Best free VPN for iPhone in 2024

VPN toggled on on an iPhone
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

A virtual private network, or VPN, is the go-to tool for millions around the world who use its privacy and security features to safeguard their data and their devices from snooping bad actors and cybercriminals. By hiding your IP address and encrypting your internet traffic, the best VPNs anonymize you on the internet and make it impossible for hackers, ISPs, and government authorities to track your online activities. 

Getting a free VPN is often the first thought of those new to VPNs who would like to get to know the service and ascertain whether or not they need a VPN for their iPhone in the first place. While a free service is great for trial purposes—and some of the best ones come with unlimited data, tens of servers, and even unblocking capabilities—they are still miles behind their premium counterparts. 

Additionally, the chances of a free VPN logging and selling your data or infesting your device with malware are a lot higher than if you just got the cheapest VPN on the market. However, there are some reliable free VPN providers as well that you can install on your iPhone right now and enjoy basic protection along with plenty of extra useful features. Read on to find out what they are, what purposes they serve, and if a free VPN is going to cut it for you. 

Best VPNs for iOS in 2024 - paid for services

Even the best free VPNs are limited in their offerings—because they want to entice you with upgrades so that you ultimately switch to a paid plan for more benefits. Considering this, and given that you would actually need one of the best VPNs for iPhone if you are serious about protecting your device and your digital privacy, it makes so much more sense to sign up for a premium service from day one. 

The best part is that you can get a paid-for VPN service for free by using its money-back guarantee. These are usually around 30 days, meaning you will have ample time to try out the service without putting any money on the line. Plus, ‘premium’ VPNs are premium in their offerings and not necessarily their pricing—you can get one of the best cheap VPNs for less than $3 a month!

On that note, here are my top three iOS VPN recommendations:

1. The best iPhone VPN in 2024: NordVPN

1. The best iPhone VPN in 2024: NordVPN
NordVPN is the best VPN for iPads and iPhones, thanks to a comprehensive package that comes with a built-in antivirus, ad-blocking, a data breach scanner, and a password manager.

With more servers than ExpressVPN and Surfshark and world-class unblocking capabilities, Nord is the best streaming VPN I've tested. It's also the fastest service, easy to use, and cheaper than ExpressVPN—and has a 30-day money-back guarantee will allow you to try it out risk-free before committing.

2. The easiest to use iPhone VPN app in 2024: ExpressVPN

2. The easiest to use iPhone VPN app in 2024: ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN is a great VPN for both beginners and VPN veterans, with an intuitive and feature-packed iOS app that comes with rock-solid privacy features, excellent encryption, and blazing speeds. It also boasts one of the largest networks of servers, strong unblocking capabilities, and friendly 24/7 support.

While it's not as cheap as NordVPN or Surfshark, an extra 3 months of protection and 1 year of Backblaze cloud storage for free make it every bit worth the price—and so does a free password manager and an ad & malware blocker. Put ExpressVPN to the test with a 30-day money-back guarantee and see for yourself why we rate it so highly.

3. The best cheap iPhone VPN: Surfshark

3. The best cheap iPhone VPN: Surfshark
Surfshark is the best choice for iPhone users on a tight budget, but despite that, its feature-set can put to shame some of the most premium providers. You get outrageous speeds, reliable security, and unlimited simultaneous connections, as well as servers in a hundred countries. 

Although it lacks Express and Nord's advanced tools, everything else from unblocking powers to ease of use to device compatibility is top-notch. Be sure to make the most of its 30-day money-back guarantee to see if you'd like to stick with it long-term.

Recent updates

As AtlasVPN shuts down its service, I've removed it from my list of recommendations. If you're already subscribed to the service, don't worry. NordVPN are taking on all of Atlas' customers without charging them a penny for the remainder of their plan.

The best free VPNs for iPhone in 2024

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Let's discuss all our top free iPhone VPN picks in detail.

