The Best VPN for iPhone of 2021

We tested these VPNs on our iPhones, taking speed and security tests.

By
&
Aliza Vigderman
Gabe TurnerChief Editor
Last Updated on Aug 25, 2021
By Aliza Vigderman & Gabe Turner on Aug 25, 2021
VPN iPhone

Most of our team has iPhones, and we are always on the go. In Brooklyn, that means weaving in and out of public Wi-Fi networks and potentially putting our digital privacy at risk. That’s why we were so excited to figure out what the best VPNs are for iPhones, specifically. We’ll go through what we found and how to make sure that us Apple enthusiasts are staying safe and secure as we use the Internet.

What We Look For

Streaming service access Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video
IP addresses Dynamic
Encryption AES-256
Customer service 24/7 phone support
Our Top Picks

Best Overall

ExpressVPN

Editor's Rating
9.5
/10
Editor's Rating
9.5
/10
ExpressVPN offered a speedy connection and only logged a minimal amount of our information. They’re headquartered in the British Virgin Islands, meaning that they’re not subject to Five Eyes Nine Eyes, or 14 Eyes. ExpressVPN has 2,000 servers in 148 locations and uses rotating IP addresses. We also loved that we were allowed to stream all our favorite shows and movies on Netflix.

Best Encryption

NordVPN

Editor's Rating
9.3
/10
Editor's Rating
9.3
/10
NordVPN is a popular option for VPNs and it’s no different for the iPhone. It offers an impressive combination of AES-256 encryption and double-VPN, meaning that our information was encrypted through multiple servers. NordVPN also assigned us a unique IP address so that we didn’t have to share with other users who might be up to no good.

The Best VPNs for iPhone in 2021

Comparing the Top VPNs for iPhone

System
ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN
IPVanish
IPVanish
ProtonVPN
CyberGhost
CyberGhost VPN
NordVPN
NordVPN
Surfshark
Surfshark VPN
Ranking 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
Ratings 9.2/10
Best Encryption
8.8/10
Best for Multiple Apple Products
9.0/10
Best for Torrenting
9.3/10
Best Customer Support
8.6/10
Best for Netflix
Minimum Monthly Cost $6.49 $0 $2.75 $3.49 $2.49
Contract Length 1 to 12 months 1 to 30 months 1 to 18 months 1 to 36 months 1 to 24 months
Netflix Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Torrenting Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
IP Addresses Dynamic Shared Static, shared Dedicated, static Static
Five Eyes, Nine Eyes and 14 Eyes Member Yes No No No No
Read Review IPVanish Review ProtonVPN Review CyberGhost Review NordVPN Review Surfshark Review

What are the Best VPNs for iPhone?

  • 1. ExpressVPN - Best iPhone VPN Overall

    With minimal logging, high speeds and split tunnelling, ExpressVPN was the strongest contender for VPNs for iPhones. We were also impressed with its app ratings and our ability to access Netflix.

    Editor's Rating
    9.5
    /10
    What We Like
    • Netflix access
    • Stellar app ratings
    • Outside of Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes territories
    • Over 2,000 servers in 148 locations
    What We Don’t Like
    • More costly than competitors
    • Can only connect five devices simultaneously
    • No phone support for customer service
    • Slow on a Mac

    Rotating IP addresses

    Every time we logged on to ExpressVPN, our IP address rotated. This makes it even harder for hackers, or others who might be surveilling us, to track us down.

    ExpressVPN App
    ExpressVPN App

    Headquartered in British Virgin Islands

    ExpressVPN is headquartered in the British Virgin Islands. That’s a huge plus because it means that it’s not subject to Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, or 14 Eyes jurisdiction and cannot be forced to hand over logged data to the government.

    FYI: Even though the British Virgin Islands are technically a territory of the United Kingdom, they are self-governed, and therefore don’t have to comply with Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes.

    Split Tunneling

    If we needed to toggle back and forth between public and private networks, we could still leave ExpressVPN connected, because it enables us to use both connections simultaneously. This was super convenient since we didn’t have to pay any attention to what was on or off at any given moment and could browse freely and safely.

  • 2. IPVanish - Best for Multiple Apple Products

    IPVanish enabled us to connect up to ten of our devices at the same time and met our torrenting needs perfectly. The widespread availability of servers meant that we had fast Internet wherever we wanted. Sure, their price was slightly higher than average, but in our opinion, IPVanish is worth it.

