If you want to make your iPhone safer and to maximize security and privacy while browsing the web, and access services that are restricted to particular countries, you can do so via a VPN. In this article we will show you how to set up and use a VPN on your iPhone or iPad.
What is a VPN?
A virtual private network, or VPN, is a service that creates a direct connection from your computer to another network. Some businesses have an internal intranet that can only be accessed while you are on-location. A VPN can create a secure connection by rerouting the connection to that location.
It is often used when logging onto a public Wi-Fi. It will redirect you to a different end-point. So you won’t be seen as using the public network.
It is also regularly used to make an iPhone look like it is physically in a different location. This is useful if you want to access regional services or content that isn’t available in the country you are currently in.
Why use a VPN on an iPhone?
There are a number of reasons to use a VPN, some more likely than others to apply to you.
- Want to make sure your browsing is private and secure? Use a VPN. A VPN is a service you connect to prior to accessing the internet. It encrypts your data and because you access the web via a server, you and your device can’t be ‘seen’ on the internet.
- Want to protect your data from lax data protection laws or prying governments? A VPN could help.
- If your own county censors certain parts of the internet, a VPN could get around those limitations.
- Want to access you home or work network remotely, you could set up your own VPN.
- Want to bypass location-based restrictions on services? A VPN is the answer.
This latter point is probably the biggest use of VPNs. By connecting via a server in another country you should be able to use services that aren’t normally available outside that country.
Before you start
You can use a VPN serviceon your iPhone or iPad. First, sign up for a service like NordVPN, IPVanish, TunnelBear, or ExpressVPN and then download their app for your iPhone or iPad.
You can also configure your VPN client manually.
You will need the setup information before you start. Like the server, remote ID, username, and password. If you don’t have this information, ask your system administrator or tech support for your company, or contact your VPN service for help.
How to Set Up VPN for You iPhone or iPad?
Today we’ll look at how easy it is to set up and manage a VPN connection on your iPhone.
Method 1: Use Your Provider’s App
The first method we’ll look at is the easiest. Nearly all major VPN providers have their own iPhone apps that make connecting to and tweaking your connection easy. Which app you download depends on your provider.
Which VPN provider you choose depends on a few factors such as price, the logs policy, and how far the nearest server is from your current location.
The following providers each have an iPhone app available that makes setting up a VPN easy:
- Private internet Access
- HotSpot Shield
- Buffered VPN
No matter which one you pick, there’s one important factor to keep in mind. You should avoid using a free VPN service at all costs. With free VPNs, the provider has to make money somehow. So you’ll have to put up with extra ads, throttled speeds, or the company selling your data.
Using a Provider’s App to Set Up an iPhone VPN
Getting connected to your VPN using an app is the easiest and most straightforward method available. Here’s how to do it:
- Search the App Store for your provider’s app and download it. If you can’t find the right app, move on to Method 2 below.
- Launch the app and log in with your credentials.
- The app will guide you through the setup process and notify you that you need to provide permission to install a VPN configuration. Authorize any changes with Face ID, Touch ID, or your passcode.
- Once setup is complete, use the app to connect to the VPN.
You should use the app to manage your connection, which includes changing region or choosing a different local server. The app is the easiest method of enabling or managing your connection. You can still disable or enable the VPN connection manually under Settings >> General >> VPN by toggling the Status switch on or off.
Method 2: Connect to a VPN Manually
If your provider doesn’t have its own app, or you’d rather connect manually for some reason, you can do that too. In order to connect you’ll need the following information:
- VPN type
- Server address
- Remote ID
In addition to this information, you may need to supply a Local ID and choose between Username or Certificate authentication. Your provider should give you the credentials you need on its website once you’ve logged into your control panel.
Keep in mind that your VPN connection username and password may differ from the username and password you use to login to your VPN provider’s website.
Connecting to a VPN Provider Manually
To connect to your VPN of choice manually, simply perform the following:
- Head to Settings >> General >> VPN and tap Add VPN Configuration.
- Fill out the required information, including VPN type, server, remote ID, username, and password. Consult your VPN provider’s website for this information if you don’t know it. The Description field is for your own records. So make sure you label the connection appropriately.
- Tap Done to add the configuration.
You can now head to Settings >> General >> VPN at any time to enable or disable the connection by toggling the Status on or off.
Stay Protected With an iPhone VPN
Now you know how to install and use a VPN on your iPhone. A provider’s app vastly simplifies the process. So we’d always recommend starting with the first method. These make it easy to switch server locations.
If you’d rather encrypt all of your network traffic (at home, at least) then consider investing in a VPN router instead. By connecting your network equipment to a VPN directly, anything that uses it to access the internet will also be encrypted.
Just remember that this won’t protect your iPhone when you’re out of the house. For that, you should definitely stick with one of our recommended iPhone VPNs.
Is a VPN safe to use?
Accessing the web on your iPhone via a VPN is safer than accessing without a VPN in some significant circumstances.
For example, if you are connecting to the web via a public network, accessing via a VPN will encrypt your data. So you are protected from potential hackers who might try to steal your data.
The only question is how much you can trust the VPN you are using not to gather data on you. The likelihood is that if you paid to use the VPN, your data is safe. If you are using a free VPN they have more reason to try and make money out of you. There are some VPN scams doing the rounds too, so you should watch out for those.