8 Best FREE VPNs for iPhone, iPad, and iOS (Tested in 2024)

Rosemary S Siluvai Anthony
Last Updated by Rosemary S Siluvai Anthony on December 30, 2023 Fact-checked by Justyn Newman Fact-checked by Justyn Newman

There are hundreds of free iOS VPNs, but finding a good one is surprisingly hard. I’ve tested many free VPNs that slow my iPhone down and drain its battery life. Some free VPNs are plain dangerous and collect your private data. Worse still, a lot of these free VPNs have high ratings on the App Store.

My team and I tested more than 50 free VPNs for iOS and found the top options that are actually safe to use. Please keep in mind though, that free VPNs always come with limitations, such as data usage caps, a restricted number of servers, or reduced connection speeds. It’s always in your best interest to consider a low-cost premium VPN instead since you won’t face these limitations.

I recommend trying out ExpressVPN for iPhone. It offers a legit 30-day money-back guarantee, so if you’re not completely satisfied, you can get a full refund. Plus, it’s the best all-around VPN for iPhone I’ve used — whether you want one for streaming, gaming, or online privacy and security, it only takes a couple of clicks to get started.

Try ExpressVPN on iOS

Quick Guide: Best Free iOS VPN Apps in 2024

  1. ExpressVPN — The best VPN for iPhone and iPad with high-speed global servers, unlimited data, and a 30-day refund period. Try ExpressVPN risk-free on iOS!
  2. CyberGhost — Optimized servers for high-quality streaming of global platforms on iOS, but you can only try it free for 45 days.
  3. Proton VPN — 100% free VPN app with stealth protocol that disguises your iOS traffic on restricted networks but doesn’t support torrenting and streaming isn’t reliable.
  4. Hotspot Shield — Unlimited free data for browsing on iPhone and iPad, but the free app collects data to show personalized ads.
  5. hide.me — 24/7 live chat assistance available to free iOS users, but cannot use the streaming-optimized servers.
  6. TunnelBear — Use servers in 48+ countries for free on your iOS, but there’s no money-back guarantee if you upgrade.

Why Do I Need a VPN for My iOS Devices?

Apple takes privacy and security issues seriously with some of the most secure operating systems available. However, despite Apple’s impressive features, you’ll still need a VPN to truly secure your data.

Apple’s Private Relay feature, introduced with the iOS 15 update, is often confused with a VPN — but it doesn’t provide the same security and privacy as an encrypted VPN connection. Instead, Private Relay changes your IP address and hides your DNS requests, making it difficult to track your online activity and browsing history.

The problem is, Private Relay only works with Apple’s Safari browser so it won’t protect your entire device. Furthermore, Apple only replaces your IP address with one from the closest relay server. Even if the destination site can’t individually identify you, your approximate location is enough to compromise your identity.

With a VPN, all your iOS traffic is encrypted whether you’re browsing on Safari, using a banking app, or checking out Tinder profiles. This prevents hackers and other third parties, such as advertisers, from detecting and using your online data. Plus, a VPN lets you choose your own server connection, making it easy to hide your true location and access any global content you want.

Best Free VPNs for iPhone, iPad, and iOS in 2024

1. ExpressVPN — #1 iOS VPN With Fast Speeds, Top Security, and Guaranteed Anonymity

Key Features:

  • Global network of 3,000+ servers in 105 countries
  • Military-grade encryption, Network Protection, TrustedServer technology, and more
  • Unlimited data for high-speed streaming, torrenting, and gaming
  • Supports 8 simultaneous device connections
  • Native app for iOS 12 and later including Mac, Windows, Android, smart TVs, routers, and more
  • Customer support is available via 24/7 live, email, and online guides

ExpressVPN is the best VPN for iOS in 2024, with server connections that are the fastest I’ve tested. When connected, I had no problems streaming services, local apps, and news sites with my iPhone — even when traveling abroad, my speeds only slowed by around 18% on average, without making a noticeable difference to my online activity.

