Before we start suggesting the best free VPNs for iPhone, we should get one thing out of the way right now – there is no such thing as a good free VPN.
VPNs are either good or free, and combining the two is pretty much impossible to find.
The best you can hope to find is a free plan of a paid VPN service, but even these options typically have many limitations and downsides that make their free service inefficient.
So, if you can afford it, always go for a premium VPN provider.
However, if you really can’t pay for your VPN app, then below we’re rounded up 7 of the leading options to help get your iPhone secure and unlock blocked and censored content.
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Our #1 VPN for iPhone
Before we delve into the ‘free’ services, I want to make a quick mention of ExpressVPN. It is, hands-down, the best VPN service for any iOS device out there.
It comes with all the premium security features, such as DNS leak protection, a kill switch, multiple security protocols, military-grade encryption, over 3,000 servers in 94 different countries, no monthly data limits, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
This money-back guarantee is essential because ExpressVPN is a paid VPN and it doesn’t have a free offer, nor does it offer a free trial.
As a result, you cannot know whether or not it fits your needs before trying it out.
That’s where the 30-day money-back guarantee comes in, as you can simply request a refund at any point in the first 30 days from the moment you paid for it.
ExpressVPN has excellent speeds, which makes it great for streaming sites. It has live chat support, unlimited bandwidth, it doesn’t keep connection logs, and it has plenty of other online privacy and security features that make it worth using it.
It also offers apps for pretty much all platforms and devices out there, so you will likely be able to use it regardless of what device(s) you own.
30-day money back guarantee
But, with that out of the way, let us now see what free VPNs you can use for your iPhone.
As mentioned, the best you can do when searching for free VPN services is to use a free plan of paid VPN providers, and ProtonVPN is just that.
ProtonVPN is a Swiss-based Virtual Private Network with a free version for those who cannot afford to pay the premium.
As a Swiss company, ProtonVPN believes that everyone has the right to basic privacy, which is why ProtonVPN offers a secure free VPN that is limited in some regards but still very useful to protect yourself online.
For example, it is a free VPN with all the security and privacy features of a paid VPN. However, when it comes to its servers, you can only access a few. Plus, it doesn’t unblock streaming services, unlike its premium version.
Fortunately, you still get unlimited data, which is often not the case with free VPN companies, as we are about to see soon enough.
But, it has reliable security, and it allows you to protect your personal data while surfing the web anonymously. In other words, if you truly need a VPN to ensure that your private data doesn’t fall into the hands of third parties, then this is a VPN for you.
Like ProtonVPN, Windscribe is another service that has a free version – a free VPN plan for users who need it but can’t afford it.
Windscribe allows users to use it for free for as long as they want, and all they need is to confirm their email.
However, the catch is that its free variant doesn’t come with unlimited bandwidth. Instead, you get only 10GB of data per month, which is still better than some similar services offer.
However, if you would like unlimited data, you will have to upgrade to premium.
One thing that makes Windscribe a decent choice is the fact that it offers access to 10 countries if you go for a free version. The premium one will, of course, grant you access to a lot more, 63 nations around the world.
So, if you need to ensure your privacy, stop data from leaking, and do it for free, Windscribe is among the best free VPNs for iPhone users. Naturally, that means that it does have a dedicated VPN app for iPhones that you can get from the App Store or its website.
Next on the list of free VPN providers, we have Tunnelbear.
This is a curious service that is obsessed with bears, but as a paid VPN, it is rather good. Its free VPN app, on the other hand, is pretty limited.
While perfectly safe and reliable, with military-grade encryption and everything else you would expect of a VPN network, iPhone users will find that it only offers 500MB of free data per month.
This is probably the amount you can spend in a few hours, or even minutes if you use it to watch videos online, meaning that you won’t be able to use it for very long at all.
Still, the free version is completely free, with no strings attached. It doesn’t keep logs, as it doesn’t need to sell them in order to get money. It has its premium users as a source of funds.
Installing it and using it is hassle-free. All you need to do is download it from the app store and log in with your free account. But, due to the mobile data limit, you will likely have to go for its premium service in a few hours, or days, at most.
