How to Configure a Proxy Server on an iPhone or iPad

When you configure a proxy server for a Wi-Fi network, your iPhone or iPad will use it when accessing that network. This is sometimes required to access the Internet on a business or school network, for example. Your network traffic will be sent through the proxy you configure.

Generally, you’ll use a proxy if your school or work provides it to you. You could also use a proxy to hide your IP address or access geoblocked websites that aren’t available in your country, but we recommend a VPN for that instead. If you need to set up a proxy for school or work, get the necessary credentials from them and read on.

Head to Settings > Wi-Fi to access proxy settings on an iPhone or iPad. Tap the name of the Wi-Fi network you’re connected to. Scroll down and you’ll see the “HTTP Proxy” option at the bottom of the screen.

 

By default, the HTTP Proxy option is set to “Off”. This means your iPhone won’t use a proxy at all when connected to the network.

To enable automatic proxy detection, select “Auto”. Your iPhone will use the Web Proxy Auto-Discovery Protocol, or WPAD, to see whether a proxy is necessary on the Wi-Fi network and automatically configure your proxy settings if one is required. This feature is often used on business and school networks. If your current network doesn’t provide proxy details using the WPAD protocol, your iPhone or iPad won’t use a proxy, even if you select “Auto” here.

To use an automatic proxy configuration script, sometimes called a .PAC file, select “Auto” and enter the address of the proxy auto-configuration script into the “URL” box. iOS will instead use the proxy auto-configuration script instead of WPAD to enable your proxy.

If your network administrator or proxy service provider wants you to use a proxy auto-configuration script, it will provide you with the address of the file.

 

To manually specify a proxy server’s address and port, select “Manual”. Enter the address of the proxy server in the “Server” box and the port it requires in the “Port” box. Your organization or proxy service provider will provide you with these details.

If the proxy server requires a username and password—your proxy provider will let you know if it does—enable the “Authentication” option here. Enter the username and password the proxy server requires in the “Username” and “Password” boxes.

 

If your iPhone or iPad can’t connect to the proxy server—for example, if the proxy server goes down or if you enter its details incorrectly—you won’t be able to access websites and other network addresses.

For example, in Safari you’ll see a “Safari cannot open the page because the server cannot be found” message, and in the App Store you’ll see a “Cannot Connect to App Store” message. Other applications will display their own network error messages.

You’ll need to fix your proxy settings before you can continue accessing the Internet on that Wi-Fi network.

 

The proxy settings you configure are unique to each Wi-Fi network. In other words, if you want to use the same proxy on three different Wi-Fi networks, you’ll have to enable it separately for each Wi-Fi network, entering the server details three times. That’s because you may need to use a proxy while connected to the Wi-Fi network at your workplace, but not at home or on other Wi-Fi networks.

If you’d like to set up a global HTTP proxy that’s used when connected to all Wi-Fi networks, you’ll have to “supervise” your iPhone or iPad and create a configuration profile that enables a proxy on all connections. Apple considers this a feature for businesses, schools, and other organizations, so it requires enterprise-grade configuration tools.

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.