If you’re running an iPhone or iPad and want the anonymity, security, and geo-restriction freedom that a VPN can offer, you’ve come to the right place to find the best free iPhone VPN app for you.
A virtual private network will allow you to keep your digital life more secure meaning your personal details are kept just that, private. This is great if you use open Wi-Fi like at coffee shops, airports, or hotels where you’re potentially open to threats. It’s also ideal for watching geo-restricted shows on Netflix when abroad.
We recommend ProtonVPN for those looking at free VPN options, but you may also want to consider stepping up to a paid option like ExpressVPN. We’ve highlighted all the best VPN for iPhone options previously, but ExpressVPN gives you reliable service, fast speeds, and removes all the compromises you may have to make for a free option.
Is a free iPhone VPN app right for me?
A free iPhone VPN app is appealing because it means that you have to pay nothing to use the service, and who doesn’t love something for free, right? Well, when you aren’t paying the service provider for its services, that means that the company is usually seeking that money from somewhere else, because it needs it to stay in business. Often that means taking your data (even the limited amount it may have) and running off to a third-party with it, which defeats the whole purpose of using a VPN to stay anonymous.
Beyond this, free services also usually limit the number of devices you can connect, have really low data allowances each month, offer fewer server choices, among other limitations. It’s often a good way to test out whether or not a VPN is right for you, but it may not be a great long-term option for everyone.
A note about free VPN options
There are some great free VPN options (which we’ve highlighted lower on this page), but it’s worth noting that these aren’t always the best picks for everyone. With free VPNs you will make some sacrifices in the overall user experience, but if you want to avoid that we’ve also highlighted the best paid options below as well.
1. ExpressVPN: The absolute best VPN option for most people
This is our top pick for anyone looking to get started with a VPN. It offers a great mix of speed, reliability, outstanding customer service, and affordability. There is a 30-day money-back guarantee, so give it a shot today.
2. NordVPN: The most well-known VPN for security
NordVPN offers an insane amount of server locations that you can pick from and is one of the best services for unblocking streaming services. It’s definitely the most well-known brand in the VPN space right now.
3. Surfshark VPN: The best cheap VPN out there
With plans starting out at about 8 cents per day, it’s really hard to skip over Surfshark because it’s a paid service. It offers a ton of great features that you’d expect from a VPN provider, and is super simple to use.
Best free VPNs for iPhone – our detailed list
Further down we have a full list of our favorite free iPhone VPN app picks, but it may be worth considering one of our favorite paid options listed above instead as well. These will allow you the full VPN experience without any compromise, and these top picks aren’t overly expensive either.
Still want to go with a free iPhone VPN app? There’s a lot to like about each of the options we’ve included below, so let’s break down what the differences are and help you pick the best free iPhone VPN app for you.
The best free VPN for security-focused people
Bottom line: ProtonVPN is our top pick for free iPhone VPN services, and one that you’ll want to download now. It offers unlimited bandwidth and great security within an easy-to-use app.
Data limit: Unlimited | Compatible with: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Chrome | Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon, YouTube | Servers available: 3 | 24/7 live chat support: No
- Based in Switzerland
- No data limit
- Only need an email address to get started
- Free customers are deprioritized during busy times
It’s quite possible that you’ve heard of the ultra-secure ProtonMail before, right? Well, the same folks that are behind making it work the way it does also have a VPN app, and it happens to be that ProtonVPN is our pick for the best free iPhone VPN service right now. The company offers up a free and paid plan, but in all honesty, the free version is more than enough for most users, especially for anyone looking to get started.
First up, what sets Proton VPN apart from the pack is the fact it delivers unlimited data – this is one of the only free VPNs for iPhone you really can set and forget without worrying about how much data you’re using.
While Proton VPN’s free option can’t access exclusive regional Netflix content (you’ll have to upgrade to Plus for that), we’ve found it able to watch Netflix Originals, and YouTube doesn’t appear to be an issue, either. However, the Plus plan is one of the best streaming VPN services on the market, so upgrading after you’ve tested the service is highly recommended.
Of course, there are some limitations – the provider does want you to start paying at some point, after all. At peak times you’ll find that speeds drop as paying users have priority over bandwidth, you’ll have access for only one device at a time, you’ll get no P2P or Secure Core support, and only three locations to play with.
However, compared to the competition, Proton VPN’s zero-logging policy, excellent unlimited data plan, and support for a wide range of devices, plus its functional leak protection, split tunneling and custom DNS servers all combine to make the most well-rounded free VPN for iPhone we’ve tested to date by far.
2. HOTSPOT SHIELD VPN
A fully-featured free VPN app for iPhone
Bottom line: This is one of our absolute favorite free VPN providers overall, and the experience for those using an iPhone is a great one.
