Hotspot Shield's iPhone app brings simple VPN and anonymisation to iOS. (Credit: AnchorFree)

Known for offering free anonymising protection to Windows and Mac users, the Wi-Fi protection program Hotspot Shield (download) launched today for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. It's the first mobile move for parent company AnchorFree.

Calling itself the world's most popular Virtual Private Network (VPN), with 9 million to 10 million unique monthly users, the iOS version of Hotspot Shield offers the same encrypted IP address anonymising and bandwidth compression that the program's Windows and Mac users get.

This means that all Web browsing would be conducted over the safer HTTPS. By rerouting Web traffic and providing you with a new IP address hosted by AnchorFree, the company says it is able to prevent your data from being snatched out of the open by man-in-the-middle attacks or wireless network spoofing.

Hotspot Shield representative Nick Spencer noted that although Hotspot Shield had previously been available on iOS as a VPN source, the procedure required to configure it was complicated. The new app, he said, will automatically configure your VPN settings with one tap.

He also noted that it won't turn off between browsing sessions, meaning that once the app is activated, you won't have to re-tap it to get it to running again if your phone goes to sleep. "Hotspot Shield is actually the only consumer VPN able to do this. It's something that AnchorFree worked really hard to do; it's obviously a key part of the user experience," he said.

Whereas Hotspot Shield's basic anonymising services are free to desktop users, with a paid upgrade option to Hotspot Shield Elite that includes the data compression, there is no ad-supported version for mobile. The iOS version comes with a seven-day free trial, after which it costs 99 cents per month or $9.99 per year. A single iOS subscription will work on multiple iOS devices.

Also like the Elite version, Hotspot Shield for iOS comes with a coupon for 2 free hours of talk time on Skype.