The Best VPN Apps for iPhone, iPad, and Mac

A VPN service can serve you in multiple ways. When a VPN service gets between your device and your internet provider by creating a proxy, it can encrypt all data, mask all your private information, spoof some of the information, unblock websites and a lot more. No matter if you want to protect your data as you’re browsing on public Wi-Fi or you want to unblock Netflix in your country, a VPN service can always come in handy.

But these days, VPN services are a dime a dozen. When you search on App Store or on Google, you’ll find hundreds of VPN services, with names you’ve never heard of and with backgrounds you can’t trust. How then, can you pick a safe, secure, fast and feature-rich VPN service? A VPN service that will actually protect you? We’ve simplified your search by surfacing the five best contenders on the internet.

Best VPN Apps for iPhone, iPad, and Mac

1. ExpressVPN

Number of servers: 3000+ | VPN Locations: 164 locations in 94 countries | Devices Supported: 5 devices | Logging: No logs | Kill Switch: Yes

ExpressVPN is one of the most popular VPN services online and it’s easy to see why. A lot of VPN apps have old and convoluted apps. ExpressVPN’s app is simple and modern. Just turn it on, select the location if you want and then forget about it. The iOS app is simple and the Mac app provides you with pro customization tools if you wish to tweak the settings.

ExpressVPN is based out of the British Virgin Islands, which puts it out of any intelligence-sharing agreements. So even if ExpressVPN was logging all your data (which it isn’t), there’s no way a government agency get their hands on it. ExpressVPN also has a great log-free policy and supports open protocols like OpenVPN. When tested by reputable third-party sources, no DNS leaks were found either.

ExpressVPN, then has every feature you’d want from a VPN provider. And it’s fast and stable. ExpressVPN is suitable for most internet users out there. The only issue is the price. It costs $9.99/month for a monthly plan and you’ll have to get a 15-month plan to get it down to $6.67/month.

The next recommendation on this list offers similar features for half the price. And there are even cheaper alternatives available.

But there are some things worth paying extra for. Trust and security for a company through which your entire internet traffic will go through, is worth the extra $3 a month.

Pros:

  • Consistently tops the list of best VPNs for reputable sources
  • Automated kill switch disables the internet on the device when VPN is not connected
  • AES 256-bit encryption
  • Clear and easy-to-use interface
  • Based in the British Virgin Islands, it’s out of the jurisdiction of the US and UK authorities
  • Works in China
  • Works with streaming services like Netflix, HBG Go and more

Cons:

  • Price

Buy: ExpressVPN (Special deal for iPhoneHacks readers. Get 49% off on the regular price. $6.67/month for 15 months plan, which includes 3 months extra for free)

2. NordVPN

Number of servers: 5790 | VPN Locations: 60 countries | Devices Supported: 6 devices | Logging: No logs | Kill Switch: Yes

NordVPN is just as good as ExpressVPN and based on where you’re located, your mileage for connections may vary. But you can get a monthly plan as low as $2.99/month if you pay for three years.

NordVPN has all the major features you’ll care about. It has military-grade encryption, has a special double VPN feature, comes with a kill switch and it works great with torrent sites as well as Netflix.

Based on online reviews, a common issue seems to be of dropped connections. But this varies a lot based on your location to what site you’re using. If you don’t mind occasional drops in speed (and you can turn on the Kill Switch feature on both iOS and Mac to make sure the internet is disabled when NordVPN stops working), save the extra cash and go with NordVPN.

Pros:

  • Military-grade encryption
  • Double VPN feature encrypts your internet traffic twice
  • Automatic kill switch and DNS leak protection
  • P2P friendly and works with streaming services

Cons:

  • Dropped connections

Buy: NordVPN ($2.99/month for 3-year plan (75% discount), $3.99/month for 3-year plan (66% discount))

3. Private Internet Access

Number of servers: 3341 | VPN Locations: 32 countries | Devices Supported: 10 devices | Logging: No logs | Kill Switch: Yes

PIA is one of the oldest and the most trusted VPNs out there. It started out in 2010 and for close to 1o years, it has stayed one of the most stable VPN providers. It does not have many over-the-top or specialized features, but it gets the basics right.

