5 Best REALLY FREE VPNs for iOS in 2024: Secure & Fast

Raven Wu
Raven Wu Writer
Updated on: May 31, 2024
Fact Checked by Katarina Glamoslija
Raven Wu Raven Wu
Updated on: May 31, 2024 Writer

Short on time? Here’s the best free VPN for iOS in 2024:

  • 🥇 ExpressVPN : It doesn’t have a free plan, but it’s without a doubt the best VPN for iOS in 2024, 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.

Even the free plans offered by the best VPN providers have major drawbacks, the most common being only 1 device connection, a lack of streaming and/or torrenting support, limited access to customer support options (like live chat), restricted features, and very limited server locations.

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.

Get ExpressVPN Now

Quick summary of the best free VPNs for iOS in 2024:

  • 1. 🥇ExpressVPN — Best overall VPN for iOS in 2024 with high-end security and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  • 2. 🥈CyberGhost VPN — Great iOS streaming VPN with a 7-day free trial on iOS and a 45-day money-back guarantee.
  • 3. 🥉Proton VPN — Good 100% free iOS VPN with unlimited data and fast speeds but no live chat support.
  • 4. hide.me — Good free VPN for beginners with access to 8 server locations but limited speeds.
  • 5. Hotspot Shield — Decent free VPN with unlimited data and an easy-to-use iOS app, but it has ads.

Editor’s Note: The VPNs I recommend in this article have strict no-logging policies, meaning they can’t see or record what you’re doing online. It’s up to you to use a VPN in accordance with relevant laws and regulations. Neither I nor my colleagues at SafetyDetectives support any form of copyright infringement.

🥇1. ExpressVPN — Best VPN for iOS in 2024

🥇1. ExpressVPN — Best VPN for iOS in 2024

ExpressVPN is my favorite VPN in 2024 — 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 + an ad blocker. Blocks ads and 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 105 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. It doesn’t limit its speeds like hide.me does on its free plan.

🥇1. ExpressVPN — Best VPN for iOS in 2024

ExpressVPN works with every popular streaming app, including different Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+ libraries, as well as sites like Hulu, Max, BBC iPlayer, and smaller services like DAZN and Crunchyroll. 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. It’s similar to Proton VPN’s Quick Connect feature, but unlike Proton VPN, you can still choose your own location.

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.

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Bottom Line:

ExpressVPN isn’t free, but it offers the best value out of all the VPNs on the market in 2024. 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. CyberGhost VPN — Great iOS VPN for Streaming

🥈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 (unlike hide.me and Hotspot Shield, which don’t support streaming). It has 100+ dedicated streaming servers in 20+ countries that are optimized to access 50+ streaming services, including 15+ Netflix libraries, 5+ Amazon Prime and Disney+ libraries, as well as Max and BBC iPlayer. That said, I still think you get better variety with ExpressVPN, as it works with 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.

🥈2. CyberGhost VPN — Great iOS VPN for Streaming

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. Another cool thing is CyberGhost gives you access to all extra features with the free trial, unlike Proton VPN, which restricts its ad blocker and other features.

CyberGhost VPN has really affordable plans that start at $2.03 / 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.

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Bottom Line:

CyberGhost VPN provides very good streaming via 100+ streaming servers that work with 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.

Read the full CyberGhost VPN review

🥉3. Proton VPN — Great Free VPN for iOS With Unlimited Data + Fast Speeds

🥉3. Proton VPN — Great Free VPN for iOS With Unlimited Data + Fast Speeds

Proton VPN is the fastest free VPN on this list, and it’s one of the few free plans that include unlimited data — this 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.

Proton VPN maintains really fast speeds on the free plan. While hide.me and Hotspot Shield also allow unlimited data on their free plans, both VPNs limit your speeds. In my tests, I had solid speeds for browsing and gaming. Ultimately, though, Proton VPN’s speeds fell well short of the speeds I got with ExpressVPN.

However, Proton VPN’s free plan limits you in other areas. For example, you only have access to servers in the US, the Netherlands, Romania, Poland, 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.

🥉3. Proton VPN — Great Free VPN for iOS With Unlimited Data + Fast Speeds

If you’re looking to stream with a free VPN, you may be in luck with Proton VPN. While it doesn’t support streaming, it can access several Netflix and Amazon Prime libraries most of the time.

Proton VPN’s paid plans start at $4.49 / month and get you access to servers in 91 countries, 10 connections, faster speeds, guaranteed streaming support, and more. All of its paid plans come with a prorated 30-day money-back guarantee.

Proton VPN: Save 55% on the 24-month plan!
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Bottom Line:

Proton VPN is a good free VPN for iOS. It provides unlimited data, comprehensive security features, decent speeds, and access to servers in 5 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 91 countries, and much more.

Read the full Proton VPN review

4. hide.me — Good Free VPN for Beginners

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 provides unlimited data (ad-free) on its free plan, so you can use it to protect your online connections no matter how much time you spend online on your iOS device.

hide.me has servers in 8 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.

4. hide.me — Good Free VPN for Beginners

hide.me’s free plan has a few notable downsides. It provides its fastest speeds for paid users only, and it was a lot slower than ExpressVPN and Proton VPN. You don’t get streaming support (but it works with popular streaming apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+ about half of the time). Plus, there’s no torrenting support, and you can only connect 1 device at a time.

hide.me’s paid plans start at $2.22 / month, and they include servers in 54 countries, 10 simultaneous connections, and good streaming support. All of hide.me’s plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line:

hide.me’s iOS app is really good for beginners thanks to its intuitive design. The free plan has good security features, 8 server locations, and unlimited data, but it’s not great for streaming. Upgrading to one of its premium plans gets you access to servers in more countries, faster speeds, and really good streaming support.

