The best iPhone VPN in 2024

An iPhone being unlocked to install a VPN for iOS
Get the best iPhone VPN and protect yourself online today. (Image credit: Shutterstock / Neirfy)

Apple gadgets might have a reputation for security, but they're not totally immune to new cyber threats and the clever criminals who come up with them. So, an iPhone VPN is still worth having—and I've pulled together a list of my top 5 picks for iOS.

I'm part of an expert team with more than 3,000 hours of testing time between us. That's over 100 of the best VPNs put under the microscope, 28,000 speed tests, and 2,800 streaming tests. All of this data informs my rankings, too, so you can rest assured you're getting first-hand picks.

NordVPN now tops my list of the best VPNs for iPhone, with its full suite of security capabilities and impressive value being pivotal in its move to the top spot. Despite this, Surfshark and ExpressVPN continue to provide tough competition, especially with Surfshark's impressive speed capabilities and ExpressVPN's unrivaled usability for beginners. Given how close the battle is, I've gone into more detail below about which providers you should choose to secure your device, and, more importantly, why.

The 3 best iPhone VPNs in 2024

1. The best iPhone VPN overall: NordVPN

1. The best iPhone VPN overall: NordVPN
If streaming is your thing, and you don't want to deal with constant buffering, you'll want to go with NordVPN. It's wickedly fast, unblocks every streaming service out there, and works like a charm on any iOS device. I especially like that it has its own ad-blocking tools, too - so, say goodbye to pop-ups.

NordVPN is almost twice as cheap as ExpressVPN, and a 30-day money-back guarantee gives you a whole month to put it through its paces before deciding whether you want to commit to a long-term plan.

2. The best iPhone VPN for beginners: ExpressVPN

2. The best iPhone VPN for beginners: ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN boasts some of the best VPN apps in the industry, and iOS is no different. Its easy-to-use one-click-connect function means you're protected instantly, and with kill-switch and auto-connect features, you can protect yourself at all times—just set it and forget it.

It's worth noting that ExpressVPN is an undeniably pricey option—but you can take the service for a risk-free test drive thanks to its 30-day money-back guarantee.

3. The best cheap iPhone VPN: Surfshark

3. The best cheap iPhone VPN: Surfshark
Surfshark is the best budget VPN in the business—but that doesn't mean it's short on features. You'll get impressive speeds and unblocking power, and apps that you don't have to be a cybersecurity genius to use with confidence.

Better yet, Surfshark plans often dip below $2.50 a month, and you'll get unlimited simultaneous connections with one plan. See how Surfshark works for you (and just about every gadget you own) with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Recent updates

The best iOS VPN list has seen a rather significant shake-up, with NordVPN claiming the top spot in our latest round of tests, knocking ExpressVPN down to second. While ExpressVPN still is a more than capable service for iOS, and still our top choice for beginners, the value for money and extensive security suite of NordVPN made it a surefire choice for the top spot. 

The 5 best iPhone VPN apps in 2024

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

The best VPN for iPhone

NordVPN's iPhone VPN app

(Image credit: NordVPN)

1. NordVPN

A super-fast app with plenty of features

Dedicated iPhone app: Yes | Also available for: Windows, Mac, Android. Linux | Maximum devices: 10 | Integrated kill switch: Yes | App Store review: 4.5

Dedicated kill switch
Highly rated by users
Fast connections
The UI isn't the easiest to use
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want a full security suite: NordVPN has ad blocking and malware protection as standard with its VPN subscription.

✔️ Streaming Netflix is your primary use case: NordVPN currently tops our list as the best VPN for Netflix so you can access streams worldwide. 

Don't subscribe if:

❌ You want a super simple interface: If you prefer simplicity go for ExpressVPN or Surfshark - they have much cleaner apps.

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

🔒 NordVPN perfectly balances security, usability, performance, and unblocking capability. Try for yourself and see how it suits your iPhone with a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

Want to know more?

Check out our in-depth NordVPN review for a closer look at this all-in-one security solution. 

NordVPN's iPhone app is well-organized, with at-a-glance information displayed by the 'quick connect' widget that details the closest server, availability, load percentage, and similar information. The app includes an auto-connect feature to immediately connect your iPhone to a VPN server when you join an untrusted network or Wi-Fi. However, it retains the map-based interface from the desktop client, which some may find inconvenient to use.

