If you're wondering if you need a virtual private network (VPN) on your iPhone, chances are you're already enjoying your privacy. Your data is the hottest product in the world and while privacy is starting to get the attention it deserves, you need to protect yourself using the tools at your disposal.
Internet service providers (ISPs) track everything you do online and often share this data with government agencies. Also, the websites you visit follow your IP address, which means they know there where you are and can understand who are you. You can't even escape using public WiFi, as it increases the risk of hackers and corporate surveillance. Fortunately, VPNs can protect you from all of this while you're connected. If you want to know more, read on …
What is a VPN?
A virtual private network (VPN) is a technology designed to guarantee online privacy. A VPN achieves this by doing two important things:
- It encrypts your data so that it is completely protected from prying eyes. It stops spying on your data, whether it's your ISP, the government, or hackers trying to invade your privacy.
- A VPN hides your real IP address and provides you with an alternative IP address in a remote location of your choice. This prevents websites from knowing where you are. Not only does this prevent websites from tracking your iPhone, but it also means that you can pretend to be in another country to bypass local restrictions or international geographic restrictions.
How it works?
A VPN works using an app that you install on your iPhone. This application allows you to click on “connect” to the location of the server of your choice.
When you click on “connect”, the VPN application encrypts your data and sends it to the VPN server. Commonly called “secure VPN tunnel”, this encrypted information is not accessible to anyone during their journey from your device to the VPN server.
Of course, this is only a very brief explanation of what a VPN is and how it works. If you want to know more, we cover this – in a non-technical way – in our What is a VPN? Beginner's guide.
Do I need a VPN on my iPhone?
If you want digital privacy and additional security online, you need a VPN. No matter which device you use, if you don't encrypt your data before it leaves your device, it can be tracked. In addition to strengthening your online protection, an iPhone VPN is useful for several other things, such as:
Get stuff from home on vacation
When you travel abroad, many websites and services from your home country are no longer available. This is due to the geographic restrictions put in place by these websites. With a VPN, you can pretend to be back home by connecting to a server in your country. This allows you to access websites and services where you are the country of origin, even when you are on vacation. For more information, see our VPNs to use during your vacation.
See more Netflix
The Netflix catalog varies from country to country due to different license agreements, which means that some territories have a lot more content than others. With a VPN, you can access the larger Netflix libraries to stream much more content to your account. For more information, check out our guide to the best Netflix VPNs.
Broadcast foreign TV channels
Foreign TV channels such as the BBC's iPlayer are geo-restricted so that they are only available in this country, which is another factor in international license agreements. With a VPN, you can become a digital globetrotter by watching any regional TV channel you want. Find out more with our best VPN guide for BBC iPlayer.
Watch international sports competitions
Services like MLB.TV, UFC Fight Pass, F1 TV, Sky Sports, BeIN sports, ESPN and Fox sports are not available in all countries. However, with a VPN, you can unblock these channels to stream more sports with your VPN. A VPN also allows you to watch local tournaments such as Wimbledon for free.
It should be noted that VPNs do not bypass the need to subscribe to premium services, but they can provide access to channels around the world that could broadcast the same paid content for free.
Buy things cheaper
With a VPN, you can change your location, which can lower the cost of airline tickets, hotel reservations, and online service purchases. The world is your oyster when you're connected to a VPN because you can always shop around for better deals.
Are there any disadvantages to using a VPN on iPhone?
We would say that using a VPN on your iPhone, or any device for that matter, quickly becomes a necessity, but there is one major caveat to consider before subscribing …
Potential for slower speeds
Using a VPN requires that your data be routed through a VPN server. It also requires that your data be encrypted to secure it. These two tasks will slow down your Internet traffic. There are around 850 commercial VPN providers on the market, and the vast majority of them use slow servers. As a result, when you connect to these VPNs, your Internet will shutdown abruptly.
There are approximately 850 commercial VPN providers in the market
The best VPNs use “level 1” fast servers capable of providing ultra-fast connections. These VPNs can manage your traffic and “tunnel” it quickly, so the speed loss you experience is negligible. However, even a a fast VPN will slightly slow down your Internet; it's just that the loss of speed is very minimal.
To learn more about the impact of VPNs on your speed, see our VPN speed test guide, where we do daily tests on many VPN services.
But isn't iOS encryption the best?
IOS encryption is used to secure your passwords on your device and to encrypt your device when it is locked. It also encrypts the data you send back to Apple's servers. However, this is where this encryption ends. IOS encryption does not encrypt your web browsing data (as this is not the purpose of iOS encryption).
IOS encryption does not encrypt your web browsing data
You have to encrypt your web traffic yourself if you want to prevent your local ISPs and WiFi hotspots from accessing your data, and the only way to do that is by using a VPN. Additionally, when you visit HTTP websites, it is possible that hackers may steal your passwords or card details – that's why VPN encryption is so essential.
Where can I get a VPN?
You can download VPN software for your iPhone from the App Store. Indeed, all the best VPNs have made their application available on the Apple Store.
Unfortunately, there are hundreds of VPNs that dilute the market, so it is not advisable to search for a VPN on the App Store. A lot Free VPNs are known to contain malware, malicious ads, and spyware. Additionally, studies have shown that many free VPNs lie about the encryption they provide and that others have terrible privacy policies that allow them to collect and steal your data.
This is exactly the opposite of what a VPN should do.
Which VPN should I use on iPhone?
If you are looking for a VPN, we recommend one of the following services:
- ExpressVPN – Fantastic speeds, servers all over the world, unlock almost everything.
- CyberGhost – A beautiful iPhone application, very secure, with really cool features.
- Private Internet Access – Ideal for privacy, easy to use, has a stop switch.
If you want more information and some alternatives, check out our best VPN guide for iPhone. The VPNs we have recommended have been thoroughly tested by our VPN experts, and these are all world-class services that offer the highest levels of security and privacy. These are also services that offer the best value for money.
Alternatively, there are some free VPN services that we recommend to iPhone users. These services will not be able to unblock any streaming service, but they will help you improve your online security. See our free iPhone VPNs page for a list of services.
If you have any questions, please feel free to send us a message below. We are always happy to help.