A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a must-have for any device, but it’s especially useful for protecting users on the go. The best VPNs for iPhone and iPad will encrypt all of the traffic flowing to and from your device so that it can’t be read by any snoopers, including your internet service provider, network administrator, or government. This is especially helpful when you connect to public wifi hotspots as it can protect you from cyber attacks by hackers.
VPNs are great for other tasks too, such as unblocking geo-restricted content (Netflix, BBC etc). You can connect to a VPN server in a location of your choice and have an IP address assigned from that location. This tricks streaming platforms and other sites into thinking you’re somewhere else and granting you access to region-locked content.
We get into plenty of detail about each of the VPNs on this list, but if you need to skip ahead in a hurry, here are our top picks for Apple mobile devices.
Best VPNs for iPhone and iPad:
- ExpressVPN: Our top recommendation for iPhones. ExpressVPN offers high-speed servers for streaming, downloading, and circumventing geo-restriction measures. It provides best-in-class security and privacy and even offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- CyberGhost: A great budget VPN that doesn’t compromise on performance. CyberGhost is fast and secure, plus offers easy-to-use apps.
- NordVPN: A solid all-rounder with intuitive apps, NordVPN has a large server network and a large suite of security features.
- IPVanish: Boasts high privacy and security standards and has solid speeds for streaming.
- Hotspot Shield: An extremely fast VPN with plenty of locations and a generous money-back guarantee.
- Surfshark: Great for unblocking and offers intuitive apps for all operating systems.
- PrivateVPN: A small but powerful VPN that has strong security features and easily unblocks streaming sites.
Not sure how to choose a VPN? We’ve curated our list of the best VPNs for iPhone and iPad based on the following key criteria:
- Easy-to-use iOS application available in the App Store
- Fast speeds
- Unblocks streaming sites such as Netflix, BBC and Amazon Prime Video
- Strong security features
- Doesn’t keep logs of user activity
The best VPNs for iPhone and iPad
Here’s our list of the best VPNs for iOS devices:
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN’s app will run on iOS 8 and newer and is very easy to set up and get started. This provider operates more than 3,000 high-speed servers in 94 countries, so you have a huge choice when it comes to spoofing your location. ExpressVPN is known for its unblocking ability and can help you access Netflix US and UK, Amazon Prime Video US and UK, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and lots more.
It even works in China and other countries where the government attempts to block VPNs. If you’re concerned about privacy and security, ExpressVPN has you covered. It employs military-grade encryption with perfect forward secrecy and protects against leaks. No user-identifying logs are kept and you have the option to pay with bitcoin.
Aside from iOS, you can download apps for Windows, Linux, MacOS, and Android. Plus, ExpressVPN can be configured with some home routers. You can connect up to five devices to the VPN at a time.
- Easy-to-use iOS app for iOS 8 or above
- Fantastic speeds for downloading and streaming
- Doesn’t log any data that can identify you
- Hard to beat on privacy and security
- Unblocks Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and many other sites
- Provides reliable 24/7 customer support
- Not the cheapest option on this list
BEST VPN FOR IPHONE AND IPAD:ExpressVPN is our number one choice. It has a solid iOS app and all servers are optimized for high-speed connections. It easily unblocks Netflix and most popular streaming sites, and prioritizes privacy and security. There’s even a 30-day no-quibbles money-back guarantee so you can try it risk-free.
Read our full review of ExpressVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
CyberGhost makes a sleek, user-friendly iOS app (for iOS 9.3 or higher) that allows you to choose a server based on your use case. For example, the app will automatically select the best server for streaming Netflix or P2P filesharing, taking out the guesswork that comes with many other VPNs. It can also unblock BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime Video, among other streaming channels. CyberGhost has ramped up expansion and now boasts more than 5,500 servers in over 90 countries.
Every connection is protected by 256-bit AES encryption, DNS leak protection, and an optional kill switch that halts all internet traffic should the VPN connection drop. This provider keeps no logs of your activity while connected.
Apps are also available for Windows, Linux, MacOS, and Android. You can manually configure the VPN with select routers. CyberGhost has a seven-connection limit.
- Runs on devices with iOS 9.3 and higher
- Budget provider that doesn’t compromise on security and privacy
- Minimal configuration required
- Impressive streaming and downloading speeds
- Unblocks a host of geo-restricted content
- Doesn’t reliably work in China or UAE
BEST BUDGET VPN:CyberGhost is easy to use and a great budget choice. It’s a private, secure VPN and streams HD video reliably. Plans come with a 45-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full CyberGhost review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
NordVPN’s mobile app is fast and reliable and works with iOS 9 or higher. It has a huge network of servers to choose from (more than 5,000 in over 60 countries). It’s excellent at unblocking streaming sites such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu, and works well in China.
