Best VPNs for Mobile Devices in 2024

Ali Qamar  - Cybersecurity Analyst
Last updated: July 11, 2024
Read time: 12 minutes

This articles lists 5 best VPN apps to protect your mobile devices from cyber threats. Read along to pick the right option for you.


Today, smartphones have made our lives easier by allowing access to the internet anytime. Nonetheless, as you connect your mobile phones with cellular networks or Wi-Fi, your phones become vulnerable to hacking, identity theft, and other cyber-attacks. Therefore, using a Mobile VPN app is inevitable to protect the valuable information on your phone. However, choosing a reputable service amongst the plethora of VPNs is challenging. After testing multiple services, we gathered a list of the best VPNs for mobile devices for you. They are well-known for their no-logs policies, geo-restriction unblocking abilities, and robust privacy and security features. However, NordVPN comes at the top of our list. Read our complete article to learn more.

Today’s world relies on mobile devices more than ever before. You can find smartphones in every social group in every country. So, mobile security gained priority as these toys became more common than wristwatches. Consequently, the demand for the best mobile VPN apps also exploded, giving rise to many VPN vendors, each having something on offer.

If you adopt a VPN service on your phone or tablet (which you should), you must pick the best possible service.

But since testing VPNs takes so much time, effort, and resources, how can you find the right one? Don’t worry. We have already done the work for you. So, just read this article and pick a VPN that solves your mobile security problems.

Top 3 mobile phone VPN apps – Quick list

If you don’t have the time or the inclination to read our detailed descriptions for the best three VPN mobile apps, here’s the gist.

  1. NordVPN: The best mobile app in the VPN world. It has everything you want in a VPN app and more.
  2. ExpressVPN: An app that combines simplicity and ease of use with many advanced options under the hood for the users.
  3. Surfshark: Robust, friendly, and versatile app giving you almost all you can expect from the best VPNs in the market at a meager cost.

What features should I seek in a mobile VPN?

It would be best if you always looked for a service that sticks to a strict no-log policy, which means that it keeps no records of any of the activities that are traceable to you. Many VPNs claim to honor the zero-log standard, but only a handful can provide proof. (For example, NordVPN has been audited twice in this regard.)

The no-logs policy ensures your privacy remains protected — remember that privacy and security are not the same.

Then you should always prefer a service with reliable and fast connections. However, this is not negotiable if torrenting or video streams are essential in your digital lifestyle.

Last but not least, it should be easy to use. The smaller screens in mobile devices need an interface that makes things easier to do, so run away from complexity.

5 best smartphone VPN apps today – Detailed list

The five apps described in this section come from some of the best VPN networks on the internet. Yes, they’re friendly, neat, and reliable. But most importantly, they afford you a premium VPN when you’re on the road. In addition, they will keep you safe and protect your privacy, which is the game’s name.

1. NordVPN

NordVPN for Streaming

A well-established VPN service provider offering top-notch unblocking capabilities, robust security features, and P2P-optimized servers.

servers More than 5,100 servers spread in 60 countries
P2P support icon Has P2P optimized servers
encryption Double encryption feature
simultaneous connections Offers 10 simultaneous connections
money-back guarantee 30 days money-back guarantee
protection Web protection
MultiHop mode Double VPN feature
Kill switch Customizable kill switch
SmartPlay feature SmartPlay for streaming
tor compatible Offers Onion Over VPN feature
  • Fast speeds
  • Allows P2P (torrent) traffic
  • Colossal server coverage
  • Desktop application can be tricky to use for some users

After testing many VPNs for different tasks, we found NordVPN to top all tests. It’s no coincidence that NordVPN provides the best cell phone VPN.

This VPN’s desktop apps are probably the most powerful in the business, and their mobile versions reflect that. Moreover, the portability of these apps doesn’t compromise their power.

NordVPN apps keep your data secure when you use public WiFi hotspots. Moreover, these apps offer several features rarely available with mobile apps, such as Onion over VPN (a service exclusive of NordVPN) and DoubleVPN.

Privacy enthusiasts will be glad to know that NordVPN recently completed an independent audit (the second one) on its servers and privacy policy. According to its policy, the audit supports the VPN’s commitment to protecting customer privacy.

