Searching for a VPN on the iOS App Store will usually take you to VPN apps that act as adware, potentially endangering your privacy. Instead, when trying to find the best iPhone VPN app, make sure to rely on expert opinion – and that’s precisely what you’ll find in this guide.
This is where you’ll meet another problem as well: the iOS App Store won’t help you filter VPNs as per their capabilities. Instead, what you’ll first see are dishonest VPN apps that use tricks to rank high on the App Store. And trust us, these won’t get you very far.
After having tested more than 60 VPN services on iOS, TechNadu’s team is ready to present the ones that truly are the best VPNs for your iPhone (12, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max, 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max, SE, XR, X) and iPad. And while doing that, we’re also going to teach you plenty about choosing one that’s aligned with all your needs.
What to Look for in an iOS VPN?
With so many different VPNs out there, it can be hard to find the best VPN for iPhones and iPads. However, we’re here to help you out.
So, let’s talk about the most important requirements when choosing a VPN for iOS.
- Capable iOS VPN Protocols: You’ll see that VPNs advertise a range of VPN protocols. However, due to the constraints of Apple’s iOS system, you usually won’t get to use all of those. So, pay attention to what your chosen VPN brings on iOS (you’ll want to use OpenVPN, IKEv2, or IPSec – primarily).
- No Data Logging: If privacy is the reason you want a VPN, go for a VPN service with a “no logs” policy. In many cases, you’ll find independent audits to prove those claims. Checking a VPN’s background should also do the job of avoiding potential security risks in the future.
- Plenty of Servers: To get the best possible speed, you’ll want to connect to a server in your country (or nearby). VPNs that have plenty of servers usually come with better performance, giving you plenty of options to connect.
- Polished & Up-to-Date VPN Apps: Once you narrow down your selection of VPNs, head over to the iOS App Store. Check the rating of their apps, their update frequency, and what other users are saying. You’ll want a VPN offering an often-updated app, showing that it cares about its subscribers’ privacy.
- Reliable Customer Support: Finally, don’t overlook the importance of customer support. Reputable VPNs offer 24/7 live-chat functionality via their websites, so you don’t have to wait in case you encounter a problem with your VPN.
Best VPN for iPhone and iPad in 2021
We went through several VPN applications and tested everything they got. Out of them all, we have very few VPNs that performed better on iOS. The following 7 are the best VPNs for iPhone & iPad you should give a try to in 2021.
- ExpressVPN – Best iPhone & iPad VPN Overall
- CyberGhost VPN – Best for Streaming Netflix
- Ivacy VPN – Best for All-Around General Use
- NordVPN – Best for Privacy-Obsessed VPN Users
- Surfshark VPN – Best for First-Time VPN Users
- IPVanish – Best for Secure Web Browsing
- Private Internet Access – Best for Power Users
1. ExpressVPN – Best iPhone & iPad VPN Overall
Supported iOS Versions: Requires iOS 10.0 or later.
User Interface: Connecting to different servers is done by tapping on the “three dots” icon (on ExpressVPN’s home screen). This gives you the ability to manually connect to any server, choose a recommended server, or make a list of favorite locations. Tinkering with the app’s settings is done by tapping on the “hamburger” button, where you can change its settings, review your subscription, access support documentation, and use privacy- and security-related tools.
Features: If you’re looking for an automated iPhone VPN app, ExpressVPN is the one. It comes with ultra-secure servers built upon TrustedServer technology (and powered by AES-256 encryption). It means that none of your private data is logged at any moment, as proven by ExpressVPN’s independent audit – so you get the best possible protection for your online privacy on your iPhone and iPad.
Protocols: At the moment, ExpressVPN offers OpenVPN (UDP/TCP variants) and IKEv2. On other platforms, the VPN also offers additional protocols like L2TP/IPSec and PPTP.
Servers: Bringing over 3,000 servers, ExpressVPN is present across 90+ countries. There aren’t specialized servers, as all of the available ones can secure your Web connection and unblock streaming services at once. Speaking of which, ExpressVPN unblocks Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, Prime Video, and numerous other platforms.
Settings: By visiting ExpressVPN’s settings, you’ll get to instruct the VPN to reconnect if your connection drops (Settings > Auto-Connect), and you can pick a different protocol (Settings > VPN Protocol). As noted, this is a fully-automated VPN that requires minimal user input. ExpressVPN’s settings panel also includes a few handy tools, described below.
