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The Best Free & Premium VPNs for iPhone

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Best VPN for iPhone
Simon Migliano
10 Comments

Simon Migliano is a recognized world expert in VPNs. He's tested hundreds of VPN services and his research has featured on the BBC, The New York Times and more. Read full bio

The top VPN apps for iPhone and iPad secure public WiFi connections, unblock geo-restricted websites and apps, and hide your internet activity from ISPs and mobile carriers.

Here’s a summary of the best free and premium VPN apps for iPhone and iPad, and what we recommend them for:

  1. ExpressVPN: Best VPN for iPhone
  2. NordVPN: Fastest VPN for iOS
  3. Private Internet Access: Most Advanced iOS VPN
  4. Windscribe: Best Free VPN for iPhone
  5. Proton VPN: Fastest Free VPN for iPhone

Comparison of the Best VPNs for iPhone

The table below compares the best VPN apps for iPhone and iPad based on their download speeds, logging policies, access to US Netflix, and more.

There are hundreds of free and subscription-based VPN apps on the App Store, but most log your data, slow your connection, or leak your real IP address.

For the best VPN experience, it’s worth paying for a premium subscription. Still, the two free iOS VPNs we recommend are 100% safe and won’t cost a dime.

All the VPNs on this page have native applications for iOS 16, 15, and older versions, too. They also work on 5G, 4G, and 3G, in addition to WiFi.

Why Trust Top10VPN.com?

We’ve spent thousands of hours testing and reviewing iOS VPNs using our unbiased iPhone and iPad VPN testing process to recommend the most suitable VPNs.

Here is an overview of our key iPhone and iPad VPN testing statistics:

iOS VPN Apps Tested100+
Test DevicesiPhone 14 Pro & iPad Air
Total Hours of Testing30,000+
Weekly Speed Tests3,000+
IP & DNS Leak Tests Performed 9,500+
How Much We've Spent On Testing$25,000+

Best iPhone VPNs: Summary Test Ratings

We’ve collected the data showing how the best VPNs for iPhone performance are rated each testing category. See our results in the table below:

The Best Free & Premium iPhone VPN Apps

  1. 1. ExpressVPN: Best VPN for iPhone

    The best overall VPN for iOS, with a fast and user-friendly app.

    Ranked #1 VPN for iPhone
    ExpressVPN's new app on mobile devices
     96% 
    (1,792 user reviews)
    Visit ExpressVPN

    Pros

    • Very easy-to-use iOS app
    • Supports all Apple devices, including iPad & Apple TV
    • Fast mobile connections
    • Streams Netflix, BBC iPlayer, HBO & more
    • First-class privacy and security features
    • 24/7 live customer support

    Cons

    • Little integration with iOS features
    • More expensive than its rivals

    Overall iPhone & iPad Rating: 9.6/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our iPhone and iPad VPN testing methodology.

    • 9.59.5/10
    • 9.89.8/10
    • 9.69.6/10
    • 9.29.2/10
    • 9.69.6/10
    • 9.79.7/10

    With its intuitive and easy-to-use app, ExpressVPN is the best VPN for all iOS devices including iPhone and iPad.

    The one-tap connect button makes securing your Apple device as simple as possible. The VPN also works with the most recent iOS software updates on iPhone, iPad, and even Apple TV.

    Although it’s more expensive than other VPN services, ExpressVPN includes enough advanced features to make it worth the extra money.

    Cheapest Price$6.67/mo over 15 Months See all plans
    SpeediSpeedBased on 100Mbps local test connection92Mbps
    iOS App Store Rating4.5
    Apple TV SupportYes

    Compatible with all Apple devices

    ExpressVPN’s intuitive iOS app could not be simpler, even if you’ve never used a VPN before.

    A large connection button in the center of the screen makes the app very easy to use, even on smaller iPhone screens. When connected, the top half of the app will glow green to confirm the VPN is on.

    ExpressVPN's app for iOS and iPadOS.

    ExpressVPN’s app for iPhone and iPad.

    ExpressVPN was also one of the first VPNs to work on all Apple devices. What’s more, the VPN subscription comes with MediaStreamer, ExpressVPN’s Smart DNS service.

    MediaStreamer lets you unblock streaming platforms on your Apple TV, which doesn’t allow full-VPN apps onto its App Store.