PrivadoVPN Free: the best free iPhone VPN overall

PrivadoVPN Free VPN running on various devices

(Image credit: PrivadoVPN)

1. PrivadoVPN Free

The best free iPhone VPN

Available on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux | Data limit: 10GB at full speed, then unlimited via a single 1Mbps location | Servers: 13 | Locations: 10 | Simultaneous connections: 1

Unlimited data, with 10GB at full speed
Unblocks all popular streaming sites
Blazing fast connection speeds
Mobile apps are basic at best
Not independently audited
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want a free VPN for Netflix: PrivadoVPN is one of the only free providers that reliably unlocks Netflix, as well as others like Prime, iPlayer, and Disney+

✔️ You need premium privacy features: most services block offerings like split tunneling, kill switch, and auto-connect behind paywalls, but not PrivadoVPN.

✔️ You want blazing speeds: PrivadoVPN is one of the fastest free VPNs, with top speeds of around 350Mbps.

Don't subscribe if:

❌ You need genuinely unlimited data: PrivadoVPN's performance sees a massive drop as soon as you go over 10GB a month. After that, you're on a sluggish 'emergency server.'

❌ You want fantastic mobile apps: although PrivadoVPN's iOS and Android apps are stable and work well, they're not as polished as Proton VPN.

Bottom line ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

🔒 PrivadoVPN Free knocks it out of the park with its unblocking capabilities, and everything else from server locations to day-to-day privacy is top-notch as well.

Want to know more?

Check out our in-depth PrivadoVPN Free review for a closer look at the service, and see why it's our top free iPhone VPN pick for 2024.

In our full PrivadoVPN review, we mention how despite being a relatively new entrant in the VPN industry (launched in 2019), PrivadoVPN has continually improved and added to its services to become a well-known provider—and its free version is right at the heart of its popularity with an impressive feature-set and security benefits.

PrivadoVPN Free is not only the number one free VPN for iPhones but also the best free VPN overall, displacing the previous #1 Proton VPN, as it is one of the only services that can reliably unblock the entire suite of streaming services including Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer—others like Windscribe and Atlas VPN Free can bypass some but not all of them.  

Try PrivadoVPN: the best free VPN

Plus, Privado’s server list is significantly better than Proton VPN—you get access to 13 cities in 10 countries, including the US, UK, Canada, and France. Proton VPN, on the other hand, only offers 3 servers in 3 different countries.

Like Proton VPN, PrivadoVPN Free, too, gives you the full security package, ranging from a tried-and-tested kill switch and no-logs policy to AES-256 encryption and protocols like OpenSource and WireGuard. What’s more, it also comes with split tunneling, so you can route some apps through the VPN while using regular internet connection on the others.

Where PrivadoVPN isn’t as lovely as Proton VPN is data allowance. While Proton VPN Free gives you unlimited data, PrivadoVPN (like most free VPNs) limits you to just 10GB of data per month. However, the silver lining with PrivadoVPN is that you won’t have to shut shop after you’ve used up your allotted 10GB for the month—you can continue browsing and enjoy VPN protection, although only at a sluggish speed of 1Mbps. 

Next, while all Proton VPN services are independently audited, PrivadoVPN’s servers and privacy policy are yet to undergo an independent audit. Although the service is extremely reliable, we’d like to see the company back up its claims with proof. 

PrivadoVPN iOS apps are pretty basic but easy to use, so those new to VPNs and looking for a plug-and-play solution will swear by it. However, if you need a premium iPhone VPN app for free, we’d point you towards Proton VPN.

Overall, PrivadoVPN does almost everything right when it comes to offering a completely free VPN—it’s fast, secure, comes with tons of servers, and is the best choice if you want a Netflix VPN for free. So, while it is a clear winner for most users, if you want unlimited data and proven security, consider Proton VPN Free instead.

