VPN not working on iPhone? Fix it with our troubleshooting tips

If you have subscribed to a VPN but are having trouble making it work on an iPhone or iPad, this troubleshooting guide is designed to help. There are a few reasons why a VPN may not be working on an iPhone, and this article will give you tips for problem-solving each issue.

The tips we have provided in this article cater to commonly experienced problems. However, there are other provider-specific problems that may occur. If our advice does not help you to solve your connection issues; we strongly recommend that you contact your VPN provider's customer support for help. If the VPN cannot help you,  we recommend that you ask for your money back and subscribe to a recommended VPN for iPhones.

 

How to fix a VPN not working on your iPhone

Is your VPN not working on your iPhone? Here are some potential fixes. Just click the links for more information.

I’m using an older iPhone. Will this guide help me? 

Admittedly, if you are using an obsolete Apple device that no longer receives iOS updates, your VPN application may simply not be compatible. If you are using an iPhone 7 or older, it may be necessary to check with your VPN provider whether their VPN client works on deprecated iOS versions (iOS 12.4.1 or earlier).

If you are using an older iPhone with an iOS version that is considered out of date, one option may be to connect using the third party OpenVPN Connect software. Check out our guide for details on how to install an iPhone VPN manually using OpenVPN Connect.

VPN is not connecting on iPhone? Try this...

There are several common reasons why your VPN may not be connecting. This includes issues with your account status, network settings, or app configurations. If your VPN isn’t connecting, we recommend that you start troubleshooting using the steps below.


Please Note

You need to check to see whether the VPN is working after completing each troubleshooting tip.

  1. Force restart your iPhone.

    Depending on your generation of iPhone, you will need to force restart by either holding down the power button and the home button at the same time, or the power button and the volume down button at the same time. For iPhone 8 and later, hold down the power button and then quickly press the volume up button and then the volume down button.

  2. Update, delete and re-download your iOS VPN app from the App Store

    Getting the latest version of the app will ensure that you aren’t having problems due to outdated software. Apps downloaded from the App Store should update automatically, but you can force the process manually by going into the App Store’s Account section in iOS 13+ or in the dedicated tab in older versions.

    If this doesn’t fix the problems you are having, it is worth uninstalling the application entirely and re-downloading it from the App Store.

  3. Try various VPN servers in various regions

    If you have only attempted connecting to one VPN server, try a few more to check that it is not just a single server that is causing the problem.

  4. Check for any issues with your account

    Try to log in to your VPN through the provider’s website. If you can’t log in, it is possible that you are using the wrong password in the VPN app and need to reset it. If the password is fine, check that your VPN account is still active. If the account is no longer active, you may need to renew your subscription or contact the VPN’s customer support to find out why.

  5. Reset your Wi-Fi network settings

    This method has been known to fix connectivity issues for some users. However, it is only necessary if you are trying to connect to your VPN via WiFi. 

    On our iPhone or iPad go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings

  6. Reset your device level IP address 

    1. Launch the Settings app on your iOS device and click on Wi-Fi in the left pane.
    2. On the menu that opens on the right-hand side, tap the (i) button to view the settings for the local network. 
    3. Now, tap on Renew Lease at the bottom of the settings pane to reset your device’s IP address. Restart your iPhone or iPad to complete this procedure.
  7. Set your VPN’s DNS address manually

    This should not be necessary in most cases, and you will need to contact your VPN to find out exactly what DNS address to use. In addition, always ask your VPN whether they believe this is necessary before continuing.

    When you have the DNS address, head to Settings > WiFi and click on the (i) next to your WiFi network. Next, Tap Configure DNS, select Manual and then tap Add Server to enter the DNS address provided by your VPN. 

VPN is disconnecting when going from a WiFi to LTE Network

When traveling from place to place, it is possible that you will encounter a VPN hang-up. This can happen when moving around on 4G or switching from a WiFi hotspot onto your 4G mobile data. This can cause the VPN to get stuck in an endless loop of trying to reconnect. To fix this issue:

  1. Head to Settings > Cellular on your iPhone and turn off the switch next to Cellular Data. 
  2. Now turn it back on and try reconnecting to your VPN. 

How to test a VPN on iPhone

If you are wondering whether your VPN is working correctly, it is always a good idea to run some tests. The most important things that you need to check for are IP leaks, DNS leaks, and Web RTC leaks.

VPN leak test 

If a VPN is leaking, it is not providing privacy. 

  • IP leaks will allow the websites you visit to know where you really are. 
  • DNS leaks allow your Internet Service Provider to track the websites you are visiting. 
  • WebRTC leaks give away your location to the services you visit. 

All three of these leaks are a massive problem, and if your VPN has them, it is essential that you either fix them or subscribe to a different VPN.

To help you out, we have created a comprehensive VPN leak tool that is designed to check for all of these kinds of leaks. Technophobes don’t need to worry, as it is easy to use and requires you to have no prior experience of using leak tools. As a result, you can head straight over to our tool to find out if your VPN is working as it is supposed to. 

Written by: Ray Walsh

Digital privacy expert with 5 years experience testing and reviewing VPNs. He's been quoted in The Express, The Times, The Washington Post, The Register, CNET & many more. 

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