What Does a VPN App Do


VPN on iPhone: What it is and why you need it

Many people have come to believe that Apple products are somehow hacker-proof. While this may be true to some extent, vulnerabilities still exist as no device is 100% immune to cyber threats. Therefore, if you care about the security of your private data, getting a reliable VPN for your iPhone is crucial. Here’s why.

Feb 03, 2023
Время чтения: 11 мин.

  • What is a VPN on an iPhone?
  • Should I use a VPN on my iPhone?
  • What does a VPN do on an iPhone?
  • Why you need a VPN on iPhone
    • If you use public Wi-Fi networks
    • If you’re an avid traveler
    • If you care about your privacy

    What is a VPN on an iPhone?

    VPN stands for virtual private network. VPN on iPhone encrypts your online traffic and hides your IP. A VPN service routes your traffic via remote VPN servers, so neither your internet provider nor other third parties can intercept and snoop your traffic and sensitive data. As a result, you have an encrypted connection and hidden location.

    Users can access VPN services by using VPN apps. We strongly recommend going for paid premium services. Free VPNs frequently collect your data, flood you with ads and have limited functionality.

    A VPN service encrypts your traffic between your iOS devices and the internet. It protects your privacy. A virtual private network also protects your iPhone from data snoopers and cybercriminals. If you install a VPN app on your iPhone and connect to a VPN server, all the data traveling to and from your device will be encrypted. Using a VPN service on your iPhone will also hide your device’s IP address, so the websites you visit won’t know your location. This adds an extra layer of privacy when you connect to the internet.

    Should I use a VPN on my iPhone?

    Yes, you should. We’re hearing lots of discussions about VPNs and their benefits for both individuals and businesses. People are getting more concerned about their privacy and data security, and already have a VPN app installed on their desktops or Android phones. However, the same couldn’t be said about iPhone users – many of them still have what may be called “the Apple syndrome,” and believe they are safe because they use iOS.

    PRO TIP: Though hackers target Android or Windows more often because of their popularity, you should also be careful while using macOS and iOS, as vulnerabilities have been discovered in these systems in the past.

    So if you own an iPhone, it’s about time you take some steps to protect your online traffic. With a VPN, it’s never been easier to secure your iPhone!

    Online security starts with a click.

    Stay safe with the world’s leading VPN

    What does a VPN do on an iPhone?

    Even if the iPhone is super-secure, it can’t stand up alone to threats that lurk behind public Wi-Fi networks. A VPN connection secures your online traffic and data against eavesdropping, constant ad-tracking, Wi-Fi spoofing and cybercriminals, whenever you’re connected to public Wi-Fi networks.

    Why you need a VPN on iPhone

    When you enable a VPN service, your traffic travels through an encrypted tunnel. Your traffic gets encrypted before it leaves your device. A VPN service also hides your IP address, so hackers or other third parties can’t see what you are doing or what data you send through the web.

    You need a VPN service:

    If you use public Wi-Fi networks

    Staying online all the time has never been easier now that you can find a free Wi-Fi hotspot at almost every coffee shop, library, airport, or shopping mall. One click and you’re protected.

    However, every time you use public Wi-Fi networks, you put your iPhone security at risk. These networks are usually unencrypted and have absolutely no protection. People who connect to them can be easily hacked. If you are not careful enough, your credit card details, passwords, and other private information might end up in the hands of cybercriminals.

    But if you use a VPN connection on your iPhone, your data is instantly secured. From the moment you connect to a remote server, all your internet traffic travels through an encrypted tunnel, so no one is able to see what you are up to online, even on unsecured Wi-Fi.

    If you’re an avid traveler

    When you go abroad for a holiday, studies, or work, a VPN will let you browse with an IP address in your home region. This is especially useful if you’re traveling in a country known for heavy censorship and restrictions.

    So before you leave, make sure to download a VPN app to your iPhone. By connecting to a remote VPN server, your device will get the IP address of that server, so it will look like you are browsing from a different country than you really are. It will protect your privacy from snoopers and local internet service providers (ISPs).

