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Best VPN for iPhone (& iPad)

Illustration of 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

There are nearly a billion iOS users worldwide, but the vast majority aren’t using a VPN. If you’re one of them, we strongly recommend you start using a secure VPN for iPhone.

Your iPhone (and your iPad) is a trove of personal information: contacts, sensitive emails, detailed financial data, and more. This data is at risk if you transfer it electronically on unsecured WiFi, especially if it’s not a HTTPS connection. A VPN encrypts all your internet traffic, protecting your data and online activity.

The VPN apps we recommend below will secure your iPhone’s internet connections, anonymize your web traffic, and prevent your mobile carrier (and ISP) from throttling your internet speed. All these VPNs will also unblock Netflix and other geo-restricted websites and apps.

Based on our latest test results, these are the five best VPNs for iPhone and iPad:

  1. ExpressVPN: Our best overall VPN is ideal for iPhone and iPad with an intuitive and effective iOS app. Read summary.
  2. NordVPN: A close second with a well-designed, highly secure iOS app. Read summary.
  3. CyberGhost: Ideal for streaming on iPhone or iPad. Read summary.
  4. IPVanish: Good VPN for security and fast US speeds. Read summary.
  5. PrivateVPN: Very affordable and effective VPN for Netflix. Read summary.

Compare these VPNs side-by-side with our tool

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

The very best iPhone VPNs don’t come free, though. If you’ve never used a VPN before, and want to trial one out first, see our best free VPNs for iPhone. They’re limited in what they can do (slow speeds, limited data allowances), but they’re 100% safe and won’t cost a dime.

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

5 Best VPNs for iPhone in 2020

1. ExpressVPN

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

  1. Incredibly intuitive iOS app
  2. One of the fastest VPNs available
  3. Unlocks Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney+ & more
  4. Privacy-friendly logging policy
  5. Useful auto-reconnect feature
  6. Completely free seven-day trial
  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 it’s equally an outstanding VPN for iPhone and iPad.

If you’ve never used a VPN on your iOS device don’t worry as using ExpressVPN couldn’t be any easier. The ExpressVPN iOS app is in fact incredibly intuitive and and easy to use. It’s also very reliable with no connection drops during thousands of hours of testing.

Screenshot of the ExpressVPN iOS app for iPhone and iPadAdditionally, we recorded very fast speeds through it when connecting to nearby VPN servers. Moreover, we registered extremely fast speeds when connecting to distant foreign servers.

Privacy-wise, ExpressVPN doesn’t keep any personally-identifiable logs, so rest assured that your personal data is safe. It also uses RAM-based servers that never write any data to a hard drive, providing an extra layer of peace of mind.

Sadly, we do have one concern about ExpressVPN’s iOS application, which is that it doesn’t have a kill switch. This means that if your VPN connection drops, then your IP address would become visibile. However, as we said above, we didn’t experience any VPN connection drops during our extensive tests. Furthermore, the VPN app also has an ‘auto-reconnect’ feature to rectify any real IP location exposure as quickly as it can.

When it comes to streaming on your iPhone, there is no better VPN than ExpressVPN. It works extremely well with all popular streaming platforms like Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer and plenty more.

Overall, ExpressVPN is rather expensive, but it’s certainly worth the money. If you prefer testing ExpressVPN on iOS before buying it, take advantage of its completely free seven-day trial. Alternatively, discover how to use ExpressVPN for free for up to 30 days.

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

2. NordVPN

A very fast and secure VPN for iPhone with a built-in kill switch.

  1. Easy-to-use native iOS app
  2. Super speeds on local web connections
  3. Unblocks Netflix, BBC iPlayer & more
  4. No personal web logs whatsoever
  5. Built-in kill switch for added protection
  6. Generous 6 device connection limit
  1. Manual setup required for use in China
  2. Doesn't accept PayPal
  3. No iOS free trial
  4. Small Finland server breach in 2018
  • Best Price

    $3.71/mo over 24 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    93Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    59 countries, 5,394 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 very close, especially considering its price point and its security credentials.

The iOS app is well-designed and straightforward to use. You can choose between OpenVPN and IKEv2 – two very secure VPN protocols – which deliver very fast speeds. In recent speed tests, NordVPN has in fact outperformed many of its top rivals.

