The Apple App Store is brimming with numerous applications for any situation you can conceive. Even a search query for the best free VPNs for iOS will yield countless results. Unfortunately, most of these virtual private network apps are downright unreliable and deliver subpar performance regarding speed and security.
Therefore, we compiled a list of the 5 best free VPNs for iPhone and iPad that are reliable and adequately equipped with features. Note that some are freemium, others require utilizing a free trial, and both have drawbacks you should consider. Read on to learn the details.
Don’t settle for free iOS VPNs and their downsides when the best premium VPN for iPhone includes a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee. Purchase NordVPN to experience unrivaled security and top connection speeds on the go.
Best free VPN for iOS: shortlist
- The best VPN for iPhone with a free trial9.7
- Excellent free trial iOS VPN9.4
- The best free iPhone VPN9.2
- Well-balanced VPN for iOS with a free trial8.9
- Security-centered freemium VPN for iOS8.4
Free vs paid VPNs for iPhone
It’s critical to point out the differences between paid and free iPhone VPNs so you’d see why one is preferable to another.
In a nutshell, free VPNs are downgraded versions of premium services. They are filled with limitations to keep costs low because a well-performing provider requires money to keep everything running. Or they stay afloat thanks to ad revenue, which can lead to severe privacy and security issues.
Regarding drawbacks, free iOS VPNs have tiny server networks covering only a handful of countries. That means you’ll have an abysmal selection of foreign IP addresses for masking your identity and bypassing geo-blocking. Furthermore, you’ll suffer from prolonged connection speeds, monthly data caps, and an absence of extra security features like ad blocking.
On the flip side, the best premium VPNs for iPhone aren’t held back by such limitations because they have professional teams maintaining them. That means loads of servers worldwide, the latest tunneling protocols for lightning-fast speeds, and the ability to easily change your Netflix region. Most importantly, the top VPNs offer free trials and money-back guarantees so customers can test them and see if they work for them.
Best free trial VPNs for iPhone: overview
Let’s begin by overviewing the top iPhone VPN options available via free trials and money-back guarantees. As you can imagine, specific terms and conditions are involved when claiming these offers. But don’t worry because we tried them and can confirm that the process is simple and free of unnecessary commitment.
Besides that, these iOS VPNs provide stellar performance regarding connection speeds, digital anonymity, and geo-block removal on various streaming services. In fact, we tested roughly 30 iPhone-friendly VPNs before finding the best three that strike the perfect balance regarding free trial options and overall performance.
1. NordVPN – the top free trial iPhone VPN
24/7 live chat, Email
- 7-day free trial on the Google Play Store
- Protects against trackers and malware
- Industry-leading speeds with NordLynx
- Only 6 simultaneous connections
NordVPN is undoubtedly the best VPN for iPhone that’s available for free using a time-limited trial. This VPN guarantees top results in practically every category, thanks to its exceptional toolset.
Speed. You’ll cruise through the information highway at lightning-fast speed using NordVPN’s proprietary NordLynx tunneling protocol. It’s an upgraded version of WireGuard with vastly improved efficiency, which is clearly noticeable when you see that it averages speeds around 746 Mbps.
Security. NordVPN keeps your connections impenetrable and private using AES-256 encryption. Furthermore, iPhone and iPad holders are kept completely leakproof with a reliable kill switch. The devices are also blessed with Threat Protection Lite for blocking ads and other frustrating nuisances.
Servers. NordVPN’s network spans 5800+ servers across 60+ countries. The fleet is split into categories (Double VPN, obfuscated, Onion over VPN, P2P), making it easier to achieve specific goals. Most importantly, all hardware runs on RAM technology to ensure no data is residing on hard drives.
The 7-day test is available on the Google Play Store, meaning you’ll need an Android device to claim it. Otherwise, the 30-day money-back guarantee is also a viable strategy for setting up NordVPN on iPhone for free. And once you’re on board, a valid coupon code grants 69% discounts + 3 months free.
For a deeper investigation of NordVPN, read our NordVPN review.
