Over the last few years, I’ve become increasingly concerned about personal privacy. I don’t have anything to hide, but I don’t like the fact that so much of my personal information can be used by various companies. The thought of Netflix and Spotify being able to scan Facebook Messenger accounts to make better recommendations is a prime example of what I don’t like about the current state of technology. One of the changes I’ve made to help protect my privacy is always using a VPN when I’m on a Wi-Fi network I don’t manage. iOS has robust support for it, and I recommend you consider it as well. If you search for VPN on the App Store, a long list shows up. How do you determine the best VPN service for iOS?
I’ve used a bunch of the iOS VPN services over the years, and I’ve taken it down to my top four. I recommend you try them all to see which one works best for your location. One thing I won’t be discussing is speed. It’s really hard to review this as it’ll depend on your location. Some apps may work better in the southern US where another might work better in London. I would also recommended you look at your usage as well. One of the apps offers a free version with a limited amount, so if you are trying to limit monthly expenses, that me be the route you go. All of them off monthly plans, so if you travel during a certain part of the year for work, you might consider even just picking it up during that time. Here’s a few of the apps I’ve used and can recommend if you are looking for the best VPN service for iOS.
Encrypt.me (formerly known as Cloak) has long been a favorite of mine because of one single feature: auto-connect. In Encrypt.me, you can set up a list of trusted networks, and it’ll auto-connect on any other networks. As an example, I’ve connected to Target’s Wi-Fi before, so my iPhone auto connects when I arrive. Because I don’t trust Target’s Wi-Fi, Encrypt.me auto connects without me even noticing.
If you want a “set it and forget it” VPN, check out Encrypt.me. They have multiple pricing plans that range from $3.99 for a week (great for traveling to a conference), $9.99 a month, or $99.99 per year. They also have options for teams and families as well.
Nord VPN is a favorite of 9to5Mac’s Ben Lovejoy, and it’s a very good service. Of all the apps I’ve looked at, I think it has the best overall user interface. They have a number of servers to connect to, and they make it easy to mark your favorites. While it’s not something I’d advise, they do claim to work very well with streaming services like Netflix (if you need to access while in a different country, etc). If you want even more security, they offer a connection to the Onion network.
Pricing is simple at $83.99 per year, $95.75 for two years, or $107.55 for three years.
Overall, Nord VPN is a great service. It’s missing the auto-connect feature of Encrypt.me and Tunnelbear, though. That feature is something I’ve come to rely on heavily.
Of all the apps I’ve tried, Tunnelbear’s user interface was the most fun. They offer the auto-connect feature that Encrypt.me offers, so it’s up there for me with ones I want to use. They are one of the few services to offer a free plan (includes 500MB per month), so if you just need something for a rare occasion, you might want to check out Tunnelbear. If you want unlimited data on Tunnelbear, you can purchase it for $59.99 per year or $9.99 per month. Tunnelbear also has ways to earn extra free data by sharing social media updates about the service as well.
Overall, Tunnelbear is very similar in functionally to Encrypt.me, so give them both a shot.
The app and service worked as I expected. It was very easy to set up the service and choose a server. One interesting aspect of Confirmed’s VPN service is you can whitelist particular websites. This feature can come in handy when a service like Netflix or Hulu doesn’t work well when connected through a VPN.
Confirmed VPN offers mobile device only pricing for $5 per month. If you want to cover Mac/Windows, you can do that for $9.99 per month. If you want to pay yearly, the cost is $99.99.
Express VPN is a popular VPN service that I tried during my review. I have zero complaints with it. It does exactly what you’d expect. It’s missing the automatic connection/white list that some of the other apps have, but it’s a really great choice if you don’t need that feature. Pricing starts at $12.99/month, but they offer a 12-month plan for $99.99. It has plenty of server options so you’ll always have a great connection.
Hotspot Shield VPN
Hotspot Shield VPN is one of the most popular apps on the iOS App Store, so it’s certainly a popular VPN service for iOS. In my testing, it was extremely stable, fast, and reliable. Monthly pricing starts at $12.99 per month, but there are options for annual payments to save money. If you don’t need the automatic connection/whitelist option of Tunnelbear and Encrypt.me, Hotspot Shield VPN is an excellent choice for the best iOS VPN app.
What’s the best VPN for iOS?
For my uses, I prefer Encrypt.me or Tunnelbear simply due to the auto-connect functionality that they offer. Once I set up my whitelisted SSIDs, I don’t have to remember to connect or disconnect. It connects when it’s on an untrusted SSID, and it disconnects when I am connected to a trust SSID. All of the apps offer a free trial, so give them all a shot to see which one works best in your location. Do you have a favorite VPN service for iOS that I didn’t mention? Let me know in the comments!