Best VPNs for iPhone and iPad

If you’re looking for the best VPN to use with iPhones, iPads, and other iOS-based devices, then look no further than the seven VPNs featured on this list. A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, encrypts your internet traffic, protects your browsing history and personal information, and even masks your true location. This means that you can use your iPhone and iPad to watch your home services from abroad while keeping your online data private.

I’ll take a close look at the privacy features of each of these VPNs in detail. I also test for compatibility with IOS devices and assess the value of each VPN further in this article. For the time being, if you just want a quick summary, here’s my list of the best VPNs for iPhone and iPad:

  1. NordVPN: This is my top pick for an iPad VPN. It’s an excellent all-rounder for fast speeds and powerful security, and it works with iOS 9 or newer. It features a large server network, a no-logs policy, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  2. Surfshark: This is my top budget pick. Surfshark’s low price doesn’t mean it lacks excellent security and speeds. It can unblock plenty of geo-restricted services abroad, follows a no-logs policy, and provides an unlimited allowance of simultaneous connections.
  3. ExpressVPN: Provides iOS 7 or newer apps in the App Store for high-speed streaming and downloading. Great at accessing geo-blocked sites while protecting you with its strong security standards and privacy features. Minimal logging.
  4. CyberGhost: The best VPN for first-time users. Great performance, vast server network, and keeps high standards of security.
  5. IPVanish: Privacy-oriented VPN from a company that owns its entire network of servers. It is popular among Kodi and torrent users. Unlimited simultaneous connections.
  6. VyprVPN: Excellent speeds, self-owned server network, and even works in China.
  7. Hotspot Shield: A secure, high-speed service capable of unblocking a wide range of geo-blocked services from abroad.

You will find an almost endless list of results if you search for a VPN online, but not all VPNs offer the same quality of service. I curated this list of VPNs for iPhone and iPad users based on the following criteria:

  • iOS client available in the App Store
  • Supports multiple versions of iOS
  • Keeps little to no logs of user activity
  • Fast, reliable connection speeds
  • Strong encryption and plenty of security features
  • Bypassing geographic restrictions

Best VPNs for iPhone and iPad

Here is my list of the best VPNs for any iOS device:

1. NordVPN

NordVPN

NordVPN is a trusted VPN provider that’s been delivering excellent speeds, security, and customer service since its launch in 2012. NordVPN offers apps for iOS devices and every other major platform including Windows, Android, Linux, and Amazon Fire TV. A single subscription grants you six simultaneous connections so you can protect most or all of your devices.

NordVPN runs one of the largest server networks on the market with over 5,200 high-speed servers to choose from, spread across 60+ countries around the world. NordVPN protects your data with 256-bit encryption by default and comes with an ad blocker, a malware scanner, a kill switch, and protection against IPv6, DNS, WebRTC, and port forwarding leaks. This provider offers servers optimized for double VPN usage, Tor over VPN, and dedicated servers for downloading and streaming. NordVPN also allows P2P traffic to flow through their servers without bandwidth limitations, which makes it a popular option for torrenting. Finally, NordVPN’s no-logs policy ensures that none of your online activities will be recorded or tracked back to you.

This VPN is a great all-rounder for iOS users of all kinds, whether you’re looking for strong standards of security, servers optimized for streaming geo-locked content, or a VPN that will grant you access in censorship-heavy countries like China and the United Arab Emirates.

Pros:

  • Impressive connection speeds
  • Supports iOS 9 and newer devices
  • Secures your connection with 256-bit encryption by default
  • Fast and reliable connection speeds
  • Easily unblocks a wide range of geo-locked sites
  • Offers 24/7 live chat

Cons:

  • Server selection is based on location, not by the individual server (except in the Windows and Android apps)

BEST VPN FOR IPAD:NordVPN is my top choice for iPhone and iPad users. A super fast VPN with the highest level of security. Features a 30-day money-back guarantee.

2. Surfshark

Surfshark

Surfshark is priced affordably without compromising on security and performance. Its server network spans over 3,200 servers in 65 countries and comes with a user-friendly iOS app for iPhone and iPad users, in addition to apps for macOS, Android, Windows, and Linux. Surfshark has considerable unblocking capabilities for accessing region-locked content and streaming HD video with little to no buffering. Surfshark’s unlimited allowance of simultaneous connections makes it a great option for families and users with a large number of devices.

Surfshark’s security package includes 256-bit AES encryption and protection against IPv6, DNS, and WebRTC leaks. This VPN features a kill switch that will instantly halt the flow of data in the event your connection to the VPN drops, thereby keeping you from browsing the web without protection. Surfshark doesn’t record your online activities and even accepts payments in Ripple, Ethereum, and Bitcoin for anonymous registration.

