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Best VPN for iPhone & iPad

By Simon Migliano | Updated January 27, 2020

Illustration of iPhone

There are nearly a billion iPhone users worldwide – but the vast majority of them aren’t using a VPN.

If you’re one of them then you’ve come to the right place.

A VPN for your iPhone (or iPad, too) is 100% essential, now more than ever.

Your iOS devices are like a vault of personal information: everything from your contacts to your email to your bank details are stored on them. Without a VPN that’s all vulnerable and exposed.

The VPNs recommended on this page are your very best options, not only for securing your device, but also for anonymizing your web browsing, unlocking Netflix on the go, and keeping your mobile carrier from throttling your connection speed.

All these VPNs have been thoroughly tested by our impartial experts to ensure you get the quickest, simplest, and safest possible VPN for your iPhone or iPad.

Like any quality product, though, they do cost a small premium. If you’d rather try before you buy then we’ve also listed the best free VPNs for iPhone here.

What We Examined in Our iPhone/iPad VPN Tests

  1. Intuitive, bespoke app for iOS
  2. Transparent, reliable logging policy & no IP leaks
  3. Fast download speeds, both near and abroad
  4. Unblocks with Netflix and other streaming sites
  5. Safe and modern privacy tools
  6. Won't slow down or use up space on your device

Wondering why you should trust our reviews?
See How We Review VPNs.

Best VPN Apps for iOS Devices

1. ExpressVPN

Ranked #1 VPN for iPhone & iPad

  1. Super intuitive iOS app
  2. Privacy-friendly logging policy
  3. Lightning speeds, peaking at 85Mbps
  4. Unblocks Netflix & iPlayer
  5. Connect securely to 94 countries
  6. Useful auto-reconnect feature
  1. No VPN kill switch for iOS app
  2. Not as cheap as its rivals
  • Best Price

    $6.67/mo over 15 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    85Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    94 countries, 3,000+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

ExpressVPN is our highest-scoring VPN overall, but that’s not just based on desktop performance – it’s also an outstanding iOS VPN.

If you’ve never used a VPN on mobile before then you’ve nothing to fear, it could scarcely be any easier to use.

The iOS app is reliable, intuitive, and won’t bog down your iPhone or iPad when it’s running.

We recorded extremely fast speeds through it when connecting to nearby servers, as well as the fastest speeds we’ve ever seen when connecting to foreign servers.

It doesn’t keep any logs, so you can be sure that your personal data is in safe hands, but we do have one concern when it comes to ExpressVPN’s security.

ExpressVPN for iPhone and iOS doesn’t have a kill switch. This means that if its connection should drop, your data will be left unprotected.

It has an ‘auto-reconnect’ feature to rectify the issue as quickly as it can, but it’s a shame it’s lacking such a key feature (that the desktop app has had for years).

It’s also quite expensive – but we feel it’s worth the money. Once you subscribe to ExpressVPN you’ll be able to use it on all your other devices, too.

For a more in-depth look, read our full ExpressVPN review.

2. NordVPN

Ranked #2 VPN for iPhone & iPad

  1. Easy-to-use iOS app
  2. No personal logging whatsoever
  3. Fast speeds - 70Mbps global average
  4. Unblocks Netflix, BBC iPlayer & more
  5. Generous 6 device connection limit
  6. Connect securely to 60 countries
  1. Obfuscated VPN servers don't always work in China
  • Best Price

    $3.49/mo over 36 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    90Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    58 countries, 5,500+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

NordVPN doesn’t quite measure up to ExpressVPN but it comes close, especially when considering the price and its privacy credentials.

There’s no logging here, with NordVPN only ever monitoring general server loads to ensure optimal performance. Your user data is never retained or monitored.

Speeds are very quick across its server network, and it’s one of the few providers that will still reliably unblock both Netflix and BBC iPlayer, even on mobile.

The well-designed iPhone app offers a streamlined experience, and there’s a choice between OpenVPN and IKEv2 – two secure VPN protocols.

A recent update to the iOS app means there’s now obfuscated VPN servers available, which makes it easier to use in China. However, the servers are fairly hit and miss, with some users still struggling to bypass the Great Firewall.

If that doesn’t effect you, though, then NordVPN is a top VPN available at a reasonable price.

For a more in-depth look, read our full NordVPN review.