    As the Apple Watch shares a network connection from the iPhone, ExpressVPN will encrypt your watch data, too.

    Below is a quick video tutorial showing you how easy it is to use ExpressVPN on an iPhone:

    Fast speeds for unblocking streaming apps

    ExpressVPN is an extremely fast VPN for iOS. Connecting to a nearby server, our VPN speed tests revealed a download speed loss of just 7.9%.

    Even better, ExpressVPN maintained a high average speed when connected to servers around the world.

    The VPN’s impressive speed performance is down to the introduction of its bespoke Lightway VPN protocol. In fact, Lightway is much quicker to reconnect than most other protocols.

    Our tests found that Lightway is more than twice as fast as OpenVPN connecting to a VPN server. So, when your iPhone is switching between WiFi networks and cellular data towers, you won’t notice a drop in connection.

    These fast speeds help make ExpressVPN the most reliable VPN for streaming on iOS. The VPN unblocked every content platform we tested, including US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, HBO Max, and DAZN.

    More expensive than other options

    Its price is the only drawback holding ExpressVPN back from being the perfect iOS VPN.

    The VPN service is also more expensive than the other VPNs on this page. However, features like split tunneling, 24/7 live chat, and best-in-class privacy features make ExpressVPN worth the extra cost.

    To test the VPN first, take advantage of ExpressVPN’s seven-day free trial on iOS.

  2. 2. NordVPN: Fastest VPN for iOS

    Secure iOS VPN with fast speeds and advanced features.

    NordVPN Mobile App Screenshot
     94% 
    (246 user reviews)
    Visit NordVPN

    Pros

    • Includes advanced iOS features
    • Intuitive app for iPhone & iPad
    • Smart DNS feature works on Apple TV
    • Very fast speeds
    • Private logging policy
    • Built-in kill switch for added protection

    Cons

    • Map interface is awkward on iPhone
    • Doesn’t accept PayPal payments
    • Server breach in 2018

    Overall iPhone & iPad Rating: 9.5/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our iPhone and iPad VPN testing methodology.

    • 9.29.2/10
    • 9.89.8/10
    • 9.59.5/10
    • 9.59.5/10
    • 9.59.5/10
    • 9.89.8/10

    NordVPN is a very good alternative to ExpressVPN. Its iOS app is well-integrated with the most advanced iOS features.

    We also verified that NordVPN is the fastest VPN on our iPhone, and it’s available for a budget price on long-term subscription plans.

    Cheapest Price$3.29/mo over 2 years See all plans
    SpeediSpeedBased on 100Mbps local test connection98Mbps
    iOS App Store Rating4.5
    Apple TV SupportYes

    Optimized for iOS

    NordVPN is well-integrated with iOS. The app works with Shortcuts, which is Apple’s built-in automation app.

    After setting the VPN up, ask Siri to “quick connect,” or you can add the widget to your home screen for quick connections.

    The VPN app also detects whether your iPhone or iPad is using light or dark mode, and mirrors the app’s theme accordingly.

    NordVPN's app for iOS and iPadOS.

    NordVPN’s app for iPhone and iPad.

    You can also enable CyberSec, NordVPN’s DNS-based ad blocker, within the app’s settings. This only blocks pop-up ads, though, which is rather limited.

    More positively, NordVPN features a Smart DNS tool. Using this feature is the easiest way to unblock TV shows and movies on your Apple TV.

    Minimal speed loss and strong security features

    NordVPN is the fastest VPN for iOS. This is thanks to the NordLynx protocol, a more secure adaption of WireGuard.

    In our most recent battery of tests, we recorded just a 2% loss in download speed when connected to a nearby server.

    And connecting from the UK to the US, we registered a 7% loss in download speed.

    If you need a VPN for secure FaceTime calls or to unblock streaming apps, NordVPN will maintain fast and lag-free connections.

    NordVPN also comes with advanced security features to keep your internet activity private from third-parties.

    Most importantly, the app includes a built-in kill switch to protect your IP address, which is a rarity for iOS VPNs.

    In addition, NordVPN encrypts traffic using the AES-256 cipher and employs a wide range of secure VPN protocols, including OpenVPN and WireGuard.