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PrivadoVPN Free test results:
DesignNo-nonsense design that lacks a few bells and whistles⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useIntuitive app with simple implementation means it's perfect for beginners⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceFaster than most free iPhone VPNs⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingUnblocks an astounding amount of content for a free VPN⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyRobust security on paper, but no independent audit⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportSupport staff are friendly, but the site could do with more content⭐⭐⭐⭐

Proton VPN Free: the best for security

Proton VPN interface for mobile and desktop VPN apps

(Image credit: Proton VPN)

2. Proton VPN Free

Unlimited data allowance and top-notch digital privacy

Available on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux | Data limit: Unlimited | Servers: 3 | Locations: 3 | Simultaneous connections: 1

Unlimited data allowance
Excellent speeds
Top-notch privacy features
No streaming support
No P2P or Secure Core servers
Limited server locations
Subscribe if:

✔️ You need a free VPN with unlimited data: Proton VPN is one of the only free providers to not put a cap on data usage.

✔️ You want an extremely safe VPN: all Proton VPN apps are open-source, so anyone in the world can check them for vulnerabilities. They're also independently audited.

✔️ You want a free Linux VPN: Proton VPN not only offers free installation on Linux but also comes with a full graphical user interface (GUI).

Don't subscribe if:

 You want lots of server options: Proton VPN only gives users access to servers in three countries on its free plan.

❌ You want to stream content: unlike PrivadoVPN, Proton VPN's free plan doesn't come with unblocking capabilities.

Bottom line ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

🔒 Proton VPN Free is a highly popular Swiss provider known to offer class-leading privacy and security. It blows others out of the water with unlimited data, but lack of streaming support keeps it from the top spot.

Want to know more?

Check out our in-depth Proton VPN Free review for a closer look at one of the most popular free VPNs in the industry.

Proton VPN is one of the most secure VPNs on the market right now and the same Swiss-backed privacy and reliability is what you get with its free plan as well. For starters, it offers open-source apps on all platforms whether that’s iOS, Android, Windows, or Mac. 

Plus, all its apps have been independently audited by third-party experts—and security essentials like rock-solid encryption, a kill switch, and a no-logging policy, too, are all available on all its free apps, including the iPhone VPN app, and they work as expected.

In our review of Proton VPN Free, we mention how its biggest advantage over PrivadoVPN Free and the rest of the competition is that it doesn’t come with any data limits.

So, while PrivadoVPN limits you to just 10GB of data per month, Proton VPN allows you to use its always-on VPN feature for what it’s actually built i.e. connect once and enjoy 24/7 protection—you don’t have to keep tabs on your VPN usage so as not to exhaust it. Moreover, the service is anything but sluggish, with lightning-fast speeds of 380Mbps.

Sign up to Proton VPN Free Now

The iPhone VPN app is easy to use and comes with a funky yet sleek-looking dark mode that gives it a futuristic look. Plus, as you’d expect from a high-ranking provider, the app has zero ads and the overall experience is simply fantastic, which is why it has managed to garner a 4.4 rating on the App Store.

A unique Proton VPN Free offering is that it has partnered with Deutsche Welle, a German news broadcaster, to allow unrestricted (and free, of course) access to its independent and unbiased news coverage.

A major reason Proton VPN didn't quite manage to grab the top spot here is its server limitations—just 3 servers (US, Netherlands, Japan) compared to Privado's 13 and Windscribe’s 14. Then there’s the lack of streaming support, an area where PrivadoVPN reigns supreme but even providers like Windscribe and Atlas VPN are slowly catching up.

So, needless to say, we would like to see Proton VPN Free join the party as well. Moreover, it doesn’t offer P2P support either, meaning you will have to look elsewhere if you want a VPN for torrenting.