2. Surfshark – robust free trial iOS VPN with unlimited connections
24/7 live chat, FAQ
- 7-day trial on the Apple App Store
- Fast and secure with WireGuard
- Unlimited device connections
- Some features cost extra
Go with Surfshark if you need a free-trial-powered iOS VPN for securing an unlimited number of devices. It offers an impressive variety of tools for tackling cybersecurity issues on your iPhone or iPad.
Speed. You’ll forget about the concept of lagging because Surfshark is powered by the powerful WireGuard protocol. It enabled the provider to reach average speeds of 733 Mbps. You can also try your luck with OpenVPN and IKEv2 tunneling options, the latter of which is best suited for Apple devices.
Security. The primary security tool while using Surfshark on your iPhone will be CleanWeb. It will deal with online ads, trackers, and even malware. Besides, you shouldn’t forget to enable the kill switch to prevent data leakage if the VPN connection falters.
Servers. Surfshark operates an impressive fleet of over 3200 servers in 100+ countries. What’s more amazing is that all hardware utilizes RAM-only technology for maximum data integrity. Plus, you’ll find specialty servers like MultiHop and Static IP.
You can conveniently snag Surfshark’s week-long trial on the Apple App Store. Another introduction to this service is available via the 30-day money-back warranty. Or just utilize a coupon code and enjoy subscriptions with 80% discounts + 3 months free.
For a deeper investigation of Surfshark VPN, read our Surfshark VPN review.
3. PrivateVPN – versatile iPhone VPN with a 7-day trial
24/7 live chat
- 7-day free trial
- Well-rounded set of features
- 10 simultaneous connections
- Lacks WireGuard
PrivateVPN is a well-rounded free VPN for iPhone with affordable subscription prices after completing the introductory trial. It employs reliable technologies to achieve good results and allows securing up to 10 devices with one subscription.
Speed. This VPN keeps connections secure and stable with the well-renowned OpenVPN tunneling protocol. However, performance is boosted further by employing HQN (High Quality Network) technology. In short, PrivateVPN acquires internet capacity directly from transit providers to avoid needless intermediaries and to improve connectivity. This leads to average speeds of around 268 Mbps.
Security. PrivateVPN operates from Sweden, meaning user privacy is well protected against surveillance. This aspect is bolstered by the solid no-logs policy and numerous security-enhancing features like Stealth VPN, Application Guard, and DNS leak protection.
Servers. Users have their pick from a tight-knit fleet of 200+ servers across 63+ countries. The provider doesn’t rent hardware from third parties but maintains everything in-house for improved reliability. Another noteworthy feature is the inclusion of dynamic dedicated IP addresses at no extra cost.
Potential customers will receive a 7-day free trial simply by asking customer support for it. Alternatively, a valid coupon code opens the gate to 85% discounts on long-term plans.
For a deeper investigation of PrivateVPN, read our PrivateVPN review.
Best free VPNs for iPhone: overview
Can’t spare a single dime to take advantage of a provider’s money-back warranty? Or perhaps a free trial isn’t acceptable because of the time limitation? Then you need a truly free VPN for iPhone.
The most reliable options in this category come from freemium VPNs because they don’t resort to data logging or other shady practices to earn a living. Instead, they survive thanks to premium subscribers who aren’t encumbered by the drawbacks that free users receive.
Our tests concluded that these free iOS VPNs, unfortunately, can’t unblock foreign streaming content. However, they grant adequate security and aren’t prone to leaking issues or weak connections. Read the dedicated descriptions to learn more about their pros and cons.
1. Atlas VPN – the best completely free VPN for iOS
Email, tickets, FAQ
- Powered by WireGuard
- Impressive set of security tools
- Trustworthy reputation
- 5 GB monthly data limit
Atlas VPN is the top choice if you need a robust free VPN for iOS with no strings attached. This freemium service offers an unlimited free plan (with a few differences from the premium option) that iPhone enthusiasts can use without utilizing trials or money-back guarantees.
Speed. You won’t notice Atlas VPN running in the background because it employs the cutting-edge WireGuard protocol for facilitating connections. On the other hand, you can also enable the Apple-optimized IKEv2 if the former doesn’t suit your needs.
Security. The free plan includes the critical VPN kill switch for keeping your actual whereabouts unknown if the connection drops unexpectedly. Unfortunately, your overall security potential is held back by the 5 GB monthly data limit. Meanwhile, a paid subscription removes this restriction and unlocks other features like SafeSwap, MultiHop+, and Breach Scanner.
