5 Best VPN apps for iPhone in 2020

VPN iPhone

The Apple iPhone is not just the most popular single smartphone on the market right now, but it is the best too.

But while there is much to praise about the latest models, the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max, there is still one myth about all iPhone's that remains. That is the idea that iPhone's are somehow totally secure and immune to hackers or malware.

They are more secure than Android devices, but they are far from immune and if you want to keep your online data secure and private a VPN is the best option.

That's why using a virtual private network is just as important on an iPhone as any other. CyberGhost VPN is definitely the best for iPhone right now but in this guide we've compared and ranked 5 of the best to help you make a decision on which to choose.

You'll have already splashed out quite a bit of cash on your iOS devices so all the VPN services listed below have money-back guarantees. That way if you sign up and find that it's not for you then you can simply get a full refund.

The Top VPN for iPhone:

Below you'll find our top 5 choices for VPN apps for the iPhone. All you have to do is choose one.

Don't worry too much because they're all good suitable options so you really can't go wrong.

1. CyberGhost VPN

Cyberghost Website

If you are new to VPNs, then CyberGhost VPN is a great choice for you. Their iPhone app is exceptional and designed specifically with novices in mind and is just one reason why they're our top pick.

There are a number of settings which automatically optimise your VPN settings depending on whether you are planning to stream content, torrent files, or just want to stay secure and hide your online activity.

This ease-of-use doesn't come at the expense of their core features either.

CyberGhost VPN also offers strong encryption, reliable privacy protections, and a decent server network. There are 5,900 VPN servers spread across 89 different countries.

The service is trusted by over 38 million users across the world to protect their online privacy and unblock content like streaming services.

We liked the ease of connection and the ability to click, connect and forget about the app making it unintrusive the way a VPN app should be,

Our Number 1 Recommendation

45-day money back guarantee

2. ExpressVPN

Mock up of ExpressVPN on different devices

If your top priority is security and privacy, then ExpressVPN is the one for you. They too have an exceptional iPhone app, which is lightweight, simple to use and looks great.

Unlike CyberGhost, ExpressVPN is based offshore meaning it can offer guaranteed privacy protections and disguise your user data.

Their encryption too is state-of-the-art too and, unlike some providers, doesn't impact on their connection speeds, which are second-to-none and ideal for streaming content on the go.

With a server network that covers 148 locations in 94 different countries, ExpressVPN is also great for unblocking content and getting round censorship overseas too. If you take your iPhone abroad, ExpressVPN can be a real help.

We like how their apps are uniform across every device so whether you're securing other Apple devices like your Mac or iPad, or you've got other brands, you'll be able to get to grips with them all equally as fast.

3. NordVPN

NordVPN Deal

For iPhone users on the look-out for a value-for-money VPN provider, look no further than NordVPN. Their VPN service is certainly one of the best this year, their prices are extremely competitive, and they offer a 30-day money back guarantee if you are not completely satisfied.

Their iOS app, which works on all iPhones and iPad's is feature rich. It has a clean and simple design which makes it easy to connect with a single click. But it is also easy to take advantage of their many additional features too.

These include things like double VPN connections, which reroutes traffic through two servers for extra protection, and VPN over TOR servers, which also sends your data down the TOR network, as well as the more regulation kill switch and DNS leak protection.

Servers are available in some 60 locations but we were a little disappointed to see that it's not possible to pay using Paypal.

4. IPVanish

IPVanish Deal

If you are one of those iPhone users that like to link your device up with a whole host of other Apple devices, then IPVanish makes a suitable choice.

As well as offering a reasonable all-round service, IPVanish also gives all users the option to connect up to ten different devices to their network. That should be enough even if you're the most avid Apple fan and quite possibly your entire family too.

IPVanish has a huge range of apps for almost every device and their dedicated iOS app is another well-designed app which makes using their service as simple as possible.

Overall a usable app. We're a little disappointed they're not great for streaming so if you're planning on unblocking Netflix you'll be mostly out of luck. That aside they're a decent choice.

5. VPN.ac

VPN.ac Website Jan 17

A lot of VPNs like to use phrases like ‘military-grade' to describe their encryption, but all too often this is just PR at work. But with VPN.ac, you really can enjoy some of the strongest encryption around.

