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The Best Free & Paid VPNs for iPhone

Best VPN for iPhone

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 Luke Williams

EXPERT ADVICE: Most free iPhone VPNs are less effective than paid ones. ExpressVPN, our top-rated iPhone VPN app, is very private, secure, and unblocks most geo-restricted iOS apps. Try ExpressVPN risk-free for 30 days.

The best iPhone VPN apps secure your cellular and WiFi network connections through highly secure encryption ciphers and VPN protocols.

They also change your IP address to hide your web activity from internet service providers and mobile carriers. The very best VPNs even unblock geo-restricted iOS apps.

What’s the Best Free VPN for iPhone?

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

  1. Proton VPN Free: Best 100% Free VPN for iPhone
  2. Windscribe Free: Best Streaming VPN for iPhone
  3. Hide.me Free: Most Private Free VPN for iPhone

The best free VPN for iPhone in 2024 is Proton VPN. This high-performing free iOS VPN app delivers quick, private, and secure connections across 3 server countries. It sets itself apart from its rivals by offering unlimited bandwidth completely free.

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

However, even the best free VPNs have significant limitations, including slower speeds, limited server choice, or data usage caps. For the best VPN experience, you’ll need a paid VPN.

What’s the Overall Best VPN for iPhone in 2024?

Our tests confirm that the best overall VPN apps for iPhone are:

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

The overall best VPN for iPhone in 2024 is ExpressVPN, with a rating of 9.6/10. The VPN’s highly intuitive iOS app performed formidably in our mobile privacy, security, and streaming tests. Connecting securely to any of its 160 global server locations was immediate, and without sudden connection drops.

All the VPNs we recommend in this guide have native apps for iOS 17, 16, and older versions. They’re also compatible with Apple iPad and iPad Pro.

They will deliver fast and secure connections on cellular data networks like 5G and 4G LTE, as well as WiFi networks.

The Best VPNs for iPhone Compared

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

Why Trust Us?

We’re fully independent and have been reviewing VPNs since 2016. Our ratings are based on our own testing results and are unaffected by financial incentives. Learn who we are and how we test VPNs.

iOS VPNs Investigated150
Total Hours of Testing30,000+
Test DevicesiPhone 14 Pro & iPad Pro

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 17.

In-depth Look at the Best Free iPhone VPNs

  1. 1. Proton VPN Free: Best 100% Free VPN for iPhone

    Fast and secure free iPhone VPN app without subscription and data caps.

    Ranked #1 Free VPN for iPhone
    Screenshot of Proton VPN's mobile appVisit Proton VPN

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

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

    Overall Rating for iPhone: 6.8/10

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

    • 6.0/10
    • 6.8/10
    • 9.5/10
    • 9.4/10
    • 1.0/10
    • 9.0/10

    Proton VPN is the best free VPN for iPhone we’ve tested. It’s a trusted freemium VPN, with strong security and privacy features present in its iOS application.

    Unlike most safe free VPNs, including Windscribe and Hide.me, Proton VPN Free has no data usage limits. With Proton VPN, we were able to encrypt our internet traffic at all times.

    And despite only offering free VPN servers in three countries, these servers are well-distributed and recorded fast and stable connection speeds in our tests.

    However, Proton VPN is not for everyone, especially streamers. In fact, the VPN’s major drawback is that it won’t bypass streaming geo-restrictions.

    Proton VPN Free on iOS

    Cheapest PriceFree
    Download SpeediDownload SpeedBased on 100Mbps local test connection98Mbps
    Data CapUnlimited
    iOS App Store Rating4.4
    US NetflixNo
    Countries with Servers3
    Compatible with
    1. iosiOS
    2. macosmacOS
    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 Proton VPN’s free app logged a mere 2% download speed loss when connected to a server close to us.

    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, Disney+, and Hulu.

    A free VPN that keeps very few connection logs

    Not only is the free version of Proton VPN very quick, it’s also highly secure.

    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.

    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 as well as the 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.

    If you want access to more server locations, you can get a free trial of Proton VPN’s paid version using its 30-day money-back guarantee.

    An Image Showing Proton VPN's Secure Core Servers on its iOS app

    Proton VPN’s Secure Core servers setting in the iOS app.

    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 Free 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 shouldn’t use Proton VPN Free 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.
  2. 2. Windscribe Free: Best Free Streaming VPN for iPhone

    Highly secure free iPhone VPN with good unblocking capabilities.

