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The Best Free & Premium VPNs for iPhone

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Best VPN for iPhone
Simon Migliano
10 Comments

Simon Migliano 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 and more.

Fact-checked by JP JonesAdditional Testing by Luc Williams

EXPERT ADVICE: Many free iPhone VPNs are slower and less effective than premium iOS VPN apps. ExpressVPN, the outright best iPhone VPN, is fast, private, secure, and unblocks most websites and applications. Try ExpressVPN risk-free for 30 days.

Top-rated iPhone VPN apps secure free WiFi network connections by using industry-leading encryption ciphers and highly secure VPN protocols.

They also change your public IP address to hide your internet activity from ISPs and mobile carriers. The very best VPNs even access geo-blocked websites and apps.

What Is the Best Free VPN for iPhone in 2023?

Based on our iOS-specific tests, the best completely free (safe) iPhone VPNs are:

  1. Windscribe Free – Best Free VPN for iPhone
  2. Hide.me Free – Most Private Free VPN for iPhone
  3. Proton VPN Free – Best Free iPhone VPN with Unlimited Data

Windscribe is the best free VPN for iPhone (and iPad) in 2023. It’s a high-performing iOS VPN app that delivers quick, private, and secure connections across 11 server locations. The free plan limits data usage to 10GB per month, though.

There are hundreds of free iOS VPN apps on the App Store, but most log your internet data, slow your connection, or leak your real IP address. The three free iPhone VPNs we recommend are 100% safe, and won’t cost a dime.

However, free VPNs have significant limitations, including slower speeds, limited server coverage, and data usage caps. For the best VPN experience, you’ll need a premium VPN.

What Is the Overall Best VPN for iPhone in 2023?

Here is a summary of the three best overall VPN apps for iPhone are:

  1. ExpressVPN – Overall Best VPN for iPhone
  2. NordVPN – Fastest VPN for iPhone
  3. Private Internet Access – Most Advanced iPhone VPN

ExpressVPN is the very best iPhone VPN in 2023. The highly intuitive VPN app performed formidably in our mobile privacy, security, web browsing, and streaming tests. Connecting securely to any of its 160 global server locations was immediate, and without connection drops.

All the VPNs in this guide have native applications for iOS 16, 15, and older versions, too. They work just as well on Apple iPad and iPad Pro. They also work on 5G, 4G, and 3G, in addition to WiFi.

WARNING: While VPN kill switches have been blocking network traffic from iOS 14 onward, some DNS queries still leak outside the VPN connection. This is an issue Apple is refusing to fix, and is still happening in iOS 16.

The Best Free & Premium iPhone VPNs Compared

The table below compares 10 highly-rated free and premium iPhone VPN apps, based on their download speeds, logging policies, access to US Netflix, and more.

Top iPhone VPNs: Summary Test Ratings

The data in the table below shows how the best iOS VPNs performed in our key testing categories:

Why Trust Top10VPN.com?

We’re completely independent and focused on VPN software. We’ve spent thousands of hours testing and reviewing iOS VPNs using our iPhone VPN testing process to recommend the best ones.

Here is an overview of our key iPhone VPN testing statistics:

iOS VPN Apps Tested100+
Test DevicesiPhone 14 Pro & iPad Air
Total Hours of Testing30,000+
Weekly Speed Tests3,000+
IP & DNS Leak Tests Performed 9,500+
How Much We've Spent On Testing$25,000+

Analysis of the Best Free iPhone VPN Apps

  1. 1. Windscribe Free: Best Free VPN for iPhone

    The best free VPN for iOS devices. Secure & unblocks many streaming apps.

    Ranked #1 Free VPN for iPhone
    Windscribe mobile screenshots
     Rated 5 out of 5 
    3 user reviews
    Visit Windscribe

    • 100% free to use with no registration
    • Works with UK Netflix, Prime Video & more
    • Full Shortcut & Widget support
    • Connect securely to 10 countries
    • Unlimited device policy

    • 10GB monthly data cap
    • Slow international speeds
    • Poor connection times
    • Difficult to use on iPhone
    • No iOS kill switch
    • No human live chat support

    Overall iPhone & iPad Rating: 8.0/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our iPhone VPN testing methodology.

    • 77.0/10
    • 6.86.8/10
    • 9.59.5/10
    • 7.67.6/10
    • 9.69.6/10
    • 9.19.1/10

    Windscribe is the best free VPN for iOS 16. It’s highly secure, and the only safe free VPN that works with streaming apps like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video.

    The VPN’s free iOS application comes with a home screen widget, Shortcut support, and industry-leading security features. If you want an advanced VPN without paying a cent, Windscribe is the best option.

    Windscribe's app for iOS and iPadOS.

    Windscribe’s app for iPhone and iPad.

    Cheapest PriceFree
    SpeediSpeedBased on 100Mbps local test connection54Mbps
    Data Cap10GB
    iOS App Store Rating4.5
    US NetflixNo
    Countries11
    Compatible with
    1. iosiOS
    2. macosMac OS
    3. windowsWindows
    4. linuxLinux
    5. androidAndroid

    The best free iOS VPN for streaming Netflix

    Streaming services license content by region, so the content available differs depending on the location of your IP address.

    After regularly testing 56 VPNs, we found that Windscribe is the best free VPN for streaming on iPhone.

