Skip to main content

Best iPhone VPNs for iOS in 2020

best iPhone VPN
(Image credit: OpturaDesign / Shutterstock.com)

The best VPNs almost invariably offer functional iPhone VPN apps, but while there are plenty to choose from, many can't match the quality and polish iOS users are used to. And, while Apple's ecosystem is notoriously resistant to malware, once you've sent your details into the ether there's nothing your phone can do. That's where an iPhone VPN comes in.

The best VPN for iPhone isn't just great for privacy, though. They can also act as an access-all-areas pass for blocked sites and streaming services, all while keeping you anonymous. And, seeing as your iPhone is probably the thing you'll be traveling with the most, a VPN will keep you protected when connected to potentially unsecured public Wi-Fi networks in shops, cafes or public transport.

What makes the best iPhone VPN?

There are three major things we want to see in the best iPhone VPN: speed, security, and support – and it doesn't hurt if it looks great, either. While that might sound simple, many VPNs can't tick all these boxes. However, our top pick ExpressVPN does, and it has them in spades. If you're ready for the no-holds-barred best iPhone VPN on the market, head over to claim three free months on a 12-month plan now.

There are also a number of other features we love to see in iPhone VPNs – all of which Express boasts, too. For starters, being able to access a wide range of servers in plenty of countries is great if you want to either sidestep national censorship or stream geo-blocked media from abroad. That could be regional Netflix libraries, BBC iPlayer from outside the UK, Hulu from outside the US, or your Gmail account from within China.

Another important factor is app design – while your iPhone's screen is vivid and sharp, the fact of the matter is that it's nowhere near the size of a PC monitor. That means whichever iPhone VPN you choose should be optimized for a mobile form-factor. It doesn't have to be bare and minimal, but it does have to work intuitively.

So, below is our rundown of the five very best iOS VPNs and what they can do for you – all you need to do is pick which one to go with.

1. ExpressVPN – our favorite iPhone VPN
An iOS VPN needs to be simple, usable, and powerful – just like your iPhone. ExpressVPN is the absolute best of the bunch, with clean, clear apps and tons of configuration, plus some more unusual privacy features. You can also claim three months free through Tom's Guide.
View Deal

2. NordVPN – an excellent choice for an iOS VPN
While the apps aren't quite as perfect as Express's, NordVPN's DNS leak protection, double kill switch, and auto-connect make up for slight interface issues. And, considering you're getting the biggest name in the industry for $3.71/mo, it's great value, too.View Deal

3. Surfshark – great value plus top usability
For just $2.49/mo you can get a subscription with Surfshark, making it the most affordable way to cover your iPhone. However, you won't be making any sacrifices, as the apps are easy to use, and you'll be able to use features like BlindSearch and HackLock, too.View Deal

The five best iPhone VPNs for iOS today

ExpressVPN iPhone VPN for iOS

(Image credit: ExpressVPN)

1. ExpressVPN

The best iPhone VPN bar none

Number of servers: 3,000+ in 94 countries | Max simultaneous connections: 5 | App Store score: 4.5 | 24/7 live chat support: Yes | Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu

iPhone app is near-perfect
Excellent 24/7 support service
Great streaming ability
Zero knowledge DNS
Maximum of five connections

ExpressVPN simply provides everything you need from an iPhone VPN. It's quick, private and simple to use, and seeing as the apps over all platforms are virtually identical, once you've used one you'll have mastered them all.

You'll get over 3,000 servers in 94 countries, meaning wherever you are you'll be able to get a quality connection. Plus, all your data's protected by AES-256 encryption as standard, with a selection of protocols, a kill switch and even split tunneling to tailor your usage.

Beyond technicalities, though, Express's interface is excellent and makes it super simple to access these in-depth features, meaning you can have as basic or as complex an experience as you want – perfect for novices and experts alike.

However, things can go wrong with even the best services, so having a stellar support system in place is essential. Thankfully, Express has you covered with its 24/7 live chat. You'll reliably get responses in minutes – often in seconds – and the operators are incredibly helpful and have never failed to resolve one of our queries.

If we had to split hairs, we wish Express VPN offered a few more simultaneous connections. Five is plenty in practice, though, and while you can only use five devices on the same account at the same time, you can have the app downloaded on as many as you like. That's plenty for the vast majority of users – and if it's not, you're covered by a no-quibble 30-day money-back guarantee.

