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Best free VPNs for iPhone and iPad in 2023

There’s no shortage of options when it comes to free VPNs, whether it’s for iPhones, computers, or other widely-used devices. This oversaturation makes it challenging to find a well-performing and reliable provider. Plus, it should be noted that paid VPNs are undoubtedly better than free ones. That being said, there are trustworthy free iPhone VPNs available on the App Store that help enhance security with essential features and reliable data handling practices.

However, for maximum protection, it’s better to opt for a premium VPN that offers a free trial and money-back guarantee. Our top recommendation is NordVPN, which provides a free 7-day trial along with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

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But if you’re on a tight budget, opting for a free VPN service for your iPhone is a better option. This way, you can still benefit from a service that offers basic security without compromising your privacy. To help you make the right decision, we’ve curated a list of the best free VPNs for iPhone and iPad devices in terms of privacy, features, performance, and more.

Top 5 best free VPNs for iPhone:

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When is it worth getting a free VPN for iPhone?

Let’s overview a few scenarios where a free VPN for iPhone is the right choice.

  • Hiding your activities from your ISP. A trustworthy free VPN boasting strong AES-256 encryption is all you need to become invisible to your ISP and other potential onlookers.
  • Masking your IP address. Practically any VPN service will do if all you need is to change your IP address.
  • Altering your location. Although costless VPNs don’t have many options regarding servers, they can still make it appear that you’re connecting from another region.
  • Bypassing censorship. While not 100% effective, free VPNs can circumvent geographical restrictions and censorship by rerouting your traffic through another country.

As you can see, the list is quite humble. Still, it showcases that free VPNs have their place if you adjust your expectations accordingly.

Why a free VPN for iPhone might not be a good idea

Unsurprisingly, a free VPN service is incapable of granting the results you’d expect from a top-quality premium VPN. Furthermore, free software can even be risky if its creators have ill intentions. Here are a few reasons why costless VPNs aren’t ideal in most cases.

  • Minimal security features. Free VPNs don’t have the features to protect you against malicious ads, viruses, online trackers, or malware.
  • Subpar performance. You can expect slow connection speeds and abysmal server options because free VPNs cut corners in the performance department. They do this to ensure paying customers get the best results.
  • Nagging to purchase a paid plan. Free users are constantly reminded that an upgrade and better results are just a click away.
  • Potential security risks. Installing an unreliable free VPN can expose you to more security issues if the provider is malware in disguise or collects your data to sell to advertisers.

All in all, free VPNs can be a hit or a miss regarding performance, security, and reliability. Therefore, you should opt for the tried and true path of premium Iphone VPNs for guaranteed results.

Pro tip

Looking for a good free iPhone VPN? If you want trustworthy services and a feature-rich package, we suggest using the free trials or the 30-day money-back guarantees of premium providers, like NordVPN or Surfshark.

The 5 best free iPhone VPNs – our detailed list:

We reviewed and tested dozens of free VPNs and their iOS app functionalities. Our evaluations included running speed tests and researching product free server fleets, privacy policies, security measures, and more. Keep reading to find out our detailed results:

1. NordVPN – overall best free VPN choice for iPhone

NordVPN banner
Based in:Panama
Data limit:Unlimited
Max device support:6
Current deal:🔥 Get NordVPN with 68% OFF + 3 months FREE! 🔥

NordVPN is the best free VPN for iPhones. It has a modern and user-friendly iOS app as well as a large server fleet of 5,800+ servers in 60 countries. For the free version, you can try the free 7-day trial that is only available on Android. But you can also use it on other devices after signup.

Security and privacy. NordVPN uses powerful AES encryption, but the NordLynx protocol implements the ultra-secure XChaCha20 protocol. Plus, we examined the privacy policy and found that it doesn't store any activity logs. Even the anonymized data it retains can be opted out of. Moreover, the zero-logs policy was audited three times by independent companies.

Features. This VPN comes with a market-standard kill switch and even Threat Protection. The latter ensures you don’t download malware, blocks ads, and prevents trackers.

Speeds. Our speed tests continuously show some of the highest download speed retention rates with NordVPN’s proprietary NordLynx protocol, averaging at 96%.

You can claim NordVPN’s free trial, but you can also use the 30-day money-back guarantee on top of it. If you decide to upgrade, you can get this VPN for $3.19/month.

Find out more in our full NordVPN review.

