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Best VPNs for iPhone & iPad

Best VPN for iPhone
Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

Simon 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, CNet and more. Read full bio

iOS devices are very secure, but the only way to fully protect your browsing is to use a free or paid VPN for iPhone and iPad.

A good iOS VPN secures unsafe public WiFi networks, unblocks websites and apps around the world, and hides your web activity from your ISP and mobile carrier.

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

To find the best VPN for iPhone, we tested over 60 iOS VPNs on our test iPhone 12 and iPad Pro.

The 5 best VPNs for iPhone and iPad (iOS) in April 2021 are:

  1. ExpressVPN: The very best VPN for iPhone and iPad. Read summary.
  2. Windscribe Free: The best free VPN for iPhone and iPad. Read summary.
  3. NordVPN: A fully-featured iOS VPN with fast speeds and strong security. Read summary.
  4. ProtonVPN Free: A safe free iOS VPN with no data restrictions. Read summary.
  5. Private Internet Access: A customizable iOS VPN with great security features. Read summary.

Not sure whether you want a free or paid VPN for iOS? Here’s a quick summary of the differences:

Free Paid
Cheapest Price Completely Free >$2.50 per month
Data Cap Yes No
Logging Policy Often Invasive No-logs
Server Locations Few Many
Simultaneous Connections Limited Several
Speed Slow Fast
Works with Netflix Rare Yes

Sadly, even the best free VPNs for iPhone come with limitations, such as slower speeds, data caps and limited streaming access.

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

All the VPNs on this page have native applications for iOS 14, 13, and older versions, too. They also work on 5G, 4G, and 3G, in addition to WiFi.

The 5 Best VPNs for iPhone & iPad (Paid & Free)

  1. 1. ExpressVPN: Best overall VPN for iPhone & iPad

    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
    (1,758 user reviews)
    Visit ExpressVPN
    1. Easy-to-use iOS app
    2. Supports all Apple devices, including iPad & Apple TV
    3. Fast mobile connections
    4. Works with Netflix, BBC iPlayer & more
    5. Fast speeds
    6. First-class privacy and security features
    1. No kill switch
    2. Little integration with iOS features
    3. Expensive

    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, and it works with the most recent iOS software updates on iPhone, iPad, and even Apple TV. Although it is more expensive than other services, ExpressVPN includes enough advanced features to make it worth the extra money.

    Cheapest Price$6.67/mo over 15 Months See all plans
    Top Download Speedi

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

    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. There is a large connection button in the center of the screen that makes it easy to use, even on smaller iPhone screens. When connected, the top half of the app will glow green to confirm you’re secured by the VPN tunnel.

    ExpressVPN was also one of the first VPNs to work with all of Apple’s devices. The VPN subscription comes with access to MediaStreamer, which is ExpressVPN’s Smart DNS service. MediaStreamer allows you to unblock streaming sites 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 all your watch data, too.

    Fast speeds for unblocking streaming sites

    ExpressVPN is an extremely fast VPN for iOS. When connected to a nearby server, our latest round of speed tests found that the VPN dropped our download speeds by just 7.9% to 92.15Mbps. Even more impressively, ExpressVPN maintained an average speed of 76Mbps when connected to servers from around the world.

    ExpressVPN’s fast speeds are put to good use, too, as we’ve found it to be the most reliable VPN for streaming on iOS. ExpressVPN worked with every service we tested, including US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, HBO Max, and DAZN.

    No kill switch and relatively expensive

    There are a few drawbacks that hold ExpressVPN back from being the perfect iOS VPN. Most importantly, it does not have a kill switch on iOS, despite it being present on all other platforms. If your VPN disconnects, your real IP address will become visible. Although we didn’t experience any VPN connection drops during our testing, this is still a serious privacy issue that we hope ExpressVPN can rectify as soon as possible.

    Unfortunately, ExpressVPN is also more expensive than the other VPNs in this list. The inclusion of features like split tunneling, 24/7 live chat, and best-in-class privacy features make ExpressVPN worth the extra cost. But it’s reasonable if you decide to opt for a cheaper or totally free service instead.

    Alternatively, you can take advantage of ExpressVPN’s seven-day iOS free trial. You can read how to do this later on in this guide, or go straight to our dedicated guide on how to use the ExpressVPN free trial on iOS.