    Windscribe unblocks UK Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu.

    Most other freemium VPNs we tested reserve streaming functionality for the paid plans, so it’s refreshing for Windscribe provide this for free.

    The only downside is that the free VPN no longer worked with US Netflix in our most recent streaming tests.

    Although Windscribe’s free servers aren’t as fast as the premium ones, we were still able to maintain a fast connection in all 10 of Windscribe’s free server locations.

    As such, we were still able to take advantage of the iPhone’s XDR display and stream video in 4K UHD.

    App is functional, but difficult to use on iPhone

    When using all of its default settings, Windscribe’s iOS application is user-friendly.

    The large power button smoothly connects or disconnects you from the VPN. The app also displays what server location you’re connected to, and your new IP address.

    Moreover, the app’s support for the iPhone’s Taptic Engine is a nice touch.

    However, we found the app difficult to navigate on our iPhone. The interface works well on the iPad, but the app’s small UI elements are not well-optimized for smaller screens.

    For instance, toggling between server options is challenging and requires precision, which is unusual for a top-tier VPN app.

    The app also uses IKEv2 by default, which is a closed-sourced protocol we don’t typically recommend. We suggest switching to WireGuard or OpenVPN in the settings menu, and selecting port 443.

    10GB monthly data cap limits the VPN's usefulness

    There is one major drawback to Windscribe Free, which concerns its monthly data usage limit policy.

    If you create a free account, using your email and password, the service raises your free data allowance from 2GB to 10GB per month.

    You can further extend it to 15GB by tweeting a promotional link for the company. Sadly, 15GB still isn’t enough. It roughly equates to only six hours of HD video streaming.

    That said, this free data allowance is one of the highest available from a safe free VPN. It should be enough for encrypting public WiFi networks and occasional streaming.

    Despite these minor downsides, we still consider Windscribe to be the best free VPN for iPhone and iPad.

    Who is Windscribe best for?

    You should use Windscribe if:

    • You want a trustworthy free VPN. Windscribe is private, secure, and doesn’t keep personal internet activity logs.
    • You want to access international Netflix regions. Windscribe Free unblocks 6 Netflix regions, more than any other safe free VPN.

    You should not use Windscribe if:

    • You need fast international speeds. We recorded slow long-distance speeds and poor connection times using Windscribe’s iOS app.
    • You want unlimited free VPN access. Windscribe only gives you a maximum of 10GB of free data each month, which won’t last very long.
  2. 2. Hide.me Free: Most Private Free VPN for iPhone

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

    Hide.me mobile screenshots
     Rated 5 out of 5 
    1 user reviews
    Visit Hide.me

    • Easy-to-use iOS application
    • Good speeds on same-country servers
    • VPN kill switch for iOS
    • Doesn't log any personal internet data

    • 10GB monthly data limit
    • Limited to five server locations
    • Can be slow to establish connections
    • Very slow long-distance speeds
    • iOS app lacks a kill switch
    • One simultaneous connection

    Overall iPhone & iPad Rating: 6.9/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our iPhone VPN testing methodology.

    • 77.0/10
    • 7.57.5/10
    • 9.89.8/10
    • 7.97.9/10
    • 11.0/10
    • 8.58.5/10

    Hide.me’s privacy-focused logging policy and leak-protection tools make it the most private free VPN for iOS users.

    Thanks to its good short-distance speeds, it’s ideal for quick web/app browsing on your iPhone.

    However, Hide.me is limited compared to our other top-rated free VPNs. It doesn’t work with any streaming platform (unlike Windscribe), and it limits usage to 10GB per month (unlike Proton VPN).

    The Hide.me application for iPhone

    Hide.me’s app for iPhone.

    Cheapest PriceFree
    SpeediSpeedBased on 100Mbps local test connection72Mbps
    Data Cap10GB
    iOS App Store Rating4.5
    US NetflixNo
    Countries8
    Compatible with
    1. iosiOS
    2. macosMac OS
    3. windowsWindows
    4. linuxLinux
    5. androidAndroid

    Strong focus on privacy

    Hide.me’s free VPN is the most private we’ve tested. It doesn’t log user activity, and its iOS app has a VPN kill switch, which neither Windscribe nor Proton VPN have.

    The free VPN provides many of the privacy and security features of its premium service: AES-256 encryption, OpenVPN, WireGuard and IKEv2 protocols, and IPv6 leak protection.

    Good short-distance speeds

    Hide.me’s free VPN delivered good speeds in our latest streaming tests.

    The VPN only lost 18% speed connecting to nearby VPN servers. That’s a better result than Windscribe’s 46% speed reduction.

    Disappointingly, Hide.me’s long-distance speeds were way worse. We sometimes experienced losses above 70%.

    Unless you’re located in or near one of Hide.me’s four free server locations, we advise on using Windscribe or Proton VPN, instead.

    Several limitations hold it back

    Hide.me’s limitations didn’t stop at its slow international connection speeds.

    In our streaming tests, Hide.me didn’t unblock any popular streaming platform, like Netflix, HBO Max, and HBO Max.

    Another limitation is the limited server choice. There are only five servers in four countries: the Netherlands, Canada, Singapore, and the US.

    Who is Hide.me best for?