Tools: Going to Settings > Privacy & Security Tools will show you four highly interesting tools. You’ll get to check your IP address (to see if your VPN connection is valid and active), and you’ll get to check for DNS and WebRTC leaks (to see if your personal data is safe). There’s also a handy password generator. All of these tools are available on ExpressVPN’s website, which means you’ll be redirected from the iOS app itself.
Support: ExpressVPN comes with the best possible customer support system. There’s live-chat available on its website, enabled 24/7. You can also send an e-mail or create a support ticket. All issues are resolved in a timely manner.
2. CyberGhost VPN – Best for Streaming Netflix
Supported iOS Versions: Requires iOS 9.3 and watchOS 2.2 or later. The WatchOS app is used to connect (and disconnect) to the last server used on your iPhone.
User Interface: Here, we have another easy-to-use VPN that basically consists of two screens. The home screen allows you to connect to a server of your choosing, where you can also search for specific servers. If you tap on the cogwheel icon in the top-left corner, you get to the app’s settings. There is where you can fine-tune your user experience and review your subscription details.
Features: CyberGhost doesn’t offer split-tunneling or a kill switch on iOS. However, it overcomes this limitation by letting you auto-protect your device on public Wi-Fi networks (Settings > Wi-Fi Auto-Protect). Also, you get to use dedicated servers (explained below) and run diagnostic tests to see if the VPN is protecting your connection properly.
Protocols: You can count on using IKEv2 and WireGuard (in beta) protocols on iOS. On other platforms, CyberGhost VPN also supports OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, and PPTP.
Servers: This is the VPN with the highest server number (6300+) on the market. You’ll find these in 90 countries. What’s special about CyberGhost is that it offers servers designed for media streaming on iOS, letting you unblock Netflix, Disney Plus, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, as well as services like Sling TV, Crunchyroll, ZDF, ITV, and plenty more.
Settings: Aside from letting you pick a different protocol, CyberGhost’s Settings panel gives you the option of auto-protecting Wi-Fi networks. These could be both secure and open networks. Automating your VPN connection is quite handy, no matter if you want a VPN to use in your home or outside. Moreover, you can access the app’s help section, run diagnostic tests, and more.
Tools: If you can’t connect to a specific server, or if you’d like to check if everything’s working correctly, there’s a diagnostic tool (Settings > Analyze Connection Issues). This is how you can check for a possible downtime before contacting the VPN’s support.
Support: CyberGhost comes with comprehensive guides, troubleshooters, and frequently asked questions (accessible from the iOS app). And even though there’s no live chat here, you can always submit a support ticket. CyberGhost generally takes no more than 24 hours to provide a reply.
Useful Guides: CyberGhost VPN Review
3. Ivacy VPN – Best for All-Around General Use
Supported iOS Versions: Requires iOS 10.0 or later.
User Interface: Ivacy VPN comes with a somewhat busy interface, but it’s still very easy to use. The home screen allows you to connect to all kinds of servers, with different ways to find a server suitable for your needs. From there, you can access the app’s help section or dive deeper into the app’s settings. All in all, both complete beginners and advanced users should be satisfied.
Features: There are two unique features here. First, there’s an ‘On-Demand’ feature (Settings > On-Demand VPN), where you can set up Ivacy to automatically connect to a server before accessing a certain website or online service, or perhaps leave the VPN enabled all the time. And if you wish to remain connected to a static IP at all times, make sure to use the ‘Manual Dialing’ feature (Settings > Manual Dialing).
Protocols: You’ll get to use IKEv2 and IPSec on iOS. And if you decide to try Ivacy on other platforms, you’ll also get OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP, and SSTP. So, plenty of choices.
Servers: Ivacy VPN covers over 100 locations. However, we must highlight this VPN’s specialized servers. There are servers optimized for streaming, downloading files, and avoiding censorship – all of which are available on iOS as well. In terms of streaming, Ivacy helps you unblock Hulu, Netflix US, Prime Video, ITV, ABC, beIN Sports, and dozens more.
Settings: The settings panel of the Ivacy iOS app comes with handy features to fine-tune your user experience and review your account details (Settings > Profile). You can choose from different protocols (Settings > Protocols), enable the ‘On-Demand’ and ‘Manual Dialing’ features (explained above), and share your feedback (Settings > App Feedback). If you ever need help, know that this option is found behind the question mark icon on the app’s home screen – not in the app’s settings panel.
Support: You’ll be happy to know that Ivacy comes with live-chat on its website. This is where you’ll also find nicely written guides, tutorials, general VPN-related articles, and more. As you can expect, you can also submit support tickets as well.
