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Best VPNs for iPhone & iOS

By Will Ellis
Last Updated on March 20, 2024
Best VPN for iOS

One of the miracles of modern technology is how open and free it is.

The digital marketplace is open to millions of budding entrepreneurs, each putting a little bit of their minds into the online world.

This is especially true of the iOS Apple store, where every day, thousands of people pour their knowledge and passion into countless new apps.

This digital world of cooperation and adaptation is truly beautiful…

Well, except for one tiny, little niggle.

Most of the Apps people make are crap.

As you might have gathered from the title of this article, that includes most VPNs out there.

Sifting through the muck to find gold isn’t something anyone would want to waste their precious time with, and that’s pretty much what going through the App Store VPN catalogue is like. Luckily for you (and unfortunately for us), we’ve put our wellies on and waded into the mess of half-arsed app store VPNs to find if there’s anything worth salvaging so you don’t have to.

As it turns out, there are plenty of incredible VPN products that will keep you safe, secure, and anonymous online. So, recline happily on your ergonomic work chair and read on, sound in the knowledge that the hard work has already been done and only the top VPNs remain on this list.

For anyone who’s slightly less familiar with this kind of technology or wondering why you would even need to have a VPN connection in the first place (because Apple products are already meant to be highly secure, right?), we’ll also be providing a little bit of background information so that you’ve got a better understanding of what it is you’re investing in.

Table of Contents:

What Are iPhone VPN Services?

Most of us are pretty clued in about some of the risks involved when using the internet or may even know someone who’s been hacked or had sensitive information stolen from them, but aside from steering clear of public Wi-Fi networks and generally practising safe internet habits, what else can we do to ensure our safety online?

Fortunately, this is where Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) come into play and do most of the heavy lifting for us. That’s not to say that you should immediately drop the aforementioned safe internet habits you’ve already been following, but VPN services essentially offer a secure gateway to the internet so that you’re able to avoid any prying eyes or potential threats.

Still, what exactly are iPhone VPN services?

iPhone VPN services are generally no different in concept than Android or even Mac VPN services, and the thing they all have in common is that they’re designed to encrypt your internet connection and reroute it entirely through a secure server that the providers own themselves.

This effectively masks your IP address whenever you’re using the internet and provides anonymity while you’re browsing. While this might not be something you’d even need to worry about if you primarily use mainstream social media sites when using the internet, it can definitely be of use if you steer away from them for whatever reason.

So, ultimately, this technology sets up a private network on top of a public internet connection, and while this might sound slightly confusing, it essentially just means that you’ll be able to access the web securely – even on unsecured Wi-Fi networks.

Pros and Cons of VPNs

As is the case with pretty much any technology, VPNs come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages, and you’re going to need to have an understanding of these pros and cons if you want to find the best VPN for your particular needs.


Let’s start positively and walk through some of the main advantages iPhone users can expect to find when using these kinds of services.

Enhanced Privacy

VPNs encrypt your internet traffic, which makes it nearly impossible for third parties to intercept and decipher your data. So, whether it’s shielding sensitive information such as passwords or even your browsing history, all your online activities will stay totally private – not even allowing the VPN service itself to access it, thanks to no-log policies, which are fairly commonplace among VPNs.

Bypassing Geo-Restrictions

Perhaps one of the most common uses of VPNs is to access content that’s restricted in your region by a certain website or streaming service, as connecting to servers located in different countries lets you access content that may be otherwise unavailable in your region due to censorship or even licensing restrictions.

One of the best use cases of this is using a VPN when you’re watching Netflix or listening to Spotify. Let’s say, for instance, your favourite artist is releasing their new album on Friday at midnight, but it’s 10pm on Thursday, and you just can’t wait any longer before listening to it.

So, instead of waiting around and scowling at the New Zealand-based fans living it up and enjoying their midnight release, you can join them by creating a new Spotify account with a New Zealand VPN server active and essentially trick the streaming platform into thinking you’re over there.

Improved Security on Public Wi-Fi

At this point, most of us are aware that public Wi-Fi networks, like the ones you’d find in a coffee shop or library, are notoriously vulnerable to cyber attacks, so the main idea of VPNs is to encrypt your connection while using these networks so that you’re able to turn an otherwise vulnerable network into a generally secure one.


