What Is VPN on iPhone? [Everything You Need To Know]

Deyan Georgiev
Deyan Georgiev

Updated · Aug 26, 2022


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Do you feel safe browsing the internet? 

Yes? No? Whatever the answer is, you might be at risk!

Luckily, you’re at the right place. You’ll find an amazing solution to step up your privacy game and protect yourself from cyber-attacks.

So, what is VPN on iPhone? Why is it important, and how to set it up?

Let’s dive in!

What Is a VPN on an iPhone?

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, and it’s essentially a secure connection between two devices over the internet. Think of it as a bridge that lets you safely pass to the other side. Its purpose is to protect your internet privacy by establishing a private network where sensitive data is hidden.

As technologies develop, so does the knowledge of hackers. That’s why it’s important to have a VPN service on your iPhone to protect your data from leakage.

Now, let me unpack that in a bit more detail.

How a VPN on an iPhone Works

Over the internet, data is transmitted between sources via your IP and the TCP (Transport Control Protocol) in packages. Typically, if the connection isn’t encrypted, the sender’s IP is visible, making it less secure. 

However, when you connect your iPhone to a VPN service, you create a so-called tunnel between you and the receiver. This allows private communications even on a public network, such as airport Wi-Fi. It does so by using tunneling protocols.

To simplify it all, imagine you’ve booked a connecting flight. It’ll take you from destination A to C, but also make a stop at destination B.

When you enable the VPN on your iPhone, the data you send travels to an external Virtual Private Server first. There, your IP address, location, and any sensitive data are masked in order to be protected. Then the VPN service sends your request to its final destination. It gets a reply from the receiver (i.e., the website you’re visiting) and sends it back to you. 

The key concept here is that the VPN server could be anywhere in the world. Therefore, your receiver will see a request from a german IP, for example, while you’re in the USA. 

Now, let’s see how to establish a VPN connection on your iPhone.

How to Set Up a VPN on an iPhone

There are two ways to do it:

  1. Automatically
  2. Manually

However, since the iPhone doesn’t have a pre-installed VPN, you’ll need an external provider for both ways. We’ll get to our top picks for VPN software in a bit. Now we’ll show you how to add VPN configuration to your iPhone in general.

Here’s how to set it up automatically:

  1. Install the VPN software on your iPhone.
  2. Run the app and log in, or register a new account.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions and turn on the service.
  4. Your iPhone will ask you for some permissions; make sure you Allow them all.

Next, you need to activate the VPN through your iPhone settings.

  1. Open Settings and look for VPN under the General section.
  2. Tap on the button next to Status and make sure it’s green.
  3. Once you finish using the VPN service for your iPhone, just turn this setting off.

To set it up manually, you’ll need the following details from the VPN provider:

  • Type
  • Description
  • Server
  • Remote ID
  • User authentication
  • Username
  • Password

Once you gather the required information, proceed to execute the following steps.

  1. Go to Settings and select VPN under the General section.
  2. Tap on Add VPN Configuration…
  3. Select the type of your network by tapping Type.
  4. Choose the network type — IKEv2, IPSec, or L2TP.
  5. Fill in the Description, Server, and Remote ID fields.
  6. In the Authentication section, enter a Username and Password.
  7. Tap Done.

And there you have it! You now know what a VPN on iPhone means and does and how to install it.

Now let me show you why you should use a VPN on your iPhone and what benefits you get, in addition to safety.

Why You Need a VPN for Your iPhone

Although Apple takes security seriously, its products aren’t invincible. That’s because hackers’ knowledge grows at a fast pace. However, connecting your iPhone to a VPN server is not only a safety measure but can also deliver various perks.

Let’s see how you can benefit from setting up a VPN on your iPhone.

Unlock Geo-blocked Websites

This is an extremely useful feature if you live in or visit a country that applies strong internet censorship. You can bypass almost any geological restrictions if you use a VPN on your iPhone.

That’s because of how the whole process works. 

As we mentioned earlier, VPN services can pass your connection through servers located anywhere in the world. So, if you’re in a country that strictly monitors and restricts internet usage, you can connect to a server outside of it. 

This also has its security benefits since no one can trace you and find your actual location.

Hide Browsing Activity

Having a VPN set up on your iPhone will obscure a large portion of your browsing activity. Your information will be encrypted and hidden from your ISP and the data recipient.

However, you should note that since the VPN server decrypts this data first, you can never be sure what it does with it.

Most good VPN providers don’t keep logs of their users’ activities, but some do.

Maintaining a VPN server requires a lot of resources and, most of all – money. Therefore, going with free software providers isn’t always a good idea. Many of them keep the lights on by selling user data – mainly to big corporations like Google for advertisement purposes.

That being said, yes, a VPN will hide your browsing activity, but you can never be sure to what level. Luckily, we’ve tested several VPN providers that don’t operate like this. We’ll share them with you in a minute.

Harden Connection Security

This is one of the most important benefits of using a VPN on your iPhone.

Hardening connection security is done by reducing its vulnerability to potential attacks. Simply said, minimizing the pathways a potential threat can take.

Many big corporations use VPNs for this reason. Since they work with a lot of sensitive data, leakage could cause huge problems.

VPN technology protects this sensitive data by using authentication, encryption, and data integrity protocols, ensuring confidentiality and security.

Cheaper shopping

When you add a VPN service to your iPhone, you become a citizen of the world. That’s because you can connect to various points on earth. You can then shop around for better deals on various products and services.

Flight tickets, hotel bookings, and online services often have different prices depending on your location. So, you can lower the price of anything with the VPN on your phone.

