Smartphones have transformed our lives, but they’ve also altered threats to our privacy. With so much data in one small device, it's not surprising they are hot targets for cybercrime. If you are not taking steps to keep your phone safe, then now is the time to change that, before it's too late!
Smartphones have changed the world. They’ve optimized our lives and granted us access to a whole world of content – pretty impressive for a device that can fit into our pocket! Today, these small miracles are everyday events, as the number of smartphones has already topped 2.1 billion. In fact, those figures are projected to reach 2.5 billion before 2019.
For regular users, smartphones have become integral to our existence. Reports reveal we spend an average of 4 hours and 15 minutes connected to our phones. Popular social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, afford instant contact with our friends. We date using Tindr; travel using Uber; navigate with Waze, and even enjoy our favorite entertainment with apps like Netflix and Twitch. We can shop, bank, workout, diet, network and find jobs. When they say, ‘There’s an app for that!’, they’re not joking!
Unfortunately, for this convenience, we have traded in our security. While our smartphones are invaluably useful, they’re also a treasure trove of data that is ripe for picking.
#1 ExpressVPN – Perfect Speed and Reliability Mix
Something of a world leader when it comes to internet security, ExpressVPN offer a robust VPN app that is compatible with pretty much every operating system out there. High speeds are complemented by top-class security and global coverage. Of course, the speed of your connection will vary depending on your connection and what type of phone you have, but ExpressVPN will always give you the best there is, even if you’re still on the old Android system.
With a watertight no-logging policy and impressive customer service, ExpressVPN has every right to charge an arm and a leg for its service. Price is the only real downside to the service but, fortunately, ExpressVPN runs regular offers and discounts. As we’re now in November, keep an eye open for their Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. Instead of paying the usual subscription fee of $12.99 per month, you can currently get 15 months’ coverage for just $6.67 per month. Nice!
And here’s the technogeek stuff that makes ExpressVPN’s world go round:
Availability: Mac desktop/iOS, Android, Windows and a custom Linux VPN app available, plus setup guides for other platforms on the website.
Security & Speed: Consumers enjoy the most secure encryption possible with OpenVPN (AES-256 cipher with RSA-4096 handshake and SHA-512 HMAC hash authentication.). There is also protection against IPV4, DNS, and WebRTC leaks. This high level of security doesn’t affect speed, it lives up to its name.
Privacy: ExpressVPN has a no traffic logs, but some usage logs are kept. IPs are shared, so activity doesn’t track back to one user. The software does send diagnostic data to third parties for troubleshooting purposes only. ExpressVPN is located in the British Virgin Islands, where there are no data retention laws, but it is a U.K territory, making the legal situation a little bit grey. If you’re really concerned about security, choose a VPN that is situated outside the 14 eyes countries, like NordVPN.
Features: 145 servers across 94 countries, three device connections allowed per account, smart DNS to access geo-blocked websites, including Netflix, and allows torrenting.
- $59.95/6 months
- $99.95/15 months (special offer)
For more information on ExpressVPN features, read our extensive ExpressVPN review.
#2 Hotspot Shield – Solid and Reliable App
This cross-platform VPN boasts over 2,500 servers in 28 different countries, giving solid connections wherever you go. With both free and paid services available, Hotspot Shield offers a simple but effective level of internet security.
If privacy is the name of the game, Hotspot Shield aren’t even the ballpark, but they have got these:
Availability: Windows, Mac OS X/iOS, Android, Linux
Security & Speed: OpenVPN with standard encryption. Standard speed. No DNS leaks.
Privacy: A U.S. Based company, therefore connection logs are kept.
Features: Malware support, clients across many platforms including Kindle, Good start-up VPN
Plans: Free (ad-supported, limited bandwidth), $15.99/month, $65.94/6 months, $83.88/year, $143,66/3 years.
For more information on HotSpot Shield features, read our extensive Hotspot Shield review.
#3 NordVPN – Simple Security
While some VPN services, like HideMyAss or TunnelBear, may seem a little frivolous about online security, NordVPN is never anything less than serious. This doesn’t mean it’s complicated to use, on the contrary, this VPN app is one of the easiest to both install and use. The QuickConnect function will have you protected in seconds, while their specialty servers can boost your protection to military standard whenever you need it.
With secure servers worldwide, NordVPN can give you access to social media and streaming sites anywhere in the world. Browse in peace without annoying ad and malware popping up and enjoy consistent speeds and reliable connections.
Want some statistics with that? Here you go:
Availability: iOS, Android, Windows, Windows Phone and Linux client available, along with other set-up guides on the website.
Security & Speed: Standard-level security for OpenVPN connections. There is a higher level used on the iOS app. Speed tests vary depending on server traffic but are robust. IP and DNS leak protection, obfuscation, zero activity logging, and the best encryption protocols.
Features: More than 700 servers throughout 57 countries, connect up to six devices simultaneously, Tor Over VPN, Double VPN, Smart DNS, P2P.