    The Windscribe VPN app running on two mobiles; one displaying connection options, the other connected to a New York server.Visit Windscribe

    • 100% free to use without subscription
    • Unblocks UK Netflix, Disney+ and other streaming apps
    • Full Shortcut and Widget support
    • Connect securely to 11 countries
    • Eight US city server locations
    • Unlimited device policy

    • 10GB monthly data usage limit
    • Slow VPN connection speeds
    • Sever connection times could be better
    • No human live chat support

    Overall Rating for iPhone: 6.6/10

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

    • 7.0/10
    • 6.8/10
    • 8.9/10
    • 8.8/10
    • 8.5/10
    • 8.1/10

    Windscribe is the most effective free VPN at unblocking streaming apps on iPhone. Currently, it’s the only safe free VPN that works with streaming apps like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video.

    Also, the VPN’s free application is highly integrated with iOS: it 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 one of the very best options. But, it’s 10GB monthly bandwidth cap is very limiting in our experience, which is why we ultimately prefer Proton VPN.

    Windscribe Free's VPN app for iOS

    Cheapest PriceFree
    Download SpeediDownload SpeedBased on 100Mbps local test connection90Mbps
    Data Cap10GB
    iOS App Store Rating4.5
    US NetflixNo
    Countries with Servers11
    Compatible with
    1. iosiOS
    2. macosmacOS
    3. windowsWindows
    4. linuxLinux
    5. androidAndroid

    The best free iOS VPN for streaming

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

    After regularly testing 65 VPNs, we found that Windscribe is the best free VPN for streaming on iPhone.

    Windscribe Free unblocks many VOD apps including 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 11 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 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.

    Windscribe Free's Home Screen on iOS

    Windscribe Free connected to its New York server.

    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.

    Who is Windscribe best for?

    You should use Windscribe Free 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 shouldn’t use Windscribe Free if:

    • You live in Oceania or South America. Windscribe has no free servers in those regions, so your speeds will take a hit.
    • 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.
  3. 3. 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 screenshotsVisit Hide.me

    • Easy-to-use iOS application
    • Working VPN kill switch for iOS
    • Doesn't log any personal internet data

    • 10GB monthly data limit
    • Limited to 7 countries with servers
    • Can be slow to establish connections
    • Very slow long-distance speeds
    • One simultaneous connection

    Overall Rating for iPhone: 4.6/10

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

    • 7.0/10
    • 7.5/10
    • 8.9/10
    • 1.0/10
    • 2.0/10
    • 8.5/10

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

    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).

    Even more concerning were the dismal speeds we recorded connecting to Hide.me’s free servers.

    Hide.me's free VPN app for iOS

    Cheapest PriceFree
    Download SpeediDownload SpeedBased on 100Mbps local test connection1Mbps
    Data Cap10GB
    iOS App Store Rating4.5
    US NetflixNo
    Countries with Servers7
    Compatible with
    1. iosiOS
    2. macosmacOS
    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 Proton VPN doesn’t 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.

    Extremely slow versus other VPNs

    Despite having a supremely fast paid version, Hide.me Free performed terribly in our speed tests.

    A drop from our regular download speeds of 99% when connected to a nearby Hide.me Free server is awful.

    In our opinion, these incredibly slow speeds are the result of too many users connected to, and therefore congesting, the provider’s free servers.

    We were still able to use the internet like normal while keeping our iPhone protected, but be warned that you’ll likely see a similar effect on your connection speeds.

    Several limitations hold it back

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

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

    Another issue is the limited server choice. There are servers in just 7 countries: France, Germany, Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, the UK, and the US.

    Hide.me Free's Server List on iOS

    Hide.me’s free server List on the iOS app.

    Who is Hide.me best for?

    You should use Hide.me Free 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 shouldn’t use Hide.me Free if:

    • You need a fast free VPN. The speeds connecting to Hide.me’s free servers were shockingly slow, most likely due to server congestion.
    • You want to unblock streaming apps. Hide.me didn’t work with any streaming app we tested.

The Overall Best iPhone VPNs Analyzed

  1. 1. ExpressVPN: Best VPN for iPhone Overall

    The absolute best and most user-friendly iPhone VPN. Great for mobile security and unblocking apps.

    Ranked #1 out of 65 VPNs for iPhone
    ExpressVPN's new app on mobile devicesVisit ExpressVPN

    • The most user-friendly VPN app for iOS
    • Fast mobile connections on WiFi and cellular data
    • Unblocks Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max and Hulu apps
    • Built-in kill switch with Lightway protocol
    • Seven-day free iOS trial
    • 24/7 live customer support

    • More expensive than its competitors
    • Little integration with iOS (Shortcuts) features
    • Several IP addresses trigger CAPTCHAs on search engines
    • Not as many advanced settings as its rivals

    Overall Rating for iPhone: 9.6/10

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

    • 9.5/10
    • 9.8/10
    • 9.2/10
    • 9.7/10
    • 9.9/10
    • 9.6/10

    With its intuitive and easy-to-use app, ExpressVPN is the best VPN app for iPhone in our experience.

