VPN usage has exploded in recent years, with services promising privacy protection and faster browsing. Even on Apple’s relatively secure iOS, VPNs are still necessary for ensuring privacy and security online.
Although the App Store is brimming with VPNs, finding a competent free VPN for iPhone is a challenge. We recommend paying for a VPN service, but there are numerous reputable VPN apps that provide free plans if you don’t want to spend money.
Let’s take a look at the top three free VPN apps for iPhone and iPad.
How to Choose the Best iPhone VPN
The best free iPhone VPNs check the following important boxes:
- Speed: The best VPNs provide high-quality speed without bandwidth restrictions. Contrary to popular belief, VPNs cannot provide faster internet speeds beyond what your ISP offers. But a good VPN shouldn’t slow down your connection either. Fortunately, there are useful fixes to try if you think your VPN might be throttling your internet speed.
- Security: Good iPhone VPNs provide strong encryption protocols to keep your data secure online.
- Easy of use: VPNs should be easy to set up and use. This means clean, intuitive app interfaces and hassle-free sign-up and sign-in processes.
- Large network of servers: VPNs mask your IP address by rerouting it through remote servers in different locations. The more servers there are, the greater chances of secure, private browsing.
- 24/7 customer support: Great VPNs provide 24/7 email or Live Chat support in case you hit any bumps on the road.
Proton VPN: Best Free Overall VPN
Proton VPN is one of the most downloaded VPN apps, and there’s a good reason for that. It is a great service that offers military-grade encryption and unlimited bandwidth with a free account. It’s also one of the fastest VPNs available on the market (yes, we actually tested).
The free plan comes with three server options: the United States, Japan, and the Netherlands, so you can access websites across three continents. It also has no data cap, but the speeds are capped during peak hours to ensure its free servers aren’t congested.
Of course, Proton VPN also has over 1400 servers in 60+ different countries, but you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan to access those. You’ll also need a paid plan to unblock location-exclusive streaming content.
Proton VPN is a strong performer in terms of security. It runs on AES-256, 4096-bit RSA, and HMAC with SHA384 encryption, and offers other nifty features like Always-On VPN and a built-in Ad-blocker. The service has a no-log policy, which means that it keeps no records of user data or activity.
Windscribe: Best VPN for Streaming
This VPN is incredibly easy to set up—you don’t even need an email to get started. Simply download and turn on the switch to start browsing securely.
There’s a catch though: free users who don’t want to create accounts only get 2GB data per month, which is too little to be useful. If you give Windscribe your email address, that data cap is expanded to 10GB per month. Windscribe will upgrade you to a 15GB if you tweet about them using the link provided in your email confirmation message.
Probably the most prominent selling point for Windscribe Free is that it can bypass Netflix’s regional restrictions. Of course, there are more benefits for paying customers to those using it for free: the Pro version of the VPN comes with a wider selection of servers and locations than the free version, so you will have a better chance of skirting the geo-blocks by going Pro.
And while the data cap means you can’t exactly go binging your favorite shows, it’s still a nice-to-have feature for a free plan.
The service offers 11 remote server locations on this free plan (at last count, the UK, Hong Kong, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, and 12 US VPN cities). Like Proton, this VPN also has a strict no-logs policy, so your internet sessions are not recorded.
It comes with AES-256 encryption and has a nice selection of tunneling protocols you can pick from. The free plan comes with a kill switch feature, DNS leak protection, an ad-blocker, and a secure hotspot function.
Download: Windscribe (Free, subscription available).
Hide.me VPN: Best for Privacy
Like Windscribe, you can use Hide.me without the hassle of an email signup. You get most of the paid features on the free plan, but there is a 10GB data limit per month. This VPN uses either IKEv2 or SSTP connection protocols coupled with AES-256 encryption to mask your internet traffic.
You can only connect one device at a time, and only to five server locations (including the US and Canada), rather than the 50+ locations available to premium customers.
This VPN also has a no-logs policy with privacy features like a Stealth mode, split tunneling, and IP leak protection. It has no ads and doesn’t throttle speeds but unfortunately, with the free plan, you can’t access streaming services.
Download: Hide.me VPN (Free, in-app purchases available).
Should You Use Free iPhone VPNs?
If you’re a light user who only needs extra security for the occasional IP masking, a free VPN will do. But paid plans beat free VPNs by all standards. They provide better services, fewer restrictions, and more longevity than free plans do. Some paid VPNs start from as little as $2, so consider looking into some of them to ensure maximum security and privacy online.
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