The best VPNs for iPhone and iPad (yes, you need to use one)

In addition to iOS, NordVPN runs on all the most popular platforms, including macOS 10.15 or later.

VPN – Super Unlimited Proxy 4+

UPDATE June 24, 2022
I increased the rating from 4 to 5 stars because something in the app’s ability to stay connected to your VPN, for hours at a time even when the phone goes in and out of sleep mode, has IMPROVED! The app is more stable and staying connected longer! I appreciate the free ad version very much and I often click through on relevant ads to see what’s being offered (tip to developers: I’ve never once clicked through on your gaming ads because I never game. But I can tell that you’ve been increasing non-gaming ads and that’s appreciated.)

Update May 15, 2022…Ditto below, but with this note to the developers: WHY is almost EVERY single ad (with the free version) an advertisement for a GAMING app. I don’t game and never will, so you are doing a poor job at selling me anything I might actually be interested in. Surely not all your users are kids playing on gaming apps? Nov 9, 2021 :: I gladly recommend this VPN! Just beware there are LOTS of ads in the FREE service – which is actually okay, since the connections are generally (but not always) stable and fast enough. PS Developers: It’s inconvenient to have to turn my ipad to vertical position to use the app, and it would be appreciated if this shortcoming were fixed.

Developer Response ,

Thank you for the support. We are glad you are enjoying VPN Super.

Psychø wølf , 09/30/2021

Worked for a while

Right so for the first year or two of me using this app it worked fine but for some reason this year its not working at all. I’ll try to connect to a server so i can listen to music on my phone while in school but instead it will pop up the purchase menu and when i exit out of the purchase menu it will disconnect me from the server. Now ive tried just leaving the purchase menu open and hoping it would connect but it never does i dont know if this is happening to anyone else or what but I would just like to listen to music in class so my ptsd and anxiety doesnt flair up and for anyone thinking im listen to music without my teachers permission they know im listening to music its not like i have ear buds in hiding behind my hair. No i have actually headphones on that visual constantly so ya dont come at me saying I shouldn’t be listening to music in class because ive done it for years and when a teacher asks me to take them off i do most of the time also keep in mind i have a ear out at all times so i can hear the teacher and i have my music low maybe on 3-5 volume. Anyways enough rambling. I’d just love to get this app fixed to where people that dont pay or cant pay can still use that app thats all im asking just let us connect to your servers still without pushing it in our faces to purchase or disconnecting us if we dont purchase. Thanks for reading. -Axyl

Developer Response ,

We are sorry to know that you are experiencing connection issues. Could you please uninstall the app, reboot the device and reinstall, then try connecting with all possible protocols and server locations which would resolve the issue.

Acez100 , 07/04/2021

Super simple and easy to use!

This VPN is for people like me for simple safe connection to unknown and public wifi no other weird and confusing buttons. The connection is very fast and i have no problem using it. I had a subscription to another VPN but it had one flaw and i emailed CS line and they told me that nothing was wrong its prob the user fault. I know that it wasnt my fault because same problem i had was the main problem for my family also, that problem was when its connected and your using it or your downloading an app it will lose it connection but my phone couldnt do anything about it. Even if i hard close the app it would be running in the background and it wouldnt freshly connect again until i reseted my phone. This app doesnt have that problem and i tested it out too see if it does i had it on all night one time and it didnt lose connection not once. So anyone who wants a simple vpn n nothing extra with the vpn this is for you. I recommend it its very easy and simple! Oh the other thing this comes with a wifi speed tester so thats a plus to see how fast the internet your using! Overall super happy with this purchase!

The best VPNs for iPhone and iPad (yes, you need to use one)

ZDNET tested the best VPNs for your iPhone and iPad to find which can keep your Apple devices secure and private.



Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer and Jason Stauffer, Staff Writer on Aug. 25, 2023
Reviewed by Gabriela Jordan
Surfshark VPN
Best VPN overall
View now View at Surfshark
Best VPN for speed
View now View at NordVPN
Best VPN for server range, usability
View now View at ExpressVPN
IPVanish VPN
Best configurable VPN for iPhone and iPad
View now View at IPVanish
Proton VPN
Best free VPN for iPhone & iPad
View now View at ProtonVPN

While iPhones tend to have excellent connectivity, using your mobile data as a hotspot or while traveling abroad can be inefficient, or may result in additional fees imposed by your carrier. That might leave you turning to local hotel, airport, school, or coffee shop Wi-Fi networks to get online. However, connecting to public Wi-Fi on your iPhone or iPad is a major security risk, especially if you’re traveling in a foreign country, since there’s no telling who or what is monitoring your traffic.

We recommend using a virtual private network (VPN) service that works with your iPhone and iPad to keep your data and browsing safe while on the go. We’ve analyzed and ranked the top VPN services we’ve tested and researched over the years that offer solid iPhone and iPad clients, good performance, and are suitable for macOS laptops.

Based on our extensive testing, ZDNET’s pick for the best VPN for iPhone and iPad overall is Surfshark . It has an easy-to-use app that reliably performs well and a great server network, and it won’t break the bank if you sign up for longer plans.

Check out our picks for more top VPNs for iPhones and iPads below, depending on your needs.

The best VPN services for iPhones and iPads of 2023

Surfshark VPN

Best VPN overall

Pros & Cons

  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Excellent pricing on two-year plans
  • Supports devices running iOS 10.3 or higher
  • Fast connection times
  • No Bypasser (split tunneling) for the iOS app

More Details

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

Surfshark VPN is an affordable and reliable service. In our review of Surfshark, we found no information leaks and it had fast connection times.

Luckily, the company doesn’t skimp on security. It offers AES-256-GCM, RSA-2048, and Perfect Forward Secrecy encryption. Surfshark supports devices running iOS 10.3 or higher. If you want protection for a macOS machine, you will 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 (connecting through two servers). What makes this VPN excellent for iPhone and iPad users is its user-friendliness, uncomplicated and quick connection process, and a reasonable price point to match.

That said, certain tools aren’t available for iOS devices, which is the case across the board. If you want to use the Bypasser tool (Surfshark’s split tunneling feature) you’ll need to use the Windows or Android app.

Surfshark often runs promotions to lure new consumers to its plans. Currently, you can pay $12.95 for a month of access, $3.99 per month on a one-year plan, or only $2.30 if you are happy to remain a subscriber for at least two years. The VPN provider has also thrown in two months of free access on 24-month plans.


Best VPN for speed

Pros & Cons

  • Simple, straightforward app installation
  • Consistent speed and performance
  • No logs
  • No split tunneling for iOS
  • Expensive monthly plans

More Details

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

It has many tools in addition to a standard VPN service. NordVPN’s Onion over VPN is a special category of NordVPN servers that enables Tor capabilities, supports peer-to-peer file sharing, and allows you to connect through a second server for an added layer of protection. You can also set up a dedicated IP address for an additional fee.

In addition to iOS, NordVPN runs on all the most popular platforms, including macOS 10.15 or later.

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


Best VPN for server range, usability

Pros & Cons

  • Works on an exceptionally large number of platforms outside of iOS
  • Speedy connections
  • Lots of countries to connect through
  • More expensive than competitors
  • Limited to 5 simultaneous connections

More Details

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

The ExpressVPN app supports iOS back to iOS 12. So as long as your iPhone or iPad runs on iOS 12 or higher, you’ll be able to use ExpressVPN. In addition to iOS, it supports all of the major platforms including macOS X 10.11 and above.

There are browser extensions for Edge, Chrome, and Firefox, and a VPN for gaming is also available.

If you want the most options for countries to connect to, ExpressVPN has 160 servers located in 94 countries. ExpressVPN ranks among the fastest VPNs, so it shouldn’t reduce your connection speeds as much as the average VPN.

ExpressVPN doesn’t maintain browsing history logs, but it does keep track of some information, such as the dates you connect and the location of the VPN server you connect to. The details of what is and isn’t logged are stated in ExpressVPN’s privacy policy.

Overall, if you’re looking for a set-and-forget VPN with decent speeds and user-friendliness, ExpressVPN is our top pick.