They use a 4096-bit RSA-key for handshaking which is one of the highest available in the industry and when combined with their 256-bit AES-CBC encryption have a claim to be one of the most secure VPN services around.

This strong encryption doesn't mean a compromise on connection speeds either. VPN.ac's speeds are some of the best we've seen and in our tests they performed as well as the bigger named brands.

The monthly package is quite expensive but you'll find bargains available on their one and two year subscriptions.

How to choose a VPN for iPhone?

Once you accept that a VPN is necessary when using an iPhone, you face the tough choice of which VPN to choose. There are a lot of VPNs out there and on first glance, they can all appear pretty similar.

But there are a few key features that iPhone users can look out for to help them find the best VPN for them. These include:

  • A dedicated iOS app – Most of the top VPNs these days will offer a dedicated app for iPhone's and iPads. Some of these are better than others, but any app is preferable to having to set things up manually.
  • Fast speeds – A big perk of iPhone's is how fast they are, but a poor VPN can eat into these connection speeds. You need to choose a provider with the fastest possible connection speeds.
  • Strong encryption and privacy protection – The biggest benefit of a VPN is keeping your online data private and secure. But some providers offer better protection than others, so make sure you only choose the best.
  • Consider your needs – The right VPN will depend on what exactly you use your iPhone for. For example, the best VPN for a high-level of security is not always the best for unblocking streaming services like Netflix. Don't choose one simply because it's considered the ‘best', drill down into exactly what you want to use it for.

What iPhone VPN is right for you?

If you are not familiar with VPNs, it can seem like a complicated world with hundreds of confusing competing features to choose between.

So, while CyberGhost is our top overall pick for iPhone users, you may have a more specific need and we've listed some of the most common below to help you make a choice.

If you want a long money-back guarantee to let you try before you buy, then CyberGhost VPN is the best choice thanks to their huge 45-day money-back guarantee.

Alternatively, if you want the VPN that offers the best overall value-for-money, then NordVPN is the right choice for you.

If you want strong encryption to keep your data secure on the move and on public Wi-Fi networks, then VPN.ac or ExpressVPN is the right pick for you.

But if a large server network is what you need, then again CyberGhost wins hands down. It's also great for accessing geo-restricted content.

If, on the other hand, you have multiple Apple devices and want to protect them all, or even protect your family's devices too, then IPVanish's offer of ten simultaneous connections with every account is your best bet.

Do I need a VPN for iPhone?

Put simply, the answer to this question is, yes.

It is a myth that iPhone's are immune to hackers and malware. Any device that connects to the internet is vulnerable and while Apple devices are more secure than most, you are by no means immune from attack.

There are also plenty of other benefits from having a good VPN on your iPhone too. If you ever connect to public Wi-Fi networks in places like airports, trains, or café's, you will need a VPN to keep all your data safe.

Even the European law agency, Europol warn against the risks of using public Wi-Fi and using a VPN is their top tip to combat against it.

If you want to unblock Netflix or other streaming services on the go, you will need a VPN. Likewise, if you want to watch British TV overseas on your iPhone, a VPN is essential for you too.

Perhaps you travel to countries where online content is censored or restricted. With a VPN, you will still be able to access everything.

There are numerous benefits in using a VPN and that is as true for iPhone users as everybody else.

Is the iPhone VPN suitable for Mac?

If you own multiple Apple devices, such as an iPhone and a Mac, you can certainly use most VPNs on both devices.

The majority of good VPNs and all listed here can be used on both devices. The same features will be present on both devices, although, with some VPNs, the look of the app might be a bit different.

Most VPNs also allow you to use multiple simultaneous connections.

In other words, you can use the same VPN on two or more devices (depending on a specific VPN provider) at the same time. In the end, using an iPhone VPN on Mac might not be the best Mac option, but your subscription is compatible with both.

Are free VPNs for iOS unsafe?

Unfortunately, they are.

Almost all free VPNs should be considered unsafe for your online security.

The fact of the matter is that free VPNs are not earning money from you, their customer, as you are not paying them. Meanwhile, the goal of every business is to make a profit. But more than that, they also NEED to make a profit to maintain their servers and other features.

This is why it's often the case that they will collect your data and sell it to advertisers, the government, or others who would be willing to pay for it.