It supports the industry-standard 256-bit encryption and offers an automatic kill switch and double data encryption, which passes your data through two separate VPN servers. NordVPN also has a no-logs policy, which is good to see. Its policy received validation by PricewaterhouseCoopers after an independent third-party audit. 

Try NordVPN with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Its WireGuard-based technology, NordLynx, is the default protocol on offer and would be my pick unless you're after extreme security, then I'd use OpenVPN. Unlike ExpressVPN, NordVPN offers built-in ad-blocking and antivirus protection to keep you safe and streamline your online activity.

NordVPN offers way above-average performance, maxing out my tests with over 950 Mbps. Its excellent speeds ensure a buffer-free 4K Ultra HD streaming experience, and NordVPN can help you gain access to most geo-restricted content. We effortlessly unblocked Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, and more popular streaming services using NordVPN in our previous testing round.

Despite extraordinary unblocking abilities, NordVPN only has servers in 60 countries, which is significantly fewer than competitors. For example, ExpressVPN has servers in 105, making it a better choice if you want more online freedom or plan on traveling a lot. In addition, providers like Surfshark and ExpressVPN have a more user-friendly interface than NordVPN, making them a better pick for first-time users.

It is a perfect value-for-money option that doesn't skimp on quality or functionality. Although its renewal prices are slightly above average, the limited multi-year plan still offers excellent value. And, of course, there is a 30-day money-back guarantee, allowing you to try its services risk-free.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
NordVPN test results:
Design:A fun design that can be a little busy for some people⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of use:Everything is easy to find, but the map interface can be off-putting, and there isn't much attention to detail⭐⭐⭐
Performance:The fastest VPN in our latest round of tests⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Unblocking:Perfect for Netflix and other streaming sites⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacy:Every bit as strong as ExpressVPN⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer support:Friendly, supportive and professional⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Price:Fantastic value for money⭐⭐⭐⭐

The fastest VPN for iPhone

ExpressVPN app on iPhone as the best iOS VPN

(Image credit: ExpressVPN)

2. ExpressVPN

The best iOS VPN for beginners—perfect security and streaming capabilities

Dedicated iPhone app: Yes | Also available for: Windows, Mac, Android. Linux | Maximum devices: 8 | Integrated kill switch: Yes | App Store review: 4.5

Easy-to-use iOS app
Terrific overall performance
Packed with features
Does all the hard work for you
A premium price tag
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want a VPN that you can set and forget: ExpressVPN's auto-connect feature means that you connect once, and you're always protected.

✔️ You want to access content everywhere: with over 105 countries around the world to choose from, you'll be able to access local content no matter where you are.

✔️ You need a VPN you can trust with your life: between ExpressVPN's regular audits and no-logs policy, you can be certain your information is safe from oppressive regimes.

Don't subscribe if:

 You're on a strict budget: in a cost-of-living crisis, ExpressVPN is an expensive choice. For a budget-friendly pick, I'd recommend Surfshark.

❌ You need a full security suite: ExpressVPN prides itself on being the best VPN, and that's where it focuses its attention. If you need an all-in-one solution with built-in antivirus capabilities, try NordVPN or Surfshark.

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

🔒 ExpressVPN offers everything from platform coverage and privacy to ease of use, unblocking abilities, and excellent customer support while offering exceptional customization. Try for yourself with a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

Want to know more?

Check out our in-depth ExpressVPN review and see why it's our top VPN pick for 2024. 

ExpressVPN is a regular mention in the debate surrounding the best VPN, and it's no different for iOS devices. Its iPhone VPN app boasts a simple design that makes it perfect for beginners. ExpressVPN takes all of the difficult, techy decisions and automates them for you with the help of their industry-leading experts. A single tap means you're connected instantly with the most secure and fastest connection possible.

ExpressVPN leads the way with its post-quantum encryption, meaning your data is safe from the risks of Q-day. In addition, it offers some unique features, including its groundbreaking Lightway protocol, a cross-platform password manager, and built-in ad, tracker, and malware blocking to further protect your privacy.

Try ExpressVPN with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Threat Manager helps you stay safe online by preventing third-party trackers and ads from collecting information about you. Besides stopping third parties from profiling you based on your searching habits, Threat Manager also safeguards your device from malware threats and malicious URLs.

In my last round of testing, ExpressVPN unblocked every streaming service I threw at it, every time and everywhere. That includes Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and so much more. Plus, regularly refreshed IP addresses mean you're far less likely to find a site/service that suddenly doesn't work anymore.

