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Setting up VPN on iPhone: A Step-by-Step Instruction

In average, we spend 6.7 hours a day online. It means during almost 7 hours a day, we are continuously transmitting data from our personal devices to the network. Unless encrypted, this data is open for taking by anyone who knows how to hijack your session or trick you into a phishing trap. Try Clario’s unlimited VPN to protect your personal data from being used against you.

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How to use a VPN on an iPhone

There are two ways to set up a VPN on an iPhone — automatically and manually.  


An automatic configuration requires a VPN app. Once you’ve downloaded an app, setup takes just a few clicks. Manual configuration, on the other hand, requires technical know-how and takes longer.

Automatic VPN configuration for iPhone

You need to install a VPN app to set up a VPN automatically. There are so many encrypting solutions nowadays it’s hard to understand which one is best for you. Luckily for you, we have reviewed the best VPN products and ranked them by privacy, speed, and price – check out the rating here.  


In this guide, we'll use Clario — an all-in-one security app that lets you safeguard all aspects of your digital identity in real time. However, the iPhone VPN setup steps are similar for whichever app you choose.

Here’s how to automatically set up Clario VPN on your iPhone:

  1. Download the Clario app and set up your account
  2. In the app, toggle the Browsing protection on
  3. Allow the app to add the VPN Configurations and enter your passcode
Automatically set up Clario VPN on your iPhone

Done! You’ve added the VPN, and you won’t have to open your app to use it anymore.  


Here's how to turn on a VPN on your iPhone:  

  1. Launch your iPhone’s Settings
  2. You will see the VPN option on the first screen, toggle the switch on
turn on Clario VPN on your iPhone

Manual VPN configuration for iPhone

Your iPhone doesn’t have an inbuilt VPN, so you’ll still need a VPN provider to configure a network manually. You can find several free options with a quick Google search. Still, even if a free service feels like a good idea, we don’t recommend it as a long-term solution for several reasons:

  • VPN data servers are expensive to maintain, so these “free” services may come at a hidden (and undesirable) cost. For example, some providers may sell your data to cover maintenance expenses.
  • Some free VPNs are not always safe to use.
  • Free services can also restrict server locations and provide limited data and speed.

Once you’ve chosen a VPN service, dig up the following information:

  • Type
  • Description
  • Server
  • Remote ID
  • User authentication
  • Username
  • Password

When you have this information, you can proceed to configure the VPN on your phone.

  1. Launch your iPhone’s Settings and select General
  2. Tap VPN
  3. Tap Add VPN Configuration
  4. Select the type of your network by tapping Type
  5. Choose the network type — IKEv2, IPSec, or L2TP
  6. Fill in the Description, Server, and Remote ID fields
  7. In the Authentication section, enter a Username and Password
  8. Tap Done.

Now, you’re done configuring your network, and you can turn your VPN on and off as described above.


Let’s backtrack and learn more about VPNs and why you need one on your iPhone.

What is a VPN (Virtual Private Network)?

If the internet is an open highway, then a VPN is a tunnel underneath it. Even though you’re following a slightly different route, you can still enjoy the websites you visit, but you’ll be hidden from the prying eyes of advertisers and hackers. This is why a VPN is private.


When you connect to the internet in the usual way — with Wi-Fi or a cellular connection — you’re browsing from your actual location. It means anyone can capture your IP address, which works much like a return address on a letter. It makes you more vulnerable to trackers, hackers, and cybercriminals. 


A VPN, on the other hand, uses a different IP address, meaning you can browse the web anonymously.

Why and when to use a VPN on iPhone

To remotely access your work intranet  

Most companies use an intranet — a small, isolated section of the internet without access to the main internet. With some setups, you can only access an intranet at work. However, with a VPN, you can access your intranet even if you’re elsewhere.

To access a website or service unavailable in your current location

Let’s say you live in Germany and you’re a big fan of a local reality show. You’d like to continue watching the show when you’re on holiday abroad, but the streaming service isn't available outside Germany.  


Thankfully, if you turn on your VPN, you won’t miss your show as the streaming service thinks you’re in a country where it’s available.

Check our guide

What are the best server locations to connect to, depending on your purpose.  

To encrypt your connection and hide your “online self”

We’ll put it simply. The internet is like a busy highway with checkpoints. Advertising trackers are patrolling the highway and checking the passing cars. Hackers are criminals looking to steal your purse from your vehicle or cause an accident. When you use regular internet access — whether cellular or Wi-Fi — you drive along this highway, exposed to both highway patrols and criminals.  


A VPN is like a tunnel under the highway that keeps you isolated from advertisers and cybercriminals. You’re essentially driving freely, with no traffic enforcers or highway robbers to contend with.   

To protect your data when using public Wi-Fi networks

When you’re safe in a tunnel, you can carry valuables in your car without fearing getting robbed. Similarly, you have zero worries about data breaches or identity theft when you're online with VPN protection. This is because a VPN protects you even if you're on an insecure public Wi-Fi connection.


Now that you know how to set up a VPN on an iPhone, you should feel more confident and secure whenever and however you connect to the internet.  


Download Clario to enjoy the freedom of surfing the web anonymously with an unlimited VPN, live anti-malware protection, and 24/7 expert assistance.


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