Pros:

  • Thousands of fast servers around the world
  • Powerful security features
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • 256-bit AES encryption, leak protection, and a kill switch
  • Affordable price

Cons:

  • Includes a couple of slow servers in its network

HIGH PERFORMANCE, LOW COST:Surfshark lets you protect every device in your household. Unblocks most streaming services and delivers fast speeds for HD streaming. Comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

3. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is a popular choice for streaming-focused users thanks to its 3,000+ lightning-fast servers that can access geo-blocked content in 94 countries. You will be able to stream HD video content without limits on bandwidth or the number of times you can switch servers. It works with Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and BBC iPlayer so you won’t have to lose access to your favorite home content if you travel abroad. ExpressVPN provides an iOS app that works on all mobile Apple devices plus macOS, Android, Windows, Linux, and Amazon Fire TV. A single account will provide an allowance of five simultaneous connections.

ExpressVPN uses 256-bit AES encryption, perfect forward secrecy, a kill switch, and protection against IPv6 and DNS leaks. ExpressVPN is one of the few VPNs that can work in countries with heavy restrictions on the internet such as China and Turkey. It keeps logs on some non-identifying data such as the total amount of data used per day and dates (not times) of connection to the VPN, but they will never log your IP address, browsing history, DNS queries, metadata, or traffic destination. Privacy-conscious users can sign up anonymously by paying in Bitcoin.

Pros:

  • Performs well on iOS 7 and newer devices
  • Excellent streams for streaming HD video content from abroad
  • 3,000 servers in 94 countries
  • Plenty of high-quality security features
  • Unblocks most streaming sites

Cons:

  • One of the most expensive options
  • Streaming servers aren’t labeled

TOP STREAMING VPN:ExpressVPN's iOS app performs remarkably well. Capable of unblocking Netflix and other popular streaming sites. Great for gaming and downloading, too. Comes with a 30-day money back guarantee.

4. CyberGhost

CyberGhost

CyberGhost provides user-friendly apps that will match you with a server based on your desired activities. If you want to access geo-restricted streaming content, CyberGhost will help you find a server optimized for popular streaming platforms like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video. Other configurations come with the VPN as well, including modes with a focus on privacy.

It runs the largest server network on this list at over 7,200 servers in 91 countries, making it a great choice for streaming international geo-locked content. Your traffic is protected by 256-bit AES encryption, DNS leak protection, and an optional kill switch in case of a sudden loss of connection to the VPN. CyberGhost stores no records of user data. This VPN provides a generous allowance of 7 simultaneous connections at once so you can keep most or all of your devices protected.

You can stream on your iPad during travel by using its iOS app. Other available apps include Windows, macOS, Android, and Linux. Some routers are supported as well.

Pros:

  • Compatible with iOS 9.3 and newer devices
  • Wide range of servers optimized for security and speed
  • Easy to use for beginners
  • Smoothly streams HD video content from abroad
  • Keeps no logs

Cons:

  • Doesn’t work in China or the UAE
  • No dedicated apps for routers

EXCELLENT VALUE:CyberGhost is easy to use and affordable. A good budget choice that makes no compromises on speed, security, or server selection. Try it risk-free for 45 days.

5. IPVanish

IPVanish

IPVanish is among the few VPN providers that own its entire network of over 1,600 servers instead of renting them, which means your data won’t pass through the hands of any unknown third parties. IPVanish uses 256-bit AES encryption and features unlimited P2P traffic, anonymous torrenting, a SOCKS5 web proxy, and unlimited server switching.

IPVanish struggles with accessing Netflix and some other popular streaming services, but it is a favorite among Kodi users for its remote-friendly interface and compatibility with Kodi addons. Furthermore, there is no device limit for simultaneous connections so you can protect all of your devices and share it with friends and family.

Pros:

  • Requires iOS 9.0 or later
  • Tough security protections
  • High-speed servers
  • Great for Kodi devices
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections

Cons:

  • Updates from November 2018 onward will only run on devices with iOS 10+
  • Doesn’t consistently work with Netflix
  • Doesn’t work in China

INDEPENDENT SERVER NETWORK:IPVanish puts your privacy first. Meets the needs of security-focused users but isn’t the best for unblocking streaming sites. Comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

6. VyprVPN

VyprVPN

VyprVPN is another VPN that owns instead of rents the servers on its network. It offers 700 servers in over 70 locations that reliably provide fast connection speeds without any bandwidth limits. It is particularly popular in China where it can successfully bypass China’s Great Firewall and lift a variety of other online restrictions. VyprVPN provides apps for iOS, macOS, Android, Windows, and Linux.

Your traffic is secured with industry-standard 256-bit AES encryption and offers additional protection through its proprietary Chameleon protocol, which is a tool for preventing deep packet inspection and bandwidth throttling. VyprVPN offers a number of payment plans that allow between two to five simultaneous connections.

