Best VPNs for iPhone and iPad (and why you need one)

Best VPNs for iPhone and iPad (and why you need one)

The Best VPN Services for iPhones and iPads of 2023

Do you use your iPhone or iPad to connect to public Wi-Fi networks while on the go? If so, you might be putting your data and privacy at risk. Connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, especially while traveling abroad, can expose you to potential security threats and data breaches. That’s why it’s crucial to use a virtual private network (VPN) service that can keep your data and browsing safe.

We’ve analyzed and ranked the top VPN services for iPhones and iPads based on their performance, features, and user ratings. These VPN services offer solid iPhone and iPad clients, good performance, and are suitable for macOS laptops. Let’s take a closer look at them.

Surfshark VPN: The Best VPN Overall

Surfshark VPN Screenshot by Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Surfshark is our top pick for the best VPN for iPhone and iPad. It’s also one of the most popular VPN services for Apple devices, with excellent customer ratings. Surfshark offers an easy-to-use app, reliable performance, and a great server network. What’s more, it won’t break the bank if you sign up for longer plans.

Pros: – Unlimited simultaneous connections – Excellent pricing on two-year plans – Supports devices running iOS 10.3 or higher – Fast connection times

Cons: – No Bypasser (split tunneling) for the iOS app

Surfshark VPN Features: – Apple App Store rating: 4.8 average, 39k ratings – Simultaneous Connections: Unlimited – Kill switch: Yes – Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, FireTV – Logging: None, except billing data – Countries: 100+, 3,200 servers – Money-back guarantee: 30 days

In our review of Surfshark VPN, we found no information leaks and fast connection times. The company takes security seriously, offering AES-256-GCM, RSA-2048, and Perfect Forward Secrecy encryption. Surfshark is compatible with devices running iOS 10.3 or higher. If you need protection for a macOS machine, you’ll need macOS 10.15 or later.

Surfshark has a solid array of features, including ad and tracker blocking, a data breach scanner, and multi-hop connections. It stands out for its user-friendliness, fast connection process, and reasonable price point. Surfshark frequently runs promotions, offering various plans, such as $12.95 per month, $3.99 per month on a one-year plan, or $2.30 per month on a two-year plan. Plus, you get two months of free access on 24-month plans.

View now at Surfshark

NordVPN: The Best VPN for Speed

NordVPN Screenshot by Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

NordVPN is one of the most popular VPN offerings on the iPhone App Store. Installing NordVPN on the iPhone is a simple and painless way to secure predictable performance across regions. It’s compatible with iOS 13.0 or later.

Pros: – Simple, straightforward app installation – Consistent speed and performance – No logs

Cons: – No split tunneling for iOS – Expensive monthly plans

NordVPN Features: – Apple App Store rating: 4.7 average, 6.3k ratings – Simultaneous connections: 6 – Kill switch: Yes – Platforms: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Android TV – Logging: None, except billing data – Countries: 60 – Servers: 5,000+ – Money-back guarantee: 30 days

NordVPN offers a range of tools in addition to its standard VPN service. With NordVPN’s Onion over VPN, you can access Tor capabilities and support peer-to-peer file sharing. It also allows you to connect through a second server for an added layer of protection. NordVPN supports all the major platforms, including macOS 10.15 or later.

Prices for NordVPN start from $3.79 per month on a two-year standard plan to $14.99 per month on a one-month subscription. New users can subscribe to a two-year plan and receive up to a 65% discount, plus three months of free access.

View now at NordVPN

ExpressVPN: The Best VPN for Server Range and Usability

ExpressVPN Screenshot by Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

ExpressVPN is known for its extensive platform compatibility. It offers support for an exceptionally large number of platforms outside of iOS. The ExpressVPN app supports iOS 12 or higher, making it compatible with iPhones and iPads.

Pros: – Works on an exceptionally large number of platforms outside of iOS – Speedy connections – Lots of countries to connect through

Cons: – More expensive than competitors – Limited to 5 simultaneous connections

ExpressVPN Features: – Apple App Store rating: 4.7 average, 279k ratings – Simultaneous connections: 5 – Kill switch: Yes – Platforms: Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, Chromebook, and more – Logging: No browsing logs, some connection logs – Countries: 94 – Money-back guarantee: 30 days

ExpressVPN supports iOS back to iOS 12, as well as macOS X 10.11 and above. It has browser extensions for Edge, Chrome, and Firefox, with a VPN for gaming also available. With 160 servers located in 94 countries, ExpressVPN offers plenty of options for countries to connect to. It’s known for its fast speeds and user-friendliness.

