VPNs are now common place for accessing the internet safely. In Indonesia 41 percent of internet users use VPNs, it’s 39 percent in Thailand, 36 percent in all of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Brazil, and Turkey. Of China’s 649 million internet users, 29 percent use VPNs — that’s approximately 190 million people. Across the globe, VPN use is growing.

Also growing - smartphone use. More people connect to the internet via smartphones than any other device. Governments, criminals and all the people you’d rather stay away from know this, so the hot target now is the smartphone.

If you’ve followed the news — even remotely — you’d remember the case of unlocking a terrorist’s iPhone. Well, 46 percent of iPhone users backed Apple’s refusal to unlock that iPhone, against 35 percent who wanted it unlocked. Crazy huh?

Poll results show “a consistent desire on the part of Americans to keep their phone, Internet communications and other data private.” Specifically, people don’t want to grant the government this access. In fact, 55 percent of respondents feel the government would take advantage and spy on them if they could unlock iPhones.

In March 2017, the US Senate signed into law a bill authorizing ISPs to sell your data to advertisers without your consent. That, in my opinion, looks like a validation for people’s fears. In case you’re still thinking encryption is some dark practice, how would you love to know that the United Nations actually encourages it?

Whether you sided with Apple on the iPhone saga or not, consent before selling off your private data should be the standard, right?

On the other hand, there’s real danger out there with data breaches. Even the banks are betting billions of dollars on it. Bank of America says it has an unlimited budget for it. So what’s “it"?

Cybersecurity.

It’s the only item that commands an unlimited budget from the banks. J.P. Morgan raised its cybersecurity spending by 100 percent in 2016, going from $250 million in the previous year to $500 million.

Lucky for you, you don't need an “unlimited” budget to stay safe online. Albeit, you need the BEST security. With a good VPN (and some common sense) you’ll be safe - especially if you have an iPhone. 


1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN tops this list. The service is easily the most feature-rich of all the services we examined. You can even install and use it on three devices at the same time. Their 30-day Money-back Guarantee (without questions) covers for all plans, giving you the opportunity to test drive everything they have for a full month without commitment.

They have a reputation for speed and would be great for video and audio streaming. Although personally identifiable data aren’t logged, ExpressVPN logs non-identity data like the dates (but not times) you connected to their VPN service, your choice of VPN location, and the total amount of data transferred each day. The service says that non-identity logs help them make decisions on when to buy new servers, how to improve speed and stability, and helps them give their users better customer service. These logs have no time stamps and no personally identifiable information like IPs — in essence, you should be safe.

ExpressVPN uses 256-bit encryption — the industry’s best encryption standard for non-corporate users — to protect your connection. They also encrypt your streaming using AES-256-CBC. They even support P2P.

The service maintains a detailed support center. They have setup guides, robust troubleshooting articles, and a thorough FAQs page. You may contact support using the “Live Chat” feature on their website. Alternatively, you may reach their support via email or the website’s contact form.

Pros:

  • Fast performance (good for video/audio streaming)
  • 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)
  • Over 1000 servers in 94 countries
  • Unmetered bandwidth
  • P2P and BitTorrent friendly
  • Intuitive user interface
  • Disconnect protection
  • Never logs identity-based data
  • Five-star customer service and 24/7 live chat

Cons:

  • Expensive ($8.32 to $12.95 monthly)
  • No free version (only paid version with money-back guarantee)

2. NordVPN

If you want a rather security-rich VPN for your iPhone, then you’d like NordVPN. This service has unique features like double VPN encryption, VPN into Tor, and then automatic kill switch. You’ll pre-set the kill switch feature to turn off any application in the event of internet speed degradation to avoid data and DNS leaks.

Having a zero-log policy makes NordVPN particularly suited for iPhone encryption. Although not as fast as ExpressVPN, you can conveniently install and use it on six devices simultaneously. They have excellent customer care, albeit communication options are limited to email, social media (Facebook and Twitter), and ticketing.They are P2P-friendly.