2. Surfshark – free VPN with unlimited connections for iPhone

Surfshark banner
Based in:The Netherlands
Data limit:Unlimited
Max device support:Unlimited
Current deal:🔥 Get 82% OFF Surfshark + 2 months FREE 🔥

Surfshark is another reliable free VPN for iPhone that comes with an intuitive iOS app and over 3,200 servers in 100 countries. And while the free trial is only accessible on macOS, iOS, and Android, Windows users can make use of it after initial signing up.

Security and privacy. Surfshark combines robust AES and XChaCha20 encryption to make your connections with WireGuard swift and secure. You can also rest assured that your data is completely hidden using RAM-only servers and an independently-audited no-logs policy.

Features. Surfshark comes with a kill switch as well as CleanWeb that blocks trackers, ads, and malicious websites. You can also enjoy enhanced twice-encrypted connections using MultiHop servers.

Speeds. Considering that this VPN uses the WireGuard protocol, it’s no surprise that it retained an average of 92% initial connection speeds during our testing.

The prices of paid subscriptions start from $2.30/month. Alternatively, you can claim Surfshark’s free trial for 7 days and make use of the 30-day money-back guarantee for a longer trial period.

Learn more in our detailed Surfshark VPN review or set it against the leader in our Surfshark vs NordVPN analysis.

3. Atlas VPN – free and fast VPN companion for an iPhone

Atlas VPN banner
Based in:United States
Data limit:
Max device support:
Current deal:🔥 Get Atlas VPN, now 85% OFF + 3 months FREE! 🔥

The best truly free VPN for iOS devices is Atlas VPN. It’s a decently personalized service for iPhones and iPads that's available completely free of charge. Naturally, you get servers in a few locations: Amsterdam – Netherlands, Los Angeles and New York – USA.

Security and privacy. The free version comes with the WireGuard protocol, meaning you also get cutting-edge XChaCha20 encryption. After inspecting the privacy policy, we also found that Atlas VPN collects none of your personal data or activities. Once we contacted their customer support team, they confirmed that the policy applies to the free plan as well.

Features. With the free version of Atlas VPN, you get a 5 GB data limit. So if you want unlimited data on iOS for free, you should take a look at NordVPN’s free trial. The only feature the free plan offers is a market-standard kill switch. To enjoy an ad blocker and IP rotator, you’d have to upgrade to a paid version.

Speeds. During our tests with the WireGuard protocol, the free Atlas VPN version managed to retain a whopping 90% of initial download speed on average. That’s as good as some premium providers. Yet, it won’t be of much use considering free VPNs are incapable of streaming geo-restricted content.

So the free version of Atlas VPN is enough for basic protection on iOS. If you decide to upgrade for more features, unlimited data, better streaming capabilities, and servers in 42 countries, the prices start from $1.82/month.

For more information, read our detailed Atlas VPN review.

4. Norton Secure VPN – well-balanced free VPN for iPhone

norton vpn banner
Based in:United States
Data limit:Unlimited
Max device support:10
Current deal:🔥Get up to 56% OFF Norton VPN!🔥

Consider Norton Secure VPN if you need a trustworthy and established free VPN for iPhone. The service doesn’t have an unlimited free version and instead grants 7-day free trial and 30-day money-back guarantee options.

Security and privacy. Your online escapades will remain completely confidential because Norton VPN utilizes robust AES-256 encryption. And while the service is located in the US, your data is in good hands because the VPN boasts a strict no-logs policy.

Features. Unfortunately, some crucial features are missing from the Norton Secure VPN iOS app, for instance, the kill switch and split tunneling. Luckily, you can enable Wi-Fi Security to ensure a VPN connection is present whenever you connect to an unfamiliar public network.

Speeds. Norton Secure VPN doesn’t have a lot of speed potential because it lacks WireGuard. However, our tests with OpenVPN showed that the provider is relatively swift and won’t cause extended load times.

Once you’re done with the free version, premium Norton VPN plans start at only $1.67/month. Don’t forget that each plan is insured with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Learn more by reading our full Norton Secure VPN review.

5. PureVPN – secure VPN for iOS devices

Based in:British Virgin Islands
Data limit:
Max device support:
Current deal:🔥 Get PureVPN, now 83% OFF + 3 months FREE!🔥

PureVPN is a secure option for iOS users that can be downloaded for free. This provider has an extensive list of servers – 6,500+ in 78 countries. And while there’s no unlimited free version, you can try it risk-free with the 31-day money-back guarantee.