I was pleased to find ExpressVPN’s proprietary Lightway protocol combines speed, security, and battery conservation. During a road trip, Lightway kept up with my navigation app and my iPhone battery lasted 30% longer than when I used OpenVPN. Even servers 9,000 miles away were superfast and my video calls didn’t lag despite my data traveling further.

Screenshot of ExpressVPN speed tests showing servers in the US, UK, Australia, and Germany
I had high-speed connections no matter which ExpressVPN server I used

In terms of security, ExpressVPN has multiple top-tier features to protect your iOS connections, including:

  • Network Protection — blocks internet access whenever the VPN connection is interrupted to prevent data leaks.
  • TrustedServer technology — uses RAM-based servers that cannot physically store your data.
  • Server obfuscation — disguises VPN connections as regular traffic to work in restrictive locations, such as China.
  • Threat Manager — blocks trackers and malicious sites when the VPN is active, securing your iOS device from malware and phishing scams.

With top speeds and robust security, ExpressVPN is ideal for streaming and gaming on your iOS devices. During tests, ExpressVPN was able to access the following streaming services and more:

Netflix Disney+ Hulu
Amazon Prime Video Max YouTube TV
Peacock TV Tubi TV Sling TV
10 play BBC iPlayer DAZN

You can install ExpressVPN to your iPhone and iPad in just a couple of minutes and use up to 8 devices simultaneously. There are no limits to how many servers or how much data you can use. If you’re a first-time user, you’ll find ExpressVPN’s interface simple to navigate.

Though it isn’t exactly a free VPN, ExpressVPN offers a 7-day free trial in countries where the Apple app store is available. If you then decide to upgrade, I recommend canceling the plan before the 7 days are up and signing up on ExpressVPN’s website. The 1-year + 3 months plan is a bit pricey at $6.67 per month, but it’s worth the cost this level of reliability, privacy, and speed.

When you sign up on ExpressVPN’s website, you’ll be eligible for a 30-day money-back guarantee if you change your mind afterward. When I asked for a refund via 24/7 live chat, a friendly agent processed it immediately without asking a single question. I got my money back 4 days later and it was totally hassle-free.

2024 Update! ExpressVPN has dropped prices for a limited time to a crazy $6.67 per month for the 1-year plan + 3 months free (you can save up to 49%)! This is a limited offer so be sure to grab it now before it's gone. See more information on this offer here.

2. CyberGhost — Stream Smoothly on iPhone and iPad With Optimized Servers Worldwide

Key Features:

  • 11,660+ servers in 100 countries
  • AES 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, WiFi protection, NoSpy servers, and more
  • No bandwidth limits for endless streaming, gaming, browsing, and more
  • Connect 7 devices at the same time
  • Dedicated app for iOS 13.2 and later plus Mac, Windows, Android, Linux, and more
  • Get help via 24/7 live chat and email

CyberGhost’s iOS app features optimized streaming servers that connect to your shows reliably. Unlike some VPNs that can only access streaming services on mobile through a browser like Safari, CyberGhost’s optimized servers worked with my streaming apps. During tests, they accessed:

Netflix Disney+ Hulu
Amazon Prime Video Max YouTube TV
BBC iPlayer DAZN Sling TV

I always rely on CyberGhost’s WiFi Protection, which automatically connects when I’m using a public hotspot on my iPhone or iPad — especially important when I’m working from a cafe or hotel. After setting it up, I didn’t have to worry about hackers that prey on public WiFi users. Since I don’t have to turn it on manually, my data is always safe.

For optimal security and privacy for your iOS connections, CyberGhost also offers the following features:

  • Always-on kill switch — stops accidental DNS and IP leaks from exposing your true location and data if the VPN connection is interrupted.
  • RAM-based servers — unable to store data, CyberGhost’s servers are guaranteed to never log or store your data.
  • Audited privacy policy — independent audits confirm CyberGhost maintains premium security and privacy for your connections.