Avoid Bandwidth Throttling

Never heard of it? That’s when your internet provider intentionally slows down your bandwidth speed. It’s not something that happens frequently, but it’s definitely a thing.

Sometimes your ISP does it because it sees you’re using too much data to download files, watch movies, or play games. So, if it slows you down, maybe you’ll reach out for a faster but more expensive internet plan.

However, if you connect an iPhone to your home network through a VPN app, it’ll encrypt your traffic. This will make it impossible for your internet provider to spy on you and limit your speed.

Choosing a VPN for iPhone - Guide

If you open Google and search for VPNs, you’ll find hundreds of them. But how do you pick the best VPN for iPhone

Luckily, I’m here to show you the top five things you should consider when searching for a VPN service.

Bandwidth allocation

Always check if the provider applies any bandwidth limitations. Some of them put speed or data size limits, which result in slower or no internet at all, significantly affecting performance.

However, if you choose a paid provider, it shouldn’t limit you to GBs of data but rather to TBs. Or even better – you can pick one with unlimited bandwidth.

Zero-log policy

This is a must-have feature for any paid provider. A "zero-log" policy means that the VPN service doesn’t store your data, online activities, or connections.

The VPN on your iPhone uses sensitive data and can store it if it doesn’t have this policy. This data can later be sold to a third party. So, no matter which provider you choose, make sure it applies such a policy.

Security features

Good VPN providers must have a couple of key security features up their sleeves. This includes multiple healthy servers in different locations, a kill switch, anonymous DNS, and various tunneling protocols

These features ensure that your IP address will be hidden to prevent data leaks and protect you from potential threats. The VPN on your iPhone should also have SSL/TLS protocols to secure the safe transmission of your encrypted data.

Mobile App

Staying safe on every device is a must. Therefore, the provider you choose must have a mobile VPN app for your iPhone

Connecting to public Wi-Fi may be risky business. On such networks, your data is most vulnerable because the layers of security are not that strict.


I’m not a big fan of expensive services either. However, if you install free VPN software on your iPhone, you run the risk of lesser security.

That’s because good VPNs are very costly to maintain. So if you get a free one, maybe the company makes compromises with security or simply sells your data to keep operating.

There are a couple of budget-friendly options that are both safe and not that costly, so choose wisely. In the end, it’s your privacy that’s at stake.

What Are the Best VPN Services for iPhone?

To ease the process of choosing the right VPN, I’ve selected a few providers that offer outstanding service and have VPN apps for iPhone.


NordVPN is one of the leading virtual private network providers for a reason. 

Based in Panama, it uses various technologies, including OpenVPN, to hide your IP address. The software also allows access to the Tor anonymity network. This ensures double encryption and P2P sharing, which provides even greater data protection. 

It operates more than 5000 servers worldwide at very high bandwidth speeds. Even more, it uses DNS leak protection and CyberSec technologies to further increase its security. The split tunneling feature, on the other hand, lets you connect to multiple security domains simultaneously. 

NordVPN also has a zero-log policy.

Surfshark VPN

This one is a more affordable but still feature-packed VPN service for iPhone

It works with anti-malware technologies to protect you from any threat. It has an integrated kill switch and split tunneling technology, ensuring you’re safe browsing on public Wi-Fi

This service offers a NoBorders mode, which sidesteps any internet censorship, even in countries like China. Also, you can connect to multiple countries simultaneously with its Multihop feature. This allows you to browse even safer and on an unlimited number of devices.

Surfshark VPN provider operates more than 3000 servers worldwide with a zero-log policy.

PIA (Private Internet Access) VPN

PIA is an affordable VPN setup for iPhone that’s best for torrenting and streaming.

It’s an open-source VPN that was released in 2010. It’s compatible with all popular OSs and offers a simple interface with lots of features.

What’s interesting about it is that it has inverse split tunneling. This allows you to choose which apps connect through the VPN. It also comes with a built-in ad-blocker that’s fast and doesn’t require a browser extension.

It supports up to ten devices and uses a WireGuard protocol, providing safer and faster browsing. 

It allows port forwarding, which can connect your device to external ones. This is extremely useful for P2P sharing and gaming.

PIA VPN has more than 25,000 servers across 77 countries, half of them in the US. It’s under the USA’s jurisdiction and also has a zero-log policy.

Wrap Up

With the world becoming more and more internet-related, cybercrime is growing just as fast. A quick check of the statistics shows that a ransomware attack on businesses occurs every 14 seconds. That being said, no one’s safe.

Luckily, we can make our browsing less stressful with a simple solution. Installing and keeping the VPN on our iPhone always on adds a layer of protection by making us invisible to any threat. 

Now that you’ve learned what does VPN mean on an iPhone, consider turning it on while browsing the internet. This will keep your data safe and could potentially unlock a lot of benefits.


Does Apple recommend using a VPN?

It does! It has also integrated a VPN setting into its devices.

Is VPN free on iPhone?

Your iPhone doesn’t come with a built-in VPN. However, there are various third-party services – some of them are free, others are paid.

Should I turn on VPN on iPhone?

Without a doubt! VPNs protect you and your data.

What is the purpose of a VPN on my iPhone?

It encrypts the connection between your iPhone and the internet, making it more secure. 

For an in-depth look into what VPN on iPhone is, feel free to check out our full article.


Deyan Georgiev

Deyan Georgiev

Deyan has been fascinated by technology his whole life. From the first Tetris game all the way to Falcon Heavy. Working for TechJury is like a dream come true, combining both his passions – writing and technology. In his free time (which is pretty scarce, thanks to his three kids), Deyan enjoys traveling and exploring new places. Always with a few chargers and a couple of gadgets in the backpack. He makes mean dizzying Island Paradise cocktails too.

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