    You should use Hide.me if:

    • You want a very private free VPN. Hide.me’s logging policy and privacy settings lets you use the internet privately on your iOS device.

    You should not use Hide.me if:

    • You need a free VPN when traveling. Only five free server locations and a 10GB monthly usage cap are very limiting when traveling.
    • You want to unblock streaming apps. Hide.me didn’t work with any streaming app we tested.
  3. 3. Proton VPN Free: Best Free iPhone VPN for Unlimited Data

    Fast and secure free iOS VPN with no data usage restrictions.

    Screenshot of Proton VPN's mobile app
     Rated 5 out of 5 
    2 user reviews
    Visit Proton VPN

    • Free with no payment details required
    • Very fast speeds on nearby free servers
    • Unlimited monthly bandwidth allowance
    • Open-sourced iOS application
    • High encryption & privacy-first logging policy

    • Only three server locations
    • Only one live connection per account
    • No advanced settings
    • No iOS VPN kill switch
    • Doesn’t work with popular streaming apps
    • No P2P traffic allowed

    Overall iPhone & iPad Rating: 6.5/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our iPhone VPN testing methodology.

    • 66.0/10
    • 6.86.8/10
    • 9.89.8/10
    • 7.67.6/10
    • 11.0/10
    • 99.0/10

    Proton VPN is a trustworthy freemium VPN that includes strong security and privacy features in its applications.

    Unlike most safe free VPNs, like Windscribe, Proton VPN doesn’t impose any data usage limits. With Proton VPN, you can encrypt all your internet traffic at all times.

    Despite only offering free servers in three countries, these servers are well-distributed and recorded fast and reliable speeds in our tests.

    Proton VPN's app for iOS and iPadOS.

    Proton VPN’s app for iPhone and iPad.

    Cheapest PriceFree
    SpeediSpeedBased on 100Mbps local test connection95Mbps
    Data CapUnlimited
    iOS App Store Rating4.0
    US NetflixNo
    Countries3
    Compatible with
    1. iosiOS
    2. macosMac OS
    3. windowsWindows
    4. linuxLinux
    5. androidAndroid

    Fast free VPN with no data limits

    Proton VPN lets you use as much data as you want for free. This makes it the only secure free VPN that you can leave running all the time.

    You won’t notice that the VPN is running, either. Our latest speed test results show that Proton VPN is an extremely fast free VPN.

    On our 100Mbps test connection, we stayed on 95Mbps when connected to a nearby VPN server. A mere 5% speed loss is an impressive result.

    Rather than imposing speed and bandwidth caps, Proton VPN instead limits the functionality of its free plan by blocking access to streaming services.

    Case in point, the free VPN has never worked with any streaming service we test for, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu.

    The best free iOS VPN for security & privacy

    Not only is Proton VPN very quick, it’s also a highly secure VPN service.

    The VPN implements a privacy-friendly logging policy and 256-bit encryption on its VPN connections. The same as for its paid subscribers.

    Additionally, Proton VPN is based in Switzerland, which is a country with strong privacy laws and isn’t part of the 14 Eyes alliance.

    Furthermore, a third-party security consultancy audited Proton VPN’s open-sourced iOS app, with all vulnerabilities now fixed.

    Disappointingly, Proton VPN’s iOS app does not include a kill switch. At least, the ‘Always On’ setting reestablishes a VPN connection automatically should the VPN connection cut out.

    Only three free server locations and no advanced features

    Another drawback of the Proton VPN iOS app is that it’s rather basic and would benefit from a redesign.

    The application is perfectly functional, but the lack of graphical elements, overuse of lists, and map view are starting to look dated.

    Proton VPN also only has free servers in three locations: the US, the Netherlands, and Japan. It’s a very small network, even for a free VPN.

    Moreover, you can only use Proton VPN Free on one device at a time. You can get around this by creating multiple accounts for each devices, but it’s still a frustrating limitation.

    Who is Proton VPN best for?

    You should use Proton VPN if:

    • You need industry-leading VPN security. Proton VPN’s iOS app is open-source, independently-audited, and uses AES-256 bit encryption with Secure Core technology for heightened security.
    • You want the VPN always running. Proton VPN comes with an unlimited bandwidth allowance.

    You should not use Proton VPN if:

    • You want to unblock streaming apps. Proton VPN doesn’t unblock most streaming applications.
    • You need to connect to many different countries. Proton VPN offers access to only three free server locations.

Overall Best iPhone VPNs Analyzed

  1. 1. ExpressVPN: Best VPN for iPhone

    The overall best VPN for iPhone and iPad, with a fast and user-friendly app.

    Ranked #1 out of 56 VPNs for iPhone
    ExpressVPN's new app on mobile devices
     Rated 4.8 out of 5 
    1,829 user reviews
    Visit ExpressVPN

    • Very easy-to-use iOS application
    • Fast mobile connections on WiFi & cellular data
    • Streams Netflix, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max & more
    • Built-in kill switch with Lightway protocol
    • Seven-day free iOS trial
    • 24/7 live customer support

    • More expensive than its rivals
    • Little integration with iOS (Shortcuts) features

    Overall iPhone & iPad Rating: 9.6/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our iPhone VPN testing methodology.