Users can access up to 3,000 free proxies. You may request a dedicated IPs at a special price. Their SmartPlay feature makes it easy to access streaming services.

Pros:

  • Exceptionally strong security
  • Maintains a Zero-log policy
  • 1004 servers in 59 countries
  • Flexible payment options including Bitcoin
  • Six simultaneous connections
  • Custom software for iOS
  • Shared IPs (both static and dynamic)
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Supports P2P and BitTorrent
  • Fully featured with free proxy lists, encrypted chats, SmartPlay, and more.

Cons:

  • Double VPN encryption may slow you down
  • No Live Chat option for customer service (options are limited to email, social media, and ticketing)

3. Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access (PIA) works excellently on iPhones and gives a seven-day trial with Money-back Guarantee. It has competitive pricing, at $3.33 to $6.95 monthly payments (depending on the plan you choose). This service is headquartered in the US and in Iceland; both countries have no mandatory policies on storing user data. PIA have a zero-log policy, albeit, they don’t support the IKEv2 security protocol as of now.

This service protects against MITM (man in the middle) attacks, protecting you from ARP (Address Resolution Protocol) spoofing. This protection is effective for preventing hackers from accessing your IoT devices. So if you need a VPN that’s compatible with your iPhone and smart home, then you may want to consider PIA.

Their iOS software works well on the iPhone, albeit, you’ll have to manually set it to OpenVPN to enjoy the speed — in default mode, PIA performs poorly on speed tests.

Don’t know how to set up a third-party OpenVPN? No worries. Read on.

It’s good to note that Private Internet Access has detailed step-by-step guides with illustrations on their website to guide you.

Furthermore, the Android version has more advanced features than the iPhone version. For example, when using Private Internet Access on your iPhone you can’t designate VPN connection to specific apps like you’d do on the Android version.

Apart from PayPal, Private Internet Access has other payment options like Bitcoin, OKPay, CashU, Amazon, Google Wallet, and Ripple. In addition to all these, the service takes different gift cards from 90 retails like Bloomingdales and Starbucks — this adds an extra layer of security as you can buy the cards with cash and then use them to make payments.

Private Internet Access, for policy conflicts requiring them to log user data in Russia, has removed their servers from the country. They have kill switch enabled, and also have a tool called MACE for ad-blocking and tracker-blocking.

Pros:

  • Maintains a zero-log policy
  • Connect 5 devices to one account
  • Unmetered bandwidth
  • 3250+ servers in 25 countries
  • Easy to use, instant setup
  • Ad-blocking
  • Multiple payment options including Bitcoin
  • P2P and BitTorrent friendly

Cons:

  • US-based VPN service
  • It has a rigid interface and Netflix doesn’t play well on it

4. IPVanish

IPVanish has superior features that are best for advanced VPN users. Beginner VPN users may have simpler needs and wouldn’t find uses for features like BitTorrenting and automatic IP address cycling. For heavy downloaders, IPVanish is ideal as it doesn’t restrict BitTorrenting to just a few servers. NordVPN allows, but restricts bitTorrenting to only some servers — IPVanish gives complete freedom and flexibility with BitTorrenting.

However, they have servers across the world, including China and India — Central, South and North Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and across Asia. In keeping with their zero-log policy, IPVanish suspended their operations in Russia when it came in conflict with the local law there.

Their website offers robust, specific instructions on device configurations. So you shouldn’t have a hard time with your iPhone configurations. You can connect five devices concurrently on one account.

They have quality speed, albeit not as fast as ExpressVPN or the others. — you won’t be miserable. Apart from PayPal, they also accept payments via Bitcoin, GiroPay, Boleto and iDeal.

IPVanish’s interface could use some improvements and the service is expensive. Secondly, IPVanish doesn’t block ads. And then, it’s expensive.

