The best mobile VPN apps in 2024

A mobile VPN app on a smartphone
(Image credit: Future)

Our mobile devices go everywhere with us—they're totally indispensable. So, whether you use yours at home, for work, or to kill time while waiting for a train, it only makes sense to keep it safe with one of the best mobile VPN apps.

The best VPN for mobile will help you stay more anonymous when browsing, help avoid targeted advertising, and even get access to free streaming content from around the world. However, app stores are full to the brim with dodgy knock-offs alongside the best VPNs for mobile, so doing your research beforehand is essential.

I've reviewed dozens of VPNs over the years, and have compared the apps, unblocking power, security tools, and price of today's top picks to curate this list of the best mobile VPN apps on the market.

The 3 best VPNs at a glance

1. ExpressVPN: the best VPN for mobiles in 2024

1. ExpressVPN: the best VPN for mobiles in 2024
ExpressVPN claims the top spot in my rankings thanks to its sleek mobile apps. They're incredibly easy to use, even if you're totally new to VPNs, and come packed with tools that are equally straightforward.

You'll also get a free password manager when you pick up an ExpressVPN plan, and an extra 3 months of coverage if you go for the 12-month subscription. Check it out today with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

2. NordVPN: the best VPN overall and a great pick for mobile

2. NordVPN: the best VPN overall and a great pick for mobile
NordVPN recently claimed the top spot in my overall VPN rankings – and for good reason. Its mobile apps look great and are jam-packed with features designed to keep your browsing secure. Plus, you'll be able to unblock just about every streaming service you can imagine.

NordVPN has its own ad-blocking and malware-detection tools, which come in handy if you use your mobile on the go. You can take NordVPN for a test drive with its 30-day money-back guarantee.

3. Surfshark: the best cheap VPN around

3. Surfshark: the best cheap VPN around
Looking for a bargain? Surfshark has you covered. The provider manages to stuff all sorts of tools into its modestly-priced plans, wickedly fast speeds, and mobile apps that work like a charm regardless of whether you're an Android or iOS loyalist.

I'm constantly impressed by Surfshark's unblocking power, too, and the fact that all plans come with unlimited simultaneous connections. How's that for value? Try Surfshark for yourself with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

The best mobile VPN apps in 2024

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ExpressVPN: the best mobile VPN

expressvpn - the best mobile vpn app on the market

(Image credit: ExpressVPN)

1. ExpressVPN

The best mobile VPN on the market

Available on: Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Linux | Number of servers: 3,000+ | Server locations: 160 | Zero-logging: Yes | Simultaneous connections: 5

Clean, attractive apps
Great connection speeds
Wide device support
Excellent security
Five-device limit

ExpressVPN tops our list as the best mobile VPN app on the market.  As soon as you launch the it's clear that it's a professional bit of kit, but there's more to it than just a pretty face.

First things first, you're greeted by a big on/off switch, and a single tap will get you connected to the pre-selected best server. As this suggested server is pretty much always the 'right' choice, in terms of day-to-day security this is pretty much all you'll need to know.

But, if you want to use the VPN for to access geo-blocked websites or streaming services, you'll be able to choose from Express's list of over 3,000 servers. You'll get class-leading speeds on pretty much all of them, and you'll also be able to access BBC iPlayer, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Peacock and more. It also gains access to some Netflix libraries (Canada, Australia, and sometimes the US), though we have found Nord and Surfshark to be a more powerful Netflix VPN in more recent tests.

If you want the easiest, most powerful and most reliable mobile VPN available today, ExpressVPN is the choice for you.

If configuration is your game, ExpressVPN has plenty to offer here, too. It has a selection of protocols to choose from and you can check for DNS leaks on your network, activate your kill switch and enable split tunneling (although the latter is only available on Android).

If you have any issues with ExpressVPN's apps – and, let's face it, no VPN is trouble-free 100% of the time – the 24/7 live chat support responds in seconds and has, in our experience, always been able to resolve any issues we've faced.

The only downside is that Express's mobile VPN only allows five simultaneous connections per plan – if you've got a lot of devices you won't be able to cover them all at the same time, but thankfully you can install the app on as many as you like and log in and out as you wish.

If you want the easiest, most powerful and most reliable mobile VPN available today, ExpressVPN is the choice for you – it really is that simple. But, if you're not happy with the service, every customer is covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can get to grips with the service before you commit.

NordVPN: the best all-rounder

Nordvpn mobile vpn app

(Image credit: NordVPN)

2. NordVPN

Security giant's VPN apps are a good option

Available on: Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Linux | Number of servers: 5,400+ | Server locations: 60 countries | Zero-logging: Yes | Simultaneous connections: 6

Excellent privacy credentials
Great performance
Quite configurable
Not every server is P2P friendly
Map-based interface isn't perfect

As a stalwart of the online security game, one our top pick for the best VPN overall, it's no surprise NordVPN has developed an excellent mobile VPN to sit alongside its powerful desktop clients. Covered by the same great secure software as their PC brethren, the apps are super secure and offer users real privacy – check out our NordVPN review for more info.