With over 3,200 RAM-only servers across 105 countries, you can safely access the internet from anywhere in the world, and unblock local content and services there, too. If you want anything to bypass the VPN encryption, you can do so in the split tunneling setting—perfect if you want to connect to the like of Apple Car Play without having to turn off your VPN entirely.

ExpressVPN's Parallel Connections feature makes its connection times faster than anyone else in the market—you connect to a server in the blink of an eye. The download speeds may not be as fast as NordVPN or Surfshark, but at 750 Mbps, that's still 30 times faster than you need to stream in 4K UHD, and well above average for the industry.

The only downside is the pricing. ExpressVPN only offers a one-year subscription, as opposed to the likes of NordVPN and Surfshark which offer discounted two-year plans. On the surface, that makes it seem significantly more expensive, but when you compare the one-year plans of each, it's far less than it seems. Ultimately, ExpressVPN is a truly premium service, and you definitely get your money's worth. See for yourself with a 30-day money-back guarantee and put it through its paces without ever risking a penny.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
ExpressVPN test results:
Design:A clean and simple design that gives you everything you need, exactly when you need it⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of use:Intuitive apps with auto-connect functionality make life easier⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Performance:Fast enough for anything you could throw at it, but slightly slower than NordVPN and Surfshark⭐⭐⭐⭐
Unblocking:Effortlessly gives you access to content around the world⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacy:Express offers military-grade protection for total peace of mind⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer support:Always available, friendly, and helpful⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Price:More expensive than leading competitors⭐⭐⭐

The best cheap VPN for iPhone

Surfshark iPhone VPN app

(Image credit: Surfshark)

3. Surfshark

A budget-friendly iPhone VPN that doesn't skimp on quality

Dedicated iPhone app: Yes | Also available for: Windows, Mac, Android. Linux | Maximum devices: Unlimited | Integrated kill switch: Yes | App Store review: 4.8

Unlimited connections from one sub
Super affordable pricing
Kill switch included
Ace app store rating
Kill switch issues under extreme testing
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want the blend of quality and affordability: Surfshark offers lots of features, unbelievable speeds, and a reliable network - for more than an affordable price

✔️ You need the fastest VPN around: Currently topping our charts with over 950 Mbps average speeds, Surfshark is faster than all of our top picks.

Don't subscribe if:

You need a bulletproof kill switch: our testing showed some issues with Surfshark's kill switch. If an accidental IP leak could put you in danger, we'd recommend ExpressVPN or NordVPN.

❌ You only want to torrent: while Surfshark supports torrenting on its service, it doesn't hold a candle to the likes of Private Internet Access or ExpressVPN. 

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

🔒 Surfshark is an exceptional value-for-money VPN. With unparalleled speeds and unlimited simultaneous connections, you get a lot of VPNs for a low price. Try for yourself and see why it's our favorite cheap VPN for iPhone with a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

Want to know more?

Check out our in-depth Surfshark VPN review and see why it is one of the very best iPhone VPNs, regardless of the price.

Surfshark is one of the best, cheapest VPN providers around, offering great features and unlimited connections without breaking the bank. There's little difference between its Windows app and iOS app—offering a wealth of tools, including ad-blocking and antivirus.

Equipped with industry-standard AES-256 encryption, Surfshark also has private DNS on each server for better protection against spying while you're online. Surfshark cuts costs, not corners, and backs that up with regular independent audits, too.

Try Surfshark with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Additionally, Surfshark recently launched its latest innovation, Incogni: a service that automatically requests the deletion of personal data stored by data brokers. It's an amazing add-on that takes a proactive approach to keeping your information private online. I've been using it for the past few months and I absolutely love it. I feel like I'm finally reclaiming my online privacy.

Surfshark ticks off all the popular streaming services, letting you unblock Netflix from anywhere in the world. Besides Netflix, it will unblock Prime Video and Disney Plus, BBC iPlayer, and other national channels across the globe. Still, NordVPN does a little better in my everyday testing.

While Surfshark offers excellent value for money and some of the fastest connections, it lacks the advanced features offered by our top two providers. Also, Surfshark's relative simplicity will be either a pro or a con, depending on how customizable you want your VPN software to be. Tech-savvy users might find Surfshark too simple, making NordVPN a better option.