    • 9.59.5/10
    • 9.89.8/10
    • 9.69.6/10
    • 9.29.2/10
    • 9.69.6/10
    • 9.79.7/10

    With its intuitive and easy-to-use app, ExpressVPN is the best VPN for all iOS devices including iPhone and iPad.

    The one-tap connect button makes securing your Apple device as simple as possible. The VPN also works with the most recent iOS software updates on iPhone, iPad, and even Apple TV.

    Although it’s more expensive than other VPN services, ExpressVPN includes enough advanced features to make it worth the extra money.

    ExpressVPN's app for iOS and iPadOS.

    ExpressVPN’s app for iPhone and iPad.

    Cheapest Price$6.67/mo over 15 Months See all plans
    SpeediSpeedBased on 100Mbps local test connection93Mbps
    Data CapUnlimited
    iOS App Store Rating4.7
    US NetflixYes
    Countries94
    Compatible with
    1. iosiOS
    2. macosMac OS
    3. windowsWindows
    4. linuxLinux
    5. chromeosChrome OS
    6. androidAndroid

    Fast speeds for unblocking streaming apps

    ExpressVPN is a fast VPN for iOS. Connecting to a nearby server, our VPN speed tests revealed a download speed loss of just 7%.

    Even better, ExpressVPN maintained a high average speed when connected to servers around the world.

    The VPN’s impressive speed performance is down to the introduction of its bespoke Lightway VPN protocol. In fact, Lightway is much quicker to reconnect than most other protocols.

    Our tests found that Lightway is more than twice as fast as OpenVPN connecting to a VPN server. So, when your iPhone is switching between WiFi networks and cellular data towers, you won’t notice a drop in connection.

    These fast speeds help make ExpressVPN the most reliable VPN for streaming on iOS.

    The VPN unblocked every content platform we tested, including US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, HBO Max, and Disney+.

    Compatible with all Apple devices

    ExpressVPN’s intuitive iOS app could not be simpler, even if you’ve never used a VPN before.

    A large connection button in the center of the screen makes the app very easy to use, even on smaller iPhone screens.

    ExpressVPN also encrypts your Apple Watch data, since your watch shares a network connection from the iPhone.

    Furthermore, you can even use ExpressVPN on your Apple TV, thanks to the VPN’s Smart DNS service called MediaStreamer.

    Disappointingly, ExpressVPN’s iOS app doesn’t come with Shortcut support. You won’t be able to activate it using Siri, and you can’t add the widget to your home screen for quick connections.

    Below is a quick video tutorial showing you how easy it is to use ExpressVPN on an iPhone:

    It was very easy to use the ExpressVPN iOS app.

    More expensive than other iOS VPNs

    One of the main drawbacks holding ExpressVPN back from being the perfect iOS VPN is its price.

    The VPN application is also more expensive than the other VPNs on this page. However, features like split tunneling, 24/7 live chat, and best-in-class privacy features make ExpressVPN worth the extra cost.

    To test the VPN first, take advantage of ExpressVPN’s seven-day free trial on iOS.

    Who is ExpressVPN best for?

    You should use ExpressVPN if:

    • You want to unblock streaming apps. ExpressVPN unblocks most streaming apps, including HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, Disney+ and 10 Netflix libraries.
    • You want an all-round excellent VPN. ExpressVPN excelled in all our testing categories, including privacy, security, speed, streaming, and ease-of-use.

    You should not use ExpressVPN if:

    • You’re on a tight budget. ExpressVPN is more expensive than most VPNs for iOS. It’s cheapest subscription plan costs $6.67 per month over 15 months.
    • You want to use iOS integrations. ExpressVPN’s iOS app is great, but isn’t as highly compatible with iOS Shortcuts as NordVPN.
  2. 2. NordVPN: Fastest VPN for iPhone

    Secure iOS VPN with fast speeds and advanced features.

    NordVPN Mobile App Screenshot
     Rated 4.7 out of 5 
    246 user reviews
    Visit NordVPN

    • Very fast local & international speeds
    • Full integrated with iOS Shortcuts
    • Built-in kill switch for added protection
    • Threat Protection Lite tool blocks some ads
    • No-logs logging policy

    • Map interface is awkward on iPhone
    • Doesn’t accept PayPal payments
    • Unreliable in high-censorship countries
    • Server breach in 2018
    • No free trial on iOS

    Overall iPhone & iPad Rating: 9.5/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our iPhone VPN testing methodology.

    • 9.29.2/10
    • 9.89.8/10
    • 9.59.5/10
    • 9.59.5/10
    • 9.59.5/10
    • 9.89.8/10

    NordVPN is a very good alternative to ExpressVPN. Its iOS app is well-integrated with the most advanced iOS features.

    We also verified that NordVPN is the fastest VPN on our iPhone, and it’s available for a budget price on long-term subscription plans.

    NordVPN's app for iOS and iPadOS.

    NordVPN’s app for iPhone and iPad.

    Cheapest Price$3.29/mo over 2 years See all plans
    SpeediSpeedBased on 100Mbps local test connection98Mbps
    Data CapUnlimited
    iOS App Store Rating4.7
    US NetflixYes
    Countries59
    Compatible with
    1. iosiOS
    2. macosMac OS
    3. windowsWindows
    4. linuxLinux
    5. androidAndroid

    Minimal speed loss and strong security features

    NordVPN is the fastest VPN for iOS. This is thanks to the NordLynx protocol, a more secure adaption of WireGuard.

