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Safer Searching: How to Install a VPN on iPhone (2024)

Installing a VPN on an iPhone is dead simple, just like it should be. Today’s walkthrough shows you how to install three of the market’s best VPNs onto your iOS device, step by step. Keep reading for installation, setup and configuration instructions for ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and IPVanish onto your Apple phone.

how to install a vpn on iPhone

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When you’re traveling with your iPhone, you likely connect to plenty of public Wi-Fi networks as you’re out and about. Whether you’re in a cafe or visiting the library, it’s always useful to find a public Wi-Fi network that you can use to check your email and so on. But did you know that by connecting to an unsecured public network, you could be exposing your phone to hackers who could steal your personal data? So if you’re wondering what is a VPN in iPhone, it’s exactly what you need to protect yourself when using public networks. 

Short on time? Here are the best VPNs with iPhone apps:

  1. NordVPNBest iPhone VPN – NordVPN’s fully featured iOS app give you access to the world’s most robust server network, complete with military-grade encryption, kill switch, and zero logging.
  2. ExpressVPN – Blazing fast network, advanced tunneling, dynamic IP rotation, good for Netflix.
  3. IPVanish – Tried and true privacy solution for privacy-focused iPhone users around the world.

If you’re new to the world of VPNs, don’t worry. Today we’ll briefly talk about why you might want a VPN on your phone, show you instructions on how to set up a VPN on an iPhone, and provide troubleshooting tips for iPhone VPNs. 

Why do you need a VPN for your iPhone?

We’ll get right to the setup instructions in a second. But first, here are just a few of the reasons that you might want a VPN for your iPhone:

  1. Protect yourself from hackers. As we mentioned above, if you connect to a public Wi-Fi network with your iPhone then you could be vulnerable to hackers, as other people on the same network as you may be able to access the information which you send over the network. A VPN stops hackers from seeing your data by encrypting everything before it is sent over the internet.
  2. Protect your privacy. When you use your iPhone on your home network, if it’s not secured then your ISP can see every site you access and every file you download. If you want to preserve your privacy, especially if you’re downloading or streaming lots of content, then you should use a VPN to prevent your ISP from being able to see your internet use.
  3. Get around regional restrictions. When you’re using video streaming websites like Netflix, the content that’s available can depend on geographic restrictions. If you want to view another country’s version of Netflix, or you want to use local sites like BBC’s iPlayer, then you can use a VPN to spoof your location and stream the content you want.SEE ALSO: How to Access Blocked Sites on iPhone

1. NordVPN

Works in United States
4.5 / 5
Top Features
Number of Servers
Average of 191.4 mbps
Devices Supported
Up to 6
24/7 Live Support
Money Back Guarantee
30 Days Money Back Guarantee
Streaming Sites Unblocked
Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, iPlayer, YouTube, Hulu
Exclusive Deals
Best Deal
Standard at $2.99/month
Plus at $4.49/month
Complete at $5.49/month
Apps Available

If it’s the highest security that you’re after, then we recommend the NordVPN service. In addition to the strong encryption and no-logging policy that are standard in the industry, NordVPN has extra security features like double encryption to keep you as safe as possible. The connections are sufficiently fast for all your needs and the server network is impressive, with more than 5,700 servers in over 60 different countries.

There is an app for the iPhone as well as software available for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS, Chrome OS, Android, and Windows Phone, plus a Chrome browser extension.

Read our full NordVPN review.

  • Servers optimized for unblocking Netflix
  • Mind-boggling number of servers
  • Strong encryption is used on all connections
  • Based in Panama
  • Live chat support is available.
  • Sometimes slow in procesing refunds (but always do).
BEST FOR IPHONE: NordVPN is powerful, private, and fast, making it the best fit for iPhone. Get a huge 63% discount on the 2-year plan ($3.29/mo), backed by a hassle-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

How to Install the NordVPN App for iPhone

If you want to install NordVPN on your iPhone, you can follow our written instructions below:

  1. Open your browser and go to https://nordvpn.com/
  2. Go to My Account and then enter your email address and password and click Log in
  3. This will take you to your Profile Now click on Download Area
  4. Find the iOS section and click on Application. Alternatively, go straight to the page on the app store with this link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nordvpn-worlds-most-advanced/id905953485?ls=1&mt=8
  5. Tap the square blue GET button, and then tap it again when it says INSTALL. You may have to enter your passcode or Touch ID to proceed.
  6. Wait a moment for the app to install. Once it’s complete, the button that previously said INSTALL will now say OPEN. Open your new app by tapping this button.
  7. Now you can use the NordVPN app