Unlike its top competition, Surfshark lets you cover unlimited devices with a single subscription, meaning you can rest easy knowing all your devices are protected. In addition, you can extend Surfshark’s excellent privacy and security features to your friends and family. See why it's my favorite cheap VPN with a 30-day guarantee to get your money back quibble-free.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Surfshark test results:
Design:Easy to use and elegant⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of use:Connecting only takes a few clicks—ideal for newbies⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Performance:One of the fastest providers we tested⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Unblocking:Unblocks virtually everything you'll need⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacy:Not a comprehensive antivirus or ad-blocking solution, and some kill switch ossues⭐⭐⭐
Customer support:Browsing support articles isn't as intuitive as I'd like⭐⭐⭐⭐
Price:Real value for money⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Other VPNs I've tested and recommend

Private Internet Access iPhone VPN app

(Image credit: Private Internet Access)

4. Private Internet Access (PIA)

A great balance of performance and price

Dedicated iPhone app: Yes | Also available for: Windows, Mac, Android, Linux | Maximum devices: Unlimited | Integrated kill switch: Yes | App Store review: 4.6

Easy-to-use streamlined app
Effective kill switch
Favorable pricing
Below average speeds
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want a VPN that's proven its claims: PIA is one of the only VPN services that can say it's proven its no-logs policy in court—not once, but twice.

✔️ You want to protect unlimited devices: Like Surfshark, PIA covers unlimited devices with a single account. 

Don't subscribe if:

You want the easiest VPN to use: PIA's technical prowess and its orientation towards technical users means that it isn't the easiest for absolute beginners.

❌ You want the fastest VPN: PIA offers good speeds and is comparable to ExpressVPN, but it is nowhere near the speeds on offer with NordVPN and Surfshark. 

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

🔒 Private Internet Access is a long-standing favorite among users who put their privacy first. Put it to the test with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Want to know more?

Check out our in-depth Private Internet Access VPN review and see if it is the best iPhone VPN for you. 

Private Internet Access offers a very affordable iPhone VPN app if you're after a privacy-focused option for your Apple device. Some of its extra features add to its value and ease of use. You can make a list of your favorite locations, and even take advantage of dedicated streaming servers for more reliable content unblocking.

Those fully integrated into Apple's ecosystem will appreciate the ability to add Siri voice command shortcuts. Finally, there's PIA's InBrowser, a private browser for iOS that erases your browsing history every time you close it.

Try PIA with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

PIA is likely the only VPN provider to prove its no-logs policy claims in court, and it did that twice. Besides its proof of trustworthiness, privacy-conscious users will appreciate its AES-256 encryption that safeguards your internet traffic and protects your data from unauthorized access.

During our extensive DNS leak testing of the app, we confirmed that PIA’s DNS leak protection works as intended, meaning it won’t leak your IP address to anyone, including your ISP.

However, recent testing showed some inconsistent server speeds. If speed is one of the priorities should choose NordVPN or Surfshark. Also, if your main reason for getting one of these apps is as a streaming VPN, then you might be better off with Express or NordVPN. Besides, desktop apps are better suited to more advanced technical users, so PIA generally lacks that intuitive feel and attention to detail that comes with ExpressVPN and Surfshark.

Like Surfshark, PIA supports unlimited connections and is reasonably priced, making it an excellent pick for families or business owners. In addition, it has a 30-day money-back guarantee that lets you try its services risk-free for a month before committing to a subscription.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Private Internet Access test results:
Design:Lots of customization, but could do with some attention to detail⭐⭐⭐
Ease of use:Not the best for beginners, but great for advanced users⭐⭐⭐
Performance:Good speeds, but generally average compared to industry leaders⭐⭐⭐
Unblocking:Dedicated streaming servers and an enormous global network help you unblock anything and everything⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacy:The latest and greatest in VPN tech, and a proven no-logging policy⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer support:A mass of knowledge online and expert support on-hand at all times⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Price:Budget-friendly and offering plenty of value for money⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

PrivadoVPN running on iOS and other platforms

(Image credit: PrivadoVPN)

5. PrivadoVPN

The best free iPhone VPN

Dedicated iPhone app: Yes | Also available for: Windows, Mac, Android | Maximum devices: 10 | Integrated kill switch: Yes | App Store review: 3.3

A dedicated content-unblocking team
Excellent features, even on the free version
Fast and easy-to-use iPhone app
No security audits yet
The single-month plan is pricey
Fewer servers than ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Surfshark
Subscribe if:

✔️ You need a free but reliable VPN: PrivadoVPN doesn't hide its most important features behind a paywall, so you get reliable service without spending a penny.

