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. It allows up to 5 simultaneous connections.
I spent a few weeks testing every free VPN I could find for iOS, and unfortunately, my conclusion is most of them are pretty bad. 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 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. 🥈Proton VPN — Best free VPN for iOS with unlimited data.
- 3. 🥉Windscribe — Great free VPN for streaming with unlimited connections.
- 4. hide.me — Good free VPN for beginners.
- 5. Hotspot Shield — Decent free VPN for browsing the web.
- Comparison Table 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.
If speed is what you’re after for your iPhone or iPad, look no further than ExpressVPN, as 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 3,000+ 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 65+ other streaming services on top. 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 auditing and 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. All of its plans allow 5 device connections and are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
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.
Read the full ExpressVPN review
🥈2. Proton VPN — Best Free Plan With Unlimited data
Proton VPN is the only free VPN on this list that has unlimited data, and if you’re only in the market for a free VPN, this is the best one. Unlimited data means that 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 (like most free VPN plans). For example, you only have access to servers (100+) 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, the one area Proton VPN’s free plan doesn’t mess around with is 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 only supports “medium” speeds on the free plan. 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). I’m based in Taiwan, and while I had the fastest speeds connected to the Japanese server, my speeds were still pretty fast connected to the Netherlands and US servers thanks to VPN Accelerator (websites took an extra 3-4 seconds to load without the feature). Ultimately, though, Proton VPN’s speeds fell well short of the speeds I got with ExpressVPN.
Upgrading to one of Proton VPN’s monthly or yearly premium plans (they start at $3.99 / month) gets you access to all 1,900+ servers in 60+ countries, 10 device connections, the fastest speeds, the ad, tracker, and malware blocker (NetShield), and full streaming and torrenting support. All of its paid plans come with a prorated 30-day money-back guarantee.
Proton VPN is the best completely 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 60+ countries, and much more.
Read the full Proton VPN review
🥉3. Windscribe — Great for Streaming + Unlimited Connections
Windscribe’s free plan for iOS allows unlimited simultaneous connections, so you can protect all of your family’s iPhones and iPads. It also provides 10 server locations, including the US, Canada, the UK, and Hong Kong, which is really good compared to every other free VPN on this list, and allows torrenting on every server.
While you don’t get unlimited data (like with Proton VPN), it provides up to 10 GB of data per month, which is enough to stream a handful of movies or a full TV season series in HD. However, do note that you need to provide your email address to get 10 GB of data per month (otherwise, you only get 2 GB of data per month) — I also like how you can get an extra 5 GB by tweeting at Windscribe.
Windscribe is one of the only free VPNs I’d recommend for streaming, and it’s pretty good for torrenting. It allows streaming on all of the free servers, and it reliably works with popular streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and Hulu. It also supports P2P traffic on all of its free servers and works with all of the top torrenting clients.
Windscribe has pretty decent speeds. Websites loaded within seconds, even when I was connected to distant servers. I was also able to watch HD videos without encountering any buffering, while small and medium sized files downloaded fast (you can’t download large files due to the data limit).
Windscribe has strong privacy and security features, including perfect forward secrecy, full leak protection, RAM-only servers, and a no-logs policy (but it hasn’t been audited). Also, its firewall feature (which acts like a kill switch), isn’t available on its iOS app — the lack of a kill switch isn’t unusual for iOS VPNs, but ExpressVPN and Proton VPN both have the feature on their iOS apps.
Windscribe has monthly and yearly premium plans which start at $5.75 / month. They all give you unlimited data, access to more servers (60+ countries), and access to more features. Windscribe’s plans are only backed by a 3-day money-back guarantee.
Windscribe’s free plan is great for streaming, allows unlimited simultaneous connections, and provides servers in 10 countries, but you only get 15 GB of data a month. Its premium plans unlock the data limit and give you access to servers in 60+ countries.
Read the full Windscribe review
4. hide.me — Good free VPN for Beginners
hide.me has a very user-friendly interface that makes it easy to use and simple to navigate for people who have never used a VPN. 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 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. Like Proton VPN, it also publishes a transparency report every year. However, I would like to see its no-logs policy get a more updated independent audit, as the last one was conducted in 2015.
hide.me’s free plan has a few notable downsides. It has a 10GB data limit per month, it’s a lot slower than ExpressVPN (its fastest protocol, WireGuard, isn’t available to free users), it’s very unreliable at accessing popular streaming apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+, you only get servers in the US, Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands, and it only supports 1 connection.
Hide.me’s paid plans start at $3.84 / month, and they include servers in 45+ countries, 10 simultaneous connections, good streaming support, and 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, but there’s a 10 GB data cap, you only get access to four server locations, 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 provides only 500 MB of data per day, but this adds up to 15 GB per month, which is more than most other free VPNs. That said, your unused daily data allowance doesn’t roll over to the next day. The small daily limit also means that you’ll have a hard time doing anything but general web browsing on your iPhone or iPad.