    We particularly enjoyed the simplicity of the app’s one-tap connect button, which makes connecting to a VPN server incredibly simple. The VPN also works with the most recent iOS software updates on iPhone, iPad, and it’s even the best VPN for Apple TV.

    In addition to its user-friendliness, ExpressVPN’s iOS app stands out from its rivals thanks to its superior app unblocking capabilities.

    Although it’s more expensive than many other VPN services, ExpressVPN’s qualities are undeniable and in our opinion make it worth the higher price.

    ExpressVPN's app for iOS

    Cheapest Price$6.67/mo over 15 Months See all plans
    Download SpeediDownload SpeedBased on 100Mbps local test connection97Mbps
    Data CapUnlimited
    iOS App Store Rating4.7
    US NetflixYes
    Countries with Servers106
    Compatible with
    1. iosiOS
    2. macosmacOS
    3. windowsWindows
    4. linuxLinux
    5. chromeosChromeOS
    6. androidAndroid

    Great for unblocking streaming apps at high speed

    ExpressVPN’s internet speeds on our iPhone were superb. Connecting to a nearby server in the US, we experienced a download speed slowdown of just 3%.

    Even more impressively, ExpressVPN maintained a very high average speed when we connected to several servers located around the world.

    ExpressVPN on iOS

    We believe the VPN’s excellent speed performance is down to its bespoke Lightway VPN protocol. Not only that, but Lightway is much quicker to reconnect to a server than most other protocols.

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

    These fast speeds are noticeable when using ExpressVPN to stream geo-restricted video content.

    Not only did the VPN unblock every content platform we tested, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and HBO Max, but it did so without blurriness or buffering.

    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 Home Screen on iOS

    ExpressVPN’s home screen on iOS.

    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, which is higher than the other paid VPNs we recommend.

    However, features like split tunneling, 24/7 live chat, and best-in-class privacy features make ExpressVPN worth the extra cost.

    If you want 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 18 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 shouldn’t 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

    The fastest iOS VPN app with advanced mobile security settings.

    NordVPN Mobile App ScreenshotVisit NordVPN

    • Very fast local and international speeds
    • Over 1,900 servers in 16 US cities
    • Full integrated with iOS Shortcuts
    • Confirmed private logging policy
    • Built-in kill switch for increased protection
    • Threat Protection Lite tool blocks some ads

    • Map interface is awkward on iPhone
    • Doesn’t accept PayPal payments
    • Unreliable in high-censorship countries
    • Renews at a much higher monthly price
    • Minor Finland server breach in 2018
    • No free trial on iOS

    Overall Rating for iPhone: 9.5/10

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

    • 9.2/10
    • 9.8/10
    • 8.8/10
    • 9.7/10
    • 9.8/10
    • 9.9/10

    NordVPN is a very good alternative mobile VPN to ExpressVPN, and its iOS app is well-integrated with the most advanced iOS features.

    While it’s not as well-designed as ExpressVPN’s, or as good at unblocking streaming apps, NordVPN’s iPhone app is the fastest on the market.

    The service is also cheaper than ExpressVPN on a two-year subscription plan, although it does renew at a much higher price.

    NordVPN's app for iOS

    Cheapest Price$3.29/mo over 2 years See all plans
    Download SpeediDownload SpeedBased on 100Mbps local test connection95Mbps
    Data CapUnlimited
    iOS App Store Rating4.7
    US NetflixYes
    Countries with Servers111
    Compatible with
    1. iosiOS
    2. macosmacOS
    3. windowsWindows
    4. linuxLinux
    5. chromeosChromeOS
    6. 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 5% loss in download speed when connected to a nearby server.

    And connecting from the US to the UK, we registered a 10% 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 a wide range of secure VPN protocols, including its version of WireGuard called NordLynx.

    NordVPN Statistics Screen on iOS

    NordVPN’s statistics screen on iOS connected to NordLynx.

    The VPN company is also based in Panama, a safe and private jurisdiction outside of the 14 Eyes surveillance alliance.

    Excellent integration with iOS

    NordVPN’s application 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 Threat Protection blocks the majority of ads and 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 one of the fastest VPNs right now, with local speed losses as low as 5%.
    • 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 shouldn’t 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

    Advanced and security-focused iOS VPN with many configurable settings.

