What Is VPN on an iPhone [How Does It Work & How to Set It Up]


The digital world has become a black hole of private data circulating from one user to another without consent. The possibility of having your digital privacy breached is now greater than ever, which is why many turn to VPN services in order to secure their data.

If you are curious, what is a VPN on an iPhone, how to set it up, and what are some free services for iPhone users, read on!

What Is a VPN on an iPhone?

VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a secure and private connection between two devices connected to the internet. By connecting your iPhone to VPN, these two devices can now send and receive private & confidential data, without risking their digital privacy. A VPN encrypts and redirects websites and apps between your device and the VPN servers. It’s similar to connecting to a website using HTTPS (SSL), which creates a secured & encrypted tunnel between your iPhone and the website.

When you enable iPhone VPN, all network traffic to and from your iPhone is routed through a secured & encrypted tunnel leading to the VPN servers. Both the iPhone and the server will act as if they are connected to the same local network.

DID YOU KNOW? One of the most popular misconceptions about VPNs is that they keep client logs so they can hand them over to the government, which is untrue. The only reason information might be kept is to identify potential network issues or improve services.

How Does VPN on iPhone Work?

By installing a VPN provider on your iPhone, you have the option to enable or disable the service through the app and manually choose which country you’d like your server to connect to.

Once you’ve installed your preferred VPN, you can enable it via settings. Your iPhone will then create an encrypted tunnel that connects to the servers owned by the VPN provider. Your iPhone will use this encrypted tunnel for all your personal network traffic.

So how exactly does it happen? Where does all of the data go when using a VPN on an iPhone? Well, any action you take on your iPhone that requires an internet connection sends out a request to the VPN servers. This request is then forwarded to the website itself. The response from this website travels to the VPN servers and back to your iPhone.

All of this happens in a matter of seconds and does not take much longer to load than the usual speed when you’re not using a VPN on your iPhone. The only difference is that now your connection is secure.

DID YOU KNOW? Sometimes, ISPs (Internet Service Providers) can block certain users from browsing websites. This is usually due to the current location of your IP address. With VPN, iPhone users can avoid these restrictions and can access websites that would usually be unreachable.

How to Set Up VPN on an iPhone

The easiest way to set up a VPN is by downloading it on your iPhone first. Afterward, you can set up the service in just a couple of easy-to-follow steps:

  1. Install VPN on iPhone
  2. Launch the VPN app of choice and sign in with your account
  3. Allow the app to add VPN configuration to your iOS
  4. Insert your passcode, Touch ID, or Face ID to allow changes in your settings
  5. Once enabled, you can select a server from the VPN list and connect

And that’s it! You can go back to the app and set up any specifics such as the geo-location of your VPN if you wish to use it for accessing geo-restricted websites.

Is VPN Safe for Your iPhone?

VPNs give an extra degree of security to your internet usage, so having one on your iPhone makes perfect sense. Overall, you can use a VPN on an iPhone safely. But, there are always possible risks if you don’t choose a trustworthy and secure VPN provider.

A good VPN provider will let you mask your location, thus providing reliable internet access to websites and services all over the world, as well as safety and anonymity for your data. However, if you’re just starting out with iPhone VPN and wonder how to avoid scams, pay attention to details such as:

  • VPN scams (alert pop-ups, apps with poor online reviews, etc.)
  • VPNs selling your data to advertisers (VPN services featuring a lot of unwanted ads)
  • Notably reduced data after using VPN (VPN draining your data more than the usual 10%-15%)
DID YOU KNOW? According to a 2020 VPN Consumer Usage, Adoption and Shopping Study by Security.org 68% of US internet users have claimed to be using VPN services either on their private networks or at work. The most common reasons for using VPN were: general security, general privacy, and using public Wi-Fi networks.

Is There a Free VPN on iPhone?

Although most VPN providers do require payment, there are quite a few apps that offer a free VPN on iPhone. They might not offer as many features as the paid apps do, but they have a great selection of free features that is certainly better than nothing.

SurfEasy VPN

With SurfEasy VPN you can rest assured that your information will be safeguarded thanks to the AES-256 bit encryption, as well as the no-registration policy. The app has servers in 28+ countries and has top-notch Wi-Fi hotspot protection. However, the connection does tend to crash at times.


One of the best-known free Apple iPhone VPN services is TunnelBear. This app allows you to connect to a VPN server and choose the location you’d like to connect to. The app has AES-256 bit encryption and servers in 22+ countries. The free version of the app offers 500 MB of data usage per month, which may be insufficient for some users.