Screenshot of the NordVPN iOS app for iPhone and iPadA recent update to the app means obfuscated VPN servers are available on iOS too, which makes it easier to use NordVPN on iOS devices in China. However, the servers are fairly hit and miss, and you may have to configure the VPN manually. For use in China, ExpressVPN is the better VPN choice.

Despite a very small server incident in Finland in 2018, NordVPN is otherwise a highly secure VPN service. It doesn’t log any personally-identifiable web logs, and it only ever monitors anonymous server usage to ensure optimal performance across its server park. NordVPN’s iOS app also comes with a kill switch, which is a rarity among VPNs.

NordVPN is also known for its streaming capabilities. If you want to bypass geo-restrictions imposed by Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney+ and more, NordVPN is a very good choice of VPN.

On the whole, NordVPN is a very strong contender for best VPN for iPHone, and it’s available at a very reasonable price per month on multi-year subscriptions. While it no longer offers a free trial to iOS users, we’ve created a guide on how to trial out NordVPN for up to 30 days.

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

3. CyberGhost

One of the best VPNs for streaming on iPhones and iPads.

  1. User-friendly iPhone & iPad app
  2. Good same-country download speeds
  3. Works with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, etc.
  4. Privacy-first logging policy
  5. Mobile built-in kill switch
  6. 1-day VPN free trial
  1. Slower international speeds
  2. Fewer customization options
  3. Inability to change VPN protocol
  4. Doesn't work in China, Turkey or UAE
  • Best Price

    $2.75/mo over 3 years

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    87Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    90 countries, 6,400+ 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 filter just for streaming-dedicated servers, labeled with the streaming service they’re optimized for: Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and many more.

Screenshot of the CyberGhost iOS app for iPhone and iPadCyberGhost VPN also gives you access to over 6,000 VPN servers around the world, currently the biggest server park offered by a VPN service. The speeds of its server infrastructure have been slowing down of late, but CyberGhost remains a fast VPN nonetheless.

The VPN service is also a strong choice for privacy, with a strict zero-logs policy, a built-in VPN kill switch, and first-party DNS servers. all implemented to prevent your true IP address from being exposed.

Unfortunately, CyberGhost’s iOS VPN doesn’t let you change VPN protocol, although it does default to OpenVPN, which is our protocol of choice. Additionally, and unlike ExpressVPN, CyberGhost won’t work in highly censored countries such as China, Turkey and the UAE.

All things consired, CyberGhost is a good alternative to NordVPN. And once you’ve signed up to CyberGhost you can use it on up to seven different devices at once. You can also test the VPN out for one-day before deciding whether to buy it or not.

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

4. IPVanish

A fast and secure VPN with fast US speeds.

  1. Secure native iPhone VPN app
  2. Fast local download speeds & uploads
  3. Strict zero-logs policy
  4. Unlocks US Netflix (on selected servers)
  5. Auto-connect feature
  6. Seven-day 100% free trial
  1. No kill switch on the iOS app
  2. Won't work in high censorship countries
  • Best Price

    $3.25 over 12 months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    84Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    57 countries, 1,400+ servers

  • Compatible with

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

The Bottom Line

The IPVanish iOS app is rather basic compared to its other applications, but it’s highly secure and relatively easy to use.

IPVanish is fast, especially connecting within the United States, and its iPhone app provides an acceptable range of features. For example, auto-connect (in the event of a connection loss), and server usage loads to help you pick a better performing VPN server.

Screenshot of the IPVanish app for iPhone and iPadIn terms of VPN protocols, you have the option to switch between IKEv2 and IPSEC. The default protocol in the app is IKEv2, and we recommend sticking with IKEv2 for optimal security. Sadly, IPVanish lacks a VPN kill switch, which is a shame.

IPVanish isn’t the fastest VPN we’ve tested, but it’s certainly fast enough for buffer-free streaming and downloading large files. It’s especially fast within the United States, where most of its users are based.

While it’s not a great VPN for streaming, IPVanish does unblock US Netflix, although not all its US VPN servers are able to bypass the Netflix geo-blocks.

All in all, IPVanish is geared more towards the security and privacy-conscious than streaming fans. Find out how to use IPVanish for free, including how to get a free seven-day trial on iOS.

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

5. PrivateVPN

A good VPN option for streaming fans on a budget.

