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Best Free iPhone & iPad VPN

Illustration of iPhone
Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

Simon is a recognized world expert in VPNs. He's tested hundreds of VPN services and his research has featured on the BBC, The New York Times, CNet and more. Read full bio

In 2020 it’s essential to use a VPN app on your iPhone (and your iPad) if you want to hide your online activity from your internet service provider, or if you want to use free WiFi more securely. The best iPhone VPNs will unblock websites and apps from any location.

Using free iPhone VPNs can also be good, but the overwhelming majority aren’t safe. We’ve tested far too many free VPNs that either perform badly, or are outright dangerous to your security and privacy

That’s why we’ve invested over 30,000 hours analyzing hundreds of free VPNs for iOS to find the safest, most trustworthy, and best-performing ones. They have strong built-in security features, deliver fast speeds, and some can even unlock streaming platforms like Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

Following our September 2020 tests, the apps below are the best free VPNs for iPhone:

  1. Windscribe: It keeps proving to be the very best free iPhone VPN with high security and good speeds. It also unblocks US Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
  2. ProtonVPN: A fast and secure VPN that unlike its rivals doesn’t come with any data restrictions whatsoever.
  3. Hide.me: The fastest free VPN we’ve tested for iPhone and iPad. A very secure app that even comes with a VPN kill switch for added security.

All three VPNs above will hide your IP address and secure your connections with strong encryption, whether you’re using public WiFi or your 3G/4G data connection.

Unfortunately, free iPhone VPNs come with limitations, such as slower speeds and limited streaming access. For the best unrestricted VPN experience, read our guide to the best VPNs for iPhone and iPad. At the moment, the overall best VPN for iOS is ExpressVPN.

Wondering why you should trust our reviews?
See How We Review VPNs.

Best Free VPN Apps for iPhone in 2020

1. Windscribe VPN

The best free VPN for iPhone that works with US Netflix.

  1. User-friendly iPhone & iPad app
  2. Fast speeds on nearby servers
  3. Works with US Netflix & BBC iPlayer
  4. Minimal logging & no IP leaks
  5. Connect securely to 10 countries
  6. No device limit
  1. No kill switch for iOS
  2. 10GB monthly data cap
  • Top Speedi

    54Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    10 countries

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

Ranked #1 Free VPN for iPhone

Windscribe is the best free VPN we’ve tested, but that’s not just because of its desktop performance — it’s a good free VPN for iOS, too. 

It’s got a very nice, simple design which puts it to the top of our iPhone and iPad list.

The VPN also works with US Netflix and BBC iPlayer, which is rare for a safe free VPN.

Local speed performance is also very good – Windscribe Free is one of the fastest free VPNs we’ve tested. Online tasks are made smooth and speedy.

And Windscribe Free is going to protect you, too: this is a super secure product in a free VPN market filled with poor choices, encrypted to top standards and using OpenVPN protocol – our favorite.

Screenshot of the Windscribe iOS app for iPhone and iPad

On the negative side, the VPN kill switch is missing from Windscribe Free for iOS. This is a flaw in its security worth taking into account. If the connection drops, the lack of kill switch could leave your true IP exposed.

You may see Windscribe’s 10GB data cap and be put off by the limitation. But this is actually one of the most generous offerings from a free VPN service.

Windscribe Free is also generous in the way it lets you use the app on multiple devices (with no limit) and it allows you to torrent, too. 

There’s truly nothing to lose if you decide to try Windscribe Free. Windscribe doesn’t even ask for payment details to download its free VPN, meaning there’s no risk of you forgetting to cancel and getting an unwelcome bill in your bank statement. 

For a more in-depth look, read our full Windscribe VPN review.

2. ProtonVPN

Fast free VPN with no data usage restrictions.

  1. Well-designed app for iPhone
  2. Fast speeds on nearby servers
  3. Privacy-friendly logging policy
  4. No daily or monthly data caps
  1. No kill switch on the iOS app
  2. Only three free server locations
  3. Doesn't work with Netflix
  4. Torrenting not allowed
  • Top Speedi

    60Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    3 countries, 16 servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

Ranked #2 Free VPN for iPhone

Also ProtonVPN offers a free, user-friendly custom app for iOS.  The best thing about ProtonVPN’s free VPN app is that it comes with no speed or data restrictions.

The problem is that you can only connect to three VPN server locations, which is much less than Windscribe’s 10 locations. These locations are: Japan, Netherlands, and the US. 

Also, you can only use the free version of ProtonVPN on only one device, and torrenting is not allowed. Not to mention that ProtonVPN won’t work with Netflix and most other popular streaming services.

Screenshot of the ProtonVPN iOS app for iPhone and iPad

On the plus side, ProtonVPN has exactly the same level of privacy and security as its premium version. This makes it one of the safest free VPNs around. It collects very little user information, definitely nothing that can be used to identify you. 

