Protect your privacy with the best VPNs for the iPhone or iPad

After the U.S. House of Representatives’ decision to allow broadband internet providers to sell your browsing data without your consent, web searches for Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) spiked virtually overnight. There are many reasons to consider a VPN service for your iPhone or iPad — if you use public Wi-Fi, for example, you’re an easy target for cybercriminals, so you need to protect yourself. VPNs can also help you gain access to region-specific streaming catalogs — like those belonging to Netflix, for instance — even if you’re technically located outside the coverage area — and they can also help stop your internet service provider (ISP) from throttling your connection without your consent.

A VPN, most importantly, enables you to protect your data from snoopers and mask your true location. It hides your online forays in a secure tunnel that outsiders can’t penetrate, but you must choose wisely since you’re trusting your VPN provider with all your online activities. If the service is free, you have to wonder how it’s staying afloat. Do some research to make sure the company behind the VPN isn’t selling your data or bandwidth to third parties.

Notes: If you’re looking for additional ways to keep your data private, check out our encryption explainer to find out what it is and why it works.

Keep in mind that you may need to install the OpenVPN Connect client and follow a guide in order to take advantage of the OpenVPN protocol on iOS. All the apps will work with IPSec or another protocol by default. You’ll find guides on most of the service provider’s websites to do this.

VPN by NordVPN

Nord VPN for iOS

NordVPN is one of the most popular VPNs for Windows and MacOS, and it’s also available for iOS. NordVPN uses the IKEv2 security protocol, which is 30-percent faster than the last generation. The app allows you to browse servers using a map, or a curated list of countries. There are currently more than 5,000 available servers spread across 60 countries.

You can connect up to six devices with a single account, and bypass blocked websites and regional restrictions with zero lag. NordVPN does not store any user information either, so your privacy is protected at all times. The app also supports a host of security protocols — including OpenVPN, IKEV2, and L2TP — and your real IP address will show as the NordVPN server IP address, thus securing your browsing experience on the go. Subscriptions vary from $12 a month to $84 annually, but Nord frequently runs promotions, for example, a three-year plan for $108, which works out to $3 per month.

NordVPN even offers a unique double encryption system that applies military-grade AES-256-CBC encryption to inbound and outbound data twice. A hit with reviewers and users alike, NordVPN should make anyone’s shortlist when looking for a robust VPN solution.

Download now from:

iTunes

CyberGhost VPN

CyberGhost VPN for iOS

CyberGhost is a solid VPN service that offers decent speeds. You can select from more than 2,500 servers in more than 60 countries, and you can connect up to seven devices simultaneously. It’s also available for Android, Windows, and MacOS.

For those abroad, it also provides secure access to streaming services. The service supports PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, and OpenVPN protocols and offers up to 256-bit encryption. CyberGhost has a decent privacy policy and doesn’t log your activity or store personal data.

CyberGhost VPN has a premium subscription plan that costs $15 per month or $50 per year, but it’s worth watching out for deals, as there are frequent limited-time offers that can bring the monthly cost way down.

Download now from:

iTunes

Private Internet Access VPN

Private Internet Access VPN for iOS

The Private Internet Access (PIA) anonymous VPN service remains a popular option on iOS. It offers a decent selection of locations across the world — 33 in all — including some regional options for popular destinations. Speeds are generally fast, and the service supports 256-bit encryption and OpenVPN, though it recommends 128-bit encryption for speed. It’s also based in the United States and promises not to log traffic and VPN usage.

While the desktop clients offer all sorts of configuration options, the iOS app is very straightforward. You log in, pick a destination from a list, and away you go. Speed information is an obvious omission, and it does sometimes disconnect you. There’s no free trial for PIA, but the service does offer a seven-day, money-back guarantee. You can pay $7 a month or $40 for the year, but there are sometimes cheaper deals if you’re willing to sign up for longer. Subscriptions include support for five simultaneous connections, which makes it a good value for the money.

Download now from:

iTunes

ExpressVPN

Express VPN for iOS

With ExpressVPN, you can connect to servers in 94 countries worldwide. You’ll also find support for 256-bit encryption and OpenVPN. There’s no logging policy, so you can rest assured the service won’t track your online activities. It’s generally fast and reliable, with good customer support should you need it.

