The best free VPNs for iPhone and iOS users

These are the best free VPNs for iPhone

  1. Windscribe
  2. Hide.me
  3. ProtonVPN
  4. TunnelBear
  5. Hotspot Shield

Paying for a VPN is always the best way to get a secure, fast service with all the bells and whistles. However, for iPhone users there are some free VPNs on the app store that are trustworthy. So, if you are short on cash, you don’t have to miss out on the privacy, freedom, and security that a free iOS VPN can provide.

 

What are the Best Free VPNs for iOS?

Given just how many iPhone VPNs are on the App Store and the potential problems that come with them, finding the right provider can be difficult. Thankfully, our experts have compared the market to find the five best free VPNs for iPhones.

1. Windscribe

Windscribe is the king of free iOS VPNs thanks to its expansive list of servers

  • Available on

    • Windows
    • MacOS
    • Android
    • Linux
    • iOS
  • Works with

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer

Windscribe is a popular free VPN for iOS that you can trust without concerns. The privacy policy is strong, and the VPN provides the same level of encryption and security on both the paid and free versions. For free, iOS users can enjoy 10GB of data allowance per month, which is a hefty amount compared to most. Free users can connect to servers in the US, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Switzerland, the UK, and Hong Kong. That is a lot of choices, making this the king of free iOS VPNs.

2. Hide.me

Hide.me buckles down with privacy and security, even on its free version

  • Available on

    • Android
    • iOS
    • Windows
    • MacOS

Hide.me is a trustworthy provider that has a superb free VPN for iPhones and iPads. For free, users are limited to just three server locations (Singapore, the Netherlands, and Canada). This does make it quite restricted for unblocking purposes, however, what is great about this free VPN is that it provides the same level of privacy and security as the full premium version. Without costing you a penny, you can get 2GB of usage per month of use, fast connection speeds of up to 80Mbps, and strong privacy and encryption, making this an excellent free VPN for iOS.

3. ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN throws its household name around with uncapped downloads

  • Available on

    • Windows
    • MacOS
    • Android
    • Linux
    • iOS

ProtonVPN is an excellent free VPN for iOS that lets people use it on an unlimited basis. Admittedly this free VPN is slower than the best premium VPNs for iOS. And it does slow down even further when the free servers are congested. However, free users get access to servers in Japan, the Netherlands, and the US - which makes it good for bypassing censorship and gaining privacy on your iPhone.

4. TunnelBear

TunnelBear is known for its reliability, which extends to its free version

  • Available on

    • Windows
    • MacOS
    • Android
    • iOS

TunnelBear is a reputable provider from Canada, that you never have to worry about in terms of its policies. The free VPN is extremely limited, in that you can only download 500 Mb per month. However, it is one of the few free VPNs that doesn't contain spyware, or have invasive practices that allow it to sell your data to advertisers and third parties. It is another great free VPN option for iOS users in need.

5. Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield might only offer one server for free, but being the US is perfect for iOS users

  • Available on

    • Windows
    • MacOS
    • Android
    • iOS
    • Linux
  • Works with

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer

Hotspot Shield is a famous US-based VPN provider that allows customers to use their iOS VPN for free on the US server. Having just one server location is quite restrictive, but it is pretty darn useful being the most coveted location. Admittedly this free VPN does serve some adverts. However, it is a service that has proven its worth in war-torn and totalitarian nations that are blocking vital websites and services. A free VPN that gets the job done on any iOS device.

Are free VPNs for iOS safe?

There are a number of considerations you need to make before picking a free VPN. There are, of course, good free VPNs available, but there are also hundreds of bad ones too. So it's important to do your research first. Here are some things that you should look out for.

Security issues

There are hundreds of free services on the market, and the vast majority of those are dubious services with poor privacy policies.

Many free VPNs have been found to lie about the level of encryption they provide - and studies have revealed that many of them have no encryption at all!

In addition, a CSIRO study carried out in 2017 revealed that out of 234 free VPN apps studied, more than a third contained malvertising and malware. For this reason, choosing a free VPN at random can be extremely dangerous.

To stay safe, we encourage you to stick to the providers featured on this page.

Privacy issues

Running a VPN is an expensive enterprise with a large number of outgoings. This makes it almost impossible to provide a good free service. Many cowboy VPN providers pull it off by collecting their users’ web data and browsing habits, selling it onto third parties such as data brokers.

A VPN that collects your data and sells it for a profit is the exact opposite of what they are supposed to do. A VPN is supposed to protect your privacy by encrypting your data and making it inaccessible to anybody but you. We urge you not to settle for this kind of free VPN when there are perfectly good ones on the market.

Limitations of free services

Some premium VPNs provide a free plan designed to advertise what they are capable of. The VPNs we have recommended in this article are both 100% safe to use and 100% free. However, these free plans do come with certain limitations.

Reputable VPN companies only provide a free version of their service to advertise the full premium VPN. In the long run, these companies hope that users will enjoy the limited free version of the VPN enough to upgrade to the full unrestricted version. It is for this reason that free plans have some or all the following restrictions:

  • Limited server locations
  • Data limitations
  • Bandwidth restrictions (speed cap)
  • Inability to access certain services (such as Netflix)

Please bear in mind that download limitations and connection speed restrictions make free VPNs unsuitable for streaming. Streaming will cause you to use up your data allowance extremely quickly, and slower VPN speeds will result in buffering.

If you require a VPN for streaming, we recommend checking out our list of the best cheap VPNs.

Free VPNs iPhone users should avoid

There are many dodgy free VPNs on the market. Even some of the VPNs that appear high on the Apple app store - and have been given high star ratings by consumers - are actually very concerning when it comes to privacy and security.

Sticking to the advised free iPhone VPNs only will allow you to make use of cost-free VPNs without any concerns. However, to help we have included a list of iOS VPNs that have been found to have poor privacy policies, a lack of encryption, or apps that contain spyware to help you know what to avoid:

Written by: Ray Walsh

Digital privacy expert with 5 years experience testing and reviewing VPNs. He's been quoted in The Express, The Times, The Washington Post, The Register, CNET & many more. Ray is currently rated #7 VPN and #7 internet privacy authority by Agilience.com.

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