How to Set Up and Use the NordVPN App for iPhone

  1. Once you have opened NordVPN and logged in, you’ll see the home screen, which shows you a map with possible server locations you could connect to.
  2. The first thing you’ll want to do is log in to your account. Tap on the user icon in the top left corner, then on Sign In. Enter your credentials to proceed.
  3. Now that you’re logged in, try using the Quick Connect feature by tapping the button at the bottom of the home screen. You’ll be prompted to grant the application permission to proceed. Allow, then either enter your passcode or your Touch ID. This feature will evaluate the performance of nearby servers to you, and choose the fastest one for you automatically.
  4. Alternatively, tap on the List in the bottom right corner of the home screen to manually choose a country-based server, or one of NordVPN’s specialty servers: Anti DDoS, Dedicated IP servers, Onion Over VPN, or P2P.
  5. Whatever server you decide on, you’ll need to confirm your choice and connect to it by tapping on the on/off button.
  6. Wait a moment for the connection to be established. Once the power button turns green, you know that your VPN is active and that your iPhone is protected

2. ExpressVPN

Works in United States
4 / 5
Top Features
Number of Servers
Average of 181.11 mbps
Devices Supported
Up to 5
24/7 Live Support
Money Back Guarantee
30 Day Money Back Guarantee
Streaming Sites Unblocked
Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, iPlayer
Exclusive Deals
Best Deal
12 Months at $6.67/month
6 Months at $9.99/month
1 Month at $12.95/month
Apps Available

If you’re looking for some of the fastest connections in the VPN game, then we recommend that you try ExpressVPN. It has excellent security, with strong 256-bit AES encryption and a no-logging policy to protect your privacy. Additionally, you’ll get access to a massive network of servers, with over 3,000 servers in 145 different locations in 94 countries for whatever you need.

As well as a dedicated app for iPhone, you can get the ExpressVPN software for Windows, Mac OS, Android, and Linux so that you can secure your other devices as well as your iPhone with just one subscription. The software even has special features like a speed test to help you find the fastest server which you can connect to and a DNS leak test and IP address checker to make sure that your connection is properly secured.

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

  • SPECIAL OFFER: 3 months free (49% off - link below)
  • 3,000+ super fast servers
  • No DNS/IP leaks found
  • Strict no-logs policy for personal information
  • Customer Service (24/7 Chat).
  • Max 3 connections simultaneously
  • Slightly pricier than competition.
GREAT ALL-ROUNDER: Get 3 months free and save 49% on the annual plan. 30-day money back guarantee included.

How to Install the ExpressVPN App for iPhone

Follow the instructions below to install ExpressVPN on your iPhone. This tutorial is guaranteed to work for both iOS 9 and 10:

  1. Turn on your iPhone and open up the App Store
  2. Use the search icon to search for ExpressVPN. It’s the one with a red logo shaped like a V. Alternatively, go straight to this page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/expressvpn/id886492891?mt=8
  3. Click the square blue GET button, and then tap it again when it says INSTALL
  4. Wait a moment for the app to install. Once it’s complete, the button that previously said INSTALL will now say OPEN. Click on it to open up the app
  5. This will open up the ExpressVPN app for the first time

How to Set Up the ExpressVPN App for iPhone

  1. When the app opens, you’ll see options for either Create Account or to Sign in with your account. If you already have an account with ExpressVPN, you can go ahead and select Sign In
  2. A login screen will appear. Here’s where you should put in your ExpressVPN account information. Enter the email address and the password that you chose when you signed up for ExpressVPN
  3. Now click Sign in
  4. Now you’ll see a wizard that will help you get your VPN set up. The first screen says Configuring Your VPN and you just need to tap Allow to start the configuration process
  5. You’ll see an iOS popup notifying you that the ExpressVPN service wants to add VPN configurations. You should click Allow. You may need to enter your device’s passcode at this time
  6. Next, you’ll be prompted to make a decision about whether to receive Notifications about ExpressVPN’s announcements and service alerts. The decision is yours, but we Allowed it
  7. Now you’ll see a screen titled Help Improve ExpressVPN, which asks if you want to send anonymised information about your VPN connections. There is no personal data contained in this information, but just in case we prefer to opt out by selecting Don’t allow
  8. Once this is done, the setup is complete and you’ll see a Setup Complete! page