Pros:

  • Seven-day Money-back Guarantee
  • 40,000+ shared IPs
  • Unmetered bandwidth
  • Maintains a zero-log policy
  • 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)
  • Unlimited server switching
  • Allows BitTorrenting
  • Connect 5 devices simultaneously
  • Multiple payment options including Bitcoin

Cons:

  • Poorly designed and unpleasant interface
  • Expensive ($6.49 to $10.00)
  • No ad-blocking

5. PureVPN

PureVPN is a Hong Kong based VPN service that’s been in business since 2006. In Hong Kong, data-retention isn’t mandatory; so PureVPN wouldn’t be storing users’ data. The service accepts payment across multiple platforms including all major credit cards, cryptocurrencies (including Bitcoin), Alipay, CashU, many others, including Starbucks, Walmart, and other gift cards.

PureVPN gives a Seven-day Money-back Guarantee on all their pricing plans. However, they don’t refund payments made via certain channels (as indicated on their website).

For new VPN users, PureVPN is set to automatically choose a security protocol it thinks is best. Advanced users can choose from all available protocols, including PPTP, L2TP, SSTP, OpenVPN, and IKEv2. PureVPN also has a custom protocol, it’s called Stealth protocol. Each of these protocols has security and speed ratings attached to them. PureVPN offers advanced security protection including 256-bit AES, DDoS protection, and NAT firewire.

Pros:

  • 750+ servers in 141 countries
  • 88,000+ IPs
  • Advanced security protection
  • Split tunneling
  • No limits on bandwidth
  • Intuitive user interface
  • P2P and BitTorrent friendly
  • Multi-payment options including Bitcoin
  • 24/7 customer service including Live Chat

Cons:

  • Poor experience with Netflix
  • No ad-blocking
  • Lacks quick-start option

6. TunnelBear

TunnelBear is based in Canada. The service connects automatically on the iPhone and stays connected 24/7. In “Vigilant mode,” a form of disconnect protection, TunnelBear blocks all unsecured inbound and outbound data until a connection is established — in the event of a connection disruption.

This service maintains servers in just over 20 countries. And you can run 5 devices on one account. The free version gives a monthly 500 MB data and grants access to all servers except the one in Australia. To increase your data limit to 1GB for a month, you may Tweet about the company. To earn bandwidth Tweet about them monthly.

With a series of advanced blocking tools and measures for ads and trackers, TunnelBear seems to have one of the most advanced online track-blocking and ad-blocking VPN technology. This may be well suited for researchers who need to ensure they aren’t being tracked online.

TunnelBear says that their ‘blocker protects you from online tracking that other “adblockers” ignore.’ They block email tracking, fingerprinting, ultrasonic tracking, and exploits that use Adobe Flash. The service protects from DNS leaks.

Pros:

  • Intuitive interface
  • Impressive download speeds
  • Five simultaneous device connections
  • 256-bit AES
  • No logging
  • Disconnect protection
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Ad and tracking blocker

Cons:

  • No P2P or BitTorrent
  • Few Locations supported
  • Can’t select protocol
  • No specialized servers

7. CyberGhost

CyberGhost maintains 601 servers in 30 countries. In Romania, where CyberGhost is based, EU’s data retention law was voted unconstitutional. So this service doesn’t log your data and browsing behavior.

Setup is easy and they have tracking blockers, along with the 256-bit AES that’s the industry standard for best security. CyberGhost generates fresh password and username for users to log in with — this should raise the security on each user’s account.

Pros:

  • Free version available
  • Zero-log policy
  • 256-bit AES
  • Unlimited bandwidth and data
  • Anti-fingerprinting system
  • Accepts Bitcoin for payment

Cons:

  • No available data in Asia and Latin America
  • iPhone customer support is for paid plans only
  • Bad experience with Netflix
  • Poor video streaming
  • Displays ads on the free version

FAQs

Now you have a list of the best 7 VPNs for your iPhone. But you have questions on choosing a VPN, wondering why you’d use one at all on your “already secured” iPhone, you love Netflix so wondering which ones should you use; your chosen VPN service doesn’t have an OpenVPN protocol (which happens to be the most secure protocol), so you are considering your options. No worries, I’ve addressed your concerns here. Read on.