Generally speaking, it’s worth mentioning that there are far more reasons why you’d benefit from using an iPhone VPN than you would without one, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still a few general critiques or flaws with these services – albeit with most of the flaws being the fault of a given VPN provider rather than an issue with the technology itself.

So, before we get into the review section of the article, let’s walk through a couple of things to keep in the back of your mind while reading:

Reduced Internet Speed

Unfortunately, there is a slight trade-off when using these kinds of services, as the encryption and rerouting process involved in using a VPN typically leads to slightly lower internet speeds unless you’ve paid for one of the more expensive providers.

Now, the extent of how badly this will affect you will depend on a few different factors, like your server location or network congestion, but you’ll typically always experience slower connection speeds compared to your regular internet connection.


While some iOS VPNs offer free versions (and we’ll come onto why this generally isn’t the best idea later in the article), all of the best iPhone VPNs typically require a subscription fee.

Fortunately, most of the options we’ll be covering later on often offer promotions for new users that make them highly affordable, but depending on the provider and the kinds of features that they’re providing, these subscription fees can definitely add up over time and make VPNs yet another recurring expense.

Trustworthiness of Providers

All of the options we’re covering today are quality, but, unfortunately, this is certainly not the case with every iPhone VPN service you’ll find on the App Store.

Traditionally, VPNs were used almost exclusively for obfuscating your IP address and keeping your internet activity secure, but ever since the rise of streaming services and other geo-restricted content, some of the slightly less informed VPN users only care about being able to access these services and care less about user privacy and security.

Again, you won’t have any privacy concerns with the options we’ll be listing later, but should you choose to use a VPN that we’ve not mentioned, it’s absolutely paramount that you’ve done your due diligence and have researched their track record of protecting user data and keeping strict no-logs policies.

Potential for Malicious Use

We’d never suggest that our noble readers would do such a thing, but while VPNs can be massively valuable tools for enhancing online security and privacy, there’s definitely potential to use them for slightly more nefarious or illegal purposes – such as hacking or even distributing copyrighted content – under the guise of anonymity that’s provided by the VPN service.

Still, the vast majority of people simply want to be protected while using the internet and access geo-restricted content while using VPNs, so this most likely doesn’t concern you.

TLDR: The iOS app store is fraught with poor VPNs that don’t adequately protect your privacy and security. With Apple’s lacklustre privacy commitments, you need a quality product to ensure you are safe and anonymous online. Here, we’ve selected five of the best VPNs for iOS to keep your web usage and data where it belongs: between you and yourself. NordVPN tops the list for its well-priced and effective package, but Surfshark and ExpressVPN remain strong contenders.

Best iPhone VPN App

Of all the OS’s considered for this VPN series, iOS is by far the most secure. With a closed-circuit code, built-in security, and a simple lack of malware volume targeted at it, basic security is one of the lesser concerns for an iOS user.

But that doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods just yet because your privacy is still at serious risk. Thousands of Apps are essentially given free rein to constantly harvest your data, and for all Apple promises of their dedication to privacy, they’ve done very little to stop it. You might be pretty much secure from malware, but your iOS data is easy prey.

What you want for an iOS VPN is a dedication to anonymity and privacy. Good encryptions, VPN camouflage, and tracking jammers are the kinds of features you need.

Having a good VPN will give you a lot of protection when it comes to cell phone spying.

Whilst decent encryption and security protocols are to be expected of any worthwhile VPN, features such as Surfsharks ‘CleanWeb’ really help wrap up any loose ends. Multi-hop and other ‘doubling-up’ VPN features are also great ways to throw off any particularly persistent trackers.

Once again, the most eternally sage advice I could give: do not use a free VPN service. The app store has plenty of shoddy VPNs out there, but a free one doesn’t even bear thinking about it. We wrote an article on just how bad an idea it is already – from the lack of additional features you’ll be given to generally less secure encryption protocols, it’s just not worth skimping out on.

1. NordVPN

If you want security and anonymity on your iPhone or iOS device (with a proven track record of success) for a good price, then, by all means, try NordVPN.

NordVPN is a well-known, feature-rich and well-tested service.

Hosting a colossal 5,400+ high-speed servers across more than 60 countries it’s easily one of the largest VPN providers out there.

