How to configure VPN access on your iPhone or iPad

Configuring a VPN on your iPhone or iPad is easier than you think. Here's everything you need to know.

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 use a VPN service on your iPhone or iPad with ease. First, you'll need to pick a provider and install its app. We recommend ExpressVPN because it's easy to use, offers a fast, reliable connection, has great customer service, and it's affordable. With our special deal, you can save 49% on a one-year subscription and get three months of extra service for free.

There are also other great services like NordVPN, Surfshark, and plenty of others.

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).

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Select VPN.

    to manually configure a VPN on your iPhone or iPad, Open Settings, then tap General, then tap VPN

  4. If you have more than one, select the VPN client you want to use.
  5. Toggle the Status switch on.

    To set up a VPN service on your Apple device, Select your VPN client from the list of choices, toggle Status to the on position

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.

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap General.

    To manually configure a VPN, launch the settings app from your home screen, then tap General

  3. Tap VPN.
  4. Tap Add VPN Configuration.

    to manually configure a VPN on your iPhone or iPad, Tap VPN, then tap Add VPN Configuration

  5. Tap Type.
  6. Select your VPN type from IKEv2, IPSec, or L2TP.
  7. If you change your mind, you can tap on Cancel in the upper left corner to go back.

    To set up VPN on your iPhone ori Pad, show steps to select Type, tap Cancel if you change your mind

  8. Enter the VPN settings information including description, server, and remote ID.
  9. Enter your authentication login including your username (or certificate), and password.
  10. If you use a proxy, enable it by tapping Manual or Auto, depending on your preferences.

    to manually configure a VPN on your iPhone or iPad, Enter the VPN settings information, then your authentication login. If using a proxy, select from Manual or Auto

  11. Tap Done.
  12. Under VPN Configurations, toggle the Status switch on.

    to manually configure a VPN on your iPhone or iPadm Tap Done, then toggle the Status switch on

When you're done using the VPN, just follow the same steps as above to turn it off. When you need to turn it on again, just repeat the process.


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