    In our most recent battery of tests, we recorded just a 2% loss in download speed when connected to a nearby server.

    And connecting from the UK to the US, we registered a 7% loss in download speed.

    NordVPN also comes with advanced security features to keep your internet activity private from third-parties.

    The built-in kill switch worked effectively in our security tests. Our real IP address never leaked during server changes and VPN connection drops.

    In addition, NordVPN encrypts traffic using the AES-256 cipher and employs a wide range of secure VPN protocols, including OpenVPN and IKEv2.

    The VPN company is also based in Panama, a safe and private jurisdiction outside of the 14 Eyes surveillance alliance. The VPN also operates a no-logs policy.

    Optimized for iOS

    NordVPN is well-integrated with iOS. The app works with Shortcuts, which is Apple’s built-in automation app.

    After setting the VPN up, ask Siri to “quick connect,” or you can add the widget to your home screen for quick connections.

    The VPN app also detects whether your iPhone or iPad is using light or dark mode, and mirrors the app’s theme accordingly.

    You can also enable Threat Protection Lite, NordVPN’s DNS-based ad blocker, within the app’s settings. However, it only blocked 60% of ads we tested it with.

    NordVPN’s new feature, Threat Protection, is available on iOS.

    Minor issues but no major downsides

    NordVPN doesn’t have any significant drawbacks, although some smaller issues need to be resolved.

    The most prominent issue relates to a NordVPN Finland server breach in 2018. No user data was compromised, and the VPN service has drastically improved its security as a result.

    With the introduction of co-located and RAM-based servers, NordVPN has joined ExpressVPN in leading the industry security-wise. With this, the company has gradually regained our trust, too.

    For certain, NordVPN needs to revise its map interface, which is too small to interact with on iPhone screens.

    Moreover, the lack of PayPal as a payment method will frustrate certain users. However, this isn’t an issue if you subscribe with your usual payment method on the App Store.

    Overall, NordVPN is an excellent multi-purpose VPN that has resolved its faults and now has no significant disadvantages for iOS users.

    Who is NordVPN best for?

    You should use NordVPN if:

    • You want a very fast VPN. NordVPN is the fastest VPN right now, with local speed losses as low as 1%.
    • You want a cheaper alternative to ExpressVPN. NordVPN is almost as good as ExpressVPN, and it’s considerably cheaper on a multi-year subscription.

    You should not use NordVPN if:

    • You need a more user-friendly iOS VPN app. While NordVPN is relatively easy to use, it’s more difficult to use than ExpressVPN’s app.
  3. 3. PIA VPN: Most Advanced iPhone VPN

    Security-focused iOS VPN with many configurable settings.

    Private Internet Access
     Rated 4.3 out of 5 
    29 user reviews
    Visit PIA VPN

    • Strong security settings and customization
    • Includes widget for iOS 15 & 16
    • The largest server network
    • Works with US Netflix & BBC iPlayer
    • Efficient MACE ad blocker
    • 24/7 live chat support

    • Based in the US (FVEY jurisdiction)
    • Doesn’t unblock many Netflix regions
    • Compatibility issues with other Apple products

    Overall iPhone & iPad Rating: 8.8/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our iPhone VPN testing methodology.

    • 9.79.7/10
    • 77.0/10
    • 9.99.9/10
    • 8.58.5/10
    • 99.0/10
    • 8.88.8/10

    Private Internet Access (PIA) is the most customizable iPHone VPN we’ve tested. It’s therefore a great choice for advanced users.

    The service operates a no-logs policy, backed up by the company’s good history of protecting its users’ privacy.

    That said, the VPN may be too complicated for beginners and isn’t optimized for accessing geo-blocked streaming apps.

    PIA VPN's app for iOS and iPadOS.

    PIA VPN’s app for iPhone and iPad.

    Cheapest Price$2.19/mo over 26 months See all plans
    SpeediSpeedBased on 100Mbps local test connection93Mbps
    Data CapUnlimited
    iOS App Store Rating4.7
    US NetflixYes
    Countries84
    Compatible with
    1. iosiOS
    2. macosMac OS
    3. windowsWindows
    4. linuxLinux
    5. androidAndroid

    Superb integration with iOS features

    Of all the VPN apps we tested, Private Internet Access worked best with iOS’s advanced system features.

    PIA has a widget for devices running iOS 15 and 16. This displays a large connect button, along with information about the protocol and port currently in use.

    You can add this widget to your iPhone or iPad’s home screen for quicker connections, and to see useful information at a glance.

    The VPN app also integrates with Shortcuts and mirrors iOS’ light and dark mode. This creates a seamless experience on your iPhone and iPad.

    Highly-customizable app and a huge server network

    While almost all other iOS VPN apps are limited, PIA’s app includes as much functionality as the desktop clients.

    The VPN’s kill switch is enabled by default, plus the app lets you choose the encryption cipher, data authentication, and even the handshake algorithm.

    We recommend choosing AES-256-GCM, GCM, and RSA-2048 respectively. We haven’t seen any other VPN app for iOS with this level of customization, so it’s very impressive.