Useful Guides: Ivacy VPN Review
4. NordVPN – Best for Privacy-Obsessed VPN Users
Supported iOS Versions: Requires iOS 11.0 or later.
User Interface: One of the reasons why NordVPN is one of the best VPN for iPhone & iPad is its interface. We’re talking about a highly sophisticated app that’s not afraid to do things differently. The home screen presents a map using which you can connect to servers. This is also where you can visit the app’s rich settings panel, check out notifications, and more. As such, NordVPN is an amazing choice for a wide range of iOS users.
Features: Aside from specialty servers (described below), NordVPN brings its ‘CyberSec’ tool to iOS (Settings > CyberSec) – designed to block ads and malware. You can also instruct NordVPN to always auto-connect or on open Wi-Fi networks only (Settings > Auto-Connect). And there are also Siri integrations for connecting and disconnecting to servers (Settings > Add to Siri).
Protocols: NordVPN brings the following protocols on iOS – OpenVPN (both UDP and TCP), IKEv2, and NordLynx. Other platforms are covered by those same protocols, which is one of the unique things about this iPhone/iPad VPN.
Servers: If you’re looking for ‘Onion Over VPN’ and ‘P2P’ servers on iOS, know that NordVPN offers both of those types of specialty servers (accessible by clicking on ‘Specialty Servers’ on the app’s home screen). You should also know that there are servers in close to 60 countries. And also, NordVPN helps you unblock Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Prime Video. However, make sure to contact the VPN’s support to get fresh recommendations on which servers to use for a specific streaming platform.
Settings: NordVPN’s Settings panel on iOS is a joy to use. We recommend enabling the CyberSec feature if you’d like to get rid of ads. You can also pick a VPN protocol and decide if you’d like to auto-connect to a server in certain situations (or all the time). Then, you can enable Siri commands from here and even contact the VPN’s support.
Support: NordVPN is known for being one of the most transparent VPNs around. You can contact its support team via email, open a support ticket, or even chat live. There are also user-friendly tutorials and guides, in addition to a regularly updated blog.
5. Surfshark VPN – Best for First-Time VPN Users
Supported iOS Versions: Requires iOS 10.3.3 or later.
User Interface: Surfshark features an intuitive interface on iOS. To connect to different servers, you can use the bottom-placed ‘Surfshark’ and ‘Locations’ tabs. The first one lets you connect to the faster server or the nearest country. And using the second tab, you can pick any server manually. Using these bottom-placed tabs, you can easily switch between servers and different tools, as well as visit the app’s settings panel.
Features: We’re happy to report that Surfshark comes with a kill-switch on iOS (in the ‘Settings’ tab). Aside from that, there’s a ‘CleanWeb’ feature that blocks ads, trackers, and malware. There are also two add-ons called HackLock and Blind Search, available for $0.99/month (in the ‘Features’ tab). Using those, you can get alerts if your email appears in leaked databases, and you also get to use a privacy-friendly Web search engine.
Protocols: On iOS, Surfshark brings OpenVPN (UDP/TCP) and IKEv2. You can get the same set of VPN protocols on other platforms as well.
Servers: Covering over 60 countries, Surfshark offers plenty of value for its price. All of those servers are optimized for P2P, and you can use them for media streaming as well. Among specialty servers, you’ll find static and multi-hop servers, which are great if you’re concerned about your privacy. This VPN also plays nice with streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and more.
Settings: You’ll see three tabs here, giving you an overview of the app’s settings (in the ‘Settings’ tab), your account overview (in the ‘Account’ tab), and customer support resources (via the ‘Help’ tab). This is also where you can enable/disable the kill-switch, change a protocol, and enable ‘NoBorders’ servers – handy for restrictive regions. There’s also an option to instruct Surfshark to auto-connect on specific Wi-Fi networks.
Tools: As explained earlier, Surfshark offers two specialty tools – found by tapping on the ‘Features’ tab. We’re talking about HackLock and Blind Search, which come as premium add-ons (affordably priced, though). These aren’t fully integrated with the iOS app, as you’ll be redirected to Surfshark’s website (which is equally functional).
Support: Aside from offering a live-chat functionality, you can also submit a ticket. This VPN has also done a great job of coming up with tutorials, set-up guides, frequently asked questions, and other helpful resources.
Useful Guides: Surfshark Review
6. IPVanish – Best for Secure Web Browsing
Supported iOS Versions: Requires iOS 11.0 or later.
