Performing a VPN setup on an iPhone or iPad can be a rather convoluted experience if you’re adamant to do things manually. Of course, so can visiting Australia should you insist on rowing from Palo Alto to Port Phillip Bay. But why the heck should you? Unless you can clearly articulate why using one of countless existing iOS app isn’t an option for your mobile VPN needs at this very moment, you should seriously spare yourself the headache of configuring a secure access point by hand until you’re more comfortable with virtual private networks on the whole. With that in mind, what follows is a succinct list of what we believe are currently the top five best VPNs for iOS, i.e. iPhones and iPads.
Reliable speeds, a plethora of servers choices, intelligently designed user interfaces (particularly widgets), and extremely effective Apple Watch integration. What’s there not to love about the exceptionally comprehensive package that is ExpressVPN? Well, besides its wildly understaffed customer service department, that is?
- Massive server network
- Fantastic widget implementation
- In-depth Apple Watch support
- Opposite-of-express customer service
- A few notable holes in the QoL department such as kill switches
ProtonVPN’s acquisition strategy is basically the opposite of what ExpressVPN is doing. Instead of bending over backwards for its potential customers while they’re taking its service for a spin, ProtonVPN offers a token seven-day trial limited to a small number of servers that does an impressively horrible job of representing the actual subscriber experience; which is nothing short of stellar, mind you.
- Swiss HQ’s a great figurative middle finger to those privacy-invading bastards from Washington
- Silky smooth performance on newer iPhones and iPads
- Free trial does a poor job of representing the final product
- Development only focused on optimizing for the last couple of device generations
The Third Best VPN for iOS: PIA
If it was up to us, PIA’s consumer-first approach to doing business would be the fundamental condition for even being allowed to enter the VPN market – mobile or otherwise. Alas, we’re not living in the little guy’s utopia but an absolute nightmare for personal rights created through endless clashes of corporate interests which keep perverting the already fragile Internet landscape.
You could dismiss our PIA recommendations as overly dramatic, but you know what’s not overly dramatic? Our warnings against the global establishment’s systematic efforts to maim and pulverize any and every notion of civil rights, as well as online protections thereof, in a zealously decadent pursuit of constantly thinning profit margins. Alright, yeah, that was still totally-over-the-top-dramatic-sounding, but in all seriousness, we truly believe PIA deserves a chance from most user demographics. If for nothing else, than due to its unmatched integrity manifested itself throughout its privacy policies and other practices.
- Arguably the most transparent and privacy-obsessed VPN on iOS and beyond
- Punctual updates
- The only mainstream iOS VPN provider seemingly willing to hire blind designers = bonus equal opportunity points
- The only mainstream iOS VPN provider seemingly willing to hire blind designers
- Complete lack of trialing options sticks out like a sore thumb amid other App Store VPNs
- No, really: a literal, severed thumb duck-taped to a screen showing the ‘Editor’s Choice’ carousel of iOS utility apps
The Second Best VPN for iOS: CyberGhost
CyberGhost may just be the most accessible iOS VPN the App Store currently has to offer. It simultaneously manages to acquaint users with its many functionalities and indirectly educate them about VPNs and online anonymity in general. As such, CyberGhost scratches a rather specific itch within an already well-defined niche – though one that’s extremely important to address regardless.
- A masterclass in UI accessibility
- Arguably the most elegant Apple Watch integration on the App Store
- Generous savings on longer subscriptions
- App Store listing name’s a pathetic attempt at catering to people who wouldn’t be able to tell a VPN from a proxy even if the publication of their complete Internet browsing history was at stake.
The Best VPN for iOS: NordVPN
Sure, having NordVPN top our list of the currently best VPNs for iOS is a campy choice, but camping can actually be a pretty daunting activity to execute. Doubly so when you’re surrounded by absolute chaos that is today’s online landscape – and the VPN market, in particular. While extra choices almost always amount to a direct net win for consumers overall, they are also tremendous tools for framing the consistency of a service like NordVPN, i.e. putting its decade-long track record of best-in-class performance into perspective. If anything, the firm is currently embracing mobile at the expense of its desktop core where it’s not nearly as technologically superior as it once was.
- Consistently highest speeds across countless scenarios
- Super intuitive setup that could hardly be any simpler
- Cross-platform subscription
- Cross-platform functionality non-negotiable, which many users will see as bloat
- The NordVPN breach is still fresh in our minds