There’s 265-bit AES encryption, support for torrents, Netflix and OpenVPN as well. Plus it supports up to 10 devices so you can probably cover the whole family’s devices with just one plan.

PIA is also one of the few VPNs that provide fast speeds and consistent connectivity over a long period of time. A 2-year plan starts at $3.49/month.

Pros:

  • Torrent and Netflix friendly
  • Fast download speeds
  • 256-bit AES Encryption
  • One of the oldest (2010) and most stable VPN providers
  • Supports router connections via OpenVPN

Cons:

  • Located in the US
  • Limited live chat support

Buy: Private Internet Access ($3.49 for a 2-year plan)

4. IPVanish

Number of servers: 1200 | VPN Locations: 75 countries | Devices Supported: 10 devices | Logging: No logs | Kill Switch: Yes

IPVanish has more than 1300 servers in over 75 countries and is generally known to provide fast speeds over a long period of time. It supports all the major streaming services and has strong encryption and privacy policy.

On the other side, it’s owned by a big company that’s set up in the US (StackPatch). This means that they’re under the Five Eyes-friendly jurisdiction. The authorities can demand your personal information and share it among the U.S., U.K., Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.

There’s no kill switch on the iOS app either. IPVanish usually costs $10.00/month but it has steep discounts for new users (one time only, non-renewing). You can get the annual membership at $3.25 per month. But the next year, it will be back to $6.50/month).

Pros:

Cons:

  • Based in the US
  • No kill switch on the mobile version
  • Not cheap

Buy: IPVanish ($3.25/month for a 1-year plan)

5. Surfshark

Number of servers: 800+ | VPN Locations: 50 countries | Devices Supported: Unlimited | Logging: No logs | Kill Switch: Yes

Surfshark is the best cheap VPN out there. It costs $1.99/month and supports unlimited devices. That’s right, unlimited. So if you want to load up VPN for a group of people, or if you’re planning to share a VPN account with multiple friends (or you want to give VPN access to friends and family you know won’t pay), Surfshark is a great option.

It has all the major features you’re looking from a VPN. It has torrent and Netflix support, kill switch, no-logging, and supports OpenVPN so you can even load this up directly on a supported router.

But it has two major downsides. First that it only has 80 servers. This is a fraction of what NordVPN or ExpressVPN offers. Second, it sometimes offers inconsistent speeds. But that might be worth the steep discount you’re getting.

Pros:

  • At $1.99/month, this is the best cheap VPN
  • Has great support for Netflix streaming and torrenting
  • Only service in this list with unlimited devices support
  • Based in the British Virgin Islands
  • No log policy
  • Supports OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec protocols (Works directly with a router if it supports Open VPN)

Cons:

  • Sometimes inconsistent speeds

Buy: Surfshark ($1.99/month for a 2-year plan).

Should You Use a Free VPN?

Running a VPN server, and running it well, costs money. It’s not just about the server space, but it’s about the encryption and privacy policy as well. When you’re paying a company to encrypt your traffic, you know that they have an incentive to provide a good service. But that’s not true for free VPN services.

In fact, free VPN services can themselves me collecting and sharing your data. This is why we usually don’t recommend you use a free VPN service unless you’re absolutely sure about the business model.

If you don’t have the money to pay for a VPN service, you can try using a limited data VPN service like Tunnelbear. You only get 500MB-1GB data per month for free, but it comes from a reputable company. If you’re looking for an unlimited free VPN option, look into the Opera browser.

ProtonVPN, from the makers of the encrypted ProtonMail service, is also a good option. It’s free and is based in Sweden. They have a transparent privacy policy and the costs of ProtonVPN is subsidized by ProtonVPN paid users.

Your Favorite VPN Service?

What is your favorite VPN service? Which company do you trust the most? Which company offers both the best features and the most peace of mind? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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