Updated on: September 9, 2023
Short on time? Here’s the best free VPN for iOS in 2023:
- 🥇 ExpressVPN: It doesn’t have a free plan, but it’s without a doubt the best VPN for iOS in 2023, and you can try it out risk-free by taking advantage of its 30-day money-back guarantee. ExpressVPN comes with advanced security features, the fastest connection speeds on the market, great streaming support, and an easy-to-use app.
I spent weeks testing dozens of free iOS VPNs, but I was not impressed at all. They often lack essential security features, throttle your speeds, put heavy restrictions on the amount of data you can use per day or month, and some even sell your data to third-party advertisers.
That’s why I usually recommend using a paid iOS VPN (like ExpressVPN). You get much better value that way because paid VPNs have really fast speeds, strong security, and easy-to-use iOS apps.
That said, I discovered a handful of free VPNs for iOS that are worth checking out. All of the VPNs on this list are secure, provide decent speeds, and have easy-to-use iOS apps.
Quick summary of the best free VPNs for iOS in 2023:
- 1. 🥇ExpressVPN — Best overall VPN for iOS in 2023.
- 2. 🥈CyberGhost VPN — Great VPN for streaming on iOS devices.
- 3. 🥉Proton VPN — Free VPN for iOS with unlimited data.
- 4. hide.me — Good free VPN for beginners.
- 5. Hotspot Shield — Decent free VPN for browsing the web.
- Comparison of the Best Free VPNs for iOS in 2023.
🥇1. ExpressVPN — Best VPN for iOS in 2023
ExpressVPN is my favorite VPN in 2023 — it has industry-leading security features, ultra-fast speeds, user-friendly iOS apps, and the best streaming capabilities out of all the VPNs on the market. It doesn’t have a free plan, but all purchases are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it out and get a full refund if you find that it doesn’t suit your needs.
ExpressVPN has an impressive list of security features, such as:
- Strict no-logs policy. ExpressVPN doesn’t store any user data and its no-logs policy has been independently audited and confirmed multiple times.
- Full leak protection. Prevents DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 IP address leaks.
- Kill switch. Cuts your internet connection in the event that your VPN connection drops, ensuring that no data is ever accidentally leaked. Very few VPNs include a kill switch on their iOS app.
- TrustedServer Technology. It uses RAM-only servers, so no user data is ever saved on the hard drive, and the server is wiped clean every time it’s rebooted.
- Perfect forward secrecy. Your encryption key is changed frequently, so even if one key is compromised, the threat actor wouldn’t have access to past or future keys.
- Threat manager. Blocks ad trackers and prevents you from visiting potential phishing sites and malware-infected sites.
One great thing about ExpressVPN is that it’s the fastest VPN on the market. During my tests, web pages and videos loaded instantly, I could play mobile games without any lag, and I was able to stream HD content with zero buffering. With servers in 90+ countries, you’ll never have trouble finding a nearby location to connect to either, which ensures that you’ll always have the best possible speeds.
ExpressVPN works with every popular streaming app you can think of, including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and 100+ other streaming services. Unlike most free VPNs, it has no data usage limits either, so you can watch for as long as you like. Torrenting on iOS isn’t convenient, but ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs for downloading files — it allows torrenting on all servers.
ExpressVPN is fast and easy to set up. It took me just 1–2 minutes to download and install it on my iPhone and iPad, and its design is so intuitive that even someone new to VPNs won’t have any trouble using it. I especially like how its home screen lets you quickly reconnect to a recent server location and how its Smart Location tool helps identify the fastest server for you.
Every ExpressVPN subscription comes with a free password manager (ExpressVPN Keys). It’s very secure, allows you to store an unlimited number of passwords, has flawless auto-fill and auto-save features, and a good password generator. It lacks some features like password sharing that other top standalone password managers for iOS offer, but it’s pretty good for a free add-on, and I like that you can continue to use it for free even after your ExpressVPN subscription expires.
ExpressVPN’s monthly and yearly plans start at $6.67 / month. They’re a little pricey, but you won’t find a VPN that will give you better value.
ExpressVPN isn’t free, but it offers the best value out of all the VPNs on the market in 2023. It’s the fastest and most secure VPN you can get for iOS. It also works with all major streaming sites, supports torrenting on all of its servers, and has an easy-to-use app. All purchases are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
🥈2. CyberGhost VPN — Great iOS VPN for Streaming
CyberGhost VPN is not totally free, but it comes with a free 7-day free trial on iOS, which provides access to all of the provider’s features. What’s more, it backs all long-term plans with a 45-day money-back guarantee, which provides plenty of time to make sure the VPN meets your needs.
