ProtonVPN for iOS in 2021

Ethan Payne
Ethan Payne | Writer
Last updated: January 5, 2021
ProtonVPN iOS app

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While most prominent VPN services support Mac and iOS, certainly not all of them do. When they enter the market, providers tend to focus on the most popular platforms first. It’s only logical. ProtonVPN is still considered a “child” in the VPN arena—more like a work in progress. Ever the hard-workers, this team has just launched the long-awaited ProtonVPN iOS app.

This product launch actually coincides with their user base reaching a stunning number – 1 million. Have we mentioned it’s also available for free? Let’s see how this new ProtonVPN for iOS app performed in our tests.

ProtonVPN in a nutshell

This relatively new VPN comes from the country that may be associated with privacy the most – Switzerland. There are no data retention laws and the world’s most robust regulations protect your online privacy. Could there be a better place for the headquarters of a VPN?

ProtonVPN appeared on the scene in 2016. It came from the team of CERN scientists that gave us ProtonMail. Since then, the product has grown impressively. It currently has 1300+ servers in 61 countries – sure, that’s not the thousands some of the major players boast. But the numbers keep growing.

One of the major temptations about ProtonVPN is its free plan. Unlike most free VPNs, ProtonVPN’s free version doesn’t limit your bandwidth or data. Of course, it also has 3 paid plans: Basic, Plus, and Visionary. All of them have their own extra features, including higher speeds, more servers, and extra security options.

Let us uncover now what this iOS VPN app has to offer. For our tests, we used the ProtonVPN iOS app with a Plus subscription.

Security & privacy

Fundamentally, the ProtonVPN for iOS offers the same security and privacy features as the other clients. It supports Secure Core and Tor over VPN for the paid plans and has a pseudo-kill switch called Always-on VPN too. The traditional kill switch is not supported on iOS, macOS, and Android. This is why Proton came up with the Always-on VPN solution.

For the iOS and macOS clients, the Always-on VPN feature is automatically turned on; on the Android client, you need to do it manually. Once it’s on, this security feature makes sure that even if your connection drops, ProtonVPN reestablishes a secure VPN tunnel automatically right away.

Since Proton has its own private DNS network and DNS leak protection, the chance of DNS leaks is so low that it might as well be zero. These features, in conjunction with the Always-on VPN, make this VPN bulletproof.

This VPN is all about security and privacy.

We have found that Proton logs the bare minimum of user data – the timestamp from your last successful login attempt. Luckily, this is in no way enough to identify you personally. In other words, you’re all safe and anonymous when using ProtonVPN for iOS.

But even that is not enough for ProtonVPN. It also offers multi-hopping via its Secure Core feature. It takes a detour through one of the hyper-secure servers in Switzerland, Sweden, or Iceland, and only then does it connect to your chosen destination server. Yet another extra layer of security for those among us whose lives depend on it.

Our tests indicate no leaks whatsoever. The ProtonVPN iOS app is as anonymous and secure as it gets.

Open-source and audited

January 21, 2020, ProtonVPN announced that their apps are now open source. According to the company, it was “a natural next step.” The main goal of this update was to increase security.

In the same press release, ProtonVPN stated that they are investing in more in-depth third-party audits. By doing so, the company is seeking to continue fulfilling its mission and ensure a safe and secure browsing experience.

How to use the ProtonVPN iOS app

You’ll probably like this: when you sign up for a free account, you’ll automatically get a 7-day trial for the paid Plus version. However, we have a feeling that you’ll miss those extra features and speed once it expires. If you already have a ProtonMail account, it’s possible to use that to sign up for a plan.

This new client requires iOS 10.0 or later. It’s compatible with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Before you connect to a VPN server location, you need to log into your account.

How to use the ProtonVPN iOS app

The ProtonVPN for iOS app looks pretty nice, and the interface is also very user-friendly. With a single tap on the home screen Power icon, you can connect to your chosen server.

ProtonVPN for iOS

In the latest ProtonVPN for iOS update, the dedicated servers (TOR and P2P) are indicated as such next to the location. This makes it easier for you to select the desired VPN location.

If you want to select one of the several servers available in a specific location, tap the Arrow icon next to the name of the country. Then, tap the Power icon next to your chosen server. You’ll see servers divided into categories (Free, Basic, and Plus) whenever available.

ProtonVPN iOS app - connected to server

As you can see, all servers indicate their load in percentages. This should give you a hint as to which one is the better one to connect to.

For an extra layer of anonymity, you may want to switch on the Secure Core option. All you need to do is toggle Use Secure Core on at the top of your screen (paid versions only). By doing so, your chosen virtual location will go through one of the secure servers in Iceland, Switzerland, or Sweden.

You can select the most optimal secure server by tapping the Arrow icon on the right of your desired location. However, when Secure Core is switched on, and you tap the Power icon for your chosen location, the ProtonVPN iOS app will automatically connect you via the optimal secure server choice. It’s possible that there’s only one such server available for a location.

ProtonVPN iOS app - not connected

Please keep in mind, though, that using multi-hops can drastically decrease your download speed. However, as our perplexing speed tests show (see the section below), they can also increase it.