    Editor's Rating
    9.2
    /10
    What We Like
    • Split tunneling
    • Can connect 10 devices at once
    • Fast downloading speed
    • Ability to torrent
    What We Don’t Like
    • Has shared customer logs in the past
    • U.S. based
    • Netflix doesn’t always work
    • Slow on Windows

    Impressive Customer Service

    IPVanish has a full suite of customer service options: 24/7 live chat, email support, a robust online FAQ section, and even a phone line. Whenever a VPN offers a phone line, we know they take their customer service seriously. When we reached out via email to ask about their IP addresses, they answered us promptly.

    IPVanish Desktop App
    IPVanish Desktop App

    Highly Rated in App Store

    The IPVanish iOS app is super intuitive to use which is important since we often find ourselves on public Wi-Fi networks walking the streets of New York or stopping to work at our favorite coffee shop. The app also boasts a 4.5-star rating on the app store from over 45,000 ratings, so we’re not the only ones who are satisfied.

    Global Coverage

    IPVanish has over 40,000 IP addresses and servers in more than 75 locations. We’re always glad when we know that our Internet will remain fast and safe regardless of where we are.

  • 3. ProtonVPN - Best for Torrenting

    ProtonVPN served us well, whether we were trying to watch Netflix or just make sure our browsing activity was safe. They’ve got 560 servers in over 40 countries and are based in Switzerland, so we always found ourselves with a fast connection and didn’t have to worry about too much of our data being logged.

    Editor's Rating
    8.8
    /10
    What We Like
    • No data logging
    • Torrenting permitted
    • Based in Switzerland
    • Kill switch
    What We Don’t Like
    • Confusing pricing options
    • Limited customer support
    • IP addresses shared with other users
    • Slower on Macs

    Kill Switch

    ProtonVPN features include a kill switch. This would have come in handy for when we might have been torrenting big files and the VPN disconnected, even for a split second. Instead of our activity being exposed to our Internet Service Provider and potentially getting us in trouble, the kill switch would shut down all our web traffic automatically, so we’d still be protected.

    ProtonVPN Privacy Policy
    ProtonVPN Privacy Policy

    Minimal Logging

    ProtonVPN didn’t log our web browsing activity and only kept track of information like our email and payment information. Additionally, ProtonVPN offered transparency reports, so we knew exactly what they’re keeping track of.

    Torrenting Permitted

    ProtonVPN allows torrenting with either a Basic or Plus subscription, and when we opted for the Plus option, we were able to stream ultra-fast on our Windows, making for a very positive experience bingeing our favorite shows. Their servers are also designed specifically for P2P file downloading.

  • 4. CyberGhost - Best Customer Support

    CyberGhost is a great cost-effective option that gave us solid features like stellar customer support and access to Netflix. With over 5,500 servers across 90 countries, we were never without a fast secure connection, and with their headquarters in Romania, we never worried about our information being surrendered to the government.

    Editor's Rating
    9.0
    /10

    Heads Up: CyberGhost doesn’t offer split tunneling, so we were only able to access private networks separately from public networks.

    What We Like
    • Great Customer support
    • Affordability
    • Non-member to Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes
    • Servers across the globe
    What We Don’t Like
    • No split tunneling
    • Slow on Windows
    • Static IP addresses
    • Logging policy

    Affordability

    We had the option of choosing a month-to-month subscription for $12.99 per month. If we subscribed for six months, our monthly bill would have only been $7.99, and to be even more cost-effective, we could have signed on for an 18-month commitment, as our monthly bill would have been just $2.75. We would still get the same features, regardless of what contract length we chose.

    Strong Customer Service

    While CyberGhost doesn’t have a phone line, their 24/7 live chat was highly responsive when we reached out to ask about torrenting. We easily searched their database of frequently asked questions to find most of the information we needed.

    CyberGhost App
    CyberGhost App

    Netflix Access

    For us, Netflix is a way of life, so we love it when we’re able to browse and stream to our heart’s content. There was one snag in that we weren’t able to access some UK content without having to pay more. However, we also accessed Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, ESPN, and Crunchyroll, so overall we were happy with the streaming options at hand.

  • 5. NordVPN - Best Encryption

    NordVPN is a popular option for VPNs and it’s no different for the iPhone. It offers an impressive combination of AES-256 encryption and double-VPN, meaning that our information was encrypted through multiple servers. NordVPN also assigned us a unique IP address so that we didn’t have to share with other users who might be up to no good. Ultimately, NordVPN accomplished exactly what VPNs are meant to do: maintain our privacy when using the Internet.

    Editor's Rating
    9.3
    /10
    What We Like
    • Superior customer service
    • Torrenting permitted
    • Strict logging policy
    • Strong encryption
    What We Don’t Like
    • Kill switch doesn’t turn off all apps within iOS
    • No split tunneling
    • Static IP addresses
    • Subpar customer support

    Strong Encryption

    NordVPN leverages multi-hop encryption, meaning that our web traffic was encrypted through multiple servers. It’s common for VPNs to only encrypt our traffic through one server, so this was highly valuable, especially if our jobs entailed conducting sensitive research or participating in a confidential activity on the Internet.