How to Use the ExpressVPN App for iPhone

  1. The first screen you’ll see when you open the ExpressVPN has a big round grey button in the middle of the screen. All you have to do is tap the button and the app will begin connecting you to a VPN server
  2. You’ll see a text that says .. and you have the option to cancel if it takes too long. It usually only takes a second thought, then you’ll see text saying VPN is ON and the button will have a green background
  3. Now you know that your VPN is connected and is keeping you safe. You can leave the ExpressVPN app and open any other app like a web browser, and all of the information that your device sends out will be encrypted
  4. To quickly check whether your VPN is connected, look in the status bar for the VPN symbol: a small box with the letters VPN When you see this symbol, you know that the VPN is connected
  5. When you press connect, by default you’ll be connected using the smart location feature which finds a server near you for maximum speeds. But if you want to connect to a server in a particular location–for example, if you want to connect to a server in the US to watch Comedy Central videos–then you should click the smaller round button to the right of the big connect button which says CHOOSE LOCATION
  6. On the choose location page you’ll see four options. At the top is a search bar, where you can enter the name of a city or country to quickly search for a server in this location. Below are three options for sorting the data: Recommended, All, and Recents. Recommended lists the most frequently used and fastest countries you can connect to, with a flag of each country to help you find it quickly. All has a list of all of the servers available across the entire network, organised by continent. And Recents show you the servers that you have connected to recently
  7. Once you have picked a server to connect to, tap on it and you will be connected to the new location
  8. If there’s a location that you use for your servers often, you can add it to your favourites by clicking the star to the right of the country name, which will then turn red. You can see a list of your favourites in the Recents tab
  9. Now your VPN is connected and your device is protected

3. IPVanish

Works in United States
3.9 / 5
Top Features
Number of Servers
Average of 178.81 mbps
Devices Supported
Up to Unlimited
24/7 Live Support
Money Back Guarantee
30 Day Money Back Guarantee
Streaming Sites Unblocked
Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, iPlayer, YouTube, Hulu
Exclusive Deals
Best Deal
2-Year Plan at $2.99/month
1-Year Plan at $3.49/month
Monthly at $12.99/month
Apps Available

If you want a VPN which covers all of the bases: security, speed, and flexibility, then you should take a look at IPVanish. This provider is known for their lightning-fast connection speeds and they also have a large server network with more than 1,300 servers in 75+ locations around the world. The security is strong, with 256-bit encryption to keep your data safe and a strict no-logging policy to protect your privacy.

IPVanish offer a dedicated iPhone app, plus software support for Windows, Mac OS, Android, Linux, Fire TV, Windows Phone, and Chromebook so you can protect all of your other devices too.
Read our full IPVanish review.

EXCLUSIVE DEAL: AddictiveTips readers can save a massive 66% here on the IPVanish annual plan, taking the monthly price down to only $3.99/mo.

How to Install the IPVanish App for iPhone

To install IPVanish on your iPhone, you can follow the instructions below:

  1. Go to the App Store
  2. Use the search function to search for IPVanish
  3. Find the item IPVanish VPN: The Fastest VPN and tap on it. It’s the one with a black and green logo with a P. Alternatively, go directly to the app store page here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ipvanish-vpn-the-fastest-vpn/id763638165?mt=8
  4. Tap the square blue GET button, and then tap it again when it says INSTALL
  5. Wait a moment for the app to install. Once it’s complete, the button that previously said INSTALL will now say OPEN. You can now open the app by tapping on this button
  6. Now the IPVanish app will open

