How to set up a VPN on your iPhone?
Although iPhones are generally considered secure devices, using a VPN on iPhone provides cybersecurity benefits that iOS lacks. The best VPNs for iPhones protect the device from malware, secure public Wi-Fi hotspots, and prevent ISPs from monitoring one's online activities.
You might've noticed an iPhone built-in VPN in its settings. This feature is not exactly a VPN, but it allows you to connect your device manually to a chosen VPN server. The trick is that Apple does not provide VPN servers, so you'll either have to use your own Virtual Private Server (VPS) or rely on a trustworthy third-party VPN service provider.
Using a VPN configuration on iPhone options is a manual multi-step process that could be achieved with one leap – subscribing to a reliable iPhone VPN service. It is easier to use a dedicated iOS VPN app, like NordVPN, which also has more features and an easy-to-use app.
Whichever option you choose, in this article we'll explain how to use a VPN on your iPhone to the fullest. Let's take a close look.
Why should you use a VPN on your iPhone?
An iPhone VPN is an efficient way to protect the device from malware and surveillance, avoid censorship, or simply get more streaming options. Let's elaborate on each.
- Privacy and security. The best VPNs for iPhones encrypt your traffic to neutralize online surveillance and eavesdropping over public Wi-Fi. More so, it hides your online activities from the Internet Service Providers (ISPs), which in some countries, including the US, can legally monitor, collect, and sell online user data.
- Access geo-restricted content. Due to licensing agreements and copyright laws, streaming services like Netflix or Max (formerly HBO Max) offer different content libraries per country. You can use a VPN to hide your IP address and change the location on iPhone to get more streaming options, like ESPN access outside of the US. Make sure you pick a VPN optimized for streaming.
- ISP internet throttling. Some ISPs can enforce connection speed limits if they notice a vast bandwidth usage. This might be the case if you notice a speed drop during peer-to-peer file sharing or prolonged streaming sessions. You can use a VPN to stop ISP throttling and avoid online lag.
- Avoid censorship. Some countries like China, Russia, and Iran have very strict internet access controls. Although we do not recommend breaking their laws, you can cautiously use a VPN to avoid censorship and get unrestricted information access.
How to get a VPN on an iPhone?
The easiest way to use a VPN on iPhone is by subscribing to a professional VPN service. Instead of manually configuring iPhone VPN settings, you'll get a functional app with most features one click away:
- Tap on the iPhone's home screen and open the App Store
- Look for the VPN app of your choice. We recommend NordVPN – now 69% OFF
- Select the app and tap the Get button right next to it
- Confirm the installation with Face ID, Touch ID, or passcode
- Open NordVPN app and create an account
What is the VPN configuration option on iPhone settings?
Strictly speaking, the built-in iPhone VPN setting is not an actual VPN but a set of rules for creating a manual VPN connection using a third-party server. It establishes an encrypted tunnel between the device and the chosen server and uses its IP address to browse the internet. However, you'll have to go through the manual setup every time you require a new IP address.
The iPhone's built-in VPN settings are often utilized by organizations to secure remote access to corporate networks. Using additional Mobile Device Management (MDM) software, businesses establish servers that iPhone users connect to for work-related tasks. However, using such a server to avoid censorship or get more streaming options might not be a good idea unless agreed upon with business management.
You can also use iPhone VPN settings to connect to your own Virtual Private Server. For example, you can set up a server at home and use it to browse the internet while traveling to avoid internet restrictions. However, it will still use the ISP connection, compromising some levels of privacy.
After considering all, it's easier to use a dedicated iOS VPN service, like NordVPN, compared to manually setting up a VPN connection in iPhone settings. However, if you do decide to utilize this iPhone feature, below is an elaborate step-by-step guide on how to use VPN on iPhone using its in-built settings.
How to manually set up a VPN on an iPhone?
To manually set up a VPN connection on your iPhone, you must have the VPN server address and, if required, a username-password combination and remote ID. You can proceed with the following steps if you've got everything ready.