    NordVPN Logging Policy
    NordVPN Logging Policy

    Minimal Logging

    While NordVPN did take note of our email and payment information, it did not log when we used their VPN, how long we used it for, the servers we used, the websites we visited, or any files that we downloaded. Hallelujah!

    Located in Panama

    NordVPN being headquartered in Panama means that they are not part of any international surveillance alliances. This makes it extra appealing to us from a privacy perspective and we can sleep better at night knowing they’ll never be forced to hand over our information.

  • 6. Surfshark - Best for Netflix

    Editor's Rating
    8.6
    /10

    Downloading the Surfshark iOS app onto our iPhones took seconds, and a few seconds later, we were connected to a private VPN in the U.S. Other Surfshark customers seem to agree with us, as the iOS app has a 4.4 out of five-star rating.

    What We Like
    • Streaming on Netflix, Prime Video, and more
    • Five Eyes non-member
    • Split tunneling
    • Torrenting
    What We Don’t Like
    • Lots of ping on Windows
    • No support over the phone
    • Same IP address each time you connect
    • Only students get year-round 15 percent discount

    Netflix and Chill

    Is it weird that we watch entire movies on our iPhones? You’ve got to entertain yourself on your commute somehow! When we were connected to Surfshark and typed in Netflix, we were pleasantly surprised that they didn’t block us, as Netflix blocks many VPN IP addresses. And when we ran out of things to watch on Netflix, we used Surfshark on Prime Video, Hulu and other top streaming services. Aside from general security, Surfshark is great for entertainment.

    AES-256

    If the U.S military says something is secure, it’s secure, and that is true of AES-256 bit encryption. It’s how Surfshark hides our web activity and private IP addresses from sight and currently, it’s the industry standard. Shout to Surfshark for doing their homework!

    Surfshark Browser
    Surfshark Browser

    Low Prices

    We only signed up for Surfshark on a month-to-month basis, but if we were smarter we would’ve signed up for six months, splitting our monthly rate in half. Even better, we could’ve signed up for two years and paid only $2.49 a month, billed once as $59.76. Basically, with Surfshark, it pays to commit.

Video Review

In our video review, we go through each VPN in-depth. We show you the interface of each of the iPhone VPN apps so that you’ll know exactly what you’re getting before having to make any decisions for yourself.

How We Test VPNs: Methodology

We’ve got testing VPNs down to a science and want to tell you all about our methods. That way, you’ll know exactly how we can confidently rate and rank all the VPNs we look at. We start by taking a close look at all the different features a particular VPN offers (like encryption standards for security, IP addresses for privacy, etc.) to make sure it covers the bases of what a VPN should provide. Then, we put each VPN through our own speed and security tests, which we’ll go into detail about below!

Speed

Most of our VPNs get tested out of our Brooklyn office, where we have a private Optimum network; however, we occasionally test VPNs while traveling to the Philippines, as well. Our Internet speed without a VPN serves as an objective control, and we only connect one device at a time. We know our readers use all different devices, so we make sure to test on a Macbook Air and a Windows Vivobook. We use the website SpeedTest.net.4 to test download speed, upload speed and ping (latency). First, we perform tests with the VPN, and then, without. Download and upload speed are measured in megabits per second, while latency is measured in milliseconds. Once we gauge these two measures, we identify the difference in terms of a percentage to account for discrepancies between the greatly varied natural speeds of Macs and Windows computers.

Distance to the server, operating system and device all impact speed, but it’s ideal that VPNs have no more than a 40 percent difference in any of our categories, ping, download speed or upload speed.

Security

A main motivator to use a VPN is to protect our web traffic, like our domain names (website names) and their IP addresses. It’s also important for us to know that users’ IP addresses aren’t being leaked due to WebRTC, which allows browsers to communicate directly with each other. It’s also the default on browsers like Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Opera, and since we’re Chrome-users, this was particularly relevant.

We test for DNS leaks by using DNSLeakTest.com. By comparing our computer’s IP address with the IP addresses that the website shows, we can tell if there was a DNS link while using the VPN or not. Then, we test for WebRTC leaks by leveraging a tool available on ExpressVPN’s website. We use a similar tactic where we look at the local and Public IPv4 IP addresses to see if there were any WebRTC leaks.