The huge server range is combined with an automated connection that is fantastic for bypassing geo-blocks, accessing streaming, and avoiding censorship.

The security is solid, with plenty of built-in features that improve it further. It costs more than Surfshark, but at $4.99/mo for one year and $3.39/mo for two years, the price is hardly prohibitive. Not to mention they are constantly slashing prices in sales and deals, so the NordVPN website always has something to check out!

Here’s what you get for that price:

  • Intuitive iOS App: The app is easy to use and customise, with plenty of auto-features that make your VPN experience top of the line even if you aren’t already familiar with VPNs.
  • Advanced obfuscation settings: These settings can get past some serious censorship, even in some of the world’s most restrictive internet zones, such as China.
  • Military-grade security: The security on NordVPN is serious stuff, using the IKEv2/IPsec security protocol that, in their own words: “offers data encryption even a supercomputer can’t crack.” (if you want to learn more about VPN protocols, check out our article about it here).
  • Wide Netflix compatibility: With such a wide range of servers and their varying focuses, some of them are bound to be streaming-incompatible. But for NordVPN, a mere 5% of servers have this issue, and the other 95% can access over 150+ Streaming services, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer and more. Better yet, the server switching needed for this access is automated.
  • Shortcuts: This is Apple’s dedicated Siri app. NordVPN is fully integrated with it, meaning you can control the VPN with voice commands.
  • Legal protections to match the technical: NordVPN is based in Panama, outside of any major surveillance zone, so it has no legal compulsion to log your data. This means you can trust their promise to uphold your privacy and anonymity.
  • Intuitive feature-package: With an automatic kill switch, built-in malware and ad blocker as standard, there are plenty of extras that improve upon already stellar foundations.

Do I Recommend NordVPN for iOS?

NordVPN can almost always be found on VPN leaderboards (It’s even at the top of our 2024 overall VPNs!) for a reason.

Offering a wide range of specialised features and an outstanding baseline, its price -despite costing more than Surfshark- is more than worth it for the product you get.

2. Surfshark

The best bang for your buck on the VPN market, Surfshark is the way to go if you’re looking to save some cash while not giving away the features that come along with an effective VPN.

A rising star in the VPN market, Surfshark is the up and coming VPN service.

The network is rapidly growing but already includes 800+ servers across over 50 countries. Based in the British Virgin Islands, it’s free from the 14-eyes surveillance zone.

Combine this with a commitment to no logging, strong encryption protocols, and other security features, and it’s a product that will certainly keep you safe and anonymous.

One of Surfshark’s biggest claims to fame is its total Netflix compatibility, but that’s only the start of its features.

Offering unlimited connections, minimised battery usage, and a slew of automatic features from ad blocks to censorship bypassers, Surfshark can fill almost any niche requirements you need.

On top of all this, it’s also one of the cheapest on the market. For only $3.39 a month, you get 2 years, whereas a 1-year subscription will cost you just $4.19 a month.

Let’s look at what Surfshark offers for this price:

  • NoBorders: The NoBorders mode quickly and automatically switches your server location to one that can bypass censorship and access your favourite iOS apps, no matter where you are or what restrictions are in place.
  • Built-in security panel: Going above and beyond basic encryption and security protocols, the CleanWeb function also includes a slew of other features. It automatically blocks ads, jams trackers and stops malware or phishing attempts in their tracks.
  • Simultaneous devices connection: Surfshark allows you to connect an unlimited number of devices (of any OS configuration) under the same VPN. Meaning you can protect as many devices as you’d like all at once.
  • MultiHop: This feature allows you to jump through numerous VPN server Hubs before reaching your location. This might sound superfluous, but if you are conscious of trackers, this makes your device virtually untraceable.
  • No logging data: Surfshark won’t gather anything from its users except the standard stuff like email addresses or billing information. Nothing about where you go, what you do, or your online presence will ever be logged.
  • Camouflage mode: This feature doesn’t just hide your original IP address but hides the fact that you’re using a VPN, so no one knows you’re sneaking past firewalls and geo-restrictions.

Do I Recommend Surfshark for iOS?

Absolutely, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any VPN that can match both the low cost and extensive features of Surfshark. This new service represents the cutting edge of VPNs.

