Best VPN for iPhone – Get Maximum Security on all iOS Devices!
The iPhone created by Apple is famed worldwide for being a highly stable and secure smartphone. However, this does not mean that iOS does not have its own issues of privacy and security.
Case in point: The FBI got an iPhone 5C unlocked while investigating a terrorism case. This is why it is crucial to use a VPN service to ensure you retain your digital privacy and identity.
Now, there is no shortage of VPNs available, which offer good iOS support for the iPhone. You can find many in the marketplace, but choosing one that best suits your needs can get a little difficult.
To help my viewers out, I have created this comprehensive guide for assistance, which is the result of a deep-dive involving the analyzing and testing of over 187 providers.
The purpose is to help elaborate the importance of a VPN to our viewers, how to configure a VPN manually on the iPhone, and what are the Best VPNs for iPhone (updated 2019):
My Recommendations for the Best VPN for iPhone
Top iPhone VPNs cannot let their guard down ever.
They need to be on top of their game on all aspects, all the time.
To get approved by us as a Best VPN for iOS, a provider needs to pass our stringent security tests, offer excellent compatibility with iOS devices including iPhone and iPads along with guaranteeing highly reliable performance round the clock.
Based on these parameters, we’ve narrowed down our choice to just the 5 providers when it comes offering a list for the Best VPN for iPhone for you to choose from:
NordVPN – Privacy-Focused Service (Save 75% on 3-Years Deal)
Pros: Huge database of 5,228 servers in over 62 countries worldwide. Apps for all platforms/devices, including Android TVs. Multi-Logins on 6 devices. Onion over VPN. DoubleVPN.
Cons: Refunds can take an additional 30 days. The monthly plan is expensive.
What are Users Saying about NordVPN?
Undoubtedly, NordVPN exists as one of the most famous providers for iOS users. Its app works incredibly smoothly and you can see many users touting the service for this very factor.
Of course, there are some bad reviews too. In one instance, a user complained about not being able to connect to any server on the app and experiencing numerous other issues with support.
I don’t agree with the latter though. I have approached NordVPN’s support several times and for each question, they reply within seconds via live chat.
Good and bad reviews combined, the iOS app of NordVPN earns a remarkable 4.6 rating from a total of 30k reviews. That is a great average!
Final Verdict: Its iOS app is also incredibly immaculate, carrying all of its major security features like the kill switch, OpenVPN protocol support, etc. For more details on the provider, read our full review on NordVPN.
Surfshark – Cost Effective (Save 83% on 2-Years Deal)
Pros: Offers 800+ servers in 50+ countries worldwide. Legacy Simultaneous Connections. Budget-Friendly costs ($47.76 for 2 years). MultiHop Feature. CleanWebTM.
Cons: No Free Trial offered. Independent Security Audit Only Covers Browser Extensions.
They have servers in more than 50 countries worldwide and offer virtually zero downtime. Netflix works with it even on iOS devices. Their app earns a rating of 3.6 on iTunes.
What are Users Saying about Surfshark?
Unfortunately, Surfshark does not receive quite an amazing rating like the VPNs listed above, but this has nothing to do with the credibility or performance of the service.
The BVI-based provider only recently made its entrance into the marketplace, and as you can see they have only been rated on a basis of 40 reviews in total.
I would like believing all the “bad” sides about the app, but having used it myself I can safely say whatever connectivity issues users had, they have been resolved.
I had quite an amazing experience with the app. Not only on iOS but on a range of other devices too. Ultimately, I would say judging this VPN on the basis of reviews will not be accurate.
Final Verdict: This VPN is so good that it ranks close to the likes of NordVPN and ExpressVPN. Its iOS app works like a dream with its uncomplicated, one-touch-to-connect interface.
Its servers are placed in more than 50 countries worldwide and they offer virtually zero downtime. Netflix works with it even on iOS devices, which is not a small coup for such a new provider.
Check more in our comprehensive Surfshark review of the service here
ExpressVPN – Reliability Personified (Save 35% on 1-Years Deal)
Pros: Offers a 2,000+ server’s network in 94 countries and 148 locations worldwide. Multi-Logins on 6 devices. P2P/Torrenting. 30-day refund. Obfuscated servers.
Cons: No Port Forwarding option. Overall expensive service.
You can open its site in China through its redirection link and it even offers support for Netflix unblocking. Their app earns a rating of 4.6 on the iTunes store!
What are Users Saying about ExpressVPN?
As an all-rounder in the marketplace of privacy tools, ExpressVPN does an amicable job at driving users to its iOS app, which is quite intuitive and user-friendly.
Similar to all providers, the VPN does get its share of good and bad reviews. What most users complain about is connectivity issues after app updates, which is usually rectified by ExpressVPN.
In terms of good feedback, ExpressVPN is praised for offering remarkable privacy, along with exceptional performance for streaming and torrenting.