CyberGhost VPN is a great iOS app for streaming. It has 100+ dedicated streaming servers in 20+ countries that are optimized to access 50+ streaming services. You can use CyberGhost on top sites like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Max, and Disney+. That said, I still think you get better variety with ExpressVPN, as it can access 100+ streaming services.
I was very impressed with CyberGhost’s speed. In my tests, all sites I visited loaded instantly, HD videos loaded instantly and there was no buffering, and 4K videos took only 3 seconds to load.
CyberGhost’s iOS app is simple to use since its interface is really mobile-friendly. You can connect to the fastest server with just 1 tap, and it also just takes a few seconds to manually find and connect to servers. Plus, I like how you can automate VPN connections on Wi-Fi.
The provider also has advanced security features. It comes with strong leak protection, perfect forward secrecy, and RAM-only servers. You also get good privacy, as its no-logs policy passed an independent security audit, and the provider also publishes regular transparency reports that detail how it didn’t comply with user data requests.
CyberGhost VPN has really affordable plans that start at $2.11 / month. In addition to the 45-day money-back guarantee for its long-term plans, it also has a 14-day money-back guarantee for its shortest plan.
CyberGhost VPN provides very good streaming via 100+ streaming servers that can access 50+ streaming platforms. It lacks a free plan but has a free 7-day trial on iOS. It also has great speeds, a very intuitive iOS app, and strong security and privacy features. Its plans are very affordable, and there’s a 45-day money-back guarantee for all long-term plans.
🥉3. Proton VPN — Great Free VPN for iOS With Unlimited Data
Proton VPN is one of the only free VPNs on this list that has unlimited data. Unlimited data means you can browse the internet for as long as you want without worrying about hitting a data cap. In contrast, most other free VPNs set a daily or monthly data cap.
However, Proton VPN’s free plan limits you in other areas. For example, you only have access to servers in the US, the Netherlands, and Japan, it only allows 1 device, doesn’t support streaming or torrenting, and is missing features included on the premium plans like an ad, tracker, and malware blocker and Secure Core servers.
That being said, Proton VPN’s free plan is great for security and privacy. The iOS app has perfect forward secrecy, full leak protection, a kill switch, and full-disk encryption (meaning even if Proton VPN’s servers were compromised, the attacker wouldn’t have access to any of the data on them). Additionally, Proton VPN has had its no-logs policy independently audited and verified, and it issues transparency reports that prove the provider doesn’t share user data. Another unique feature is all of its apps are open-source, so anyone can inspect their code for privacy or security concerns (and Proton VPN had each app audited and verified).
Proton VPN maintains really fast speeds on the free plan. However, you only get access to a limited number of free servers, which means these servers may be overcrowded, resulting in slower speeds. But, this is mitigated to some extent by its VPN Accelerator feature, which improves connection speeds on distant servers (by up to 400%, according to Proton VPN’s website). In my tests, I had decent speeds for browsing and gaming. Ultimately, though, Proton VPN’s speeds fell well short of the speeds I got with ExpressVPN.
Proton VPN’s paid plans start at $4.99 / month and get you access to servers in 65+ countries, 10 connections, faster speeds, and more. All of its paid plans come with a prorated 30-day money-back guarantee.
Proton VPN is a good free VPN for iOS. It provides unlimited data, comprehensive security features, decent speeds, and access to servers in 3 different countries, but it doesn’t allow streaming and torrenting, and you get just 1 connection. Its premium plans add streaming and torrenting support, access to servers in 65+ countries, and much more.
4. hide.me — Good Free VPN for Beginners
hide.me has a very user-friendly interface on iOS that makes it easy to use and simple to navigate. There’s a quick-connect button for instant connections, the design is clean and void of clutter, and it offers very good customer support platforms, including 24/7 live chat, email support, and troubleshooting guides — so you can always get an answer to your questions.
I think it’s great that hide.me supports P2P sharing. It is one of the only free VPNs on the market to allow torrenting. You are limited to 10 GB per month, but if you are downloading small torrent files, this is enough data for you.
hide.me has servers in 5+ countries that you can use on the free plan — more than other free VPNs. It has servers in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Singapore, and more. This way, you can connect to the server closest to your location for faster speeds.