- $95.75/2 years
- $107.55/3 years (limited time special offer).
For more information on NordVPN features, read our extensive NordVPN review.
#4 VyprVPN – Value for Money
Another popular choice for Android and iPhone users, VyprVPN has an impressive 700 servers dotted around the world. Although not as vigilant on the no-logging policy as some of their rivals, VyprVPN is a good choice for those with a Netflix addiction. One of VyprVPN’s strengths is its unique Chameleon technology, which disguises OpenVPN data to protect you against deep-pocket inspection. However, this extra protection doesn’t come cheap and is only available in the more expensive premium plan.
Not everything about VyprVPN is peachy, however, and problems with connections occur more often than is really acceptable. Similarly, their customer support is somewhat lacking, especially compared to market leaders like ExpressVPN and NordVPN. Still, you can give the service a try for free as, like TunnelBear, VyprVPN offer a limited free version that will give you 1GB to play with.
A bit of a snake in the grass, VyprVPN offers these features:
Availability: Mac OS X/iOS, Windows, Android
Security & Speed: Choose from protocols, including OpenVPN with standard encryption rates. VyprVPN performs well on speed tests. No leaks were detected. There is a NAT Firewall feature.
Privacy: VyprVPN is located in Switzerland, which has great privacy protection laws. But it has a parent company in the U.S. so it’s unclear exactly how secure your identity is. Furthermore, connection logs are kept for 30 days.
Unique Features: Encrypted messaging on some platforms, 70+ servers, 3-5 device connections.
- Free (1GB of data)
- $45/year (three devices)
- $60/year (five devices, Chameleon VPN, VyprVPN Cloud).
For more information on VyprVPN features, read our extensive VyprVPN review.
#5 IPVanish – Leave No Online Footprint
A solid service which allows you to connect up to five devices simultaneously, IPVanish has good speeds and over 1000 servers around the world. Situated in the US, IPVanish can’t offer the same level of privacy as, say, NordVPN but their no-logging policy is secure and, as they own all their own servers, there are fewer third parties involved.
IPVanish keeps things simple, providing easy to install apps for all platforms. The Android app has recently been updated and, while supporting fewer functions than the Windows equivalent, is still a simple and effective way to protect yourself in the virtual world. Like NordVPN, IPVanish has a Quick Connect function as well as options for configuring your connection and level of security.
No bells or whistles, just these handy specs:
Availability: Mac OS X/iOS, Android, Linux, Windows, Windows Phone,
Security & Speed: Like all of the best VPN apps, IPVanish uses the OpenVPN protocol with standard encryption and security settings. IPVanish performs in the high range on speed tests and passed all leak tests.
Privacy: No logs are kept, but the company is based in the US, making it part of the five-eyes conglomerate.
Features: 40, 000 shared IPs and 500+ VPN servers across 60+ countries, two simultaneous connections allowed at a time, P2P Sharing
Plans: $10/month, $26.99/3 months, $77.99/year.
For more information on IPVanish features, read our extensive IPVanish review.
How To Download a VPN App For Android
To download VPN apps for Android, the process is simple. Follow these steps for a quick and straightforward process.
- Open Google Play Store on your phone
- Search your chosen VPN
- Click install
Once downloaded, open the app and chose your server. Then all that’s left is to click connect and you’ll be protected instantly.
If you want to find out more about the best VPN for Android specifically, then click for more information!
How To Download a VPN App For iPhone
Installing a VPN app for iPhone is just as simple as its Google counterpart. Follow these instructions for immediately enhanced security!
- Visit the App Store on your iPhone
- Search for the VPN app
- Click to ‘Get’ app
Each VPN requires slightly different configuration, but this will be dictated by the on-screen instructions. Once you have selected your server, simply launch and go!
For more information on the best VPN for iPhone specifically, click this link!
Be Careful With Free VPN Apps
You may be wondering why none of our picks include a free VPN app. Unfortunately, while these no-cost options may be friendly on the wallet, they severely lack regarding security.
Free providers make revenue off ads exclusively, resulting in less money to invest in development. Because of this, both speed and reliability are a significant issue. You are also regularly limited by time restrictions and queues for a server connection. Alongside their complete lack of added security, these drawbacks mean that free VPNs cannot guarantee protection.
Reports have also surfaced that free VPN providers sell customer data to ad-agencies, which completely voids any privacy that you gain from the software itself.
If you don’t have the money to commit to a paid subscription, we recommend taking advantage of the free trials and money-back guarantees offered by premium VPNs. This workaround promises high-quality security for no cost at all!
Protect Your Smartphone With a VPN App
If you regularly rely on Public WiFi to reduce data costs on your smartphone, then the use of a VPN app is critical! These insecure networks are a hotbed for hackers, and failing to take precautions is asking for trouble.
Plus, you enjoy the added bonus of protection from surveillance and the ability to bypass geo-resections.
We recommend ExpressVPN as the best VPN app, due to its sleek and trusted core service.