Pros:

  • Compatible with iOS 9 and higher
  • Great security and privacy tools
  • Comes with the Chameleon protocol
  • Works in China

Cons:

  • A small selection of servers
  • Somewhat expensive
  • Not the fastest servers

WORKS IN CHINA:VyprVPN is an easy-to-use VPN that doesn’t log your data. Tough security features built into its apps. Includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.

7. Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield has a user-friendly IOS app that can be downloaded from the App Store. It has a network of over 1,800 servers in 80 countries and has a proprietary Hydra protocol that balances speed and security. Its wide geographic variety and fast speeds makes it a great option for users who want to stream geo-locked HD content from other countries. This includes countries that are notoriously difficult, and Hotspot Shield is one of the few VPNs that work in China. The 256-bit AES encryption secures your data at all times alongside its kill switch and protection against DNS and IPv6 leaks, keeping your privacy protected at all times.

Aside from iOS, Hotspot Shield apps are available for Android, MacOS, Windows, Linux, and Amazon Fire TV.

Pros:

  • Fast server speeds for streaming HD video
  • Powerful security features
  • Unblocks most streaming sites
  • 45-day money-back guarantee

Cons:

  • Kill switch isn’t available in all apps
  • Doesn’t accept cryptocurrency payments
  • No Linux support

GREAT ALL-ROUNDER:Hotspot Shield is great for streaming and secure web browsing. Comes with a strong encryption protocol, reliable security features, and a 45-day money back guarantee.

My methodology: How I find the best VPNs for iPhone and iPad

Every VPN on this page has been tried and tested by me and only gets published after passing each of my checks. Here are some of the things I look for in iPhone and iPad VPNs:

  • Compatibility: The VPN needs to work perfectly with multiple versions of IOS on both iPhone and iPad. The apps should be easy to use, with plenty of support available should you need it.
  • Security:  Security is important, which is why I expect to see plenty of features designed to protect users. Some of the things I look for include 256-bit AES encryption, a network kill switch, and a no-logs policy.
  • Servers: If you want to access geo-blocked content, you will need plenty of worldwide servers. I look at overall server numbers as well as geographical coverage before recommending a VPN. Extra points are given for specialty servers.
  • Speed: A slow VPN is pretty useless. I run speed tests to ensure that the service can handle activities such as streaming, gaming, file-sharing, and everyday browsing. I only recommend the fastest VPNs.
  • Value: A cheap VPN isn’t necessarily good value, just like an expensive VPN isn’t necessarily bad value. I look at more than just subscription costs, like what you get for your money. Simultaneous connections, support, and money-back guarantees all play a part.

To find out more about how I test VPNs, check out my VPN testing methodology.

How to set up a VPN on an iPad

Getting started with a VPN might seem intimidating at first, but don’t worry—anyone can set up a VPN in just a few minutes. Follow the steps below to browse the web safely on your iPad:

  1. Access the App Store on your iPad and find the VPN provider of your choice. I personally recommend NordVPN.
  2. Download the iOS app.
  3. Navigate to the app once the download completes.
  4. Select a VPN server based on your needs. You will need to select a server based in the correct region if you are using a VPN to bypass geographic restrictions. I suggest choosing the closest possible server to get the fastest possible speeds.
  5. Tap the Connect button. If the VPN doesn’t work as intended, then you may need to clear your device’s cache and cookies to get rid of any location identifiers on your device.

Manually configuring the iOS app

Is there no iOS app available for your chosen VPN? Apple has you covered with the VPN tool already built into devices running iOS. First, you will need to have the following information on hand:

  • Supported protocol – listed as “Type” in iOS
  • VPN server address
  • Your User ID and password
  • If a certificate is required, you will need to get the certificate from your VPN provider
  • Proxy details, if any
  • Server
  • Port
  • Username
  • Password
  • Or just the URL of the proxy server

To start, simply get into your Settings app and follow these instructions:

  1. Scroll down and tap on General, then scroll down and tap on VPN.
  2. Tap VPN Configuration.
  3. Choose the most secure protocol supported by the VPN server. I recommend OpenVPN and IKEv2 for the best possible security, but L2TP’s security comes close. PPTP provides a tradeoff of weak encryption for fast speeds if speed is your priority.
  4. Create a description so that you will know the provider as well as the server that it will connect to. Then you will need to enter the server address available from your VPN service provider. If a certificate is required then the provider will have one ready for you. (NordVPN is one that provides a certificate for the IKEv2 protocol only. However, NordVPN’s iOS app uses OpenVPN by default for supported versions of iOS, so it would be better to use their app instead.)
  5. If there’s no certificate option, you will need to enter your username and password. For Authentication, select Username and enter the details below. Your VPN provider will also have a shared secret key. Make sure you get it from the provider’s manual VPN configuration instructions.
  6. Finally, if you have to connect to the internet through a proxy, then you should already have the proxy information. Tap the blue Done button at the top right of the screen.
  7. You will now have a VPN slider as well as the VPN description listed on this screen. Simply slide the switch to the on position and make sure the connection is successful. When the status shows “Connected”, you will be able to surf privately and securely.

