Private Internet Access on iOS Using OpenVPN


While travelling, I found that I was constantly connecting to public WiFi with my phone and laptop. Private Internet Access has an application for the laptop that makes it super easy to connect, but they don't yet have an iOS app. If you're wondering why a VPN might be important to you, it might help to read this article on public wifi security. I didn't have iTunes, so the solution implemented by the PIA website didn't work for me.

Don't want to put in your username and password each time? Try this instead.

iOS does support manually adding a VPN through Settings, but the downside is that you have to reconnect every time the device's screen disconnects from the internet, such as when you lock the screen or don't use the device for 5 minutes. By connecting through OpenVPN, the connection becomes a bit more stable, and the app will reconnect when switching between cellular data and WiFi. This solution doesn't offer 100% coverage (hopefully the eventual PIA app will), but it's definitely better than installing a VPN profile through Settings.

This solution that works on the fly, no iTunes necessary, and is based on the conversation in this forum post. If you do have access to iTunes, this solution might be sub-optimal.

Here are the steps:

  1. Download the OpenVPN Connect app on your iOS device
  2. Navigate to this website from a laptop or desktop. I apologize, but the files below won't download from iOS (they only open as text; let me know if you have a fix for this).
  3. Download one of the following files (or all of them) and e-mail them to yourself
  4. Open that e-mail on your iDevice (the Mail app worked for me, but Gmail didn't)
  5. Go into the app, hit the green plus (+) sign, and enter your username and password (not the one you use to log in to Private Internet Access, but the one you generated in the Client Control Panel)

Here are the files:

Feel free to contact me with any questions, or to let me know when this workaround breaks. Be aware, though, that the people in the forum thread who are certainly more knowledgeable than I.