How to configure VPN access on your iPhone, iPad

Curious how to configure access to a VPN client on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad? L2TP, PPTP, and IPSec VPN support are all built right into iOS and we'll show you how to set them up after the break!

One thing to note is that you'll need to make sure you have all the settings and information about your VPN service handy. Some companies will not allow mobile access to a VPN, and some carriers limit 3G VPN access to business accounts, so that's another thing you'll need to check on before attempting to add one.

First you'll need to configure your VPN by adding the settings for your VPN (in most cases, these are provided by the system administrator or IT person at your company).

To configure your VPN, do the follow:

  1. Tap Settings
  2. Tap General
  3. Tap Network
  4. Tap VPN
  5. Tap Add VPN Configuration
  6. Along the top you will see some tabs, you'll need to select which type of configuration you need. In most cases, you'll choose IPSec (unless your system administrator has told you different). For this example, I've used IPSec.
  7. Enter the information for your VPN in the corresponding fields. If you used a proxy, make sure to enable it towards the bottom of the settings page.
  8. Tap Save

You've now configured your VPN for use. Now you'll need to turn it on.

  1. From your homescreen, tap Settings
  2. Under the main settings page, you'll now see a VPN option, this only appears when you have a VPN configured. Toggle the switch to On
  3. Your phone should connect to the VPN. If an error message pops up, go back into your VPN settings and make sure all your settings are input correctly.

That's it! If you guys have ever used this, let us know your input too. Have any issues setting up a VPN? Check out our TiPb Forums to get helpful from many of our awesome community members.

Tips of the day will range from beginner-level 101 to advanced-level ninjary. If you already know this tip, keep the link handy as a quick way to help a friend. If you have a tip of your own you'd like to suggest, add them to the comments or send them in to . (If it's especially awesome and previously unknown to us, we'll even give ya a reward...)

Allyson Kazmucha

Editor for iMore, Potter pundit, and the ninja in your iOS

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There are 25 comments. Add yours.

RL says:

If you're using Juniper's Network Connect to establish a SSL VPN you may want to check out Junos Pulse in App Store. Free and it works on both iPhone and iPad.

sara omali says:

The best way to access blocked websites is to use a vpn service,
saturnvpn(you can google it) is the best you can get,
1Month only $3.3 | 2Months $5 | 3Months $7 | 6Months $10 | 12Months $16 |
It has totally FREE test account.

fhadamed says:

another best way to get access to restricted website is the use of free vpn services, these free services would not cost a single penny :)
http://www.vpnranks.com/top-5-free-vpns-for-iphone/

Randall Hand says:

FYI: A bit of formatting glitch up there.
Unfortunately, the iPhone doesn't support OpenVPN.

noaim says:

I have a vpn setup in my home using a vpn wireless router I use it to remote control my home pc's in case someone is having trouble with the ability to do vpn on my iPhone I am able to remote all of them using a vnc client its very helpful and useful however I already new how to set it up before this tutorial but its a good one to know..

ronmcse says:

Which VNC Client do you use?

NickFL2011 says:

Works well with my PPTP VPN server on my home router running DD-WRT. Kinda wish iPhone supported openvpn but this works for now.

applejosh says:

I've used the PPTP connection to connect to work. I can't use the Cisco VPN because apparently the IOS on the Cisco device is not current enough. But the PPTP seems to work fine. I've used it to facilitate minor server maintenance.

jugarte77 says:

Many companies wont give you access to their VPN for personal use (even if you work for them). Maybe you´re a student and you dont have access to this kind of IT data.
As a workaround you can use HotSpot Shield for iPhone for free. The service is great, it provides you with an U.S. IP address, so you can browse the web anonymously. You´ll experience some internet speed loss, but you´ll hardly notice it.
I´ve been using this service to open apps with territorial restrictions as Pandora Radio which only works in the U.S., I live in Mexico and it works like a charm!
The down side is that the "remote server" will only provide you with 1 hour of service before shutting down... you only need to turn off the VPN in Settings and turn it on again without the need to wait... just Off-On and you´re ready to go again.
There´s no need to give them any personal information, no logins required, just fallow the 5 or 6 steps and 3 minutes later you´ll be connected to the VPN.