Subscription costs begin at $9.99 monthly for six months or $12.95 for a month of access. Alternatively, signing up for a 12-month plan will give you a discount of 49% off at $6.67 monthly and three months for free. The iPhone app comes with a 7-day free trial.

IPVanish VPN

Best configurable VPN for iPhone and iPad

Pros & Cons

  • Unlimited connections
  • Highly configurable app
  • Price jumps after sign-up deals end

More Details

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

At first glance, IPVanish VPN may seem like a generic VPN service, but there’s more than meets the eye. IPVanish has depth and plenty of configuration settings for those who want to control almost every aspect of their VPN connection.

IPVanish VPN has many protocols, so you’ll always know what to expect regardless of what you’re connecting to. The app has an abundance of configuration options, and there’s an extensive range of server selection options. The service is also independently security audited.

IPVanish supports devices back to iOS 14 and clients for macOS are available from 10.11/10.12 and later. We found IPVanish to be impressively fast. However, it couldn’t hide that I was connecting through a VPN, which could be an issue in countries where internet connectivity and activities are monitored at the state or ISP level. That said, IPVanish’s data transfers were secure and provided a good user experience.

IPVanish is an excellent option for iOS and Mac devices. You can sign up for a two-year plan for $2.99 per month or a yearly subscription for $3.33 per month. Alternatively, if you don’t want to sign up for the long haul, you can pay $11.99 for a month of access.

Proton VPN

Best free VPN for iPhone & iPad

Pros & Cons

  • No data cap
  • Solid iOS app
  • Top-tier security features
  • Just one connection allowed
  • Only three countries with free servers
  • No live chat support

More Details

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 has an excellent paid service that ranks as one of the fastest VPNs and best VPNs overall.

In general, we recommend you avoid free VPNs for several reasons. There are potentially serious security concerns with free VPN providers. How do these companies have the money to build and maintain a secure product? Likely, they don’t. A free VPN service could even make money selling your data, which defeats the purpose of using a VPN to protect your identity, activities, and other information.

ProtonVPN requires iOS 14.0 or later.

The only situation where using a free VPN wouldn’t necessarily come with security concerns is when it’s a free version of a reputable paid service, as with Proton VPN. While limited to three countries and approximately 100 servers, some additional free features from Proton Mail, Calendar, and Drive exist.

If, however, you are interested in adopting 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. (While ProtonVPN is a Swiss company, you can make payments in US Dollars).

What is the best VPN for iPhone and iPad?

We consider Surfshark as the best VPN for the iPhone and iPad, and it’s one of the most popular VPNs for Apple devices overall, with good customer ratings. Surfshark has an easy-to-use app that reliably performs well and a great server network.

Best VPN for iPhone and iPad 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 with limited services or $4.99 per month Yes 4.6 1

Which is the right iPhone and iPad VPN for you?

Choose this VPN for iPhone and iPad.

If you want.

A top VPN that can just about do it all, and for an affordable price. Surfshark performs well in speed tests, earned solid customer reviews, and has an easy-to-use mobile interface.

A stable choice for iOS. I’ve found that ExpressVPN connections are usually reliable and speedy, although on occasion you have to switch servers if table connections drop . The mobile VPN is simple, user-friendly, and comes packed with different server options. You can also take advantage of a 7-day free trial.

A solid, feature-rich VPN. NordVPN’s speeds are impressive, but the price point for this reliable, secure VPN on shorter plans might be offputting for some.

A highly flexible VPN. IPVanish offers a range of security and connectivity settings for you to choose from, although if you want to take full advantage of different protocols, you will want some technical knowledge.

A free VPN. This Swiss VPN provider takes security seriously, and while the free version is limited, it is still an excellent choice.

Although we have our own opinions on the best VPN for iPhone and iPad, your personal preferences and your situation will also factor into the decision. If you need a VPN for more than five or six devices, you’ll want to prioritize VPN services with unlimited connections, such as IPVanish or Surfshark. But if speed is most important, then you’ll want to take a look at NordVPN or ExpressVPN.