User Interface: Even though IPVanish brings a somewhat rudimentary interface, it’s simple enough even for inexperienced users. The home screen of this iOS app allows you to connect to servers by picking a country, then city, and then a specific server. In the top-left corner, you’ll see a location picker, where you can also create a list of favorite servers. And to dive deeper into the app, the settings panel is hidden behind the cogwheel icon located in the top-right corner. Not the most polished UI overall, but gets the job done.
Features: What’s nice about IPVanish is that it comes with a set-up tutorial. Using this tutorial, you can create on-demand automation (Settings > On-Demand) to connect to servers automatically based on specific rules. For example, you can create a list of trusted and untrusted networks, instruct IPVanish to auto-connect when accessing certain sites, and more. Other than that, this VPN comes with a fairly standard set of features on iOS.
Protocols: You get to pick between IKEv2 and IPsec protocols. If you decide to use the VPN on other devices and platforms, you’ll also get to use the OpenVPN protocol.
Servers: Even though there are no specialty servers, IPVanish excels when it comes to picking a very specific server. You can simply pick a country if you don’t care about a specific region. Or, you can also pick a city and even an individual server. As per our tests, IPVanish plays nice with Netflix, but the list of supported streaming platforms ends there.
Settings: Diving into the settings panel allows you to review your account information, switch to a different protocol, refresh the list of servers, and more. There’s also a nice iOS integration allowing you to set up Siri shortcuts (Settings > Siri Shortcuts). If you’re in a country where the use of VPNs might be restricted, make sure to enable a feature called ‘Alternative Connection Mode,’ found in IPVanish’s settings (simply switch it to ‘ON’).
Support: Using the IPVanish iOS app, you can search the VPN’s knowledge base, submit a ticket, and even chat live with the company’s representatives. All of these features will take you to IPVanish’s website. In general, this VPN is known for being very quick in responding to its customers, so there’s nothing to be worried about.
7. Private Internet Access – Best for Power Users
Supported iOS Versions: Requires iOS 11.0 or later.
User Interface: If you’re a more advanced VPN user, you’re going to see why PIA is the best iPhone VPN right now. As soon as you open its home screen, you’ll see numerous options. Besides connecting to the closest servers, you can also check your real and virtual IP address, review in-depth info about your VPN connection, and more. PIA also provides plenty of flexibility in terms of simplifying its interface or making it more complex.
Features: First of all, PIA is one of the rare VPNs for iPhone that provides a fully-functional kill switch (Settings > VPN Kill Switch). Then, you can set-up DNS servers manually (Settings > DNS), and create a list of trusted Wi-Fi networks (Settings > Network Management Tool). Private Internet Access also comes with “geo-located region” servers. These are not located in their designated countries, bypassing possibly problematic laws in certain regions. PIA also has a small selection of “next-generation” servers, optimized for ultra-fast performance, located in the USA, the UK, Germany, and the Netherlands.
Protocols: You can choose from OpenVPN, IPsec/IKEv2, and WireGuard on iOS – all incredibly secure. On other platforms, you might also get PPTP, which is a less secure option.
Servers: With servers in 60+ locations and 40+ countries, Private Internet Access offers a lot. Some of those are “geo-located” servers (accessible with the ‘Region Selection’ panel), intended for use in countries with rigorous anti-VPN laws. In terms of media streaming, PIA works with Netflix. However, its ability to access other streaming platforms might be problematic.
Settings: This VPN’s settings panel provides plenty of customization. You can easily switch to a different protocol, set-up Siri shortcuts, enable the kill-switch, and set up custom DNS routes. The ‘Network Management Tool’ configures how PIA behaves on Wi-Fi and cellular networks. And you can also decide to enable/disable “geo-located” and “next-gen” servers.
Support: Just recently, PIA overhauled its customer support system. You can easily search its knowledge base, start a live-chat conversation, or submit a support ticket.
What Is a VPN on iPhone?
A VPN is an app that you can install on your iPhone and iPad. You can use it to connect to secure servers found worldwide, which route your Internet traffic by using a secure tunnel. That is how you can become invisible online.
However, keep in mind that not every VPN is the same. They all use different techniques to tunnel your traffic, which affects their performance. The best iPhone VPN allows you to use the full speed of your Web connection while encrypting your Web traffic and giving you the ability to visit geo-restricted websites.
Do You Need a VPN on iPhone & iPad? Why?
Yes, you absolutely need a VPN on your iPhone or iPad. There are many reasons for this, so let’s explain some of the most prominent ones.
- To Secure Your Digital Privacy: By encrypting your Web connection, VPNs hide your online activities from anyone, including your ISP and your mobile carrier. They also prevent online trackers from collecting your personal information, among many other things. Make sure to read more about how VPNs boost your security and privacy online.