You can use CyberGhost’s iOS apps intuitively and they’re easy to navigate. I also turned on the haptic response feature in the app for a sensory experience whenever I connect or disconnect from a server — this makes it easy to confirm when you’re connected and secured.

The only problem I had with CyberGhost is that its distant servers were quite slow when I tried to stream YouTube videos. However, CyberGhost’s optimized servers are just as fast as the local servers for bandwidth-heavy activities like streaming. The best location button can also connect you to the nearest server with the fastest speeds possible for your iOS device.

Screenshot of streaming servers on CyberGhost iOS app

I used CyberGhost’s streaming-optimized servers to watch shows without interruptions

Like ExpressVPN, you can get a 7-day free trial if you download CyberGhost from the App Store. You can also get another 45 days with its money-back guarantee, but cancel the free trial and sign up from CyberGhost’s website to be eligible. The 2-year + 4 months plan is just $2.03 a month. I was refunded 5 days after speaking to an agent via 24/7 live chat.

2024 Update! You can subscribe to CyberGhost for as low as $2.03 per month + get an extra 4 months free with the 2-year plan (save up to 84%)! This is a limited offer so grab it now before it's gone. See more information on this offer here.

3. Proton VPN — 100% Free VPN for Unrestricted Online Access With Stealth Protocol

Key Features:

  • Lifetime free servers available in the US, Netherlands, and Japan
  • Military-grade encryption, no-log policy, a kill switch, and a Stealth VPN protocol
  • Unlimited data for Internet browsing
  • Maximum of 1 device connection
  • Supports iOS 11.0 and later, Mac, Windows, Android, and Linux
  • Free users can send a support form for help

Proton VPN has a Stealth protocol for iOS designed to avoid network restrictions that limit your online activity. By disguising your VPN connection as regular traffic, Proton VPN helps you get past anti-VPN technologies. This makes Proton VPN ideal for schools and workplaces where the networks often block certain content, sites, and even VPNs.

I’m impressed that Proton VPN is a truly free service that doesn’t limit how long you can use it or how much data you’re allowed. It doesn’t even show ads so you can stream, play games, and make video calls on your iPhone without interruptions. With the free plan, you’ll have access to the free servers in the US, Netherlands, and Japan.

Though Proton VPN is free, your iOS devices are protected by all the standard security features of a premium VPN, like military-grade encryption, a kill switch, a no-log policy, and more. These ensure you’re safe from DDoS attacks, hackers on public WiFi, and online spies.

I was pleased with Proton VPN’s VPN Accelerator as it gave me a more stable connection on my wireless broadband, which can sometimes be spotty. Overall, I found that Proton VPN’s speeds are suitable for bandwidth-heavy activities on iOS.

Although Proton VPN has acceptable speeds, unfortunately, the US-based free servers didn’t work with Netflix US — I could only connect to Netflix’s Originals library. Fortunately, Proton VPN’s free plan can still access Crackle, Disney+, and Crunchyroll.

With an upgrade, you’ll have access to servers that work with more platforms, better speeds, an ad-blocker, and more. I recommend the 2-year + 6 months plan at $4.99 a month. Like Proton VPN’s other plans, you’ll get a 30-day money-back guarantee, but your refund will be prorated — I was refunded for the remaining days of my subscription in 9 days.

4. Hotspot Shield — Browse, Stream, and Play for Hours on iPad and iPhone With Unlimited Free Data

Key Features:

  • 4 free server locations in Los Angeles, New York, Singapore, and the UK for iOS users
  • Military-grade encryption, no-log policy, and leak protection
  • Get unlimited data by watching ads after exceeding the 500MB per day data limit
  • Allows 1 device connection
  • Custom app for iOS 12 and later, Mac, Windows, Android, and more
  • Free users can refer to guides and tutorials on the website

Hotspot Shield technically offers unlimited data for hours of online time. However, as an ad-based free service, you’ll have to watch an ad to get a 1 hour VPN connection. These ads are personalized using tracker cookies, so while it doesn’t log data, I didn’t like being targeted — and the ads are annoying. However, it’s a minor inconvenience for unlimited data.

