As an iPhone user, you may be slightly less concerned about your privacy and security, mainly because Apple promises to have you covered. However, that’s not always the case, as numerous reports by consumer activities and people on Redditt prove there is just as much wrong with the iPhone’s security online as with any other device.
But that’s only one reason to have a VPN app on your iPhone. There are others, like geo-restrictions and censorship, limiting your online freedom. A VPN works by encrypting your internet traffic, protecting your personal information, and bypassing online restrictions to access your favorite streaming platforms and websites from anywhere in the world.
Furthermore, using a VPN on your iPhone means you can surf the web with peace of mind, knowing your online activities are shielded from prying eyes. Many of the VPNs on my list use military-grade encryption to ensure your data is secure, even when you’re using public Wi-Fi hotspots. Using a VPN can also help you avoid being a victim of malicious online activities such as hacking, phishing, and malware, providing an extra layer of security for your iPhone.
However, with the large number of iPhone VPN providers around, choosing the one to suit your needs best can be daunting, as it requires research and testing. Well, you can skip that part, as I’ve done all the heavy lifting for you. Having tested all the supposedly best VPNs for iPhone, I came up with the following picks.
So, without further ado, here are the best VPNs for iPhone users in 2023.
The Best iPhone VPN – My Top 2023 Picks
The Best iPhone VPN Service for 2023: Full Customer Reviews
Surfshark VPNExpert Review
Best for: People looking for a low-priced VPN with all the features of the more expensive ones.
Why Surfshark VPN?
Surfshark VPN is an impressive iPhone VPN app with many features, including unlimited simultaneous connections, an extensive global network on serves, and an easy-to-use interface.
In my experience, Surfshark ticks all the boxes for most iPhone and other iOS devices like iPad users. Not only because of its impressive features but because, unlike so many other VPNs I’ve tested for this review on my phone, it’s lightweight and loads fast.
Its feature set, including DNS leak protection and a kill switch, impressed me. I found myself frequently using Surfshark’s camouflage mode, which impressively hides the fact that a user is accessing the internet via a VPN. Surprisingly, many websites don’t let you access them if they detect a VPN, and with this turned on, I could freely bypass such safeguards.
I also found myself using NoBorders mode and split-tunneling more than I had initially expected. However, people in parts of the world where VPN use is restricted will probably find that turning it on and leaving it on is the best way to use apps and software otherwise blocked by the ISP in the country.
While the company’s CleanWeb technology functions as it should, blocking ads, I could not load certain websites when turned on. However, it is still worth having it on, as it also helps block phishing attempts.
In my experience, Surfshark is one of the fastest VPNs on average. However, a lot depends on what server you connect to because some servers, as I discovered, are faster than others. Still, at least, it is worth averaging its best speed and comparing it with the competition.
Internet speed loss, on average, is around 20%, based on my testing. However, depending on your location, the speed results could be more consistent. For instance, many people I spoke to in Europe said that their speeds were erratic, but in the US, I found that this was only the case in some locations.
The other thing I like doing is seeing if I can use the VPN to access Amazon Prime and Netflix in other parts of the world on my iPhone and iOS devices. That’s obviously because there are programs that aren’t yet available stateside but are in Europe or Asia. Fortunately, I could access all these streaming sites from various destinations from the comfort of my home with VPN turned on. However, it is hit or miss, so I had to try a few servers before finding one that worked.
Finally, the price is something most people will find the best value compared to the competition. I would personally advise you to hop on the annual plan to save a bundle.
- Server network: 3,200+
- Server locations: 160+ in 100 countries
- Simultaneous connections available: Unlimited devices
- iPhone VPN features: AES-256 encryption, secure VPN protocols, P2P connections, kill switch, DBS leak protection, and more
- Unblocked streaming platforms: Prime Video, Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+, and more
Pros and Cons
- A growing global server presenceIt loads up quickly on iPhones
- Easy-to-use interface
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Split tunneling and multi-hop
- Costs more than many other services
- Long-term subscription pricing can be confusing
Express VPNExpert Review
Best for: People looking for fast VPN internet connection speeds.
