*Content includes branded mentions of our sponsor, Norton Secure VPN.
iPhones are considered one of the most secure smartphones on the market, but growing concerns with online privacy and security made virtual private networks (VPNs) increasingly desirable even for iOS users. As a result, recent years have seen a number of VPN options surface for iPhone, making it difficult to decide which one is the best fit for you.
Whether you’re more concerned with privacy and security or cost and performance, you need to weigh up a variety of factors to make an informed decision. We looked at dozens of the top VPN providers and compared them to bring you the five best VPNs for iPhone.
Our Top Picks for Best VPN for iPhone
- ProtonVPN – Best free VPN for iPhone
- NordVPN – Best VPN for iPhone and Mac
- Surfshark – Best iPhone VPN for international travel
- CyberGhost VPN – Best cheap VPN for iPhone
- Private Internet Access – Best iPhone VPN for unlimited simultaneous connections
Best VPN for iPhone Reviews
- Unlimited data and bandwidth with the free account
- Subject to strong data privacy protection laws
- Strict no-logs policy
- No ads
- No live chat or 24/7 customer support on free plan
- Free plan is limited to one device connection at a time
- Only three server locations available on the free plan
Why we chose it: Proton VPN stands out for offering one of the industry's best free VPN services for iPhone users, with a forever free plan that sports unlimited data and no speed caps.
Proton VPN’s free plan boasts unlimited data — a rarity among free VPNs — and has no speed cap, allowing iPhone users to securely stream and browse without any restrictions. The VPN company is based in Switzerland, which has some of the world’s strongest data privacy laws. When combined with the company’s strict privacy and audited no-log policies (meaning they don’t store any logs or data of your online activity), customers can trust that their information won’t land in the wrong hands.
The free plan comes with a variety of advanced features, including a kill switch that blocks all traffic if the connection drops and a VPN Accelerator that can reportedly increase your connection speed by up to 400%. Proton VPN also offers a stealth VPN protocol that enables you to more easily bypass geo-restrictions and other VPN-blocking techniques.
While the free plan is limited to one connection at a time and only three server locations, the paid plans provide access to more than 1,900 servers across 65 countries. You also get support for up to 10 simultaneously-connected devices, priority live chat support and an ad blocker with malware protection. Proton VPN offers three plans: a monthly plan at $9.99 per month, a one-year plan for $5.99 per month (billed annually as $71.88), and a two-year plan that comes down to $4.99 per month (billed every two years as $119.76).
- Fast and reliable connections for iPhone and Mac
- Wide array of advanced security features
- Intuitive app that is easy to pick up and use
- Provides 24/7 live chat support
- Supports only six simultaneous device connections
- Expensive monthly plan
Why we chose it: NordVPN offers consistently fast speeds combined with advanced security features and a user-friendly app on both iOS and Mac OS.
NordVPN employs a wide array of tools designed to enhance your security online, including a kill switch, tracking and ad blockers, and double VPN protection, which encrypts your data twice. Nord also offers dedicated IP addresses (a type of web address that isn’t shared with other users); Onion Over VPN routing (which constantly bounces your connection through multiple servers to enhance privacy); and obfuscated servers that should allow users to connect to their VPN even in heavily restrictive environments and networks.
Nord’s Standard plans come with all of these security features, which are accessible on the VPN’s user-friendly app for iPhone, iPad and Mac. The Plus plan includes a cross-platform password manager and data breach scanner, and the Complete plan adds 1 TB of cloud storage plus access to advanced encryption algorithms.
|Yearly (per month)||$4.99||$5.79||$6.99|
|Biennial (per month)||$3.79||$4.59||$5.79|
If you’re on a budget and only want to pay month-to-month, NordVPN may not be the best option as its monthly subscription price is one of the highest in the industry. Another downside is its limit of only six simultaneous connections compared to the ten or unlimited number of connections offered by competing VPNs.
- Over 3,200 servers located in 100 countries
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Competitive pricing for long-term subscriptions
- Robust selection of security features
- Expensive month-to-month subscription
- Doesn't offer dedicated IP addresses
Why we chose it: With over 3,200 servers located in 100 countries, Surfshark has servers in more countries than any other VPN provider in this review.
Surfshark’s extensive fleet of servers and numerous server locations minimizes the likelihood of major slowdowns when using a VPN abroad. This is because there’s a higher chance that the company has servers in the region you are currently visiting. Even if the VPN doesn’t have any servers in the specific country you are in, they probably have some in a nearby country.
Surfshark also stands out for offering unlimited simultaneous connections and a robust selection of security features. These include split tunneling, multi-hop servers (which continuously bounce your traffic through different servers) and a kill switch that disconnects the internet if the VPN connection is interrupted. Surfshark also uses military-grade encryption and has a camouflage mode that conceals the fact you’re using a VPN.
Another security plus for the company is that it has a clear no-logs policy and claims not to store any user data. This policy was recently audited by Deloitte, one of the Big Four auditing firms, verifying its legitimacy.