The design of the app could be a little better, though. Generally, the map-based interface, where you pick a server to connect to the network, is user-friendly and practical in desktop interfaces (or even in the mobile app if you’re using it on a large tablet). However, tapping on the correct country on the map when the screen is small can be tricky. Fortunately, if you swipe up on the map, you’ll get the VPN server list. So it won’t take more than a minute to set it up and start browsing safely.

NordVPN’s mobile app combines functionality with simplicity of use and maximum security. It doesn’t get any better than this.

2. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN new features block logo 120 by 120 now

Has budget-friendly long-term plans, unlimited bandwidth, zero logs policy, and SmartPlay feature.

servers 3,000+ servers spread in 94 Countries
encryption AES 256-bit encryption
protection Leak protection
P2P support icon Supports P2P traffic
simultaneous connections Allows 8 simultaneous connections
money-back guarantee 30 days money back guarantee
Split tunneling feature Split tunneling feature
Trusted servers nord TrustedServer technology
  • Fast servers
  • Allows torrenting
  • Top-notch security and privacy features
  • Slightly costly

The ExpressVPN mobile app impresses as soon as you launch it. As it loads and takes over your screen, you know this software is utterly professional, done by experts at the top of their powers.

You will first see a big on/off switch connecting you to the best available server. If you’re an average user, this is all you need to know about ExpressVPN’s app, and you’ll never need to see, explore or use any other features.

This mobile app is your door to more than 3,000 servers in the ExpressVPN network. This vast choice of nodes allows you to use this VPN to unblock practically any web video streaming platform. Amazon Prime Video, Peacock, BBC iPlayer, Netflix (the US catalog), or HBO Max; you name it, and ExpressVPN will make it work for you.

Besides, the VPN app bears numerous configuration options for playful souls. For example, you can choose a VPN tunneling protocol, check for DNS leaks, enable or disable your kill switch or activate the split tunneling option (available only in the Android app).

Your ExpressVPN account lets you connect five different devices simultaneously. Since we’re dealing with mobile connectivity, five devices should be enough for everybody. But you can install ExpressVPN on your home router if you need more. In that case, the VPN will see your router as a single device, letting you connect as many devices as you want through the router. So, if you have 15 devices at home, including desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and phones, all online through the same router, ExpressVPN will recognize a single device.

So ExpressVPN holds a reputation for excellence and offers simple but powerful apps. Also, the company’s commitment to user privacy is strong.

Nonetheless, since ExpressVPN is aware of its unique position in the VPN world, it capitalizes on it by issuing some of the highest monthly subscription fees — nothing’s perfect. However, with the price significantly higher, this VPN gives you a service that is better than the average.

3. Surfshark


SmartDNS feature, unlimited simultaneous connections, CleanWeb ad blocker, camouflage mode; everything at an unbelievably affordable cost.

servers 3,200 servers in 65 countries worldwide
encryption AES 256-bit encryption
MultiHop mode MultiHop (double VPN) mode
simultaneous connections Unlimited simultaneous connections
money-back guarantee 30-days money-back guarantee
Clean web features CleanWeb feature
Camouflage mode Camouflage mode (obfuscated servers)
  • Intuitive user interface
  • Affordable long-term plans
  • 24/7 live chat support
  • Lacks some advanced features

Surfshark is a relatively new VPN to NordVPN or ExpressVPN. However, it quickly acquired a prominent reputation and significantly disrupted the market. Surfshark’s strategy is to offer users a top-notch service that won’t fall short of industry leaders for a fraction of the cost.

Simplicity is at the core of Surfshark’s mobile app. It doesn’t have all those settings you can adjust under the hood in ExpressVPN. But do you need them?

The app is nice and friendly. It also connects you to a pre-selected optimal server with a single tap. In addition, it has a kill switch, a selection of VPN tunneling protocols, and the option to auto-connect. So, it lacks all the arcane options available in the two previously mentioned apps. However, you need to be a reasonably expert user to miss those features. Otherwise, this app includes everything that most average users need.

Surfshark’s mobile app also works well for streaming, as it features stable server connections, high connection speeds, and a vast server selection

Another noteworthy feature is MultiHop, which sends traffic through two VPN network servers. Undoubtedly, it adds an insanely high level of security to all your activities. But it will slow you down significantly.

The exciting thing about Surfshark is that it lets you connect as many devices as you want to the VPN. And you can have all those perks for about 2.50 USD monthly.

