Installing the OpenVPN Client on iOS

iOS is also capable of running OpenVPN natively using the iOS OpenVPN Connect client available in the App Store. The OpenVPN configuration and certificates must be generated outside of the iOS device and then imported to the app.

The OpenVPN Client Export Package can export an OpenVPN Connect type Inline Configuration compatible with this app. Export a configuration file then transfer the resulting .ovpn file to the target device using iTunes to transfer the files into the app or e-mail it to the device.

Using other methods to get files onto the device remotely, such as Dropbox, Google Drive, or Box will work similarly to the e-mail method are generally more secure as the contents will remain private and possibly encrypted depending on the method and storage.

If using the e-mail method, use the following procedure:

  • Export the OpenVPN Connect type Inline Configuration file for the VPN.

  • Send the exported file in an e-mail to an account configured on the iOS device

  • Install the OpenVPN Connect app on the device

  • Open the Mail app on the device

  • Open the e-mail message containing the attachment

  • Tap the attachment. When it is tapped one of the choices will be to open it with the OpenVPN Connect app

  • Tap to select the OpenVPN connect app and it will offer to import the configuration

  • Tap the + button and the profile will be imported

Using iTunes to transfer the configuration to the iOS device is simple and more secure than e-mail.

  • Export the OpenVPN Connect type Inline Configuration file for the VPN.

  • Connect the iOS device to the computer and open iTunes

  • Find and install the OpenVPN Connect app

  • Click the device icon inside of iTunes in the toolbar

  • Select Apps on the left side of the window

  • Locate the File Sharing section At the bottom of this screen (scroll down)

  • Click the icon for OpenVPN under File Sharing and a list of files will show on the right under the heading OpenVPN Documents

  • Copy the file to the device by using ONE of the following methods. The file will be immediately available on the iOS device.

    • Use Finder to drag and drop the .ovpn file into this area OR

    • Click Add and locate the file to import

  • Open the OpenVPN Connect app and it will offer to import the profile

  • Tap the + button, and the profile will be imported

If the OpenVPN server requires user authentication the app will prompt for the credentials, which may optionally be saved. Underneath the credential prompt is a connection status which will change between Disconnected and Connected and also indicates when a connection is being attempted. Clicking this will open the OpenVPN client log which is very useful if connection problems are encountered.

To connect the VPN, move the slider at the bottom of the profile from Off to On and the app will attempt to connect. To manually disconnect, move the slider back to Off.