Hotspot Shield updated its free server selection from 1 virtual US server to 4 locations, which is a nice addition. iOS device users have the advantage of using its network in the US (2 locations), UK, and Singapore for free. You can switch between these servers whenever you want, and all free connections are clearly listed at the top of the server menu for easy access.

With the free plan, you can expect to be protected by military-grade encryption, a kill switch, and a no-log policy. Hotspot Shield can also automatically connect to the most recent location and stay on to avoid connection delays. However, there are no widgets and Siri shortcuts to easily use Hotspot Shield.

Unfortunately, Hotspot Shield couldn’t access Netflix US and other major streaming platforms. This is because Hotspot Shield openly blocks streaming connections to encourage free users to upgrade — I couldn’t even sign in to my Netflix account to watch Originals content. As Hotspot Shield offers unlimited data, it’s disappointing to not have reliable streaming.

If you’d like to try the streaming and gaming mode, additional server locations, and get rid of the ads, Hotspot Shield has a 7-day free trial of the premium version. You can also subscribe to its 3-year plan for $2.99 a month to get a 45-day money-back guarantee. If you no longer need it for your iPhone, just ask for a refund. I got my money back in 9 days.

5. hide.me — Get Help Anytime Via 24/7 Live Chat With the Free Plan for iOS

Key Features:

  • Free server locations in the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, Singapore, and Spain
  • Military-grade encryption, leak protection, and a strict no-log policy
  • Choose your own server for up to 10GB of data and then be randomly assigned one until the plan renews the following month
  • Supports 1 device connection
  • Supports iOS 9 and later including Windows, Mac, Android, and more
  • Email and live chat support

hide.me provides 24/7 live chat support for free users directly through the iOS app. I spoke to an agent in less than a minute without being asked for my email address or put through to a chatbot. I also saw the email address of the agent I spoke to in case I lost connection.

The free plan allows you to use servers in 8 locations including the US and UK as long as you’re within the 10GB monthly data limit. Once you reach the limit, you’re automatically assigned a server until the plan renews.

You’ll find hide.me protects your iOS data with a strict no-log policy and military-grade encryption. When signing up for the free plan, you don’t even have to provide your credit card details. As it’s based in Malaysia, hide.me is not bound by any intelligence-sharing pacts. In fact, it issues transparency reports regularly to show if it has been asked to send user data by the authorities.

One issue is that hide.me’s free plan doesn’t include streaming-optimized servers so you can’t access your accounts with Hulu or BBC iPlayer when traveling abroad. However, during tests, all hide.me free servers accessed the global Netflix library.

The premium 2-year + 4 months plan is $2.69 a month and will give you access to the WireGuard protocol for faster connections, streaming servers, unlimited data, and more. Plus, you’ll get a 30-day money-back guarantee. I sent an email and was refunded in 9 days.

6. TunnelBear — Connect to a Massive Network of Servers for Free on Your iOS Device

Key Features:

  • Free servers in 48 countries
  • Advanced encryption standards, leak protection, kill switch, and a no-log policy
  • 2GB free monthly data
  • Use on up to unlimited devices at once
  • Native app for iOS 11 and later, Windows, Mac, Android, and Linux
  • Customer support available via email

TunnelBear lets you use its entire server network for free, which is unique for a free VPN. You can test servers in more than 48 locations to make sure it’s the right VPN for you — all you need is a valid email address to create an account and you can get connected in minutes.

All free servers in the US were able to access Netfflix’s global library, but not Netflix US as is the case with most free VPNs. However, TunnelBear could easily access Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Crunchyroll, Crackle, and Funimation.

You’ll get a maximum of 2GB data per month with the free plan and it includes all of TunnelBear’s premium features, including a stealth mode and military-grade encryption. During tests, the free servers in the US, UK, and the Netherlands were fast enough for me to watch YouTube videos without interruptions.