From a total of 23.9K reviews, the VPN has earned a rating of 4.6 on iTunes. This is quite an excellent average considering the number of reviews.
Final Verdict: ExpressVPN’s iOS app is extremely stable and facilitates users to experience higher speeds than most VPNs can support, boosting your streaming/torrenting capabilities. More on ExpressVPN can be found in our comprehensive review of the provider.
CyberGhostVPN – Just Swipe to Connect (Save 79% on 3-Years Deal)
Pros: Huge collection of 3000 + Servers for unblocking websites and VoDs. Multi-Logins on five devices. Mozilla and Chrome Browser Add-ons. 7-day Trial and 45-Day Refund Guarantee.
Cons: No Port Forwarding Available. Leaks found in Mac client.
The provider even offers special support for Torrenting on iOS, facilitating top speeds and a leak-free connection. Their app earns a remarkable rating of 4.6 on iTunes.
What are Users Saying about CyberGhost?
CyberGhost has managed to amass a huge following of iOS fans for its application, which according to users is incredibly user-friendly, easy-to-use, and budget-friendly.
Yes, most reviews are praising the cost-effectiveness of the service, while others are appreciative of the free trial the service offers, not available with top-names.
Though, I do have to mention that a lot of CyberGhost reviews seem to be fake or “paid”. Spending as much time as I have in this industry, it’s easy to determine a biased review.
Nevertheless, it is still quite a commendable feat to receive a 4.6 rating from 10.3k reviews in total. So, kudos to CyberGhost and its iOS app!
Final Verdict: CyberGhost guarantees maximum user ease. It has six special modes that you can select from depending on your preference by activity. Learn more about CyberGhost by reading this full review of the service.
Why Do I Need a VPN Service for My iPhone Smartphone?
Besides protecting your personal information from the prying eyes of governmental agencies and local ISPs, VPNs offer a number of advantages to smartphone users of all kinds. Here are a few reasons why you need to invest in a Best VPN solution for iPhone:
- Enhanced Security – VPNs integrate high-level military-grade 256-bit AES encryption, which protects your information from snoopers and hackers.
- Remote Control – By using a VPN, you can access data from other devices remotely from home or from any other place. This is why VPNs are a common tool among large enterprises and corporations.
- Online anonymity – A VPN will help iPhone users to explore the internet with the utmost level of privacy, masking your IP address.
- Unblock Websites – If you cannot access a particular website, due to geo-restrictions, VPNs are the top solution for bypassing content filters, by shifting your physical location.
- Better performance – Sometimes ISPs may impose bandwidth limitations that may result in poor internet experience. VPNs can boost the efficiency of your network.
What I Look for in VPNs for iPhone and iOS Devices?
When it comes to selecting a VPN, it is vital that you do your research and gain insight about different VPNs, before you make a final decision. To help you out, we have highlighted a few critical factors to consider when selecting the best VPN for iPhone:
- Bandwidth Throttling – VPNs allow users to bypass geo-restrictions for streaming content online, download torrents, or play games. Look out for providers that impose bandwidth throttling.
- Concurrent Connections – The best of VPNs do not only allow access to a single device but offer the ability to establish connections on a multitude of devices simultaneously.
- Server Availability – Select a provider that gives you access to a huge database of servers across countries all over the world. Do not settle for providers that offer only 5/6 locations for connectivity.
- Payment Methods – The best VPN providers offer reasonable pricing while allowing potential customers the ability to pay via a multitude of methods.
- Protocols – Always select a provider that offers complete protocol support, allowing you to establish connections on PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP, IKEv2, and OpenVPN.
- Features – The best VPNs offer a number of advanced features, which include automatic kill switch, NAT firewall, split tunneling, SOCKS5 proxy, DoubleVPN, DNS/IPv6 leak protection.
A Study on iPhone VPN Permissions
Informing users about the complexities concerning VPNs also involves spreading knowledge about the “Permissions” they require. Lucky for iPhone users that Apple takes customer privacy very seriously.
In comparison to their Android counterparts that have an entire manifest of permissions, which include plenty “dangerous” requests too, Apple has only a few permissions for toggling on/off.
They give complete liberty to the user to allow how and when apps utilize their information. Android, on the other hand, requires that you accept all permissions for the app to install and work smoothly.
You are probably wondering now: What kind of permissions do iPhone apps require in particular? Well, it is quite selective and you can find all of them in the “Privacy” menu in settings:
- Location Services
- Bluetooth sharing
- Speech recognition
- Motion activity and fitness
- Media & Apple Music
- Social media accounts, such as Twitter and Facebook
Any app could access any/all of the above, but only if the end user agrees to it. The best part of all: you have the option of disabling access, which cannot be done on Android devices.
The programming of iOS prevents applications from accessing users’ personal information without permissions, hence why users are given the ability to revoke access to different facets.