    The VPN company is also based in Panama, a safe and private jurisdiction outside of the 14 Eyes surveillance alliance. The country also doesn’t mandate any data collection.

    Minor issues but no major downsides

    NordVPN doesn’t have any significant drawbacks, although some smaller issues need to be resolved.

    The most prominent issue relates to a NordVPN Finland server breach in 2018. No user data was compromised, and the VPN service has drastically improved its security as a result.

    With the introduction of co-located and RAM-based servers, NordVPN has joined ExpressVPN in leading the industry security-wise. With this, the company has gradually regained our trust, too.

    For certain, NordVPN needs to revise its map interface, which is too small to interact with on iPhone screens.

    Moreover, the lack of PayPal as a payment method will frustrate certain users. However, this isn’t an issue if you subscribe with your usual payment method on the App Store.

    Overall, NordVPN is an excellent multi-purpose VPN that has resolved its faults and now has no significant disadvantages for iOS users.

  3. 3. Private Internet Access: Most Advanced iOS VPN

    Security-focused iOS VPN with many configurable settings.

    Private Internet Access
     86% 
    (29 user reviews)
    Visit PIA VPN

    Pros

    • Strong security settings and customization
    • Includes widget for iOS 14 & 15
    • The largest server network
    • Works with US Netflix and BBC iPlayer
    • 24/7 live chat support
    • Comes with an ad blocker

    Cons

    • Based in the US (Five Eyes jurisdiction)
    • Doesn’t work with many streaming apps

    Overall iPhone & iPad Rating: 8.8/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our iPhone and iPad VPN testing methodology.

    • 9.79.7/10
    • 77.0/10
    • 9.99.9/10
    • 8.58.5/10
    • 99.0/10
    • 8.88.8/10

    Private Internet Access (PIA) is the most customizable VPN for iOS we’ve tested. It’s therefore a great choice for advanced users.

    The service operates a no-logs policy, backed up by the company’s good history of protecting its users’ privacy.

    That said, the VPN may be too complicated for beginners and isn’t optimized for accessing geo-blocked streaming apps.

    Cheapest Price$2.19/mo over 26 months See all plans
    SpeediSpeedBased on 100Mbps local test connection93Mbps
    iOS App Store Rating4.6
    Apple TV SupportNo

    Superb integration with iOS features

    Of all the VPN apps we tested, Private Internet Access worked best with iOS’s advanced system features.

    PIA has a widget for devices running iOS 14 and 15. This displays a large connect button, along with information about the protocol and port currently in use.

    You can add this widget to your iPhone or iPad’s home screen for quicker connections, and to see useful information at a glance.

    The VPN app also integrates with Shortcuts and mirrors iOS’ light and dark mode. This creates a seamless experience on your iPhone and iPad.

    PIA is also the only VPN to provide a fully-featured iOS ad blocker. This has to be enabled under ‘Safari Content Blockers’ within iOS’ settings menu.

    The ad blocker is better than NordVPN’s CyberSec, as it blocks a wider range of ads. It also doesn’t require the VPN to be enabled. It only works with the Safari browser, though.

    PIA VPN's app for iOS and iPadOS.

    PIA VPN’s app for iPhone and iPad.

    Highly-customizable app and a huge server network

    While almost all other iOS VPN apps are limited, PIA’s app includes as much functionality as the desktop clients.

    The VPN’s kill switch is enabled by default, plus the app lets you choose the encryption cipher, data authentication, and even the handshake algorithm.

    We recommend choosing AES-256-GCM, GCM, and RSA-2048 respectively. We haven’t seen any other VPN app for iOS with this level of customization, so it’s very impressive.

    Furthermore, you can arrange and customize which information is displayed on the app’s main screen with PIA. It could be usage data or favorite server locations, for example.

    The above feature ensures the limited space on your iPhone screen is only taken up with toggles and information most important to you.

    PIA also has the largest server network of any VPN service, with 17,087 servers in 84 countries.

    The size of PIA’s server network greatly reduces the likelihood of server congestion, delivering faster and more reliable connection speeds.

    Doesn’t always work with streaming apps

    Unlike ExpressVPN and NordVPN, Private Internet Access is not a reliable option for unblocking streaming platforms.

    It does work with US Netflix and Hulu, but not on every US server. In fact, you’ll have to trial and error servers until you find one that works.

