Best iPhone VPN of 2024

Boost your browsing privacy on the go with the best iPhone VPNs we've tested.

Updated Jan. 28, 2024 5:00 a.m. PT

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Written by  Attila Tomaschek Rae Hodge
Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement
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Attila Tomaschek
Attila is a Staff Writer for CNET, covering software, apps and services with a focus on virtual private networks. He is an advocate for digital privacy and has been quoted in online publications like Computer Weekly, The Guardian, BBC News, HuffPost, Wired and TechRepublic. When not tapping away on his laptop, Attila enjoys spending time with his family, reading and collecting guitars.
Expertise Attila has nearly a decade's worth of experience with VPNs and has been covering them for CNET since 2021. As CNET's VPN expert, Attila rigorously tests VPNs and offers readers advice on how they can use the technology to protect their privacy online and
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Rae Hodge Former senior editor
Rae Hodge was a senior editor at CNET. She led CNET's coverage of privacy and cybersecurity tools from July 2019 to January 2023. As a data-driven investigative journalist on the software and services team, she reviewed VPNs, password managers, antivirus software, anti-surveillance methods and ethics in tech. Prior to joining CNET in 2019, Rae spent nearly a decade covering politics and protests for the AP, NPR, the BBC and other local and international outlets.
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VPNs Tested

We intensively test each VPN, making sure it meets our standards for privacy, speed and usability. How we test VPNs

Editors' choice 2024
See Price at ExpressVPN

Best Overall VPN

ExpressVPN

Privacy protection and transparency

Savings 49% off with 12-mo plan (+3 free months)
Pros
  • Strong commitment to privacy and transparency
  • Forward-thinking security enhancements
  • Excellent for streaming
  • Streamlined, easy-to-use app across platforms
  • Privacy-friendly jurisdiction (British Virgin Islands)
Cons
  • DNS leaks detected (but immediately addressed)
  • Expensive
  • Only eight simultaneous connections
  • Apple TV app needs work
Price $13 a month, $60 for six months or $100 for a year
Latest tests DNS leaks detected, 25% speed loss in 2024 tests
Network 3,000 plus servers in 105 countries
Jurisdiction British Virgin Islands

If you’re looking for the best of the best and want a VPN on your iPhone that consistently delivers (and don’t mind paying a premium for it), take a look at ExpressVPN. ExpressVPN is CNET’s Editors’ Choice best overall VPN for 2024, as well as the top pick for the best VPN for iPhone. The VPN company’s iPhone VPN may not be quite as feature-rich as others in this list like Surfshark or NordVPN, but it is far and away the most reliable iPhone VPN I’ve used. It’s fast, responsive, clean, easy to use and does exactly what I need it to do. The app’s simple interface features a prominent connect button, along with options to connect to your selected location, previous location or smart location. Additional settings and options are lined up at the bottom of the screen, neatly out of the way, but easily accessible.

Though the VPN settings are sparse, the app offers all of the critical features you need in a VPN app, including a kill switch, protocol selection (Lightway and IKEv2) and ExpressVPN’s Threat Manager ad and malware blocker tool. Also, if you’re looking to unblock streaming content on the go or while you’re traveling, ExpressVPN is your best bet for streaming. I was able to easily access content on a variety of streaming platforms with ExpressVPN, including Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video. In addition to the VPN service, you’ll have access to Keys, Express’s new password manager solution, through the same app at no additional charge. And if you run into any issues with either service, you can contact support or access ExpressVPN’s extensive knowledge base directly from the app. If you sign up through the App Store, you can get a seven-day free trial of the service. If you decide to purchase a subscription, you’re looking at $100 annually, $60 bi-annually or $13 monthly, making ExpressVPN one of the more expensive VPN providers available. However, all plans are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

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See Price at Surfshark

Best Cheap VPN

Surfshark

Extensive features at a great price

Savings $2.69/mo with 24-mo plan (+4 free months)
Pros
  • Lots of unique security features
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • RAM-only server network
Cons
  • Inconsistent speed performance
  • 14 Eyes jurisdiction (Netherlands)
  • No transparency reports
Price $11 per month, $48 for the first year (or $59.54 for 2yrs)
Latest Tests No leaks detected, 17% speed loss in 2023 tests
Network 3,200-plus servers in 100 countries
Jurisdiction Netherlands

Surfshark is an excellent option for anyone on a budget looking for a premium VPN solution with lots of extra features. Surfshark is currently CNET’s Editors’ Choice best value VPN thanks to the usability of the app and quality of the features the company is able to pack into its budget-friendly offering. The app is user-friendly, and packed with useful features like multi-hop connections, IP rotator, obfuscation, ad and tracker blocker and a kill switch. If you’re a fan of multi-hop connections, then you’ll be happy to know that Surfhark offers by far the most flexibility out of any other VPN in that department -- allowing you to create multi-hop connections out of any pair of servers you want, instead of just offering a handful of preset double VPN connections.


