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Do I need to download a VPN app for my iPhone?

iphone vpn
(Image credit: Primakov / Shutterstock.com)

Virtual private networks, or VPNs, are increasingly becoming a common part of the digital world - and that includes on your Apple iPhone.

They allow you to keep your data safe, access blocked websites, watch the latest TV shows wherever you are in the world and more.

Of course, there are plenty of iPhone VPN apps available in the App Store. But do you actually really need one?

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Plug those iOS encryption loopholes

The first thing everybody knows about Apple products is that they're basically invincible to data hacking, right?

Well, not quite. While your iPhone comes with end-to-end encryption as standard, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily impenetrable and that your data is always safe. In fact, Apple has been known to provide third-party developers with access to certain data. And although iPhones are encrypted, reports in 2019 suggest that that 68% of developers aren’t including encryption in their apps. 

It's also worth noting that Apple’s end-to-end encryption doesn’t extend to web browsing. It’s been designed to protect passwords, things saved on your device and data sent to Apple’s servers.

So using an iPhone VPN app from a top provider like ExpressVPN or NordVPN will certainly add an extra layer of security to your iPhone. 

 Avoid geo-blocking

There are few things more annoying than trying to access a website or movie that isn’t available in your region. However, one of the great things about VPNs is that they allow you to get around these annoying restrictions. VPNs conceal your IP address, meaning you can access services wherever you are in the world - getting a VPN for Netflix so that you can stream exclusive content from other geographic locations has helped make these apps surge in popularity.

What’s more, if you visit a country where certain content is blocked or if you’re living somewhere with these restrictions, downloading a mobile VPN app means you can access anything that has been blocked. Once installed, just select a server in a country where you know the show or movie is available, and away you go.

Securing your web history

Many people use public Wi-Fi when they’re out and about, but these networks are often insecure and represent a major red flag.

Cyber criminals can use this as an opportunity to infect your device with malware and steal personal information like logins and credit card details. But iPhone VPN apps will help secure and anonymize your internet traffic, keeping hackers at bay.

...but VPN apps aren’t perfect 

There's no doubt that VPN services are incredibly useful, but that’s not to say they’re without any flaws. For starters, pick the wrong one and they can actually slow down your internet speed as they secure each data packet and if the VPN server isn’t near to you. Some of the least effective VPN providers may also rely on slow servers, which will negatively impact your internet speeds.

Another setback for VPNs is that many content providers, including Netflix, are developing effective VPN blockers. So there’s a chance that one day you’re able to watch a TV programme that isn’t available in your region, and then the next, it’s once again unavailable. VPN companies plough a lot of time and resource into making sure this doesn't happen.

Of course, if you’ve never used a VPN before, setting one up may be confusing to begin with. Even the term “virtual private network” sounds like something only technology professionals should know. If you're still wondering: "But what is a VPN?", there’s plenty of reading material and video guides out there to make things easier. 

Clearly, VPN apps for iPhone offer an array of benefits. Fundamentally, they’ll help you to protect your data and give you access to even more content. If you're a privacy conscious Apple user, then it’s definitely worth downloading a VPN.

Nicholas Fearn is a freelance technology journalist and copywriter from the Welsh valleys. His work has appeared in publications such as the FT, the Independent, the Daily Telegraph, The Next Web, T3, Android Central, Computer Weekly, and many others. He also happens to be a diehard Mariah Carey fan!