    Private Internet AccessVisit PIA VPN

    • Excellent security settings and customization options
    • Includes widget for iOS 17, 16 and 15
    • Largest network of 18,651 servers
    • Secure VPN servers in 50 US states
    • Effective MACE ad blocker
    • 24/7 live chat support

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

    Overall Rating for iPhone: 9.0/10

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

    • 9.7/10
    • 7.0/10
    • 9.7/10
    • 9.7/10
    • 9.1/10
    • 9.3/10

    Private Internet Access (PIA) is the most customizable iPhone VPN app we’ve tested. It’s a great choice for more advanced users who like to tinker with settings.

    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 particularly optimized to unblock geo-restricted streaming apps.

    the Private Internet Access iOS app

    Cheapest Price$2.03/mo over 28 months See all plans
    Download SpeediDownload SpeedBased on 100Mbps local test connection95Mbps
    Data CapUnlimited
    iOS App Store Rating4.7
    US NetflixYes
    Countries with Servers91
    Compatible with
    1. iosiOS
    2. macosmacOS
    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.

    Private Internet Access iPhone Home Screen

    Private Internet Access’ iPhone home screen.

    PIA also has the largest server network of any VPN service, with 18,651 servers in 91 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.

    A bar chart comparing NordVPN Threat Protection to PIA MACE in blocking ads, analytic trackers, and social trackers. NordVPN blocks 60% of ads, 66% of analytic trackers, and 33% of social trackers. PIA MACE outperforms with 80% of ads, 100% of analytic trackers, and 66% of social trackers blocked.

    Not as good for unblocking streaming apps

    Unlike ExpressVPN and NordVPN, Private Internet Access is not as reliable for unblocking streaming apps, especially Netflix.

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

    In terms of Netflix specifically, PIA can only access 6 regions, compared to ExpressVPN’s 18 and NordVPN’s 17.

    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 VPN if:

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

    You shouldn’t use PIA VPN 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 6 Netflix regions: USA and Italy.

Other iOS VPNs We Tested

Since 2016 we’ve investigated over 100 iOS VPN applications, many of which turned out to be dangerous to install and use.

Of the safe ones we identified, 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:


Overall Ranking: #4 out of 65 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.


Overall Ranking: #6 out of 65 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.


Overall Ranking: #7 out of 65 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 65 VPNs

Overall Rating: 8.6/108.6

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: #38 out of 65 VPNs

Overall Rating: 4.7/104.7

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.

Are Free iPhone VPNs Safe?

Over the years we’ve conducted several investigations into the privacy and security of free VPNs for iPhone, with some alarming discoveries.

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

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

In 2021, we analyzed 49 VPN applications ranked in the top 20 positions in the USA, UK, Canada, and Australia Apple App Stores.

We found that 95% of these top-ranked iOS VPN apps had inaccurate privacy labels.

We also uncovered that 29% of the 49 VPNs we analyzed failed to disclose the fact they collected your real IP address.

Also in 2021, we investigated VPN services’ compliance with ‘Request to Track’ permissions introduced by Apple, as part of its App Tracking Transparency initiative.

Since April 2021, iOS apps must in fact ask permission to track you across other apps and websites for the purpose of delivering targeted ads.

We specifically looked at 20 popular free VPNs, and found that only 15% (3 VPNs) respected users’ ad tracking choices.

Moreover, 80% shared users’ IP addresses with advertisers before asking for permission to allow ad tracking.

Based on our findings, our view is that many free VPNs ranked highly in the Apple App Store are not completely safe to use.

For added internet privacy and security, we strongly recommend using one of the safe free iOS VPNs listed on this page, instead.

Free iPhone VPNs to Avoid

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

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

Make sure you don’t download 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.

How to Choose an iPhone VPN

Below are four key features to consider when choosing a VPN for your iPhone.

1. User-friendly and iOS-compatible Apps

The simplicity of iOS is one of the main benefits of using an iPhone or iPad, so your VPN app should be just as intuitive and enjoyable to use.

Your VPN should be tailored to beginners and experienced VPN users alike. For instance, the app should be available through the App Store, have a large connect button, and settings that are easy to find and configure.

For a VPN app to work seamlessly on your iOS device, it also needs to integrate well with Apple’s system-level features.

We favor VPNs that have support for Siri Shortcuts, iOS 17 widgets, and that offer payment through the iOS App Store.

Also, if the VPN has a native macOS client, a dedicated iPadOS app, and support for Apple TV via Smart DNS, it will be compatible with the wider Apple ecosystem, which is a nice bonus.