Betternet encrypts all your personal data and keeps your digital privacy up to date. The app connects to the fastest VPN server available and secures a great internet connection for the user. Betternet has great reviews on the App Store, and a major plus is a fact that it doesn’t require log-ins. However, the free version of this app does offer limited features and has frequent ads, which is important to keep in mind if you want to get a VPN on your iPhone.

Larva VPN

Larva is one of the best VPN services for streaming out there, as it has geo-streaming servers located in 40+ countries. It has a very user-friendly interface and requires no specific login – all you need to do is download the app and connect to your server of choice. However, it is important to note that some users have experienced connection issues.

Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield allows you to choose whether you’d like to register in order to use the app, or not. The app’s biggest advantage is that it has servers in more than 70+ locations. It offers top-notch security and is one of the fastest Apple iOS VPN providers out there. However, the free version does come with its limitations and it’s best to upgrade to the paid version if you’re planning on using this app.

Pros of Using a VPN Network

As with any service of this kind, there are specific pros and cons. Although the main goal of a VPN is to offer a secure connection for all data transfer between your device and server, there are also things to consider before you use one of these private network services.

  • Safely Connect to Your Office Network

Nowadays, most offices actually require their employees to use VPN to access personal data. Setting up VPN on your iPhone and any other device is quite simple and will allow you to safely connect to office networks.

  • Easy Access to Geo-Restricted Websites and Content

One of the most popular reasons why people use VPNs is to gain access to geo-restricted content. For example, if users from the US want to watch content on certain streaming platforms that is currently only available in Europe, they can quickly and safely change their location and watch movies, TV shows, and TV channels from other countries, and even continents!

  • Great for Testing Websites and Apps

A little-known benefit to having Apple iOS VPN is the ability to test out your website from different points of view. If you have an app or a website, and you’d like to see if it’s available in different countries or get a feel of how it will look, you can do that by changing your geo-location. This is very useful as it shows you whether there’s anything that needs to be improved.

  • Hide Private and Confidential Data on Public WI-FI Networks and ISPs

As we’ve already explained, VPNs come in handy when you are in a situation where you have to connect to public Wi-Fi networks and local ISPs. If you access websites via VPN on your iPhone, you can do that without fearing that these networks will steal your data.

Cons of Using a VPN Network

Consider these cons as well:

  • Slower Loading Speed

VPNs route and encrypt your data, which means that your connection speed is bound to be somewhat slower than usual. Although some VPNs use Tier 1 servers to provide a fast and reliable internet connection for the setup of a VPN on your iPhone, the loading speed may still be slow.

  • Anti-VPN Software

In recent years, many websites started using anti-VPN software that does not let VPN-connected devices breach their geo-restricted content. For e.g. Netflix uses such software as it is one of the most targeted websites for VPN users. Only excellent VPN providers can break through this blocking software.

  • VPN Disconnecting

Although VPN connection issues are not very frequent, they do happen. This means that your real IP address will be revealed, leading to the potential misuse of your personal data. So, why use a VPN on your iPhone then? The chances of this happening are much smaller if you use a trusted VPN service. Also, such services use kill switch features that can prevent your IP address from being disclosed, even if the VPN connection is broken.

DID YOU KNOW? Despite the fact that a VPN can disguise your IP address and encrypt your data, cyber thieves can still hack your account. But, it’s important to remember that VPN encryption makes this much more difficult. The bottom line is that using a VPN is far safer than not using one.

To Wrap Up

With VPN, you can send and receive private & confidential data on the internet, without risking your digital privacy. There are numerous reasons why you should get a VPN on your iPhone such as establishing a secure connection on public Wi-Fi networks and accessing geo-restricted websites. However, it’s very important to keep an eye out for potential scams and misuse of personal information


What is VPN connection on an iPhone?

A VPN connection allows you to safely connect to other networks via a secured & encrypted tunnel. This means that you are using a secure connection on public Wi-Fi networks and can rest assured that your digital privacy is protected.

Do I need a VPN on my iPhone?

Most people have heard of VPNs that you use for surfing the internet safely, but what is a VPN on an iPhone? A VPN connection has multiple benefits such as hiding browsing history when you use public Wi-Fi or local ISPs and access geo-restricted websites.

Does a VPN use data on my iPhone?

Yes. The encryption procedure, according to most estimations, adds roughly 10%-15% extra data usage.

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