NordVPN employs 256-bit encryption with perfect forward secrecy. The iOS and desktop apps include a kill switch. Leak protection is built in to help protect your data, and security extras include automatic wifi protection and a double VPN option. NordVPN never keeps any traffic or connection logs and the company accepts payment via bitcoin.
You can connect up to six devices simultaneously, and additional apps are available for Windows, MacOS, Linux, and Android. NordVPN works with some routers too.
- Good value option for iOS 9 or higher
- Offers secure, encrypted connections at all times
- Doesn’t keep logs
- Easily unblocks a wide range of geo-restricted sites
- Offers 24/7 live chat
- Desktop apps can be sluggish
VALUE AND SECURITY:NordVPN offers a secure and reliable service. Its iOS app is intuitive and can help you browse privately and unblock streaming media with ease. This provider offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of NordVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 7 DAYS
IPVanish has apps for most major operating systems, including iOS (10 or above). It’s a fast service that’s popular with torrenters and Kodi users. IPVanish has a smaller network than others on the list (around 1,100 in over 60 countries), but it does own its servers, which is good for privacy and performance. This service doesn’t unblock a ton of streaming platforms but it does work for Netflix US and several other popular sites.
This is a no-logs VPN service that utilizes military-grade encryption, perfect forward secrecy, and leak protection.
Other apps are available for Windows, MacOS, and Android, and the VPN can be manually configured with select routers. IPVanish is generous with its device limit and allows up to 10 connections at a time.
- App for iOS 10 or later
- Keeps no logs whatsoever
- Very fast speeds
- Works well with Kodi devices
- Doesn’t work in China
UP TO 10 DEVICES:IPVanish has a speedy network of servers and handles up to 10 connections at a time. It’s secure, private and offers beginner-friendly apps. Subscriptions include a 7-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of IPVanish.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
Hotspot Shield has a clean, modern iOS app that works with version 11 or higher. This VPN pegs some incredible speeds and can unblock plenty of streaming sites including Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and more. It has a server network comprising more than 3,200 servers in over 70 countries.
Hotspot Shield uses a proprietary protocol named Catapult Hydra, which is responsible for its excellent speeds. It uses military-grade encryption along with perfect forward secrecy, protection against leaks, and automatic wifi protection. This provider keeps minimal logs but doesn’t store your IP address past disconnection from the VPN.
You may connect up to five devices at once and aside from iOS, there are apps for Windows, MacOS, and Android. Hotspot Shield is introducing support for select routers too.
- iOS app for version 11 or higher
- Blazing fast speeds
- Strong encryption and other security features
- Customer support could use improvement
FAST AND SECURE:Hotspot Shield is very fast and boasts an excellent suite of security features. Plus it unblocks lots of streaming platforms. Plans come with a generous 45-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of Hotspot Shield.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Surfshark is another solid choice for an iPhone VPN. Its easy-to-use app works with iOS 9 or above, enabling you to browse securely and access your favorite streaming sites. Surfshark unblocks multiple Netflix libraries, as well as Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu. It has around 1,000 servers in more than 60 countries and switching between them is quick and simple.
Surfshark keeps no traffic or connection logs and secures your data with 256-bit encryption, perfect forward secrecy, leak protection, and a kill switch. You also get automatic wifi protection and split tunneling, among other features. Surfshark accepts bitcoin, which is helpful for signing up as anonymously as possible.
Desktop clients are available for Linux, MacOS, and Windows, and there’s a mobile app for Android. One of Surfshark’s standout features is it allows you to connect an unlimited number of devices at one time.
- Beginner-friendly iOS app for iOS 9 or above
- Unblocks lots of streaming sites
- Unlimited connections
- Smaller network than other providers
- Speeds can be inconsistent
GREAT UNBLOCKER:Surfshark’s user-friendly apps are adept at accessing geo-restricted sites. Connections are reliable and secure. The company offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of Surfshark.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
PrivateVPN offers a minimal yet functional app for iOS 10 or above. It has a relatively small network of just over 150 servers in 60 countries, but is very powerful when it comes to unblocking. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer pose no issues, and the same goes for most other streaming services we’ve tested.
PrivateVPN doesn’t maintain any logs of user data. Its security features include military-grade encryption, perfect forward secrecy, and protection against leaks. PrivateVPN accepts payment via bitcoin for an added layer of anonymity.
Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, and Android and up to six simultaneous connections are permitted.
