There are lots of reasons to consider a VPN (virtual private network) service for your iPhone or iPad. If you use public Wi-Fi, then you could be targeted easily by cyber criminals. You may also want to access American streaming services such as Netflix, even if you aren’t technically located in the United States. Or perhaps, you simply want to stop your ISP from throttling your connection without your consent.
Thankfully, a VPN enables you to protect your data from snoopers and mask your true location. It hides your online forays in a secure tunnel that outsiders can’t penetrate, but you must choose wisely, since you’re trusting your VPN provider with all your online activities. If the service is free, you have to wonder how they’re staying afloat. Do some research to make sure they aren’t selling your data or bandwidth to third-parties. If you can’t, just check out five of the best VPN apps available for iOS below.
The iOS app is easy to grasp. It provides a list of potential servers, which you can then filter and save for the future. You can also check which is the fastest, and since simplicity is the app’s major attraction, it also makes configuration a breeze with automated preferences. It even provides extras such as Chameleon, which disguises your streaming, and Dump Truck, which provides secure storage.
You can try it out for free for a month with a 500MB limit, or you can pay $15 a month or $100 annually for the Pro service, which allows for two simultaneous connections. You can also spend $20 a month or $120 annually for the Premier service, which grants you three simultaneous connections. However, we don’t recommend the basic service, as it doesn’t offer the same level of security.
The Private Internet Access (PIA) Anonymous VPN service remains a popular option on iOS. It offers a wide selection of locations across the world — 27 in all — including some regional options for popular destinations. Speeds are generally fast, and the service supports 256-bit encryption and OpenVPN, though, it recommends 128-bit encryption for speed. It’s also based in the United States and promises not to log traffic and VPN usage.
While the desktop clients offer all sorts of configuration options, the iOS app is very straightforward. You log in, pick a destination from a list, and away you go. Speed information is an obvious omission, and it does sometimes disconnect you, too.
There’s no free trial for PIA, but the service does offer a seven-day, money-back guarantee. You can pay $7 a month, $36 for six months, or $40 for the year. That includes support for five simultaneous connections, which makes it good value for the money.
With ExpressVPN you can connect to servers in 78 countries worldwide. You’ll also find support for 256-bit encryption and OpenVPN. There’s no logging policy, so you can rest assured the service won’t log your online activities. It’s generally fast and reliable, with good customer support should you need it.
The iOS app shows locations in a list or on a map, too, and you can tap to connect. There are nearly 100 regions to choose from, with the option to set your favorite for later.
You can try ExpressVPN for free for one day. After that, subscriptions run $13 a month, $60 for six months, or $100 for the year. There is also a 30-day, money-back guarantee. However, you can only connect to one mobile device and one computer or laptop simultaneously.
With more than 180 servers in more than 60 countries, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting connected with IPVanish. It promises zero logging, while still managing to offer support for OpenVPN and 256-bit encryption. It also allows P2P traffic, which some services block.
You’ll find the iOS app pretty easy to use. You can browse using location and popular countries. Moreover, regions such as the United States list servers by individual cities. There’s little else to it.
IPVanish is free to try for a day. It has a wide range of subscription plans starting at $2 for seven days. You can also opt for $10 a month, $27 for three months, or $75 annually. It provides unlimited bandwidth, but you can only have two simultaneous connections — one OpenVPN connection and one other protocol (L2TP or PPTP) connection.
Simple to use and packed with cute bear graphics and puns, Tunnel Bear is quickly becoming a popular iOS VPN app. It offers 256-bit encryption and supports minimal logging, though, it doesn’t allow P2P. It offers servers in 15 major countries, and the speeds are generally pretty good.
The iOS app runs on the IPSec protocol, but the company’s other clients use OpenVPN. The app is designed to be simple, requiring you to do little more than tap on a location on the map and wait, as your bear tunnels its way to the new region.
The service allows for 500MB a month of free data if you want to try it out before you buy, but premium subscriptions will run you $4 a month or $30 annually for one iOS device. Opting for the more expensive packages will allow up to five simultaneous connections spanning multiple computers and mobile devices, but it will cost you $7 a month or $50 annually.
Bear in mind that you may need to install the OpenVPN Connect client and follow a guide in order to take advantage of the OpenVPN protocol on iOS. All the apps will work with IPSec or another protocol by default. You’ll find guides on most of the service provider’s websites to do this. This also isn’t a complete list, because there are a ton of other good iOS VPN apps, but these are your best options.