Note that manual configuration of a VPN on an iPhone will restrict the VPN’s full range of features. Your traffic will be encrypted and your IP address will be hidden, but you will not be able to access apps like kill switches, leak protection, and automatic public wifi protection.

Best VPN for iPad FAQ

Why do I need a VPN for my iPad?

No matter what device you’re using, VPNs are privacy tools that serve a multitude of purposes for protecting your online activities. I strongly recommend adding an extra layer of protection to your connection so the content of your internet traffic won’t be monitored by your ISP, malicious third parties, or any other invasive presence.

VPNs are also great for getting a new IP address and circumventing geo-blocked content. VPNs are especially useful when using public wifi networks or hotspots such as those found in hotels, coffee shops, and airports. Public wifi networks are almost always lacking in security protections where everything you send over an unencrypted connection can be seen by anyone monitoring the traffic on that network. Cybercriminals regularly keep tabs on public wifi networks in order to find an opportunity to steal someone’s password, credit card number, or some other valuable piece of data.

Public wifi networks are so commonplace now that I often forget just how risky they really are, but it is always better to keep yourself protected during travel than to risk having your data intercepted. Fortunately, there are plenty of effective and affordable options to choose from.

Can I use a free VPN for iPad or iOS devices?

If you search for a free VPN app on the App Store, you will find countless options to choose from, including popular services with high reviews, but a large number of them aren’t actually VPNs at all. Some of these so-called free VPN services are just community-powered P2P networks that don’t even encrypt your internet connection, such as in the case of Hola, a popular service that apparently sold its users’ idle bandwidth for the recruitment of a botnet army.

If a VPN doesn’t encrypt your internet connection then that means it isn’t a VPN at all. Free VPNs also have a reputation of injecting annoying advertisements into your web browser traffic, spreading malware, and even recording and selling your online activities to advertisers. You won’t get great performance from a so-called free VPN either. The providers of free services typically lack the resources to operate more than a couple of servers on their server network or accommodate their overwhelming number of users with enough bandwidth for fast and reliable internet connections.

Even if you manage to connect to a server with decent speeds, that still isn’t any guarantee that the connection will last very long before dropping out or reaching a data cap. If you want to use a VPN for streaming, then I recommend looking elsewhere.

Why do I need a VPN for my iPad?

No matter what device you’re using, VPNs are privacy tools that serve a multitude of purposes for protecting your online activities. I strongly recommend adding an extra layer of protection to your connection so the content of your internet traffic won’t be monitored by your ISP, malicious third parties, or any other invasive presence.

VPNs are also great for getting a new IP address and circumventing geo-blocked content. VPNs are especially useful when using public wifi networks or hotspots such as those found in hotels, coffee shops, and airports. Public wifi networks are almost always lacking in security protections where everything you send over an unencrypted connection can be seen by anyone monitoring the traffic on that network. Cybercriminals regularly keep tabs on public wifi networks in order to find an opportunity to steal someone’s password, credit card number, or some other valuable piece of data.

Public wifi networks are so commonplace now that I often forget just how risky they really are, but it is always better to keep yourself protected during travel than to risk having your data intercepted. Fortunately, there are plenty of effective and affordable options to choose from.

Can I use a free VPN for iPad or iOS devices?

If you search for a free VPN app on the App Store, you will find countless options to choose from, including popular services with high reviews, but a large number of them aren’t actually VPNs at all. Some of these so-called free VPN services are just community-powered P2P networks that don’t even encrypt your internet connection, such as in the case of Hola, a popular service that apparently sold its users’ idle bandwidth for the recruitment of a botnet army.

If a VPN doesn’t encrypt your internet connection then that means it isn’t a VPN at all. Free VPNs also have a reputation of injecting annoying advertisements into your web browser traffic, spreading malware, and even recording and selling your online activities to advertisers. You won’t get great performance from a so-called free VPN either. The providers of free services typically lack the resources to operate more than a couple of servers on their server network or accommodate their overwhelming number of users with enough bandwidth for fast and reliable internet connections.

Even if you manage to connect to a server with decent speeds, that still isn’t any guarantee that the connection will last very long before dropping out or reaching a data cap. If you want to use a VPN for streaming, then I recommend looking elsewhere.