You can select from OpenVPN, WireGuard and IKEv2 protocols and use Surfshark’s Quick Connect function to connect to the fastest location, nearest country or any preset country of your choosing (including static IPs, multi-hop combos and dedicated IPs). I like the flexibility the app offers with the Quick Connect feature, but I found that it often took a few attempts before I was able to successfully establish a connection. While most of the other VPN iPhone apps I tested connected immediately, there were times that I had to wait 30 seconds or more to connect to a server with Surfshark’s iPhone app. If that’s not a deal-breaker for you, it’s otherwise a fantastic iPhone app. I also like that you can access Surfshark’s private search engine directly from the app -- as well as a cool new feature called Alternative ID that lets you generate a randomized persona to fill online forms without using your actual personal information. Surfshark’s $60 annual plan (after a $48 introductory price for the first year) makes it one of the cheapest top-tier VPN options available.

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See Price at NordVPN

Best VPN for Speed

NordVPN

Perfect for power users

Pros
  • The fastest VPN we tested
  • Tons of features
  • Diskless RAM-only server infrastructure
Cons
  • Not as transparent as VPN rivals
  • Complicated pricing structure
  • Only six simultaneous connections allowed
Price $13 monthly, $60 for the first year or $96 for the first two years (then $100 per year afterwards for the one- and two-year plans)
Latest tests No leaks detected, 11% speed loss in 2024 tests
Network 6,000-plus servers in over 60 countries
Jurisdiction Panama

NordVPN offers a top-notch iPhone VPN app for anyone looking for a reliable connection on the go along with a few intriguing bonus features. NordVPN’s iPhone app is easy to use and connects quickly. I like how easy it is to choose a location to connect to, as well as how easy it is to connect to specialty servers like Onion over VPN servers, P2P optimized servers and Double VPN servers. Though not nearly as flexible as Surfshark’s multi-hop options, NordVPN’s Double VPN functionality allows you to connect to nine preset double-hop combinations. Other features include auto-connect, multi-factor authentication and Threat Protection Lite (an ad/malware blocker). NordVPN’s iPhone app has a kill switch that’s always on and cannot be disabled -- but you may not know that because there is no kill switch feature in the app. I had to go digging in NordVPN’s knowledge base to confirm that its iPhone app does indeed include a kill switch. I think it would be helpful to have that information in the app itself, to eliminate confusion and give users peace of mind that their traffic is protected in the event of a VPN connection failure.

You can easily access NordVPN’s Meshnet features directly from the app to securely share files or collaborate with others. You’ll also have dark web monitoring and a security checklist right at your fingertips in the app. NordVPN’s iPhone app also includes a pretty impressive dashboard displaying information like your connection status, IP address, connection time, protocol, weekly connection stats and longest connection. While not crucial to your online privacy, the dashboard could be informative if you like tracking your connection statistics. NordVPN is an excellent VPN provider with a solid iPhone app, but you’ll need to be prepared to pay a premium for it. The VPN’s regular annual price is the same as ExpressVPN at $100 per year, but unlike ExpressVPN, NordVPN offers introductory pricing at $60 for the first year. And NordVPN’s monthly plan equals ExpressVPN’s at $13 per month.

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See Price at PIA

Best Cheap Alternative

PIA

Budget-friendly and transparent

Savings $40 per year or $12 per month (3-year plans available at $79 every three years)
Pros
  • Extremely cheap prices
  • Open-source apps
  • Linux GUI app
  • Solid privacy and transparency
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Great for streaming service unblocking
Cons
  • US jurisdiction
  • Middling connection speeds
  • Lacks more advanced features found in rival VPNs
Latest Tests No leaks detected, 24% speed loss in 2023 tests
Network 35,000 servers in 91 countries
Jurisdiction United States
Price $40 per year or $12 per month (3-year plans available at $79 every three years)

Private Internet Access (often abbreviated as PIA) is the VPN for you if you want a highly customizable iPhone VPN experience. It’s also great for anyone on a budget. PIA’s iPhone app features a prominent Connect button above a list of recently used servers you can easily connect to. Quick Settings options to toggle the kill switch on or off, enable Network Management settings (auto connect on specific networks) and access PIA’s secure browser ( a separate app called InBrowser) are all available right from the home screen. 


