Does an iPhone VPN Use More 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 an 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 and installing a VPN from the App Store.

Is iCloud Private Relay the Same As a VPN?

iCloud Private Relay is a feature that first appeared 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.