✔️ You want to stream Netflix: a dedicated geo-unblocking team means that even free users benefit from Netflix unblocking.

Don't subscribe if:

You want lots of server options: while the free service has 13 locations, it's still minimal, and the same can be said for the premium service compared to the likes of PIA and Surfshark.

You need more than 10 GB of data per month: PrivadoVPN's free service has a data limit on its uncapped server speeds, but after that's used up, you go into "over quota mode," where you're limited to 1 Mbps. 

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

🔒 PrivadoVPN offers a decent mid-tier premium service, but it's hands-down the best free VPN for iPhones and overall on the market right now.

Want to know more?

Check out our in-depth PrivadoVPN review and see why this free service is so good at unblocking Netflix.

PrivadoVPN’s feature-rich and speed-oriented features make it the best free iPhone VPN solution on the market. Its easy-to-use and reliable iPhone application is intuitive and highly customizable. 

With a premium subscription, you get ten simultaneous connections, a SOCKS5 Proxy to help access geo-restricted content, an ad blocker, parental controls, and even threat protection to help keep your devices safe from malware.

Try PrivadoVPN for free with 10 GB per month.

PrivadoVPN has a dedicated team that continuously works on bypassing censorship and regional content restrictions. As a result of its efforts, PrivadoVPN is one of the only free VPN services that can reliably unblock Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Disney+. In terms of encryption and customization, with its WireGuard implementation, you get a faster, more secure VPN experience on your iPhone. 

Regarding its performance, it handles its bandwidth and transit routes, so you get reliable speeds and almost no server congestion - even on free servers. 350Mbps is more than enough for casual users looking forward to streaming in 4K, gaming online, and torrenting. 

Unlike its competition, PrivadoVPN has yet to complete an independent audit. However, a spokesperson explained to us that an audit would require months of standstill for development, and that would prevent them from delivering on the needs of their users. They reassured us that PrivadoVPN intends to pursue an audit as soon as possible, but it needs to ensure it's offering the best service it can at all times. For now, this is certainly a downside, especially for those who primarily expect security and privacy guarantees from a VPN service.

While it reserves most of its advanced features for paying customers, PrivadoVPN also has one of the most generous free plans in the industry. In addition, it offers round-the-clock customer support via live chat and email for all its iPhone users. Its premium plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, allowing you to try its services risk-free today.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
PrivadoVPN test results:
Design:A simple yet colorful design⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of use:Easy to use and clearly laid out⭐⭐⭐⭐
Performance:The low end of average for a leading service, but generally fast enough for anything you could throw at it⭐⭐⭐
Unblocking:Some hiccups despite a dedicated unblocking team⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacy:Good scores on paper, but currently lacking an independent audit⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer support:Decent email support, but not a lot of of on-site help⭐⭐⭐
Price:Nothing beats free⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

How to choose a VPN

There's no shortage of iPhone VPN options with excellent iOS support, with most providers offering dedicated apps for iPhone and iPad—which should obviously be a main consideration here. The app should also be compatible with desktops (both Windows and Mac) yet provide enough options for more advanced users to be able to tweak things as needed.

Other important factors include tight security and a fair privacy policy. The number of simultaneous connections allowed is a good thing to look for as well if you have multiple devices, as the more connections you have, the more of your devices can be covered by one single subscription. The ensuing speeds you get from the VPN provider are also well worth noting, especially if you plan to have your VPN running in the background on your iPhone at all times. 

Then, it comes down to what you're planning to use your iPhone VPN for. Looking to unlock streaming platforms? You want software with a great unlocking record. Are you looking for the most secure experience? Look out for advanced security features, too. 

Usability is another key consideration. After all, whether you're a VPN veteran or a tech newbie, you'll want a VPN app that's easy to use, intuitive, and doesn't leave you scratching your head. Look for a sleek interface and handy quality-of-life features, like a sever favorites system and quick connect options.

Finally, and this is the big one, weigh up the cost of the VPN. There are VPNs in every price range, from super cheap to premium picks, though the range of features can vary depending on how much you're willing to pay (and how long you'd like to subscribe for.)

How we tested iPhone VPNs for iOS

For over 15 years our TechRadar testing team has used our technology backgrounds, hands-on experience, and research capabilities to dive deep into the weeds of dozens of VPN services. Some aren’t worthy of our stamp of approval, but those that are included in our VPN guides have passed our rigorous tests.