3. CyberGhost

Ranked #3 VPN for iPhone & iPad

  1. User-friendly iPhone & iPad App
  2. Completely zero-logs provider
  3. Exceptional same-country download speeds
  4. Easy access to load of streaming services
  5. Connect securely to 60 countries
  6. Mobile kill switch
  1. Smaller server network than its rivals
  2. Torrenting difficult on iOS
  • Best Price

    $2.75/mo over 3 years

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    87Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    89 countries, 6,200+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

All the VPNs on this page are simple to use on iOS, but CyberGhost is probably the simplest when it comes to streaming.

The server selection screen has a special filter just for streaming-optimized servers, along with the streaming service they’re recommended for.

While that’s a fantastic inclusion (there’s a massive 43 of them), CyberGhost falls down slightly when it comes to servers in general: 60 countries is good, but you can find more elsewhere.

You’ll also need to do some manual setup in order to get torrenting to work, too, although it’s unlikely you’ll be looking to do that on iOS.

It’s a top choice for privacy, with a strict zero-logs policy, VPN kill switch, and first-party DNS servers all implemented to prevent your true IP address from being exposed.

Once you’ve signed up to CyberGhost you can also use it on up to seven different devices at once – a very generous allowance, particularly at such an affordable price.

For a more in-depth look, read our full CyberGhost review.

4. IPVanish

Ranked #4 VPN for iPhone & iPad

  1. Sleek, highly configurable iPhone app
  2. Very strict zero-logs policy
  3. Unlocks US Netflix
  4. Fast download speeds & even better uploads
  5. Connect securely to 50 countries
  1. No VPN kill switch for iOS app
  2. Short refund period (7 days)
  • Best Price

    $3.99/mo over 12 months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    84Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    50 countries, 1,300 servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

If you’ve never used a VPN on iOS before then IPVanish may prove a little intimidating.

If you’re not? Then IPVanish is one of the fastest, most customizable VPN apps available for the iPhone and iPad.

Those seeking total control over their data and privacy will find no shortage of toggles, graphs, and settings to help create the ideal VPN experience.

The logging policy is top-notch, too, with no data retained whatsoever. You may have read stories of IP Vanish aiding US law enforcement by surrendering logs, but this was in 2016 when under different management.

We’re confident you can trust IPVanish.

The speeds we’ve recorded in our testing place IPVanish right up there with the fastest VPNs on the market, and it consistently works to unblock US Netflix (although it definitely struggles with other locations).

For a more in-depth look, read our full IPVanish review.

5. PrivateVPN

Ranked #5 VPN for iPhone & iPad

  1. Simple iOS app
  2. Strict zero-logs policy
  3. Barely affects WiFi speeds
  4. Works with Netflix & iPlayer
  5. Secure servers in 59 countries
  6. Very cheap on 15-month plan
  1. Only 150 individuals servers
  2. No VPN kill switch for iOS app
  • Best Price

    $1.89/mo over 2 years

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    86Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    59 countries, 150+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

It may not be the biggest name in VPNs, but PrivateVPN is a product that every iPhone or iPad owner should consider when picking their next VPN service.

PrivateVPN is fast, with download speeds barely dropping 7% when we connected to a nearby UK server.

PrivateVPN is secure, with leak protection and a number of protocols to keep your data anonymous.

PrivateVPN is trustworthy, with a logging policy that promises users no data of any sort is logged or stored.

PrivateVPN isn’t perfect, though.

There’s no kill switch on iOS, which is our biggest complaint of the service. If PrivateVPN’s connection should drop at any time it could leave your data exposed, if only for a second.

It also doesn’t have very many servers. 150 is a small number, and could lead to slower speeds if you connect to a popular one at a busy time of day (although we’re yet to see that happen).

For the low price PrivateVPN charges over a long-term subscription it’s definitely be a VPN to consider.

For a more in-depth look, read our full PrivateVPN review.

Popular Questions

Which Free VPN Is Best for iPhone & iPad?

We’ve actually created a page dedicated to the very best free VPNs for iOS – you can read all about the top five picks here.

Want to cut to the chase? The best free VPN for iPhone and iPad is Windscribe Free.

Ordinarily, free VPNs come in one of two varieties: a stripped-back version of a big-name product with a limited data cap, or an unrestricted but inferior product from a potentially untrustworthy provider.

Windscribe Free manages to be neither.

Its 10GB monthly data cap is by far the most generous we’ve seen from any free VPN we’ve tested.

