What Is ‘VPN’ On My iPhone/iPad (And How Do I Use It)?

What Is ‘VPN’ On My iPhone and iPad (And How Do I Use It)

Some of you may use VPNs on your laptop computers, but did you know that these same VPNs can be configured on your iPhone?

All you need is some specific information about your VPN and you can easily use the phone’s inbuilt management client (or an app) to setup your VPN.

Please read on for more information, as well as why you may want to use a VPN in the first place.

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So, What Is The ‘VPN’ On My iPhone, And Why Would I Use It?

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It is basically a way to increase your internet security by rerouting all your web traffic through a private network. By doing this, a VPN is able to hide your IP address from websites you browse as well as all data that passes between your computer and the VPN.

There are basically two ways to secure traffic on your iPhone using a VPN:

1) The first is to install a VPN on your router so that all traffic on your network (including that coming from your phone) passes through a VPN.

However, this isn’t an ideal method (for the iphone user - it's great for devices that are permanently around the home, like Smart TV's etc) as you will only be protected while on the wifi network with the VPN. This means that your cellphone data and any other wifi networks you connect to, when you're away from home, will not be utilizing the VPN.

2) The second way is to install a VPN directly onto your iPhone itself. There are two ways to do this which we will look at later but basically, you can either configure a VPN using options in the IOS or alternatively, use a dedicated app available from certain VPN providers.

Short Video On How VPNs Work

There are a number of reasons to use a VPN. Here are some of them:

Connect To A Work/Office Network

If your office (or home) offers the ability to log in remotely via VPN, you can use those settings to connect to your work network. This will allow you to use the network and the devices on it as if you were sat in the office. This can include sharing files and communicating on the office network.

To use a VPN like this you will have to get the connection settings from the person in charge of your work network.

Keep Your Browsing Private

By redirecting your traffic through a VPN, it will hide your browsing from your ISP, your IP from the website you are visiting, and basically anyone who is trying to see what you doing. Instead of your own IP address, all these people will see is the IP address of your VPN.

Access Geo-restricted Content

One of the (pleasant) side effects of having your data pass through a remote network is that if the network is in a different country, you can access content that is only available in that country. For example, by connecting to a VPN in the UK you could access the UK version of the BBC website.

Likewise, if there is any content that is blocked in your country, using a VPN will allow you to access this content. For example, you could use a VPN from a country that normally blocks YouTube, in order to access it.

Keep Your Data Safe On Public Networks

When you access public networks, especially those that don’t require a password, you are potentially letting anyone on the network with the correct tools see your browsing data. However, when you use a VPN all the data that leaves your computer is encrypted and as such it will be significantly harder for them to see what you are doing online.

Having said that, it is still advisable to be careful with what you access on public networks. For example, you should probably never access internet banking while on a public network.

It's advisable to not access your bank or any payment gateways (for example, PayPal) while on a public network, even if using a VPN.

Use your home network, or a VPN connecting only to your home network when online banking.

How To Setup And Use A VPN On An iPhone

There are two ways that you can setup a VPN on your iPhone. These are by downloading an app from a VPN provider or by finding out your VPN’s settings and using the iPhone VPN from within the iOS menu.

Using An App

Using an app downloaded from a VPN provider is the easiest way to use a VPN on your phone. All you have to do is ensure that when you sign up for a VPN they offer an app that is compatible with iPhones then download it from iTunes. Some examples of companies that offer an app include ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Astrill VPN. These are all paid VPNs. There are free ones available, but they can be risky. They are more likely to be open to malware and man-in-the-middle attacks.

After this, connecting will often simply be a case of selecting the VPN you want to access and then pressing connect. When choosing a VPN some things to look out for include whether or not they provide an app for your phone, how much data you can use (some have limits), the countries you can connect to, and the cost of the VPN.

Manually Connecting Via The IOS VPN Configuration Manager

Configuring your VPN on IOS is a fairly simple process, however, before you start you will need to ensure you have certain information from your VPN provider including:

  • The type of VPN you will be using. (IKEv2, IPSec, L2TP)
  • The server IP address
  • The username/password
  • A group name

Once you have this you can go to Settings > General > VPN (dependent on version!) and on this screen input the information. Once this is all entered simply click ‘done’. Assuming all the information is correct you will now be connected to your VPN.

How To Connect Using OpenVPN

If your VPN uses OpenVPN (often the method to connect to your home router - if supported) you may have noticed that the iPhone does not automatically support this VPN standard.

However, not to worry. There are apps you can download on the iTunes App Store that will allow you to configure an OpenVPN VPN.

iPhone VPN: Wrapping Up

Having the option to set up a VPN on your iPhone is a great option to have. You can keep yourself secure on the internet and stop people from snooping on your browsing, as well as accessing geo-restricted content.

Using a VPN that has its own app is probably the easiest way to setup a VPN on your phone, however, as long as you can get all the necessary info from your VPN provider it isn’t too hard to set one up on your own either.

Hopefully, you have enjoyed this article! If you have any questions please leave them in the comment section below.

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