3. ExpressVPN

I’m not going to suggest you have anything to hide about your iOS internet usage, but if you did, ExpressVPN would be the VPN for you. Its security and privacy settings are unmatched, but you’ll pay a premium for it.

ExpressVPN is the easiest way to get the ultimate VPN security.

You can have your privacy locked down in one-click of the iPhone app, letting you browse in safety while the ExpressVPN does the rest.

The server list is huge at 3000+, but more important is how varied it is. The 160 locations have an unmatched distribution, giving plenty of options for bypassing geo-blocks of any stripe.

With an unlimited, lightning-fast connection and top-notch security, this premium product justifies its cost easily. The only question is if you think you need this level of security for your iOS.

Let’s look at some of those features you get for the cost:

  • Premium protection: The monthly cost for a 12-month contract comes out at $6.67. while notably steeper than the other two, there is a 30-day money-back guarantee, giving you a chance to see for yourself if the stellar protection is worth the price.
  • Legal and Technical protection: Various tests have confirmed that ExpressVPN is leak-free, which is no surprise for a US military-grade VPN. Also, since they are located in the British Virgin Islands, they aren’t obligated to log any of your data.
  • Split-tunnelling: The split tunnelling feature allows you to access VPN-incompatible sites without having to turn off the overall VPN, giving you freedom of access without having to forfeit overall protection.
  • TrustedServer technology: A tech system of keeping servers updated in a more controlled way, meaning outdated server tech doesn’t threaten the integrity of the overall VPN. During these updates, all previous data is irrevocably wiped, meaning it is physically impossible for your data to be logged on these servers. To learn more, read ExpressVPNs breakdown of TrustedServer technology.
  • Lightning speeds: Run ExpressVPN through any speed tester; it consistently comes out as the fastest VPN out there, leaving the competition in the dust. Perfect for downloads and streaming, even in 4K.

Do I Recommend ExpressVPN for iOS?

I do – this is frankly an outstanding system, in some respects, standing head and shoulders above the other VPNs on the list. While impressive, there’s still the issue of if you need so much security and if you’re willing to pay for it. While it is a recommendable product, it depends on your needs as to whether it’s right for you.

4. Proton VPN

While certainly not the cheapest, there are few options as impressive as Proton VPN in terms of both privacy and quality features.

Proton VPN also has one of the best customer support teams, but you’d hope so for the price that you’ll be paying per month.

Proton VPN comes with a free plan if you really don’t want to pay, but otherwise, it’s worth mentioning this is the most expensive option on our list at $8.25 per month with their 2-year plan (which is already a 50% discount:

Take a look at what you’ll be getting for the cost below:

  • Double VPN: Proton VPN offers the option of double VPN, which is where your internet traffic is routed through not one but two separate VPN servers, only further obfuscating your actual identity. Naturally, this makes it significantly harder to hack into and steal your data since there’s essentially a decoy VPN for added security.
  • Tor over VPN: Tor over VPN integrates the Tor network with Proton VPN, so you’ve got yet another layer of anonymity when you connect.
  • Port Forwarding: Port forwarding lets you redirect incoming internet traffic to a specific port on whichever device you’re using, so this can be pretty useful when it comes to gaming or even peer-to-peer file sharing.
  • Compatibility with iOS: Some of the VPNs we’ve covered are only compatible with iOS 15.0 and beyond, but Proton VPN explains a workaround on their website if you’re using an older iPhone that’s operating on iOS 12 or 13.

Do I Recommend Proton VPN for iOS?

The price tag for Proton VPN will undoubtedly dissuade a few people from choosing this option, but if you’ve got the funds for it, you’ll certainly see where your money has gone. From security to additional features like port forwarding, Proton VPN is by far one of the better VPNs we’ve covered so far – it’s only in 4th place due to most ordinary users being priced out and opting for a cheaper service instead.

5. Ivacy VPN

If you’re looking to save money on your VPN, you can’t really go cheaper than Ivacy VPN without using a completely free VPN, which, as we’ve already discovered, should probably be out of the question. Ivacy VPN might be lacking in other areas, but you’ll struggle to find a more affordable (yet still quality) VPN than this one.