  2. 2. Windscribe: Best Free VPN for iPhone

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

    Windscribe mobile screenshots
    (2 user reviews)
    Visit Windscribe
    1. 100% free
    2. Functional iPhone & iPad app
    3. Works with US Netflix, BBC iPlayer & more
    4. Connect securely to 10 countries
    5. No device limit
    6. Includes kill switch
    1. 10GB monthly data cap
    2. No live chat customer support
    3. Based in Canada
    4. Difficult to use on iPhone
    5. No stealth protocol on iOS

    Windscribe is the best free VPN for iPhone and iPad. It’s the only safe free VPN that works with streaming apps like Netflix, and it comes with 10GB of free monthly data. The VPN also comes with strong privacy, AES-256 encryption, and a native app for iPhone and iPad. If you want an advanced VPN without paying a cent, Windscribe is the best option.

    Cheapest PriceFree See all plans
    Top Download Speedi

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

    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 69 VPNs, we found that Windscribe is the only free iOS VPN that works with US Netflix.

    Windscribe also unblocks Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and every other streaming service we tested. All the other freemium VPNs we tested reserved streaming functionality for the paid plans, so it’s refreshing to see Windscribe provide this to all users.

    Although Windscribe’s free servers aren’t as fast as the premium ones, we were still able to take advantage of the iPhone’s XDR display and stream TV shows and movies in 4K UHD. We were able to maintain a fast connection in all 10 of Windscribe’s free server locations, too, which is important for accessing content from around the world.

    App is functional, but difficult to use on iPhone

    When using all of the default options, Windscribe’s app for iOS is easy-to-use. The large power button connects or disconnects you from the VPN, and the app conveniently displays what server location you’re connected to, along with your new IP address. The app’s support for the iPhone’s Taptic Engine is a nice touch, too.

    However, we often found it difficult to navigate the app on our iPhone. Although the interface works well on the iPad, the app’s small UI elements are not well-optimized for smaller screens. For example, toggling between server options is difficult and requires precision, which isn’t normal for a VPN app.

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

    10GB of data per month limits the VPN's usefulness

    There is one major drawback to Windscribe Free. As standard, the VPN allows you to use just 10GB of data per month. You can extend this to 15GB by tweeting a promotional link for the company, but this still isn’t enough.

    We calculated that Windscribe’s monthly data cap equates to just six hours of HD YouTube or Netflix streaming, which is not a lot. That said, its allowance is one of the highest we’ve seen from a safe free VPN, and should be ample for encrypting public WiFi networks or occasional streaming.

    Despite these minor downsides, Windscribe is still far-and-away the best free VPN for iPhone. It includes more features than other free options, a kill switch, and secure VPN servers in 10 countries around the world.

    How to use Windscribe Free on iOS:

    • Sign up for Windscribe via the on 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.
  3. 3. NordVPN: The Fastest VPN for iOS

    Secure iOS VPN with fast speeds and advanced features.

    NordVPN Mobile App Screenshot
    (246 user reviews)
    Visit NordVPN
    1. Includes advanced iOS features
    2. Intuitive app for iPhone & iPad
    3. Smart DNS feature works on Apple TV
    4. Very fast speeds
    5. Private logging policy
    6. Built-in kill switch for added protection
    1. Map interface is awkward on iPhone
    2. Doesn’t accept PayPal payments
    3. Server breach in 2018

    NordVPN is a superb alternative iOS VPN. Its apps are feature-packed and are well-integrated with the most advanced iOS features. We also found that NordVPN is the fastest VPN on our iPhone, and it’s available for a budget price on long-term subscriptions.

    Cheapest Price$3.71/mo over 24 Months See all plans
    Top Download Speedi

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

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

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

    More positively, NordVPN has recently added a Smart DNS feature. Using this feature is the easiest way to unblock TV shows and movies on your Apple TV. This is included with all subscriptions, too, so you don’t have to pay anything extra.

    Lightning-fast speeds & strong security

    NordVPN is the fastest VPN for iOS. This is thanks to the NordLynx protocol, which is built on top of WireGuard. In our most recent round of tests, we recorded just a 2% loss in download speed when connected to a nearby server.

    Connecting from the UK with our 100Mbps connection, our speeds were an impressive 93Mbps when connected to a server in the US. If you need a VPN for secure FaceTime calls, unblocking streaming sites, or for casual browsing, NordVPN will keep your connections fast and free from interruptions.

    NordVPN also comes with advanced security features that will 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 unbreakable AES-256 cipher and supports a wide range of secure VPN protocols, including OpenVPN and WireGuard. It’s also based in Panama, which is not part of the 14 Eyes surveillance setup and doesn’t mandate any data collection. This makes NordVPN a great choice for privacy.