    NordVPN also offers Meshnet, a feature you can use to access your devices remotely. That means that, while traveling, you can still view and retrieve files on your home computer, and even browse online using your home IP address.

    If you care about your privacy

    Too many privacy skeptics claim they aren’t worried that someone might be watching them online because they don’t do anything illegal or embarrassing. Therefore, they claim they have nothing to hide.

    People who think that way are often unaware that their ISP can see what websites they visit. Or that online platforms collect data about them and sell it to advertisers so that they can use targeted ads. Not to mention cybercriminals who can use this personal data for tailored phishing attacks against you and people close to you.

    The right VPN provider will protect you from anyone tracking your online activities. When you connect to a remote VPN server, your data is securely encrypted, and even your ISP can no longer see it.

    Online security starts with a click.

    Stay safe with the world’s leading VPN

    Securing your iPhone: What to remember

    So, how can you access the best VPN for iPhone? You can get a VPN on your iPhone and establish a secure connection between your device and the internet without any technical background. Your data will be redirected through an encrypted tunnel to keep your connection secure.

    The NordVPN iOS app does exactly that and more. Here’s a checklist of what to consider:

    • Lots of servers. NordVPN for iPhone lets you choose from more than 5200 servers in 60 countries. A vast network of servers and modern VPN protocols guarantees better speeds and a stable VPN connection.
    • 24/7 customer service. Our award-winning customer support agents are there for you anytime you need help. Just drop us a line!
    • Secure connection. NordVPN uses the AES encryption protocol with 256-bit keys so that no one can decrypt your data.
    • User-friendly interface. Our iOS app is nice to look at, but more importantly, it’s incredibly easy to use. Download, log in, click the “Quick connect” button and you’re done!
    • Threat Protection Lite. NordVPN’s Threat Protection Lite, available on its mobile apps, can block malicious ads and blocks access to malicious websites.

    How do I get a VPN on iPhone?

    You can either configure a VPN on your iPhone manually or download the app and let the installation wizard do everything for you. However, the former option takes more time and you can’t use extra features in the NordVPN app. Here’s how to get a VPN on your iPhone with a couple of clicks:

    1. Go to the App Store and type “NordVPN.”
    2. Tap the “Download” button.
    3. Open the app and tap “SIGN UP” to create a new account or “LOG IN” if you already have one.
    4. If you don’t have an account yet, you will be transferred to the Nord Account website to create it.
    5. Once you sign up, you will be brought back into the NordVPN app to choose your subscription.
    6. A notification will appear. Click “Agree & Continue.”
    7. Click the “Quick Connect” button, which will connect you to the fastest server available.
    8. When connecting for the first time, you will be asked to allow the NordVPN app to add VPN configurations to your device and confirm your choice with a fingerprint (if you’re using Touch ID feature).

    What is the VPN configuration option on iPhone settings?

    You can notice that there is a VPN option available in the iPhone “Settings” section. However, it is not an in-built free VPN. This feature still needs to be configured manually by adding a remote server info. Once the VPN has been installed, you should have the NordVPN icon appear at the top of your device screen. If it isn’t showing up, you need only delve back into your settings and change the configuration for what icons appear on your screen.

    To do this you should:

    1. Go to “Settings.”Setup vpn on iphone
    2. Choose “General.”Setup vpn on iphone
    3. Go to “VPN & Device Management.”Setup vpn on iphone
    4. Choose “VPN.”Setup vpn on iphone
    5. Tap “Add VPN Configuration” and add all the data required.Setup vpn on iphone

    However, it’s easier to use the NordVPN app that you can set up in a few seconds and get connected with a single click. Moreover, it provides you with top-notch security and privacy. Luckily, learning how to set up a VPN is never too complex.

    Shield your iPhone from cyber threats.

    Stay safe with the world’s leading VPN

    Aurelija Andriekutė

    Aurelija — копирайтер команды NordVPN. Ей нравится помогать своим читателям узнавать, как всё устроено в Интернете и как обеспечить безопасность в сети.

    What Does a VPN App Do?

