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How to Fix iPhone VPN Problems to Ensure a More Private Internet Experience « iOS & iPhone :: Gadget Hacks

How to Fix iPhone VPN Problems to Ensure a More Private Internet Experience « iOS & iPhone :: Gadget Hacks


A VPN is a necessary part of your arsenal if you are adamant about browsing the web privately and securely on your iPhone. The App Store is full of hundreds of different VPN services that encrypt your traffic and hide your IP address, but what they all have in common are connectivity issues.

An ineffective VPN can be a problem when you are not working. Watching Netflix and Hulu will not work in restricted countries. You will not be protected using public Wi-Fi hotspots. Worst of all, your ISP can monitor everything you do, which is a huge breach of privacy, to say the least.

If the VPN you just installed isn’t working or you’re having issues with your current VPN on your smartphone, try the tips below to get the service up and running and you’re protected.

Tip 1: Restart the VPN

The common problem you might encounter is that the service gets stuck in a loop while trying to connect; It happens when you switch from one Wi-Fi network or another, or from Wi-Fi to cellular data. The problem persists, and aside from staying on only one network indefinitely (which is unrealistic), there is no permanent solution.

To fix connection issues, open the VPN app you’re using, turn it off, and then reconnect to it. Depending on the service you’re using, it could be as easy as opening the app and clicking one button to stop and start. Another way to stop and start it is to go to the Settings app and turn off the VPN and then turn it on again.

Tip 2: Force close the VPN app

Another tip that can fix a VPN stuck in a loop is to completely close the VPN app. You can do this by swiping up on the app in the app switcher. If you have an iPhone X or later, swipe up from the bottom of the screen and pause in the middle of the screen to access the app switcher. On iPhone 8 or earlier, double-click the Home button, then swipe up on the VPN card.

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Tip 3: Reset the LTE connection

If you’re someone who commutes a bit, be it domestic or international, you may have issues with your cellular connection. This can affect your VPN connection, which is why you should reset your LTE. To do this, open the Settings app, tap on Cellular, and toggle Cellular Data on and off. Your VPN will try to retry the connection after a few seconds.

Tip 4: Reset network settings

The data connection may disable your VPN, causing the VPN to stop. Resetting the network settings can solve the problem. Go to Settings -> General -> Reset. Next, tap on Reset Network Settings, enter your passcode, and confirm, which will restart your device and erase and reset all network service settings.

Resetting the network settings is one of the best ways to solve connection problems, but be aware that resetting it will erase all Wi-Fi networks and passwords you connected to before.

Tip 5: Restart iPhone

Even if you connect your VPN, it may still not work properly. For example, if you set the VPN in another country because you want to bypass region restrictions on some streaming platforms, but you notice that the restrictions are not lifted, the reason may be that you are connecting to the wrong country or the VPN connected may not be working in the background. When that happens, you have to restart your iPhone, and there are many ways to do that:

  • Go to Settings -> General -> Turn Off, then drag the slider that appears (iOS 11 and later).
  • Use the AssistiveTouch shortcut (iOS 11 and later).
  • Use the Voice Control shortcut (iOS 13 and later).
  • Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button, then drag the slider that appears (iPhone 8 and earlier).
  • Press and hold the side button and one of the volume buttons together, then slide the slider that appears (iPhone X and later).
  • Press Volume Up, then Volume Down, then press and hold the Side button or the Sleep/Wake button, then drag the slider that appears (iOS 11 and later).
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If you use AssistiveTouch or Voice Control tricks, your iPhone will turn off and start working on its own. Otherwise, you will need to long press the Side button or the Sleep/Wake button for your iPhone to boot back up.

Photo by Nelson Aguilar/Gadget Hacks

Tip 6: Force restart iPhone

You can also restart your iPhone, which restarts automatically.

  • Press and hold the Sleep/Wake and Volume Down buttons together until the Apple logo (iPhone 7) appears.
  • Press Volume Up, then Volume Down, then press and hold the Side button or the Sleep/Wake button until the Apple logo appears (iPhone 8 and later).
  • Press and hold the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons together until the Apple logo appears (iPhone 6s and earlier).

Tip 7: Choose a different area

If your VPN connection is not working, or if it is running very slow, try changing the region you are connected to in the app. Some VPNs choose the region that they think works best for you, but many also give you the option to select different regions within certain countries, giving you more options to connect faster. You may have to restart your iPhone after changing locations for it to take effect.

Tip 8: Update the VPN App

If the VPN app has any weird issues, like crashing or booting up on its own, you may need to update it to fix any existing bugs.

On iOS 12 and earlier, open the App Store, tap Updates at the bottom, find your VPN, and tap Update. You can also search the App Store for the app and update it from there.

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For iOS 13 and later, open the App Store, select your profile icon, find your VPN, and hit Update. You can also search the App Store for the app and update it from there, among other things.

You can usually read more about the issues fixed in the “What’s new” section of each app in the App Store. Internal issues like these, which are not your fault, can be easily and quickly fixed by an update.

Tip 9: Use a different VPN app

There is no shortage of good and tested VPN apps in the App Store. If you’ve tried all the tips above and your VPN is still not working properly, then maybe it’s time to give another service a chance. Open the App Store app on your iPhone, search for “VPN”, browse the list, and see ratings and reviews.

Tip 10: Restart the router

If there are no VPN apps running on your iPhone and you are connected to Wi-Fi, the problem might be with the router. Just like when your home internet stops working, restart your router to see if that fixes any VPN issues on your device. For good measure, restart your iPhone after rebooting your router back up, so that the connection between the two devices is clean.

This article was produced during Gadget Hacks’ private coverage of smartphone privacy and security. Check out the entire Privacy and Security series.

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Cover image and screenshots from Nelson Aguilar / Gadget Hacks

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