Did you know you could change the DNS (Domain Name System) server on your iPhone or iPad? When connecting to your home Wi-Fi, your ISP has a default DNS server that your iPhone or iPad hooks up to, but you can also point your iPhone or iPad to a different DNS server. It’s actually quite easy to do – all you have to have on hand is the DNS server you want to point to as well as the password to get into your Wi-Fi connection. However, there are a few things you should know beforehand.

What is a Domain Name System?

In layman’s terms, DNS will take a website URL that we understand as, say, www.snapon.com and transform it into something a computer can read: an IP address. In other words, you can be connected to snapon.com and even see the web address in your browser, but the DNS server can be pointed to something else, meaning you aren’t actually connected to Snap On’s website.

What is a DNS server then?

It’s good to picture DNS as one giant phone book. When you type in snapon.com in your address bar and press enter, your computer will then contact your current DNS server (the phone book) in search of the location of snapon.com (the IP address). Once it retrieves that address, it will connect to snapon.com and display snapon.com in your address bar.

I believe About.com explains it quite nicely:

“Computers on your home network locate a DNS server through their Internet connection setup properties. Internet providers supply their customers the public IP addresses of primary and backup DNS servers, which are normally automatically set on a homenetwork gateway device via DHCP.”

Here’s why you might want to change your DNS server to something else: most ISP’s (Internet Service Provider) DNS servers aren’t very fast. This is particularly noticeable on a slower connection. It impacts your browsing experience big time, largely because of how often and how quick DNS lookups are performed.

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Now, before we get started on changing our iPhone or iPad’s DNS server, you should know how iOS handles the DNS game.

How iOS handles DNS

First of all, iOS will only let you change the DNS server on a Wi-Fi network. You cannot actually change the DNS server while on a cellular connection; it is with Wi-Fi networks only. Secondly, changes are network-specific, meaning that you’ll need to change to your desired DNS server on every new Wi-Fi connection you join. The good news is that iOS is able to remember your custom settings when you connect to a network you’ve already changed the DNS settings with.

With all that said, here’s how to change the DNS settings on both an iPhone and iPad:


Open the Settings app on your iPhone. Next, you’ll want to tap the Wi-Fi option. Now, with the network you’re connected to, there should be an “i” button on your selection. Tap it, scroll down to the DNS section, and then you should be able to tap on the numbers to the right to alter them.


You can enter any DNS IP you want, but in my case, I’m using a public one from Google:

The way iOS has it setup is actually kind of neat, as changing the DNS settings on Android is a whole lot more difficult and often requires you to “forget” the network you’re on, and add in a whole bunch of additional information. Once you’ve added your desired DNS information in, you can just back out of the network options to save the changes. However, they won’t take affect just yet.

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iOS has the default DNS information cached, so you may need to do a hard reset for the changes to take affect (hold down the power button + home button until the Apple logo appears).

Not sure what DNS server to point to? Here are a couple options from Google and OpenDNS:

Google Public DNS addresses:


OpenDNS addresses:



And that wraps up our guide on changing your iPhone or iPad’s DNS settings. Now, your browsing experience should be greatly improved if it was bad before.

If you ran into a problem or need any extra information, be sure to leave a comment below or leave us some feedback over in the PCMech Forums!