All in all, if you’re looking for a free VPN for 24/7 protection, excellent usability, and class-leading security, there simply isn’t a service better than Proton VPN Free.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Proton VPN Free test results:
DesignDark and edgy with plenty of flair⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useNot the simplest design, but still fairly intuitive⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceA super-fast service, but with a small risk of congestion⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingDedicated Deutsche Welle servers but few locations to choose from otherwise⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyOpen-source, audited, and reliable⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportLots of on-site support and excellent agents⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Windscribe Free: free iPhone VPN with most servers

Windscribe VPN app showing server location search function

(Image credit: Windscribe)

3. Windscribe Free

Powerful and secure with generous streaming support

Available on: Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS | Data limit: 10GB | Servers: 14 | Locations: 11 | Simultaneous connections: Unlimited

Unlimited simultaneous connections
Unblocks UK Netflix and BBC iPlayer
Free VPN with the most number of servers
Limited data strangles usefulness
Not as fast as others
Only 10GB data
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want unlimited simultaneous connections: Windscribe is the only provider here that allows you to install its VPN app on any number of devices you want.

✔️ You want tons of server locations: 14 server locations in 11 countries is hands down the best range we've seen in a free iPhone VPN.

✔️ You want to stream UK content: unlike Proton VPN, Windscribe can reliably unblock UK Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

Don't subscribe if:

❌ You need plenty of data: just 10GB of data isn't going to carry you through the whole month. If you want unlimited data, opt for Proton VPN.

You need lightning-fast speeds: Windscribe tops out at around 240Mbps, which although decent, doesn't compare to PrivadoVPN or Proton VPN.

Bottom line ⭐⭐⭐⭐

🔒 Windscribe offers the highest number of server locations for any free iPhone VPN, as well as UK Netflix and iPlayer unblocking, so it does a good enough job at standing out from the rest.

Want to know more?

Check out our in-depth Windscribe Free VPN review for a closer look at this popular free service.

Windscribe is a popular VPN service from Canada with a decent paid version. However, the party piece is its free plan that comes with good privacy, excellent unblocking, and useful extra features.

When drafting our full Winscribe Free review, we were seriously impressed by its staggering 14 server locations in 11 countries—an excellent showing that’s better than every other provider on our list. The only other service that comes close to challenging Windscribe Free’s list of servers is Proton VPN with 13 locations in 10 countries. 

Check out Windscribe for free

Although Windscribe’s streaming support isn’t as comprehensive as PrivadoVPN, most users will be happy that it can unblock UK Netflix and BBC iPlayer. You will be able to stream your favorite British movies and TV shows on your iPhone, even when you’re on the go, thanks to consistent speeds of around 240Mbps.

However, a major drawback of the service, and also why it is not higher up on our list, is its data cap—just 10GB of data per month and nothing after that. If you’re looking for a free VPN to use extensively day in and day out, you’d be much better off with Proton VPN or Hotspot Shield which come with unlimited data. Even PrivadoVPN Free, which offers 10GB data at full speed and then unlimited data at 1Mbps speed, is a better pick.

Windscribe’s iOS apps could do with a bit of polish. That said, while they look and feel basic, they don’t cut back on functionality a lot—yes, you won’t see server locations by availability, but there’s a search option, so it’s overall decent but far behind the more roomy and clutter-free apps of PrivadoVPN and Proton VPN.

To conclude, Windscribe is a simple and effective free VPN that has more than just a few things going for it, including unlimited simultaneous connections, top-notch privacy, and an expansive list of servers. Unfortunately, though, a strict data cap limits its functionality to a great extent, so that’s something you will have to live with—or you can look at our top 2 options instead.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Windscribe Free test results:
DesignSimple and intuitive, albeit a little cluttered⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of usePretty easy to use for beginners⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceLags behind the competition, but still hardly slow⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingImpressive access to UK Netflix and iPlayer⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyOpen-source and reliable⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportEmail tickets are quickly resolved, but no live chat makes it somewhat inconvenient⭐⭐⭐

Hotspot Shield Basic: free iPhone VPN with unlimited data

Hotspot Shield Free VPN on multiple devices

(Image credit: Hotspot Shield)

4. Hotspot Shield Basic VPN

Absolutely no data limits, but look out for the ads

Available on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux | Data limit: Unlimited | Servers: 1 | Locations: 1 | Simultaneous connections: 1

Unlimited data allowance
Simple and easy to use
Decent speeds
Ads and popup pages
Only 1 server location
No kill switch
Subscribe if:

✔️ You need an unlimited free VPN: Hotspot Shield Basic doesn't impose any data caps, making it ideal for anyone who needs more than 10GB.