- Open the iPhone Settings app
- Scroll down and access the General tab
- Go to the VPN & Device Management option
- Tap on VPN and proceed with Add VPN Configuration
In the VPN Type field, select a VPN protocol (IKEv2, IPSec, L2TP, PPTP)
Disclaimer: Apple has removed the faulty PPTP support since iOS 10, but even newer iPhone versions lack the advanced WireGuard protocol that secures iOS VPN service providers like NordVPN
- Add the server Description name
- Input the VPN server address or hostname, like us5845.nordvpn.com
- Enter the VPN server's remote ID and local ID if required
- Enter the username-password combination if the VPN server asks for authentication
- Tap on Proxy if your VPN uses a proxy network (leave it Off if it doesn’t)
- Choose a Manual or Auto proxy setup
- During manual setup, input proxy server, port, and authentication credentials
- During auto setup, input the proxy web address in the URL section
- You should now see a Done button in the top-right corner to finalize the manual VPN setup
- Return to the main VPN screen and locate the new VPN connection you've just created
- Slide the VPN switch from left to right to connect to it
- You might be asked for authentication credentials connecting to the VPN server for the first time
Please note that the exact steps and options may vary slightly depending on your iOS version and the specific VPN protocol and server you are configuring. Additionally, ensure that you have the necessary credentials and server details from your VPN service provider or your self-hosted VPN server.
Why are companies using the VPN configuration option on iPhone settings?
Although it may lack features for comfortable personal use, the manual iPhone VPN settings setup provides excellent business-related benefits. Here's why companies choose to use it:
- Seamless VPN connection. Once set up using the steps above, the iPhone user can connect to the business VPN server from the Settings menu without any additional manual steps.
- No third-party apps. There's no need to use third-party VPN software as the VPN connection is configured in the in-built iPhone settings.
- Secure remote access. Employees can connect to business corporate networks from anywhere without taking risks. The connection is encrypted to prevent online surveillance and neutralize information theft over public Wi-Fi hotspots.
- Safe BYOD policy. The Bring Your Own Device work model is gaining traction as more employees use personal devices for work-related tasks. The built-in iPhone VPN setup is a great way to ensure personal devices have sufficient cybersecurity settings.
- Budget-friendly option. Unlike paid third-party VPN services, the iPhone's manual VPN setup does not cost anything.
Although sometimes viable for personal use, the built-in iPhone VPN feature is commonly utilized by businesses to establish a secure remote connection to corporate networks. It's especially handy for companies that allow BYOD policies and have many remote employees.
Tech-savvy iOS users can also use it to connect to a Virtual Private Server, but you'll have to go through the manual setup every time you require a new IP address. Furthermore, having a VPS in a different country to bypass geo-blocks can cost more than subscribing to a trustworthy third-party VPN service.
No less important are the additional cybersecurity features professional iPhone VPNs offer. For example, NordVPN offers a robust Threat Protection Lite tool for iOS devices that blocks malicious websites and intrusive ads. Its proprietary NordLynx protocol uses advanced encryption algorithms to ensure data safety, and the worldwide server network efficiently bypasses geo-restrictions for more online content.
The in-built iPhone VPN settings and a dedicated iOS VPN app are significantly different things. Each has its merits and limits, and knowing them will help you to stay safe online at all times.
More VPN guides from Cybernews:
What is a VPN in iPhone setting?
VPN iPhone setting has an in-built iOS feature that allows users to set up a VPN connection manually. Generally used by businesses to establish a secure encrypted tunnel between employee devices and corporate networks, tech-savvy iPhone users can also use it to connect to a third-party or proprietary VPS.
Does iPhone have an in-built VPN?
No, iPhones do not provide an in-built VPN. The VPN section found in iPhone settings is a tool to establish a manual connection to a chosen VPN server, but Apple does not provide servers themselves. It's best to use a dedicated third-party VPN, like NordVPN, to secure all iPhone traffic automatically.
Should I keep a VPN on?
Yes, it's best to keep a VPN on whenever you browse the internet outside of your home. Simultaneously, you can use a reliable VPN service, such as NordVPN, at home to bypass geo-blocks to get more streaming options, and protect your network from online surveillance and malware.