Article updated on April 14, 2024 at 2:05 AM PDT

Best iPhone VPN of 2024

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

Our Experts

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
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
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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Editors' choice
See Price at ExpressVPN

Best Overall VPN


Privacy protection and transparency

Savings 49% off with 12-mo plan (+3 free months)
  • 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)
  • 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

ExpressVPN is currently CNET’s pick for the best VPN overall, scoring an 8.8/10 on our VPN rating scale. It’s a veteran VPN provider that consistently demonstrates a strong commitment to privacy and transparency. It’s also excellent for streaming and the easiest VPN app to use on any platform, including iPhone. For the best, you’ll need to pay a premium: ExpressVPN is one of the most expensive VPN providers currently on the market. The service costs $13 per month, $60 every six months or $100 per year, which is considerably more expensive than the $11 per month or $60 per year that Surfshark charges. NordVPN is more in line with ExpressVPN on price at $13 per month or $100 annually (after a promotional $60 price for the first year).

Although fast enough for almost any online activity, ExpressVPN’s speeds are not quite as fast as some of its competitors, based on our latest speed tests. In 2024, we measured a 24.8% average speed loss with ExpressVPN. This is still fast, considering that many VPNs can slash your internet speeds by 50% or more. We saw substantially better speeds from NordVPN (11% speed loss) and Surfshark (17% speed loss). Still, ExpressVPN’s speeds were largely consistent and aligned with our expectations across protocols and server locations. Overall, we registered the fastest speeds through ExpressVPN’s proprietary Lightway protocol, which is engineered for speed and security. Overall, speeds were generally faster to relatively closer server locations like New York City and the UK, and slower to distant locations like Australia and Singapore. Either way, ExpressVPN’s speeds were still fast enough for general browsing as well as for more data-intensive activities like streaming, gaming and videoconferencing -- especially if you use Lightway.   


The company’s latest independent audit is slated to be published soon, building on its industry-leading audit count. ExpressVPN says it collects no logs, a claim bolstered by a . In addition to its transparency efforts, ExpressVPN’s privacy protections are top-notch and forward-thinking. The provider recently upgraded Lightway with post-quantum protection to help guard against future threats from quantum computers, along with encryption enhancements to better protect against threats like eavesdropping and man-in-the-middle attacks. ExpressVPN’s TrustedServer technology elevates the protections of the traditional RAM-only server architecture by reinstalling the entire software stack with every reboot.   

In addition to offering excellent privacy protections, ExpressVPN delivers the most consistent and streamlined VPN app experience for iPhones. Its minimalist interface is simple to use, whether you’re an advanced VPN user or if you’ve never used one before. The app settings are easy to navigate and finding a server location is straightforward. We like how the app always connects in a snap, which isn’t always the case with other VPNs -- like Surfshark -- which often struggle to connect immediately on the first attempt. In addition to a kill switch, protocol selection and an Advanced Protection tool to block ads, trackers and malicious sites, ExpressVPN’s iOS app includes Keys, a fully functional password manager at no additional cost.

If you want the best for streaming, ExpressVPN is a good bet because it effortlessly unblocks all sorts of streaming content, including Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video. The provider also recently bumped its simultaneous connection allowance up to eight, which is slightly more generous than NordVPN’s six simultaneous connections, but considerably less than the unlimited simultaneous connections allowed by others like Surfshark, PIA and IPVanish. If you’re not satisfied with the service, you can request your money back within 30 days of your purchase.   

See Price at Surfshark

Best Cheap VPN


Extensive features at a great price

Savings $2.69/mo with 24-mo plan (+4 free months)
  • Lots of unique security features
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • RAM-only server network
  • 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 the 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, an IP rotator, obfuscation, an ad and tracker blocker and a kill switch. If you’re a fan of multi-hop connections, you’ll be happy to know that Surfhark offers the most flexibility out of any other VPN in that department. This allows 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 out 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.

See Price at NordVPN

Best VPN for Speed


Perfect for power users

  • Reliable, competitive speeds
  • RAM-disk servers
  • Feature-rich software
  • Visual server map could use additional functions
  • Discounts steeper for longer contracts
  • Only six simultaneous connections allowed
Price 67% off + 3- month VPN coupon with every 2-year plan bought
Latest tests No leaks detected, 11% speed loss in 2024 tests
Network 6,000-plus servers in over 60 countries
Jurisdiction Panama

NordVPN is one of the best-known VPNs on the market, partly due to its widespread marketing campaigns. Nord remains a popular virtual private network option because of its fast connections, privacy-focused features and excellent geo-unblocking for streaming services. Its combination of user-friendly design that doesn't compromise on settings makes it an outstanding choice for casual VPN newcomers and seasoned power users alike. 

NordVPN’s iOS app is a breeze to use and requires no learning curve. If you’re familiar with Nord’s desktop app, you’ll find that its iOS app offers a similar experience, with a Quick Connect functionality and easy access to its server list and Meshnet. NordVPN’s iOS app isn’t as feature-rich as its Android app, but it includes an always-on kill switch, Threat Protection, multi-factor authentication and dark web monitoring. You’ll also have easy access to a Statistics dashboard which displays information like your connection status, VPN IP address, connection time and protocol information.