    Furthermore, you can arrange and customize which information is displayed on the app’s main screen with PIA. It could be usage data or favorite server locations, for example.

    PIA also has the largest server network of any VPN service, with 17,087 servers in 84 countries.

    The size of PIA’s server network greatly reduces the likelihood of server congestion, delivering faster and more reliable connection speeds.

    A helpful extra feature of PIA’s iOS app is its fully-featured iOS ad blocker, called MACE. It blocked 80% of ads in our tests, far more than NordVPN’s Threat Protection.

    NordVPN and PIA's ad blocker test results

    PIA MACE blocks more ads and trackers than NordVPN Threat Protection.

    Not a good VPN for Netflix

    Unlike ExpressVPN and NordVPN, Private Internet Access is not a reliable option for unblocking streaming platforms, especially Netflix.

    The VPN unblocks US Netflix, HBO Max, and Hulu, but not on every US server. Usually, you’ll have to try several servers until you find one that works. At the moment, the US Washington DC server works well.

    In terms of Netflix specifically, PIA can only access 2 regions, compared to ExpressVPN’s 10 and NordVPN’s 11

    On the plus side, the VPN’s UK London-Streaming server always unblocked BBC iPlayer in our tests, which not every VPN can do consistently.

    Who is Private Internet Access best for?

    You should use PIA if:

    • You want the most customizable VPN. PIA’s iOS app is the most advanced and customizable we’ve reviewed.

    You should not use PIA if:

    • You’re a new VPN user. PIA’s advanced features and customization settings may not suit many VPN beginners.
    • You want to unblock many Netflix regions. PIA only works with 2 Netflix regions: USA and Italy.

Other iOS VPNs We Reviewed

We tested over 100 and reviewed 73 iOS VPN applications in detail.

Some came very close to being included in our top VPN rankings for iPhone, others didn’t. Below is a selection of popular iPhone VPNs that fell short of the mark:

Surfshark

Overall Ranking: #4 out of 56 VPNs

Overall Rating: 9.2/109.2

What we don’t like: Surfshark’s iOS app is easy to use and good for unblocking content, however it’s considerably slower than ExpressVPN, NordVPN and PIA.

IPVanish

Overall Ranking: #5 out of 56 VPNs

Overall Rating: 9.1/109.1

What we don’t like: The design of the IPVanish iOS application is not as intuitive as we expect it to be. Also, a VPN kill switch is absent.

CyberGhost

Overall Ranking: #6 out of 56 VPNs

Overall Rating: 9.0/109.0

What we don’t like: Slow speeds are the main problem with CyberGhost. The VPNs speeds have worsened over the years, both locally and internationally.

Atlas VPN

Overall Ranking: #11 out of 56 VPNs

Overall Rating: 8.5/108.5

What we don’t like: Atlas VPN’s iOS app is well-designed, but it lacks advanced settings. It’s small server network also doesn’t unblock popular streaming services.

Avira VPN

Overall Ranking: #36 out of 56 VPNs

Overall Rating: 6.4/106.4

What we don’t like: While popular, Avira VPN is not the best iOS VPN. It’s slow, has a limited server network, lacks advanced security settings, and doesn’t unblock many streaming platforms.

Free iPhone VPNs to Avoid

While many premium iOS VPNs are safe to use, most free ones aren’t. You must avoid using risky free iPhone VPNs at all costs.

Many popular free iOS VPN apps earn money by collecting user data and selling it to third-parties.

Unsurprisingly, many free iOS VPNs don’t respect users’ ad tracking choices. Of the 20 most popular free VPNs we analyzed, 85% didn’t respect Apple’s ‘Request to Track’ requirements.

We also found many free VPNs leaked our true IP address in our tests. This makes these VPNs useless for internet privacy and security.

Furthermore, our free VPN investigations uncovered that many popular iOS VPNs, with millions of installs, are secretly owned by Chinese companies.

For instance, VPN ownership in Taiwan found that half of the top-ranked VPN apps in Taiwan’s Apple App Store have ownership links to mainland China.

We listed below several very popular free VPNs that contain security and privacy flaws.

Make sure you don’t download and use these free iOS VPN apps:

  • Flash VPN: Caught storing user data, despite claiming to be a no-logs provider.
  • Hola VPN: Logs websites visited, IP address, and connection timestamps.
  • Larva VPN: Logs IP addresses.
  • SkyVPN: Logs IP addresses, device name and model, and location information.
  • Touch VPN: Leaked our DNS and IP address, also logs network information, location, and your ISP.
  • VPN 360: Logs IP addresses, connection timestamps, and aggregated URLs visited.
  • VPN Proxy Master: Has sent user information to China, and logs IP addresses.
  • Yoga VPN: Leaked our DNS and IP address, no transparency about its logging practices.

If you want to use a free VPN on your iPhone, use one of the safe free VPN apps we recommend.

How We Test iPhone VPNs

With so many VPN apps in the iOS App Store, we’ve created a VPN testing methodology to ensure we only recommend the very best iPhone VPN apps.

We maintain a record of over 50 VPNs and their feature-set on iOS. We update our records weekly to make sure our information is always accurate and up-to-date.