Data limit: 500MB per day | Compatible with: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Chrome | Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, YouTube | Servers available: 1 | 24/7 live chat support: No
- Generous data allotment
- App is very easy to use
- Works with streaming services
- Still need to enter credit card data for free plan
- No direct app protection
- Reps hard to connect with
Hotspot Shield is a great VPN provider and tops our list of best free VPN options. The company, like Proton mentioned above, offers both a free and paid plan option for people. The free plan is a bit more reserved than the one Proton offers, though, in that Hotspot Shield only offers free users 500MB of data each day, which ends up being about 15GB of data each month. This may not seem like a lot, but it’s pretty significant and more than enough for most people.
In addition, you can get up to 2 Mbps speeds while connecting, and you are limited to SD streaming only (which helps keep you under the limits!). There are no logs and Hotspot Shield offers military-grade encryption. You can connect one device at a time, and there is only one virtual option available to free users, compared to the hundreds for those who pay.
Test the waters with the free version, and if it doesn’t quite meet your needs you could always upgrade after.
3. WINDSCRIBE VPN
Best free VPN for earning extra bandwidth
Bottom line: Another one of our favorite free VPNs for iPhone is also a great paid option. There are a lot of key features available here and the pricing is pretty affordable each month.
Data limit: 10GB per month | Compatible with: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome | Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon, YouTube | Servers available: 10 | 24/7 live chat support: No
- Free plan offers generous data bucket
- Can earn more data from completing simple tasks
- Supports unlimited simultaneous connections
- Apps for all major platforms
- Speeds can be a little slow
- App is not as simple as some others
- No 24/7 support
There are a lot of things to like about Windscribe VPN, and that’s why when we write about any type of best VPN style post we include it, but one of the standout features is that you can actually earn even more data on the free plan by doing simple things like sending a tweet. Seriously, it’s that easy, and that’s pretty darn cool.
It’s not the fastest of all the options, but it does offer clients for all major platforms, and there are a bunch of different server locations that are spread across the globe. This is useful for those looking to be able to spoof locations so you can access media that may otherwise be geo-restricted. It’s great for using with Kodi or on your router as well.
What’s interesting is that Windscribe’s free VPN has been known to be able to access Netflix. While we can in no way guarantee this as the goalposts are always moving, if you’re looking for a free Netflix VPN you could do a lot worse – plus you’ll get an ad-blocker, a firewall, and claims of no-logging.
However, Windscribe’s apps do let the side down a little – the interface is quite cramped and can make it tricky to find settings. But, if you stick to the recommended settings and just turn it on and off (or just get used to the UI), it’s perfectly serviceable. It’s also worth noting that neither paid nor free versions get 24/7 support, so you could be left in the lurch if something goes wrong
Overall, though, Windscribe is a powerful free VPN service that’s simple and effective. Well worth a look.
Try out the free plan with its generous data buckets to start, and then upgrade to the paid plan if you find yourself wanting more from it.
4. TUNNELBEAR VPN
Best easy-to-use free VPN for iPhone
Bottom line: This Canadian-based company injects a little bit of bear-related humor in its VPN, but focuses on simplicity and privacy (both of which it nails).
Data limit: 500MB per month | Compatible with: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux | Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon, YouTube | Servers available: 20 | 24/7 live chat support: Yes
- Apps are user friendly
- Uses independent specialists to conduct audits
- Apps available for major platforms
- Limited server locations
- Only 500MB of data per month for free
Where TunnelBear stands out against the competition for best free iPhone VPNs is in the app experience, and just how easy the service is to use. The company has removed all the extra options from the apps and made it super easy to get started with and to use on a daily basis, which is important. If you are confused about setting it up, or find it complicated to connect, odds are you won’t end up using it regularly. There are also apps for other platforms like Windows, Mac, Android, and more.
There are more than 20 server locations you can connect to, which is great for accessing geo-restricted content while traveling and on the go. TunnelBear goes above and beyond when it comes to security as well. The company hires independent specialists to run security audits of its servers, which is something you won’t see others doing. This ensures that your data is being handled safely, and exactly how TunnelBear says that it is.
The data limit is low, but if you are just looking to test the water or use it infrequently, TunnelBear is a great choice to consider.
How we tested these free VPNs for iOS
It’s not easy for iOS users to choose the best free VPN. There is a bunch of important details that you have to pay attention to for picking it. Hence, below you will find a list that we have based on for finding the best free iPhone VPN.
- Security. Look for AES-256 encryption and secure tunneling protocols as OpenVPN or WireGuard. We don’t fall for a VPN easily that doesn’t use these tools.
- Unlimited data. The bigger the limitation is, the smaller amount of protected network you will have.
- Speed. No one likes it when the network connection starts buffering. Hence, the faster a VPN is, the better browsing experience you will get.
- Features. Free VPNs are already quite poor with features, so looking for the most feature-rich provider is a must.
