Boost the security and safety of the iPhone and iPad by using alternative DNS servers.

DNS servers play a role in the security of the internet and some are more secure than others. This guide shows how to change the DNS servers on your iPhone to make the internet safer to use.

There are all manner of threats on the internet and while the iPhone and iPad are immune from nearly all the viruses that are out there, it is not completely secure.

Malware is rare on the iPhone, but phishing emails are not. Fake websites can trick you into revealing your Apple ID, which is used to access iTunes, the App Store, and iCloud services. They can con you out of money by pretending to be your bank, PayPal, Amazon and so on.

iPhone and iPad users have to keep their wits about them to avoid scams, phishing, fake sites and tricks that are common online. Security and safety is important and should not be ignored.

For this reason, it is useful to use DNS servers that are designed to protect you from threats when using online services and websites.

What is a DNS server?

Every device, computer and website has a unique IP address. When one device, such as an iPhone or iPad, needs to connect to a website, such as www.apple.com, a DNS server converts the URL you enter to the IP address. This is then used to connect to the web server.

The IP address of Apple’s website is 17.142.160.59. Just type those numbers into Safari and tap Go to see for yourself. IP addresses of websites are impossible to remember, which is why we use URLs. Browsers like Safari use a DNS server to convert URLs into IP addresses.

Safer more secure DNS

Not all DNS servers are the same. All are fast, but some are faster than others and they offer performance benefits. A super fast one won’t make a huge difference to browsing the web, but they do help a little.

Some DNS servers provide unrestricted access to everything on the internet, but others don’t and they may limit access to certain websites and services.

Related: 11 ways to increase iPhone security

Some DNS servers maintain a database of known bad websites that have malware, phishing, malicious advertising and other security and safety threats. They can prevent you from visiting anything that might be harmful by not providing the IP address or by redirecting you somewhere safe.

By changing from the default automatic DNS server to an alternative one, you can speed up the internet a tiny bit and also increase security an safety.

Change DNS server in iOS

Changing the DNS server on the iPhone and ipad is actually quite easy.

Open the Settings app and press the Wi-Fi network (yours will have a different name to mine). Press the Wi-Fi network on the next screen

 iPhone Settings app iPhone Wi-Fi settings

 

Press Configure DNS and then on the next screen press Manual.

 Configure DNS settings on the iPhone Configure DNS settings on the iPhone

We need to delete the existing DNS servers, so press the red button and the press Delete. Don’t worry, switching back to Automatic will automatically put them back if you ever want to restore them.

Now we need to add one or more DNS servers or the internet will not be accessible. Press Add Server and enter 9.9.9.9, which is the DNS server provided by Quad 9 (a group of security companies led by IBM). Press Save to finish.

 Configure DNS settings on the iPhone Configure DNS settings on the iPhone

 

Find DNS servers to use

Where do you find DNS servers and how do you know what numbers to put in? A Google search will turn up many DNS servers and popular ones include Google, Quad 9, OpenDNS, and Norton.

There is a useful free app called DNS Override that contains a list of popular DNS servers. Tap a service and it lists the IP addresses you need to enter using the method described above. Pay a small fee and the app will automatically set the DNS server for you so you don’t have to fiddle with the Settings app.

 DNS Override app on the iPhone DNS Override app on the iPhone

With each DNS service that is listed, DNS Override lists the benefits of using it. For example, a service may filter malware, phishing, scams or adult content.

Don’t just use the default DNS servers set by automatic mode on the iPhone because they may not offer the best speed, security or safety. Use an alternative.

If you don’t want to configure the settings yourself, unlock DNS Override and let it set the DNS for you.