Best VPN for iPhone
In recent years, mobile internet use has sky-rocketed, to the point where mobiles have now overtaken desktop computers in terms of how often they are used to access the internet. One of the most popular mobile devices is Apple's iPhone, which holds a large market share and accounts for a significant amount of internet usage.
However, as mobile internet use has increased, so has the need to take precautions in terms of online privacy and security. Indeed, people using mobile devices to access the internet need to take the same precautions they would with a computer and one important way of doing so is through the use of a Virtual Private Network, or VPN.
The iPhone runs on the iOS operating system, which includes a built-in VPN client, offering support for PPTP and L2TP/Ipsec protocols. In addition, since 2013, VPN services have also been able to provide iPhone customers with the most secure OpenVPN encryption, through the installation of the OpenVPN Connect software.
Today, just about every major VPN provider on the market offers some level of support for iOS and each claims that their service is the best. So which is really the best VPN for iPhone users?
VyprVPN enjoys a solid reputation for its iPhone support and it is clear to see why. Their dedicated app has been designed to simplify VPN setup on the device and remove the need to manually configure iOS VPN settings. It is easy to use, has a slick design and does not require a new profile to be installed each time a user switches servers.
The app includes some nice features, such as the ability to sort server lists in a number of ways and the option to select 'Favourites', allowing customers to return to particular servers easily in the future. Additionally, a ping test function automatically finds the fastest available server, speeding up the connection process. VyprVPN has a lot of experience and technical knowhow through their mothership, Giganews. The usenet provider is one of the biggest and oldest players in the field.
An emphasis is placed on speed, with the company promoting its 'One Swipe Connect' capability. Another helpful feature is the auto-reconnect option, which means that the app will automatically reconnect to a VPN server in the event that a user becomes disconnected for any reason. PPTP and L2TP protocols are supported from within the app, while OpenVPN requires customers to download configuration files and the OpenVPN Connect app.
The HideMyAss app provides support for the PPTP and L2TP protocols and HideMyAss recommend that customers use L2TP on mobile devices for the best results. For users who wish to use the more secure OpenVPN protocol, both TCP and UDP versions are available, but customers will require the OpenVPN Connect app, available separately.
Connecting to a server is relatively straightforward, although if a user wishes to switch servers, they will need to install a new profile and overwrite any VPN profiles that are currently installed. The app itself has a clean and basic design, and can be navigated easily, even by those with limited technical knowledge.
Servers can be sorted by country or chosen at random, which some customers may feel adds an extra level of anonymity. In addition, the app includes features like a 'Favourites' option, which allows customers to save servers so that they can be found again quickly in the future.
IPVanish's iPhone app is available for devices running iOS version 8.0 or later. The app is fairly basic, although perfectly adequate for most users' needs and has a simple interface, making it suitable for complete newcomers to VPN technology. It has been optimised for use with iPhone 5 and iPhone 6, but will work with other devices.
As with other providers, PPTP and L2TP encryption protocols are supported from within the app and can be set quickly. The OpenVPN protocol is also available to IPVanish customers, albeit through the OpenVPN Connect app.
One minor downside is the company's simultaneous connections policy, which is slightly more restrictive than several other providers. Although two simultaneous connections are allowed, one device must utilise the OpenVPN protocol, while the other device makes use of a different encryption protocol.
PureVPN provides its main support for the iPhone in the form of an app, which is available to download from the App Store. The app is incredibly easy to use and all of the major features, such as server selection, settings and subscription options, are accessible from the main dashboard. Moreover, the app has a built-in tutorial for new users, showing them exactly how to connect to a server and protect their privacy.
Some of the key features of the app include a purpose selection tool, which helps customers to find the most suitable server and protocol based on their intended use, as well as a country selection tool, where users choose their server manually, based on location.
PPTP and L2TP protocols are offered by the app, while once again OpenVPN is available via the OpenVPN Connect app. Another excellent feature is the 'Refer and Earn' option, which allows customers to refer a friend. If that referral results in the person subscribing, the customer who referred them will receive a cash reward.
Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access is regarded as one of the big names on the VPN market today, although their support for the iPhone falls slightly short of some of the other provider's on this list. Indeed, despite having software clients for Windows, Mac OSX and even Android, the service does not currently have a dedicated iOS app.
That is not to say that iPhone devices are not supported, but it means that manual setup is required and some of the more advanced settings are missing. Some basic setup guides for the PPTP and L2TP encryption protocols are provided on the main website and these guides should be sufficient for most users to make sense of.
For those who wish to utilise OpenVPN for the best possible level of security, the OpenVPN Connect app will need to be installed. Private Internet Access are then able to provide the necessary configuration files to make use of their service through that app.
Private Internet Access is a perfectly acceptable option for iPhone users, but falls short of the others listed on the basis that it does not offer a dedicated iPhone app. Meanwhile, HideMyAss provides an app, but is hindered somewhat by its basic nature and a lack of truly exciting advanced options.
VyprVPN's app is an impressive offering, providing some nice features, as well as the ability to switch servers quickly and painlessly. Likewise, IPVanish is a solid choice, although its app is also on the simplistic side and may not satisfy more experienced VPN customers.
In the end, it is PureVPN which stands out from the crowd as the best choice for iPhone users. Their iOS app has a great layout and includes some very nice features, such as the purpose selection tool and the tutorial. Furthermore, the 'Refer and Earn' policy gives customers a strong incentive to encourage others to join the service.