To find the best VPNs for iPhone, we measure:

  • How well the VPN app integrates with iOS system-level features.
  • Whether the VPN is usable on other Apple devices, such as Mac and Apple TV.
  • What type of data is collected by the VPN and how it’s stored.
  • How fast the VPN is across its server network.
  • Whether it works with Netflix and other streaming apps.
  • If the VPN uses AES-256 encryption and other security features.

Below, we’ve listed a detailed explanation of the attributes we analyze when rating the best VPNs for iPhone. You’ll also see the weighting of each attribute:

1. iOS App: 25%

Minimum Requirement: Native app for iPhone and an optimized app for iPad.
We Recommend: An easy-to-use app for iPhone and iPad with support for widgets and Siri Shortcuts.

For a VPN to be great on iOS, it needs to integrate well with Apple’s system-level features.

When evaluating the best iOS VPN apps, we looked for VPNs that had support for Siri Shortcuts, iOS widgets, and offered payment through the iOS App Store.

We also verified all the VPNs we recommend can be easily used by beginners and by experienced VPN users.

An iOS app must be easily downloadable through the App Store, have a large connect button, and settings easy to configure.

2. Apple System Integration: 20%

Minimum Requirement: Has native apps for macOS.
We Recommend: Mac app available on the App Store and a free Smart DNS tool for Apple TV.

We test every VPN on the full range of Apple devices. In total, we test the VPNs using an iPhone 14 Pro, an iPad Air, a 27-inch Mac, and an Apple TV 4K.

As well as iPhone and iPad, we analyze each VPN’s app on macOS and check whether it includes Smart DNS functionality for use on Apple TV.

We give preference to VPNs compatible with the wider Apple ecosystem. In particular, we look at whether the VPN service’s Mac app is available on the Mac App Store, whether it can run on Apple’s M1 chip, and how good its Smart DNS tool is.

3. Logging Policy: 15%

Minimum Requirement: Collects only aggregated and anonymized data.
We Recommend: Collects no data.

Without a privacy-first logging policy, your web activity may be stored and passed onto third parties. In practice, this nullifies a primary reason for using a VPN.

This is especially true for free iOS VPNs, where many rely on selling user data to cover running costs. For example, we discovered popular VPNs like Hola, Larva, and SkyVPN, all logged user IP addresses.

As part of our research, we analyze every VPN’s privacy policy to understand what data is collected, how the information is used, and how long it is stored.

Even for the free services on this page, we only recommend the ones that retain the absolute amount of logs. For example, this includes aggregated connection timestamp data. The best premium VPNs are true ‘no logs’, meaning they don’t collect any user data at all.

4. Speed: 15%

Minimum Requirement: Average download speeds above 70Mbps.
We Recommend: Download speeds of at least 80Mbps and server connections under 3 seconds.

Fast speeds are an essential feature of VPN services, especially when connecting to patchy and slow mobile data networks.

Without a fast VPN, your internet will often be unusable even for basic web activities.

We run weekly speed tests on our test iPhone and iPad to server locations across five continents. We then calculate the average speed loss on our 100Mbps internet connection. The smaller the speed loss, the higher we rate the VPN.

In addition to raw download speeds, we measure how long it takes for the app to connect to a VPN server.

On your iPhone, you’re likely to switch between multiple networks every day. It’s therefore crucial the VPN protocol connects instantly as you change networks, otherwise, you may compromise your browsing activity or security.

5. Streaming: 15%

Minimum Requirement: Works with US Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
We Recommend: Works with many Netflix libraries, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video.

Using a VPN on your iPhone will let you mask your IP address and watch content on geo-blocked streaming apps.

We test every iPhone VPN with popular content platforms, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video.

We track how each VPN performs over time, with results spanning multiple years. This means we know how consistently the VPN works with each streaming app, not just that it worked at a single point in time.

The best VPNs for iPhone unblock multiple Netflix regions, along with many more popular streaming apps. The worse-performing VPNs only work with US Netflix.

6. Encryption & Security: 10%

Minimum Requirement: AES-256, OpenVPN, leak protection, and a VPN kill switch.
We Recommend: AES-256, WireGuard, leak protection, and a VPN kill switch using firewall rules.

Many VPN apps on iOS don’t have sufficient security and encryption features. For example, Hola VPN doesn’t have any encryption at all, and Touch VPN leaked our DNS and IP address.

Using a VPN with high encryption secures unsafe public WiFi networks, and safely hides your web activity from your ISP.

To secure and anonymize your web activity on your iPhone, the VPNs we selected use gold-standard AES-256 encryption, have built-in DNS and IP leak protection, and use private DNS servers.

To verify these security features are as robust as the VPN services claim, we perform tests using Wireshark, a packet-capturing software. If we spot any unencrypted traffic, we downgrade the VPN severely.

How to Set Up a VPN on iPhone

Installing a VPN onto your iPhone or iPad is easy, and only takes roughly 10 minutes from start to finish.

To set up and use a VPN on your iPhone or iPad, follow the below steps:

  1. Sign up for your chosen VPN service through their website.
  2. Go to the App Store and search the name of the VPN provider. Tap ‘Get’ and authenticate the download.
  3. Once installed, open the VPN app and log in using your account details.
  4. When prompted, tap ‘Allow’ to add the VPN configuration file. Enter your passcode to authenticate.
  5. The VPN will now be successfully set up on your device.