The next free VPN service that we would recommend is Hide.me.
Like our previous entries, this is also a paid VPN that has a entirely free VPN plan. However, just like the previous ones, it also comes with significant limitations.
It still offers free VPN apps for all the same devices, meaning that iPhones are supported too, but comparing its free option to the premium one shows just how much you would be missing out on.
For example, the premium plan has unlimited traffic, while the free version only has 10GB per month.
The premium version has 75 locations with 1900 servers in total, while the free alternative only has access to 5 locations. You will also get only 1 connection, while premium has 10 simultaneous connections.
It lacks other things, such as streaming support, fixed IP address support, and dynamic port forwarding. On the plus side, it keeps all additional security and privacy features, it keeps no logs, and you won’t have to deal with ads, regardless of which plan you take.
Once again, simply download it from Apple App Store, and start using your free data, however limited it may be.
If your goal is to hide your private data from third parties and secure your internet connection with a free VPN for iPhone, you can also consider PrivateVPN.
PrivateVPN app allows you to explore a secure, anonymous, and unrestricted internet. It offers 6 simultaneous connections, it doesn’t log data, it offers unlimited bandwidth and speed, and it has servers in 63 different countries.
The downside is that it is only free for 7 days, as this is actually a premium VPN app that only offers a one-week long free trial.
It is a completely secure service otherwise, and it offers one of the best VPN deals if you need a free alternative, with the same military-grade encryption as other premium VPNs.
However, you can only get it for a week, and after that, you will have to pay for its service or seek out another out of many free VPNs out there, although you are unlikely to find a completely free provider of the same quality.
So, if you insist on using free services, this is the deal you get to make with PrivateVPN.
6. Hotspot Shield
Nearing the end of our list of free VPNs, we have Hotspot Shield.
Now, this service has a completely free version, alongside two premium plans, which is something that free users will likely appreciate quite a bit.
No limitations regarding how many days you can use it, although you will be limited in different ways, which we will explain shortly. But, as completely free VPN apps go, this might be one of the best options out there.
Now, while it is free, Hotspot Shield will likely be considered quite limited by most people. It only allows a single device connection, access to one single server, and your connection speed only goes up to 2 Mbps.
Plus, you are limited to 500MB of data per day.
It doesn’t offer a streaming mode nor a gaming mode. It doesn’t have an antivirus, it comes with no spam-call blocker, and it doesn’t include a password manager. Note that all of these things are available for premium and premium family plans.
You also get access to the most basic customer support center only. So, while it is pretty limited, it still allows you 500MB of data per day, so if you use it sparingly and only for online anonymity and protection, you should be able to make this work.
Last but not least, we have Surfshark. Now, the thing about Surfshark is that it doesn’t really fit among free VPNs.
It is a paid VPN service and one of the best ones out there, at that, so you might be wondering why did it even make the list?
Well, the thing is that, like PrivateVPN, Surfshark also offers a 7-day free trial for its free users, but only when it comes to mobile users.
In other words, you can use it for free for one week on your iPhone and access all of this virtual private network’s server locations and all other services and benefits that the VPN app has to offer.
Best of all, Surfshark also offers unlimited simultaneous connections, so you can change your IP address on pretty much any device that you have, which is something that most free VPNs do not offer.
In fact, most of them only offer one simultaneous connection, in addition to a handful of free servers.
Surfshark, on the other hand, has over 3,200 servers that will definitely help you boost your online security and hide your IP address, making you seem like you are in a completely different part of the world.
You can easily get it from the app store, install it, and hide even from your internet service provider.
Surfshark does have two downsides, however.
First, you can only use it for free for a week, and second, you can only apply for its free alternative from a mobile device, so keep that in mind. But, other than that, it is one of the best virtual private networks out there, and it definitely deserves a lookover.
Can I use my free iPhone VPN on other devices?
This is something that you will have to check, depending on which VPN provider you choose.
Most free VPNs only offer apps that come as browser extensions, although premium services that offer free plans can be used on different platforms.
Just make sure how many parallel connections you can get as a free user, as a lot of these VPNs will limit that number down to 1 at a time only.