Why use a VPN for my iPhone?

Yes, valid question.

Known for its intact security when it was first launched, the iPhone has since faced an ever-growing number of privacy and cybersecurity issues. The glory days of the invulnerable iPhone have since passed. Even the FBI might have hacked the terrorist’s iPhone that Apple refused to unlock.

In droves, iPhone users have turned to VPNs for protection. In effect, encrypting all inbound and outbound data traffic from their device. This secures them from government eavesdropping, ISP privacy issues, and cyber criminals.

In addition, iPhone users benefit from using VPNs to unblocking websites, bypass geo-restrictions, improve their online gaming experience, prevent privacy invasion, stream restricted videos and content, use location-based internet services within the countries their VPN service has servers, and lots more.

What should I know before using VPNs for my iPhone?

You can use VPNs on your iPhone and all data should go through the VPN. However, mobile apps by individual publishers would usually send a lot of personal data back to the publishers. Data sent to publishers could include your Global Positioning System (GPS) location data, International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number, your iTunes ID, your contact list, and lots more.

In order to enjoy using a VPN on your iPhone, you should turn off or avoid using apps from individual publishers. In fact, the best privacy option would be to access all online services via web pages or web interfaces using VPN protected mobile browsers.

How do I setup a VPN on my iPhone?

To set up VPN on your iPhone, do these:

  1. Decide which of the listed VPNs here fits your needs
  2. Visit the website of that VPN service and subscribe there. A year’s subscription is usually better for cost savings (it could save you over 50 to 70 percent costs)
  3. After you’ve subscribed, log in using your password. From your user account, download the VPN software. Following instructions, select and download the iOS software or iPhone software — depending on the VPN service.
  4. Once installed, run the software and choose your preferred security protocol. The best is usually OpenVPN, alternatively use IKEv2, or LPTP/IPSec. As for PPTP, it has known security vulnerabilities.
  5. From the list of VPN servers, choose the one from the country/city you’d like for an exit location, and then click Connect.
  6. Your iPhone VPN would turn green once your software has made a connect, indicating that it’s worked. Now, surf the web to your freedom!

My VPN doesn’t have an OpenVPN protocol, what are my options?

If your VPN service doesn’t have inbuilt OpenVPN, you’ll need an OpenVPN from the iTunes store. Here’s how to get it:

  1. In the iTunes Store, get the OpenVPN Connect App.
  2. Install it onto your iPhone
  3. Now, go to the VPN service’s website and download the OpenVPN configuration files (.OVPN files). You should see this in their download area.
  4. Unzip the downloaded files, and then email them to yourself.
  5. Open the email on your iPhone, and then download the files.
  6. Head over to the OpenVPN Connect app, click “Import.” Select the file you’d downloaded to your iPhone.
  7. Once imported, choose the server you want to connect to, enter your username and password.
  8. Once the app connects, you now have OpenVPN security protocol activated and can browse as you want using your new IP address.

I love watching Netflix on my iPhone, what’s the best VPN for this?

Almost all top VPNs for iPhones do not work well with Netflix. Most don’t work at all, and some have outrightly given up on trying. Netflix is directly blocking VPNs IPs. However, Canada’s TunnelBear maintains a good reputation when it comes to streaming Netflix effortlessly. So if you’re considering Netflix as a motivation for getting a VPN service, then I’d recommend giving TunnelBear a try.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the best VPNs for your iPhone just got easier. Depending on your most pressing needs, concerns or the nature of your work, you can easily choose from this list of the best.

All 7 VPNs on this list reportedly maintain a zero-log policy. So your security should be intact. Spammers shouldn’t reach you, geo-restrictions should be lifted, you should enjoy freedom from repressive governments and government policies, eavesdropping and intellectual property theft shouldn’t rouse fear anymore — in short, your iPhone’s VPN should bring you peace of mind.

I invite you to tell us, in the comments section below, what the best VPN for your iPhone is, and why. If you enjoyed this article, please share it with a friend you care about.