Like Windscribe, there’s isn’t a kill switch for iOS included. However, the ‘Always On’ feature reestablishes a VPN connection automatically should it cut out, rather than kill your internet entirely.

On the whole, ProtonVPN isn’t as complete as Windscribe but if you want a free VPN with an unlimited data allowance, then this free VPN is for you.

For a more in-depth look, read our full ProtonVPN review.

3. Hide.me

The fastest free VPN for iPhone with a working kill switch for iOS.

  1. Straightforward app for iPhone
  2. Fast speeds on same-country servers
  3. VPN kill switch for iOS
  4. Very minimal logging policy
  5. Generous 10GB data cap
  1. Unreliable for unblocking Netflix
  2. Limited to five server locations
  3. P2P allowed on only three servers
  • Top Speedi

    72Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    4 countries, Not disclosed servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

Ranked #3 Free VPN for iPhone

The free version of Hide.me VPN is private and secure. It doesn’t log user activity, and its iOS app has a VPN kill switch, which neither Windscribe nor ProtonVPN have.

Hide.me Free comes with the same privacy and security as the premium service. The iOS apps are in fact encrypted with the AES-256 cipher, which is virtually unbreakable. 

Screenshot of the Hide.Me iOS app for iPhone and iPad

While its speeds are fast compared to its rivals, Hide.me is not very good at unblocking US Netflix and torrenting is only allowed on three of its free servers. Hide.me also comes with usage restrictions: a 10GB monthly data cap. This may sound strict, but it’s actually one of the most generous data allowances from any good free VPN service. 

Another limitation is five choices of servers in four countries. These are: the Netherlands, Canada, Singapore, and the US. It’s a decent global spread, but inevitably performance will be affected if any one location gets too busy. 

If you want a VPN just to browse the web on your iPhone and iPad, the Hide.me is a good solution. It provides a secure and ad-free service, with fast speeds. But, anything more than this – streaming Netflix and torrenting large files — and Hide.me will disappoint you.

For a more in-depth look, read our full Hide.me review.

4. TunnelBear

Ranked #4 Free VPN for iPhone

  1. iOS app is simple and easy-to-use
  2. Good peak download speeds
  3. Connect securely to 22 countries
  1. No kill switch for iOS
  2. Restrictive 500MB monthly data cap
  • Top Speedi

    52Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    23 countries

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid

The Bottom Line

TunnelBear is a beginner-friendly VPN with distinct apps for popular devices including iOS. 

One of TunnelBear Free’s strengths is the availability of 22 countries to connect to. This gives you more choices than our other top picks for iPhone and iPad. 

Screenshot of the TunnelBear iOS app for iPhone and iPad

The big but with TunnelBear Free is its very low 500MB per month data cap. You won’t be able to do much with TunnelBear Free, other than protect your iPhone on public WiFi every now and again.

This is particularly the case as TunnelBear Free’s privacy policy is clear and trustworthy, verging on no-logs whatsoever. And it’s a pretty quick VPN, too, especially when connecting locally, ensuring that your web browsing won’t be made a struggle.

TunnelBear Free is another free VPN with no kill switch – it’s a rare thing to see, but it’s still a security concern that it doesn’t have one. 

For a more in-depth look, read our full TunnelBear review.

5. Avira Phantom Free VPN

Ranked #5 Free VPN for iPhone

  1. iOS app suited to beginners
  2. Good same-country speeds
  3. Minimal logging
  1. 1GB monthly data cap
  2. No manual server selection
  3. No kill switch for free users
  • Best Price

    $6.50/mo over 12 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    73Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    34 countries

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid

The Bottom Line

Avira Phantom is a decent free choice if you’re looking to browse safely online on your iPhone or iPad.

Avira Phantom Free is available has a nice iOS app with the basic level of privacy to ensure your online anonymity. 

Avira Phantom Free’s privacy policy isn’t quite zero-logs, but it’s minimal enough to ensure that you’re kept totally unidentifiable.

Screenshot of the Avira Phantom VPN iOS app for iPhone and iPad

The free version of Avira’s VPN is restricted to a 1GB per month data cap – that’s twice as much as TunnelBear but still entirely too restrictive.

TunnelBear Free has it beat for speed, but there’s no limit to the number of simultaneous connections you can have. So you can put Avira on both your iPhone and your iPad. 

But you are limited by what servers you can select; Avira Phantom Free connects you automatically and you have no choice. With Avira, you get what you’re given. 

Like a number of its rivals on this page, Avira’s free VPN also doesn’t come with a kill switch – in fact it’s very light on advanced features in general.

For a more in-depth look, read our full Avira Phantom Free VPN review.

Free VPN for iPhone FAQ

How to Use a Free VPN on Your iPhone

If you want a simple free VPN for your iPhone, choose one that offers a custom iOS app. This way all you need to do is install the VPN directly from the App Store.