In terms of pricing, ExpressVPN offers different plans. You can pay $9.99 monthly for six months, $12.95 for a month of access, or sign up for a 12-month plan with a 49% discount at $6.67 monthly, plus three months for free. The iPhone app comes with a 7-day free trial.

View now at ExpressVPN

IPVanish VPN: The Best Configurable VPN for iPhone and iPad

IPVanish VPN Screenshot by Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

IPVanish VPN may initially seem like a generic VPN service, but it offers more than meets the eye. It has depth and plenty of configuration settings for those who want to control almost every aspect of their VPN connection.

Pros: – Unlimited connections – Highly configurable app

Cons: – Price jumps after sign-up deals end

IPVanish VPN Features: – Apple App Store rating: 4.5 average, 94k ratings – Simultaneous connections: Unlimited – Kill switch: Yes – Platforms: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Android TV, FireTV, and Kodi – Logging: None, except billing data – Servers: 2000+ – Locations: 75 – Money-back guarantee: 30 days

IPVanish VPN supports devices back to iOS 14 and clients for macOS are available from 10.11/10.12 and later. It offers various protocols and an abundance of configuration options. The service is also independently security audited.

In our review of IPVanish VPN, we found it to be impressively fast. While it couldn’t completely hide that I was connecting through a VPN, it provided secure data transfers and a good user experience. IPVanish is an excellent choice for iOS and Mac devices. You can sign up for a two-year plan at $2.99 per month, a yearly subscription at $3.33 per month, or pay $11.99 for a month of access.

View now at IPVanish

Proton VPN: The Best Free VPN for iPhone & iPad

Proton VPN Screenshot by Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

ProtonVPN offers both free and paid plans. While we generally recommend avoiding free VPNs, ProtonVPN is an exception due to its association with the reputable paid Proton VPN service.

Pros: – No data cap – Solid iOS app – Top-tier security features

Cons: – Just one connection allowed – Only three countries with free servers – No live chat support

Proton Free VPN iOS Features: – Apple App Store rating: 4.6 average, 21k ratings – Simultaneous connections: 1 – Kill switch: Yes – Logging: None – Customer service: FAQ, email – Data limit: None – Countries: 3 – Free servers: 100+ – (Paid plans: 1,900 servers in 65+ countries)

Proton VPN requires iOS 14.0 or later. While the free version is limited to three countries and approximately 100 servers, it still offers solid security features. ProtonVPN is a Swiss VPN provider known for taking security seriously. Their free version is a good option if you’re looking for a reputable free VPN.

If you’re interested in the paid version of Proton VPN, you can sign up for a 24-month VPN Plus plan at $4.99 per month or Proton Unlimited for $9.99 per month. Payments can be made in US Dollars.

View now at Proton VPN

The Best VPN for iPhone and iPad: Comparison Table

Here’s a comparison table of the best VPN services for iPhone and iPad:

VPN Starting Price Kill Switch Apple App Store Rating Simultaneous Connections
ExpressVPN $6.67+ per month Yes 4.7 5
Surfshark VPN $3.29+ per month Yes 4.8 Unlimited
NordVPN $3.79+ per month Yes 4.7 6
IPVanish VPN $2.99+ per month Yes 4.5 Unlimited
Proton free VPN Free or $4.99/month Yes 4.6 1

Which iPhone and iPad VPN is Right for You?

Choosing the right VPN for your iPhone and iPad depends on your individual needs and preferences. Here’s a breakdown of the recommended VPNs based on what you’re looking for:

Surfshark: A top VPN that offers excellent performance, usability, and affordability.

ExpressVPN: A stable choice for iOS, known for reliable connections and numerous server options.

NordVPN: A solid, feature-rich VPN with impressive speeds, but it might come at a higher price.

IPVanish VPN: Highly flexible with a wide range of configuration options for advanced users.

