iOS is one of the most popular and commonly used mobile operating systems on the planet. Used exclusively by Apple, it powers the tech giant’s mobile devices, including the iPhone and the iPod Touch. It has also been used on iPad devices, before being replaced by the similar iPadOS.
Relied upon by hundreds of millions of users, iOS is renowned for its ease of use, reliability, and security features. However, it’s not a foolproof system and its users can therefore still be susceptible to various security and privacy issues that a VPN can solve.
Used by more and more people all over the world with every passing day, VPNs are growing in popularity for the unique security advantages and helpful uses they can offer. This in-depth guide to VPNs on iOS will take a look at how you can use VPNs to your advantage on devices like the iPhone and iPad.
What Is a VPN and How Does it Work?
Before understanding the various uses and advantages of a VPN, you have to know how it works. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, and when you connect to the internet via a VPN, your connection becomes encrypted, adding a whole new layer of security to your internet traffic, as well as rerouting it via a secure server operated by the VPN provider.
In simple terms, this means that when you use a VPN, your internet connection becomes both more secure and more private. Your IP address, which is usually visible to companies, site administrators, and even your internet service provider, is totally hidden when using a VPN, freeing you up to browse and use the internet without any fear of prying eyes tracking what you do.
What Are the Advantages and Uses of a VPN for iOS Users?
Millions of internet users are downloading VPN apps for iOS and VPN clients for other platforms too. Here are just a few reasons why:
- Privacy – Every time you head online, your iOS devices send out a signal, known as your IP address, that can be seen and used to track your location, your browsing history, your downloads, and more. Most people don’t like the idea of companies and hackers potentially having easy access to all of that information, so they make use of a VPN, which hides the IP address and changes it to something else, giving you total online privacy.
- Security – Along with privacy, one of the top two reasons why people make use of VPNs on iPads and iPhones is for security. When you connect to the internet with a VPN, your connection will be encrypted, protected by an additional layer of security, and far more difficult to exploit for any hackers. This is especially true when connecting to open, unsecured public Wi-Fi hotspots in places like restaurants and airports.
- Entertainment – Streaming services are hugely popular right now, but on services like Netflix and Disney+, the movies and shows you can access actually depend on your location. For example, there are certain shows that only appear on the UK version of Netflix, while Hulu is only available to those in the US. You can use a VPN to make it seem like you’re in different parts of the world, thereby accessing all the content you want.
Do I Really Need a VPN for iOS?
A lot of iPhone and iPad users may feel that a VPN for their device is unnecessary. After all, iOS devices are famed for their strong security settings. It’s certainly true that looking at the statistics, Apple devices often tend to be more secure on average than the competition, but the stats also show that the number of hacks and cyberattacks targeting iOS users is rising year on year.
What does this mean for iOS users? Well, it means that if you want to enjoy the best levels of security on your device, you shouldn’t simply hope that the OS will be able to protect you on its own. No matter what OS you’re running, it’s never a bad idea to invest in extra security to keep your details and data safe.
Plus, as stated above, there are other uses for a VPN that you can benefit from on an iOS or iPadOS device, including the possibility to access exclusive, region-locked content on streaming services like Hulu, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, and Netflix. Not only that, but if ever you go traveling and find yourself unable to access your usual sites and services, a VPN will allow you to get back onto those sites by connecting to a server in your home nation.
Are There Any Risks for VPN Users on iOS?
This is where you need to be careful, as an iOS user, as the Apple App Store, despite being fairly well managed and moderated in general, does contain some VPN apps that simply are not worth your time or attention. It’s not as risky as something like the Google Play Store over on Android, but it’s still wise to exercise caution.
This is why you shouldn’t simply head over to the App Store, search for a VPN, and download the first one you find. They’re not all equal, and some VPNs are way better than others in terms of security features, privacy policies, customer service, pricing plans, and more. Be sure to read through reviews and learn more about the best iOS VPNs first, before making a decision.
Can I Get a Free VPN for iOS?
It’s certainly possible to get a free VPN on iOS devices, and there are some perfectly reputable free VPNs out there. However, there are also many more free VPN apps available on the App Store that are badly designed or may even bombard you with ads, just to make their money. Some of them log user data and could potentially sell it on to other companies, while others have poor standards of encryption.
So it’s vital to look at reviews and get proper recommendations on the best free VPNs for iPhone and other Apple devices before you download any. Also, if you’re going to choose a free VPN, you need to be ready to make some sacrifices. These VPNs often come with data limits and will restrict you to a certain amount of usage per week or month, making them relatively useless for people who want to stream lots of content from abroad or download big files anonymously.
Can I Download an iOS VPN without Using the App Store?
It’s possible, but it’s certainly not recommended. There are ways to get VPN clients onto your device without going through the App Store, but all of the best iOS VPNs can be found on the App Store and do not need to be downloaded any other way. If you find a VPN, not on the App Store, it’s likely that it can’t be trusted.
Will They Work on the iPad?
Yes, even though the modern iPads technically run on iPadOS now, the system still has a lot in common with iOS and so most of the best VPNs for iPhones also work just as well on iPads.
What Other Devices Can VPNs Be Used on?
As well as iPhones and iPads, VPNs can be used across a range of additional platforms. So if you’re someone who owns several devices, including a PC, a Mac, an Android phone or tablet, video game consoles, smart TVs, and more, you can find VPNs that can be easily and safely configured to run on all of those devices too. Many of the best VPNs even let you connect to their secure servers on 5+ devices simultaneously.
How Do I Get a VPN for iOS?
Getting a VPN for iOS is simple. As stated, you don’t need to worry about downloading files on other devices and moving them across to your iPhone or iPad, and you shouldn’t be getting your iOS VPNs from anywhere aside from the App Store.
Once you’ve decided which VPN you want to use, either head to the official site to find a link to the app on the App Store, or load up the App Store separately and search for it. Download the VPN app, set it up and pay for your chosen plan, and then connect to a server to start enjoying its advantages.
How Do I Find the Best iOS VPN?
When you’re trying to find the best VPN for iOS, we recommend starting your search by reading through some reviews and guides to the top iOS VPNs and then comparing the different options. This will help you avoid low quality or untrustworthy VPNs, as well as narrowing down your search to the best providers.
We also recommend focusing on security and privacy as the two most important factors, but don’t overlook the importance of speed, customer service, server locations, number of servers, and number of countries served as well.