    No major drawbacks

    One prominent issue to note is that NordVPN server in Finland was breached in 2018. That said, no user data was compromised, and the VPN provider has drastically improved its security as a result. With the introduction of co-located and RAM-based servers, NordVPN now leads the industry when it comes to security. With this, the company has gradually regained our trust.

    We would also like NordVPN to revise its map interface, as it’s too small to interact with on iPhone screens. We’d also appreciate being able to pay with PayPal, but this is not 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.

  4. 4. ProtonVPN: Free iPhone VPN With No Data Cap

    Fast free iOS VPN with no data usage restrictions.

    Screenshot of ProtonVPN Free's Mobile App
    (2 user reviews)
    Visit ProtonVPN
    1. Free with no payment details required
    2. No monthly data cap
    3. Fast speeds on nearby servers
    4. Open-sourced iOS app
    5. Strong encryption & minimal logging
    1. Only three server locations
    2. iOS app is basic
    3. Only one simultaneous connection
    4. No kill switch
    5. Doesn’t work with Netflix

    ProtonVPN is a trustworthy, Switzerland-based VPN that provides strong security features. Unlike other safe free VPNs, ProtonVPN doesn’t impose any data caps, so you can encrypt all of your traffic at all times. Although it only has free servers in three countries, these servers are well-distributed and provide fast and reliable speeds.

    Cheapest PriceFree See all plans
    Top Download Speedi

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

    iOS App Store Rating4.0
    Apple TV SupportNo

    Unlimited bandwidth and fast connections

    ProtonVPN is unique in that it allows you to use as much data as you want for free. This makes it the only option if you want a free VPN that you can leave on at all times.

    You won’t notice that the VPN is running, either. Our latest speed test results found that ProtonVPN is the fastest free VPN available. Our 100Mbps internet connection stayed at an impressive 95Mbps when we connected to a local server, which is superb.

    Rather than imposing speed and bandwidth caps, ProtonVPN limits the functionality of its free plan by blocking access to streaming sites. Although this prevents you from taking advantage of the unlimited bandwidth and fast speeds for streaming, it is a fair compromise for a free service.

    The best free iOS VPN for security & privacy

    ProtonVPN is the most secure free VPN for iPhone and iPad. It uses 256-bit encryption, and free users benefit from the same minimal logging as paid subscribers. ProtonVPN is based in Switzerland, too, which is a country with strong privacy laws and is not part of the 14 Eyes alliance.

    What’s more, a third-party security consultancy audited ProtonVPN’s iOS app, with all vulnerabilities now fixed. ProtonVPN has also open-sourced its iOS app, releasing the full source code on Github. Both of these initiatives improve the overall safety and security of the iOS app, as fixes can come from security experts and the wider public, rather than relying exclusively on ProtonVPN’s internal developers. This level of transparency is rare, even for premium VPNs, so we’re pleased to see ProtonVPN extend this to all users.

    However, it is disappointing that ProtonVPN’s iOS app does not include a kill switch. Instead, the ‘Always On’ feature reestablishes a VPN connection automatically should it be cut out. A kill switch is an essential feature for privacy and security, so we hope ProtonVPN can add it as soon as possible.

    Three locations, basic app, no advanced features

    ProtonVPN also only has free servers in three locations: the US, the Netherlands, and Japan. While its small network makes it less likely that you’ll be able to connect to a server in your country, these servers are well-spread out and within close proximity for most people.

    Another drawback is that you can only use ProtonVPN Free on one device at a time. As it is a free service, you can get around this by creating multiple accounts for each of your devices. Having said that, this is still a frustrating limitation and one that none of the other VPNs in this list have.

    The ProtonVPN iOS app is also very basic and would benefit from a redesign. It’s perfectly functional, but the app’s lack of graphical elements, overuse of lists, and map view are starting to look dated.

    On the whole, ProtonVPN is the perfect free VPN if you want to encrypt traffic and hide your IP at all times, but is not a good choice for streaming, torrenting, or any other premium features you expect from a VPN.

    How to use ProtonVPN for free on iOS:

    • Sign up for ProtonVPN on its website. You will need to use an email address and password.
    • Download the ProtonVPN iOS app and log in using your account details.
    • You will automatically be given unlimited data allowance and the choice of three server locations.
  5. 5. Private Internet Access: Most Advanced VPN for iOS

    Security-focused iOS VPN with many configurable settings.