Even worse, some free VPNs were found to be malicious, whether infected by hackers due to poor security or even set up by hackers, in order to target anyone who uses them.

Finally, free VPNs cannot protect you adequately, as they have weak features.

Their server networks are small, slow, and often overcrowded as many people climb aboard the free service.

Which is the best iPhone VPN for China?

From our research, of which we spoke of in our Best VPN for China research, we can suggest using ExpressVPN as the number one choice in the country.

However, if you wish to use this VPN in China, you need to be careful about how you approach the task. For example, you must get it for your phone before you travel there, as you won't be able to find it in the app store once you are there.

China is known for its censorship, surveillance, and other intrusive methods. As such, it doesn't want its people to be able to protect themselves. This is why it is blocking many popular VPNs, and ExpressVPN, being the best, is definitely at the top of the country's list.

Download it before you travel to China, and you should be safe. But even then, it is best to use Android where possible as it gives you a few more options in China.

How can I install a VPN on my iPhone?

Installing a VPN on your iPhone is straightforward, and all you need to do is follow a few short steps:

  1. Choose a VPN you wish to use, we recommend CyberGhost.
  2. Go to its website and sign up.
  3. Enter your email address, choose a payment plan, and enter your payment information.
  4. Go to the Apple App Store and search for the VPN app there.
  5. Download the VPN app on your device.
  6. After the app installation ends, log into it with your email and a password provided by the VPN.
  7. Once inside, find a server network and connect to any of the servers, and you're done.

Is using an iPhone VPN illegal?

If you are worried about breaking the law by using a VPN, you can rest easy – VPNs are entirely legal to use in most parts of the world.

There are some areas where their use may be problematic, such as China and Russia, but for the most part, you won't have any problems.

VPNs are privacy apps, and you have a right to privacy, which means that you can use any tool to protect yourself.

In that regard, using a VPN is no different than setting up a password, or using an antivirus to protect your device.

The part anonymity and protection do concern some countries, as mentioned, but even there, VPN use is not 100% illegal. However, it is in a legal grey area, so you should be cautious if you plan to travel there.

Can I sideload a VPN app?

You most likely can, but that doesn't mean that you should.

Generally speaking, the safest way to get a VPN is from the app store, that, or from its website. If you try to get it from elsewhere, you might put yourself in danger.

You never know who might be behind the app found in less trustworthy locations, or what they did to it.

You may easily download a VPN that appears to be working fine, but in the background, your device may have just been infected by malware.

Wandera says “As the majority of these app stores don’t enforce rigorous security vetting of the apps they offer, this can make any device on which they have been installed particularly vulnerable to threats.” (Source)

The number of different malicious threats and their functionalities is too vast to list. Still, each and every one of them is extremely dangerous for your privacy and online security, so it is best not to take any chances.

Do VPN apps drain the iPhone battery?

They do, but not more than most other apps, and certainly not enough for that to be an actual reason against using one.

According to TechPenny, VPNs should not drain more than 10%-15% of your battery (source) while they are enabled.

This is because they have to encrypt all of your data travelling between your device and the VPN server. They will use a bit of your battery power, but you are unlikely to notice any significant effect on battery usage.

ExpressVPN itself stressed that there is no difference in using a VPN app and any other app when it comes to its impact on your battery. The effect is normal.

Simply turn off the VPN when you don't need it so that it wouldn't run in your phone's background, and you should be fine.

In Summary

Don't fall for the myth that iPhone's are secure. You should still be using a VPN, especially if you are connecting to public Wi-Fi networks while you are using your iPhone out and about.

CyberGhost VPN is the clear overall winner. It's straightforward to use and can be enabled and forgot about which is one of the most sought after features of a mobile VPN solution.

But regardless of which provider you choose, be sure to use a VPN whenever you are using your iPhone if you truly want your data to remain private and secure.


Ready to get a VPN? Try our recommended VPN service provider

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Illustrations © Slarshina | Dreamstime.com

David Spencer

Author: David Spencer

Cyber-security & Technology Reporter, David, monitors everything going on in the privacy world. Fighting for a less restricted internet as a member of the VPNCompare team for over 3 years.

Away from writing, he enjoys reading and politics. He is currently learning Mandarin too... slowly.

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