Surfshark can’t compete with NordVPN or ExpressVPN if you look at speeds, extra features, and overall performance. However, it’s so good that you won’t notice the difference except when performing taxing tasks. So, this VPN is an attractive option for users who want to keep their VPN costs to a minimum without sacrificing functionality or security.

4. Proton VPN

Proton VPN new VPN block logo

A Swedish secure VPN that boasts strict no-logs policy and full-disk encrypted servers, offers NetShield feature, 10 simultaneous connections, and a free VPN version.

servers More than 1500 servers spread in 63 countries
encryption AES 256-bit encryption
simultaneous connections Allows 10 simultaneous connections
money-back guarantee 30-days money-back guarantee
Zero-logs policy Boasts strict no-logs policy
network lock feature NetShield feature
  • Fast speed connectivity with VPN accelerator
  • Open-source applications
  • Offers a free plan
  • Limited features on free version
  • Does not offer live chat support

Proton VPN is an excellent service that doesn’t get as much love as it deserves. It is the sister service of ProtonMail, the best secure email system for security and privacy lovers. So it comes from a company and a staff with extensive experience and expertise in security issues. That alone gives Proton VPN some credentials that few other players can match.

The VPN’s platform includes mobile apps for every operating system – a noticeable feature. But the most unusual thing about Proton VPN is its free service that you can use without data caps.

Of course, if you want to unleash all the power in the Proton VPN network, you’ll have to pay for a subscription. But in a world of low-quality or fraudulent free VPN services that pose privacy or security risks, the Proton VPN free VPN is surprisingly reliable.

Proton VPN will also deal with Netflix’s geographic bans (and other streaming services, but not as many as NordVPN).

However, Proton’s VPN app is relatively complicated for mobile apps (and not the VPN itself). So, you could struggle with it if you’re a VPN newbie. But that shouldn’t be a deal-breaker because the service is excellent.

5. IPVanish


Has no-logs policy, multiple encryption protocols, apps for all platforms, DNS leak protection, split tunneling.

servers 2000 servers spread across 75+ locations
encryption AES 256-bit encryption
simultaneous connections Unlimited simultaneous connections
money-back guarantee 30-days money-back guarantee
P2P optimized servers Boasts P2P-friendly servers
SugarSync cloud storage SugarSync cloud storage
  • Allows unlimited connections within one subsription
  • Affordable pricing
  • Easy to use applications
  • Does not unblock all the popular sites

IPVanish is one of the fastest VPNs online. It offers excellent device compatibility with dedicated desktop and mobile VPN clients. However, it’s unique because iOS and Android versions of this VPN service are pretty different, unlike other providers offering apps with similar features. So let’s describe them separately.

IPVanish Android app

The Android IPVanish mobile app is the most impressive software in the VPN’s tech platform. It has more features than any other app and has a fast and intuitive user interface.

The home screen shows you vital digital stats (IP number, target country, and connect button). You can access other menus like settings, account details, and the complete server list from there.

Server selection can go by country or city. But you don’t have any traffic data to let you choose the one with the most available resources. So you don’t get a favorite list either — it’s a pity because it removes some friction from the connection process.

The Android app’s selling point is its incredible flexibility and vast features. Kill switch, split tunneling, LAN exemption, everything you can pick or configure.

This app is impressive, functional, and powerful, but you may have to be a seasoned VPN user to enjoy it fully.

IPVanish iOS app

The iOS IPVanish app doesn’t look very much like the Android one. But that’s not an issue, as it’s still quick and intuitive.

The problems are in all the missing features. For instance, you don’t have a kill switch in the iOS version, and you have only two additional settings: auto-connect and the choice of your VPN tunneling protocol (IKEv2 and IPSEC are on the menu). IKEV2 is the best protocol to use when you’re on the road. That’s because it retains server connections when switching between WiFi and mobile networks.

Also, no split tunneling or LAN exemption is available for iOS users.

The app works very well, and the speeds are fast. But its versatility is more underwhelming than any other VPN, and even it is an Android sibling.

What are the uses of mobile VPNs?

best mobile VPN

The original use case for VPN services was to protect a user’s privacy, security, and anonymity by encrypting all its traffic and hiding its actual IP address. It is still a VPN’s essential job, but as the internet has evolved, VPNs have served new purposes, including mobile security.