Overall, Express offers the most fully-featured iPhone VPN app money can buy, so if you want the best, you need look no further.

Get 49% off plus three months free of the best iPhone VPN
Tom's Guide readers can bag three months free on a 12-month plan, plus the regular 49% discount – that works out at 15 months for the price of 12. If you're not sure, though, you'll also be covered by the 30-day guarantee, so you can try before you buy with absolutely no risk.View Deal

NordVPN iPhone VPN for ios

(Image credit: NordVPN)

2. NordVPN

iPhone VPN for the privacy-obsessed

Amount of servers: 5,100+ in 59 countries | Max simultaneous connections: 6 | App Store score: 4.5 | 24/7 support: Yes | Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu

Excellent security
Great for streaming
Lots of other extensions & apps
Recently verified no-logging
iPhone app interface isn't ideal

If you've heard of any VPN before, it'll have been NordVPN. The security giant provides hugely popular and private services, and its iPhone VPN is no exception.

With great speeds across the majority of its 5,200 servers, Nord's sure to provide you with a good connection, and its 2048-bit double encryption and extra features like Onion over VPN and Double VPN should keep you nice and anonymous.

While it's effective, NordVPN's app design isn't quite as clean as Express's – it retains the map-based interface, and this doesn't work as well on mobile as it does on a monitor, making it slightly awkward to use. This is a very minor issue, though, as you won't really be spending more than a couple of minutes in the app itself.

Other features include two kill switches, DNS leak detection and auto-connect, and Nord has now even introduced Siri support which we're sure someone will find useful.

Other than that, Nord's great for streaming as well, so if you're on a trip and don't fancy hauling out your laptop when you're on the train, you'll be able to unblock pretty much everything straight from your phone.

If you're after a security-focused iPhone VPN that will do everything you need it to and more, NordVPN could be the right choice for you – and a 30-day guarantee covers you in case it's not.

Security-focused VPN that's great on iPhone
NordVPN's iPhone app is a great choice for Apple users, but whatever device you use the most, it'll have you covered. Plus, it's not too expensive either, so you can get big-name privacy for a bargain price. It's not quite ExpressVPN, but it's the next best thing.View Deal

Surfshark iPhone VPN

(Image credit: Surfshark)

3. Surfshark

Bargain iPhone VPN that doesn't scrimp on features

Amount of servers: 1,700+ in 63 countries | Max simultaneous connections: Unlimited | App Store score: 4.5 | 24/7 support: Yes | Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu

Have you seen the price?
Great connection speeds
Top-notch security 
Unlimited connections
App may be too basic for some

If you're looking to get the cheapest iPhone VPN that's going to actually do its job well, Surfshark should be on your shopping list. At less than $2.50 a month you might think that it's cut corners and is no competition to costlier options, but in fact it's a well-rounded service that would be impressive at any price.

The iPhone app is totally plug-and-play, but while many will be satisfied with just pressing auto-connect, you'll also be able to explore some other features. For example, you can switch protocol between OpenVPN UDP and TCP, and IKEv2, and use a kill switch to ensure your connection doesn't become compromised.

One of its biggest selling points, though, is Surfshark's unlimited simultaneous connections policy. That means you'll be able to cover every single device (whether that's 10 or 100) in your house on your bargain-basement plan. That's incredible value.

While it's not quite as powerful as ExpressVPN or Nord, Surfshark provides a deceptively simple iPhone VPN that punches well above its weight and genuinely competes with the very best, regardless of price.

Sign up now on the Surfshark website.

IPVanish iPhone VPN

(Image credit: IPVanish)

4. IPVanish

Info-heavy iPhone VPN with great speeds

Amount of servers: 1,500+ is 75+ locations | Max simultaneous connections: Unlimited | App Store score: 4.5 | 24/7 support: Yes | Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix,YouTube, Hulu

Super speeds
Tons on info displayed in-app
Unlimited connections
Not as easy to use as some
Can't access BBC iPlayer

IPVanish is one of the old guard – well-known and loved by those who were using VPNs years ago, and now trusted by the new wave looking for iPhone VPNs, too. If you want great speeds – especially in the US – it's a good option.

The app's design is divisive, and whether you like it will depend on what you want to see in your VPN. In-use, you're provided with a heck of a lot of info, including data up and down, IP address, server name and more. While the iPhone app has been toned down from the desktop version – reminiscent of The Matrix's black and neon green color scheme – it's not as clean as the rest on this list.