Surfshark has competitively priced long-term plans. The 12-month plan costs $3.99 per month ($47.88 upfront), and the 24-month plan only costs $2.49 per month ($59.76 upfront) and comes with one extra month for free. However, its month-to-month subscription is relatively expensive at $12.95 per month. Moreover, Surfhsark doesn’t offer dedicated IP addresses, a handy feature for international VPN use that allows you to have the same unique address every time you connect to the service.
- Highly affordable long-term plans
- Has over 9,500 servers in 91 countries
- Offers a six-month subscription plan
- Monthly plan is expensive and only has a 14-day guarantee
- Lacks some advanced VPN features
Why we chose it: At only $2.19 per month for its two-year plan, CyberGhost VPN has one of the lowest price points of any major VPN provider.
CyberGhost VPN operates one of the largest server networks on our list, with over 9,500 servers in 91 countries. While its network is not quite as spread out as Surfshark’s, which boasts 100 countries, CyberGhost has more than double the servers as its competitor.
At $12.99 per month, CyberGhost’s month-to-month plan is somewhat expensive. Its six-month plan — a unique subscription term in the industry — costs $6.99 per month, or $41.94 upfront. The two-year plan costs $2.19 per month and comes with an additional two months for free. If you’re willing to commit to a longer subscription term, CyberGhost is one of the most affordable VPNs out there.
The VPN’s six-month and two-year plans come with a lengthy 45-day money-back guarantee, while its month-to-month plan comes with a much shorter 14-day money-back guarantee. Nonetheless, both guarantees give customers a chance to try out the service, determine whether they enjoy the service and pull back if that isn’t the case.
CyberGhost offers several security and privacy features, including 256-bit encryption, an automatic kill switch, dedicated IP, DNS leak protection, ad blocking and servers optimized for specific activities (i.e., streaming, torrenting, gaming). Notably, CyberGhost doesn’t offer obfuscated servers to hide your VPN usage and lacks a double VPN feature. Its plans allow for only up to seven simultaneous device connections — which pales in comparison to other popular VPNs with unlimited connections, but might be enough for some users.
- Offers unlimited simultaneous connections
- Highly customizable
- Servers in all 50 states
- No-logs policy with independent audit
- Doesn't offer live chat support
- Complex setup options may be overwhelming for beginners
Why we chose it: Private Internet Access (PIA) is one of the few VPN services that offers unlimited simultaneous connections with no data caps.
PIA has servers in 84 countries and is the only VPN provider on our list to offer servers in all 50 U.S. states. Its monthly, one-year and three-year plans cost $11.95 per month, $3.33 per month ($25.95 upfront) and $2.03 per month ($73.08 upfront), respectively. Its cheapest plan competes with those of other providers in the market, but it comes with an exceptionally long three-year commitment.
As well as its unlimited simultaneous connections, PIA offers one of the most customizable VPN services on the market. You can select your encryption protocol, choose between 128-bit and 256-bit encryption, modify how the multi-hop feature works and even change the look and feel of the app. This makes PIA a great option for those with experience tweaking their VPN, but it can also make it intimidating for first-time users, especially because accessing all of these features or settings isn’t a straightforward process.
Other VPNs for iPhone we considered
The following VPNs didn't make our top list, but may also be worth considering.
- Free VPN option
- Free version comes with advanced features like double-hop encryption
- Unlimited connected devices
- Free plan limited to 10 GB per month
- No independently published security audits
- No live chat support
Windscribe’s free version is a great way to test out a robust VPN service that comes with unlimited connections and advanced features like double-hop encryption. However, it doesn't quite beat the other free VPN on our list (Proton VPN), namely because it limits users of the free plan to 10 GB per month.
- Competitive pricing
- Unlimited connections
- Some advanced features like obfuscation
- No kill switch for iOS
- Worked with the FBI in 2018 to log user data for investigation
IPVanish offers unlimited connections and competitive pricing that comes to $2.92 per month for its two-year plan ($79.92 upfront) and $3.33 per month for its yearly plan ($53.88 upfront). It also offers some advanced features, such as advanced server obfuscation.
The main downside of IPVanish is that it has been known to work with law enforcement in the past, most notably when it worked with the FBI in 2018 to log user data for investigations. For those worried about privacy from government surveillance, this may be a dealbreaker.
VPN for iPhone Guide
There are a dizzying number of factors to consider when choosing a VPN. We compiled the following guide to clarify some of the most common questions for those who are still wondering whether they actually need a VPN and also to those who are already looking at the best VPN services. Read on to learn what a VPN for iPhone is, what it does and how to use one.
What is an iPhone VPN?
A virtual private network (VPN) provides an additional layer of privacy and security to your iPhone by creating an encrypted connection between you and the server you're connecting to. This connection prevents others from snooping on your activity, allows you access to websites and content blocked by your internet service provider (ISP) or government, and enhances your online privacy.
VPNs can even help you gain access to region-locked content, such as streaming services and content that is only available in certain countries. However, keep in mind that doing so may breach your platform’s user agreement or terms of service.
VPNs usually require a subscription fee, though there are free options available. Most VPN providers offer apps for iPhone that make setting up and using the service as easy as possible.
