iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 introduced a slew of features that prevent privacy-invasive apps from having a free run on your iPhone or iPad. But they don’t do much to protect you against unscrupulous site trackers, insecure network connections, or sketchy internet service providers. That is where a VPN can prove to be a life-saver.
VPN, short for virtual private network, provides a secure connection that helps preserve your privacy and anonymity on the internet. While that alone is reason enough to start using a VPN, you also receive a host of other additional benefits. Here are the top reasons to use a VPN on your iPhone or iPad.
1. Preserve Your Privacy
Websites and apps love nothing more than to track you online. iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 do let you restrict apps and third-party cookies (in Safari) from doing that to a certain extent, but you are still left widely exposed.
When you connect to a VPN on the iPhone or iPad, however, you get to mask your real IP (internet protocol) address, preventing trackers from profiling you based on your location. Instead, all they can see is a static or dynamic IP assigned to you by your VPN from a region that could be hundreds or thousands of miles away.
Of course — trackers can still use alternative means to keep a bead on you (with cookies, fingerprinting, and so on), but masking your IP should make things a lot tougher. Certain VPNs also let you quickly switch servers (which also changes the IP address) to further throw off trackers.
Aside from that, you also get to avoid being tracked by your ISP. Since you are on a private network with a masked IP, your ISP will find it impossible to match you with your browsing activity. It may know that you use a VPN, but nothing else.
2. Protect Personal Information
Most VPNs scramble your browsing activity with secure encryption protocols (such as OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec), making it next to impossible for hackers and snoopers to read your online activity.
This holds true especially when it comes to public Wi-Fi networks, most of which are completely unsafe and ripe for exploitation. Activities such as shopping or banking on these networks can put sensitive data — such as login credentials and credit card information — at risk. If you go out and about regularly, it’s vital that you use a VPN on your iPhone or iPad and have your data encrypted at all times.
3. Block Advertisements
Since websites have a hard time tracking you with a VPN around, you will experience a drastic reduction in targeted advertisements. But certain VPN services also feature ad-blocking capabilities that can completely stop ads from loading to your iPhone or iPad. This also extends to apps that you download off the App Store.
Sure — advertising revenue helps pay bills. But certain sites and apps abuse that to a great degree with constant (and often misleading) ads that can put your privacy at risk.
Only Safari features native support for content blockers on the iPhone and iPad, so using a VPN that supports ad-blocking can also allow for improved performance on third-party browsers such as Google Chrome.
4. Access Geo-restricted Content
Certain websites and streaming services are region-specific, as in you cannot access them from elsewhere — for instance, Hulu is only available in the USA and Japan. This could be a huge issue if you travel around a lot. Thankfully, you can bypass geo-blocking rather easily via a VPN by connecting to a server within a supported region.
However, streaming high definition video over a VPN can result in lags and delays. If this is your only reason for using a VPN on your iPhone or iPad, you may want to look for a service that prioritizes performance over privacy.
5. Bypass Internet Censorship
Do you live in (or frequent to) a country with internet censorship? A VPN can help you unblock websites and apps easily. But a word to the warning; using VPNs in certain countries can be considered illegal and get you into serious trouble, so look up the local laws before you go ahead.
6. Avoid Bandwidth Throttling
Despite not relaying this information publicly, some ISPs will throttle your bandwidth based on browsing activity. They may do this to alleviate network congestion in peak times, or it could merely be an attempt to push you into upgrading to a ‘faster’ package.
With a VPN, your browsing activity stays private and encrypted. This makes it impossible for your ISP to detect and put the brakes by monitoring what you do on your iPhone or iPad, be it streaming Netflix or playing PUBG.
7. Get Better Deals
A VPN lets you avoid price discrimination. Websites often make use of smart algorithms to display different prices for products and services by region or country to generate the most revenue.
This may or may not work all the time, but it’s possible to get better deals (say airline tickets) by connecting and accessing a website from a VPN server situated in another location. Just don’t expect any huge savings.
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU
VPNs aren’t the silver bullet to all privacy-related issues on the iPhone and iPad, but as you just saw, they do bring multiple advantages to the table and make accessing the internet a whole lot safer and convenient in general. Do note that even if you use a VPN, there are some security tips that you should follow when using a public Wi-Fi network on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac.
Before opting for a VPN service, however, make sure to do the necessary homework by checking up on reviews and customer ratings — a crummy VPN provider can do more harm than good. Furthermore, make sure to use a paid VPN — with free VPN services, you never know how they process (and what they subsequently do) with your personal data.