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Proton VPN for iOS in 2023

Proton VPN iOS app

While most prominent VPN services support Mac and iOS, certainly not all of them do. When entering the market, providers tend to focus on the most popular platforms first. It’s only logical. In 2021, the time has come for Proton VPN to finally launch its 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 Proton VPN for iOS app performed in our tests.

Proton VPN in a nutshell

Proton 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?

Proton VPN 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 3000+ servers in 69 countries, which is on par with the top providers. And the numbers keep on growing.

One of the major temptations about Proton VPN is its free plan. Unlike most free VPNs, Proton VPN’s free version doesn’t impose any data caps. Meanwhile, the premium plan unlocks loads of extraordinary perks and benefits.

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

Security & privacy

Fundamentally, the Proton VPN 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 VPN 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, though. Once the kill switch is on, it ensures that even if your connection drops, Proton VPN reestablishes a secure VPN tunnel automatically right away.

The Stealth protocol is available if you need Proton VPN to circumvent VPN restrictions or censorship. Furthermore, excellent connectivity is ensured with the proprietary VPN Accelerator technology. Best of all, these unique features are included in the free plan.

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.

Proton VPN is all about security and privacy.

We have found that Proton VPN 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 Proton VPN for iOS.

But even that is not enough for Proton VPN. 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 Proton VPN iOS app is as anonymous and secure as it gets.

Open-source and audited

January 21, 2020, Proton VPN 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, Proton VPN 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 Proton VPN iOS app

When you sign up for a free Proton VPN iOS account, you won’t have any data limits. However, we have a feeling that you’ll miss those extra features and speed that the premium plans offer.

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 Proton VPN iOS app

The Proton VPN 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.

Proton VPN for iOS

In the latest Proton VPN 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.

Proton VPN 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 Proton VPN 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.

Proton VPN 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.

Proton VPN 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 Proton VPN 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.

Proton VPN 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
    Proton VPN 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

Proton VPN profile creation

In the new Proton VPN 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.

Proton VPN 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.

Proton VPN for iOS

Proton VPN 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 like the best Netflix VPNs can. However, we were able to watch Hulu.

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

Proton VPN 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 Proton VPN 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 Proton VPN 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 Proton VPN iOS app speed tests:

Proton VPN 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

Proton VPN iOS app speed test new york

New York via Switzerland

Proton VPN iOS app speed test new york via switzerland


Proton VPN iOS app speed test sydney

Sydney via Sweden

Proton VPN iOS app speed test sydney via sweden


Proton VPN iOS app speed test london

London via Switzerland

Proton VPN 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 Proton VPN palette. This is a great iOS app for a great, maximum security VPN. You can get the Basic plan for $8.99/month, the Plus for $10.00/month , and the Visionary for $30.00/month .

For more information, read our Proton VPN review.

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  1. Zaigtheman77 May 31, 2019 at 1:02 pm

    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 April 29, 2019 at 6:15 am

    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 March 24, 2019 at 12:38 pm

    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 March 7, 2019 at 12:30 am

    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 February 5, 2019 at 3:26 pm

    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 January 29, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    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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