    Private Internet Access
    (25 user reviews)
    Visit PIA VPN
    1. Strong security settings and customization
    2. Includes widget for iOS 14
    3. The largest server network
    4. Works with US Netflix & BBC iPlayer
    5. 24/7 live chat support
    6. Comes with an ad blocker
    1. Based in the US (Five Eyes jurisdiction)
    2. Doesn’t work with many streaming apps

    Private Internet Access (PIA) is the most customizable VPN for iOS, making it a great choice for advanced users. It has a no-logs privacy policy and comes from a VPN provider with a good history of protecting its users’ privacy. That said, it might be overwhelming for beginners and it isn’t very good for streaming.

    Cheapest Price$2.69/mo over 26 months See all plans
    Top Download Speedi

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

    iOS App Store Rating4.6
    Apple TV SupportNo

    Superb integration with iOS features

    Of all the VPNs we tested, Private Internet Access worked best with iOS’s advanced system features. PIA comes with a widget for devices running iOS 14. This displays a large connect button, along with information about the protocol and port currently in use. You can add this to your iPhone or iPad’s home screen for quick connections and to see useful information at a glance.

    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, and only works if you use your iPhone’s default Safari browser. Unlike CyberSec, this does not require the VPN to be enabled, and also blocks a wider-range of ads.

    The app also integrates with Shortcuts and mirrors iOS’ light and dark mode, so you’ll get a seamless experience on your iPhone and iPad.

    Highly-customizable & huge server network

    While almost all other iOS VPN apps are limited, PIA’s app includes as much functionality as the desktop versions. The kill switch is enabled by default, but the app allows you to 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 with this level of customization on an iOS app, so it’s very impressive.

    The app also allows you to arrange and customize which information gets displayed on the app’s main screen. You can choose information about your usage data, favorite server locations, and many more. This ensures the limited space on your iPhone screen is only taken up with toggles and information that is most important to you.

    PIA also has the largest server network of any VPN service, with 35,900 servers in 77 countries. This makes it more likely that you’ll be able to connect to an uncongested nearby server, giving you faster and more reliable speeds.

    Doesn’t always work with streaming apps

    Unlike the other premium VPNs in this list, Private Internet Access is not a reliable option for unblocking streaming sites. It does work with US Netflix and Hulu, but not on every US server. Instead, you have to connect to the list of options until you find one that works.

    The VPN does have a dedicated UK streaming server, labeled UK London-Streaming. We’ve found this server to consistently unblock BBC iPlayer, so we wish PIA would offer a similar server for US streaming apps.

    All things considered, Private Internet Access is a terrific iOS VPN for advanced users who want to configure their VPN’s settings and occasionally unblock TV shows and movies with fast speeds. However, we don’t recommend it for beginners who want the simplest VPN experience.

iOS VPN Comparison Table

How to Get Any VPN Free for 7 Days on iPhone & iPad

All premium VPNs on the iOS App Store allow you to take advantage of a seven-day free trial. This is because Apple incentivizes developers implementing a free trial period whenever payments are processed through Apple.

As a result, you can usually use a VPN for free on iOS, even when the VPN provider does not offer an official free trial themselves.

Here’s how 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. You can connect to a server and use all of its features. You will have access to the VPN for seven days and will not be charged.

Our method works with the following paid VPN services:

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

Totally free VPNs come with limitations, so this method is the best way to get a fully-featured VPN experience without having to spend money. Additionally, as many free VPNs on the App Store are to be avoided, this is the most certain way to ensure your data is kept private and secure.


Make sure to cancel your VPN free trial at least 24 hours before the renewal date, otherwise you might 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.

Free iOS VPNs to Avoid

Most free iOS VPNs are not safe and should be avoided at all costs.

Running a VPN service is expensive, so a VPN provider can’t operate without a source of income. Thankfully, the best free VPNs for iOS, like Windscribe and ProtonVPN, cover the costs of the free service with the money from premium subscribers.

However, many popular free iOS VPN apps earn money by collecting your data and selling it to third-parties. Additionally, our tests found that many free VPNs leaked our true IP address, making the VPN useless for privacy and security.

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

  • Flash VPNCaught storing user data, despite claiming to be a no-logs provider.
  • Hola — Logs websites visited, IP address, and connection timestamps.
  • Larva — 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 April 2021, when searching “VPN” in the iOS App Store, all ten of the top results either leaked our IP address or have a privacy-invasive logging policy.

Screenshot showing the iOS App Store results when searching "iOS"

Most popular VPNs on the App Store will log your information.

If you want to use a free VPN, make sure to research it thoroughly before using it. Alternatively, we strongly recommend only using the free iOS VPNs we endorse on this page. Otherwise, you could be putting your privacy and security at risk.