    The VPN does have a dedicated UK streaming server, labeled UK London-Streaming. It consistently unblocks BBC iPlayer, so we wish PIA would offer a similar server for US streaming apps.

  4. 4. Windscribe: Best Free VPN for iPhone

    The best free VPN for iOS devices, works with Netflix & Hulu.

    Windscribe mobile screenshots
     100% 
    (3 user reviews)
    Visit Windscribe

    Pros

    • 100% free to use
    • Functional iPhone & iPad app
    • Works with UK Netflix, Prime Video & more
    • Connect securely to 10 countries
    • No device limit
    • Includes kill switch

    Cons

    • 10GB monthly data cap
    • No live chat customer support
    • Difficult to use on iPhone
    • No stealth protocol on iOS

    Overall iPhone & iPad Rating: 8.0/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our iPhone and iPad VPN testing methodology.

    • 77.0/10
    • 6.86.8/10
    • 9.59.5/10
    • 7.67.6/10
    • 9.69.6/10
    • 9.19.1/10

    Windscribe is the best free VPN for iOS 16. It’s the only safe free VPN that works with streaming apps like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and DAZN.

    The VPN’s iPhone and iPad app comes with a home screen widget, AES-256 encryption, and 10GB of free monthly bandwidth. If you want an advanced VPN without paying a cent, Windscribe is the best option.

    Cheapest PriceFree
    SpeediSpeedBased on 100Mbps local test connection54Mbps
    iOS App Store Rating4.0
    Apple TV SupportNo

    The best free iOS VPN for streaming Netflix

    Streaming services license content by region, so the content available differs depending on the location of your IP address.

    After regularly testing 70 VPNs, we found that Windscribe is the best free VPN for streaming on iPhone.

    Windscribe unblocks UK Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, DAZN and Hulu.

    All the other freemium VPNs we tested reserved streaming functionality for the paid plans, so it’s refreshing for Windscribe provide this for free.

    The only downside is that the free VPN no longer worked with US Netflix in our most recent streaming tests.

    Although Windscribe’s free servers aren’t as fast as the premium ones, we were still able to maintain a fast connection in all 10 of Windscribe’s free server locations.

    As such, we were still able to take advantage of the iPhone’s XDR display and stream video in 4K UHD.

    App is functional, but difficult to use on iPhone

    When using all of its default settings, Windscribe’s iOS application is user-friendly.

    The large power button smoothly connects or disconnects you from the VPN. The app also displays what server location you’re connected to, and your new IP address.

    Moreover, the app’s support for the iPhone’s Taptic Engine is a nice touch.

    Windscribe's app for iOS and iPadOS.

    Windscribe’s app for iPhone and iPad.

    However, we found the app difficult to navigate on our iPhone. The interface works well on the iPad, but the app’s small UI elements are not well-optimized for smaller screens.

    For instance, toggling between server options is challenging and requires precision, which is unusual for a top-tier VPN app.

    The app also uses IKEv2 by default, which is a closed-sourced protocol we don’t typically recommend. We suggest switching to WireGuard or OpenVPN in the settings menu, and selecting port 443.

    10GB monthly data cap limits the VPN's usefulness

    There is one major drawback to Windscribe Free, which concerns its monthly data usage limit policy.

    The VPN lets you use just 10GB of data per month, which you can extend to 15GB by tweeting a promotional link for the company.

    Sadly, 15GB still isn’t enough. We calculated that Windscribe’s monthly data cap equates to only six hours of HD YouTube or Netflix streaming.

    That said, its allowance is one of the highest we’ve seen from a safe free VPN. It should be enough for encrypting public WiFi networks and occasional streaming.

    Despite these minor downsides, we still consider Windscribe to be the best free VPN for iPhone and iPad.

    How to use Windscribe Free on iOS:

    • Sign up for Windscribe using its website.
    • To increase your monthly data allowance from 2GB to 10GB, create an account using your email address and password.
    • To increase your bandwidth to 15GB per month, tweet about Windscribe. Login to your Windscribe account and click ‘Tweet 4 Data’.
    • Download the Windscribe iOS app and log in using your account details.
  5. 5. Proton VPN: Fastest Free VPN for iPhone

    Fast and secure free iOS VPN with no data usage restrictions.