What does a VPN do on an iPhone?
VPNs work by encrypting (i.e. converting information into code) your internet traffic and routing it through an intermediary server. This means that your internet travels through the VPN's server first, and anyone who intercepts the data in transit won't be able to read or interpret it.
By encrypting your data and hiding your IP address, VPNs can help safeguard your online activity from cybercriminals, internet service providers (ISPs) and other third parties. This includes shielding your emails, passwords and financial information from prying eyes when using shared or public Wi-Fi networks.
VPNs also conceal your IP address to prevent advertisers and websites from tracking your activity. Some VPNs even allow you to hide the fact that you’re using a VPN through the use of obfuscated servers, which are specialized servers that mask your VPN traffic.
How to use VPN on iPhone
Setting up and using a VPN on your iPhone requires just a few simple steps. The following steps generally apply to all VPNs, but we recommend you refer to your service’s support site if you have more specific questions.
1. Choose and download a reputable VPN app from the Apple App Store
As with any other type of iPhone app, VPN apps can be downloaded from the App Store. Make sure to check customer reviews to ensure that you select a reputable and trustworthy VPN service that is committed to keeping your data secure.
2. Launch the VPN app and create an account
After you choose a VPN and download its app, launch it and sign up for an account. Some services may offer a free trial, while others will require a paid subscription from the get-go. Many VPN services also offer a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can refund your plan cost if you’re unsatisfied with the product.
3. Configure the VPN settings to your liking
Once you’ve logged in to the VPN app, you can configure your settings as needed. This may include setting up connection permissions and privacy options, as well as configuring additional options like split tunneling, protocols and obfuscated servers.
4. Select and connect to an available server location
With your preferred settings in place, select and connect to an available server location. Some VPN providers offer servers dedicated to specific activities such as streaming or torrenting.
Once connected, you should see a notification — such as the VPN icon — in your status bar. You may see additional information such as your new IP address and how much data you’ve transferred while connected.
That last point is important to note, because VPNs use data while they’re active. In fact, using a VPN can slightly increase your data consumption — by anywhere from 5 percent to 15 —, so having these numbers can be quite helpful if your data plan is limited.
5. Test your VPN connection to ensure that it's working properly
Finally, you can do a simple test to make sure that your connection is working properly. Try visiting a website such as whatsmyip.org to check your IP address. It should be the same as the VPN server you’re connected to, indicating that your connection is secure. If you see a different IP address, then you should check your VPN connection.
How to disable a VPN on iPhone
Disabling a VPN on your iPhone is fairly straightforward. Your first option is to open the VPN app installed on your iPhone and press the “Disconnect” button. If your VPN service allows for this, pressing this button will immediately disconnect you.
For the second option, follow these steps:
- Go into the Settings app on your iPhone and select the “General” tab.
- Select the “VPN & Device Management” tab, then tap on “VPN” near the top of your screen. This page will list all the VPNs that are currently connected to your device.
- Near the top of the screen is a bar that reads “Status” with a slider beside it. If this slider is green, then the VPN is currently enabled and connected. To disable the VPN, tap on the slider and it should turn gray, disabling the VPN.
How to change iPhone location without a VPN
Although it's not as easy to change an iPhone's location as it is with an Android device, there is still one way to do this without a VPN. It involves using a fake GPS app. Fake GPS apps allow you to set your location to any desired spot on the map, tricking websites and other apps into thinking that's where you are located.
You will need to remove software restrictions on your iPhone — a practice known as jailbreaking — in order to use these fake GPS apps. That’s because this type of app is not offered on the Apple App Store and iOS does not allow users to install third-party apps.
It's important to note that installing any software that modifies iOS is against the iOS Software License Agreement and may result in Apple denying you warranty service or other support for your device. It may also increase your vulnerability to malicious software, hackers and other security risks, especially if you're not using a VPN or antivirus software.
VPN for iPhone FAQ
What is VPN configuration on an iPhone?
Do I need a VPN on my iPhone?
Why use a VPN on an iPhone?
Why is my VPN not connecting on my iPhone?
How We Chose the Best VPN for iPhone
To evaluate the best VPNs for iPhone, we considered a variety of factors, from security and privacy to speed and price. The following are some of the most important criteria we took into account:
- Security measures: We looked at the security protocols and encryption algorithms used by each VPN, as well as their general reputation for data security.
- Range of features: We examined the range of features offered by each VPN, such as split tunneling and kill switch protection.
- Speed: We tested and compared the speed of each VPN to ensure that they could provide fast and reliable connections.
- Price: We considered the price of each VPN plan, including any discounts available for longer subscription plans.
- User-friendliness: We looked at the overall user experience of each VPN, from installation to everyday use.
- Customer reviews: We read customer reviews from trustworthy third-party sites to gain an understanding of the overall satisfaction with each VPN.
- Customer support: We evaluated the customer support offered by each VPN provider, including whether they offer live chat and 24/7 assistance.
- Locations: We assessed the server network of each VPN, including the range of countries and locations that are available.
- Connections: We considered how many simultaneous connections per account are allowed by each VPN.