What is a VPN on iPhone?

Get started with a VPN on iPhone

Your internet service provider routes your home Wi-Fi internet connection through its multiple systems for browsing, watching videos and streaming content. But often your ISP can recall records of your online activity. Likewise, your mobile phone’s network operator can track the websites you visit.

Not only that, but if you connect to public Wi-Fi at a school, library, or cafe, hackers can intercept the signal. By sneaking their way through the Wi-Fi connection, criminals can attempt to hack into your cell phone or laptop to steal your information.

A reliable way to stay protected, even when connecting to Wi-Fi at home, is to have a virtual private network on your iPhone.

VPN on iPhone

What is a VPN?

A VPN encrypts your data connection and hides your computer or phone’s IP address – an online identifier of who you are and where you came from. This keeps you anonymous and makes it virtually impossible for anyone to track your activities. Encryption also makes your connection less vulnerable to cybercriminals and hacking attempts, especially when connected to public Wi-Fi.

But it’s not just about bypassing trackers and dodging hackers. A VPN also changes the location of your connection, tricking websites and services into thinking you’re in a different city or country. Some websites use geolocation to block international access, but a VPN gets around that.

How does a VPN work?

The precise details of how it works are understandably complex but still important to better understand the functions of a VPN. Any device that connects to the Internet has an IP address, a numerical designation that identifies its location on the Internet. As soon as you connect to a VPN service, your traffic is routed through the service’s secure and encrypted servers, which changes your IP address.

If anyone, including law enforcement and hackers, searches for your IP address, it will point to the VPN service as the traffic source. It will therefore be impossible to link personal identifiers to your activity on the Internet.

Choosing a VPN

There are several things you need to keep in mind when looking for a VPN. The two most important are connection speed and any data usage limits.

Until a few years ago, a VPN would drastically reduce the speed of your internet connection. This led to slow browsing and video buffers. Choose a VPN that doesn’t throttle your connection and allows you to use unlimited bandwidth. If monthly browsing restrictions are enforced, you may run out of available bandwidth when you need it most.

The type and level of encryption is also crucial to protecting your connection. The strongest encryption is the advanced 256-bit encryption standard, which all major VPN providers use. Your internet traffic is broken down into 16-byte blocks, and with 256-bit AES, each block goes through the encryption process 14 times.

There are many types of encryption, such as public key, transport layer security, and hash algorithms, but the most common method for commercial VPN services is AES.

Configure a VPN

A VPN is configured in two ways on an iPhone. The mobile data connection can either be routed through the VPN app or you can configure it through the iPhone’s built-in settings.

  • Open your Settings app
  • Scroll down and tap on VPN and device management
  • Tap VPN
  • Next, tap on Add VPN configuration to insert the details provided

If your chosen VPN provider has a mobile app, all of the above settings will change automatically once you log in. You can then turn the VPN on or off through the app instead of toggling the switch in iPhone settings.

What You Need to Buy for an iPhone VPN


One of the most popular VPN services, ExpressVPN has over 3,000 servers in 94 countries. It has developed its own VPN protocol for faster speeds and security while remaining reliable with unlimited data usage.

Or buy: Sold by Amazon



NordVPN is a popular choice because the company claims it’s the fastest VPN service available with strong encryption and security. There are no data or speed limits, and you can use the service on six devices with a single account and connect to over 5,500 global servers.

Or buy: Sold by Amazon

CyberGhost VPN

CyberGhost VPN

CyberGhost VPN connects you to the best server based on your location, and there are no restrictions on data speeds. It uses super strong 256-bit AES encryption and protection is toggled via a one-touch button.

Or buy: Sold by Amazon

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Charlie Fripp writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their buying decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.

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