Can the iPhone's IP Address Be Changed?

by Avery Martin
The iPhone's IP address can be changed to protect your privacy online.

The iPhone's IP address can be changed to protect your privacy online.

Your iPhone uses an IP address to communicate with the sites you visit by sending and receiving data. Without the IP address, the site wouldn't know where to send the information. You can change your IP address using some native options and third-party apps. However, to access the Internet, you must maintain a valid IP address.

Find Your IP

The first step to changing your IP address is checking to see what your IP address is to begin with. This way, you'll be able to confirm that your IP address has changed. You can check your IP address on your iPhone by opening the Settings app and selecting the Wi-Fi network you are currently connected to. Unless you are using a VPN, or connected to the cellular network, your IP address will show in the DHCP, BootP or Static tab in the IP Address field. If your iPhone shows a 192.168.x.x or 10.0.0.x address, then your iPhone is showing you the IP address of your local area network or your wireless router rather than that of your phone. (The "x" in the number means that any number can appear in that part of the address.) These addresses can appear with certain router and firewall configurations. If this is the case, find your IP address by navigating to a website such as WhatIsMyIP.com to check your current IP. The 10.0.x.x protocols identify the local network you are connecting to.

Accessing a VPN

The iPhone provides an option to connect to a VPN that changes your IP address. A Virtual Private Network encrypts the information sent from your iPhone and routes traffic through a third-party computer. This not only hides your IP, but also protects the data you are sending. In most cases, even the VPN provider can't intercept your traffic. You can access the manual setup options by using the VPN option, located in the General section of the Settings app. Once there, provide the information for a VPN provider and save the configuration. The required information can be obtained from your network administrator, or the actual VPN provider's support website. Almost all VPNs require a subscription and use a third-party application that automatically configures your VPN. This enables the provider to track your subscription more easily since users typically enter a username or password to access the VPN service. The exception is when you are accessing a work network and an administrator provides you with the information, or if your VPN provider doesn't provide software. TunnelBear and HotSpotShield provide options for setting up and using a VPN on your iPhone. Other paid options also exist. A VPN provides the most secure way of masking your IP address. If you connect to a free VPN, connect only to reputable companies by choosing a company that provides customer support as well as paid services.

Trying Airplane Mode

You can use Airplane mode with some carriers to change your IP address. However, changing your IP address does not hide any of your activities from your ISP. Airplane mode is available by opening the Settings app. Once there, turn Airplane mode on for about 10 seconds and then turn it back off. With cellular networks, your ISP usually assigns a new IP address each time you connect. If that doesn't work, try keeping Airplane mode on for about 10 minutes. Your iPhone's IP address generally changes whenever you reconnect to the cellular network.

Using a Web Proxy

Proxies can change your IP address like a VPN, but they don't provide the same level of security. With a proxy, you are simply sending your information through a second computer. Because you don't always know who has access to the proxy server, your data isn't always safe from prying eyes. You can set up a proxy by accessing the network you are currently connected to on your iPhone. This option is available in the Wi-Fi section of the Settings app. You can't change your IP address with a proxy when connected to a cellular network. However, you can navigate to an online Web-based proxy and redirect your traffic through the website.

Disclaimer

Information in this article applies to iPhones running iOS 6. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.

About the Author

Avery Martin holds a Bachelor of Music in opera performance and a Bachelor of Arts in East Asian studies. As a professional writer, she has written for Education.com, Samsung and IBM. Martin contributed English translations for a collection of Japanese poems by Misuzu Kaneko. She has worked as an educator in Japan, and she runs a private voice studio out of her home. She writes about education, music and travel.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images