How to Connect to a VPN From an iPhone

By Steve Gregory

Your iPhone running iOS 8.1 supports Virtual Private Network connections compatible with standard VPN protocols and methods of authentication, such as PPTP, L2TP and RSA SecurID. To activate a VPN connection, you need your VPN server configuration information and VPN account credentials. Access VPN settings through your iPhone’s General Settings menu.

Step 1

Tap the "Settings" icon from your iPhone's Home screen to open the Settings menu. Before you attempt to connect to your VPN, make sure your iPhone has a stable connection to the Internet.

Step 2

Scroll down and tap "General" to open the General screen.

Step 3

Tap "VPN" to open the VPN screen that displays all VPN connections.

Step 4

Tap "Add VPN Configuration" to open the Add Configuration screen. If you already have several VPN connections, the option to add a new VPN connection appears at the bottom of your list of connections.

Step 5

Select the VPN protocol for connecting to your VPN server, such as "PPTP." The other two available options are "L2TP" and "IPSec." Some VPN providers, such as a college or an employer, provide the preferred protocol along with the other VPN server information. If you are not sure which protocol is appropriate, contact your network administrator or VPN service provider. If you are unable to obtain a confirmation of the appropriate protocol to use, choose a protocol that best fits your situation. For example, use the PPTP protocol -- which is fast because it uses basic encryption -- if you are more concerned about the speed of the connection rather than its security. Use L2TP or IPSec -- which offer a higher level of encryption -- if you are more concerned about security than speed.

Step 6

Enter your VPN server configuration and account information in the appropriate fields. For example, enter a name for the new VPN connection in the "Description" field and the VPN server address in the "Server" field. Tap "Save" to save the new connection.

Step 7

Slide the "Not Connected" switch under VPN Configurations to the "On" position to connect to the VPN. If you have more than one VPN connection, tap the connection you want to use before you slide the Not Connected switch. The active connection has a check mark next to its name.

Step 8

Tap "General" and go back to the Settings menu after your iPhone completes the connection process. The word "Connected" appears under VPN Configurations and a VPN icon appears in the status bar confirming the connection.

Step 9

Toggle the "VPN" switch in the Settings menu to turn the connection on or off. The VPN switch appears in the menu after you complete the VPN connection configuration process and is a convenient way to activate or deactivate the connection.

Tips & Warnings

  • The App Store features VPN apps that do not require the manual configuration of a VPN connection, such as Ark VPN, SurfEasy VPN and Hotspot Shield VPN.