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, there are a few red flags to consider about Hotspot Shield’s free plan for iOS. It limits free users to only a US server, it throttles speeds to just 2Mbps (though that’s still good enough for browsing), and its iOS app only protects against DNS leaks (not IPv6 or WebRTC leaks). Other complaints that I have with the free plan is Hotspot Shield shares your location with advertisers, streaming isn’t allowed, and you only get one connection.
Hotspot Shield’s plans start at just $2.99 / month, and they include unlimited data usage, 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 a decent free VPN for browsing the web on your iOS device, but you only get 500 MB per day. It’s also secure and has a user-friendly app. But Hotspot Shield throttles your speeds, limits you to US servers, and lacks full leak protection. The premium plan removes all caps and allows 5 connections.
Read the full Hotspot Shield review
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||Unlimited||90+ countries|
|2.🥈Proton VPN||$3.99 / month||❌||Unlimited||“Medium”||1||US, Netherlands, and Japan|
|3. 🥉Windscribe||$5.75 / month||✅||Up to 15 GB per month (with Tweeting to the provider)||No speed limits||Unlimited||US, Canada, Germany, France, Netherlands, Romania, Norway, Hong Kong, Switzerland, and the UK|
|4. hide.me||$3.84 / month||❌||10 GB per month||No speed limits||1||US, Canada, Netherlands, and Germany|
|5. Hotspot Shield||$2.99 / month||❌||500 MB per day||2Mbps||1||US|
How to Choose the Best Free VPN for iOS in 2023
- 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, which is one of the reasons why it’s my favorite free VPN for iOS. But, all of the free VPNs I recommend allow you to use a decent amount of data per day or month.
- 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.
- 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 (military-grade encryption) and a strict no-logs policy (they don’t store your personal information or online activity). ExpressVPN, Proton VPN, and hide.me also include a kill switch, which is rare for iOS apps.
- Ease of 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.
- 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.
- Affordable premium plans. 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
- Weak security. Many free VPNs lack essential features for safeguarding your privacy and security. For example, some don’t include encryption and leak protection (leaving your IP address vulnerable to being exposed on the web).
- Poor speeds. While all VPNs decrease your connection speeds a little bit, many free VPNs are even worse. This happens because free VPNs may cap your speeds or only allow you to access a small number of servers, which causes overcrowding and slowdowns.
- Limited server locations. Most free VPNs heavily restrict the number of servers available to free users. This may prevent many users from connecting to a server near their location, causing slow speeds. You may also not be able to get an IP address from a country that you need for browsing, streaming, or gaming.
- 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. My favorite free VPN, 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. All of the top premium VPNs have strict no-logs policies, so you know your privacy is safe.
Affordable VPNs for iOS in 2023
- 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.
- CyberGhost VPN: CyberGhost VPN is a great iOS VPN for streaming due to its fast speeds and dedicated streaming servers optimized for specific streaming services and countries. It’s very easy to use and has a kill switch. It costs just $2.11 / month and comes with a 45-day money-back guarantee on all of its annual plans. Read our full CyberGhost VPN review.
- PrivateVPN: PrivateVPN is a simple and intuitive VPN for iOS that’s great for accessing streaming services. At just $2.00 / month, it’s also one of the cheapest iOS VPNs, and all plans are backed with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Read our full PrivateVPN 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?
Yes, four of the iOS VPNs on my list have 100% free plans. ExpressVPN doesn’t have a free plan but offers great value and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
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 Windscribe, hide.me, and Hotspot Shield all have data caps. For this reason, I strongly recommend upgrading to ExpressVPN or an affordable paid VPN if you’re a prolific user.
What is the best free VPN for iOS?
My top pick is Proton VPN. It’s one of the only free plans to offer unlimited bandwidth and data, and it also has high-end privacy and security features, including 256-bit AES encryption and an independently audited and confirmed no-logs policy.
The other VPNs on my list are good alternatives. ExpressVPN may not be free, but it has affordable plans and is the best VPN for iOS in 2023. Windscribe is good for streaming and provides unlimited simultaneous connections but has a 10 GB data limit per month. hide.me is easy to use and good for beginners (but caps data at 10 GB per month), while Hotspot Shield is decent or browsing and offers a 500 MB per day data usage limit.
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?
There are some free VPNs that work with Netflix, but overall most are unable to access the popular streaming service. Some VPNs (like Proton VPN and Hotspot Shield) don’t support streaming on their free plans, while 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.
If you’re looking for a decent free iOS VPN for streaming Netflix, check out Windscribe, as it has fast speeds and you can get 10 GB of data per month (you can Tweet at the VPN for an addition 5 GB). But I strongly recommend getting a top paid VPN for Netflix for the best streaming experience. My favorite VPN for streaming Netflix is ExpressVPN, which has unlimited data, blazing-fast speeds, easy-to-use apps for all major devices, and it also works with 65+ other streaming sites worldwise.