We appreciate NordVPN's commitment to privacy and security. In addition to features like Onion over VPN (Tor) and Double VPN, NordVPN offers access to obfuscated servers to help give you an extra layer of privacy. Additionally, a 2023 audit by Deloitte backed up its no-log claims for improved transparency. While zero-logging policies are impossible to verify with absolute certainty, third-party audits provide peace of mind. On the entertainment side, we had no issues streaming US and UK Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney Plus libraries on iOS.

At $13 per month, $60 for the first year or $96 total for the first two years, NordVPN sets you back less initially than premium VPN rivals like ExpressVPN, but more than budget-oriented companies like Surfshark and PIA. The price spikes to $100 annually after the initial billing period on the one- and two-year plans, which aligns with more expensive VPN providers like Express. NordVPN’s global server network includes more than 6,000 servers spanning over 60 countries. That’s a little short of the international reach of competitors like Surfshark and ExpressVPN, but a planned expansion in Q1 of 2024 should increase Nord's server count to 100 countries. Overall, NordVPN sports advanced privacy features in an intuitive service.

See Price at PIA

Best Cheap Alternative


Budget-friendly and transparent

Savings $40 per year or $12 per month (3-year plans available at $79 every three years)
  • Extremely cheap prices
  • Open-source apps
  • Linux GUI app
  • Solid privacy and transparency
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Great for streaming service unblocking
  • 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, or PIA, is one of the best cheap VPNs on the market. Its wallet-friendly pricing sets you back just $12 per month, $40 per year or $79 for three years. By comparison, many VPNs like NordVPN and ExpressVPN typically charge $100 per year. While the value-packed Surfshark charges $48 for your first year, its price jumps to $60 after its initial introductory pricing, whereas PIA foregoes price hikes altogether in favor of transparent pricing. 

Despite its relatively low cost, PIA doesn’t cut corners with any of its apps, including its iOS app. Although it’s not the most feature-rich VPN, you’ll get a solid privacy suite on your iPhone, including a kill switch that stops your internet if your VPN gets disconnected, protocol selection (OpenVPN, IKEv2 and WireGuard) and encryption settings that allow you to fine-tune the level of encryption you use. Another feature we like is PIA’s Automation feature, which allows you to automatically connect to the VPN when you’re on a specific network or network type. For example, you can set your PIA iPhone app to automatically connect when you’re on an open Wi-Fi network or on a mobile network. This is especially useful if you want to protect your data on your iPhone when you’re out and about. PIA also boasts unlimited simultaneous connections the pricier NordVPN and ExpressVPN limit you to six and eight, respectively. 

Its extensive network of 35,000 servers spread throughout 91 countries (including in all 50 US states) makes Private Internet Access great for travel. PIA offers nearly as many individual country locations as rivals like ExpressVPN (105) and Surfshark (100), while trouncing competitors ProtonVPN (69), NordVPN (60) and IPVanish (52). In our experience, we found PIA unblocked Disney Plus, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video on both US and UK servers, making it a good VPN for streaming

PIA delivered middling internet speeds in our testing with an average speed loss of 49%. All VPNs slow down your connection somewhat, with the fastest VPNs offering an average internet speed loss of 20% or less. For instance, NordVPN -- the quickest VPN we benchmarked -- provided a best-in-class 11% reduction, while Surfshark clocked a solid 17%. Folks with faster internet connections like fiber shouldn’t notice a difference even with a higher speed loss, but PIA isn’t ideal for people with slower speeds like satellite internet users. Even a 50% speed loss with a 50Mbps connection is still enough for some bandwidth-intensive activities like 4K video streaming (Netflix recommends a minimum of 15Mbps). With its decent features, pricing transparency and subscriptions that significantly undercut the competition, PIA remains a solid VPN that’s gentle on the pocketbook. Its relative affordability compared to VPN rivals makes PIA’s speed issues easy to overlook.

See Price at IPVanish

Best Beginner VPN


Simple, newbie-friendly interface

Savings 66% off with 12-mo plan
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Simple, user-friendly interface
  • 24/7 customer support with live chat and phone support
  • 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 additional years. The monthly plan costs $12 per month and doesn’t include any discounts or introductory pricing. 

The best iPhone VPN of 2024

Using a VPN on your iPhone will encrypt your internet activity and browsing habits, blocking your ISP and mobile carrier from seeing your browsing info. A virtual private network will also keep your IP address hidden, which will block websites and apps from seeing your physical location. The best iPhone VPNs do this while offering extra features in easy-to-use apps.

iPhone users expect a high level of service when it comes to Apple's signature smartphone. Choosing any of the best VPNs for the iPhone means users will look for quality security options, sleek design features and a user-friendly interface. Our experts at CNET have tested roughly a dozen of the top VPN providers on the market, implementing a diverse set of platforms, use cases and devices to figure out which are the best of the bunch.

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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 protection and simple, user-friendly mobile interface. Although 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. 

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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. 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. If you can get past these design and usability quirks, Proton is the best free option and an excellent VPN solution overall.

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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.  

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Factors to consider in an iPhone VPN

With so many iPhone VPN apps available, it can be difficult to choose the right solution. Based on 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:


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, 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.


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. 


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. 


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 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. 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.   

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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.   

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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) and 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.

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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 your 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.

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