How to Set Up and Use the IPVanish App for iPhone

  1. The first time you open the app you’ll be asked whether you want to accept notifications from IPVanishVPN. Click on Allow
  2. Now you’ll see a log in screen. Enter your username and your password, then click Login.
  3. When you use the app for the first time, you’ll see a tutorial. Click Begin tutorial to see the walk-through or Skip tutorial if you already know how to use the software
  4. The tutorial will show you the key features of the app and how to use it. We recommend that first time users look through it
  5. After the tutorial, you’ll be taken to your IPVanish home screen. In the bottom half of your screen you’ll see your Quick connect preferences
  6. Click on Country, City, or Server to choose which server you will be quick connected to when you log in. Now you can press Connect and you’ll be connected to the VPN
  7. When you click connect, you’ll see an iOS warning you that the VPN wants to add VPN configurations. Click on Allow. You might need to enter your device’s passcode or use your Touch ID to confirm
  8. Now you’ll see a graph of your VPN activity and the button at the bottom will turn red and now say Disconnect. This means that your VPN is up and running
  9. To connect to a server in a different country, click on the grey pin icon in the top left to bring up the menu, then go to Server. This opens up a list of available servers which you can search or filter using the spyglass and filter icons in the top right of the screen. Click the name of any server to connect to it
  10. To change your settings so that are always protected by IPVanish, go to Settings (the little gear icon in the top right corner), then scroll down to Advanced and click on On Demand. You’ll see three choices that dictate how the VPN behaves. For now, just toggle the button next to Enabled to get the always-on protection you’re looking for, or simply leave it alone as per your preference.
  11. Now your VPN is running and will protect your iPhone

Troubleshooting iPhone VPN connection

Like humans, technology is not infallible, and VPNs are no exception. Sometimes problems happen. When they do, don’t panic — you probably didn’t make a wrong choice in VPN apps. With the iPhone, some issues happen more often than others, so before you freak out, take a look at these tips:

Did you change networks while using a VPN?

The problem:

  • If you go from a Wi-Fi connection (i.e. coffee shop) to an LTE connection (i.e. you leave said coffee shop), or from one Wi-Fi connection to another, your VPN may get stuck on a loop of trying to connect.

The solutions:

  • The troubleshooting process is simple. Just cancel your VPN’s connection, turn it off, and then try reconnecting. If that doesn’t work, try opening your “Settings” and slide the VPN slider to “off.”
  • If you’re still having no luck, open your app and switch regions. If the “optimized” or similar setting is checked, change the region and then select “optimized” again. This will help your VPN optimize its settings and get your protection back.
  • Finally, another quick-fix is to reset your LTE setting. Launch “Settings”, tap “Cellular”, and switch your Cellular Dataoff“. Wait a bit, then turn it back on. Your VPN should be able to reconnect now, and do so automatically.

Is your iPhone acting slow when trying to connect to a VPN server?

The problem:

  • When you try to connect to your VPN, and the spinning preloader is taking a long time to connect you to a server.

The solutions:

  • The easiest one is logical — if your VPN takes longer than few seconds to connect your device to a server, close the app and reopen it. Sometimes, however, it isn’t the VPN at all — while VPNs are good at stopping intentional throttling, if your Wi-Fi connection is poor, so will the performance of your VPN likely be poor. To verify this, try switching Wi-Fi networks (if multiple are available), or try loading a similar page on your LTE data. If even the test page won’t load, then your VPN is probably at fault — disconnect and reconnect.
  • Check out our full guide on speeding up your VPN connection

Does the VPN app crash on your iPhone?

The problem:

  • Your VPN app crashing when you try to launch it on your iPhone is the least common of the problems we’ve talked about — but it’s still possible.

The solutions:

  • If this happens repeatedly, try turning off your VPN app in your iPhone’s settings (using the steps from above), or force restart your phone. If neither of those options work, make sure your app has the most recent updates — if it doesn’t: update it.


A VPN is important for all internet users, but especially for iPhone users who are likely to be connecting to public Wi-Fi networks frequently when out and about. We’ve shared installation and setup information for three of our favourites VPNs on the iPhone: NordVPNExpressVPN, and IPVanish. Any of these services will keep you safe and protected, whether you’re travelling and using unknown internet networks, or you’re at home and you want to keep your browsing private.

Want to learn more? Check out our full walkthrough on how to hide your IP address safely on iPhone.

If you have any problems setting up these VPNs on your iPhone, then drop us a comment below and we’ll do our best to help!

How to get a FREE VPN for 30 days

If you need a VPN for a short while when traveling for example, you can get our top ranked VPN free of charge. NordVPN includes a 30-day money-back guarantee. You will need to pay for the subscription, that’s a fact, but it allows full access for 30 days and then you cancel for a full refund. Their no-questions-asked cancellation policy lives up to its name.

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