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Topic iOS Security

Setting up VPN on iPhone: A Quick User Guide

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Are you looking to set up a VPN on your iPhone? There are plenty of reasons you might. A VPN lets you browse the internet privately and bypass geo-blocks that prevent you from accessing particular pieces of content, such as Netflix shows, that are only available in certain countries.  


Read more to find out how to set up a VPN on an iPhone and how a VPN protects your online privacy.


Pro tip: Clario’s VPN is a great solution if you want to protect your data when you’re on public Wi-Fi, prevent third parties from tracking your activities on your private home network, and get access to location-restricted content. Get Clario’s free 7-day trial to see for yourself.

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 many different VPN services available, so your first step is to choose an app that meets your needs.  


In this guide, we'll choose 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 a VPN with Clario:

1. Download the Clario app.


2. Install the app.


3. Open the Clario app and create an account, or log in if you already have one.


4. Tap the button to complete the setup, and turn on VPN for private browsing.

Once you've installed Clario and logged into your account, you can turn on the VPN for private browsing.

5. Tap Allow when your iPhone asks your permission to add a VPN configuration for your device.


6. Enter your passcode if required to add the VPN configuration to your settings.


Once you’ve added the VPN, you won’t have to open your app to use it.  


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

  1. Launch your iPhone’s Settings.
  2. Click on General.
  3. Select VPN.
  4. Tap the button beside Status. Make sure it’s green. Switch it back off once you’re done using the VPN.
Switch your VPN on and off by tapping the Status button in VPN settings.

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 actually be selling your data to cover their 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, you can turn your VPN on and off as described above.


Let’s backtrack a little 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.


Here’s how it works:  


When you connect to the internet in the usual way — with Wi-Fi or a cellular connection — you’re browsing from your actual location. This means that 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. This means 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 if you're 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.


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 the fear of getting robbed. Similarly, when you’re online with VPN protection, you have zero worries about data breaches or identity theft. 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. You get the first 7 days for free!


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