Nate says:

Thanks for the reminder about the 1 hour shut off time. I was wondering why mine kept stopping after about 60 mins or so.

Daniel B says:

I'm usually not a noob on most things iOS, BUT this is one area that I am lacking. I understand the 'concept' of using a virtual private network, but I don't get how this will improve what comes with the iPhone and iPad out of the box What are the advantages of using a VPN for my corporate network? As it stands, I am able to do 90% of what I need to do with my company from my iPhone and iPad. What will I gain from going through this process? Any guidance would be greatly appreciated!

Sean Peters says:

One possible useful feature: say your company has an "intranet" web site that is useful for getting work done (as an example, our outfit stores things like the most current expense report forms there)... but they make it impossible to see from outside the company network. VPN gets your iPhone connected to your company network, so you can see the site.
I personally don't find this useful enough to go through the bother, but your mileage may vary. Also, as noted, a lot of outfits won't allow you to connect your personally owned equipment to their network (via VPN or otherwise), so this might not work for you.

BeyondtheTech says:

If you trust your internet service at home, which you probably do, I highly recommend iVPN. Since Mac OS X has built-in VPN support, just without a GUI for it (unless you buy Mac OS X Server), you can install iVPN and set it up.
Then, set up port forwarding on your router (instructions on the site) and your iPhone and iPad is all ready to go. You can also you DynDNS if you have a dynamic IP address, like DSL.
http://macserve.org.uk/projects/ivpn/
I'm not affiliated with the product or the company, except a satisfied customer.

Nate says:

Thanks for this tip, Allyson! You are a life saver. My company just stationed me here in Asia for the year, and I've been unable to watch Hulu or listen to Pandora because they would not give me a VPN for personal use. I never thought about using Hotspotshield until I saw it in your post. Works great!

jtz5 says:

Is this like Logmein Ignition? I have to admit, I know nothing about what VPN access does. Thanks.

Bmxbiker46 says:

What does VPN do? If I can connect via wifi or my home network, why do I need VPN. I don't get what the difference is, or what it even does

Sean Peters says:

VPN: a "virtual private network". When you "VPN in" to a network, you get an IP address that's part of that network, rather than part of your home network, Starbucks' network, or wherever you are physically located. It gets you access to services that are only available inside the network. One example: your company uses Exchange for e-mail, but doesn't allow machines outside the network to connect to it with Outlook (this is pretty common). So by connecting via VPN, your machine appears to be inside the company's network, and Outlook can connect and get mail.
For personal use, some people have discussed scenarios above. Say you're located outside the US, but want to use Internet services that are made available only in the US. You can use a VPN to connect to a US network, and as if by magic, your machine appears to be in the US. Problem solved.
Hope this helps.

ronmcse says:

Just set this up to connect to my office, downloaded Mocha VNC lite and successfully connected to my work PC. I also use Teamviewer free edition APP for Clients that do not have VPN. Just curious what VNC clients other users are using?

us vpn says:

Tried this on my device the other day and it worked great. Thank you very much

Leyon says:

Well nice article . Is that compatible with IOS5 also....? I am looking to configure vpn setting VPN on IOS 5... I have found one on Bestvpnservice.

buy online amazon staf says:

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dinaomar85 says:

Using this VPN software http://www.bestcheapvpnservice.com/download-vpn-iphone-4-5/ to connect to different European servers to unblock sites through encrypted tunnel to secure your browsing..

nahla76 says:

i got an easy steps from the vpn that i use right now , the service is very fast comparing with other vpn services , and most important is its very secure on my devices
http://www.openingblockedwebsites.com/en/open-blocked-sites-iphone/

Lmavpn says:

I use this VPN provider http://www.unlimitvpn.com/unlimited-vpn-android/ on my phone. It's very safe for me during internet usage. It encrypts all my connection information while I access the restricted sites in my country.
It's available on App store also, you can try it https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/vpn-wasel-pro/id740556166?ls=1&mt=&at=10...

Joy Pura says:

Prior to proceed to configure VPN client on your iPhone or iPad, you must have an exact and correct settings information from your service provider. Some companies may not allow mobile access to VPN and there are some companies who limit 3G VPN access to business accounts. Thanks for info anyways. For more info about configuring VPN head to http://www.bestvpnservicemag.com