Lastly, let’s take a look at Ivacy VPN. Now, although this VPN, in particular, is generally pretty basic in terms of the kinds of features on offer, it’s still fully compatible with any iPhone that’s using iOS version 13.0 and beyond, meaning anything after the iPhone SE should work fine here.

There’s relatively little to complain about with Ivacy VPN, but keep in mind that it’s not exactly the fastest VPN out of each of the options we’ve covered thus far.

Ultimately, the reason we’ve included Ivacy VPN despite the lack of additional features that options like NordVPN provide is because of how insanely cheap this option is, costing only $1.77 per month (which is currently around a massive 88% off) as part of their five-year subscription plan.

Obviously, five years is a pretty hefty commitment, so you’ve always got the option of trying their platform for 30 days and receiving a refund if you decide you don’t want to use it any longer. Oh, and did we mention it also comes with a completely free password manager?

Let’s take a closer look at what other features you’ll be able to use with Ivacy VPN:

  • Secure Download: Whenever you download something from the internet while connected to Ivacy VPN, it’ll automatically scan everything for potential malware threats, so this adds an extra layer of protection beyond some of the more standard encryption and anonymity features you’ll see with your average VPN.
  • Global Servers: Despite the fact that Ivacy VPN is fairly limited in other areas, they give NordVPN a run for their money in terms of the range of servers you’ll gain access to – 5700 across 55 different countries, to be exact.
  • WireGuard Technology: Although the general consensus is that there are faster VPN services out there, Ivacy VPN utilises a protocol known as WireGuard for its connections, which supposedly reduces the amount of slowdowns you can expect to see while using their VPN.

Do I Recommend Ivacy VPN for iOS?

Absolutely, even when you consider that it’s not the fastest of the most extensive options. If you just want the most basic of services to help you out with unblocking geo-restricted content (but still remaining anonymous while browsing the internet), don’t look any further than Ivacy VPN.


NordVPN is the chief here. Its greater focus on anonymity and privacy over security (though it’s still very secure) makes it perfect for the iOS platform. Surfshark is a close second, only let down by its newcomer status despite the low price.

ExpressVPN is a fantastic product, but for an iOS, it feels a bit overboard. That said, the UI is next to none, so if you’ve got the cash to splash, it might still sway you.

Proton VPN and Ivacy VPN are decent enough options, too, with the latter being by far the cheapest VPN we’ve found that wasn’t entirely free.


Are VPNs Legal to Use?

In the vast majority of countries, using a VPN is completely legal since it serves legitimate purposes like protecting your sensitive data and bypassing censorship. Still, what’s not legal are some of the more nefarious reasons people use VPNs, like illegally downloading things or accessing copyrighted content, so just make sure you’re using one of these services for their primary purpose, and you’ll avoid accidentally breaking the law.

What Are Unlimited Simultaneous Connections in a VPN?

Unlimited simultaneous connections are generally one of the main selling points that VPN providers use to promote their service, and it’s basically just a feature that lets you connect multiple devices you might own to the VPN without any sort of restrictions. Essentially, this means all your devices – from your phone to your laptop – are all safe and fall under the one VPN subscription.

How Do VPNs Protect Against ISP Throttling?

Certain Internet Service Providers (ISPs) might do something called throttling, which is essentially an imposed cap on your internet connection speed based on some of your online activities like streaming or torrenting. However, your ISP can’t monitor your activities effectively when using a VPN thanks to the encrypted connection, meaning they’ll no longer be able to throttle specific types of traffic, and you can go back to enjoying consistent internet speeds regardless of what you’re doing.

How Can I Set Up a VPN on My Router?

You don’t need to do this in order to use a VPN since you can just add the VPN on whichever device you’re using at the time, but some people find it effective to connect every device you own on your home network with a single VPN connection. To do this, you usually have to go on your router’s settings through a web browser and enter the VPN configuration details your VPN provider gave you – some routers might come with built-in VPN support, though.

Can I Use a VPN for Online Gaming?

Absolutely, and it’s actually one of the more common uses of a VPN since they’re one of the best ways to protect yourself against things like DDoS attacks or even just to access certain region-locked game servers. Having said this, it’s still imperative that you choose a VPN with fairly low latency so you aren’t lagging majorly while playing. Some VPN providers might even have specific features optimised for gaming, so shop around if this is your main interest.

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