Whether you’re a free or paid user, you can only contact support by submitting a ticket. But, the support staff responded in less than 6 hours, which is better than most free VPNs that take days to respond.

One thing I don’t like about TunnelBear is that it doesn’t offer any money-back guarantee on the paid plans. But the free plan gives you a good idea of the premium plans so you might not need it. If you decide to upgrade, the 2-year plan is $4.17 a month. You’ll be able to use all its servers and access all your accounts with the major streaming platforms.

Are Free VPNs Really Safe for iPhone or iPad? (Surprising Results)

Yes, there are a few free VPNs that are really safe. However, there are many others that:

  • log and sell your data to advertisers and even on the black market
  • leak your data with poor encryption
  • inject your iPhone or iPad with malware
  • bombard you with ads containing viruses

Some of these shady VPNs even have high ratings on the App Store, despite poor privacy practices so it’s difficult to find a good one. Here are some free VPNs you should definitely avoid:

Warning: Avoid These Free VPNs

Betternet VPN

Has a history of logging users’ locations, device information, and even the sites visited despite claiming to prioritize privacy.

CrossVPN

Over 10 antivirus services found Trojan viruses in CrossVPN apps, making it a huge security risk to download it to your iOS device.

SuperVPN

Reported security breaches involving millions of users’ personal information like credit card details, login credentials, and more being stolen.

Comparison Table: 2024’s Best iOS VPNs for iPhone and iPad

VPN Completely Free Monthly Data Allowance Servers and Locations iOS Compatibility Kill Switch Logging Policy Unblocks Streaming Services
ExpressVPN Unlimited 3,000+ in 105 countries Audited no-log policy All major platforms
CyberGhost Unlimited 11,660+ in 105 countries Audited no-log policy All major platforms
Proton VPN Unlimited US, Netherlands, Japan Audited no-log policy Netflix global library, Disney+, Crunchyroll, Crackle, and more
Hotspot Shield Unlimited Los Angeles, New York, Singapore, and the UK No-log policy Netflix global library
hide.me Unlimited Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, UK, US Certified no-log policy Netflix global library and more
TunnelBear 2GB per month UK, US, Australia, Brazil, Japan, France, Germany, Singapore, and more Audited no-log policy Netflix global library, Crunchyroll, Crackle, and more

How I Tested and Ranked the Best Free VPNs for iPhone and iPad

I used the following criteria to test the best VPNs on the market and shortlisted the top free services:

  • Hidden catches — I checked for generous data allowances, no speed caps, streaming and torrenting support, and reliable server connections at all times.
  • Top-tier security and privacy policies — even a free VPN should have military-grade encryption and leak protection. I also examined each VPN’s privacy policy to ensure your connection data and online activity aren’t sold to advertisers or other third parties.
  • User-friendly iOS apps — to find out how easy it is to download, install, and set up the apps, I tested them on an iPhone 14 Plus and an iPad.
  • Fast speeds with minimal battery drain — all the VPNs on this list were tested for speed multiple times to ensure smooth browsing, online shopping, streaming, and online gaming without draining my device’s battery.
  • Server network — the more countries the free servers are available in, the more content becomes available. You’re also more likely to find a server near you for faster connections.
  • Customer support — the customer support teams of all the free VPNs on this list can be contacted via email, and some have a 24/7 live chat option.

3 Easy Steps: How to Download and Use a VPN on iPhone

  1. Download the iOS app. You can access the free trial if you choose ExpressVPN for your iPhone or iPad and download it from the Apple App Store. 
  2. Set up the app. Choose the free trial option if available or follow the on-screen instructions.
  3. Connect to a server. Choose a location and you can now use the internet safely on your iOS device.

FAQ: Free VPNs and iPhones

Which free VPN for iPhone and iPad is the best?

Proton VPN is the best free VPN for iOS devices because the free plan is for life. It also offers unlimited data and has servers in the US, Netherlands, and Japan. Unlike many other free VPNs, Proton VPN also has a Stealth protocol to get past anti-VPN firewalls in some networks.