2. Fast and Mobile-friendly VPN Protocols

Fast speeds are an essential aspect of VPN apps, especially when you’re connected to patchy and slow mobile data networks.

Moreover, when using an iPhone VPN on the go, you’re likely to switch between many cellular networks every day.

This is different from using a VPN on a computer, where you typically remain connected to the same WiFi network.

Therefore, it’s necessary for the VPN protocol on iOS to connect instantly as you change cellular networks, otherwise you may compromise your internet privacy and security.

In our experience, WireGuard and IKEv2 are currently the best mobile VPN protocols when it comes to connection times.

When we tested it against OpenVPN, a popular and secure protocol, WireGuard was twice as fast and consumed 15% less bandwidth.

Importantly, avoid using the L2TP/IPSec protocol, which is slower and less secure than WireGuard and IKEv2.

3. Advanced Security Settings & Encryption

Many VPN apps available on the App Store do not have the required level of security and encryption features.

For instance, Hola VPN does not have any encryption at all, and Touch VPN leaked our DNS and IP address.

To ensure your internet activity on your iPhone is more secure and private, choose a VPN with a no-logs privacy policy, AES-256 encryption, DNS and IP leak protection, and a kill switch, ideally.

Kill switches are not always available on iOS VPN applications, but premium providers like ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Private Internet Access all come with one.

ExpressVPN's iOS app settings. Two toggles are shown: "Block internet when VPN connection is interrupted", which functions as a kill switch, is enabled and highlighted.

ExpressVPN’s iOS app is one of a few that includes a kill switch feature.

4. Good Unblocking Capabilities

If you want your VPN to unblock geo-restricted video content on your iPhone, you must make sure your chosen VPN has a history of bypasssing streaming content geo-blocks.

Many VPNs fall at this hurdle, especially free VPNs that aren’t able to invest resources into beating strict VPN connection blocks.

Over the years, ExpressVPN and NordVPN have consistenly worked well with most popular streaming iOS apps, including Netflix, Disney+, and HBO Max.

ExpressVPN unblocks Netflix on iOS

ExpressVPN unblocked Netflix on iOS.

Limitations of iPhone VPNs

An iOS VPN is an excellent application to enhance your internet security and privacy while using your iPhone.

However, VPNs come with certain limitations that all iPhone users must know about.

Below are the main drawbacks of VPN software for iPhone, and other devices, too. VPN apps don’t:

  • Make you 100% completely anonymous. VPNs don’t fully protect against web trackers, cookies, and browser fingerprinting. Also, logging into web services like your email provider reveals who you are to them.
  • Protect against malicious websites/apps. Some VPNs offer malicious app/website detection, but it’s extremely rare.
  • Don’t store your passwords securely. Some VPNs do offer password managers as an extra, but we suggest using established ones like 1Password.
  • Don’t increase your internet speed. Except when your ISP or mobile carrier throttles your internet connection.
  • Don’t block ads. More and more VPNs are adding ad blocking technology to their VPN software, however many still haven’t.

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 full reviews of 65 VPN services and their iOS app features and performance. We regurarly update this information to ensure it’s always accurate.

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, iPad, 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.

We’ test iPhone VPNs in six key categories, rating each category out of 10. We then combine these ratings to calculate an overall rating for iPhone.

In the table below, we summarize how the best iPhone VPNs performed in each category, as well as their overall rating:

VPNs with a data cap receive a reduction to their overall rating.

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. Privacy & 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. Security & Technical Features: 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.

Data Cap Penalty: Up to 50% Reduction

Almost all free VPNs come with a data cap. Like with most limitations of free VPNs, this is imposed to encourage you to upgrade to a premium subscription.

If you choose an iPhone VPN we recommend that has a data cap then you’re going to be restricted in terms of just how often you can use it, and what for.

If you do a lot of streaming on the go, or if you want to leave your VPN connected while using the WiFi on a long train journey or flight, then a small data cap can be a serious inconvenience.

That’s why we apply a penalty to the VPN’s final overall rating for iPhone based on its data cap:

  • Unlimited bandwidth: No deduction to the overall rating
  • 10GB per month: -20% to the overall rating
  • 500MB per day: -25% to the overall rating
  • 5GB per month: -30% to the overall rating
  • 1GB per month: -35% to the overall rating
  • 200MB per day: -40% to the overall rating
  • 500MB per month: -50% to the overall rating

iPhone VPN FAQs

Is iCloud Private Relay the Same As a VPN?

iCloud Private Relay is a feature that first appeared 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 More 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 and installing a VPN from the App Store.