    Screenshot of Proton VPN's mobile app
     100% 
    (2 user reviews)
    Visit Proton VPN

    Pros

    • Free with no payment details required
    • No monthly data cap
    • Fast speeds on nearby servers
    • Open-sourced iOS app
    • Strong encryption & minimal logging

    Cons

    • Only three server locations
    • Only one live connection per account
    • No advanced settings
    • No VPN kill switch
    • Doesn’t work with Netflix
    • No P2P traffic allowed

    Overall iPhone & iPad Rating: 6.5/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our iPhone and iPad VPN testing methodology.

    • 66.0/10
    • 6.86.8/10
    • 9.89.8/10
    • 7.67.6/10
    • 11.0/10
    • 99.0/10

    Proton VPN is a trustworthy freemium VPN that includes strong security and privacy features in its applications.

    Unlike most safe free VPNs, like Windscribe, Proton VPN doesn’t impose any data usage limits. With Proton VPN, you can encrypt all your internet traffic at all times.

    Despite only offering free servers in three countries, these servers are well-distributed and recorded fast and reliable speeds in our tests.

    Cheapest PriceFree
    SpeediSpeedBased on 100Mbps local test connection95Mbps
    iOS App Store Rating4.0
    Apple TV SupportNo

    The fastest free VPN with no data limits

    Proton VPN is unique in that it lets you use as much data as you want for free. This makes it the only secure free VPN that you can leave running all the time.

    You won’t notice that the VPN is running, either. Our latest speed test results show that Proton VPN is the fastest free VPN available.

    In fact, on our 100Mbps test connection, we stayed on 95Mbps when connected to a nearby VPN server. A mere 5% speed loss is an impressive result.

    Rather than imposing speed and bandwidth caps, Proton VPN instead limits the functionality of its free plan by blocking access to streaming services.

    Unblocking streaming platforms requires extensive resources and investment, so we can understand why Proton VPN does this.

    The best free iOS VPN for security & privacy

    Not only is Proton VPN the fastest free VPN for iPhone and iPad, it’s also the most secure.

    The VPN implements a privacy-friendly logging policy and 256-bit encryption on its VPN connections. The same as for its paid subscribers.

    Additionally, Proton VPN is based in Switzerland, which is a country with strong privacy laws and isn’t part of the 14 Eyes alliance.

    Furthermore, a third-party security consultancy audited Proton VPN’s iOS app, with all vulnerabilities now fixed.

    Proton VPN has also open-sourced its iOS app and released the full source code for anyone to analyze.

    This level of transparency is rare, even for premium VPNs, so we’re pleased to see Proton VPN extend this to all users.

    Disappointingly, Proton VPN’s iOS app does not include a kill switch. At least, the ‘Always On’ setting reestablishes a VPN connection automatically should the VPN connection cut out.

    Only three free server locations and no advanced features

    The Proton VPN iOS app is also very basic and would benefit from a redesign.

    The application is perfectly functional, but the lack of graphical elements, overuse of lists, and map view are starting to look dated.

    Proton VPN's app for iOS and iPadOS.

    Proton VPN’s app for iPhone and iPad.

    Proton VPN also only has free servers in three locations: the US, the Netherlands, and Japan. It’s a very small network, but at least these servers are fast and spread out from each other.

    Moreover, you can only use Proton VPN Free on one device at a time. While you can get around this by creating multiple accounts for each devices, it’s still a frustrating limitation none of the VPNs above have.

    The free version of Proton VPN has also never worked with any streaming service we test for, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu.

    In summary, Proton VPN is an ideal free VPN for encrypting web traffic and hide your IP address at all times. But, it’s not a good choice for unblocking streaming services and private torrenting.

    How to use Proton VPN for free on iOS:

    • Sign up for Proton VPN on its website. You’ll need to use an email address and password.
    • Download the Proton VPN iOS app and log in using your account details.
    • You’ll automatically be given unlimited data allowance and the choice of three server locations.

How to Try Any VPN Free for 7 Days on iPhone and iPad

All premium VPNs on the iOS App Store let you take advantage of a seven-day free trial.

This is because Apple incentivizes developers to implement a free trial period whenever payments are processed through Apple.