I like hide.me’s security features as well. It comes with an independently audited no-logs policy, a kill switch that you can customize to prevent specific apps from going online if you aren’t connected to the VPN, full leak protection, and it uses perfect forward secrecy and RAM-only servers.
hide.me’s free plan has a few notable downsides. It’s a lot slower than ExpressVPN (its fastest protocol, WireGuard, isn’t available to free users), and it’s very unreliable at accessing popular streaming apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+. Plus, you can only connect 1 device at a time.
hide.me’s paid plans start at $3.84 / month, and they include servers in 45+ countries, 10 simultaneous connections, and good streaming support. All of hide.me’s plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
hide.me’s iOS app is really good for beginners thanks to its intuitive design. The free plan has good security features and 5+ server locations, but there’s a 10 GB data cap, you can’t use WireGuard, and it’s not great for streaming. Upgrading to one of its premium plans gets you access to unlimited data, more servers in more countries, faster speeds, and really good streaming support.
5. Hotspot Shield — Good for Web Browsing
Hotspot Shield’s free plan is great for surfing the web, as it comes with unlimited data, so you can browse as many websites as you want. I only recommend it for web browsing, as the free plan lacks streaming and torrenting support.
Hotspot Shield offers good security and is easy to use. It has perfect forward secrecy and the iOS app has an intuitive interface that makes it simple to connect to a server or to change the app’s various settings. However, unlike Proton VPN, you need to watch ads for bandwidth — every 10-second ad gives you 15 minutes of free connection time, which can be a little inconvenient.
The free plan also comes with very good speeds. In my tests, most sites loaded in 3 seconds, while HD videos took around 4 seconds to load but didn’t buffer. This is slower than ExpressVPN, but it’s still pretty good considering the free plan limits speeds to 2 Mbps.
However, the free plan limits you to servers in only 3 countries — the US, the UK, and Singapore. In addition, it only lets you connect 1 device.
Hotspot Shield’s plans start at just $2.99 / month, and they include really fast speeds, streaming support, and access to servers in 80+ countries. All of its premium plans come with a generous, 45-day money-back guarantee.
Hotspot Shield is great for browsing the web on your iOS device since it allows unlimited data. It’s also secure and has a user-friendly app. But Hotspot Shield throttles your speeds, limits you to servers in 3 countries, and only allows you to connect 1 device. The premium plan includes access to all servers and allows 10 connections.
Comparison of the Best Free VPNs for iOS in 2023
|VPN||Premium Plan (Starting Price)||Works With Netflix||Data Usage Limits||Connection Speed Limits||Number of Devices||Server Locations (Countries)|
|1.🥇ExpressVPN||$6.67 / month||✅||Unlimited||No speed limits||Up to 8||90+ countries|
|2.🥈CyberGhost VPN||$2.11 / month||✅||Unlimited||No speed limits||7||90+ countries|
|3.🥉Proton VPN||$4.99 / month||❌||Unlimited||No speed limits||1||3
(US, Netherlands, and Japan)
|4. hide.me||$3.84 / month||❌||10 GB per month||No speed limits||1||5
(US, Canada, Netherlands, UK, and Germany)
|5. Hotspot Shield||$2.99 / month||❌||Unlimited||2 Mbps||1||3
(US, UK, Singapore)
How to Choose the Best Free VPN for iOS in 2023
- Check the data allowance. Many free VPNs limit the amount of data you’re allowed to use each month. Proton VPN is unique in that it has no data usage limits. But, all of the free VPNs I recommend allow you to use a decent amount of data per day or month.
- Pick a VPN with good speeds. All VPNs will decrease your connection speeds to some extent due to the encryption process. Some free VPNs exacerbate this problem by throttling your speeds and by limiting you to a small number of server locations, which can lead to overcrowding. The free VPNs I recommend all maintain decent speeds, but none of them are as fast as ExpressVPN.
- Choose a provider with strong security. Free VPNs sometimes lack important privacy and security features. All of the VPNs listed here included industry-standard VPN security features like 256-bit AES encryption, a strict no-logs policy, and a kill switch to prevent traffic leaks.
- Select a VPN that is easy to use. All of the VPNs on my list have user-friendly iOS apps, so they can even be used by people who aren’t tech-savvy.
- Look for VPNs with bonus features. The iOS apps of most VPNs tend to be a bit bareboned compared to other apps due to Apple’s limitations. Good free VPNs, however, will include some extras like split-tunneling, port forwarding, and a kill switch.
- Get a VPN that has an affordable premium plan. Some users may want to upgrade to a paid VPN plan to gain access to its full suite of features. So, I only chose VPNs that offer competitive paid plans.
Risks & Disadvantages of Using a Free VPN for iOS
- Inadequate security. Always be very cautious with free VPNs, as many lack crucial security features. Some might not have strong encryption, or they might expose your IP address due to insufficient leak protection.
