How to set up a VPN for iPhone

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Also get data and privacy encryption on your smartphone

You’ve probably heard of how a VPN (Virtual Private Network) can encrypt your data and protect your identity while browsing the web. But did you know that you can also use a VPN on your iPhone? You can. Once configured, you can, for example, hide your iPhone’s IP address, browse the web anonymously and even access geo-restricted content on sites like Netflix.

It’s easy to set up a VPN on your iPhone if you’re using a VPN app, but you can also set up a VPN manually on your iPhone. Here is an overview of the two options.

The VPN app instructions in this article apply to all versions of iOS, while manual VPN setup applies to iOS 12, iOS 11, and iOS 10.

Using a VPN app for iPhone

It’s easy to set up a VPN app on your iPhone. The first step is to spend some time researching the different VPN providers. If you have multiple devices to protect, choose a VPN service with apps for different types of devices, not just iPhones (iOS). Two highly rated VPN providers with apps for multiple devices, including iPhones, are NordVPN and ExpressVPN.

  1. Open theApp Store on your iPhone, and type the name of the VPN service in the search bar. Once you’ve found the right app, tap Install.
  2. Follow all onscreen setup procedures specific to the VPN app. For example, you might need to add a configuration file or grant special permissions.
  3. Launch the app. If this is your first time using the VPN, you will be asked to register or enter new login credentials. Depending on the provider, the app login details may be different from your VPN account.
  4. Select the VPN server you want to connect to (or use the quick connect option, if it’s available), and you’re good to go. Your iPhone’s browsing activities are now protected from cyber threats by the VPN app.

Additionally, most VPN apps come with additional security features, like a shutdown switch, which disconnects your apps from the internet if the VPN closes for some reason. This helps protect your IP address from exposure, even temporary. It is also possible to configure advanced settings, such as “auto-connect” or “add to Siri”.

While there are free alternatives to VPNs, they can come with unwanted ads and adware. If you can, it’s always best to use a paid, reputable VPN provider.

Manually configure a VPN on iOS

Another way to set up a VPN on an iPhone is to manually configure the server details. Before you start, you need to collect some technical details like VPN connection protocol type, certificates, server details, and proxy settings.

  1. To add a new VPN configuration, open the app Settings and select General > VPN > Add a VPN configuration.
  2. Choose Type and select one of the VPN tunneling protocols: IKEv2, IPsec or L2TP. Then press Return to return to the previous screen.
  3. Fill in the server details. Depending on the tunnel protocol you chose in the previous step, enter a description, a server, a account, a secret, a remote ID, a user authentication and one Local ID.

Field Description is the name of the VPN service. The server is either an IP address or a domain name. TheRemote ID is a host name. TheLocal ID is sometimes left blank.

  1. If necessary, configure the proxy details at the bottom of the VPN setup screen. Use proxy options manual to specify the server, port, and authentication settings. Use option Auto to enter a URL.
  2. Touch Finished when you are done setting up the iPhone VPN.
  3. To activate VPN connections on your iPhone, go to Settings > General> VPN and turn on the switch to rocker ofstate.
  4. Select the VPN configuration you want to use on your iPhone. If you only configure one VPN, it is chosen by default.

Whenever you want to activate the VPN, open the app Settings and press VPN, which can be found under other types of network connection like Bluetooth and Cellular. To change the VPN configuration, go back to the screen mentioned in step 6 and tap on the preferred VPN server. If the connection details are valid, a VPN indicator will appear at the top of the screen next to other icons like Wi-Fi and your mobile operator.

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