Therefore, you can typically use a VPN for free on iOS, even when a VPN service doesn’t offer an official VPN free trial.

To get a seven-day free trial for any VPN on iOS:

  1. Download the VPN app through the App Store.
  2. When installed, open the VPN app and tap Start Subscription. Authenticate the subscription using Face ID, Touch ID, or with your password.
  3. Once complete, open the App Store and tap your account in the top-right corner. Tap Subscriptions and select your VPN service.
  4. Press Cancel Free Trial and follow the prompts to confirm the cancellation.
  5. Open the VPN app, connect to a server and use all its features. You’ll have full access to the VPN for seven days and won’t be charged.

This method works with the following paid VPN services:

  • ExpressVPN
  • NordVPN
  • Private Internet Access
  • CyberGhost
  • IPVanish
  • Surfshark

Completely free VPNs come with limitations, so this method is the best way to get a fully-featured VPN experience without spending money.

EXPERT ADVICE: Make sure to cancel your VPN free trial at least 24 hours before the renewal date, or you may still be charged. Don’t worry, even when you cancel, you can continue using the VPN until the end of the seven-day trial period.

Are iPhone VPN Apps Safe?

Many premium iOS VPNs are safe to use, however most free ones aren’t. You must avoid using risky free iPhone VPNs at all costs.

Many popular free iOS VPN apps earn money by collecting user data and selling it to third-parties. Unsurprisingly, only 15% of free iOS VPNs we analyzed respected users’ ad tracking choices.

We also found many free VPNs leaked our true IP address in our tests. This makes these VPNs useless for internet privacy and security.

Furthermore, our free VPN investigations uncovered that many popular iOS VPNs, with millions of installs, are secretly owned by Chinese companies.

Make sure you don’t download these free iOS VPN apps:

  • Flash VPN — Caught storing user data, despite claiming to be a no-logs provider.
  • Hola VPN — Logs websites visited, IP address, and connection timestamps.
  • Larva VPN — Logs IP addresses.
  • SkyVPN — Logs IP addresses, device name and model, and location information.
  • Touch VPN — Leaked our DNS and IP address, also logs network information, location, and your ISP.
  • VPN 360 — Logs IP addresses, connection timestamps, and aggregated URLs visited.
  • VPN Proxy Master — has sent user information to China, and logs IP addresses.
  • Yoga VPN — Leaked our DNS and IP address, no transparency about its logging practices.

As of writing, when searching “VPN” in the iOS App Store, all 10 of the top listings suffer from IP address leaks or privacy-invasive logging policy.

The iOS App Store results when searching for VPNs

Most popular VPNs on the App Store log your internet data.

If you want to use a free VPN on your iPhone or iPad, consider using the safe apps we recommend in this guide.

How We Test iPhone and iPad VPNs

With so many VPN apps in the iOS App Store, we’ve created a methodology to ensure we only recommend the very best iPhone VPN apps.

We maintain a record of over 50 VPNs and their feature-set on iOS. We update our records weekly to make sure our information is always accurate and up-to-date.

To find the best VPNs for iPhone, we measure:

  • How well the VPN app integrates with iOS system-level features.
  • Whether the VPN is usable on other Apple devices, such as Mac and Apple TV.
  • What type of data is collected by the VPN and how it’s stored.
  • How fast the VPN is across its server network.
  • Whether it works with Netflix and other streaming apps.
  • If the VPN uses AES-256 encryption and other security features.

Below, we’ve listed a detailed explanation of the attributes we analyze when rating the best VPNs for iPhone. You’ll also see the weighting of each attribute:

1. iOS App: 25%

Minimum Requirement: Native app for iPhone and an optimized app for iPad.
We Recommend: An easy-to-use app for iPhone and iPad with support for widgets and Siri Shortcuts.

For a VPN to be great on iOS, it needs to integrate well with Apple’s system-level features.

When evaluating the best iOS VPN apps, we looked for VPNs that had support for Siri Shortcuts, iOS widgets, and offered payment through the iOS App Store.

We also verified all the VPNs we recommend can be easily used by beginners and by experienced VPN users.

An iOS app must be easily downloadable through the App Store, have a large connect button, and settings easy to configure.

2. Apple System Integration: 20%

Minimum Requirement: Has native apps for macOS.
We Recommend: Mac app available on the App Store and a free Smart DNS tool for Apple TV.

