Modern iPhones and iPads have excellent VPN support. The PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, and Cisco IPSec protocols are all integrated. You can connect to OpenVPN networks and other types of VPNs with third-party apps.
Prior to iOS 8, iPhones automatically disconnected from VPNs when they went into sleep mode. Now, iOS devices will stay connected to the VPN even when their screen turns off. You won’t have to constantly reconnect.
Connect to PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, and Cisco IPSec VPNs
To set up a VPN, open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad, tap the General category, and tap VPN near the bottom of the list. Tap “Add VPN Configuration” to add your first VPN settings to the phone or tablet. If you need to configure multiple VPNs, you can add them from this screen, too.
Select the L2TP option for L2TP/IPSec, PPTP for PPTP, or IPSec for Cisco IPSec. Enter your VPN’s connection details on this screen to connect. If your VPN is provided by your workplace, they should provide you with these details.
If you have an OpenVPN server you want to connect to, skip this entire section and scroll down to the last part of an article. OpenVPN networks are handled in a different way.
If you need to use certificate files to connect to the VPN, you’ll have to import those before you set up the VPN. If you’re sent the certificate files via email, you can access them in the Mail app, tap the certificate file attachments, and import them. You could also locate them on a website in the Safari browser and tap them to import them.
iPhones and iPads support certificate files in the PKCS#1 (.cer, .crt, .der) and PKCS#12 formats (.p12, .pfx). If you need such certificate files to connect, the organization that provides the VPN server to you should give you them and mention them in instructions on setting up the VPN. If you want to remove certificates you installed, you’ll find them under Settings > General > Profiles.
Organizations centrally managing their iOS devices can also use a mobile device management server to push the certificates and related VPN settings to their devices.
Connect to and Disconnect From Your VPN
After you’ve set up a VPN, you can open the Settings window and toggle the VPN slider near the top of the screen to connect to or disconnect from the VPN. When you’re connected to the VPN, a “VPN” icon will on the top of the screen in the status bar.
If you’ve set up multiple VPNs on your iPhone or iPad, you can switch between them by heading to Settings > General > VPN — the same screen where you added those VPNs.