Also, it is possible that you will not gain access to their full VPN server count, so also check whether server locations that you can access suit you in the first place.
Can I use a free VPN to watch Netflix?
Most likely not. A large majority of free VPNs are blocked by Netflix with ease as soon as someone tries to access its platform while using a VPN.
However, it might be possible for some of the bigger and better providers, such as Surfshark, to allow it using its free trial.
If so, all you need to do is connect to any VPN server that it has to offer and you will be good to go. Your VPN app should mask your traffic entirely and even hide the fact that you use a VPN.
But, for most other free VPNs, it simply won’t work.
Is it safe to use a free VPN on an iPhone?
In most cases, we would say no.
Since free VPNs do not charge users for their services, they have to turn to other methods of obtaining money for server maintenance, developer salaries, and alike. Most of the time, they will either bombard you with ads, collect and sell your data, or both.
Not to mention that many of them may be malicious or even controlled by hackers who could use them to access your system and/or private data from your iPhone.
This is why the best VPN app is the one offered by a premium provider in the form of a free plan or free trial. Although, as we have seen, VPN apps like that tend to come with quite severe limitations.
Still, if you find one you like, you can probably download it from the app store, install it, and use it for free.
Things to look out for when choosing a free VPN
All free VPNs come with limitations.
If they are a free VPN service, the limitations are there due to the lack of funds to secure proper technology. If, on the other hand, you are using a free trial or a free plan, the limitations were set in place on purpose.
That way, the VPN will provide security for those who really need it but can’t afford it, but not too many advanced features out of respect for their paying customers.
With that in mind, when you are looking into free VPNs, here are the things to keep in mind and look out for. Your experience can be quite affected, depending on which of these downsides it has.
1) Data limits
As we have seen on numerous examples, free VPNs will have a fairly limited data limit.
Some services will only provide 500MB per month, while others may offer as much as 10GB per month, which is still relatively low for such a lengthy period.
The best offer for a completely free plan in this regard came from Hotspot Shield, which offered 500MB per day, but even that is only for basic use.
2) Speed limitation
Another thing to keep an eye out for is speed limitation. Speed is a critical when using a VPN as it will decide whether or not you can stream videos, and we are not talking Netflix. You won’t be able to reach it with even the best free VPN, anyway, but even YouTube or videos on other social platforms.
Free VPNs are constantly overcrowded, and so their speeds are typically very low and unreliable, so you might find that this is messing up your experience quite a bit.
As mentioned, a lot of free services earn money for maintaining servers by bombarding you with ads, so you should expect this from most services.
If these ads seem too well targeted, then you will also know that the VPN is logging and selling your data, as well, so keep a close eye on that, or simply avoid ad-featuring VPNs for your iPhone.
4) Server limits
You may have expected that you will be able to use a free VPN to switch between servers in different countries and hide your activity, access all kinds of censored or geo-restricted content, and alike.
But, you should note that most free providers only allow you the use of a handful of servers, typically between 1 and 5, with some maybe going up to 10 or so. In other words, you really won’t have too many servers to choose from or unblock hidden content.
5) Little to no customer support
Customer support is an important part of a VPN, as you get to ask specific questions and get answers pretty much straight away.
Unfortunately, most free VPNs either don’t have them or have terrible customer support that never responds and is neither professional nor polite.
But, that is as much as it can be expected from a free service, so it should not come as a surprise.
Using your iPhone, whether at home or out in the world, can be pretty dangerous if you don’t apply proper protection. Furthermore, due to censorship and geo-restrictions in certain countries, it can be rather limiting.
Using a VPN is a massive help in going around these limitations, but doing so costs money. You would have to choose a monthly, yearly, or even longer subscription.
If you don’t want to pay for a VPN, or you simply can’t afford it, you can always try free VPNs.
We will admit straight away that they are not a suitable replacement for premium services, but they are as good as you can get without involving subscriptions.
If you can pay for a VPN, then we recommend ExpressVPN as their features far surpass any free service. They also have a 30-day money back guarantee, so it’s completely risk-free.
However, if you need a free service, then ProtonVPN is our top recommendation. We’ve also listed six other options if you’ve got time to look around.