We test every VPN on the full range of Apple devices. In total, we test the VPNs using an iPhone 14 Pro, an iPad Air, a 27-inch Mac, and an Apple TV 4K.

As well as iPhone and iPad, we analyze each VPN’s app on macOS and check whether it includes Smart DNS functionality for use on Apple TV.

We give preference to VPNs compatible with the wider Apple ecosystem. In particular, we look at whether the VPN service’s Mac app is available on the Mac App Store, whether it can run on Apple’s M1 chip, and how good its Smart DNS tool is.

3. Logging Policy: 15%

Minimum Requirement: Collects only aggregated and anonymized data.
We Recommend: Collects no data.

Without a privacy-first logging policy, your web activity may be stored and passed onto third parties. In practice, this nullifies a primary reason for using a VPN.

This is especially true for free iOS VPNs, where many rely on selling user data to cover running costs. For example, we discovered popular VPNs like Hola, Larva, and SkyVPN, all logged user IP addresses.

As part of our research, we analyze every VPN’s privacy policy to understand what data is collected, how the information is used, and how long it is stored.

Even for the free services on this page, we only recommend the ones that retain the absolute amount of logs. For example, this includes aggregated connection timestamp data. The best premium VPNs are true ‘no logs’, meaning they don’t collect any user data at all.

4. Speed: 15%

Minimum Requirement: Average download speeds above 70Mbps.
We Recommend: Download speeds of at least 80Mbps and server connections under 3 seconds.

Fast speeds are an essential feature of VPN services, especially when connecting to patchy and slow mobile data networks.

Without a fast VPN, your internet will often be unusable even for basic web activities.

We run weekly speed tests on our test iPhone and iPad to server locations across five continents. We then calculate the average speed loss on our 100Mbps internet connection. The smaller the speed loss, the higher we rate the VPN.

In addition to raw download speeds, we measure how long it takes for the app to connect to a VPN server.

On your iPhone, you’re likely to switch between multiple networks every day. It’s therefore crucial the VPN protocol connects instantly as you change networks, otherwise, you may compromise your browsing activity or security.

5. Streaming: 15%

Minimum Requirement: Works with US Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
We Recommend: Works with many Netflix libraries, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Disney+, and DAZN.

Using a VPN on your iPhone will let you mask your IP address and watch content on geo-blocked streaming apps.

We test every iPhone VPN with popular content platforms, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Disney+, and DAZN.

We track how each VPN performs over time, with results spanning multiple years. This means we know how consistently the VPN works with each streaming app, not just that it worked at a single point in time.

The best VPNs for iPhone unblock multiple Netflix regions, along with many more popular streaming apps. The worse-performing VPNs only work with US Netflix.

6. Encryption & Security: 10%

Minimum Requirement: AES-256, OpenVPN, leak protection, and a VPN kill switch.
We Recommend: AES-256, WireGuard, leak protection, and a VPN kill switch using firewall rules.

Many VPN apps on iOS don’t have sufficient security and encryption features. For example, Hola VPN doesn’t have any encryption at all, and Touch VPN leaked our DNS and IP address.

Using a VPN with high encryption secures unsafe public WiFi networks, and safely hides your web activity from your ISP.

To secure and anonymize your web activity on your iPhone, the VPNs we selected use gold-standard AES-256 encryption, have built-in DNS and IP leak protection, and use private DNS servers.

To verify these security features are as robust as the VPN services claim, we perform tests using Wireshark, a packet-capturing software. If we spot any unencrypted traffic, we downgrade the VPN severely.

How to Set Up a VPN on iPhone and iPad

Installing a VPN onto your iPhone or iPad is easy, and only takes roughly 10 minutes from start to finish.

To set up and use a VPN on your iPhone or iPad, follow the below steps:

  1. Sign up for your chosen VPN service through their website.
  2. Go to the App Store and search the name of the VPN provider. Tap ‘Get’ and authenticate the download.
  3. Once installed, open the VPN app and log in using your account details.
  4. When prompted, tap ‘Allow’ to add the VPN configuration file. Enter your passcode to authenticate.
  5. The VPN will now be successfully set up on your device.