    Aliza Vigderman

    Smart phone

    VPNs are a necessity for anyone heading online these days, right up there with firewalls and antivirus software. Consequently, most of us have some familiarity with this tool; even so, not everyone knows just how many uses a VPN actually has. Below, we give you a crash course in what they do, how they work, and why, if you don’t have one, you definitely need one.

    What A VPN App Actually Does

    A VPN app connects your device to the VPN service. You’ll need it to configure your connection, choose a server and virtual location, and access advanced features of your VPN. The VPN app can make or break a VPN, so it’s important to choose a VPN with a reliable app. In that regard, these are the VPNs we tested with the best apps for smartphone and desktop:

    Editor’s Rating:

    9.7 /10

    Editor’s Rating:

    9.5 /10

    Editor’s Rating:

    9.4 /10

    Wait, What Is a VPN?

    If you check our guide to VPNs, you’ll discover that the letters stand for virtual private network. You’ll also learn that a VPN is an encrypted tunnel between your device and a network. Really, then, the secret is encryption. By encoding your IP address and all of your web traffic, a VPN hides everything you’re up to online in unreadable code so you can surf with complete anonymity.

    VyprVPN App

    What Exactly Do VPNs Hide?

    Basically, the encrypted tunnel of a VPN hides two important categories of information:

    • Web activity: First, it conceals all of your online behaviors. This means no one can see where you go or what you do online. As an added bonus, the VPN also encrypts any information you send or receive, so whether you’re uploading a sensitive work file from home or checking your bank balance, you can trust that everything is safe and secure.
    • IP addresses: In addition to your web activity, a VPN also encrypts your IP address, the marker that identifies your computer and its location. This makes it difficult, if not impossible, for anyone to connect your online activity to you specifically.

    Why Do You Need a VPN?

    You may already have a sense of what a VPN app can do and how it can be useful. Let’s break VPN uses into four categories:

    1. A VPN protects your identity.Identity theft is a big business these days. Hackers look for any way to steal information about you; then, they use that information themselves or they sell it to the highest bidder. They value most your PII (personally identifiable information), meaning any and all information that might be used to identify or impersonate you. This can include:
      • Social Security numbers
      • Birth dates
      • Biometric data

    Have another favorite streaming service? Whether you’re looking for the best VPNs for Hulu, the best VPNs for Prime Video, the best VPNs for YouTube TV, or the best VPNs for Disney+, our reviews can make your search easier.

    How Do VPNs Protect Against Identity Theft?

    The whole point of a VPN is to encrypt your internet connection and hide your data and online behaviors within a secure tunnel. That protects your identity in several ways. The tunnel hides:

    • All of your PII
    • Activities such as purchases and bank transactions
    • IP addresses
    • All of your online behaviors

    Why Do You Need a VPN on Your Mobile Devices?

    Maybe it’s because a cellphone is portable, or maybe we use it more frequently so it just seems like too much trouble to worry about it. Whatever the reason, people don’t think as often about their security when they’re using cell phones. In fact, there are just as many reasons, if not more, to use a VPN on your mobile devices than to use one on your PC.

    • Protect sensitive data. Your mobile device contains just as much sensitive data as your laptop or PC. In fact, it may contain more, since it constantly monitors your movements. 1
    • Eliminate vulnerabilities. Often, your mobile device is even more vulnerable to spying than your other devices, since you may use it more frequently on public Wi-Fi networks.
    • Access streaming services. A VPN on your mobile device allows you to do all the same things you can do on your PC or laptop. You can access more streaming content, avoid government spying, and visit restricted websites.
    • Safeguard connections. Most of us regularly move information back and forth between our phones and our computers. A VPN makes sure both sides of that connection are protected.

    VPN Home

    Do You Need a VPN on All Your Devices?

    It’s a good idea to install and use your VPN on all your devices. After all, any device that connects to the internet is ultimately vulnerable to spying and hacking. Luckily, most reputable VPN services offer protection for multiple devices for one price. That makes it easy to protect yourself no matter which device you happen to be using at any given time.

    What Types of VPNs Are There?

