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How to set up and use a VPN on an iPhone or iPad

Get a VPN on your phone if you want to preserve your security and privacy online.
By
September 15, 2022

If you are concerned at all about your security and privacy online, then you should definitely spend a few bucks a month on a VPN. A Virtual Private Network is when your internet traffic is rerouted to the VPN’s servers, hiding your location and what you are looking at online. It is definitely advisable if you are in the habit of using free public Wi-Fi spots to do email and online banking. You can also get a VPN for your internet router. So how do you set up and use a VPN on an iPhone or iPad? It’s very easy.

Read more: The best free VPN providers in 2022

QUICK ANSWER

To set up a VPN on your iPhone or iPad, download and install the VPN company's iOS app. Once you have signed into the app, it will ask you to install a configuration profile, which will remain in your iPhone settings. Agree to the configuration profile, and the VPN will start. If the VPN company does not have an iOS app, you can manually install the VPN on the iPhone or iPad yourself.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

How to set up a VPN on your iPhone or iPad

proton vpn on iphone

There are so many VPN providers out there that it is impossible to cover them all. But the setup of these services on an iPhone or iPad is virtually the same. So we will be using Proton VPN for our tutorial today.

Once you have installed your VPN app of choice, open it and sign up for an account, if you haven’t already done so. Or log in if you have an account.

proton vpn signin

You will then be presented with a list of countries the VPN service supports. Tap the one you want to use.

proton vpn countries list

If this is the first time using the VPN on your iPhone or iPad, you will be prompted to allow a VPN configuration profile on your phone. This is perfectly safe and is essential for the VPN to work on your device. So, tap Allow.

proton vpn configuration profile

The VPN will now start the connection to the chosen country, and you can begin browsing. But if you ever want to see the installed configuration profile, you can find it by going to Settings > General > VPN & Device Management. There will be a link there to delete the profile if you ever decide to stop using that VPN in the future. But until that happens, leave the profile installed.

proton vpn config profile

How to use a VPN on your iPhone or iPad

proton vpn map

As explained above, once the VPN has been installed on your iPhone or iPad, it’s a simple matter of selecting your country, and off you go. However, it’s worth going over a few of the common features you will find on a VPN.

Kill Switch

This will automatically shut down your internet if the VPN connection is lost. It will not come back again until the VPN connection is restored. It’s highly recommended to keep this on; otherwise, your real IP address will be revealed if the VPN connection slips momentarily.

Trusted Networks

You can designate certain Wi-Fi networks as “trusted.” This means the VPN will not switch on when you are connected to that network. It will, however, switch on when you are out of range of that network.

VPN Protocol

There are different types of VPNs to choose from. There’s no perfect “one-size-fits-all” VPN to cater to all user needs, so it depends on what you want the VPN for. If it’s speed you’re after, WireGuard is generally considered to be the fastest. IKEv2 is also considered to be very fast. On the other hand, if you’re more concerned about security and privacy, many people gravitate to OpenVPN.

Allow LAN connections

Usually, a VPN will move your internet traffic to their servers, thereby changing your IP address. This normally would prevent your device from finding other devices on your Wi-Fi network, such as printers, tablets, smart home accessories, etc. Many VPNs allow your device to bypass the VPN to find other devices on your Wi-Fi network.

Always-on VPN

This will constantly keep your VPN on until you decide to disable it.

NetShield

This will give you the option of blocking malware, cookies, internet trackers, and the like. It’s usually a good idea to enable this, although some sites may go a bit wonky if you’re blocking cookies.


Read more: The best VPNs for every use case

FAQs

If the VPN company does not have an iOS app for their VPN, you can manually set it up on your iPhone or iPad. Go to Settings > General > VPN & Device Management, and tap Add VPN Configuration. Get the VPN setup details from the company, and add them to the relevant fields on your iOS device screen.

That used to be the case, but since iOS 8, the VPN now stays on, even when the device is in sleep mode.

To guarantee that the VPN will truly safeguard your privacy, try to avoid free services. If they are not earning money from you, they will earn it another way, like selling your details. But paid VPNs are safe. Make sure they guarantee that no logs are kept. There are also VPN companies that accept cryptocurrency and cash if you don’t want to leave a payment trail.

It is still possible to watch geo-restricted streaming TV, but Netflix and the BBC, in particular, have been clamping down hard on VPNs. It is virtually impossible now to use a VPN for Netflix and BBC iPlayer.