Security and privacy. Just like most top providers, if you enable WireGuard, you’ll be protected with the software-based XChaCha20 cipher. After examining PureVPN’s privacy policy, we found that they only keep email addresses, names, and payment methods. But you can stay anonymous by paying with cryptocurrencies.

Features. PureVPN offers a reliable kill switch and traffic obfuscation. However, there’s no ad blocker available. So if you want to remove ads and trackers, NordVPN would be a better choice.

Speeds. During our performance tests, PureVPN retained 67% of initial speeds on average. That’s not as fast as, for example, Surfshark, and may not be the best solution for data-heavy activities.

You can make use of the 31-day money-back guarantee or you can purchase a 7-day trial for $0.99. If you decide to stick with this VPN, the prices start from $2.08/month.

If you’d like to learn more, check the full PureVPN review.

6. Proton VPN – secure, reliable, and completely free VPN

ProtonVPN banner
Based in:Switzerland
Data limit:
Max device support:
Current deal:🔥 Get up to 50% OFF Proton VPN! 🔥

Proton VPN is another great free VPN for iPhones and iPads. It offers a user-friendly iOS app, provides you with unlimited data, and includes servers in three locations, including Japan, the Netherlands, and the US.

Security and privacy. Like Atlas VPN, this free provider comes with the WireGuard protocol, meaning your data is encrypted with the modern XChaCha20 encryption. We reviewed that the privacy policy doesn’t log any of your personal data. The only eyebrow-raising thing was the fact that continued use of the service after any policy changes will be considered as acceptance. That being said, the policy has been independently audited.

Features. The free version comes with no data caps, a kill switch and DNS leak protection only. The premium version comes with more advanced security features, such as Tor over VPN, double VPN, or a VPN accelerator for improving performance. If the premium features are what you need, you’ll have to consider upgrading.

Speeds. During our tests, this VPN showed an average speed retention rate of 72% compared to the baseline speed. If you want a faster iOS solution than Proton VPN, Atlas VPN may be a better option.

If you’re in need of an iOS VPN for daily usage, Proton VPN is a great free solution. But if you decide that you want a bigger global server coverage and streaming service unblocking capabilities, the premium plan starts from $4.99/month.

To learn more, have a look at our in-depth Proton VPN review.

Free iPhone VPN apps compared

To find out how flexible you’ll be with a free iPhone VPN, you should pay attention to several details. They include bandwidth and data limits, rating, extra supported devices, possibilities regarding streaming services, and, of course, privacy policy. And to ease your research on them, we have put this information into a table below.

BrandNordVPNSurfsharkPureVPNAtlas VPN alternatives logoProton VPN
Free versionYes (Free 7-day trial)Yes (Free 7-day trial)Yes (Free 7-day trial)YesYes
Speed retention90%86%67%80%85%
Data capUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited5 GBUnlimited
App Store rating4.
Works with Apple TVYesYesYesNoYes
UnblocksNetflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and moreNetflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and moreNetflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTubeNetflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube (paid-only)Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, HBO Max, Disney+ (paid-only)
LoggingNo-logs policyNo-logs policyNo-logs policyNo-logs policyNo-logs policy

How we tested these free VPNs for iOS

We used iPhone 7 iOS 15.7.6 for testing these free iOS VPNs and looked at various criteria to rank them. This includes performing first-hand tests, such as monitoring the kill switch functionality, testing speeds with servers in different locations, and the overall functionality of the iOS app.

Here’s exactly how we tested these free VPNs for iOS:

  • iOS app functionality. While iOS apps are often less feature-loaded than other devices, we looked at free solutions that at least offer the kill switch feature. We also only chose providers that offer a stable connection on the iPhone app and don’t have any visible bugs or issues.
  • Security. We sorted out secure VPNs that offer extremely robust data protection, including the XChaCha20 encryption cipher. They encrypt your data so it becomes unreadable to anyone (your internet service provider (ISP) or malicious actors) but you.
  • Data limits. We prioritized mobile VPNs that come with little to no data limits, so you’d be protected endlessly.
  • Speed. We tested each free iOS VPN using the WireGuard protocol (or its modern variation like NordLynx) in several different locations. We then compared the speed to the baseline and counted the download speed retention percentages. Only the fastest VPNs were provided on this list.
  • Features. While free VPNs aren’t very feature-rich, we looked for the must-haves. The most important things that even free VPNs should have are good tunneling protocols, a strict no-logs policy, and DNS leak protection.

