How do you use a VPN on an iPhone?

The simple steps to VPN-ify your online privacy on iPhone.

So you’ve gone and got yourself a shiny new iPhone handset, maybe purchased outright or possibly as part of an iPhone plan. That’s step one out of the way. Step two is pairing it with the best mobile phone plan. Step three is to download a whole lot of apps to add extra versatility to your iPhone, and one of those apps should absolutely be a virtual private network (VPN) service.

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What is a VPN for iPhone?

A VPN service for an iPhone is the same as a VPN service for any other device. While we have pages dedicated to explaining what a VPN is and how a VPN works, the long and short of it is that a VPN service lets you create a secure internet connection between your iPhone (or other device) and the internet. This is handy for protecting your privacy, particularly when connecting to public or unknown WiFi networks, but it can also be used to make it appear as though your device is in another city or country.

Which VPN is best for iPhone?

The best VPN service for iPhone really boils down to personal preference, but we do advise avoiding free VPN services (unless it’s a free trial for a premium VPN) because they tend to be slower and less reliable than premium ones. All of the best VPN services include support for iPhones and other iOS devices, which means you have your pick of NordVPN, Hotspot Shield, ExpressVPN, CyberGhost and PureVPN: the top five VPN services by our appraisal.

If you want to pick a VPN based on how many devices it supports, so you can use the same VPN account on an iPhone and a number of other devices, here’s how those five VPN services look in terms of device limits:

  • NordVPN: 6 devices
  • Hotspot Shield: 5 devices
  • ExpressVPN: 5 devices
  • CyberGhost: 7 devices
  • PureVPN: 10 devices

How do I install a VPN on iPhone?

If you don’t know what VPN service you want to use on your iPhone, head to the App Store and search for ‘vpn’. This will give you an idea of the best-rated and most popular VPN apps for iOS, but be warned there are a lot of choices, which is why we recommend sticking to one of the five options listed above.

For one of those, you can search for the name of the VPN service you like the look of on the App Store and start downloading. Below are direct links to the respective App Store pages for our pick of the top-five VPN services:

How do I configure a VPN on iPhone?

Once downloaded, open the VPN app by tapping on the icon. If you’re not prompted to do so, you’ll either need to sign up or use existing login details to connect to an existing VPN account. When you’re connecting to a VPN service for the first time, you’ll likely see a pop-up asking you to allow the service to add VPN configurations to filter network traffic. Tap ‘Allow’ for the VPN service to work.

How do I connect to a VPN on iPhone?

To make life easier, VPNs tend to let you tap a ‘Connect’ button to connect to a nearby server or the server you last connected to. You’ll have to bring up a server list from the menu to connect to a VPN server in another city or country, and this will depend on which VPN servers are active and which country your VPN provider offers servers in.

How do I disconnect from a VPN on iPhone?

VPN services are designed to run in the background, but only after you’ve manually connected to a VPN Server. Because this connection is manually activated, it also must be manually disconnected. Swipe up from the bottom of your iPhone screen to see open apps, then scroll to your VPN service. Tap the same button you tapped to connect to disconnect and turn off the VPN on your iPhone.

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