For detailed instructions, read our guide on how to set up a VPN on iPhone. It covers all setup methods, including IKEv2 manual configuration on iOS, and using OpenVPN Connect.

Why You Need A VPN on Your iPhone

VPNs are a versatile type of software that enhance your iPhone’s privacy, security, and even entertainment options.

They route the traffic from your iOS device through an encrypted tunnel, hiding your true IP address and preventing third parties from intercepting your browsing data.

Safeguarding your internet privacy and security on unsafe public WiFi networks is one of the most popular reasons for using a VPN. But that’s only one of several benefits.

With a good VPN for iPhone, you can:

  • Bypass censorship and access the internet in censored countries, like China.
  • Conceal your web history from your ISP, government, and other snooping third-parties.
  • Hide your IP address and access the internet in censored countries, like China.
  • Secure unsafe public WiFi networks to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks (MITM) and malware attacks.
  • Unblock streaming sites to watch previously hidden content, like US Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

How to Try Any VPN Free for 7 Days on iOS

All premium VPNs on the iOS App Store let you take advantage of a seven-day free trial.

This is because Apple incentivizes developers to implement a free trial period whenever payments are processed through Apple.

Therefore, you can typically use a VPN for free on iOS, even when a VPN service doesn’t offer an official VPN free trial.

To get a seven-day free trial for any VPN on iOS:

  1. Download the VPN app through the App Store.
  2. When installed, open the VPN app and tap Start Subscription. Authenticate the subscription using Face ID, Touch ID, or with your password.
  3. Once complete, open the App Store and tap your account in the top-right corner. Tap Subscriptions and select your VPN service.
  4. Press Cancel Free Trial and follow the prompts to confirm the cancellation.
  5. Open the VPN app, connect to a server and use all its features. You’ll have full access to the VPN for seven days and won’t be charged.

This method works with the following paid VPN services:

  • ExpressVPN
  • NordVPN
  • Private Internet Access
  • CyberGhost
  • IPVanish
  • Surfshark

Completely free VPNs come with limitations, so this method is the best way to get a fully-featured VPN experience without spending money.

EXPERT ADVICE: Make sure to cancel your VPN free trial at least 24 hours before the renewal date, or you may still be charged. Don’t worry, even when you cancel, you can continue using the VPN until the end of the seven-day trial period.

iPhone VPN FAQ

Is iCloud Private Relay the Same As a VPN?

iCloud Private Relay is a feature included in iOS 15. It works more as a proxy service and not a fully-featured VPN.

Here are the key drawbacks of using iCloud Private Relay compared to an iOS VPN:

  1. It only works in the Safari browser. Any internet traffic sent outside of Safari, such as on Google Chrome or FaceTime, is not encrypted or anonymized.
  2. It’s slower. iCloud Private Relay sends internet traffic through two separate servers. In turn, speeds are noticeably slower compared to a VPN service, which usually only uses one server.
  3. You cannot change your virtual location. iCloud Private Relay provides you with an IP address from the country you’re located in. As a result, you won’t be able to bypass any geo-blocks, such as accessing US Netflix from outside America.
  4. Overall, iCloud Private Relay is a fine choice for casual users who want more privacy online. However, for users who want the fastest experience with more features, a top iPhone VPN is the better option.

Does an iPhone VPN Use Mobile Data?

You will use more data using an iOS VPN than you would if you were browsing the internet without one.

Our research into VPN data usage revealed mobile data consumption can increase by 4%-20% when you use a VPN, depending on the VPN and protocol you use.

4%-20% consumption may not sound like a lot, but over time it can add up quickly.

If you’re about to reach your data limit, or if you’re traveling abroad and paying roaming charges, consider switching to a lower-consumption VPN protocol like WireGuard or IKEv2.

Does the iPhone Have a Built-in VPN?

The iPhone comes with great native support for VPNs. VPN is included as a prominent toggle in the Settings app, from which you can manually configure an IKEv2/IPSec and L2TP/IPSec connection.

Although this saves space on your iPhone, as no third-party app is required, it doesn’t work with OpenVPN or WireGuard, it doesn’t include a kill switch, and you’ll still need to subscribe to a VPN service.

We’re glad to see Apple support VPN technology within iOS, but it’s still worth downloading a VPN app from the App Store.

Can I Share a VPN Connection Through Personal Hotspot?

You cannot tether a VPN connection from your iOS device.

You can still share the connection, but only your iOS device will be covered by the VPN. Your tethered device will keep using the usual mobile network.

Does a VPN Drain iPhone Battery?

A VPN will use up your iPhone’s battery, but only slightly.

This is primarily because the VPN needs to be connected to a server at all times to encrypt background processes, like fetching iMessages and iCloud photo syncing.

A CyberGhost representative told us that you can expect “roughly 15%” extra battery consumption, as the “data packets are encrypted and deciphered locally on your device, with a greater strain on the CPU.”

You can make your iPhone’s battery last longer by using ‘lighter’ VPN protocols, like WireGuard.

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

Can a VPN Bypass App Store Restrictions?

Sadly, using a VPN alone will not bypass App Store restrictions on iOS.

The App Store will display apps from the country associated with your Apple ID, regardless of your IP location.

To access apps from other countries, you will have to change your Apple ID region. After doing this, you can download previously blocked apps.