The iPhone and its installed iOS operating system are miraculous technological feats. Essentially a pocket-sized computer, Apple has focused on security to protect all the enhanced capabilities the device touts. Apple die-hards insist that their devices are far safer than those featuring Windows or Android operating systems.
Your iPhone needs a VPN
The topic of which device is more secure is up for debate, but the safety of the internet is not. Once your data heads off to a server and the internet, it no longer lives in the bright, shiny world of iOS. Sure, cellular data is reasonably protected unless you encounter some very sophisticated hacking techniques. However, Wi-Fi is a different story.
Unsecured Wi-Fi networks are available in almost every public setting these days. From the airport to the long lines at the grocery store, iOS devices are being connected to these networks to save valuable cellular data.
Once connected to an unsecured wireless network, the iPhone or iPad is made vulnerable to spying on virtually any piece of information sent to and from the device. This could mean passwords, credit card numbers, or text messages fall into the wrong hands.
iOS VPN limitations
Before closely examining what we should expect from and look for in a VPN for iOS devices, it is important to understand that there are limitations to these apps.
A VPN does encrypt the information leaving your phone or tablet on the way to its servers. However, once it leaves the VPN server, it is no longer encrypted and is vulnerable to interception. While less likely than being exposed on public Wi-Fi, it is essential to take steps to protect information to the destination.
It is also important to realize that while a VPN may suggest it can root out malicious websites or phishing attempts, you should remain diligent. A VPN cannot protect you from entering your personal information on a site that intends to steal it.
Things to look for in a VPN for iOS
Many of the VPN providers available for iOS offer similar features that should be tested using a free trial when possible. The value of each element and usefulness of specific functions depends on how you use your device and what you expect of a service.
When selecting a VPN service, keep in mind what is important to you personally and ignore the shiny objects many offers dangle in front of you. If you travel infrequently, convenience and simplicity may be most important. If you are a business traveler always on the move, server availability might be key.
In no circumstance is a free VPN a good idea. The vast majority function poorly, are ad-laden, or sell user data to cover the cost of a free service. Bandwidth is often restricted as well, making the VPN useless after a short time. They say nothing in life is free and this is the case when discussing VPNs.
There are plenty of economical options available for iOS, and many offer free trials and discounts for paying for a year in advance. Lower priced offerings may have fewer features but allow you to have confidence in their capabilities.
Server availability and location
Multiple aspects make the number of servers a VPN offers and their locations important. Depending on your intended use, some of these factors may seem irrelevant but could come into play some day.
If you intend on using your VPN while streaming videos or playing games on your device, a VPN that offers servers close by may be beneficial. The shorter the physical distance to the server, the faster the connection could be.
For those who intend on using a VPN to avoid geo-blocks, further investigation on the server locations is important. If you are hoping to watch content only available in India, you will need a VPN that has servers located there. If Netflix is your intended spoofing target, read a little further for a conversation on that specifically.
For iOS believers, Apple does a great job of protecting devices from ill-intended hackers. It would be a shame to download a VPN to your iPhone that ends up risking the privacy of your data and internet behaviors.
Transparency is key to being able to identify any privacy issues and any VPN provider that refuses to divulge such information should be avoided. The policies should clearly define the type of data collected and what happens to it in the long run.
Apple is incredibly protective of the security protocols used by app developers intended for the Apple Store. It sounds counterintuitive but finding a VPN that uses a protocol like OpenVPN, rather than the preferred IKEv2 or IPSec, will ensure extra scrutiny by the Apple security team.
OpenVPN is open source allowing many experts in the field to vet its security and durability. Its speed is also considered top notch. Consider using a VPN that uses OpenVPN protocols if its other features align with your needs.
Additional security features
The best VPN services go beyond simple encryption and IP address masking. Ad blocking, reinforced firewalls, and automatically disconnecting from the internet if the VPN shuts down may not sound useful but symbolize a service dedicated to excellence.
Another popular feature surfacing lately is the possibility to pay with Bitcoin or other similar digital currencies. Others will accept retailer gift cards. This provides further anonymity by not linking a credit card and billing information to the individual downloading the service.
5 Great VPNs for iOS
You have the criteria now to determine what VPN is best for you and your online behaviors. Here are five great VPN options for iOS to choose from and a few highlights about them.
- Up to six simultaneous connections.
- More than 5,000 servers around the globe.
- Blocks ads and takes your privacy seriously.
- Plenty of servers around the globe and fast connection speeds.
- Up to seven licenses for simultaneous use.
- Does not allow location spoofing in a streaming mode which could be a negative for some.
Golden Frog VyprVPN
- Allows peer-to-peer for those looking to torrent while using a VPN.
- Does keep some browsing data.
- Limited licenses mean fewer simultaneous connections.
- Allows torrenting.
- Strong network of servers.
- Interface is clunky and not necessarily great for anyone new to VPNs.
- User-friendly app helps you choose which servers to use based on your needs.
- Fast connections with a diverse array of servers around the world.
- Allows peer-to-peer and BitTorrent.
Download the right VPN for iOS
For iOS users, downloading a VPN should be focused on protecting your privacy and the data that is leaving your device. Apple provides excellent coverage for antivirus and antimalware protection. Thus, the addition of the proper VPN can make your iPhone or iPad a fortress against hacks.