- Intuitive app for iOS 10 or above
- Fast speeds for streaming
- Six-device limit
- Small network of servers
- Live support isn’t around the clock
PRIVACY-FOCUSED:PrivateVPN has great speeds and it’s excellent at unblocking. It boasts solid security and privacy features and comes with a 30-day refund policy.
Read our full review of PrivateVPN.
Can I use a free VPN for iOS?
We recommend avoiding free VPN apps altogether as these can cause trouble for a number of reasons. First, many of the free VPNs you find listed in the App Store don’t offer what you expect from a true VPN. Many employ weak encryption standards and some don’t encrypt your data at all.
What’s more, many free VPNs make a habit of tracking user activity and using the data for targeted advertising or selling it for a profit.
Even if you do find a secure service, you’ll be disappointed with its performance. These services tend to have few servers and lots of users, which translates to slow speeds and poor connections. They’re also not very good at unblocking streaming sites and even if they were, you’d rarely get enough data allowance to watch a full show.
Overall, you’re better off paying a small fee for an iPhone VPN that gives you peace of mind and reliable performance.
How to set up a VPN on your iOS device
If your chosen VPN provider has a native iOS app, as do those in our list above, setting up a VPN on your iPhone or iPad is simple. Just follow these steps.
Here’s how to set up a VPN on iPhone (or any iOS device):
- Select a provider from the list and subscribe (we recommend ExpressVPN). Make a note of your login credentials.
- Go to the App Store and search for your VPN provider’s name. Once you find the app, download and install it.
- Log in to the app using your new credentials.
- Choose the location or server you want to connect to (most apps show these in a dropdown list) and connect. Note that the first time you connect to a VPN server you may see a popup asking you to allow the VPN to change your configurations. Click Allow.
That’s it. You can now browse, stream, and download completely protected.
How to manually configure a VPN on your iOS device
If your VPN service doesn’t come with an iOS app, there’s a VPN tool built into iOS that enables you to manually connect to your chosen VPN server. It’s fairly straightforward to set up, but you will need the following information before you begin:
- The protocol you’ll be using
- The VPN server address
- Your username and password
- If a certificate or shared secret is required, you will need to get this from your VPN provider
Once you have the required information, consult your VPN provider website for a setup tutorial or follow these general instructions:
- Go to Settings > General > VPN.
- Select Add VPN Configuration…
- Hit Type and select your protocol. IKEv2 is preferable and offers a good balance between speed and security, but be sure to choose one that your VPN provider supports.
- Then select Back and in the Add Configuration screen, complete the Description, Server, and Remote ID fields.
- Enter your login information (your username and password). Some VPNs will require you to use a certificate, in which case you can select User Authentication > Certificate, then hit Back and add your certificate.
- Select Done and you’ll return to the VPN screen.
- Switch the Status toggle to the on (green) position.
Note that manually setting up an iPhone VPN will encrypt your internet traffic and replace your IP address, but you won’t get many of the other useful features found in VPN apps such as kill switches, leak protection, and automatic wifi protection. In addition, you have to set up each server separately, so you can’t simply switch between thousands of servers as you can in a VPN app.
Connecting multiple Apple devices to the VPN
Are you an Apple junkie? No problem! All of the iOS VPNs we recommended above allow for multiple simultaneous connections so you can connect your iPhone, iPad, Macbook, and any other supported device to the VPN at the same time. This is also useful if you share your VPN subscription with family members or roommates.
If that’s not enough for you, you might consider configuring the VPN connection to your wifi router. A router only counts as one device, and you can connect as many devices to it as you need and route them through the VPN. This also works for devices that don’t intuitively support VPNs, such as Apple TV.
If you’re not particularly tech-savvy, we recommend ExpressVPN’s pre-configured VPN routers. ExpressVPN makes the best VPN-enabled router firmware in the market. Note that you will need an ExpressVPN subscription.
Otherwise, you can configure a VPN on your own with a compatible router. Some routers come with firmware that supports VPN connections, while others don’t. If your existing router firmware doesn’t support VPNs, you may be able to replace it with an open-source alternative like DD-WRT or Tomato.
Note that you should use extreme caution when flashing new firmware to a router. Using firmware that’s incompatible with your exact router model or making a mistake during the flashing process could brick your router and leave it permanently damaged. The exact process varies from router to router.
- 1 The best VPNs for iPhone and iPad
- 2 1. ExpressVPN
- 3 2. CyberGhost
- 4 3. NordVPN
- 5 4. IPVanish
- 6 5. Hotspot Shield
- 7 6. Surfshark
- 8 7. PrivateVPN
- 9 Can I use a free VPN for iOS?
- 10 How to set up a VPN on your iOS device
- 11 How to manually configure a VPN on your iOS device
- 12 Connecting multiple Apple devices to the VPN