    While most people use remote access VPNs, there are actually three different types of VPNs:

    • Remote access: The most common VPN connection, remote access VPNs connect a user to a secure remote server.
    • Site-to-site intranet: In this case, users on different LANs (local area networks), connect to one another securely through a shared WAN, a wide area network. For instance, employees in one branch of an office can communicate safely with employees at another branch.
    • Site-to-site extranet: A site-to-site extranet VPN creates a secure channel between two separate intranets without allowing users on either side to access data from the other. This can be particularly useful if employees from two separate companies are collaborating on a single project.

    How Do You Set Up a VPN?

    In most cases, the easiest way to set up a VPN is by downloading a program directly from the company’s website.

    Automatic Setup

    1. Visit the website of the VPN you’ve chosen.
    2. Subscribe to the VPN on the order page.
    3. Pay any necessary fees.
    4. On the download page, choose the download file for your operating system.
    5. Once the download is complete, install the software.
    6. Adjust the VPN’s settings to suit your needs.
    7. Log into your account.
    8. Choose the server you want to connect to.
    9. Click Connect.

    Manual Setup

    You can also manually set up a VPN. How you do so will vary depending on what kind of device you’re using.


    1. Go to Start/Settings.
    2. Choose Network and Internet.
    3. Choose VPN.
    4. Choose Add VPN.
    5. Click on the dropdown menu beneath VPN Provider.
    6. Choose Windows (built-in).
    7. Give your connection an identifying name under Connection Name.
    8. Enter the server’s address (available from your chosen VPN).
    9. In the dropdown menu below VPN Type, choose Connection Protocol.
    10. In the dropdown menu below Type of Sign-in Info, select the method appropriate to your VPN.
    11. Click Save.
    12. The VPN you’ve just set up will now appear in your VPN list.
    13. Choose your new VPN and click Connect. 2


    1. Go to Apple Menu.
    2. Go to System Preferences.
    3. Choose Network.
    4. In the list at the left, pick the Add button.
    5. Click the Interface pop-up menu.
    6. Click Choose VPN.
    7. Choose the VPN Type pop-up menu, and decide which kind of connection you are setting up (based on your chosen VPN).
    8. Give the VPN service you’re setting up a name. Choose Create.
    9. Enter the server address and account name (available from your VPN).
    10. Choose Authentication Settings, and type the authentication information (available from your VPN).
    11. If necessary, enter the Advanced settings, and type in information such as the TCP/IP settings, DNS servers, and proxies.
    12. Choose Apply.
    13. Choose OK. 3


    To install a VPN on an Android:

    1. Open the Settings app on your phone.
    2. Navigate to Network & Internet.
    3. Navigate to Advanced.
    4. Choose VPN.
    5. Tap the plus sign in the top right corner.
    6. Enter the required information (available from your VPN).
    7. Choose Save.
    8. To connect, return to the Settings app.
    9. Return to Network & Internet.
    10. Choose Advanced
    11. Choose VPN.
    12. Select the VPN you want.
    13. Enter the username and password (available from your VPN).
    14. Choose Connect. 4


    1. Using your Safari browser, download the VPN configuration file from your chosen VPN.
    2. Close the Profile Downloaded pop-up.
    3. Under your device’s settings, navigate to General.
    4. Navigate to Profile.
    5. Choose the name of your VPN.
    6. Choose Install and enter your device passcode.
    7. When a warning pops up, choose Install.
    8. When installation is complete, choose Done.
    9. To connect to a VPN, return to Settings.
    10. Navigate to General.
    11. Choose VPN.
    12. In the VPN menu, select a server and move the toggle to On. 5


    1. Log in to your router by entering your IP address into your browser’s search bar.
    2. Some routers will already be configured for VPN. If not, use your router guide to reconfigure the settings to direct traffic to a VPN server.
    3. If your router is configured, enter the necessary log in information (available from your VPN).
    4. Your router should now direct traffic through your chosen VPN.
    5. To get out of the VPN, log in to the router once again and change the configuration again for normal operation. 6

    Tip: Installing a VPN on your router allows you to protect all of the devices on your network. It also helps you bypass VPN restrictions on how many devices you can use with a single subscription.

