You really should be using a VPN on your phone. Here’s how to set it up in less than 10 minutes

Yes, you need a VPN on your phone.

Sarah Tew / CNET

We’ve all been there. You are in a coffee shop or in an airport and you desperately need to use public Wi-Fi and save your phone’s data plan, but you are concerned about being safe online and protecting your private data. . You’ve heard of VPNs, but they seem expensive and complicated. What to do?

No need to worry. VPNs are easier to use on your phone than you might think, and most are cheaper than you may have heard. Here’s how to set up a VPN or virtual private network on your iPhone Where android phone – and get back to browsing safely on your mobile device – in less than 10 minutes.

CNET’s Best VPN Services in 2021

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Why do I need to use a VPN on my phone, anyway?

Are all internet connected apps on your phone up to date and running versions released after, say, 2017? What about your operating system – is it the latest version of Android Where ios? If the answer to any of these questions is “I don’t know” then you should use a VPN for phone if possible. It can be difficult for malicious actors to take advantage of everyday users on public Wi-Fi, but outdated software can give them the openness they need to steal passwords from your most sensitive accounts.

If you’re concerned about the risks of using a public Wi-Fi network to check sensitive work email accounts, bank account balances, or airline ticket and passport information, a VPN can be helpful. offer you some peace of mind. Some of our top rated options include ExpressVPN, Surfshark and NordVPN.

Read more: NordVPN vs ExpressVPN: speed, security and price compared


Choosing a VPN for your iPhone or Android doesn’t have to be difficult.

Sarah Tew / CNET

How to choose the best mobile VPN

Whether you’re using an iPhone or an Android smartphone, your first step is the same: Find a VPN you like and that’s compatible with your mobile device. Here’s how:

1. Browse CNET’s list of best VPNs for iPhone Where best VPNs for Android. If your goal is just to browse safely on a public Wi-Fi network, look for a VPN service that has servers located in your current country. The general rule is that the closer the hardware, the faster the VPN connection.

2. Avoid free VPNs. We love the 30-day warranties and seven-day trial periods (and you will find a lot), but completely free VPNs are rarely safe and are often just a way for inappropriate companies to get their hands on your data.

If you are looking to invest in a VPN for the long term, you will need more than 10 minutes of research time. But when you’re ready to dive deeper, CNET has reviews from many major players in the VPN space, and one guide on how to choose the right VPN for you.

How to set up a VPN on an Android phone

Now that you’ve decided which VPN you want to use, follow these steps to get it working on your Android device:

1. Open the Google play store on your mobile phone and tap the search bar at the top of the screen.

2. Type the name of the VPN you want to use and select it from the list of apps that appears. Take a look at the app creator to make sure you’re downloading the official app instead of a copier. The name of the company and that of the creator of the application must match. Click on To install and wait for the app to download.

3. Once the VPN app is installed, exit the Google Play Store and return to your phone’s home screen to click on the VPN app and open it.

4. The first time you open a paid VPN app, you will be asked to provide your login details or register for the service. If you’re asked to sign up using an email address (which is the case with almost all services), be sure to check your email for a confirmation link from your new VPN provider.

For apps listed in CNET’s VPN Directory, the process will largely be the same – you’ll be prompted to choose and pay for your preferred subscription level. We always suggest that you choose a service with a 30 day money back policy so that you can try out the services until you find the one you like.

Android devices require additional steps for a VPN to work in the background all the time. We don’t recommend it to most users – a 24-hour VPN client will quickly drain your battery and may force you to hit your data limit too early if you’ve chosen a VPN provider that caps their customers. use of data.

This means that by default almost any new VPN you use will only work when you open the app and turn it on. Remember to turn it off when you are done browsing.

Read more: Avoid These 7 Android VPN Apps Due To Their Privacy Sins

How to set up a VPN on an iPhone

Here’s how to get a VPN to work on your Apple iPhone:

1. On your iPhone, go to your Home screen and tap to open the App store.

2. Faucet the To look for in the lower right corner of the screen, then press the To look for box near the top of the screen.

3. Type the name of the VPN you have chosen and select it from the list that appears. Then press the To have button that appears to the right of the application name. As with any other app, you will need to confirm the app installation with your password, Touch ID, or Face ID.

4. Once your installation is complete, close the App Store and return to your Homepage screen.

5. Much like using a VPN for the first time on Android, using a VPN on iPhone for the first time means that you will be prompted to create a new account and select your preferred subscription level. Make sure to check your inbox for confirmation links your VPN company sends you if you signed up using an email address.

Almost all VPN apps will prompt you to connect to a VPN server selected automatically based on your location to allow the fastest browsing. From now on, whenever you want to use your VPN, you just need to tap the VPN icon on your home screen before you start browsing the internet, click the app button for you connect, then go back to the VPN app and turn it off when you’re done.

Right here right now. Didn’t I tell you it was easy?

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