Why Express VPN?
Out of all the VPNs I’ve had the pleasure of testing on my iPhone, I’d have to say that ExpressVPN is the fastest. After multiple speed tests, I figured that, on average, I was only losing 2% of my total internet speed.
Then there is also the fact that ExpressVPN connects to servers on iOS devices faster than any other service I’ve tested. The no-fuss approach is probably what I find most attractive because I was able to connect quickly to the fastest server using one button.
The other thing I truly love about ExpressVPN is the security and privacy tools under the iOS options and support page. Though all of these are tucked away, I found it worth checking out at least the first time I fired up ExpressVPN. After that, I rarely went back to tweaking them. That said, the password generator and two leak tests are features I found myself going back to using.
It is worth mentioning that over the past year, ExpressVPN has managed to increase its independent third-party audit count and publish details on the TrustedServer deployment process. They have also joined the i2Coalition, which calls for improved VPN ethics, and they also introduced an open-source light way encryption protocol.
The company also boasts over 300 RAM-only servers across 160 locations and 94 countries. I only needed a few locations, but it is always good to have options, especially with an intrusive internet service provider in some countries.
- Number of servers: 3,000+
- VPN server locations: 94 countries
- Simultaneous connections available: 5
- iPhone VPN features: secure DNS, AES-256 encryption, kill switch, split tunneling, leak protection, and more
- Unblocked streaming sites: Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, Apple TV, and more
- Average speeds: 630 Mbps (WireGuard)/385 Mbps (OpenVPN)
Pros and Cons
- A diverse and extensive number of VPNs
- Ideal for torrenting and streaming
- Easy-to-use iPhone app
- An excellent set of VPN protocols
- 30-day moneyback guarantee
- It costs more than most other VPN providers
- Users are only allowed five simultaneous connections
Nord VPNExpert Review
Best for: People looking for a comprehensive set of VPN features.
Why Nord VPN?
NordVPN has earned a reputation for being one of the industry’s most reliable and trusted VPNs. While I have used NordVPN on my computer on and off for a few years, I never cared to install the company’s iOS app on my iPhone. That said, I was pleasantly surprised by its performance and the fact that I could have six simultaneous connections via its network.
That’s not bad considering that many of its competitors offer a maximum of five simultaneous connections.
I also enjoyed using NordVPN’s dedicated IP option, which gives you access to streaming services and other types of sites that don’t allow VPNs or shared IPs. I’m also told that this feature means users can VPN directly into Tor. Speaking of which, over half of the 5000 servers part of NordVPN are highly optimized for P2P sharing. Still, Nord has deliberately blocked torrenting in several countries where it is seen as being illegal. However, there are ways to bypass this too.
As of late, I’ve noticed a few hiccups with using NordVPN’s kill switch feature in iOS, which can cause problems if you are torrenting. That said, you can sideload on iOS, available via its website.
The other slightly disappointing part of using NordVPN was its speed on iOS devices. To me, the speed is middling at best, causing my internet speed to decrease by 13%. However, most users, unlike me on a 20mpbs plus connection, will not notice the hit in speed.
The iOS app also takes some time to load. It isn’t a lot of time but a little longer than the competition. The initial interface is also a little more confusing than the competition. But newbies will find that it takes a while to get used to, but once they do, it’s easy to use for the most part.
I also found that most servers didn’t allow me to use Netflix or other streaming services. It could be that those IPs are blacklisted. So, finding a server via which I could stream Netflix took longer than with other competing VPN apps.
- Number of servers: 5,500+
- Server locations: 80+ in 59 countries
- Maximum devices supported: 6
- iPhone VPN features: split-tunneling, kill switch, AES-256 encryption, file encryption, password manager, dedicated IP address, and more
- Unblocked streaming platforms: Netflix, Prime Video, Apple TV, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, and more
- Average speeds: 820 Mbps (WireGuard)/250 Mbps (OpenVPN)
Pros and Cons
- Servers in 59 countries and 84 locations
- The app can be sideloaded from NordVPN’s website
- Optimized for P2P sharing where allowed
- No leaks
- Speeds aren’t incredible on average
- The app can seem complex for first-time users
Best for: People new to using VPNs.
