If you use an iPhone, it’s safe to say you value your mobile experience. You like things that balance form and function. We get it; we’re iPhone users ourselves.
But, if you’re going to be browsing, streaming, banking or engaging in any other online activity from your phone while you’re out and about, you need to be using a VPN. What is a VPN, exactly? If you’re unsure, you might want to read our buyer’s guide for VPNs before we get going.
There are many reasons for this, but the primary one is safety. Unsecured Wi-Fi networks are the hunting grounds of identity thieves, and it’s easy for hackers and identity thieves to passively skim data from users without their knowledge or consent.
So you want to make sure you’re using the best of the best to protect your iOS device. Here are the best VPNs for protecting yourself when you’re on an iPhone.
Nord’s high speeds, great security and modern design easily make them our favorite VPN for iPhone users.
NordVPN is one of the most well-designed VPNs on the market today, and as iPhone users, we know design is a priority for you. In our NordVPN review, we found they flawlessly marry form and function, resulting in a well-rounded VPN perfect for everyday browsing and suitable for extreme situations. This includes protecting yourself from government interference in countries where the internet is heavily regulated.
Another thing worth mentioning is Nord’s speed. Simply put: They’re the fastest we’ve ever tested. With over 5,000 servers around the globe, you’re almost guaranteed to have stable connections and consistent speeds no matter where you are, which is an important consideration for mobile VPN use.
We also really like that they offer their own proprietary protocol — NordLynx — that’s built using a WireGuard backbone. WireGuard will soon be the industry standard, overtaking the OpenVPN protocol with its nimble speeds and streamlined code. This is a huge checkmark in the pros category for us (that, you know, Nord isn’t soon to be obsolete).
One negative we do need to point out: This service is a little pricey. Check out our NordVPN pricing page for more information there. To be quite honest though, with its awesome design, blazing-fast speeds, and long list of features, we think Nord is absolutely worth the cost of admission.
Another great option for iPhone users, ExpressVPN is one of those services that just checks all the boxes. They’re fast, they’re easy to use, and their protections are practically the gold standard for the industry.
There’s not a whole lot we dislike about ExpressVPN. They’re consistently one of our top picks across all categories and for good reason. With ExpressVPN you’ll enjoy lightning-fast speeds and total privacy, whether you’re browsing from your desktop or your iPhone. All of the things you want to hear when you’re talking about a VPN.
One item stands out above everything else for us, though. When we performed our in-depth test of ExpressVPN, we found they were extremely easy to use. Like — push-a-button-and-it-just-works easy. You’ll be familiar with that concept as an iPhone user. Once you switch it on, ExpressVPN just hums along in the background, keeping you safe without ever making a peep.
And boy is it fast. Not quite as quick as NordVPN, but the slowdowns we experienced were so negligible, we only really noticed them when we ran speed tests on our connections.
Similar to Nord, though, this service is a little on the pricey side. You’ll see in our guide to ExpressVPN’s costs that they aren’t the cheapest VPN on the market. Again though, we really think the level of service and the features you get are well worth it. There’s a reason why ExpressVPN ranks so high on our list.
One of the most privacy-minded VPNs on the market today, Proton is a great choice for iPhone (and other smartphone) users who take their digital security seriously.
ProtonVPN feels like something out of a spy movie, and we love it. Their mile-long list of elevated security features will keep you secure, whether you’re standing in line at the coffee shop or standing in the DMZ between North and South Korea (though not recommended).
One of our favorite aspects of Proton is that they’re Tor-ready — meaning that if you really want to make sure what you’re doing online stays private, you can couple the service with the Onion browser on your iPhone to stay completely inconspicuous online. This is like activist-in-a-hostile-country level protection that’s now available to everyday consumers.
Similar to the other VPNs on this list, the only undesirable thing worth mentioning here is the price. If you check out our guide to Proton’s plans and prices, you’ll see that they set their subscription packages up a little differently, but their premium plan is a little pricey. Read all about our experience with this popular VPN in our in-depth ProtonVPN analysis.
That depends on how much you value your privacy and security. Bear in mind: 1 in 20 Americans will experience some form of identity theft this year, and the average cost of such an incident is in the thousands of dollars.
FYI: A VPN is a great start in preventing identity theft, but it’s not a silver bullet. Want to really make sure you’re not going to fall victim? Check out our list of the top 10 best identity theft protection services on the market today.
Now, consider that the month-to-month cost of a yearlong subscription to a top-tier VPN is between $3 and $7 dollars. When you’re online and connected to an unfamiliar network — like when you’re scrolling through Twitter on your iPhone in a coffee shop — you’re the most vulnerable to having your sensitive data fall into the wrong hands. A VPN can stop a hacker dead in their tracks. We’d say the peace of mind knowing that you’re no longer low-hanging fruit is well worth that cost.
We’ll be frank. Truly “free” VPNs that are worth their salt are few and far between. You know the saying “you get what you pay for”? Well, that’s true in the VPN industry, too.
We do recommend selecting one from our list above, or if none of them sound quite right, head over to our top 10 best VPNs of 2021 list and see if any of those catch your eye. Most VPNs on our list have great mobile apps and would serve you well as an iPhone user.
FYI: If you want to see how our two top choices match up against each other, check out our comparison of NordVPN and ExpressVPN.
If you’re still hung up on the cost, it might be worth checking out our guide to the best VPN sales and deals or heading over to our best cheap VPN list to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.
VPNs used to be reserved for privacy hawks and data wonks, but in recent years — as people are figuring out just how vulnerable they are online — they’re reaching a state of mass appeal. Providers have made major strides in making them as user-friendly as possible, and they’re so affordable now that it’s almost senseless to not use one, considering the consequences of browsing unprotected.
As stated above, there are plenty of top-shelf VPNs available with great mobile clients, tailored specifically for use on iOS devices. Utilizing any of the VPNs in our list above will keep you protected and enhance your overall mobile experience.
It’s a little obvious, but if you’re looking for a VPN to use on your iPhone, you need to select one that has a strong mobile app. Not all VPNs are created equally, and some iPhone apps are far better than others.
If you’re on the go, your speeds are going to fluctuate. Don’t add to your frustration by selecting a VPN that’s going to slow you down significantly.
The purpose of an iPhone VPN is to keep you protected. Make sure you’re using one that doesn’t experience DNS leaks or that has other known security vulnerabilities; that kind of defeats the purpose.
Most VPNs operate on a subscription basis. Sometimes you’ll have unlimited connections to that subscription. This means you can connect all your devices, and sometimes, those subscriptions will have connection caps. Depending on how many devices you run in your home, you may want to choose a VPN that allows multiple connections.
The great thing about having an iPhone on you is that when you’re sitting in the waiting room for the dentist, you can pop on Hulu to watch “Seinfeld.” Look for a VPN that has streaming optimizations so you’re not slowed down while watching media on the go.