    How Do You Set up OpenVPN?

    Some users may prefer to install OpenVPN directly onto their device rather than use a VPN company. The following set of steps can take you through that process: 7

    1. Retrieve the necessary OVPN, or OpenVPN configuration files, from your VPN service provider.
    2. Unzip the configuration files.
    3. Find the correct client installer for your device at OpenVPN.net.
    4. Install the client.
    5. Launch the OpenVPN GUI application.
    6. Copy all the OVPN configuration files you downloaded before into the Config subfolder in the OpenVPN installation folder.
    7. To connect to a service, look in the application folder for the OVPN files.
    8. Finally, change the OpenVPN settings to suit your particular needs for the software.

    What Makes Online Privacy So Important?

    From the beginning, the internet community has seen the world wide web as a private space and have fought to keep it free, accessible, and open. Many users see it as the last great haven of free speech, a place where anonymity should be guaranteed to those who seek it. Others point to its value as a site of political resistance in countries where free speech can be punished with jail or worse. Some even worry about U.S. government surveillance through the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes organizations. For those who feel this way, a VPN offers important protection for freedom and liberty.

    Why Do IP Addresses Matter?

    An IP address is the one piece of information that absolutely identifies your device. When you are online, all your activity can be tracked by your IP address. Assuming you aren’t using a VPN, your home ISP or a public Wi-Fi provider has probably assigned that address. Who assigns it to you is less important than the fact that law enforcement can always trace it back to you and you alone. When you sign on to a VPN server, however, that server issues you a new address that is anonymous and untraceable.

    How Do You Choose the Right VPN?

    There are a number of important factors to consider when deciding which VPN is right for you:

    PureVPN Privacy Policy

    • Encryption tools and protocols: In order to guarantee your privacy, a VPN needs to use strong encryption tools and protocols. In general, you should look for companies that use AES-256, military-grade encryption. In addition, OpenVPN is the gold standard among VPN protocols and offers the best protection.
    • Privacy policy: All the encryption in the world won’t keep your data safe if a VPN willingly hands that information over to government agencies. You should always read a company’s privacy policy before you sign up with their service. At a minimum, they should spell out that they will not turn over your information to anyone. Even better, though, are companies who log as little information as possible and who definitely don’t log IP addresses, browsing histories, and time stamps.
    • Location: Where a VPN is located can have a lot to do with whether it can enforce its privacy policy. Companies headquartered in countries that belong to Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, or 14 Eyes are subject to government surveillance and must turn over documents when U.S. law enforcement subpoenas them.
    • Kill switches: Your VPN should be able to shut down your browsers and apps immediately if you lose your connection.
    • Multi-hop technology: Many of the best VPNs route your internet traffic through at least two separate servers, encrypting it multiple times for greater security.
    • Split tunneling: Another useful feature some VPNs offer is split tunneling, which allows you to connect to the regular internet and a VPN at the same time.
    • Torrenting support: Some VPNs also provide you with easy connections to torrenting apps and software (for more, see our page on using VPNs to torrent).
    • Support for streaming services: If streaming is important to you, you should check which VPNs allow you to access content libraries in other countries.
    • Speed: While every VPN slows your devices down to some extent, look for software that slows them down as little as possible. One way of checking speeds is to compare ping, upload and download speeds on a device running a VPN to the same device when it isn’t running the VPN.
    • Price: Price can vary considerably among VPN services, with some even offering free connections. In addition, many companies offer large discounts when you sign up for long-term contracts. Prices generally run around $4 a month, with the most expensive VPNs costing as much as $15 a month. Besides the price, carefully consider what you’re getting for the money. For example:
      • How many simultaneous connections do you get with one subscription?
      • How many different devices can you install the VPN on?
      • What data usage limits, if any, does the VPN impose?

    Choosing the right VPN can involve a great deal of research. To save time, visit our guides, which include lists of the best Android VPNs, the best iPhone VPNs, the best Mac VPNs, and the best Windows VPNs.

    FYI: A VPN company’s location can affect the privacy they offer. Companies located in Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, or 14 Eyes countries are subject to U.S. subpoenas, for example.