If you like that, though, IPVanish provides tons of in-depth features like auto-connect, a kill switch and a choice of protocols. A recent update also introduced the new unlimited connections policy, which we think has really added value to the service.

If you like to see a lot of techy data and aren't scared of a graph or two, IPVanish offers a seriously powerful iPhone app that can cover all sorts of VPN uses. However, for casual users, the options higher on this list deliver cleaner, easier user experiences.

Sign up now on the IPVanish website.

Private internet access iphone vpn

(Image credit: PIA)

5. Private Internet Access

10 connections from a Canada-based service

Amount of servers: 3,200+ in 45+ countries | Max simultaneous connections: 10 | App Store score: 4.6 | 24/7 support: Yes | Streaming site sunblocked: Netflix, YouTube, Hulu

Quality iPhone VPN app
Great price
Users love it
No BBC iPlayer access
Other apps can be dodgy

Private Internet Access (PIA) is a pleasing iPhone VPN that we rate highly, and apparently we're not alone – with an astronomical App Store rating of 4.6, it's clear that those who choose to use PIA don't regret their decision. While we always take user reviews with a pinch of salt, this can only be a good thing for PIA.

As one of the cheapest iPhone VPNs, PIA offers great value (although not quite on Suirfshark's level), and for your money you get plenty of additional features. Every server is P2P compatible, and you'll also get port forwarding and SOCKS5 support as standard, which is somewhat rare and makes PIA a great torrenting VPN.

However, while on paper PIA seems great, in practice some of its apps can be a little problematic. While you might mostly use your VPN on iPhone, it's good to have excellent apps on any device you own and, while PIA's are usable, they're simply not as great as Express's or Nord's.

However, for a cheap iPhone VPN you can also use for torrenting, PIA is a decent option.

Sign up now on the Private Internet Access website.

Best iPhone VPNs for iOS FAQ

The best iPhone VPNs at a glance

1. ExpressVPN – The very best iPhone VPN you can buy

2. NordVPN – Great power housed in an attractive app

3. Surfshark – Top functionality for an unbeatable price

4. IPVanish – VPN for iPhone for those who like information

5. Private Internet Access – Highly-rated iPhone VPN users love

What does a VPN for iPhone do?

Once your iPhone is connected to the internet, be it through your network connection or Wi-Fi, it's at risk. In the case of unsecured public Wi-Fi, like at coffee shops, hotels and airports, this risk is even greater. Risk of what? Your data being exposed. That's is where a VPN works to keep you safe.

By routing your connection through its own servers, it can make you appear somewhere you're not. It will also assign you a new IP address, which makes you appear to be someone you're not. Essentially, all your traffic is encrypted, and that keeps you – and your iPhone's data – safe. 

Do I need a VPN on my iPhone?

If you want to make sure your sensitive information is kept safe and out of the hands of ne'er-do-wells, an iPhone VPN is an essential bit of kit.

However, security isn't the only use for an iPhone VPN. If you're traveling abroad and have a subscription to a service like Netflix, you may find that your favorite shows aren't available where you are. If you've got access to a quality VPN, you can virtually relocate yourself back home and get access to what you're used to.

The opposite is true as well, though, and you can globe-trot around Netflix libraries to explore what other nations get with their subscription.

Finally, you might question if you need a VPN on your iPhone as well as your computer. There's a simple answer to that, and it's 'why not?'. All the VPNs above offer multiple simultaneous connections, so you may as well use as many as you can.

Can I get a free iPhone VPN?

Free VPNs can be very tempting, but while there are some good options, they're all limited in some way or another.

While functionality is an issue (most have data caps or throttles speeds), when considering free iPhone VPNs there's a very real danger to the user. Free services on the App Store have been known to be 'fleeceware' – offering a free trial and secretly charging massive weekly fees afterwards – while other simply don't work and will give you a false sense of security.

Due to the fact that you simply haven't got the configuration of a desktop Mac or PC on a iPhone, there's a risk that you'll be caught out by a scammer, and any settings you're not happy with might not be available to change.

For both VPNs for iPhones and Android VPNs, we wholeheartedly recommend going with a paid service, or at the very least one of our top-rated free providers. Don't just go searching the App Store and download the first free iPhone VPN you come across. 

  • Apple user? Check out our guide to the best Mac VPNs
  • Make your money go further with our cheap VPN guide
  • Just want to stream? Discover today's best Netflix VPN