  1. Simple but effective iOS app
  2. Works with Netflix & BBC iPlayer
  3. No-logs policy
  4. Very cheap on 15-month plan
  1. Only 150 VPN servers worldwide
  2. No VPN kill switch for iOS app
  3. Some connection drops on iPhone
  4. No free trial on iOS
  • Best Price

    $1.89/mo over 24 months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    86Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    60 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 virtual private network product that every iPhone or iPad owner should consider.

While it only has 150 servers across it’s entire network, PrivateVPN is able to deliver very fast download speeds particularly on short-distance connections. It may be helped by the fact that it’s customer base is small, but it’s a remarkable feature nonetheless.

For streaming fans, PrivateVPN could be the right VPN for you as it unblocks many popular platforms like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, Hulu, and more.

PrivateVPN is also very secure, with DNS leak protection and a good choice of VPN protocols including OpenVPN and IKEv2. There’s also no-logs policy in place that promises users the VPN service won’t of any sort is logged or stored.Screenshot of the PrivateVPN iOS app for iPhone and iPad

The downside of using PrivateVPN on iOS is that it suffered from sporadic connection drops, which wouldn’t be too much of an issue if it had a VPN kill switch. Unfortunately it doesn’t, meaning your true IP location would be exposed during a VPN connection loss.

PrivateVPN’s streaming capabilities and very cheap price over a long-term subscription make it a very good VPN for iPhone. But it really needs to fix its connection drops issue before we can possibly recommend it over any of the other VPN apps above.

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

iPhone & iPad VPN FAQ

What's the Best VPN for iOS (iPhone & iPad)?

As explained above, the best VPN for iOS (iPhone & iPad) in September 2020} is ExpressVPN. It is the most complete VPN service for all iOS devices, scoring remarkably well in our speed, privacy, streaming and ease-of-use tests.

ExpressVPN is one the fastest VPNs we’ve tested, especially connecting to far away locations, and it has never leaked our real IP location on any device, including our test iPhone and iPad.

ExpressVPN’s security is of the highest standard, with connections to its 3,000 VPN servers secured with AES-256 encryption and VPN protocols like OpenVPN. It can also unblock most streaming services, including over 19 Netflix libraries.

The only thing missing from ExpressVPN’s app for iPhone is a VPN kill switch. It’s a shame, but the fact we didn’t suffer any VPN connection drops in thousands of hours of testing reassures us that ExpressVPN is still the best VPN for iOS in 2020.

What's the Best Free VPN for iPhone & iPad?

Screenshot of Windscribe Free VPN app displaying server locations list

We’ve actually created a page dedicated to the very best free VPNs for iOS. But if you want to cut to the chase, the best free VPN for iPhone (and iPad) is Windscribe.

Typically, free iPhone VPNs come in one of two varieties: a stripped-back limited version of a paid product, or an unrestricted but inferior product from a potentially untrustworthy VPN provider.

Generally speaking, Windscribe is neither. It doesn’t have that many limitations compared to other free VPNs. In fact, its 10GB monthly data cap is one of the most generous we’ve seen.

Also, you can connect to 20 different VPN locations across 10 different countries.

Windscribe’s custom iOS app is very easy to use, and absolutely free: you won’t need to enter any payment details whatsoever. If you’re reading on your iPhone or iPad, tap the link to download Windscribe.

Is it Safe to Use a VPN on iPhone?

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

Using a VPN on a mobile device is incredibly important, especially if you have the Wi-Fi toggle always turned on. This means your iPhone is always looking to connect to new WiFi hotspots. Some of these hotspots could be rogue, and dangerous.

If you regularly use free WiFi at train stations, cafes, fast food restaurants or hotels, your phone may have been left exposed to hackers.

A VPN is a fast, inexpensive, and extremely effective way to protect your iPhone and iPad from potential hackers, snoopers and cyber criminals.

The only danger of using a VPN on iPhone? Using a bad one.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of free VPNs that can’t be trusted. These unsafe VPNs may access your iPhone’s files, sell your personal data, or even infect your device with malware.

Sinc 2016, we’ve spent over 30,000 hours testing and reviewing VPNs, so you can rest assured that the VPN apps we recommend are all safe.

How to Use a VPN on an iPhone/iPad

A screenshot of NordVPN on the iOS App Store

There are two ways to set up a VPN on your iPhone/iPad: downloading and installing the VPN app directly onto your device, or installing it on your home router (for home use).