✔️ You want speedy connections: unlike PrivadoVPN, Hotspot Shield providers fast connection speeds through and through, no matter your usage.

Don't subscribe if:

 You want more than one server location: you get access t just one US server with Hotspot Shield's free plan. For plenty of locations, PrivadoVPN or Windscribe are better picks.

❌ You need reliable security: unlike most free services, Hotspot Shield Basic doesn't come with a kill switch, plus it logs a lot of user data.

Bottom line ⭐⭐⭐

🔒 Hotspot Shield Basic offers a decent service with unlimited data as the one major highlight. Apart from that, the rest of the VPN suite doesn't come close to the others.

Want to know more?

Check out our in-depth Hotspot Shield Basic VPN review for a closer look at the free version of this popular premium VPN.

Hotspot Shield Basic might not be as comprehensive as the three providers above but it is still free and offers a few but very likable features. This is also true for the paid Hotspot Shield package, which is decent but lags behind the competition. 

As we concluded in our full Hotspot Shield VPN review, its biggest advantage is that it comes with unlimited data—so, you can scroll TikTok, watch high-definition YouTube videos, and/or send large files on your iPhone without worrying about exhausting your data.

Try Hotspot Shield Basic for yourself

This puts it right beside Proton VPN Free and above the rest of the competition which all offer limited data. Additionally, with a decent speed of 230Mbps, buffering won’t be much of an issue either. 

However, that’s all there is to Hotspot Shield Basic, unfortunately. This is because it offers only a single US server and logs a surprising amount of user data as compared to its rivals—and contrary to what you would expect from a privacy tool. Logged data includes bandwidth used, your OS, the time you connect, and more.

In addition to the absence of an indispensable kill switch, the iOS apps show pesky video ads on connecting, and while the Mac VPN apps don’t, they instead insist that you open the Hotspot Shield website every time you connect/disconnect the VPN. What’s more, there’s also no live chat or email support, meaning the Hotspot Shield website and your browsing skills are all you have should you run into an issue.

Overall, Hotspot Shield Basic pulls back a few punches when it comes to security, user experience, and features, but it makes a strong case for itself by offering unlimited data. However, it’s difficult to recommend it over Proton VPN Free, though, which also offers unlimited data but is head and shoulders above Hotspot Shield in everything else.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Hotspot Shield Basic test results:
DesignA clean and simple design⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useIntuitive apps that are easy to use but contain ads⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceDecent speeds, but nothing spectacular considering Hotspot Shield's claims⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingMediocre unblocking capabilities⭐⭐
Security and privacyLacking a kill switch is a serious problem⭐⭐
Customer supportNo live chat or email support is disappointing⭐⭐

How to pick a free VPN for iPhone

Here are some of the most important factors to consider when choosing the best free VPN for your iPhone:

Security: not all free VPNs are created equal and some low-ranking and unscrupulous providers can log your data and sell it to third parties for a profit. This is why it is crucial to only pick providers with a clear-cut no-logs policy, a reliable kill switch, and strong encryption—and it’s good to have extras such as split tunneling and port forwarding as well. 

Number of servers: look for a VPN that offers a generous amount of servers in several countries on its free plan. In particular, prioritize those that have servers in regions of your choice, as free VPNs are often limited in this regard.

Speed: while you certainly cannot expect a free VPN to compete with the fastest VPNs, connections should be both consistent and speedy enough for most activities whether that’s everyday browsing or streaming in HD.

Bandwidth: one of the major considerations when shopping for a free VPN is the amount of data you get. If you want unlimited data, providers such as Proton VPN Free and Hotspot Shield Basic will be ideal choices. 