One of the best things about IPVanish is that it’s easy to configure, fun to use, and thus a great choice for those new to operating a VPN on their iPhones. The app explains a lot about how it works under the hood, with many digital knobs and features making it stand out from many other iPhone VPN apps in its league.
IPVanish is a VPN designed for those who want to fine-tune their experience. If you want more than just connecting to a VPN server to mask the traffic from your iOS app, then IPVanish is for you. Thanks to a bevy of features such as LAN connection, split tunneling, and others, all of which give users more control over their mobile traffic.
The battery of speed tests I ran on my iPhone showed that the speeds were middling at best. I was losing 58% of my network speed, which puts it on the lower end of the spectrum. Then I also discovered that the so-called Quick Connect feature does not always connect to the best sever, and many times it will time out without connecting. That’s why I soon started manually choosing and linking to a server with the least load. Speaking of which, the iOS app enables users to check the present server load by tapping on Locations and then on the figure in front of each city.
While the pricing, in my opinion, and experience, isn’t the lowest, it is still well-priced for what it does. However, if you don’t like it, the 30-day money-back guarantee stands, but this guarantee is only for those who buy the annual plan. Unfortunately, I only found that out later on.
The stand-out feature for me is the unlimited simultaneous connections. This is unlike any other VPN service in this price range and beyond. The connection kill switch feature is another one I often use because it helps protect privacy.
- Number of available VPN servers: 2,000+
- Server locations: 75 locations in 50 countries
- Simultaneous connections available: Unlimited
- VPN features: secure VPN protocols, AES-256 encryption, kill switch, DNS protection, DNS protection, IP address protection, split tunneling, and more
- Unblocked streaming platforms: US Netflix, BBC Player, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and more
- Average speeds: 720 Mbps (WireGuard)/120 Mbps (OpenVPN)
Pros and Cons
- It offers one of the most cost-effective annual plans
- A diverse array of servers across the globe
- No-logs policy
- Unlimited connections
- Excellent encryption algorithm
- Among the best iPhone VPN apps available
- Speeds are not great
- Monthly plans aren’t backed by a money-back guarantee
How I Picked the Best VPN Services?
A significant part of finding the best iPhone VPN for me is ensuring it ticks all the boxes for my everyday use. This includes unblocking streaming sites, such as Netflix and Disney, as well as offering great speeds.
I also want to use a single subscription on my iPhone, Chromecast TV, iPad, and desktop computer. A good VPN provider should also allow me to choose the best server based on speed and proximity to my location. Advanced security features like a kill switch, dedicated IP, IP tunneling, etc., are all considered icing on the cake.
There is also the fact that I need to test dozens of VPN apps to find the best one. Fortunately, I’ve spent the money and put in the time for my readers because some VPNs don’t offer a refund!
Once I have a list of VPNs, I start testing them. I ensure my test iPhone is clean, with barely any apps loaded in memory. I then install the app and stard using it for a day.
For the rest of the month, I’m testing, taking notes, and jolting down my thoughts. Once I have tested all the VPNs, it’s time to do more research to find out what else the companies offer that I haven’t tested. There are always features I don’t use, so if the company provides them, it is useless to me, but as I always say, you can’t have too many features!
Once I have tested and checked out all the services, I start with making a comparison report and comparing all the pros, cons, and personal experience using these apps. After which, I start writing this review.
I can guarantee that none of the options above will disappoint because in my experience they are the best of the best. But your mileage may vary if you want to use these on any device other than your iPhone.
Best VPN for iPhone Buying Guide
Now even though I’ve gone ahead and tested all this year’s best VPN services for the iPhone, you may want to do a bit of research yourself. While I’ve tried to cover all bases, sometimes you’re better off doing a bit of digging before committing to an entire year with a VPN service provider.