Windscribe Free doesn’t hold back on the VPN servers either – you still get access to 20 different locations across 10 different countries.

The custom iOS app is super easy to use, and you don’t need to enter any payment details to use it for free. If you’re reading on your iPhone or iPad then you can tap to download it here.

Is it Safe to Use a VPN on iPhone?

Not only is it perfectly safe to use a VPN on iPhone, we would go as far as to say it’s unsafe not to use one.

Using a VPN on a mobile device is super important as it’s constantly reaching out for and connecting to strange new WiFi hotspots.

If you’ve ever logged on to the WiFi at a train station, cafe, fast food restaurant, hotel, or anywhere else – your phone has been left exposed to hackers.

A VPN is a quick, cheap, and extremely effective way to protect your iPhone and iPad from potential hackers and spies.

The only danger of using a VPN on iPhone?

Using a bad one.

There are plenty of (usually free) VPNs out there that can’t be trusted. They might access your iPhone’s files, sell your personal data, or even contain malware.

We’ve reviewed 74 VPNs, plenty of them free and even more available on the iPhone – you can be sure that our recommendations will keep you safe.

How to Use a VPN for iPhone

A screenshot of NordVPN on the iOS App Store

Before you start using a VPN on your iPhone, you’ll need to decide whether you’re going to install the software at router level or directly onto the iPhone that you’re going to use.

There are advantages to both options, but most people tend to install individual apps on their devices as it makes switching servers a great deal easier. However a downside of this is that you’re often restricted as to how many devices you can protect simultaneously, usually around 3-5.

You then need to choose which protocol you’re going to connect with. We recommend OpenVPN in most cases as it strikes the best balance between speed and security, however popular providers will offer other options should you need them.

In order to ensure you’re getting the best possible speeds, you should try and connect to a server close to your physical location – most providers will have an ‘automatic’ setting which does this for you.

Once you’re connected, the VPN will run in the background, so you can carry on using your iPhone as you normally would.

Make sure your kill switch is turned on, as this will cut off all internet activity should the VPN connection be interrupted for any reason. This saves you having to constantly check that you’re still protected and ensures that your true IP address won’t be accidentally leaked.

Check out our user-friendly guide on how to install a VPN on iPhone, complete with step-by-step instructions and loads of helpful screenshots.

Does Using a VPN Drain iPhone Battery Life?

This is a fair question – your smartphone’s battery is precious, and some apps can be super battery-intensive.

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

First of all, there will only be a difference when the VPN is actually being used to encrypt and transfer data (like when you watch YouTube, for example).

Secondly, the difference will be so minor that you it’s extremely likely you won’t even notice it at all, which is a good thing.

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

Does Apple Recommend VPN?

A screenshot of the VPN settings menu on iOS 12

While Apple may not have every put out a statement or a press release clarifying how it feels about iPhone owners using a VPN, we can make some assumptions about its stance on them by looking at the iPhone itself.

The most recent versions of iOS are all very accommodating towards VPNs. If you open the Settings app then browse to General > VPN you’ll see the ability to manually configure a VPN – a feature deliberately included by Apple.

What’s more, if you have a VPN already downloaded and set up you’ll see a toggle switch there, allowing you to quickly and easily turn it on and off. You can even have more than one installed and use that settings menu to manage them.

When your iPhone VPN is connected you’ll see a small ‘VPN’ icon at the top of the screen when you swipe to open Control Centre.

Should I Leave My VPN on All the Time?

On your iPhone or iPad it is totally fine to leave your VPN on all the time.

As clarified above, it’ll have very little effect on battery life and can only make you more secure.

There may be some instances where you’ll need to turn it off (like if your free VPN is running low on data, or if you’re trying to use websites and services that don’t allow VPNs), but unless one of those situations arises then there’s no reason to turn it off.

Does a VPN Use More Data?

A screenshot of the app data usage screen on iOS 12

No, your iOS VPN will not use more mobile data.

We get it – you’ve not got much data left on your plan for the month and it costs a fortune to buy more, but there’s no need to worry.

Your VPN will encrypt all the data sent and received from your handset, but it won’t add to it. Your mobile data consumption will be exactly the same as if you weren’t using one.

About the Author

  • Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

    Simon Migliano

    Simon leads our investigations into VPN safety and digital privacy. His work has been featured on the BBC, CNet, Wired and The Financial Times. Read full bio