To begin with, we want to make sure the VPNs we recommend are secure to use. As part of our testing, our IT experts do everything they can to find flaws. This includes trying to force the VPN to drop, and if successful looking at how well the kill switch kicks in. They also try to punch through the VPN running on one device with another device to see if any information is leaked.

Because your privacy is so important, we spend a lot of time reading the fine print of each VPN privacy policy. We take note of those that include a no-logging clause and give extra points to those that allow third-party audits of their claims.

A women's eye in the background with the UK, US, Canada, Australian and NZ flag as the symbol of the Five-eyes agreement

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Another important factor in determining privacy is where the VPN is based. There are some countries that band together to form the Five Eye Alliance. This group promises that any online, software, or tech programs from companies based in their countries will keep logs of their users for 30 days, just in case law enforcement needs to review it.

VPNs are also subject to the Five Eyes Alliance, so choosing one in a more neutral location is a security plus. ExpressVPN is based in the Virgin Islands while Proton VPN is a Swiss company.

Speed is a big must-have if you need a VPN for torrenting or streaming TV shows. Torrenting is the process of sending and receiving files, such as email attachments, to and from a specific individual. This is sometimes referred to as a person-to-person (P2P) transfer.

Usually, you’d use a VPN for torrenting when the information you are sending is confidential, like a contract, or an application where personal information is provided. In order to reduce the risk of the file being intercepted, even though it will be encrypted and hard to decipher, a VPN with a high speed is important. VPN speeds refer to how fast information travels between two points including to VPN servers, or even two people’s personal devices.

We have several test machines set up in the US and the UK and use both testing locations to tap into servers worldwide to help with our testing.

For TV streaming, higher speeds mean it’s quicker to download the movie you want to watch, and there’s less chance of lag or buffering when watching live streams of your favorite reality show, or sports game.

In both cases, we took testing of speed pretty seriously. First, we used performance testing sites, including SpeedTest, nPerf, and SpeedOfMe to determine the average speeds of our connections. These tests were run several times from various devices (PC, mobile, etc.) and from different locations. We have several test machines set up in the US and the UK and use both testing locations to tap into servers worldwide to help with our testing.

We also connected using different encryption protocols. OpenVPN has historically been the go-to, but recently WireGuard has proven to be more secure and faster. But we still test both along with the IKEv2 protocol which is commonly used on Mac devices. Surfshark came out on top with its impressive 960Mbps speeds. But even VPNs, like Express, that only have a top speed of 560, are still plenty fast to support TV streaming.

Talking about streaming services, when you travel outside of your country, or viewing area, sometimes your account will be blocked because it picks up your device’s location as being away from your home or city. It uses an IP address to determine your whereabouts.

ExpressVPN Unblocking Streaming Services

(Image credit: ExpressVPN)

Connecting to a VPN server gives you another IP address that matches the location of the server. For example, if you’re traveling to Australia from the US, connecting to a US VPN server will give you a US IP address. With this, you can access your online streaming accounts and watch your favorite shows.

As part of our in-depth testing, we try and tap into as many channels and streaming services as possible. And we don’t limit ourselves to just a couple of countries. For example, we know exactly which VPNs unlock Netflix Japan, Netflix UK, and Netflix Canada. 

Other common services and channels we test are Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Disney+. We also check out the BBC, ITV, and Channel 4 in the UK, and bother 9Now and 10Play in Australia. Our rundown of the best streaming VPNs has all the details and results of this part of our testing.

If you're interested in taking a deeper dive into how we put providers under the microscope, head on over to our in-depth VPN testing methodology page.

Our iPhone VPN testers

Meet the experts behind our best VPN guide and their favorite VPN services:

Andreas Theodorou Editor-in-Chief Tech Software
Andreas Theodorou

A privacy purist at heart, Andreas is a VPN expert that believes that the best VPN doesn't have to be the most expensive—it's about what's right for you.

Mike Williams in the dark
Mike Williams

Mike regularly reviews our top picks, and loves looking behind the curtains to see how a VPN works in the background. If there's a skeleton in the closet, he'll find it.


What is the best iPhone VPN?

With so many iPhone VPNs out there, this is no easy answer. Right now, NordVPN ranks top of our list of the best iPhone VPNs. Its impressive mix of security features, high download speeds across OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols, and its continued value for money across different plans make it the best choice for most people. Despite this, VPNs suit people in different ways, so you may find you prefer the experience on offer from other VPN providers.