The nice thing about the selections for the best VPN for iPhone and iPad list is they all have a 30-day money-back guarantee. A month should give you enough time to test any of these VPNs, see which features you love, and make a decision based on your personal experience.

How did we choose these iPhone and iPad VPNs?

Many providers recommended in this list have been subject to in-depth testing and reviews by members of our ZDNET team. We’ve been talking about other VPNs for years, spoken with their management and their users, and developed a generally favorable impression.

ZDNET does test VPN services from multiple locations, but we can’t test from all locations. Every home, every community, every local ISP, and every nation has a different infrastructure. It’s essential that once you choose, you test for all your likely usage profiles and only then make the decision to keep the service or request a money-back guaranteed refund.

These VPNs also have solid money-back guarantees, and we would not have recommended them otherwise.

If you experience traffic slowdowns, check not only your VPN but also your Wi-Fi connection between your device and your router or access point. Sometimes connectivity issues begin at the source, and in other cases, switching your selected VPN server may be enough to resolve speed problems or connectivity drops.

We analyzed the best VPNs for iPhone and iPad below using the following criteria that were most important in helping you make an informed decision:

  • Performance: Our top VPNs must have a minimum level of performance. After all, there’s no point in using a VPN while streaming if your connection continually drops or lags, making it intolerable.
  • Simultaneous connections: Many VPNs limit how many devices you can connect to a service at the same time. If you have a phone, tablet, laptop, desktop, and possibly even a smart TV you want to connect to a VPN, you’d need a service that allows at least 5 simultaneous connections.
  • Security: There’s no point using a VPN unless their security protocols and encryption levels are up to scratch. We also ensured that the development team behind each recommended VPN care about making security improvements over time and patching reported bugs.
  • Kill switch: A kill switch prevents you from having an unprotected connection and is an important feature for a VPN to have, as it protects by preventing a return to a default Wi-Fi connection should your internet connection unexpectedly drop.
  • Geoblocks and streaming: We know that VPNs can be key to accessing local content and services while you’re away from home. We ensured that our top recommendations perform well when it comes to these factors and are unlikely to slow down your connection while you are streaming.
  • Platforms: What systems and devices can you run the VPN on? Our iPhone and iPad VPN recommendations, naturally, have to run easy-to-use and intuitive mobile apps.
  • Countries & servers: In how many different countries does the VPN have servers? This can include physical and virtual servers, and whether or not there are enough — at least 50 or so — to provide variety.
  • Trial length & price: Each VPN we recommend has a solid money-back guarantee.

How do I set up VPN on my iPhone?

Setting up a VPN on your iPhone is fairly simple. It requires you to download one of the apps mentioned on our list in the App Store. Once you’ve created a login and started your subscription, you are ready to securely connect!

Do I need a VPN if I just use my carrier’s data?

Maybe. That depends on how much you trust your carrier. You’re better off encrypting your data when it’s in motion, whether you use Wi-Fi or a carrier connection. Overall, it’s still recommended to use a VPN no matter the type of internet access you have in use.

Isn’t iCloud+ Private Relay a VPN? Why do I need another VPN?

Apple iCloud+ Private Relay is a feature of iCloud+. If you buy any iCloud storage, you’ll get the iCloud+ features. But while Private Relay can hide your email address and location, it only does it when you’re using Safari. If you’re using Chrome (or any applications that use the Internet directly), you’re out of luck. The service is also not available in all countries.

It also shows up as a proxy server. You also can’t change or hide your location, as you can with a full VPN. Private Relay is a feature of iCloud+. A VPN is a full security solution.

Is a free VPN worth trying?

A free VPN for an iPhone or iPad is not always worth trying. A good VPN is essential when using public Wi-Fi hotspots, but connecting to a local hotel, airport, or coffee shop Wi-Fi access point to your iPhone or iPad is a risk, especially when traveling abroad. Using a reputable VPN service is the best way to protect your privacy and security.

What is the best VPN for travel?

VPNs are important for establishing secure connections when abroad. Whether you’re working from another country or simply want to stream your favorite TV show, we compiled a list of the best VPNs for travel.