Servers. Unpaying Atlas VPN customers are limited to three server locations – New York, Los Angeles, and Amsterdam. That’s quite a step back from the premium plan and its 1000+ servers in 49+ countries, which also includes specialized Streaming and Privacy Pro categories.
Don’t hesitate to download the easy-to-use free Atlas VPN iOS app for solid security without significant performance issues. Or use a coupon code and subscribe to the feature-rich premium plan with a 86% discount. Remember that all subscriptions are insured with a 30-day money-back warranty.
For a deeper investigation of Atlas VPN, read our Atlas VPN review.
2. Proton VPN – privacy-oriented free VPN for iPhone
Email, knowledge base
- Unlimited data on the free plan
- Excellent connection quality
- Audited and open-source
- Only 3 server locations
Proton VPN is the ideal solution if you need a free VPN for iPhone with unlimited data, a solid reputation, and excellent privacy. The Swiss service is a popular costless alternative for many users worldwide. At the same time, the premium plan is worth considering for its outstanding array of perks.
Speed. Proton VPN combines WireGuard with its proprietary VPN Accelerator technology for excellent connection speeds, especially over long distances. Alternative protocol options include OpenVPN and IKEv2 for conducting connections. At the moment, Proton VPN boasts average rates of 625 Mbps.
Security. iPhone users are blessed with a reliable kill switch, DNS leak protection, and top-of-the-line AES-256 encryption. However, that’s a pittance compared to the premium plan, which offers P2P support, Tor over VPN and Secure Core servers, NetShield, and plenty more.
Servers. Proton VPN’s free plan allows users to gain IP addresses from three different countries – USA, Netherlands, and Japan. But that’s relatively lackluster when compared to the premium plan and its 3000+ servers in 69+ countries plus various categories like streaming.
Install Proton VPN on your iPhone or iPad and enjoy unlimited security without paying a dime. On the other hand, don’t dismiss the possibility of tremendously enhancing your cybersecurity with the premium plan, which is available for 60% off when using a discount code. Best of all, you can always turn back using the 30-day money-return guarantee.
For a deeper investigation of Proton VPN, read our Proton VPN review.
Free iPhone VPNs comparison
|Provider||NordVPN||Surfshark VPN||Atlas VPN||PrivateVPN||Proton VPN|
|Free version or trial||7-day free trial||7-day free trial||Free version||7-day free trial||Free version|
|Money-back guarantee||30 days||30 days||30 days||30 days||30 days|
|Server network||5800 servers in 60 countries||3200 servers in 100 countries||1000 servers in 49 countries||200 servers in 63 countries||3000 servers in 69 countries|
|Average speed||746 Mbps||733 Mbps||N/A||268 Mbps||625 Mbps|
|Apple App Store rating||4.7||4.8||4.7||4.6||4.6|
|Review||NordVPN review||Surfshark review||Atlas VPN review||PrivateVPN review||Proton VPN review|
As you can see, NordVPN is clearly the best free VPN for iPhone. It offers the fastest download speeds on the market, impenetrable security with Threat Protection, and numerous anonymity enhancement tools. Don’t hesitate to try it out using the free trial and money-back guarantee combo.
How we tested free VPNs for iOS
We wouldn’t claim these free VPNs for iPhone are the best without taking them through the gauntlet that is hands-on testing. Specifically, we procured an iPhone 7 with iOS version 15.7.1 to see whether these services can fulfill some of the requirements listed below.
- Features. Typically, software developed for Apple devices includes fewer features than their Android counterparts. Thus, we prioritized free iPhone VPNs that don’t exclude critical perks like a kill switch.
- Connection speed. Free VPNs are notorious for slowing download speeds to a crawl. Freemium providers do this intentionally to make the paid subscription more appealing, while completely free VPNs don’t have the resources for maximum connectivity. That being said, we had to conduct some speed tests to see which providers are least impacted by these slowdowns.
- Overall security. It’s vital to sift through all the free VPNs that don’t work for their customers’ benefit and instead log their data for resale purposes. Besides that, we had to pick iPhone VPNs with robust security standards, too, such as AES-256 encryption and reliable tunneling protocols.
