With the increasing threats to cybersecurity, it makes sense to keep your online activities away from the prying eyes of hackers.
As an iPhone user, you probably find consolation in the fact that iPhones are best known for their decent data security standards. However, considering that ISPs can now sell your browsing history, you may need to protect your online data.
A VPN is arguably the best bet to stay anonymous and safe online. This is truer if you are web-browsing using public Wi-Fi since a VPN encrypts your connection.
Plus, your ISP won’t throttle your connection, thus ensuring you enjoy uninterrupted connection speeds.
What’s more attractive about using a VPN is the IP masking technology, which lets your connection appear to come from a different location than you are in. With this technology, you can access geo-blocked content and get discounts when buying airline tickets, as a VPN conceals your actual IP address.
While not all VPNs are created equal, there’s an influx of VPNs in the market for you to choose from. And there lies a problem since it makes it hard to find the most reliable VPN, meaning, if you’re not keen, you may end up choosing one that further compromises your privacy.
While quite a few free VPNs can help keep your online activity under wraps, paid VPNs are typically safer, faster, and more. Nonetheless, there’s more to choosing a reliable VPN than just considering whether it’s provided for free or not.
Best VPNs for iPhone
For the reasons above, we took it upon ourselves to test some VPNs based on several criteria. After running the VPNs through a series of tests, the following VPNs for iPhone made the cut.
1. ExpressVPN: Best all-round VPN for iPhone. ExpressVPN boasts fast connection speeds, hard to break security features, ability to bypass censorship-heavy regions like China, a simple interface, and reliable customer support.
2. NordVPN: A server-rich VPN with outstanding security features. Plus, it’s equipped with an auto-connect feature that launches automatically when the VPN detects you’re using public Wi-Fi or other insecure connections.
3. CyberGhost: CyberGhost is a reasonably-priced VPN, with an intuitive and straightforward interface. Besides, the VPN’s 45-day money-back guarantee cannot go unnoticed.
4. IPVanish: The VPN delivers super-fast download speeds, even over long-distance connections. And as its name suggests, IPVanish conceals your original IP address, and let you access geo-blocked services.
5. PrivateVPN: A fast-growing service offering premium security features. It uses military-grade encryption standards to make your browsing activities undetectable by snoopers, including ISPs, hackers, and governments.
Privacy, security, and connection speeds are the primary concerns for most VPN users. This is partly the reason we prioritized the two features when running the tests.
We evaluated the encryption standards used by both VPNs to get an insight into their security. We also considered the number of servers, as this generally determines a VPN’s connection speeds. Other criteria we used in ranking the VPNs include:
- Global server coverage
- Value for money
- Customer support
Without further ado, here are the top 5 VPNs for iPhone:
ExpressVPN is our #1 pick for the best all-round VPN. The VPN has over 3,000 servers in 94 countries, which generally offer high connection speeds to stream or share content. For even faster speeds, you can switch to a nearby server with less traffic, displayed on the interface.
The provider’s connections are encrypted using government-grade AES 256-bit encryption for maximum privacy. What’s more, ExpressVPN is equipped with a custom obfuscation feature that allows you to enjoy better connectivity in censorship-heavy regions.
Note that you don’t need to be tech-savvy to use the provider’s VPN app. Its quite basic interface, with limited features, allows for easy navigation and use. All you need is to install the iOS version of the VPN and tap on the large button.
A kill-switch feature will turn off the VPN if your connection drops to keep your connection secure. However, if you additional connection problems, you can contact ExpressVPN via their 24/7 live chat for quick help. Alternatively, you can also browse for solutions in the provider’s online support library, or shoot them an email.
While ExpressVPN isn’t the cheapest, the costs can be lowered by committing to a long-term subscription plan. The annual plan costs $99.9, which is more affordable compared to the month-to-month $12.95/month.
- Excellent connection speeds, thus ideal for streaming UHD content
- Reliable customer support
- Best-in-class security features and privacy protection
- Extensive global server coverage
- A bit pricey
Want to bank online using public Wi-Fi? Good. NordVPN encrypts your data with 256-bit AES, with double data encryption. For extra protection, the VPN offers Onion Over VPN protocol that routes your traffic through the Onion router.
Owing to its top-rated encryption standards, and masking features, you can also use NordVPN to stream geo-blocked content and download torrent files.
NordVPN runs over 5100 servers spread across 59 countries. With such coverage, unlimited bandwidth, and no data caps, users can enjoy a fast streaming experience. The provider also gives you the flexibility to switch to any server you wish to connect to.
If you are looking for an affordable VPN, that does the work, then NordVPN might be your saving grace. For $3.49/month, billed at $125.64, you enjoy a secured connection for 3 years.
Its month-to-month subscription plan, however, is only a dollar cheaper compared to that of ExpressVPN. Or you want to try their 7-day free trial to test the VPN’s capabilities before committing to a payment plan?
Not sure how the VPN works? Well, get answers from their customer service agents via a 24/7 support chat, email support, or searchable knowledge site.
- 24/7 customer assistance
- Fast and secure connection
- Works great for streaming geo-restricted content
- Affordable extended plans
- A few users couldn’t select a specific server
CyberGhost operates under a strict no-logs policy, meaning, the provider doesn’t record or keep your browsing history. Even better, the app is simple to use, making it an ideal choice for VPN beginners.
In addition to using the standard AES 256-bit encryption, the provider tightens your online security with a kill switch, and a ‘perfect forward secrecy’ tool. So, each time you log in to the VPN, the tool generates a new private key to protect your connection further.
With global server coverage of more than 5,900 servers in 88 countries and neck-breaking speeds, you can be sure to unblock and stream content without a glitch.