Nord's apps are a sound choice for those looking to stay secure on the go, for example if you want to stay safe when connecting to public Wi-Fi. Nord also offers some interesting features not often seen in mobile VPNs – namely Onion over VPN, and a Double VPN feature similar to Surfshark's.

One minor downside to NordVPN's apps, however, is the design. The mobile VPN shares the same map-based interface as the desktop clients, and while that works on a large screen, devices with smaller displays make the apps feel cramped and a little tricky to use. 

That said, a swipe up will get you to a VPN server list, and in practice you'll only be spending a minute or two using the app, while the rest of your time will be spent enjoying internet anonymity.

Other than that, Nord's apps are extremely functional and simple to use, and will certainly appeal to those who seek maximum security in their VPN.

Surfshark: the best cheap VPN

Surfshark mobile vpn app

(Image credit: Surfshark)

3. Surfshark

Unlimited connections for a bargain price

Available on: Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Linux | Number of servers: 3,200+ | Server locations: 100+ | Zero-logging: Yes | Simultaneous connections: Unlimited

Unlimited connections
Unbeatable price on long plans
Great speeds
Apps are pretty simple 

Surfshark has quickly become a Tom's Guide favorite thanks to its charming simplicity and incredibly budget-friendly pricing. If you're someone who likes to adjust a tons of settings, but if you're looking for a cheap, reliable mobile VPN, it's a great choice.

The app itself is nice and intuitive, and offers one-touch connection to the best server. And, while it's not as in-depth as others, it's got all the essential features like a kill switch, a selection of protocols and auto-connect. For most, that's going to be plenty.

Surfshark's one of the best streaming VPNs, too, as it unblocks a host of Netflix libraries and other services, as well as maintaining great connection speeds on all but the farthest-flung servers. If you want to stay really secure you'll also be able to use Double Hop, which connects you to two servers in tandem for extra privacy. 

The biggest selling point, though, is Surfshark's price – at around $2.50 a month, it's one of the best-value VPNs out there, especially considering it has a brilliant unlimited connections policy so you really can cover all your devices.

While it can't compete with ExpressVPN in terms of power and sheer speed, Surfshark offers a seriously tempting package of a useful mobile VPN, bargain pricing, and unlimited device support.

Other quality VPNs I've tested

ProtonVPN iOS iPhone

(Image credit: ProtonVPN)

4. Proton VPN

Fast, private, and powerful

Available on: Android, iOS, Windows, Mac | Number of servers: 1,900+ | Server locations: 64 countries | Zero-logging: Yes | Simultaneous connections: 10

Excellent privacy credentials
Plenty of features
Consistent design across all devices
Swift connections
A little expensive

If you're after a mobile VPN with unbeatable privacy credentials and features, Proton VPN is the one for you. One of the most secure VPNs, Proton VPN offers hugely powerful apps on all mobile operating systems, and you'll even be able to test it out by using the free version. In our full Proton VPN review, we found it one of the very best free VPNs on the market.

Beyond privacy, though, Proton VPN has also got great streaming capabilites. Not only does it unblock Netflix across a number of regional libraries, it also offers great support for other streaming sites like BBC iPlayer, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video and more.

If you're a bit of a VPN newbie, there's a chance that you might find the apps a little complex, but in truth they still feel thoroughly modern in practice, and we wouldn't let that put you off. Definitely worth considering. 

cybersghost mobile vpn app

(Image credit: CyberGhost)

5. CyberGhost

Good-value provider with decent mobile VPN apps

Available on: Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Linux | Number of servers: 7,000+ | Server locations: 90 countries | Zero-logging: Yes | Simultaneous connections: 7

Good value
Specialised for streaming
Loads of servers
No kill switch
Lacks polish

If you're looking for one of the best torrenting VPNs, or one of the best streaming VPNs, CyberGhost is a good choice of VPN for you. 

While the mobile VPN is pretty simple, CyberGhost is priced keenly and can do pretty much all most users will need – you can find out more in our CyberGhost VPN review.

A neat feature is split tunneling which is available on mobile, and CyberGhost also switches ports regularly to maintain your security. However, if your connection fails, you haven't got a kill switch to keep you protected, and you won't be able to change protocol either (the apps only use OpenVPN).

If you go for the longest plan it's an affordable option – but our #3 choice Surfshark is even cheaper and is the more well-rounded service. However, CyberGhost has a huge number of servers and millions of people who use them, so they must be doing something right.

If all you need from a mobile VPN is keep you safe on the go and stream content, then CyberGhost is a great choice. However, for most people, there are probably better options further up the page.

How we test the best VPN services

When it comes to recommending a product that users will entrust with quite possibly every byte of their online life, I have to be absolutely sure that my choices are correct, and thoroughly tested.

For a comprehensive rundown, check out out our full methodology of how we test VPNs. For the time-poor, though, here are the crib notes.