If you want to customize what information you have on hand on the home screen, you can set your connection screen to display things like your favorite servers, recent servers, current server, subscription type, actual IP and VPN IP, Quick Settings and connection info. Additionally, you can customize your protocol and encryption settings to your preferred specifications, which can be helpful depending on how critical your online privacy needs are. If you want to automate your connection, you can set PIA’s iPhone app to automatically connect you to a VPN server when you’re going online using secure Wi-Fi, unprotected Wi-Fi or mobile data. PIA is the cheapest option on CNET’s list of the top iPhone VPNs, with its annual plan priced at $40 per year. But if you opt for the monthly subscription, you’ll pay $12 per month, which is just $1 less than ExpressVPN and NordVPN.

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See Price at IPVanish

Best Beginner VPN

IPVanish

Simple, newbie-friendly interface

Savings 66% off with 12-mo plan
Pros
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Simple, user-friendly interface
  • 24/7 customer support with live chat and phone support
Cons
  • IPVanish identified during DNS leak tests
  • US jurisdiction
  • Buggy features with platform limitations
Price $12 a month or $54 for the first year (then $90 annually)
Latest tests No leaks detected, 26% speed loss in 2023 tests
Network 2,000-plus servers in 75-plus locations across 52 countries
Jurisdiction United States

IPVanish delivers an excellent iPhone VPN app that’s a great option for beginner VPN users. It features a simple interface that’s easy to use and connects quickly. IPVanish’s Quick Connect feature will get you up and running instantly, but if you want to optimize your speeds, you may be better off manually selecting a server with a light load because the Quick Connect feature didn’t always connect me to the most optimal server during my testing. Either way, you’ll be able to get enough speed out of IPVanish for just about anything you’d want to do online on your iPhone.


If you want access to split-tunneling while using a VPN on your iPhone, IPVanish is your best bet. IPVanish is the only provider in this list that offers split-tunneling in its iPhone app. It’s a domain-level split-tunneling functionality, so you can use the feature to select which domains to exclude from the VPN tunnel when it’s enabled. The feature worked well on my iPhone during my testing. I also liked the Connect on Demand features in IPVanish’s iPhone app, which allows you to auto-connect to the VPN when on a mobile network, untrusted networks or any domain you allocate. Or if you wish, you can also allocate trusted Wi-Fi networks in the app where the VPN will automatically disconnect. You can easily access IPVanish’s knowledge base or contact support via live chat or phone call directly from the app, which is a great option for newer VPN users if they run into issues or have questions about using the VPN. IPVanish is budget-friendly for the first year at $42, but the price more than doubles to $90 annually for any additional year. The monthly plan costs $12 per month and doesn’t include any discounts or introductory pricing. 

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The best iPhone VPN of 2024

As an iPhone user, it's of the utmost importance that you keep your mobile device -- and the information on it -- secure. To guarantee your phone's safety, we recommend having one of the best iPhone VPNs installed. When it comes to keeping its products and customers safe, Apple has a steady reputation of implementing impeccable safety and privacy features on all of its products. That said, your sensitive information can still be left vulnerable and having a virtual private network in place will put you in a strong position of security. With data encryption, using a VPN on your iPhone will block your mobile carrier and ISP from viewing your internet traffic and browsing activity. Masking your true IP address will keep you actual location hidden from prying eyes, blocking websites and mobile apps from discovering where you're logging in from.

Using an iPhone comes with certain expectations, including a user-friendly interface and eye-catching design. Any virtual private network you choose for your iPhone should have similar features along with an array of quality security details. The VPN experts at CNET have put nearly a dozen of the top VPN providers across a variety of platforms to the test to ascertain which services function best with different devices and use cases.

What is the best iPhone VPN right now?

ExpressVPN is currently CNET’s top pick for the best iPhone VPN, thanks to its excellent privacy protections and simple, user-friendly mobile interface. Though ExpressVPN is our top pick, the other VPN providers listed below are all more than worthy of consideration, depending on exactly what you’re looking for in a VPN for your iPhone. 

Other VPNs we tested

Proton VPN

If you need a completely free VPN for your iPhone, Proton VPN is the way to go. With Proton VPN, you can get access to three server locations without paying a dime. And unlike other free VPNs, Proton doesn’t put any restrictions on usage or speed. If you want the full, premium version of Proton VPN, it’s $72 per year or $10 per month, putting it in the middle of the pack in terms of price. 

Proton VPN is a great option for privacy-minded VPN users, but its iPhone app falls short of the competition in terms of app design and usability. The user interface is quite clunky, with the home screen displaying a long list of server options, at the bottom of which is an unassuming connect button. You can opt to select a server from a screen depicting a map of the world, but you can only zoom in so far, so if you want to connect to a specific country in Europe, for example, it becomes difficult to do so because the countries are consolidated into a relatively small region. Connecting to a server was also often a sluggish ordeal. But if you can get past these design and usability quirks, Proton is the best free option and an excellent VPN solution overall.