Do I really need an iPhone VPN?

Even Apple's App Store is not devoid of its own share of dodgy apps (although truth be told, Google Play is a far more dangerous place to be). In terms of harmful activities, the argument that iPhone users have less to worry about than other (especially Android) users certainly has some merit. However, that doesn't mean that they shouldn't still be careful. 

iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro

(Image credit: Apple)

What does a VPN do on iPhone?

There's a multitude of reasons why you might want to download a mobile VPN app onto your iPhone. Foremost is security - the encrypted tunnels through which all data will be exchanged when connected to Wi-Fi would be a garbled mess to any hackers who do somehow manage to get hold of it.

But it's a VPN's IP spoofing that's where things get fascinating. By jumping onto a server in another location, you can effectively change location and kid your Apple iPhone into thinking that it's in another country altogether. A country or location, for example, where you can stream a wider variety of Netflix shows, and where you can get cheaper prices on services and products. And super handy if you're struggling to use WhatsApp in China or log into Facebook at your school.

Are free iPhone VPN apps worth it?

Free VPNs have their place – there's no doubt about that. An extra layer of security while using public Wi-Fi is no bad thing at all - especially if you're shopping or having private interactions.

But for the most part, it's a totally false economy. Many free apps limit the amount of data you can use each day or month, so you can mostly forget about using them for streaming and torrenting. But more than that, you're likely to get an ad-heavy app experience where the provider is probably making back cash by selling your details to third parties. Our advice...avoid it, especially when the best iPhone VPN apps on this list are so affordable anyway.

iPhone 13 Pro Max

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Do iPhones have a built in VPN?

While iPhone doesn't currently have a built-in VPN, it does offer excellent VPN support for both manual and automatic configuration when downloading any number of VPN apps. All you'll need to do, then, to install a VPN on your Apple smartphone, is select which iPhone VPN you want to sign up to, install the client, and you're away.

Do iPhone VPNs leak data?

You might've heard of an iOS bug, first reported in 2022, that lead to data leaks when using a VPN. Obviously, that's not ideal, as you want your VPN to protect you against leaks and keep your most sensitive information safe, not put it in danger.

The bug affects multiple VPN services and, even more insidiously, the user won't be alerted to the fact that their data is leaking. Currently, Apple hasn't addressed the issue—and it seems unlikely that the tech giant will—so, for now, I'd suggest doing all of your most sensitive browsing on a PC or Android device (with a VPN, of course.)

What does my ISP/mobile carrier see when I'm connected to a VPN?

The short answer? Very little. Though your ISP and mobile carrier will be able to see the VPN's IP address, they won't be able to see which sites you visit, your search history, or any files you happen to download.

However, there are a few things that your ISP/mobile carrier can see. Switch on your VPN, and the your connection timestamp, how much data you're sending and receiving, and the VPN port will be visible.

How do I manually configure a VPN in my iPhone settings?

To add a VPN manually, go to Settings > General > VPN > Add VPN Configuration > Type.

You will then choose between a number of protocols: IKEv2, IPSec, or L2TP.

You'll then need to enter a server address, as well as your username and password, and a remote ID. All this should be found in your account of your chosen VPN provider.

Once set up, you'll find VPN under Mobile Data and/or Personal Hotspot immediately when you go into settings, or under Settings > General > VPN & Device Management.

Edited by
River Hart Tech Software Editor
Edited by
River Hart

River helps take care of cybersecurity content on TechRadar—ranging from breaking news pieces, reviews, and buying guides.


We test and review VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. For example:
1. Accessing a service from another country (subject to the terms and conditions of that service).
2. Protecting your online security and strengthening your online privacy when abroad.
We do not support or condone the illegal or malicious use of VPN services. Consuming pirated content that is paid-for is neither endorsed nor approved by Future Publishing.

Andreas Theodorou
Editor-in-Chief of Tech Software

Andreas has been with TechRadar as Future PLC's Editor-in-Chief of Tech Software since March 2023, supporting content and teams on VPNs, antivirus, and other cybersecurity tools. He's previously written for and led content at ProPrivacy, Business2Community, and The Tech Report. After completing a Master of Research degree, Andreas fell in love with all things cybersecurity; combining his passions to help expose the prevalence of ad tech in the charity sector and raise awareness of digital privacy around the world.

With contributions from