The iOS app shows locations in a list or on a map, and you can tap to connect. There are more than 140 regions to choose from, with the option to set your favorite for later. Express VPN also offers Windows, MacOS, Android, Linux, and router apps. It supports devices running Apple TV, Fire TV, and Android TV, too.

You can try ExpressVPN for free for one day. After that, subscriptions run $13 a month, $60 for six months, or $100 for the year. There is also a 45-day, money-back guarantee. However, you can only connect with three different devices simultaneously.

Download now from:

iTunes

IPVanish VPN

IPVanish VPN for iOS

With more than 700 servers in more than 60 countries, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting connected with IPVanish. It promises zero logging, while still managing to offer support for OpenVPN and 256-bit encryption. It also allows P2P traffic, which some services block.

You’ll find the iOS app pretty easy to use. You can browse using location and popular countries. Regions such as the United States list servers by individual cities. There’s little else to it.

It has a wide range of subscription plans — $10 a month, $27 for three months, or $75 annually. It provides unlimited bandwidth, and you can have up to 10 simultaneous connections on multiple devices.

Download now from:

iTunes

Do you have any more questions about VPNs? Here’s everything you wanted to know about VPNs but were afraid to ask.

Mobile

G’day, Google: U.S. users can now give Assistant a British or Australian accent

U.S. Google Assistant users can give their Assistant a different voice. Google has updated Assistant with the ability for users to give it either a British or Australian accent, which could make it a little more personal for some.
Home Theater

5 sonic stocking stuffers to improve your loved ones’ listening life

Looking for some simple and affordable gifts to get the music nerd in your family? Here are five great gift ideas that will improve their listening life -- and won't cost you an arm and a leg to give them.
Music

Tune in to the best internet radio stations for your listening pleasure

Even in the streaming era, radio stations get some of the best exclusives and curate some of the finest handpicked playlists around. Here are the best internet radio stations, for your listening pleasure.
Gaming

Apple Mac users should take a bite out of these awesome games

Contrary to popular belief, there exists a bevy of popular A-list games compatible for Mac computers. Take a look at our picks for the best Mac games available for Apple fans.
Movies & TV

The best Christmas TV episodes and specials

To help get you in the spirit of the season, we've compiled a list of the best Christmas TV episodes and specials. Whether it's free episodes on your favorite streaming service, or stop-motion classics, look no further.
Computing

Microsoft’s latest patent paves the way for Andromeda dual-screen mobile device

The latest patent discovery from Microsoft showcases a new hinge design for quickly opening a dual-screen mobile device with a single hand. Could this be additional proof surrounding the rumors of the company's Project Andromeda device?
Mobile

Leave the laptop at home, the iPad Pro is the travel buddy to take on vacay

The iPad Pro is a powerful tablet that's perfect for creatives and professionals. How does it fare when traveling with it as a laptop replacement? We took it on a two week trek in Japan to find out.
Mobile

Need to record calls on an iPhone? Check out our handy guide

Are you wondering how to record calls on your iPhone? It isn't as easy as you might think, but we'll walk you through the process of doing so with Google Voice, and identify several other apps and external voice recorders that can help.
Home Theater

Set your ears free with the best completely wireless earbuds

If you can't stand the tangle of cords, or you're just excited about completely wireless earbuds, you're going to need some help separating the wheat from the chaff. Our list serves up the best true wireless earbuds around.
Mobile

Apple is spending $1 billion to hire up to 15,000 new employees in Austin

Apple has announced a series of expansions across the U.S. -- including a massive expansion to the company's Austin campus that will see it spending $1 billion to accommodate for up to 15,000 new employees.
Outdoors

Google Maps makes it easier than ever to find a Lime bike or scooter

Google Maps has added a new feature that helps you find a Lime bike or scooter in just a few taps. The feature currently works in 11 U.S. cities served by Lime, with more coming next year.
Mobile

Quirky smartphone accessories you never knew you needed

Looking for a few accoutrements to make your smartphone even better? If you, or someone you know, is a sucker for accessories, you'll want to check out our collection of quirky smartphone accessories you never knew you needed.
Mobile

Ditch your smartphone for a year and win $100k from Vitaminwater

Vitaminwater is willing to part with $100,000 if you're willing to part with your smartphone partner for a year. Could you last for a year armed with only a 1996-era phone? Here's your chance to find out.
Music

Here's our head-to-head comparison of Pandora and Spotify

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.