- Significant slowdowns. Although all VPNs slow down your connection speeds, free VPNs tend to cause the most obvious reductions. This is usually because they only allow access to a limited number of server locations, making it challenging to connect to nearby servers and leading to congestion on the available ones.
- Limited server locations. Most free VPNs only give you access to a couple of server locations, which isn’t ideal for most users. It means you probably can’t connect to a nearby server, so you’ll have to deal with slow speeds, and you may not be able to get an IP address from a specific country, like your home country, so you won’t be able to access content that’s only available there.
- Data caps. Almost all VPNs’ free plans restrict the amount of data you can use each month (or each day). At the lower end of data caps, you’ll quickly hit the limit by just browsing the internet for less than an hour. And even the most generous data usage limits aren’t going to be enough if you use your VPN while streaming or downloading content. Proton VPN is one of the only VPNs to give users unlimited data.
- Lack of streaming and torrenting support. The vast majority of free VPNs don’t permit streaming or have trouble reliably accessing popular streaming sites, and many don’t allow P2P file sharing on their free servers. Even if you use a VPN that supports streaming and torrenting, you’ll still likely have to contend with data caps. I strongly recommend getting an affordable paid VPN like ExpressVPN, which is the best VPN for streaming and torrenting.
- Logging your traffic. Some free VPNs either have a weak no-logs policy or don’t have one at all. This means they can collect information on your online activities and sell it to third-party advertisers in order to monetize their free plans.
- Private Internet Access: Private Internet Access is one of my favorite VPNs for iOS. It’s fast, secure, highly customizable, has good streaming support (works with Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and more), and is one of the few VPNs to have a kill switch on iOS. It costs as low as $2.11 / month and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Read our full Private Internet Access review.
- NordVPN: NordVPN is fast and secure. I like that it works with Siri, has great streaming support, and provides really good torrenting support. It also blocks ads on iOS and alerts you if your account credentials are leaked to the dark web. Prices start at $3.19 / month, and all plans are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. Read our full NordVPN review.
- Surfshark: Surfshark has servers in 100+ countries, which is more than most top VPNs, comes with advanced security features, its iOS app is super intuitive, and it’s got decent speeds. Its offers cheap plans ($2.30 / month) and covers each plan with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Read our full Surfshark review.
Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut
- Avira Phantom VPN. Avira Phantom VPN’s free plan has fast speeds and gives you access to servers in 35+ countries. However, it has a very restrictive data usage limit of 500 MB per month (1 GB per month if you register an account), and its free plan doesn’t include a kill switch.
- TunnelBear. TunnelBear’s free plan allows users access to servers in 45+ countries and all of the features from its paid plan. But I find it hard to recommend due to its 2 GB per month data usage limit, which is only good enough to test out the VPN.
- ZoogVPN. ZoogVPN has a decent data usage limit of 10 GB per month but only provides access to servers in 3 countries (the US, the UK, and the Netherlands) and uses less secure 128-AES encryption (instead of 256-bit AES encryption like all the other VPNs on my list).
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any 100% free VPNs for iOS?
However, most free VPNs block many features behind a paywall. For example, Proton VPN doesn’t allow streaming or torrenting on its free plan, and Hotspot Shield’s free plan only lets you connect 1 device. For this reason, I strongly recommend upgrading to ExpressVPN or an affordable paid VPN if you’re a prolific user.
Are free VPNs for iOS safe?
No, many free VPNs for iOS aren’t safe because they lack crucial privacy and security features such as 256-bit AES encryption and they may log (and sell) your data.
The free VPNs I recommend are secure and trustworthy. They all come with industry-standard security features and even include advanced security features like full leak protection, RAM-only servers, and perfect forward secrecy.
How do I get a free VPN on iOS?
You can get a free VPN on your iPhone or iPad in just 3 fast and easy steps:
- Step 1. Choose a good iOS VPN with a free plan. I recommend Proton VPN — it’s fast, secure, and places no restrictions on data usage or bandwidth.
- Step 2. Download and install the VPN app. You can find the app on the Apple App Store, and the installation wizard will guide you through the simple installation process.
- Step 3. Run the VPN app. That’s it. You now have a completely free VPN on your iOS device.
Can I stream on Netflix using a free VPN for iOS?
Some free VPNs work with Netflix, but most don’t. And the few that work with Netflix don’t provide you with enough data per month to stream more than a single episode of a TV show.
So I strongly recommend getting a paid VPN like ExpressVPN for the best streaming experience on Netflix. It has unlimited data, blazing-fast speeds, and easy-to-use apps for all major devices, and it also works with 100+ other streaming sites worldwide.