During the writing of Your Ultimate Security Guide: iOS I had the opportunity to work with a lot of products that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise considered. One of these is Private Internet Access for iOS (affiliate link). Though over the years I have used a virtual private network on my iPhone and other mobile devices, and I have used Private Internet Access rather heavily, I had never used the two together until recently. The Private Internet Access app for iOS is one of the most convenient VPNs I have used to date and the VPN that I will continue to rely on for my phones.
The PIA app is a certificate-authenticated VPN which means that installing the app also installs an authentication certificate on your device. VPNs of this nature can be set to be always on, rather than credential based VPNs which must be manually reconnected each time you unlock the phone. Though certificate-based VPNs are notorious for draining batteries rapidly, PIA has found a rather ingenous solution to this. Rather than remaining always connected to the VPN server (which is the reason “always on” VPNs are notorious for killing batteries) PIA does not always remain connected. Rather, it drops the connection when the device goes to sleep. Upon unlocking the device, though, data connections are blocked until the connection is automatically reestablished. Though your battery will not last as long as it would with a very judiciously used credential (username and password) authenticated VPN, the security PIA provides is well worth the shortened battery life.
I have written previously about the security and privacy benefits of using a VPN. Private Internet Access provides all of these benefits, including encrypted traffic to and from the VPN server and mulitple exit servers in mulitple countries to choose from. As I have also written before, PIA also allows you a number of anonymous payment options including BitCoin and redeeming store gift cards. Yes, store gift cards, meaning if you have an old Starbuck or Home Depot gift card with a balance on it you can cash it in for VPN service. Not only does this give you a way to use those small balances left on those gift cards at the bottom of the junk drawer, it also allows even the low-tech a way of purchasing VPN service anonymously.
Private Internet Access stores NO logs, allows unlimited bandwidth and five devices connected simultaneously, and costs just $40/per year.