For detailed instructions, read our guide on how to install a VPN on iPhone. It covers all setup methods, including IKEv2 manual configuration on iOS, using OpenVPN Connect, and installing a VPN on a router.

Why You Need A VPN on Your iPhone

VPNs are a versatile type of software that enhance your iPhone’s privacy, security, and even entertainment options.

They route the traffic from your iOS device through an encrypted tunnel, hiding your true IP address and preventing third parties from intercepting your browsing data.

Safeguarding your internet privacy and security on unsafe public WiFi networks is one of the most popular reasons for using a VPN. But that’s only one of several benefits.

With a good VPN for iPhone, you can:

  • Bypass censorship and access the internet in censored countries, like China.
  • Conceal your web history from your ISP, government, and other snooping third-parties.
  • Hide your IP address and access the internet in censored countries, like China.
  • Secure unsafe public WiFi networks to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks (MITM) and malware attacks.
  • Unblock streaming sites to watch previously hidden content, like US Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

Additional research by Luke Williams

iPhone VPN FAQ

Is iCloud Private Relay the Same As a VPN?

iCloud Private Relay is a feature included in iOS 15. It works more as a proxy service and not a fully-featured VPN.

Here are the key drawbacks of using iCloud Private Relay compared to an iOS VPN:

  1. It only works in the Safari browser. Any internet traffic sent outside of Safari, such as on Google Chrome or FaceTime, is not encrypted or anonymized.
  2. It’s slower. iCloud Private Relay sends internet traffic through two separate servers. In turn, speeds are noticeably slower compared to a VPN service, which usually only uses one server.
  3. You cannot change your virtual location. iCloud Private Relay provides you with an IP address from the country you’re located in. As a result, you won’t be able to bypass any geo-blocks, such as accessing US Netflix from outside America.
  4. Overall, iCloud Private Relay is a fine choice for casual users who want more privacy online. However, for users who want the fastest experience with more features, a top iPhone VPN is the better option.

Does an iPhone VPN Use Mobile Data?

You will use more data using an iOS VPN than you would if you were browsing the internet without one.

Our research into VPN data usage revealed mobile data consumption can increase by 4%-20% when you use a VPN, depending on the VPN and protocol you use.

4%-20% consumption may not sound like a lot, but over time it can add up quickly.

If you’re about to reach your data limit, or if you’re traveling abroad and paying roaming charges, consider switching to a lower-consumption VPN protocol like WireGuard or IKEv2.

Does the iPhone Have a Built-in VPN?

The iPhone comes with great native support for VPNs. VPN is included as a prominent toggle in the Settings app, from which you can manually configure an IKEv2/IPSec and L2TP/IPSec connection.

Although this saves space on your iPhone, as no third-party app is required, it doesn’t work with OpenVPN or WireGuard, it doesn’t include a kill switch, and you’ll still need to subscribe to a VPN service.

We’re glad to see Apple support VPN technology within iOS, but it’s still worth downloading a VPN app from the App Store.

Can I Share a VPN Connection Through Personal Hotspot?

You cannot tether a VPN connection from your iOS device.

You can still share the connection, but only your iOS device will be covered by the VPN. Your tethered device will keep using the usual mobile network.

Does a VPN Drain iPhone Battery?

A VPN will use up your iPhone’s battery, but only slightly.

This is primarily because the VPN needs to be connected to a server at all times to encrypt background processes, like fetching iMessages and iCloud photo syncing.

A CyberGhost representative told us that you can expect “roughly 15%” extra battery consumption, as the “data packets are encrypted and deciphered locally on your device, with a greater strain on the CPU.”

You can make your iPhone’s battery last longer by using ‘lighter’ VPN protocols, like WireGuard.

Ultimately, the benefits of using a VPN to keep your iPhone secure far outweigh any potential extra battery usage.

Can a VPN Bypass App Store Restrictions?

Sadly, using a VPN alone will not bypass App Store restrictions on iOS.

The App Store will display apps from the country associated with your Apple ID, regardless of your IP location.

To access apps from other countries, you will have to change your Apple ID region. After doing this, you can download previously blocked apps.

About the Author


  • Simon Migliano

    Simon Migliano

    Simon Migliano is a recognized world expert in VPNs. He's tested hundreds of VPN services and his research has featured on the BBC, The New York Times and more. Read full bio