- User experience. Free software is typically made without much thought about overall quality, including the UX (user experience) and app interface. Thus, we had to pass on apps that didn’t fit our usability expectations.
- Free plan limitations. We picked free VPNs for iPad and iPhone that don’t impose unreasonable limitations on unpaying users. That means as little data caps and speed throttling as possible.
How to set up NordVPN on iPhone for free
Setting up NordVPN, the best free VPN for iPhone, is as easy as any other activity on a well-designed Apple device. Simply find the software on the App Store or download it directly from the provider’s website. Then install it, connect to a VPN server, and you’re ready. Here’s a more thorough guide if you’re still having issues.
- Open the Apple App Store on your iPhone
- Search for the NordVPN application and download it
- Once installed, open the app and click the Sign Up button
- Pick a suitable subscription plan. You can use the 30-day money-back guarantee to setup NordVPN on iPhone for free
- Head to the main menu, choose a server location or go with Quick Connect for optimal performance
- Reap VPN benefits on your iPhone for free!
Risks of unverified free iOS VPNs
It shouldn’t surprise you that many free VPNs aren’t worth trying. Firstly, legitimate ones impose debilitating restrictions, making your online experience quite frustrating. Specifically, you’ll have extended loading times due to slow connectivity and only the bare minimum regarding digital security.
On the flip side, unverified free VPN services include much more heinous downsides, such as:
- Data collection and selling
- Overabundance of ads
- Potential trackers and malware in the software
- Subpar results
In my opinion, using any free VPN is usually not worth it. You’ll be better off even with a cheap VPN provider. If you’re unwilling to commit, consider starting with a free trial instead. You’ll be happy to hear that many of the best VPNs offer time-limited trials, which are available on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Personally, I’d start with NordVPN, the best premium VPN for iOS.
Dangerous free iPhone VPNs to avoid
Want a few examples of the most dangerous free VPNs out there? Read our reviews about these providers or just avoid them altogether.
- Betternet – shows excessive ads and sells your data
- Hola VPN – your bandwidth is shared with other users
- Hoxx VPN – shares your data with governments
- Psiphon – uses outdated technology and shows ads
- Tuxler VPN – shows ads and sells your data
- VPN Gate – works as a P2P network
Finding a reliable and well-performing free VPN for iPhones is a difficult task. Most costless options on the iOS App Store are questionable at best and can’t be trusted. But that doesn’t mean a reliable VPN for budget-conscious iOS users is impossible to find. You simply need to know what telltale signs to look for.
We scoured the Apple App Store to see which VPNs are worth testing and concluded that NordVPN is the best free VPN for iPhone. It’s powered by a worldwide server network, cutting-edge security features, and ensures swift connections with NordLynx. You can reap these benefits without commitment using the 7-day free trial and 30-day money-back guarantee.
Would you consider using a free VPN on iPhone or iPad? Which provider do you prefer? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment!
Is there a completely free VPN for iPhone?
Yes, there are plenty of completely free iPhone VPNs for iPhone, for example, Atlas VPN. Unsurprisingly, such services aren’t as feature-rich as premium providers like NordVPN. That means you should subscribe to a paid service if you want all the benefits a VPN can provide.
What's the best free VPN for iPhone?
Atlas VPN is the number one free VPN for iPhone. It provides adequate security, solid connection speeds, and a reasonable 5 GB monthly data cap. However, we recommend committing to the paid plan to remove these limitations and gain other perks like Netflix unblocking and limitless device connections.
How do I setup a VPN on my iPad for free?
First, you’ll need to pick a reliable free iOS VPN. Then you’ll have to visit the provider’s website or search for the software on the App Store. After that, download the VPN app, sign up, and you’re good to go. Keep in mind that your performance will be limited because costless VPNs usually throttle connectivity and impose data caps.
How to manually configure VPN for iPhone?
You can manually configure VPN connections on iPhones for free by following these steps:
- Open Settings
- Go to General
- Pick VPN & Device Management
- Select VPN
- Pick Add VPN Configuration
Now you can change your VPN configuration, including tunneling protocols and other settings, based on what your VPN provider’s settings support.