- Tolerance for iOS. Plenty of VPN providers leave iOS behind Android’s back. Thus, we look for those VPNs that still offer lots of features for iOS.
How do I set up a VPN on my iPhone for free?
Signing up and setting your iOS device for a free VPN is an easy and quick task to do. Below you will find a short guide on how to do that with ProtonVPN. So, grab your iPhone and follow the instructions:
- Head to the iPhone App Store and type in “ProtonVPN” into the search bar
- Tap Get
- After the app finishes installing, open it and choose to Sign Up
- Scroll down and select ProtonVPN FREE
- Put in your credentials to create an account
- Verify yourself with email or SMS
That’s all! Enjoy free and secure browsing
See also: Should I leave my iPhone VPN on all the time?
Free VPN for iPhone FAQs
Free VPN vs paid – which should you get?
If you’re considering whether to save a little cash or go for a fully fledged premium VPN, weighing up the options is well worth doing. The main thing to do is consider what you want to use your free VPN for.
Are you looking for a little extra privacy for select tasks or light daily browsing? If that’s all you need, a free VPN might be a sensible choice.
However, if you’re looking to torrent, stream content on Netflix, BBC iPlayer or any other streaming site, or access advanced features like Proton VPN’s Secure Core servers and split tunneling, a paid VPN is your only option.
Plus, if you want to keep your VPN all the time and not have your connection speeds affected, even picking up a good cheap VPN will perform better than a free VPN.
Who are free VPNs best for?
Even the best free VPN services are only good for occasional use, such as when traveling or in a café. They simply don’t provide enough data usage or speed for 24/7 home VPN connections. If you want to encrypt all your home internet traffic, all the time, you should pay for one of the best VPN services – our top pick is ExpressVPN.
If a VPN service is based in the USA, it will be subject to search warrants presented by US law-enforcement agencies. Also, all free VPN services log user connections, no matter what the service claims.
Many of the services we review here are based in Canada, Switzerland or Germany, which have stronger privacy laws, but one of the Canadian services, TunnelBear, was recently bought by a US company and will have to honor US warrants and subpoenas under a new US law.
How does a free VPN work?
Free VPN services encrypt your data while it’s in transit, creating a virtual tunnel through the internet. This separates your data packets from the countless others around them until they reach the service’s exit nodes many miles away from where you are.
Not only is the data encrypted, as it would be during a normal secure web session, but the routing information about the sender and intended recipient is hidden as well.
Today, the most popular VPN protocols are OpenVPN and various implementations of Internet Protocol Security (IPsec), which include IPsec by itself or in combination with Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) or Internet Key Exchange versions 1 and 2 (IKEv1 and IKEv2).
A VPN’s scrambling and unscrambling of your data can sometimes slow internet traffic to a crawl. The best free VPN will have fast servers connected to huge data pipes to minimize this performance decline. They also have thousands of servers located in scores of countries, ranging from Albania to Zimbabwe.
Is there a completely free VPN for iPhone?
Yes, but all free VPNs come with severe limits. Even though a provider offers a free plan it’s still a tool to make clients buy premium subscriptions. Consequently, with a free VPN, you get to use a tiny amount of features, the server fleet is poor, and provided security has spots.
What free iPhone VPN has the most servers?
Windscribe is a free iPhone VPN that has the most servers in 11 locations. With it, you may connect to servers that are distributed in Germany, the US, Canada, France, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Switzerland, UK, Turkey, and Hong Kong. Out of these countries, the VPN will suggest the fastest server to connect to.
Which free VPN does Apple recommend?
Apple doesn’t recommend any free VPNs. In fact, what Apple does is only promote applications after the App Store curators review an app. Meaning, the promoted apps are based on download rates and successful marketing techniques.
When might a free VPN not be a good choice?
A free VPN is likely to come up short for those looking to stream or torrent, or people looking for a gaming VPN. That’s because these activities use up tons of data. If you’ve got unlimited data with your VPN, that’s not an issue, but if you’ve only got 500MB to play with, that’s only about one episode in standard def on Netflix – and that’s only if you can actually access the service.
Also, you might find that your connection speeds drop, and for gamers and torrenters that’s a killer. Those activities rely on having high speeds, and only the best paid-for fast VPN services can provide that.
Finally, some free VPNs struggle with privacy issues, and the addition of ads can be a real pain for users. If you want the most secure service, you’ll have to pay for one – at least then you’ll know exactly how your VPN is making money, rather than hoping it’s not using your info to cash in.
Are free VPNs legal?
In short, yes. VPN software itself is no less legal than any other mainstream software.
However, using it as a torrenting VPN to download copyrighted files is still illegal, as is accessing any other illicit content.
Essentially, while a free VPN is perfectly legal to own and use, it doesn’t make illegal acts legal just because it makes the crime harder to detect.
See also: Should you use a VPN on your iPhone?
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