    How Do Free VPNs Compare to Paid VPNs?

    Free VPNs need to make money in one way or another. Depending on how legitimate they are or not, they may:

    • Sell your private information
    • Send you ads and spam
    • Route traffic through your computer, using resources and bandwidth
    • Record your usernames and passwords 8

    Even if you’re using the most reputable free VPN, though, you’ll likely find that it limits:

    • How many devices you can use
    • How much data you can send each month
    • Which servers you can access
    • What speeds you can achieve

    In short, before you use a free VPN, make sure you have researched the company thoroughly and understand its privacy policy. One easy way to do this is to check out our complete list of the best free VPNs.

    What Are the Potential Privacy Concerns of VPNs?

    When it comes to privacy, there are three elements of a VPN you should be concerned about:

    • Encryption: Encryption is the means by which a VPN creates privacy. Assuming they
      use military-grade AES-256 encryption and OpenVPN protocols, you should be able to trust that your data, including your IP address and browsing history, is safe and secure.
    • Privacy policy: The second area of concern is a VPN’s privacy policy. This document tells you what kind of data the service collects and what exactly they do with it. All VPNs need to collect some data if only to bill you and maintain a quality service, so you shouldn’t be alarmed if a company has your credit card number or your email address. However, under no circumstances should a VPN log your IP address, your browsing behaviors, or any other information related to your time in the VPN tunnel.
    • Location: Finally, you should always check out where your VPN is headquartered. If a company is located in one of the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, or 14 Eyes nations, government agencies and law enforcement can subpoena the company’s customer data. There are, however, exceptions to this general rule. A company in the U.S. with a policy that states they don’t log IP addresses, time stamps, or online activity, for example, won’t have anything useful to turn over should the government subpoena them.

    How Does a VPN Work?

    A VPN is an encrypted tunnel through which you connect to the internet. While your data is in the tunnel, your IP address and online activities should be completely hidden from others. Typically, you log on to your chosen VPN through an app or a client installed on your device.

    Most VPNs maintain hundreds or even thousands of servers located in countries around the world. When you log on to the VPN, you connect to a particular server, and that server issues an IP address which masks your actual IP address. Everything you do in the VPN tunnel is attached to that anonymous address. Additionally, the VPN tunnel itself hides all of your activity beneath a layer of encryption protocols so that even if someone were able to see that activity, they’d be unable to decode it.

    What Is Encryption?

    In the simplest terms, encryption means encoding information, and it’s a technique for concealing data that dates back hundreds of years. Simultaneous encryption, the foundation for most of today’s VPN encryption, actually dates back some 2,500 years to the Greeks’ Caesar cipher. 9 Essentially, simultaneous encryption means a message is encoded using a key and only the sender and receiver possess the key to decode it. VPN encryption is built on this system, but it uses far more complex encoding methods than Caesar could have dreamed of, such as:

    • AES encryption: The complexity of the encoding cipher determines how hard the code is to crack. The current standard in ciphers is AES encryption. Developed for use by the U.S. military in the early 2000s, AES involves separating text into a series of grids and then scrambling the grids. AES divides data streams into 128-bit chains of cipher blocks. The “key” to deciphering these chains can be 128, 192, or 256 bits long, each progressively harder to break. 10 The best VPNs typically use AES-256 to encrypt user data.
    • Public key encryption: The danger with symmetric encryption is that someone will discover the key to the cipher. This key is especially vulnerable when one side sends it to the other. Public key encryption solves this problem by using separate encryption and decryption keys. The VPN server uses a publicly accessible key. The user, however, has their own private key for decrypting the data.
    • Transport layer security: VPNs use transport layer security (TLS) to authenticate both sides of the VPN connection. TLS ensures that a hacker or spy can’t pretend to be the user or the server in order to steal the key. Typically, a VPN uses TLS encryption when a user first connects.

    VPN on Mac

    What Are Protocols?

    Internet protocols are the instructions a VPN follows for transmitting information across its network. There are a number of available protocols for a VPN to choose from, each with its own pros and cons.


    • PPTP is one of the fastest VPN protocols