We’ll cover how to install a VPN directly on your device, which is what most people do as it makes switching VPN servers a great deal easier.

Once you’ve downloaded the VPN from the App Store, follow the on-screen prompts to install it on your device.

Then, choose which protocol you’re going to connect with. We always recommend OpenVPN since it strikes the best balance between speed and security, but IKEv2 is a good alternative.

For the best possible VPN speeds, connect to a VPN server close to your physical location (unless you want to get an IP address from another country). The best VPN services have an ‘automatic’ setting that does this for you.

Once you’re connected to a VPN server, the VPN software will run in the background, and you can use your iPhone or iPad as you normally would.

Another useful tip is to ensure your VPN kill switch is always turned on. This security feature cuts off all internet traffic in the unlikely event of a VPN connection drop. This way you’re protected all the time and your true IP address won’t accidentally leak.

If you want a more in-depth run-through on the above setup process, read our user-friendly guide on how to install a VPN on iPhone, complete with step-by-step instructions and helpful screenshots.

The Dangers of Public WiFi

Illustration of a man connected to public wifi while traveling.

Using an unsecured WiFi network is very risky, and it’s mind-boggling as to why so many public places, as well as hotels and restaurants, don’t secure their WiFi hotspots.

Here are three dangers of using an unsafe WiFi hotspot:

1Rogue WiFi networks

Cyber criminals creat fake (rogue) free WiFi networks, luring internet users to connect to them. Once you connect to a rogue hotspot, all the data you transmit over that WiFi network could be harvested by cyber criminals.

2Man-in-the-middle-attach (MITM)

An MITM attack is when a hacker intercepts the data being transferred between two (or more) devices.

A hacker can either actively ‘eavesdrop’ (snoop) on supposedly private communications, or actually alter communications.

3Malware attacks

MITM attacks can also involve viruses and malware being injected into your device.

Our advice is to always use a safe VPN on public WiFi. A mobile VPN encrypts all your web traffic, and some VPNs even have built-in malware protection.

For more information, read our full guide on how to stay safe on public WiFi.

Does a VPN Drain an iPhone's Battery Life?

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

Should I Leave My iPhone VPN Always On?

It’s absolutely fine to leave your VPN on all the time on your iPhone or your iPad.

As we’ve explained above, a VPN will have very little effect on battery life and can only make you more secure online.

Of course, there will be some instances where you’ll need to turn it off: for example, if your free VPN is running low on data. Unless one of those situations arises, then there’s no reason to turn the VPN off.

Does an iPhone 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.

Does Apple Recommend VPNs?

Apple has never put out a statement or a press release stating its view on iPhone owners using VPNs.

However, we can make some assumptions about Apple’s stance by looking at the iPhone itself. In fact, the most recent iOS versions are all very accommodating towards VPNs.

If you open the Settings app and then go to General>VPN, you’ll see the option to manually configure a VPN. This is a feature Apple included deliberately.

A screenshot of the VPN settings menu on iOS 12

If you’ve already installed a VPN, you’ll see a toggle switch that allows you to easily turn the VPN on and off. You can even have more than one VPN installed, and use that Settings menu to manage both VPNs.

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.

Other Useful iPhone Security Apps

Mobile VPNs are our favorite security tool for iPhones and iPad, given their multiple uses and versatility. However, there are other security apps that you should also have on your device.

Here’s a list of useful apps that you may want to start using for extra security, and peace of mind.

1Avira / Norton Mobile Security

Avira Mobile Security and Norton Mobile Security are two of the most known security apps that protect you from several online dangers. Useful features include:

  • WiFi security
  • Virus protection
  • Phishing protection
  • Identity protection

2Lookout

Lookout is an app focused on identity theft protection and software protection. Lookout monitors your personal and financial information and alerts you when it’s exposed.

Other features include:

  • Out-of-date software alerts
  • Safe web browsing
  • WiFi protection
  • Breach monitoring

3Last Pass

LastPass is one of the best password managers available. If you don’t use a password manager, you should. It’s one easiest ways to make sure that you use strong passwords, and avoid having them stolen by keylogger software.

Other good password managers are 1Password and Dashlane.

4Robo Shield

Robo Shield is a spam call blocker. The app identifies spam calls and allows you block them.

It’s database is updated regularly, and over time you will receive less annoying phone calls.

As mentioned above, these security apps should be used in conjunction with a mobile VPN.

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