Setting up a VPN on your iPhone or iPad (iOS)

Three hands holding up different iPhones and iPads
Click here for a short summary of this article
Do you want to set up a VPN on iPhone/iOS quickly and inexpensively?

Do you quickly want to set up a VPN on your iPhone/iPad? Then read our short step-by-step plan below. If you haven’t chosen a VPN yet, we recommend ExpressVPN. In our opinion this is the best VPN for iPhone/iOS.

  1. Go to the ExpressVPN website and subscribe to their VPN-service.
  2. Download the ExpressVPN app from their website or from the App store.
  3. Log in with your account.
  4. Choose the desired VPN server.
  5. Turn on the VPN to secure your connection!

Want to check out more ways to install a VPN on iPhone/iOS? Then read the article below.

These days, we’re using our smartphones more and more. Just like on desktop or laptop, it’s becoming increasingly important to be able to browse the web on your phone safely and anonymously. A VPN can provide you with this increased level of security and anonymity. When using a VPN, the data you send and receive is encrypted and redirected via an external server. This greatly improves the data’s security while also increasing your level of anonymity.

In this article we’ll explain, step-by-step, how to set up a VPN connection for your iPhone or iPad.

Setting up a VPN for iPhone and iPad

Setting up a VPN for iPhone is similar to setting up a VPN for iPad. There are a few small differences though. That’s why we’ve decided to split up these step-by-step guides. First, you’ll find instructions on installing a VPN on your iPhone and then we list them for your iPad. You will certainly be able to set up a VPN on your device with the help of these guides.

VPN Turned on Screenshot

Setting up a VPN using an app for iPhone

Most VPNs have an app designed for iOS that is easy to install. Installing it should be no different from any other app in the App Store. Below you’ll find a step-by-step guide on how to subscribe to a VPN and how to install the app on your iPhone:

  1. Create an account on the website of your chosen VPN provider.
  2. Download the VPN app from your chosen VPN provider’s website or open the App Store and select the VPN app from your VPN provider to download and install.
  3. Log in with the account you have created.
  4. The VPN app has been installed and you are logged in. You will now be on the app’s home screen. Here you can select different options and adjust settings, depending on the VPN provider you have chosen.
  5. If necessary, adjust the server to the location you want and turn on the VPN. Usually, this is done with the click of a button. You will now see an icon clearly placed on your iPhone screen, indicating that the VPN is active.

Install VPN Step by Step Smartphone

Setting up a VPN using an app for iPad

The VPNs for iPad recommended by us all have an app that is easy to install. You can simply download it from the App Store and use it like any other app. To use the app, you will need to have an account with the relevant VPN provider. This whole process goes as follows:

  1. Create an account with the VPN provider of your choice by visiting their website.
  2. Grab your iPad, open the app store and search for your VPN provider’s app (or use the links provided on the website of your VPN provider).
  3. Download and install this app.
  4. Open the app.
  5. You will often need to log into the app to use the VPN. Use the account you have created previously.
  6. The VPN app is now activated, but to secure your connection you must first enable the VPN. Most VPN apps have a distinct button to do this.
  7. When the VPN is switched on you will see an icon clearly placed at the top of your iPad screen. You can use the VPN app to connect to a server in a different location. Make sure that you enable the VPN again (assuming this is not done automatically).

Setting up a VPN on iPhone without an app

Installing VPN on iPhone Without AppYou can also choose to change your network settings to set up a VPN on your iPhone. This works as follows:

  1. On your iPhone, go to ‘Settings’
  2. Go to ‘General’
  3. Scroll down to ‘VPN’
  4. Press ‘Add VPN configuration…’
  5. Enter the details of your VPN provider here. These can often be found on the website of the VPN provider of your choice (these are mostly found on your account page when logging in to the website).
  6. Press ‘Done’ and your settings will be saved.
  7. Enable the VPN by clicking the switch next to the VPN profile you have created. The VPN is now turned on (shown by the ‘VPN’ icon at the top of your iPhone screen).

Setting up a VPN on iPad without an app

If you do not want to download an app, you can also change your network settings to set up the VPN on your iPad. You can do this as follows:

  1. Go to the ‘settings’ on your iPad
  2. Go to ‘General’.
  3. Scroll to ‘VPN’.
  4. Click ‘Add VPN configuration…’.
  5. You will now be taken to a screen where you have to fill out certain data about your VPN provider. You can find this information on their site.
  6. Click on ‘Done’.
  7. Turn on the VPN by clicking the switch for the VPN profile in question. You will now see a VPN icon at the top of your iPad screen.

VPN Icon Screenshot

Setting up VPN via router or virtual router for iPhone or iPad

RouterIf you are using a VPN for multiple devices, it may be useful to set up the VPN on your router rather than on each individual device. This can be done by adjusting the firmware of your router. However, you should first check to see if your router is suitable. Should this be the case, we recommend that you install the VPN using our manual: VPN Setup on Router. Adjusting your router’s firmware involves some risk, so it’s important to follow a step-by-step guide.

You can also set up a VPN on your devices by installing it on your PC or Mac and using it as a Wi-Fi hotspot. Every device that connects to this hotspot is protected by a VPN.

Which VPN is best for iOS?

The 3 best VPN’s for iPhone, iPad and iOS are listed in another article. We currently consider ExpressVPN to be the best VPN for iOS. ExpressVPN is fast, provides excellent security, and has an easy to use interface which we think suits iOS. If you are interested in ExpressVPN you can check out some of its key features:

Great discount on annual subscription + 30-day money-back guarantee!
  • Very easy to use VPN
  • Perfect for anonymous browsing, downloading, and streaming (i.e. Netflix)
  • 3000+ servers in 94 countries
Visit ExpressVPN

If you’re on a budget and looking for a free option, have a look at our list of best free VPNs for iPhone.

Why use a VPN on iPhone or iPad?

Everyone has different reasons to use a VPN. The most common reasons are:

Setting up a VPN on iOS: Frequently Asked Questions

If you want a quick answer to your question about installing a VPN on iPhone and iPad, see if your question and answer can be found below. If not, please leave a comment and we will help you as soon as possible.

There are two ways to install a VPN on your iPhone or iPad. Please note that you first need to have an account with a VPN provider.

  • By downloading the VPN app from the App Store or by downloading the app from the VPN provider’s website;
  • After creating a VPN account, add the VPN using the settings of your iPhone/iPad.

If you have installed the VPN via the VPN app, all you need to do is open it, log in and click the button to enable the VPN.

If you have installed the VPN via your iPhone or iPad settings, you can enable it by flipping the switch next to the ‘VPN’ heading in the menu.

There are many good VPN providers for iOS. All of them will protect your internet connection and give you more online possibilities. Currently, the best VPNs for iOS:

  1. ExpressVPN
  2. CyberGhost
  3. Surfshark
Cybersecurity analyst
David is a cybersecurity analyst and one of the founders of Since 2014 he has been gaining international experience working with governments, NGOs, and the private sector as a cybersecurity and VPN expert and advisor.