When you install your VPN app, make sure you enable security features such as the VPN kill switch and DNS and IPv6 leak protection, if available. If there’s an option to choose the VPN protocol, we recommend selecting OpenVPN.

At this point, you can choose the VPN server to connect to. The closer it is to your physical location the better the speeds should be. Once you’ve found your desired server, tap connect.

If you don’t want to use a custom iPhone VPN app, read our guide on manually setting up a VPN on an iPhone.

Individual Using iPhone

Which Free iPhone VPN Has Unlimited Data?

When it comes to the best free VPNs, all of them have various limitations. This is done to encourage you to purchase the premium version of the VPN.

Some free VPNs limit server locations, others the extent of the features available.  Most common among free VPNs are data caps: Windscribe’s 10GB being the most generous on our list and TunnelBear’s 500MB being the most stingy. 

Currently, the only free VPN for iPhone which has unlimited data is the free version of ProtonVPN.

What's the Best Free VPN for Netflix on iPhone?

We all know that movies and TV aren’t resigned to the cinema and the living room anymore. We see people enjoying them nearly everyday on our daily commutes, only they’re enjoying Netflix on iPhone.

Security conscious people love to watch Netflix too, so they wonder: how can I protect my device whilst enjoying the latest episode of my drama?

And who wants to spend the money, right? You’re already paying the Netflix fee.

We get that, but here’s the problem: even the best free VPNs fail to access, and those that manage to get under the radar soon begin to sink under the limitations of data caps.

Avira Phantom Free for example, while we have had intermittent success unblocking Netflix, it’s 1GB monthly data cap just isn’t going to allow you to binge at all. You might get around to an episode a month with that.

What's the Best Free VPN for Gaming on iOS?

Whether it’s PUBG or Mobile Legends, videogames on iPhone and iPad are bigger than ever. Some of these popular games have been banned in various countries – perhaps even yours. Turning to a VPN is one of the most common ways to get around it. 

Bear in mind: free VPNs present serious limitations to gamers. 

Free VPNs often feature minimal server lists and serious data caps. With a stingy data cap you’ll run out of bandwidth fast, ending your game early. 

Worse than that, free VPNs often just don’t cut it when it comes to privacy and security. Some are actually more dangerous than not using one at all

If you want a VPN for gaming, we highly recommend choosing a paid-for VPN. 

With that in mind and you still want to know which is the best free VPN for iOS gaming around, we recommend Windscribe with its 10GB of available data or, of course, ProtonVPN, which is unlimited in its available data. You’ll be able to play a bit longer with that than you would with other VPN services like TunnelBear.

What's the Best Free VPN for iPhone in China?

It takes a very strong VPN to beat web censors in China. For this reason, it’s difficult to find a free VPN that works there. 

If a free VPN is going to bypass Chinese web censorship, it’ll be our #1 pick Windscribe. It’s reported to be quite effective in China, especially on laptop and desktop computers, but for iOS users it’s not as reliable.

You could also try TunnelBear, as it comes with ‘GhostBear Mode’, which is designed to circumvent censorship. However, in our experience TunnelBear has yet to work in China.

Screenshot of TunnelBear GhostBear Mode from the TunnelBear Websitte

If not in China, Windscribe and TunnelBear are more likely to work in countries like Dubai, Iran, Qatar, Russia, Sudan, and Turkey. 

Which Free iPhone VPNs Should I Avoid?

We understand the desire to avoid paying for software, as well as the pain of having too much choice. That’s why we put together this guide of the safest and fastest free VPNs for iOS users.

But the free VPN market is flooded with risky apps. Many either don’t work properly, are poorly built, or are simply designed to do the opposite of a VPN and extract your information. Quite frankly, it’s a minefield.

With that in mind, we wanted to share our knowledge of the VPNs available with our list, but we’re prepared to name and shame the worst options, too. Make sure you don’t download:

  • #VPN
  • Betternet Free
  • FreeVPN by FreeVPN.org
  • PatronVPN
  • SkyVPN
  • SlickVPN
  • TouchVPN
  • TurboVPN
  • VPN Book
  • VPN Proxy Master
  • VPN360
  • VPN99
  • YogaVPN

Does a Free VPN Drain the iPhone Battery?

This is a fair question — we know that your smartphone’s battery is precious, and some apps can be super battery-sensitive. 

A VPN will use up your iPhone or iPad battery, but only slightly.

First of all, there will only be a difference when the VPN is actually being used to encrypt and transfer data (like when you watch YouTube, for example).

iPhone Low Battery

Secondly, the difference will be so minor that you it’s extremely likely you won’t even notice it at all, which is a good thing.

The benefits of using a VPN to keep your iPhone secure far outweigh the potential extra battery usage.

About the Author


  • Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

    Simon Migliano

    Simon is a recognized world expert in VPNs. He's tested hundreds of VPN services and his research has featured on the BBC, The New York Times, CNet and more. Read full bio