Proton free VPN: A secure free option with solid iOS app features, limited to one connection and three countries.

Consider factors like simultaneous connections, speed, and pricing to determine which VPN suits your specific requirements. The great thing about the recommended VPNs is that they all offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, allowing you to try them out and see which one fits your needs best.

How Did We Choose These iPhone and iPad VPNs?

To choose the best VPN services for iPhones and iPads, our team at ENBLE conducted extensive testing, reviews, and research. We’ve been in contact with VPN providers, analyzed user feedback, and developed a generally favorable impression of these VPN services.

We take several criteria into account to ensure reliable and secure VPN services:

  • Performance: VPNs must offer a minimum level of performance and stability.
  • Simultaneous connections: The number of devices you can connect to the VPN at the same time.
  • Security: Strong encryption protocols and a commitment to regular security updates.
  • Kill switch: A feature that ensures your connection is protected even if the VPN connection drops.
  • Geoblocks and streaming: VPNs should be able to bypass geoblocks and ensure smooth streaming.
  • Platforms: Compatibility with iOS devices.
  • Countries and servers: A wide range of servers in various locations.
  • Trial length and price: Money-back guarantees and fair pricing.

While we tested these VPNs from various locations, it’s important to remember that results may vary depending on your specific situation and internet infrastructure. We recommend testing the VPN of your choice extensively to ensure it meets your requirements.

Setting Up a VPN on Your iPhone

Setting up a VPN on your iPhone is simple. Just follow these steps:

  1. Download the VPN app from the App Store.
  2. Create an account and start your subscription.
  3. Open the VPN app and log in.
  4. Connect to a server location of your choice.

Once you’re connected, your data and browsing will be securely protected.

Do You Need a VPN When Using Carrier Data?

Even if you’re using your carrier’s data, it’s still recommended to use a VPN for added security. Trusting your carrier alone isn’t enough protection, as encrypting your data with a VPN ensures your connection is secure regardless of the type of internet access you have.

iCloud+ Private Relay vs. VPN: Why You Need Both

While iCloud+ Private Relay is a feature of iCloud+ that can hide your email address and location when using Safari, it has limitations. Private Relay only works within Safari and is not available in all countries. Additionally, it functions as a proxy server and doesn’t offer the same level of security and flexibility as a full VPN solution. Using a VPN along with iCloud+ Private Relay provides comprehensive protection and anonymity across all applications and devices.

Are Free VPNs Worth Trying?

Free VPNs can be risky due to potential security concerns and limited services. Many free VPN providers lack essential security features and may even sell user data, counteracting the primary purpose of using a VPN. However, ProtonVPN offers a trustworthy free version that has secure features. It’s essential to use caution and research any free VPN thoroughly before relying on it for privacy and security.

The Best VPNs for Travel

When traveling, VPNs are particularly important for establishing secure connections. Whether you need an encrypted connection for work or want to access local content while abroad, having a reliable VPN is crucial. The VPN services recommended in this article are suitable for travel, providing essential features and secure connections.

The Best VPNs for Different Operating Systems

If you’re looking for the best VPN overall for different operating systems, including iOS, check out our comprehensive guide to the best VPN services of 2023. It covers a wide range of VPNs and provides insights into their compatibility, security, and performance. Additionally, it discusses the pros and cons of free VPNs and whether they’re worth using.

Other Worthwhile iPhone and iPad VPNs

In addition to our top recommendations, there are other VPN services worth considering. Here are a few more secure and reputable alternatives:

These alternatives provide additional options if the top VPN services don’t meet your specific needs.


When it comes to choosing a VPN for your iPhone or iPad, it’s crucial to prioritize your security and privacy. Surfshark, NordVPN, ExpressVPN, IPVanish VPN, and Proton VPN offer varying features, performance, and pricing, allowing you to find the best option for your needs.

Remember, while we’ve provided our top recommendations, your personal preferences and situation should also be considered. Take advantage of money-back guarantees and trial periods to test the VPNs extensively and make an informed decision based on your experience.

Be proactive in protecting your data and enjoy secure and unrestricted browsing on your iPhone and iPad with a reliable VPN service. Stay connected with peace of mind wherever you go.