What is a VPN and how to use it on iPhone? (Ultimate guide)

There’s no doubt that the iPhone is one of the most secure devices you can carry and communicate with. Still, having a VPN can provide you additional security against cyber thefts and data breaches while using public networks and private intranet services on-the-go. However, there’s a lot more that you need to learn about before looking for any VPN apps for your iPhone.

What is a VPN?

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It establishes an encrypted and private internet connection on your device by rerouting the connection to your preferred location. Thus, not letting your online presence be visible to your internet service provider.

In layman’s language, it prevents unauthorized people from tracking your online activities or data, enabling you to do your work remotely.

Well, that was simple, eh? But how does it work? Let’s understand it better!

How does VPN work on iPhone?

Once connected to your iPhone, a VPN establishes a secure internet connection, and all your traffic and browser communication is sent via a secure virtual tunnel. The VPN acts as a safety net between your device and its network connection (see the image below).

Moreover, regardless of which geo-location you are based in, your device will mimic the VPN’s local network. This means you can access the network’s local resources without physically being there or even access geo-blocked websites with ease.

Hence, your VPN app becomes your source of data.

 

What is a VPN
Source: Cloudflare

Why would you need a VPN on your iPhone?

Why you need a VPN on your iPhone

One of the most common uses of VPN is to make your iPhone/iPad appear in different geographical locations. This is helpful when you intend to use a domain or a service, which isn’t permissible in your area. However, its key benefit is that it secures your online traffic, ad-tracking, keeping cybercriminals away, etc.

While you may have employed the most trustworthy ISP in the market, most of your browsing history is shared with advertisers to provide you a personalized experience. Besides, your ISP may also share your information with government agencies and other third parties without your knowledge.

Also, mostly while you surf using public Wi-Fi networks, your data is at utmost risk. And if you often use it, it is recommended you use a VPN at least during that duration.

Other reasons why you may need a VPN include;

  1. Using public Wi-Fi.
  2. Need to access home or business network while traveling.
  3. Concerns about your data privacy.
  4. Downloading files.
  5. Get through the internet censorship.

Now that you know why a VPN is used, you must be wondering what exactly should a VPN comprise? I got you covered with the most basic features!

What are the features of a VPN?

Server locations:

A VPN hides your data and encrypts it by creating a tunnel between the VPN’s server and your device. It makes your virtual presence at a different geographical location. Acknowledging this, you should prefer a VPN that’s spread across various countries.

Kill switch:

I won’t say that VPNs are 100% secure. This is when you need an integrated kill switch to monitor connection drops, as that’s when IP leaks happen. Not just this, it further ends the connection, interrupting encrypted data transfer.

OpenVPN support:

OpenVPN is the most secure way and usually offers two different flavors: TCP and UDP. Numerous protocols perform data encryption. Hence, the more protocol options you have, the better it is for you.

Price:

As I mentioned earlier, you have to pay an amount to use a reliable VPN on your iPhone. But, how much does a VPN cost? Well, it can be anywhere from free to $100 (a year). However, you should be able to get a good VPN within the range of a $9 – $15 monthly subscription.

It’s always best to find a deal that costs less money and offers more features. Also, look for price differences in a monthly subscription and annual plans before making a payment.

No-log Policy:

Every VPN has a different log policy. Some VPNs keep browsing activity elements for months, just in case government authorities ask for it. Ensure that your selected VPN has a no-log policy.

Anonymous DNS server:

Domain Name System is often beneficial. However, it might not be a wise choice always from a security perspective. While there are some DNS anonymity services, you must check if your VPN provides one to you.

Router support:

Though not all VPNs have support for routers, if your selected VPN provides it, you can secure your other devices as well. All you’d need is a compatible router.

Well, let’s jump to the setting up and configuration part of a VPN connection on your iPhone. It may sound technical but is straightforward. Though steps may differ based on your selection, a few common steps need to be followed in each of them. Let’s have a look;

How to set up and configure a VPN connection on iPhone

  1. Download and install your preferred VPN for iPhone from the App Store.
  2. You’d be asked to signup and create an account.
    If you already have an account, log in with your credentials.
  3. Agree to terms and conditions when prompted. Some VPNs may ask for your authentication through fingerprint or passcode when using for the first time.

For a better understanding, read our in-depth guide on how to set up and configure VPN connection on iPhone and iPad

How to use VPN on iPhone

For better understanding, I would like to give you a walkthrough of a VPN app. Though there are numerous options, I’m taking SafeVPN for this. Let’s have a look.

  1. As soon as you open the app for the first time after installing it, it’ll ask for your permission to send notifications and agree to its terms and conditions.
  2. Then, it’ll ask for your permission to add VPN configurations.To use VPN on iphone agree to its terms and conditions
  3. On the home screen, tap the round red button to enable VPN on your iPhone.
  4. Beneath it, you’ll find the country you are connected to. When you tap it, you’ll have a list of available connections.Tap round red button to enable VPN on iPhone

Note:

  • Most VPNs offer a free trial period ranging from 3 days to one week. However, after the end of the mentioned period, your linked card will be charged automatically.
  • Every VPN has its list of countries and support networks, do check the list before finalizing one for your iPhone.
  • Not all VPNs will be compatible with your iPhone. Ensure it supports your device.

To check out our VPN recommendations, read – Best VPNs for iPhone

What are the benefits of using a VPN?

  • Secures your online identity.
  • No geographical restrictions.
  • Can prevent bandwidth throttling.
  • It can bypass firewall restrictions.
  • Enhances online gaming.
  • Helps crack better online deals.

Just like any other technology, it has its own set of disadvantages too.

What are the disadvantages of a VPN?

  • At times, it may slow down your internet speed.
  • Selecting the wrong VPN can compromise your privacy.
  • Although some VPNs allow you to test for a limited time, they cost some dollars and aren’t available for free.

Is VPN safe to use on your iPhone?

If you choose a reliable VPN, it is undoubtedly safe. It secures your identity in the evolving webspace, prevents government agencies and enterprises from sneaking into your online activities, and enables you to safely use a public network. Perhaps, secured web presence is what pulls individuals to use VPN on iPhone. However, free VPN tools can be unsafe.

What is your thought on it? Are you already using a VPN? If not, which one are you planning to? Do let me know in the comment section below.

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Mayank is a published author and a tech-blogger with over ten years of writing experience for various domains and industries. At iGeeks, he mostly writes about blogs that solve user-problems and guide them on unleashing the full potential of their Apple Device. He can often be found with his headphones on, typing to the rhythm of some country song.


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