How we test iPhone VPNs

When we evaluate the best iPhone VPNs, we thoroughly test the features offered on each VPN’s iPhone app to see how they compare to the competition. We carefully consider the look and feel of the app and the overall usability of the software, including how easy it is to establish a connection -- bearing in mind the user experience iPhone users are accustomed to. We test the performance and reliability of the VPN connection on each of the protocols available in the provider’s iPhone app. We test for leaks and we pay special attention to each service’s kill switch functionality and ensure it’s working as it should. We test each VPN’s ability to circumvent geographical restrictions and access streaming sites. Finally, we evaluate each provider’s pricing to determine the service’s overall value.  

Factors to consider in an iPhone VPN

With so many iPhone VPN apps available, it can be difficult to choose the right solution. Based our extensive research and hands-on testing of VPNs over the years, these are the factors to look out for when choosing a VPN for your iPhone:

Privacy

The primary consideration for any VPN should be privacy. If your iPhone VPN is unable to deliver a sufficient level of privacy, then your VPN is practically useless. Your VPN should offer industry standard AES 256-bit encryption along with basic privacy protections like a kill switch, DNS leak protection and a no-logs policy. If your privacy needs are critical in nature, you’ll need a VPN provider that is based in a privacy-friendly jurisdiction, offers obfuscation and has a RAM-only server architecture. Additional privacy features to look out for include Tor over VPN functionality, ad and tracker blockers and multi-hop connections. It’s also important to choose a VPN that’s trustworthy, transparent and undergoes regular third-party security audits, which can help bolster trust in the VPN’s ability to protect your privacy.

Speed

Your VPN’s connection speeds can have a major influence on the quality of your streaming, downloading, video conferencing, gaming and general web browsing activities. To keep things running as smoothly as possible, you’ll want a VPN that will have as minimal an impact on your regular internet speeds as possible. 

Usability

A good iPhone VPN should run smoothly and be easy to use regardless of your technical expertise. It should have all of the features you need easily accessible with a tap of your finger. Many iPhone VPN apps also include an easy way to get in touch with support directly from the device, which can be helpful if you need assistance on the go. Basically, your iPhone VPN app should be as easy for you to use as your iPhone itself. It should have a large network of servers around the world so you can connect easily and reliably from wherever you may be traveling, and it should be able to help you access geo-restricted content from various regions. 

Cost

Depending on your budget, you may want to take into account the cost and overall value of your iPhone VPN before making a purchase. VPN pricing can vary greatly from provider to provider, but you can typically expect to spend about $5 to $13 per month for a monthly VPN subscription plan. If you want to save some money, you can opt for an annual subscription, where prices can range from roughly $30 to $100 per year. You’ll want to be careful with free VPNs, though, because you may end up risking your privacy instead of protecting it with a free VPN. Proton VPN is currently the only free VPN that CNET recommends. However, most premium VPNs offer a money-back guarantee that can be anywhere from a week to 45 days. You can also get a seven-day free trial with many VPNs when you sign up through Apple’s App Store. So you have options to try various iPhone VPNs risk-free before you decide whether to fully invest in one.   

iPhone VPN FAQs

What's the best iPhone VPN right now?

ExpressVPN is currently CNET’s top pick for the best iPhone VPN thanks to its reliability, responsiveness and ease of use. Surfshark is an excellent alternative if you’re on a budget but want an iPhone VPN that boasts a wealth of features. CNET’s third pick is NordVPN, which is a veteran VPN provider that offers an excellent iPhone app that’s a breeze to use.   

Do iPhone VPNs leak traffic?

Recent independent research claims that VPNs on iOS devices leak user traffic outside of the VPN tunnel, unencrypted. VPN providers have pointed out that the vulnerability exists on Apple’s side and affects all VPNs on iOS devices. Proton VPN outlined a workaround to the issue in a blog post, advising iOS VPN users to connect to a VPN server, enable Airplane mode (to kill existing internet connections and temporarily disable the VPN) then disable Airplane mode. The VPN should then reconnect with all internet connections running through the VPN tunnel. Proton notes that it’s not a 100% guarantee that the VPN will be rendered leak-free through this process. But it can only help.

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

Your internet service provider or mobile carrier can see that you're connected to a VPN, but it won’t be able to see the websites you visit or browsing history, because your iPhone VPN encrypts your online traffic. Your ISP/mobile carrier will also see things like the IP address of the VPN server you're connected to, the timestamps of when you're connected and the amount of data you've transmitted. If you want to hide the fact that you’re using a VPN altogether, you can connect to an obfuscated server, if offered by your VPN.