Other VPNs we tested

While we ranked the top 5 free VPNs for iOS, there were quite a few other services that didn’t make the list but were very good alternatives. For example, Hotspot Shield VPN offers a decent free version with over 160 servers in 1 location. However, it has a speed limit and a 500 MB data cap (although we frequently managed to exceed it during testing), making it pretty limited for daily usage.

Another free VPN that didn’t make the cut was Windscribe. It offers a 10 GB monthly data cap if you provide your email address (otherwise – 5 GB) and provides you with 11 server locations. That being said, the connection on iOS specifically can be unstable, and it retains only 43% of the baseline speed on average.

Hide.me VPN was also in the tested VPN list. Like Windscribe, it grants 10 GB of data every month with servers in Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, or the US. However, we couldn’t overlook the huge speed reduction rates.

How to set up a free VPN on iPhone

Acquiring and setting up a free VPN on your iOS device is an easy and quick task. Below you will find a short guide on how to do that with NordVPN. So, grab your iPhone or iPad and follow the instructions:

  1. Head to the Apple App Store, find, download, and install the NordVPN app.
    NordVPN on Apple App store
  2. Open the app and Sign Up.
  3. Click on Get subscription. NordVPN sign up get a subscription
  4. Get the subscription plan. You'll be able to use the 30-day money-back guarantee.
    NordVPN deal on iOS app
  5. Launch the app and click on the Settings icon in your account section. There, you’ll find the VPN connection tab where you can choose one of the tunneling protocols, including NordLynx, IKEv2, or OpenVPN (UDP or TCP variant).
    Choose a protocol on NordVPN iOS app
  6. Connect to a server of your choice and start browsing safely! Connect to a server on NordVPN iOS app

Why free VPNs might be dangerous

Aside from limitations that come along with completely free VPNs, there are also some dangerous disadvantages.

Here’s why free VPNs might be dangerous:

  • Free VPNs might allow the government to collect user data. Some free VPNs let the government sniff around so that a VPN could work in some heavily restricted countries like China. As a result, your privacy is compromised.
  • Free VPNs can plant a tracker for unspecified reasons. The reasons behind that can vary. For instance, targeting you with commercial content based on your location and activity. Additionally, it can be an extra source of money as it allows the provider to track every step you make while you’re connected.
  • A free VPN might be a source of malware infection. Since free VPNs make money from unreliable third-party pop-up ads, your iOS could get infected with malware.
  • Freebies are likely to offer you compromised security. With a free VPN, you might get outdated protocols, such as PPTP. Therefore, your data ends up not being encrypted without you knowing.

Alternatively, you can opt for freemium VPNs – free versions of paid VPN providers. They’re entry services that are very limited but are reliable and ensure basic security and privacy measures.

However, the differences between free vs paid VPNs are drastic, so opting for premium VPN free trials and refund policies is much more worth it. NordVPN and Surfshark both offer 7-day trials on top of 30-day money-back guarantees.

Free iPhone VPNs to avoid

We shall all agree that there are some free VPNs that are trustworthy enough to have access to your real IP address. But let's agree on one more thing – you won’t fall for a VPN that’s included on a blacklist that you will find below.

  1. Betternet – although this provider is seen as one of the top free VPNs for iOS, its actions regarding your security say different things. What we mean by that is that with Betternet, you might have your IP address leaked or get infected with malware.
  2. Hola VPN – this free iPhone VPN has a bad reputation even on Reddit, and that says a lot. They’re the opposite of a no-log VPN – they collect loads of private information, from your full name and IP address to your social media profile picture. Plus, they have a history with hackers exploiting their service vulnerabilities, allowing them to manipulate user data.
  3. Opera VPN – well, you probably know Opera as a browser. But it also claims to have a free VPN which occurs to be only a browser proxy that can help you to stay anonymous but nothing else. Yet, Opera VPN isn’t successful at this as it broadly collects user data and is owned by a Chinese company.

Video review: free VPNs for iPhone

Check out our comprehensive video review of the best free VPNs for iOS:


A reliable free iOS VPN is useful for ensuring security and privacy in cyberspace, even if with just the basic measures. While free services will never compare to what paid VPNs offer in terms of features, streaming capabilities, and server networks, they’re better than nothing for those on a tight budget.

To unlock all that a VPN can offer, you can try out services that offer free trials and money-back guarantees. NordVPN is your best bet to have an excellent VPN experience with a 7-day trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee on top of it.

If you do decide to get a completely free VPN, make sure you get a trustworthy one. It’s better to get a limited free version of a premium VPN provider than opt for the completely free one. They may end up selling your data or exposing your real IP address without you knowing.

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