We’ve noticed that toggling the Secure Core on and off may cause some confusion as to which server you get connected to afterward. When in doubt, tap the Arrow icon or the Connected label at the top to open the Status screen.

ProtonVPN iOS app - connection status

This screen displays all of the details on your current connection. If you want, you can save them as a profile.

All in all, this ProtonVPN iOS client is straightforward and intuitive. We did, however, experience some connection drops after our iOS device went into sleep mode, for instance. However, if you keep the Always-on VPN feature on, there should be no leaks whatsoever.

ProtonVPN iOS menu options

There are five menu options at the bottom of the screen:

  • Countries: this is the default screen, the list of the servers categorized by country
  • Map: if you are a more visual person, you can use the world map to change your location
    ProtonVPN iOS app menu options
  • Quick Connect/Disconnect: with a single tap, connect to an optimal default server, or disconnect from your current server
  • Profiles: create or edit profiles to have your preferred servers one tap away
  • Settings: your account information and the Always-on VPN security option are on this screen

ProtonVPN profile creation

In the new ProtonVPN for iOS client, you have the option to create a profile that connects to a random server in a specified country. All you need to do is open the Profiles menu, tap Create Profile, and choose a country.

ProtonVPN for iOS

After you select the location, the Random option will appear at the top of the server list. Tap it to connect randomly to any of the servers the country has to offer whenever you use this profile.

Yet another option related to random servers can be found in the Recommended section on the Profiles screen. This is basically a Random Connection profile that will connect you to any server around the world.

ProtonVPN for iOS

ProtonVPN iOS for Netflix

While the Free version won’t get you Netflix access, the paid versions certainly will. It’s easy to find a US Plus server that will stream Netflix US without a glitch. We couldn’t bypass Netflix detection for the UK or Australia regions though. Still, it’s good news about Netflix US, right?

This is the result of the Netflix speed test when connected to a US Plus server:

ProtonVPN iOS for Netflix

You need around 5 Mbps to stream in HD, while 19Mbps is almost enough for 4K (approx. 25 Mbps).

Regardless of your subscription, you’ll probably fail at using the BBC iPlayer with this ProtonVPN iOS app. With that said, you can still enjoy HD quality streams from YouTube and many other media centers. We didn’t experience any lag or buffering. But, of course, VPN speed is a tricky thing.


Connecting to a server using the ProtonVPN for iOS app can be quick or slow. While this is all normal, we should also mention that occasionally, we couldn’t connect to certain servers. The iOS app simply stopped trying after like 10 seconds or so.

Although there have been complaints about slow speeds, our tests show a brighter picture. This was our baseline speed (without VPN) when conducting the ProtonVPN iOS app speed tests:

ProtonVPN iOS app speed test results

We tried a few locations both with and without the Secure Core feature on. Here are the results:

New York

ProtonVPN iOS app speed test new york

New York via Switzerland

ProtonVPN iOS app speed test new york via switzerland


ProtonVPN iOS app speed test sydney

Sydney via Sweden

ProtonVPN iOS app speed test sydney via sweden


ProtonVPN iOS app speed test london

London via Switzerland

ProtonVPN iOS app speed test london via switzerland

These speeds are all good for HD video streaming, online gaming, and geo-unblocking, all while remaining anonymous and protected. Definitely not lightning speeds, but we’ve seen worse too. Please bear in mind that you may have completely different speeds depending on your location, your hardware, your base internet speed, the time of day, the distance from your chosen server, and so on.


All things considered, we applaud this new color on the ProtonVPN palette. This is a great iOS app for a great, maximum security VPN. You can get the Basic plan for $5.00/month, the Plus for $7.49/month, and the Visionary for $30.00/month.

ProtonVPN is still a work in progress, but the progress seems to be in high gear!

For more information, read our ProtonVPN review.

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  1. Zaigtheman77

    I’ve been a ProtonVPN user for the past several months. It is very easy to use and has some great features that I use daily. My only complaint is that my connection is sometimes dropped and doesn’t always reconnect automatically. The speed is really good, which is important to me. but sometimes my computer freezes for several minutes without a connection and I have to disconnect ProtonVPN and connect manually. I’m still happy with ProtonVPN and I hope it continues to improve.

  2. fitforaqueen

    Oh good! I use ProtonVPN on my Android, but I’m pretty sure my dad’s getting me an iPhoneX for my birthday, and I was hoping that ProtonVPN would have an iOS solution. I think it’s a pretty good price, too, so I’m excited that I’m not going to have to change anything up.

  3. Cody Byrne

    Since this protonvpn is relatively new in the market, I am particularly impressed at the speed it is getting to compete in the industry. Proton is secured and has an Always-On VPN solution

  4. Sandhya90

    I had never heard about ProtonVPN but I’m very impressed with their performance, they have huge potential. It looks a bit complicated to use, but a very complete service overall.

  5. Matthias_Bar

    Technology frightens me to death. It’s designed by engineers to impress other engineers. And they always come with instruction booklets that are written by engineers for other engineers — which is why almost no technology ever works.

  6. Ezra W

    Wow, it’s a very impressive VPN, mostly for mobiles. It’s not that easy to find good VPNs on mobile, and even harder to find trustworthy free ones. Thanks a lot for this article, I’ll definitely use this one.

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