What is the best VPN overall for different operating systems?

You might want a VPN that works best with the iOS ecosystem or another operating system. If you’re on the hunt for other trustworthy options, we’ve also created a guide to the best VPN services of 2023 with an explainer on free VPNs, and whether or not they’re worth it.

Are there alternative iPhone & iPad VPNs worth considering?

Other than our recommendations for the best VPNs for iPhone and iPad, other services can get the job done. Here are a few alternative options that are secure and reputable:

Best alternative for affordability

Private Internet Access – $2.03 per month, three months free

A budget-friendly iOS long-term VPN option for $2.03 per month with three months free.

Free VPN by Free VPN .org‪™‬ 4+

This VPN is very different from any other app available. The most obvious upside of this VPN is that it’s free, which could give the potential user questions on how useful this VPN could really be, being free and all. These prejudice views are quickly shot down after opening the app. The user is greeted with a wonderful tutorial on how to use a VPN. This VPN uses a very unique system where you can watch ads for VPN time. This is honestly a revolutionary idea, since the creator(s) get no money from people buying the app (because it’s free,) but they do still get ad revenue. I personally have no idea how expensive it is to run a VPN, but hopefully the creator(s) are getting enough money from ads to keep this app free. You can also get a paid version where you get unlimited time on the VPN, no ads, and an ad blocker all in one package. My only drawback on this site is that you don’t have any indication that it’s active. And when you log back into the app, it says it’s reconnecting, something that I’m sure is a visual glitch that the creator(s) can fix in a heartbeat. Otherwise, and exceptional VPN, better than any other free VPN.

Developer Response ,

We are truly happy to know you are enjoying the app. Thank you for a top star rating and for penning down your thoughts

No Fake Review Needed , 05/27/2022

The Be All, End All of VPNs

Haven’t rated an app in over a decade I’d venture to say; and I don’t think I’ve felt compelled to ever leave a review, considering how many opinions already echo any number of sentiments I’d be sharing. However, this app is totally perfection, and really is a great model for what providing a free app for a vital app should look like. When it comes to a VPN solution this was made those of us tired of paywalls, especially when tiered access is so prevalent, and lower tiers still watch ads that generate revenue on top of the premium you’re paying to access a given service. Once you’re done viewing ads for the time allotment you need, no more ads. They make you view their premium offer and bypass it for the basic, ad fueled version every time you connect, but it’s a small price for such a big payoff. If an ad won’t load or stalls, you still get credit for it. You don’t get rollover time – so watch ads in the increments they offer because they don’t issue VPN time in equal increments per ad you watch so it’s not advantageous to try and watch one ad in the 24 hr slot (thinking you’ll get 2 hours after the first one). It always connects, has a great deal of locations to choose from, doesn’t slow down connectivity (significantly) very often, and absolutely means free in the way of not requiring an in app purchase. Kudos developers, this deserves a higher rating than the current 4.6 IMHO.

Developer Response ,

We are truly delighted to know that you like the app. Thank you for a top star rating and such a promising review. It means a lot to us.

aezlinn , 09/27/2021


While it may make my WiFi slow at times (as all VPNs do every now and then, especially since I’m not exactly paying for the best quality), this has been the one VPN app that I actually trust and have no issues with. I see others saying that they’re getting 50 ads when it should be 12 for 24 hours, it sounds as though they’re being a bit overdramatic or didn’t realize that after the first twelve ads you are supposed to click out of that screen. Not to mention — 12 ads for 24 hours of free VPN service which includes being able to change your location freely? You almost think it’s a scam, but of course; it isn’t. It’s literally one of the best VPNs free of use out there in my opinion. And the WiFi issue isn’t really a problem either, I’ve noticed that lately it’s been running even faster while I use it which makes me believe they have taken the time to edit and sort out that glitch. It’s perfect if you’re looking for a quick fix to change your IP. Also, you’re not being hacked when you use it just because the wifi is slow. Before anyone says that again, you REALLY need to research how VPNs work because any other VPN I use does the exact same thing every once in awhile.