For instance, if the user signs in to iCloud, some apps may get access by default to iCloud Drive. Users can control each app’s access under iCloud in Settings.
Analyzing the Providers Listed Above and their Permissions
Now that you have an idea about iOS permissions, it is time we get into the details of VPNs and what access they require.
To keep it simple, any VPN application that wants to gain access to your Contacts, Calendars, reminders, photos, Bluetooth, microphone, and linked social media accounts are SUSPICIOUS!
“Location Services” is still to understandable, considering that VPNs need to mask your IP address and hide where you actually reside.
However, anything more than that could indicate that the VPN has ulterior motives and wants to gain access to your private information!
Gladly, the VPNs I have listed above namely: NordVPN, Surfshark, ExpressVPN, and CyberGhost are all safe and do not request any shady permissions.
I installed each app on my iPhone and then checked if they request access to four different important areas of privacy: Location, Microphone, Camera, and Photos:
I have tested some free apps that do require location services access “when in use”. For the most part, this can be considered safe too, after all, you are using a VPN.
Its entire purpose is hide your location. However, upon assessing the permissions all four apps: NordVPN, Surfshark, ExpressVPN and CyberGhost require, none demanded location services access.
As you can see below, the list is clear from all four VPNs and the apps that require permission are quite standard, and those that I use on a daily basis.
Apps that require access to your microphone are already suspicious. Why would they want to listen to you? And who is to say the microphone is not activated the entire time.
Luckily, none of the VPN apps that I installed requested access to this vital privacy permission, indicating they are least invasive and do actually protect your privacy.
VPNs have no business at all of using your Camera, and thus asking for its permissions can be very shady. Mostly, a select few social media applications and photo tools require such access.
As you can see below, the VPN apps I have mentioned in this list are clear from asking permissions to your Camera. They are not even added in the listing.
Again, VPN application has no use of gaining access to your private pictures and albums, unless they have some kind of ulterior motive.
It would only make sense for photo-related apps which include social media platforms to require such access, and it remains consistent (as you can see below).
Configuring a VPN Manually on iOS Devices
If you are double-minded about installing VPN software, there is still a way for you to leverage protection and anonymity online. The solution comes in the form of manual VPN connections. Below we describe methods for setting up VPNs via the PPTP, OpenVPN, and L2TP protocols on iPhone:
iPhone VPN Settings – PPTP Protocol
- Open your iPhone and tap on “Settings” from the Home Screen.
- Tap on “General” from the list of configuration options.
- Scroll down and tap on the “VPN” option, above “iTunes Wi-Fi Sync”.
- Tap on “Add VPN Configuration” to begin the manual PPTP setup process.
- SelectPPTP at the top on the “Add Configuration” panel and enter settings from freevpnaccess.com.
- Double-check details, click on “Save”, and return to the VPN menu.
- Slide the VPN On/Off button to the “ON” position.
- After you have connected successfully, the VPN logo will appear at the top right bar of your iPhone!
How to Setup VPN Client App on iPhone (iOS)
Dedicated iOS client apps are now becoming increasingly common in the VPN industry as more providers have started offering them in a bid to power maximum user ease.
Using these client apps are the safest and the most convenient way through which you can use a VPN on your iPhone anytime and from anywhere.
To set up the VPN client app from your provider on your iPhone, follow this 3 step process:
- Visit iTunes and search for your provider’s name for e.g. “ExpressVPN”
- Download the iOS app and install it on your iPhone
- Enter your VPN credentials and connect to your favorite server and secure your privacy right away!
FAQs for the Best VPN for iPhone
What is the best VPN for iPhone X?
The Best VPNs for iPhone mentioned above like ExpressVPN and NordVPN will work with all latest iPhone versions. Although, older versions will struggle to run VPNs properly.
How to setup VPN on iPhone?
You can set up a VPN on your iPhone either through a compatible VPN client app for iOS or through the sideloading method by using OpenVPN client.
Which Best VPN for iPhone Free is Currently Working?
We don’t usually recommend free VPN services for any purpose, especially for iPhones.
That’s because free services are either not trustworthy these days or they don’t offer the right features to power a great experience.
Some good free providers like Tunnelbear offer a severely restricted data cap like 500 Mb per month, which is not even good enough to last a normal user for a week. Some users can use up that kind of bandwidth in a few hours even.
On top of this, you don’t have many free providers offer you a dedicated iOS app nor do they offer you configuration files so that you can sideload their service on your device.
So there no good enough reason that can compel us to shelve out even a single recommendation endorsing a free provider.
Free services are enticing but they are not worth it, so its best that you avoid them.
Wrapping Things Up
If you are facing trouble in finding the best VPN for iPhone, make sure to check out the recommendations above. Do not forget to share your experience in the comments below. Also, feel free to share the article with your friends and family members.