We rely so much on mobile devices that using a mobile VPN is not a luxury but a critical resource.

Hence, a good VPN mobile app should be versatile, intuitive, and satisfy numerous privacy use cases, such as the following.

1. Security in WiFi hotspots

Public WiFi hotspots are popular because they’re practical and increase your productivity and connectivity. But they’re also where security is weakest for most users.

If you love to get busy in your favorite public WiFi hotspot, consider that hackers love them even more. All that traffic in the air, abundant and unsecured, gives them the best opportunities to have fun at the expense of unaware users. Such an environment gives a hacker everything needed to conduct a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack successfully. Thus, these incredibly convenient places are also exceedingly detrimental to privacy and security unless your mobile device is on a VPN.

2. Bypassing geo-blocks in video streaming platforms

The legal video streaming platform’s catalog differs in every country because of the content distribution rights and pay to the copyright owners. So, if you want to see the complete Netflix catalog but are not in the US, you’re out of luck. Nevertheless, a VPN will spoof your IP address so that Netflix sees you as if you were in the right place, thus giving you VIP treatment.

3. Bypassing VoIP bans

In countries like the United Arab Emirates, the government has a stake in domestic telephone companies. Therefore, every other way of calling (voice or video) through the internet is banned and penalized. And this is another example of what a VPN will do for you.

4. Bypassing censorship

Many countries in the world practice censorship. It doesn’t have to be as widespread or politically oriented as it is famously in China or North Korea. Just consider how many countries won’t let you access The Pirate Bay. A VPN will unlock every website in the world for you, regardless of your government’s preferences and your ISP’s imposed limitations.

5. Avoiding throttling

ISPs often monitor your activities and analyze them. If they find that, for example, you spend a lot of time watching streaming videos, they curtail the bandwidth you can use. With a VPN, your ISP will never know what you’re doing. Hence, it will never throttle your service.

6. Anonymous torrenting

If you are a BitTorrent user, you probably already noticed that websites like The Pirate Bay or RARBG have recommended users adopt VPNs to do their torrenting. And that’s another thing VPNs can do for you: unleash the power of BitTorrent while avoiding the most prominent legal risks. Just keep in mind that not every VPN is appropriate for torrenting.

So, as you can see, VPNs are the new Swiss army knives of the digital era. Thus, you should always have one ready in your pocket.

How about free mobile VPNs?

This article explained how ProtonVPN has an excellent free program, but that’s an exception. Most free VPNs you will find online are services you should never touch.

Here are two main reasons to stay away from free VPNs:

  1. Poor or unimpressive performance. Free VPNs are overworked. So, their connections are unreliable, and it can take several attempts to get a link to a server. Then, the speeds are low, and most cap data is for daily or monthly use. It’s implausible that you will find a free VPN that works as you would like. And even if you do, the inherent limitations in the system will make it a frustrating experience.
  2. Privacy concerns. The previous question explained that zero-log policies are critical when choosing a VPN. Free VPNs must make money, which they often do by harvesting your data and selling the logs to their commercial partners. So, free VPNs can create more privacy problems for you than they solve. It’s always best to keep away from free VPNs.
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About the Author

Ali Qamar

Ali Qamar

Cybersecurity Analyst
47 Posts

A strong passion drives Ali Qamar. He wants to empower internet users with privacy knowledge. He founded PrivacySavvy, an authority dedicated to fostering a security-conscious online community. Ali believes in individual liberty. He has been a vocal advocate for digital privacy rights long before Edward Snowden's mass surveillance revelation shook the world. Ali recently co-authored a book called "The VPN Imperative." It is available on Amazon. The book is a testament to his relentless quest to raise awareness about the importance of online privacy and security. Ali has a computing degree from Pakistan's top IT institution. He understands the details of encryption, VPNs, and privacy well. Many see Ali as an authority in his field. The local press often seeks his insights. His work has appeared in many famous publications. These include SecurityAffairs, Ehacking, HackRead, Lifewire,, Intego, and Infosec Magazine. He is inclined to transformative ideas. This is clear in his work. It aims to reshape how people approach and prioritize their online privacy. Through PrivacySavvy and his writing, Ali Qamar champions digital freedom. He gives internet users the knowledge and tools they need. They use these to reclaim control over their data. They can then navigate the online world with confidence and security.

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