How do you spot a decent iPhone VPN? Fast speeds and a high number of servers is a good start, sure. But with some features, the benefits aren’t instantly recognizable. Fortunately, we’ve done the research for you, which you can read below.
You could also skip all that and check out the best in iPhone VPNs right here.These providers have all the necessary qualities for an enhanced online experience.
iPhone VPN Features for Your Convenience
VPNs are flexible pieces of software that allow you to unblock all your favorite content from around the world, and stay secure while you’re at it. Here are a couple of features that should make things run smoothly.
#1 Split Tunneling
An unfortunate shortcoming of VPNs is the fact that your usual network speeds may take a noticeable dive. Your data is encrypted before it passes through the provider’s servers and finally arrivesat its destination. This process and a few other factors can cause slower Internet speeds. Thankfully, top iPhone VPN providers have fast enough servers that your overall experience won’t be impacted as much.
Still, there’s room for improvement. For the most part, you don’t need to secure everything you do online. Hackers probably don’t care that you’re watching The Witcher on Netflix. They’re much more interested in your email login details, social media credentials, payment data, and so on.
This is where split tunneling comes into play. With this feature enabled, you can choose which of your apps has its traffic encrypted by your VPN. Using Instagram or other apps with sensitive credentials? Doing some online shopping or paying your bills? Checking your email? These are the kinds of situations that need the security of a VPN. You can leave your Internet provider’s servers to do the rest of the work.
Then again, if you use public Wi-Fi in any capacity, it’s a good idea to leave full protection on. Public Wi-Fi is a hotbed for cybercrime, so an even better idea would be to use mobile data when outside your home network.
#2 IKEv2 Protocol Support
Speaking of mobile data, you’ll find that most iPhone VPN encryption protocols don’t support switching from a mobile connection to Wi-Fi and back. You need to reconnect to the VPN before your apps can work again, which can quickly get irritating.
However, the IKEv2/IPSec protocol does allow for such a switch without interrupting your network activity. It’s also more lightweight than other protocols (like OpenVPN), and the security it offers is nothing to scoff at. In fact, many providers configure their iOS VPN apps to use IKEv2 by default. If not, there should be an option to switch to it within the app interface.
iPhone VPN Features for Your Security
While VPNs are great tools for entertainment, we can’t forget about their primary use: securing your online data. The feature discussed belowbridges the gap between convenience and security quite nicely. Here’s what we mean.
#3 Stealth Servers (aka Obfuscated Servers)
These types of servers allow you to hide the fact that you’re using a VPN from whoever may snoop on your connection. Whether it’s a cybercriminal, your ISP, or the government, all they’ll be able to see is what appears to be everyday HTTPS traffic. The kind your ISP sees while you browse any regular, secure website nowadays.
This is useful in restrictive countries like China that don’t allow VPN usage unless the provider is state-approved. Or Belarus, Oman, and other regions where VPNs are outright banned.
Now, the average user is more likely to need obfuscated servers when it comes to streaming. Why? Well, Netflix and other streaming platforms have been blocking VPNsfor years now. Obfuscation makes it harder for them to discover VPN activity from your iPhone, allowing you to enjoy shows unavailable in your area. Without running into the infamous “Netflix proxy error”, that is.
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#4 Leak Protection
Another main use of a VPN is IP address spoofing. In other words, masking your real IP and “replacing” it with a new one from the VPN server you connect to. Why is this necessary? Well, your IP can reveal a lot about you, including the city and live in and your ZIP code. While it’s unlikely that someone ill-intentioned would use that info against you, why risk it?
Another use of IP spoofing is switching your network-visible location to a new one, so you can bypass geo-blocks. For example, the BBC’s iPlayer service is only available in the UK. By connecting to a VPN server in the region, you receive a local IP address and can now watch local shows just like any UK citizen.
However, some apps and iPhone features (or even iOS itself) may cause your IP address to leak. This exposes your actual location to eavesdroppers and any websites you’re trying to unblock. Leak protection minimizes the chances of that happening, and fortunately, many VPN providers include it by default. Obviously, it needs to be properly implemented; otherwise, you’ll still get positive results from online leak tests.
#5 No-logging Policy
Your browsing and location data is pretty valuable to your ISP, and they’ll stop at nothing to sell it to advertisers. Don’t believe us? How about when several Internet providers banded together to sue the state of Maine because of the local privacy laws?
Of course, that isn’t always a complete guarantee, as seen by a recent leak that left over 20 million users’ data exposed. Your best bet is to try out providers already vetted by security experts, such as those linked in the beginning.