It finally happened. You are at an airport or coffee shop and you urgently need to use public WiFi and save your phone's data plan, but you are concerned about a secure connection. You've heard about VPNs, but they seem complicated and expensive. What to do?
No worries. VPNs are easier to use than you think and most are cheaper than you may have heard. Here's how to get a VPN on your iPhone ($ 699 from Amazon) or Android device ̵
Why do I need a VPN on my phone?
Are all apps connected to the Internet on your phone up-to-date and active versions published later than, for example, 2016? What about your operating system – is this the latest version of Android or iOS ? If the answer to one of these questions is "I don't know", you should use a VPN on your phone if possible. It may be difficult for malicious actors to take advantage of daily Wi-Fi users, but outdated software can give them the opening they need to steal passwords to your most sensitive accounts.
If you are concerned about the risks of using public Wi-Fi to check sensitive business e-mail, bank account balances or airline ticket and passport information, a VPN can reassure you.
Choose a VPN  Whether you are using an iPhone or an Android device, your first step is the same: find a VPN that you like that is compatible with your device. This is how:
1. Browse CNET & # 39; s list of the. If you only want to surf public Wi-Fi securely, find a VPN service with servers in your current country. The general rule of thumb is the closer the hardware, the faster the connection.
2.. We love 30-day warranties and 7-day trial periods, but completely free VPNs are rarely secure and are often just a way for improper companies to get hold of your data.
If you want to invest in a VPN for the long term, you need more than 10 minutes of research time. But when you are ready to take a deeper dive, CNET & # 39; s.
Now that you have chosen the VPN that you want to use, follow these steps to get it on your Android device:
1. Open the app Google Play store on your phone and tap the search bar at the top of the screen.
2. Type the name of the VPN that you want to use and select it from the list of apps that appears. View the creator of the app to make sure you are downloading the official app instead of a copycat. The name of the company and the creator of the app must match. Click on Install and wait until the app has been downloaded.
3. After the VPN app is installed, exit the Google Play Store and return to the home screen of your phone to click on the VPN app and open it.
4. The first time you open a paid VPN app, you will be asked to provide your login details or to sign up for the service. If you are asked to sign in with an email address (which is the case for almost all services), you should check your email for a confirmation link from your new VPN provider.
For all apps in the CNPN VPN directory, the process is largely the same: you will be asked to choose and pay for your desired plan. We always recommend that you choose a service with a 30-day refund policy so that you can test the services until you find the one you like.
Android devices require additional steps to keep a VPN permanently running in the background. We do not recommend this for most users – a VPN that remains active 24 hours a day will drain your battery quickly and may force you to meet your data limit too quickly if you have chosen a VPN provider that will use the data from its customers limited use.
That means by default that almost every new VPN that you use is only active when you open and enable the app. Don't forget to switch it off when you have finished browsing.
Here's how you can make a VPN work on your Apple iPhone:
1. Go to your home screen on your iPhone and tap the App Store .
2. Tap the Search tab in the lower right corner of the screen and then tap the Search box at the top of the screen.
3. Type the name of the VPN you have chosen and select it from the list that appears. Then tap the Get button that appears to the right of the app's name. As with any other app, you must confirm the installation of the app with your access code, Touch ID or Face ID.
4. Once your installation is complete, close the App Store and return to your home screen .
5. As with the first use of a VPN on Android, using a VPN on iPhone for the first time means you are asked to create a new account and the desired one select subscription level. Make sure you check your e-mail inbox for any confirmation links that your VPN provider sends you if you have registered with an e-mail address.
Almost all VPN apps will ask you to connect to an automatically selected server based on your location to enable fast browsing. From now on, every time you want to use your VPN, just tap the VPN icon on your home screen before surfing the web, click the app button to connect, and then go back to the VPN app and switch it off when you are finished.
There, now. Didn't I tell you it was easy?