Apple makes it easy to set up a VPN client that supports L2TP, PPTP, and IPSec. If your company has a private intranet that you need access to while on the road, or if you travel the globe and want your iPhone to think it's still in your home country (or a different country), a VPN will help you out. Here's how.
What is a VPN?
A virtual private network, or VPN, is a service that creates a direct connection from your computer to another network. Some businesses have an internal intranet that can only be accessed while you are on-location. A VPN can create a secure connection by rerouting the connection to that location.
It is often used when logging onto a public Wi-Fi. It will redirect you to a different end-point so you won't be seen as using the public network.
It is also regularly used to make an iPhone look like it is physically in a different location. This is useful if you want to access regional services or content that isn't available in the country you are currently in.
Before you start
You can also configure your VPN client manually. To set up your VPN client manually, you will need the setup information before you start, like the server, remote ID, username, and password. If you don't have this information, ask your system administrator or tech support for your company, or contact your VPN service for help.
How to set up a VPN service on your iPhone or iPad
The easiest way to set up a VPN client on your iPhone or iPad is through a provider like those listed above. Check out our roundup of the best VPN deals, sign up for one of those great services, and install the relevant app on your iOS device. Open it and sign into your account.
After signing in, you'll be prompted to give permission to add a VPN configuration to your iPhone. Tap Allow to have the VPN configured on your iPhone automatically.
You'll then be prompted to enter your passcode or Touch ID to give permission to change your VPN settings. Enter your passcode, or activate Touch ID.
Once the VPN is enabled, you can select and connect it at any time without having to open the app again (use the app to change location and adjust other settings).
- Launch Settings from your Home screen.
- Tap General.
- If you have more than one, select the VPN client you want to use.
Toggle the Status switch on.
When you're done using the VPN, follow the instructions above to turn it off. Don't forget to turn it off, especially if you're on a free, limited plan.
How to manually configure a VPN on your iPhone or iPad
With your login information on-hand, you can manually configure a VPN client on your iPhone or iPad.
- Launch Settings from your Home screen.
- Tap VPN.
Tap Add VPN Configuration.
- Tap Type.
- Select your VPN type from IKEv2, IPSec, or L2TP.
Tap Back in the upper left corner to go back to the previous screen.
- Enter the VPN settings information including description, server, and remote ID.
- Enter your authentication login including your username (or certificate), and password.
If you use a proxy, enable it by tapping Manual or Auto, depending on your preferences.
- Tap Done.
Under VPN Configurations, toggle the Status switch on.
When you're done using the VPN, go to Settings > VPN to turn it off. To enable the VPN again in the future. Go to Settings > VPN and toggle the Status switch on.
Do you have any questions about manually configuring a VPN client on your iPhone or iPad? Put them in the comments and we'll help you out.
Updated December 2019: Confirmed steps.
We test and review VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. For example:
1. Accessing a service from another country (subject to the terms and conditions of that service).
2. Protecting your only security and strengthening your online privacy when abroad.
We do not support or condone the illegal or malicious use of VPN services. Consuming pirated content that is paid-for is neither endorsed nor approved by Future Publishing.
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