Unblocking capabilities: very few free VPN services can reliably unblock streaming sites. If you want to watch foreign movies and TV shows for free, you’d be better off with PrivadoVPN, Windscribe, and Atlas VPN, in that order.

How we test free iPhone VPNs

We follow our comprehensive VPN testing methodology to cut through the myriad of options on the market and zero in on only the best free iPhone VPNs. Our testing starts at the provider's website where we look for clues to gauge how reliable the service is. This includes looking for and thoroughly reading the VPN's privacy policy, any claims it makes, and its support options. 

Then we install the provider's free VPN apps on various platforms (iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Linux) and put them through intensive real-world testing where we check the working of essential security features such as kill switch and leak protection—as well as any other feature on offer, such as split tunneling and/or auto-connect.

User experience is a big one for us, so we check the apps for any ads, clutter, and design shortfalls. Then we try to connect/disconnect to every single server location on offer by the free VPN to evaluate if the service lives up to its claims. 

Next, we test the VPN’s speeds at least 120 times by using a US home connection and a 1Gbps UK data center. Lastly, to check the truthfulness of free VPNs that claim to unblock streaming sites, we try to access geo-blocked content from big-name streaming sites including Netflix, Disney Plus, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video.

Free iPhone VPN FAQs

Can a free VPN for iPhone be trusted?

The best free VPNs for iPhone on my list here have been selected after hours of real-world testing by experts, meaning you can trust them to keep your internet connection secure, private, and anonymous. 

However, the market is filled to the brim with unscrupulous VPN providers that claim to be free—and they do not actually cost a penny—but you pay for them with your privacy, as they may log your device/personal/browsing data to then sell it to third parties for profit. 

Also, some free services are outright dangerous as they may be Trojan horses for malicious software, and downloading them may infect your device with malware. All in all, while the majority of free iPhone VPNs are better looked at with suspicion, if you're picking one from TechRadar's free VPN guides, you can rest assured that it is a reliable and safe VPN.

Is there a totally free VPN for iPhone?

PrivadoVPN, Proton VPN, Windscribe, Hotspot Shield, and Atlas VPN are some of the most trustworthy providers that offer completely free VPN apps for iPhone. You can use their free plan for as long as you want. They do not cost a single penny—and they don't ask for your credit card details, either.

What is the safest VPN for iPhone?

NordVPN is the most secure VPN overall and right now the safest VPN you can install on your iPhone. In addition to security essentials like 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, a no-logs policy, and support for secure VPN protocols, Nord also comes with Double VPN (that routes your connection through two separate VPN servers) and Onion over VPN (so you can access the Tor network without having to download the Tor browser).

Additionally, all of its VPN apps, including the iOS app, come with built-in ad-blocking, malware protection, a password manager, as well as a data breach scanner for an added layer of security. Other safe iPhone VPNs include ExpressVPN, Proton VPN, and Private Internet Access (PIA).

Do iPhones have a built in VPN?

The iPhone does not have a built-in VPN. It only comes with VPN settings that help you control a VPN which you either build manually (not an option for most users) or directly install on your device from a third party such as NordVPN, ExpressVPN, or Surfshark.


We test and review VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. For example:
1. Accessing a service from another country (subject to the terms and conditions of that service).
2. Protecting your online security and strengthening your online privacy when abroad.
We do not support or condone the illegal or malicious use of VPN services. Consuming pirated content that is paid-for is neither endorsed nor approved by Future Publishing.

Olivia Powell
Commissioning Editor for Tech Software

Olivia joined TechRadar in October 2023 as part of the core Future Tech Software team, and is the Commissioning Editor for Tech Software. With a background in cybersecurity, Olivia stays up-to-date with all things cyber and creates content across sites including TechRadar Pro, TechRadar, Tom’s Guide, iMore, Windows Central, PC Gamer and Games Radar. She is particularly interested in threat intelligence, detection and response, data security, fraud prevention and the ever-evolving threat landscape.

With contributions from