Testing Methodology: How We Ranked the Best VPNs for iOS

With so many VPN apps in the iOS App Store, we’ve created a methodology to ensure we only recommend the very best iPhone VPNs. We maintain a record of 69 and its feature-set on iOS. This is updated weekly to make sure our information is always accurate and up-to-date.

For iPhone and iPad VPNs, we have strict standards for iOS compatibility, security, speed, and ease-of-use. We will detail each of these below.A visualization of Top10VPN.com's 10-step review process

When ranking the best VPNs for iPhone, here are the most important categories we consider:

iOS Compatibility

For a VPN to be great on iOS, it needs to integrate well with Apple’s system-level features. When ranking the best VPNs for iPhone, we looked for VPNs that had support for Siri Shortcuts, iOS 14 widgets, and offered payment through the iOS App Store.

We also gave preference to VPNs that are compatible with the wider Apple ecosystem. It was essential for all the VPNs to have a solid, easy-to-use app for MacOS and an optimized app for iPad. Additionally, support for Apple TV with Smart DNS was a bonus, too.

Mobile-friendly VPN Protocol

When using a VPN on your iPhone, you’re likely to switch between many networks every day. This is different from a desktop computer, where you’ll remain on the same network all day. Because of this, it’s necessary for the VPN protocol on iOS to connect instantly as you change networks, otherwise you may compromise your browsing activity or security.

All the VPNs on this page have a VPN protocol that’s optimized for quick connections. NordVPN, PIA, and Windscribe have WireGuard, and ExpressVPN and ProtonVPN have IKEv2.

Strong Security & Encryption

Many VPN apps on iOS do not have the required level of security and encryption features. For example, Hola VPN does not have any encryption at all, and Touch VPN leaked our DNS and IP address.

To guarantee your iPhone activity is kept secure and private, all the VPNs on this list have a no-logs privacy policy, use unbreakable AES-256 encryption, have DNS and IP leak protection, and use private DNS servers.

Fast Speeds & Unblocks Streaming Sites

Fast speeds are an essential feature of VPN services, especially when you’re connected to patchy and slow mobile data networks. Without a fast VPN, your internet will often be unusable even for basic web activities.

All the VPNs in this list have been verified to keep speed loss to a minimum, resulting in fast and reliable connections. Apart from ProtonVPN, they all work with streaming sites like Netflix, too. This means you’ll be able to take advantage of the fast speeds to stream in HD.

Easy-to-Use App

The simplicity of iOS is one of the main benefits of using an iPhone or iPad, so your VPN app should be as intuitive and enjoyable to use as native system apps.

We made sure that all the VPNs we recommend can just as easily be used by beginners and experienced VPN users. This includes that the app can easily be downloaded through the App Store, has a large button for simple connections, and settings that can be configured easily.

How to Set up a VPN on iPhone & iPad

Installing a VPN onto your iPhone or iPad is easy, and will only take around 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. We recommend ExpressVPN.
  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 more detailed instructions, read our in-depth guide on how to install a VPN on iPhone. This covers all possible methods, including manually configuring an IKEv2 VPN connection using iOS settings. You’ll also learn how to use OpenVPN Connect, as well as how to install a VPN on your router.

How to Use a VPN on iPhone & iPad

In our video tutorial, we show you how to use a VPN on your iPhone. We’ve used ExpressVPN as an example.

In short, launch the app and connect to a server using the large power button. If you need an IP address from a different country, select that country from within the server list. We also recommend using the VPN’s recommended protocol and enabling the kill switch and all leak protection.

Why You Need A VPN on iOS Devices

Protecting privacy on unsafe public WiFi networks is the most popular reason for using a VPN, but it’s only one of several benefits.

A VPN is a versatile piece of software that enhances your iPhone’s privacy, security, and even entertainment options.

With a VPN for iOS, 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.


Does an iPhone VPN Use Mobile Data?

Yes, your iOS VPN will use more mobile data than browsing without a VPN would.

Our research has found that the price we pay for increased privacy, security, and freedom can vary from around 4%-20% extra data use when you use a VPN. This might not sound like a lot, but over time it can add up quickly.

If you’re close to reaching your data limit or if you’re traveling abroad and paying roaming charges, it might be worth reducing how much you use your iPhone VPN. To learn more about VPNs and mobile data use, read our in-depth ‘Does a VPN Use Data’ guide.

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 provider.

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?

Sadly, 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 remain on 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.

After contacting it, 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. But don’t worry, 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?

Unfortunately, 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, like BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and HBO Max.

About the Author

  • Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

    Simon Migliano

    Simon 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, CNet and more. Read full bio