Your Apple iPhone likely contains as much sensitive information as your home computer, if not more – a VPN is a must.
Most providers offer an iPhone app, but we’ve found that some can be less secure than their desktop counterpart.
After reviewing more than 90 VPNs, we’ve identified the very best options for iPhone users looking for speed and privacy.
Wondering why you should trust our reviews? Take a look at How We Test VPNs
Our top picks all have dedicated iOS apps, providing an outstanding user experience on iPhone as well as other popular platforms. They produce outstanding results in our latest speed tests on both local and international connections, and also offer reliable access to major streaming sites such as Netflix.
We also look for privacy-friendly logging policies as well as advanced privacy features such as a VPN kill switch and protection against DNS and IPv6 leaks. What’s more, all our reviews are kept up to date to give you the timeliest recommendations.
If you’re just getting started in the VPN world and want to try before you by, take a look at our roundup of the Best Free VPNs of 2019.
Alternatively, if you’re a Mac user then follow the link to see our Best VPNs for MacOS.
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.
The majority of popular VPN providers offer dedicated iPhone apps, ensuring a user-friendly, streamlined experience on mobile as well as desktop. Obviously the quality of these apps varies a great deal from one provider to another, so in our top picks we’ve only included those that pack in loads of advanced privacy features without being too clunky or complex. Make sure that your chosen protocol (OpenVPN in most cases) is available on the iPhone app, as this isn’t the case with every provider.
Not every provider offers the same level of performance, so you need to ensure you choose one that isn’t going to slow down your iPhone too much. Generally speaking, the faster the better, however if you’re going to be doing lots of gaming you also need to look for a provider with low latency. Take a look at our speed tests to give you a better idea of which providers offer the quickest, most reliable speeds.
For the quickest speeds, you’ll need to connect to a VPN server as close as possible to your physical location. The more servers a provider has, the better, as servers are far less likely to get congested. Look at our speed test results for individual locations in our reviews to get the best idea, especially if you’re looking to connect to a specific country.
Do you enjoy watching Netflix or BBC iPlayer? Not every VPN will work with these apps. We are constantly testing whether each VPN is working with Netflix and other apps, and share these results in our VPN reviews.
Most VPNs will tell you they’re strictly “zero logs” and don’t store any of your personal information, however in reality this is rarely the case. To deliver consistently good speeds across a huge global network, you need to monitor at least some user connection details, such as amount of bandwidth transferred or device used. You could read loads of privacy policies to find out exactly what’s collected and stored or let us do that for you – just check the logging policy section of our review for a plain English explanation.
In an ideal world you want a VPN that doesn’t log your IP address and limits timestamp logs to just the date of your connection, or better still one that doesn’t collect any logs whatsoever.
The sheer amount of VPN jargon can be overwhelming, even if you are pretty tech-savvy. Do look out for OpenVPN though, as this connection protocol offers the best overall blend of speed and security. Ignore talk of military or bank-grade encryption and just look for AES-256, as that’s the gold standard. Unless you know your DNS from your IPv6, a VPN killswitch is the main thing to look out for among security features as it will protect you from exposing your real IP address should your connection drop unexpectedly.
Most of you aren’t just going to be using a VPN on your iPhone, so you want to make sure that the provider you choose also offers decent apps for other devices such as your computer. Look for a VPN with software that’s well-designed, user-friendly and powerful and you will be much more likely to use it all the time. We share the results of our hands-on testing of each VPN app in the the Ease of Use part of its review. We spend all day testing VPN apps, so hopefully we know a thing or two!
Even the most expensive VPN plans can be made affordable by taking out a longer subscription.
Don’t bother with a one-month plan – 12-month plans typically offer the best value and you can reduce the risk of buyer’s remorse by choosing one with a long refund period.
We’d advise a 30-day no-questions-asked guarantee – they essentially act as a free trial period.
Make the right choice, though, and you hopefully won’t be thinking about a refund at all.