption (which passes your data through two separate VPN servers). This provider also has a ‘no logs’ policy, which is good to see.
Potential customers can sign up for a free trial, tucked away on the website, which is useful as the monthly billing is certainly on the expensive side. The rest of the paid subscriptions are much more reasonably priced, and indeed if you want to commit longer-term, the limited three-year plan actually offers fantastic 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
4. Private Internet Access
Best balance of performance and price
Number of servers: 3,300+ | Server locations: 50+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 10
In our performance tests, PIA yielded some great results, which is always a plus for any VPN. The native client requires iOS 9 on 64-bit or higher and it works quite well on iPads as well. The app itself is somewhat basic and it's generally low on features, but it does its job well.
On the security front, the provider supports the PPTP, OpenVPN and L2TP/IPSec protocols with the 128-AES and 256-AES encryption. A kill-switch is also available which works admirably and the provider states that it doesn't have logging of any kind.
Sadly, the provider doesn't offer a free trial but there is a 7-day money back guarantee and the plans are quite affordable. The two-year plan is the best choice here if you don't mind committing that long (at the moment you'll also get extra 3 months). The packages available are:
Very affordable VPN app
Number of servers: 700+ | Server locations: 34 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5
SaferVPN offers lots of quality software clients, and the iOS app is no exception. You can connect with a simple tap without any prior configuration as the app automatically determines the best server locations for optimal performance. The client also automatically protects data over any unsecured Wi-Fi hotspot.
SaferVPN manages its own network. In our performance tests, we found speeds were pretty good compared to rivals, and we obtained solid download rates even over longer distances.
On the downside, this VPN records some session data, although none of this is related to your actual activities online – but it’s still more information than competitors collect, generally speaking.
Safer boasts a free access-all-areas 24-hour trial to check it out. Among the three price plans, the limited 3-year plan offers 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
How to choose the best iPhone or iOS VPN app
There’s no shortage of VPNs with decent iOS support, with many providers offering dedicated iOS apps, which is obviously a main consideration here – and preferably the software will be easy-to-use, and yet provide enough options for more advanced users to be able to tweak things.