Unlike some sites, we don't simply reel off a spec sheet and declare the provider with most impressive claims the winner. Instead, we have a dedicated team in-house that gets hands-on with all the providers listed (and more). 

Every 6 months, after scouring the website for new claimed features or changes in policy, we sign up to a plan and install it on a range of devices. The Windows app sees the most rigorous testing, and it's here that we'll try to break the kill switch, ensure any leak protection is working correctly, and measure connection speeds.

The other apps, including the Mac VPN, iPhone VPN, and Android VPN also see comprehensive testing, and we'll check every available setting in every app to make sure it's functioning as promised by the provider.

As we use the apps, if anything appears to be behaving strangely we'll investigate that. We might dig into the source code, or view the contents of its RAM. This general usage stage is also how we make decisions on aesthetics and ease of use – although these are admittedly more subjective.

Then comes the streaming testing. We'll test each VPN with all the big streaming sites from a number of locations to ensure it's working as claimed. As Netflix is still hugely popular and somewhat troublesome when it comes to VPNs, we test the biggest providers every month to make sure my recommendations are still relevant.

Best mobile VPN FAQs

What is the best mobile VPN?

All options considered, we rate ExpressVPN as the best mobile VPN on the market

As soon as you open the app, it's clear it's a professional bit of kit. It's simply laid out, but in just a couple of taps you can access in-depth features and settings like a kill switch, different protocols, split tunneling, and auto-connect.

With 3,000+ servers in 94 countries, there's a huge range of locations to choose from, and almost every one delivers great speeds – plus, these should only increase with the introduction of the upcoming Lightway protocol.

Plus, even if none of that interests you, ExpressVPN is the best mobile VPN for accessing Netflix and other streaming services, so whatever you want it for, we reckon it's the best choice.

What makes a great mobile VPN app?

The top VPN for phone users should come from a respected provider with a history of excellence. Our #1 pick ExpressVPN is one such provider, and has been leading the way for some time now with simple, powerful mobile VPN apps, excellent privacy, and great streaming support – not to mention a killer 5-star rating in our full ExpressVPN review.

For those who need them, extra features like a kill switch and split tunneling are super useful, and neat solutions like auto-connect can make using the service much easier. 

It goes without saying that you should prioritize quality mobile apps. On desktop you can get away with aged apps, but mobile VPNs need to be optimized for touchscreens and perform as seamlessly as all your other apps. All of our top picks are quick, modern, and right up to date. So, with all that in mind, here are the best five mobile VPN services for you to choose from. 

What can I use a mobile VPN for?

A mobile VPN is a great way to maintain your privacy when outside the house, and it's especially important to be careful when connecting to unsecured public Wi-Fi. While incredibly convenient, it's a perfect place for hackers to perform man-in-the-middle attacks and compromise your data.

A VPN makes sure this won't happen by encrypting everything you send over that network, rendering it useless even if it is intercepted.

Another neat use of VPNs is the ability to stream content from other countries. If you're on holiday and want to access Netflix, you might notice your favorite shows aren't available. By using a VPN to virtually relocate yourself, you'll be able to watch the content you know and love – check out the best streaming VPN for more info.

What features should a mobile VPN have?

It's good to ensure your provider has a no-logs policy, which means it will never record any identifying data about you or your VPN uses. Even if it's forced to give evidence, it won't have anything about you to disclose.

Having reliable, fast connections is always useful. If you're out and about you might be in a rush, so it's important that you're not waiting around just because of your VPN.

Finally, it should be easy to use. Small screens are more fiddly than a huge monitor and mouse, so having a simple, clean interface is usually considered a benefit.

Can you use a free mobile VPN?

While it's possible to get a free VPN, they never come close to the usability of a paid-for service. They often come with data caps ranging from 500MB a day to 500MB a month, and you'd be surprised at how much data a quick scroll on Facebook, a few YouTube videos, and emailing some attachments uses.

On top of that, they're not as fast as a premium services – and it's worth being aware of how free VPNs make money from you, even if it isn't directly. For example, they might inject extra ads into your browser, or even sell your data to advertisers for a profit. 

We think a paid-for VPN – even if it's Surfshark at less than $2.50 a month – is absolutely worth the investment.


We test and review VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. For example:

1. Accessing a service from another country (subject to the terms and conditions of that service).

2. Protecting your online security and strengthening your online privacy when abroad.

We do not support or condone the illegal or malicious use of VPN services. Consuming pirated content that is paid-for is neither endorsed nor approved by Future Publishing.

Mo Harber-Lamond
VPN Editor

Mo is VPN Editor at Tom's Guide. Day-to-day he oversees VPN, privacy, and cybersecurity content, and also undertakes independent testing of VPN services to ensure his recommendations are accurate and up to date. When he's not getting stuck into the nitty-gritty settings of a VPN you've never heard of, you'll find him working on his Peugeot 205 GTi or watching Peep Show instead of finally putting up those shelves.