Do I really need a VPN for my iPhone and iPad?

Yes, there are several reasons you need a VPN for your iPhone and iPad. Though iOS is quite secure, without a VPN hackers can still track your online activities and steal your information, especially on unsecured networks like public WiFi. Other third parties can also collect your data and sell it to advertisers, which is an invasion of your privacy.

If you often travel, a VPN with servers in your home country would allow you to access your streaming accounts as usual. It would also prevent your banking apps from triggering a fraud alert for logging in from a different location.

Is iCloud Private Relay like a VPN?

No, it’s a proxy service, which is why you need a VPN for your iOS devices. Private Relay hides and changes your IP address, but it doesn’t encrypt your connection. It also only works with the Safari browser, so the rest of the traffic on your device is unprotected. With Private Relay, you can’t choose a server or IP location and its speeds are slower than a VPN’s.

Does my iPhone have a built-in VPN?

No, iPhones don’t have a built-in VPN, only a VPN client. It takes only 3 steps to download and use a VPN on iPhone but manually configuring the client is a painstaking process. On top of that, you still need to subscribe to a reliable VPN because the client doesn’t have a network of servers to connect to.

Which free iOS VPN is the best for streaming on Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and more? 

During tests, Proton VPN accessed Netflix’s global library, Disney+, Crunchyroll, and more. However, the best VPN for streaming is ExpressVPN since it can access specific Netflix libraries, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and other major streaming platforms on iOS.

What’s the best free iPhone VPN for China?

Although Hotspot Shield and hide.me might work in China, I’ve never been able to rely on it 100% during my trips. For this reason, I recommend you use ExpressVPN on your iPhone when you’re in China. All its servers are obfuscated so you’ll never have any problems accessing your usual accounts and services whether you’re in China for work or holiday.

Will a VPN drain my iPhone’s battery and use more data?

Yes, using a VPN will consume more data and battery on your iPhone. However, ExpressVPN has Lightway protocol to keep battery consumption to a minimum. You can also try switching to the WireGuard protocol or IKEv2 to preserve your mobile data and minimize roaming charges.

Will an iPhone VPN work on my other devices?

Yes. For example, ExpressVPN has dedicated apps for many devices like iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac, Windows, Android, and more. Unfortunately, you’ll find many other free VPNs only allow you to connect 1 device at a time though they also support multiple operating systems.

Do free VPNs keep logs?

The best free VPNs for iOS on this list don’t keep any personally identifiable data. But less trustworthy free VPNs do log your personal data, including your IP address and online activity. This data is then sold to advertisers to make money. Always read the privacy policy of your chosen free VPN to ensure your data is secure before using it.

Protect Your iPhone and iPad With a High-Quality Free VPN

You could easily download a free VPN to your iPhone and iPad that secretly collects your data. This information could be sold to advertisers and you’ll see plenty of annoying ads. But if you’re unlucky, your information ends up on the black market, or your device gets infected with viruses as soon as you install the VPN app.

Fortunately, every free VPN on this list is designed to protect your iPhone and iPad, as well as other compatible devices. But even safe free VPNs have their own limitations — like a small number of servers, limited data, or no streaming and torrenting support.

For this reason, I recommend you give ExpressVPN a try on your iOS device because it exceeded my expectations in every aspect, from speed to privacy. Plus, if you don’t like it after buying the premium plan, you can ask for a refund within 30 days.


The Best VPNs for iPhone and iPad in 2024 (With Money-Back Guarantees)

Top Ranked Top Choice
ExpressVPN
$6.67 / month Save 49%
CyberGhost VPN
$2.03 / month Save 84%
Private Internet Access
$2.03 / month Save 83%
NordVPN
$3.39 / month Save 74%
Surfshark
$2.29 / month Save 79%

We rank vendors based on rigorous testing and research, but also take into account your feedback and our commercial agreements with providers. This page contains affiliate links.

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