We also make sure to take a close look at companies’ privacy jurisdiction and data-logging policies. We take note of where a company is headquartered, because it dictates if they are members of Five Eyes, Nine Eyes and 14 Eyes. Those are international surveillance alliances that have the potential to legally force companies to surrender customer data. It’s the best-case scenario for a company to not be located in a country impacted by such agreements, but it’s also ideal if they log minimal user account information. We find things like name, email and payment information acceptable and don’t see why VPNs would log additional data, like when customers use their VPNs, how long they use it for, how much data they’ve transferred, what servers they use, what websites they visit and more.

We also conduct a full analysis of a VPN’s encryption methods and Internet protocols to make sure they meet the industry standards. You can find that information in our full, individual reviews. We prioritize VPNs with AES-256 encryption and OpenVPN, which are some of the highest standards of security on the market.

We check out how a company handles IP addresses because it impacts our likelihood of being tracked. It’s best if a company offers dynamic addresses that change each time we log on, making it even harder to track what we are doing. Static IP addresses stay the same and that makes them less desirable and easier to track. Finally, we make sure that each VPN has a kill switch. This function shuts down Internet browsers in the unlikely event that a VPN fails.

Torrenting and Netflix

VPNs are also used to watch movies and television. We make sure to keep track of which VPNs offer torrenting and have access to Netflix. The Netflix part can be a bit of a toss-up, as it is always updating its code to block torrenting, a big reason why VPNs are popular. Even though we test our ability to access Netflix, we can’t guarantee that it will always work for everyone.

Split Tunneling and Encryption

We also keep an eye out for split tunneling. This feature allows us to use both the VPN, as well as a public network at the same time. The lower bandwidth can create faster speeds. We prefer double or multi-hop VPNs, because this means that data is encrypted multiple times through multiple servers.

Subscriptions

We boil subscription information down to the basics so that our readers can easily compare VPNs to each other. We also spend a lot of time looking at VPNs, so we’re able to spot good value when we see it. Some VPNs are super cost-effective, with monthly fees of less than a dollar if you sign on for a long-term commitment. On the flip side, certain companies offer subscriptions as expensive as $15 per month. We like it when a company offers several options in their pricing structure, like the ability to pay month-to-month or pay less monthly for a longer-term contract. We also look for the option to give a VPN a test run through a free trial or money-back guarantee period. Finally, we specify what actually comes in a subscription in terms of how many servers the company offers and how many devices can be connected simultaneously. Typically, a VPN will allow unlimited server switches and devices.

Customer Support

Once our readers choose a VPN, we want to make sure that they have ongoing support from the company. We check what resources are available in the event that issues pop up. It’s most common for companies to offer a live chat option and an online help center. Lots of companies will also compile a database of FAQs where you can search through past users’ questions. It’s uncommon for a company to offer a phone service, so if a VPN we’re reviewing has one, it’s a big plus.

FAQs About iPhone VPNs

  • Do I need a VPN on my iPhone?

    Yes, you need a VPN on your iPhone while you’re on public Wi-Fi networks. A VPN on a mobile device acts just as it does with a desktop or laptop: it creates an encrypted, private tunnel between our iPhones and public Wi-Fi networks. This gives us the ability to browse the Internet securely and privately than if we were to just connect directly to a public network.

  • How do I get a VPN on my iPhone?

    To get a VPN on your iPhone, you simply have to go to the app store, search for whatever VPN you decided on, and download the application onto your phone. Once you’ve downloaded and opened the app, you will be prompted to select a payment plan. Most VPNs have at least a few options in terms of pricing and contract length in order to fit everyone’s needs and budget. Once you pick a subscription, enter your payment information and click purchase, just sign in with your username and password on the iOS app.

  • Will I be tracked with a VPN?

    Typically, we aren’t tracked if we are using a VPN. VPNs hide our web traffic and many also replace our real IP address with a standin. Some even take additional steps to rotate the new IP address. However, there are some companies that would keep our real IP addresses and device types as well as when we connected the VPN. Information like that can be used to track us, and that’s why it’s important to look closely at a VPN’s privacy policy.

  • Do I have to pay for a VPN?

    Yes, chances are that you will have to pay for a VPN. While a handful of companies offer free options with watered-down features, it’s not very common. The good news is that most of the time, companies will offer a free trial, or money-back guarantee period where, if you aren’t satisfied with your purchase, you can get a refund.

  • Is my information safe with a VPN?

    It depends on the VPN, but generally speaking, yes, your information is safe with a VPN, although some are more trustworthy than others. We tend to prefer companies that are based in countries that are non-members to Five Eyes, Nine Eyes and 14 Eyes, which are international surveillance alliances. If a company is under the jurisdiction of these alliances, they could be forced to surrender a user’s data to the government. We prioritize VPNs that have the most strict logging policies and comb through privacy policies to make sure there’s nothing hidden in the fine print.