- To Stay Safe on Public Wi-Fi: If you connect to the Internet using public Wi-Fi networks, you’re an easy target for hackers and government agencies. However, if you route your Web traffic through a VPN when using public Wi-Fi, all those dangers become a thing of the past. Here’s what else to know about using public Wi-Fi safely.
- To Overcome Geo-Restrictions of Digital Services & Apps: If you’re looking for a way to watch the US version of Netflix or perhaps to access Hulu outside of the USA, a VPN is the only tool you’ll need. By changing your IP address (while hiding your true IP), you’ll go around geo-restrictions imposed by websites and individual iOS apps.
- To Protect Yourself From Bandwidth Throttling: One of the lesser-known possibilities of VPNs is the ability to bypass ISP throttling, which is especially prominent in the USA. If you think that your ISP or mobile carrier is restricting the speed of your Web connection, a VPN will help you eliminate that restriction.
Is It Legal to Use a VPN on iPhone?
Yes, it’s perfectly legal to use a VPN on your iPhone – as well as on any other device. Just keep in mind that there are a few countries where VPNs are illegal, so it’s better to stay away from VPNs in those countries. If you live elsewhere, there’s no obstacle to using VPNs.
How Can I Set Up & Connect to a VPN on iPhone and iPad?
There are several ways to set-up a VPN on your iPhone (11, 11 Pro, SE, XR, X) or iPad. The simplest method is to install an iOS app provided by your VPN service – by visiting the iOS App Store. You can also set-up a VPN manually by going to Settings > VPN.
To connect to a VPN, you can either use your VPN’s iOS app or go to Settings > VPN. This is where you’ll see a list of servers where you need to pick any of those. Wait a couple of seconds until you’re connected to the VPN.
If you need a step-by-step instruction on how to set up a VPN on iOS, make sure to use the provided link to visit our dedicated guide (with screenshots included). Also, learn how to use VPN to change location on iPhone.
Can You Trust & Use a Free iPhone VPN Apps?
Malicious actors look at VPNs as an opportunity to take advantage of your privacy. This is the reason why you’ll find fake VPNs out there, as well as fake VPN websites – built for the sole purpose of collecting your private information.
We understand that you might be hesitant to spend money on a VPN. However, keep in mind that the consequences of someone intruding on your privacy can be grave. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, and we strongly recommend you avoid free VPNs at all costs. Make sure to read more about why free VPNs aren’t secure.
How to Turn on & off a VPN App on an iPhone?
Turning on a VPN on your iPhone is done using your chosen VPN’s app. Launch the app, select any server, and you’ll enable your VPN connection. To disconnect, you need to repeat those same steps.
If you decide to set up a VPN manually on iOS, you can control your VPN connection by going to Settings > VPN. This is where you can connect and disconnect from servers.
How to Delete or Remove a VPN from an iPhone (iOS)?
If you’ve downloaded a VPN app from the iOS App Store, you’re free to delete it by simply removing the app from your phone. In other words, hold down your finger on the VPN app’s icon. Then, select ‘Delete App.’
If you’ve set-up a VPN manually, you need to go to Settings > VPN. Click on any VPN connection you see there to open its overview. Finally, select ‘Delete VPN.’
Can VPNs Help You Change Your App Store Country?
On iOS and iPadOS, you will see a version of the App Store that corresponds to your chosen country of your Apple ID. Therefore, to change your iOS App Store country, you need to make changes to your Apple ID. The provided link will take you to Apple’s official support documentation page.
Even though you don’t need a VPN to change your App Store country, you need it to bypass geo-restrictions of individual apps. Just because you can download an app from a different version of the iOS App Store doesn’t mean that you’ll get to use that app. So, launch your VPN to bypass this kind of restrictions.
What’s the Best VPN for Streaming Netflix on iOS?
As you can imagine, you need to go for a VPN with a proven track record of providing reliable speeds. And to help you with this, we have a dedicated article to the best VPNs for media streaming. Once again, you’ll find ExpressVPN taking the first place, which we strongly feel is the best VPN currently on the market.
Does Apple Have a VPN App?
No, Apple doesn’t offer a VPN app, which means that you need to rely on a third-party solution. You’ve probably heard that Google has its free VPN on Android (called Outline – made for journalists primarily), which can be used for zero costs. However, Apple has decided not to go that route.
This is where we end our article on the best iPhone and iPad VPNs. If you have any questions or doubts, make sure to post your comment below. And of course, don’t forget to share this article online. Thanks!