Read the full hide.me review

5. Hotspot Shield — Good for Web Browsing

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.

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.

5. Hotspot Shield — Good for Web Browsing

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 85 countries. All of its premium plans come with a generous, 45-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line:

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.

Read the full Hotspot Shield review

Quick Comparison Table

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 8 105 countries
2.🥈CyberGhost VPN $2.03 / month Unlimited No speed limits 7 100 countries
3.🥉Proton VPN $4.49 / month
(Sometimes)
Unlimited No speed limits 1 5
(US, Netherlands, Romania, Poland, and Japan)
4. hide.me $2.22 / month
(Sometimes)
Unlimited Restricted speeds 1 8
(US, Canada, Netherlands, UK, Finland, Switzerland, France, and Germany)
5. Hotspot Shield $2.99 / month Unlimited

(with ads)

2 Mbps 1 3
(US, UK, Singapore)

Testing Methodology: Comparison & Ranking Criteria

To find the best free VPNs for iOS, I followed our rigorous testing methodology to make sure every option on my list meets our strict standards. The criteria I considered include ease of use of the iOS app, speeds, security, available features, and more:

  • I checked the data allowance. Many free VPNs limit the amount of data you’re allowed to use each month. However, the VPNs I selected all have unlimited data, though some have ads to support it.
  • I tested to make sure each VPN has 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.Testing Methodology: Comparison & Ranking Criteria
  • I looked for providers 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.
  • I selected VPNs that are 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.Testing Methodology: Comparison & Ranking Criteria
  • I ranked VPNs with bonus features more highly. 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.
  • I chose VPNs that have 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.
  • Restricted server access. The majority of free VPNs only provide you with a few server locations, which is less than ideal. This means you may not be able to connect to a server close to you, resulting in slow connection speeds.
  • 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 just don’t work well with 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.

Free vs. Paid VPNs for iOS

Every free VPN on my list has important security features to protect your privacy. They have standard features like a no-logs policy, leak protection, and military-grade AES-256 bit encryption, and more. Plus, some have advanced features like ad and tracker blockers, perfect forward secrecy, and RAM-only servers.

That said, they still lack the majority of features that premium VPNs offer. Things like large server networks, multiple simultaneous device connections, streaming and torrenting support, and the fastest possible speeds aren’t usually offered on free plans.

Here are some examples:

  • hide.me and Proton VPN have unlimited data with no strings attached, but Hotspot Shield makes you watch an ad for every 15 minutes of usage after you reach the 500MB allotted on the free plan.
  • Hotspot Shield has servers in 3 countries, Proton VPN has 5, and hide.me has 8.
  • ProtonVPN has great security but doesn’t provide access to NetShield, its ad blocker, while Hotspot Shield doesn’t have its iOS kill switch included in the free plan.
  • All 3 VPNs only allow 1 device connection.

This is compared to premium VPNs that offer tons more features and improved performance. Paid plans give you access to things like a large server network in dozens (or hundreds) of countries, unlimited speeds, reliable P2P and streaming support, unrestricted access to advanced features like specialty servers and split-tunneling, and more. They also almost all have a 30-day money-back guarantee or longer.

Overall, no matter how good a free plan may be, a paid plan offers a much better experience.

Feature Free VPNs Paid VPNs
Fast Speeds
Privacy

(many free VPNs collect your personal information to sell to third parties)

Servers
Unlimited data

(most free VPNs limit you to less than 10 GB of data per month)

Multiple simultaneous connections

(most free VPN plans restrict you to only 1 device connection)

24/7 customer support
Multiple protocol options
Streaming and P2P support

(even if the free plan supports P2P and streaming, it usually isn’t very reliable)

Ad, tracker, and malware blocker

Free VPNs for iOS to Avoid

  • AceVPN. AceVPN lacks some essential security features like a kill switch, only has about 20 server locations, and worst of all, doesn’t have any actual apps. Instead, you must manually configure it on your device, which is complicated and inconvenient.
  • HolaVPN. HolaVPN is pretty dangerous to use. It’s a P2P VPN, which means when you connect to a server, you’re assigned another user’s IP address, and someone else gets to use yours. This can land you in hot water if someone uses your IP address to do something illegal. It also has very poor privacy.
  • PhoneGuardian. PhoneGuardian isn’t as dangerous as most others on my list, mainly because it doesn’t do much that a regular VPN does. It only encrypts your data, so your IP address and location remain visible. Plus, since it doesn’t have any other security features, your data is still exposed.
  • TurboVPN. TurboVPN’s privacy policy is a bit vague and concerning. Even though it states that it doesn’t store your online activities, which is a good thing, it doesn’t mention IP addresses at all. This means you have no way of knowing if the VPN is logging and storing this sensitive information.
  • FinchVPN. FinchVPN’s main problem is that its service is buggy and untrustworthy. For example, its privacy policy doesn’t actually exist, and its website has no information on what features the VPN offers.
  • SuperVPN. SuperVPN is really bad at protecting your privacy. It logs a bunch of your data including your IP address, browser, email address, location, and operating system (it’s even suffered a 133 GB breach of this data). Plus, there’s no way to contact customer support if you need help.

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 47 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, three 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 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.

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About the Author
Raven Wu
Raven Wu
Writer
Updated on: May 31, 2024

About the Author

Raven Wu is a freelance writer, editor, and translator. He is a strong advocate of internet freedom and is very passionate about technology, and he’s honed his craft by researching and writing about a variety of other topics including education, literature, health, pop culture, and games. Outside of work, he's an amateur novelist and history enthusiast who enjoys hard games, spicy food, and thinking way too hard about everything.