While iPhone and iPad users can feel pretty secure with their devices, it’s important to take extra steps to protect yourself online. Unencrypted and unprotected internet usage can expose your personal data to prying eyes, including governments, ISPs and cybercriminals.
This is even more important if you often use free public wifi hotspots. Checking your social media, bank accounts, and emails while on public wifi can lead to your sensitive data falling in the wrong hands if you’re not protected.
The best way to protect your internet traffic for your iPhone and iPad is to use a VPN. But going through all the VPNs on offer can be a big task, which is why we’ve done the work for you.
Below, we’re going to list in detail our 5 best VPNs for iPhone or iPad.
1. NordVPN ‣
NordVPN actually has more tempting pricing options while offering great security and privacy features, a strict no-logs policy, no leaks, and world-class 24/7 live support.
With 5400+ servers in 59+ countries, you can experience great speeds in most parts of the world. NordVPN’s specialty servers (P2P, Dedicated IP, Obfuscated, Double VPN, and Onion Over VPN) provide you with an extra layer of reliability as well as security.
The NordVPN iOS client is very easy to use even for the novice user – you can either set it up with default settings or do it manually. You can also use NordVPN in China and to access censored or geo-blocked content all over the world. It’s surely a versatile VPN solution that is worth its price.
2. CyberGhost ‣
CyberGhost is based in Romania, a VPN-friendly and surveillance-opposing country. It has some great privacy features, good speeds, geo-unblocking capabilities, and a free app for iOS devices.
This service has 5600+ servers in 90+ countries and allows for 7 simultaneous connections. The CyberGhost iOS client is optimized for iOS 9 and higher and can be used for iPhone, iWatch, iPad, iPad Pro, and iPod touch.
You don’t need to worry about possible DNS or IP leaks either as this VPN has proper leak protection as well as a good automatic kill switch. If you have any technical issues, the 24/7 live chat support is at your service in 4 languages. This iOS app is quite easy to use, and its pricing is more or less similar to NordVPN.
Surfshark is one of the fastest VPN services in 2020 with a strict no-logs policy and privacy-friendly jurisdiction. This VPN is great for Netflix and torrenting and even works in China, including other countries with restricted internet access.
This provider has a global coverage of 1000+ servers in 60+ countries, which ensures great overall speeds. Should you have any issues with Surfshark, a 24/7 live chat support will be there for you.
Surfshark for iOS is a lightweight version of its desktop counterpart, and almost as secure. It has a kill switch, CleanWeb for avoiding ads and malware, and military-grade encryption. But the biggest advantage that Surfshark has to offer is the unlimited amount of simultaneous connections, meaning you can easily share your account with family and friends.
4. PrivateVPN ‣
PrivateVPN is based in Sweden, which is not ideal considering its views on surveillance and data retention laws. This service has one of the smallest server fleets with just 100+ servers in 60+ countries. All that being said, it is capable of fast enough speeds for HD video streaming and lag-free online gaming.
PrivateVPN has a good variety of protocols and privacy features and is also quite versatile. However, if you’re in China you may want to use a different service because this VPN may not be the easiest or most secure either. But you can still enjoy general geo-unblocking, streaming, P2P file-sharing, and IP spoofing while using 6 devices simultaneously.
Since its pricing is quite fair, you may actually choose PrivateVPN over the more secure market leaders.
5. ExpressVPN ‣
If you’re looking for a VPN for your iPhone or iPad, ExpressVPN is definitely a solid choice.
This client supports iOS 8 and newer. Setup is pretty easy too: after installation, simply choose one of the 90+ countries and enjoy a seamless VPN experience while remaining anonymous and protected online.
ExpressVPN offers lightning-fast speeds, the capability to access geo-blocked websites and services like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, etc. You can also use this service for P2P file-sharing like torrenting reliably.
However, all these amazing features and speeds come at a relatively high price. So, if your budget can’t afford such a high-end VPN solution, you may want to check out the other VPN options on this list.
How to choose the best iPhone or iOS VPN on App Store
VPNs are great tools to have on your device, but here’s the thing: poor quality VPNs are actually worse than no VPN. The world is full of free VPNs, which promise protection while delivering very little (apart from buckets of promoted ads and, if you’re really unlucky – malware).
Moreover, the apps available on the VPN App Store selection vary by country. So, for example, leading VPNs like ExpressVPN might be unavailable in China or Saudi Arabia.
So when it comes to choosing, you need to take care. Don’t just go for the most popular or highest rated app. And don’t use price as a guide. Instead, follow these guidelines to pick your ally.
Before you pick a VPN, make sure it ticks all of these boxes:
- Cutting edge encryption – good VPNs should meet the 256-bit AES encryption standard. And don’t be fooled by free services like Hola. Most of them can’t be relied upon to keep your data protected.
- Speed and servers – the best VPNs usually maintain large server lists, located across the world. For example, NordVPN runs over 5,700 servers in 60 countries. So you should always be able to connect and work around geo-blocking. Not all VPNs are clear about their server numbers and might try to hide them away in the small print. So read App Store listings really carefully.
- Avoid free VPNs – in general, free VPN tools are poor VPNs, and this applies to App Store downloads as much as anything else. As with any app, if the service is free, the user is the product. Free VPNs, therefore, tend to harvest user data and send plenty of ads, and they often seriously limit the speeds of free users as well. This makes them inferior to paid services on almost every level.
- Multiple devices – like an iPhone, Apple TV and/or Mac user, you may well need to add VPN protection to a number of devices. Don’t get stuck with a VPN which only offers 1-2 connections. The best providers are much more generous with their customers, providing 5 or even unlimited device connections. That way, you can include family members in your package.
- Listen to what users say about unblocking – virtually all VPNs promise the world when it comes to unblocking streaming sites like Netflix. But very few can do so reliably. So go beyond the actual App Store listings and check feedback from actual users about whether the hype is matched by real-world performance.
Now, ratings can be a good indication of the general quality of an app. But things can change fast in the world of VPNs. What worked well last year (and therefore rose up the rankings), might have been exposed as flawed recently. And App Store rankings can be gamed as well.
By all means, use the rankings as one metric, but also rely on the criteria we’ve outlined above to ensure that the VPN you download meets the gold standard for iOS protection.
Are there any issues with VPN downloads from the App Store?
In general, the App Store has a great reputation – especially in comparison to less well-regulated Android app repositories. But it hasn’t escaped controversy altogether.
For example, in 2018, Apple was forced to remove some anti-malware tools from security firm Trend Micro, after users discovered that they were collecting sensitive data.
However, this case was resolved fairly quickly via an iOS patch, and the consensus remains that the VPNs available from Apple’s App Store are more reliable than their Android cousins.
Free VPN for iPhone
We normally don’t recommend free VPNs for anything, including for iPhones and iPads. That’s because, with free things, you’re usually the product: meaning they’ll show you a lot of ads, have weak privacy and security, or will sell your data to other third parties. This is the case with Hola VPN and nearly all of the free mobile VPNs – which mostly have strong ties to China anyways.
Lots of established VPNs have free trials, and some even have free versions. Here we can definitely recommend ProtonVPN’s free plan. This is the best free VPN for iPhone, and since they don’t have any data limits (unlike TunnelBear), you can get a lot of bang out of this offering.