While CyberGhost’s monthly plan sets you back $12.95 every month, the 18-months subscription charged at $2.75/month is way more affordable. Furthermore, you can watch out for their limited-time deals that often bring the monthly tariff way down.
Noteworthy, the VPN accepts Bitcoin, thus keeping your payment information anonymous.
Customer support is covered well, thanks to a live chat, a searchable search library, and an extensive FAQ section.
- Extensive global server coverage
- Top security and privacy protections
- No logs
- Easy to use
- No attractive features for some advanced users
With more than 1,300 servers in over 75 locations, IPVanish delivers relatively high speeds. For a reason, you shouldn’t experience prolonged lagging when streaming Netflix, Amazon Prime, or any other streaming services.
Most importantly, the VPN is compatible with iOS 9 or better and works equally well in macOS.
Even though the app lacks the kill-switch, it has an auto-connect ability. This ensures you are always protected, especially when visiting suspicious sites. IPVanish also comes with a range of protocols for extra security.
While all its connections are secured using the 256-bit key encryption, there are still privacy concerns among users. For one, the provider is located in the US, so it’s within the jurisdiction of a 14-eyes country.
The good thing, IPVanish asserts that they don’t keep any logs. So, there’s no meaningful data to hand-over to the government when served with a warrant.
Should you choose the VPN, we suggest you subscribe to the annual plan. The monthly plan costs $7.50/month, while the yearly subscription is billed $58.49 annually.
- 24/7 customer support
- Provides top privacy and optimal security
- It allows up to ten simultaneous connections in one account
- Runs all its servers
- Doesn’t support Bitcoin payments
From all the VPNs we’ve tested so far, few can match PrivateVPN’s user-friendliness. In fact, you can tell right from its well-laid-out interface to minimalist features. As a user, therefore, you are further allowed to customize the settings without being overwhelmed with numerous options.
The provider currently has over 100 servers in 60 countries. While the server count seems lacking compared to most VPNs, its connections are relatively stable. Besides, the servers are spread across the locations, ensuring users are connected speeds.
PrivateVPN uses OpenVPN as its default protocol, which encrypts your connection with 256-bit AES. Alternatively, you can switch to its other protocols, such as IKEv2, which are known to connect faster on iPhones. No matter the protocol you use, you will be safe streaming videos or downloading content.
Despite the decent performance, PrivateVPN remains one of the most affordable options. A month-to-month plan costs $7.67/month. A 3-months plan costs $4.88/month, billed as $14.63, while the most affordable 13-month plan is charged $49.68 ($3.82/month).
While the provider doesn’t outsource their customer support, they don’t feature a searchable FAQ section. Even so, you will find help via a “Contact Us” form as well as a 24/7 live support.
- Robust security
- Reliable connection speeds· Simple user interface
- The server coverage could be better
What to Look for in a VPN for iPhone
While there are no hard and fast rules for choosing a reliable VPN for iPhone, here are some crucial considerations for choosing the right provider.
Security and Privacy
One of the most critical functions of a VPN is to secure your connection and protect your online privacy. So, before purchasing a VPN, look carefully at its encryption, and other security protocols.
Generally, the longer the encryption keys, the safer the connection. As such, a VPN with 256-bit key encryption is more reliable than that with 128-bit keys.
Additionally, the VPN protocol used by the provider also determines the level of security standards.
Currently, the five major VPN protocols are OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP, IKEv2, and PPTP. These protocols protect your data as it’s transmitted from your iPhone to VPN servers.
When using a VPN, it’s expected that your ISP’s connection speeds will drop. Notwithstanding the said, the difference in connection speeds should be negligible. If a VPN eats way too much into your internet speed, it’s not worth your money.
With that said, some VPNs are faster than others. This is often attributed to the difference in the number of servers and their location. Ideally, a VPN with more servers will have a higher speed than one with fewer servers. At the same time, the servers have to be evenly distributed to minimize latency.
Usability and Support
Whether you’re an experienced or first-time user, you certainly don’t want a VPN with an intricate interface. A good VPN should be easy to set-up and use—without requiring any technical experience.
More often than not, VPNs with numerous features tend to have a complicated user-interface. Although the features enhance functionality, they limit your freedom to tweak the settings. So, ideally, go for a VPN with a simple layout for enhanced user experience.
The country in which a VPN provider is situated plays a significant role in determining its privacy standards.
ExpressVPN, for instance, is based in the British Virgin Islands, where VPN providers aren’t required to retain user data. On the other hand, a VPN based in the U.S is subject to disclosing users’ data as stipulated by law.
The good news, some providers located in the U.S claim to observe a no-logs policy. This means that they don’t keep a record of users’ data.
About all VPNs come at different prices. In most cases, the ones that are a bit pricey offer superior functionality and security.
As seen with this list of top 5 VPNs for iPhone, if you commit to a long-term subscription plan, the more affordable a VPN becomes.
Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean lower-priced VPN aren’t secure. Some even offer the same level of security as those on a higher price bracket. Do your homework.
As far as smartphones are concerned, iOS remains one of the most secure operating systems. As much as this may be true, security vulnerabilities are inevitable.
Although these vulnerabilities may not exist in iOS itself, they are more prominent when using third-party apps. By using the right VPN for iPhone, you’ll always be protected from network security threats.
While all the above VPNs are powerful enough to keep your online travels under wraps, ExpressVPN, in particular, proved to be the most reliable provider. To mention a few, its fast connection speeds, and powerful security features make the VPN worth your consideration. Plus, the provider’s 24/7 customer support is a huge plus.