Here are a couple of factors you should consider when evaluating a VPN service on your own or even if you want to compare it with a free VPN service.
You can’t go wrong with too many servers. There is no such thing as having too many choices. It has been my experience that the more servers you have, the lower the odds of running out of servers to connect to, especially if you are trying to access a particular website that actively blocks IPs from VPNs. While the best way to ensure excellent speed is to connect to a server near you, there may be times when you want to connect to one halfway across the world. So, there should be enough choices when that time comes, however rare it may be.
Most iPhone owners have chosen an iPhone because of its security features. However, experts will tell you that despite Apple’s claims, the iPhone can still be compromised, and network traffic to and from it can be intercepted, then decrypted. Fortunately, most VPNs I’ve tested encrypted my traffic and made it impossible to decrypt it even if somebody intercepted it. That said, you should choose a VPN application that offers AES-256-bit encryption and uses OpenVPN or WireGuard. It should also have a kill switch feature that protects your real IP address if the VPN connection drops even for a second.
Other than the industry standard, we recommend choosing a service with advanced tools. For instance, if you often connect to a public network, your chosen software should have a split tunneling feature. Plus, it needs to have an ad blocker too.
If you are serious about using a VPN for work, it should protect your personal data. This means choosing a company based in a country that respects data retention. The company should have a strict no-logs policy and should be using RAM-only servers; in other words, don’t write your data to a hard drive. That way, there is no trace of you once a session ends.
Yes, for many of you and me, speed is undoubtedly a factor. Nobody wants to be sitting for minutes for a site to load. However, when using a VPN, your internet speed will take a hit, depending on several factors, including your distance from the server you are connecting to and the speed of the server. So, choose a service that does not cause your internet speed to plummet, especially if you are on a connection that’s less than 10mbps.
I always like to choose a VPN that allows me to stream Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, etc. This is because it allows me to watch otherwise unavailable programs in the US.
This is a tough one because VPN service providers have varying pricing. Sure, the price may play a significant role in your final decision. However, what should matter is the value of the service. Generally, you are looking at paying around $4-$7 a month, with more premium options costing upwards of $9 a month for a VPN. The good thing is that apart from using the app on your iPhone, you can use it on several other devices.
Paid vs. Free iPhone VPN Apps for iPhone
Everyone wants stuff for free, but these VPNs are accessible for various reasons. Many are free for a limited time, others because they collect personal information and run advertising. Some are free but outdated, meaning they can be intercepted and thus risk your privacy.
It has been my experience that free VPNs are not worth being free because they cost you more than you can imagine. So, it is worth choosing a VPN that’s paid, and you can trust. Not to mention that VPNs don’t cost more than a cup of Starbucks Espresso. And yet, they will save you from a whole world of hassle and becoming a potential victim of cybercrime or identity fraud.
In other words, you get what you pay for, and if you don’t pay, you don’t know how you’re being robbed.
There you have it, folks – the best iPhone VPNs for 2023. Hopefully, you’ll find this guide useful, saving you a bucket load of time. However, you are free to conduct independent research to find a VPN service that best serves your needs.
You are also free to try out iPhone VPN apps that offer free limited trials before deciding on paying a monthly fee. It’s never a bad idea to do some extra research, especially with your online security and privacy at stake.
Find answers to the most common questions people ask.
Based on my testing and experience, Surfshark is the best app for your iPhone and iPad. That is followed by ExpressVPN and then NordVPN. I think 80% of readers will find Surfshark more than serves the purpose for the price.
As an iPhone or any other device user, you may be consistently connecting to the internet via various apps. Some apps remain connected to the internet, consistently sending and receiving data. Having a VPN ensures that malicious third parties can’t intercept your data.
I wouldn’t personally recommend a free VPN to anyone. It is too much of a risk, and with commercially available VPNs costing equivalent to a cup of coffee, there is no reason for you to be a cheapskate.