VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks are incredibly useful tools to have in your networking arsenal and there are plenty of reasons to use VPN apps. They can keep your identity protected online, allow you to browse safely even on shady WiFi networks, help you circumvent a lot of regional restrictions on websites, access blocked content on the web, and do a lot more. So, if you’re looking to protect your privacy while browsing the internet on your iPhone, here are the best free VPN apps for iPhone that you can use in 2021.
Best Free VPN Apps for iPhone and iPad in 2021
With iOS 15, Apple has brought along a new iCloud Private Relay feature to iPhones that works a lot like VPNs, allowing your browsing activities to be encrypted. However, there are a couple issues there. For one, Private Relay doesn’t work if you’re trying to unblock access to websites. Plus, it’s only available with a paid iCloud+ subscription. So if you’re looking for a free VPN app for your iPhone, iCloud Private Relay is definitely not going to work for you. But don’t worry, our list contains 10 best free VPN apps for iPhone.
While all the apps mentioned below offer paid options, we are featuring them because of their robust free plans. They each handle their free plans differently. While some will restrict you on usage, some might restrict you to using only a selection of their servers. Others might put cap on the speed of connection. So read the list and find the app whose restriction don’t bother you and go with that one. With that out of the way, let’s get to our list, shall we?
As always, you can use the table of contents below to navigate between the apps.
1. Proton VPN
My top pick for the best free VPN app on iPhone is definitely Proton VPN. There are many things that Proton VPN does right, not the least of which is the fact that the free tier of Proton VPN is completely usable. With Proton VPN you get unlimited bandwidth for free. Plus, you can choose between servers based in the United States, Japan, and Netherlands, so you can pretty much access websites across three different continents.
Obviously, there are more servers supported by Proton VPN. In fact, it has over 560 servers in 43 different countries, but accessing them requires a paid subscription. Apart from that however, Proton VPN offers a ton of useful VPN features. You get support for Always-on VPN, P2P servers and torrent support, and more. Proton VPN uses AES-256, 4096-bit RSA, and HMAC with SHA384 encryption. Unfortunately, while Proton VPN offers Kill Switch on Windows and Mac, it’s not available in the iPhone app.
Proton VPN has a no-log policy, so you can rest assured that your browsing history and activity isn’t stored by the VPN. Moreover, it is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, which means it is not required to comply to any international surveillance requests so your data will always remain safe.
- Unlimited bandwidth for free
- No-log policy
- AES-256 bit encryption
- Features like Kill Switch are not available in the iPhone app
- Paid plans are quite expensive
Download Proton VPN from the App Store (Free, paid plans starting from €4 per month)
2. Windscribe VPN
Another free iPhone VPN app that you can use, Windscribe VPN offers plenty of reasons to make it your go-to VPN on your iOS device. When you use Windscribe on your iPhone, it uses double-hop encryption, which means your data is encrypted twice and travels through two servers before it gets to the internet.
Windscribe VPN offers a kill switch, which means your data will absolutely never wander out of your VPN tunnel. Plus, it offers split-tunnelling, which means you can use both public and private networks at the same time. It also uses SHA512 encryption to secure your data. Windscribe VPN is also secure from WebRTC leaks and DNS leaks.
In the free version of Windscribe VPN you will get 10GB of monthly data, which is one of the highest offered by apps on this list. Plus, it supports P2P servers and torrenting as well. Windscribe VPN has a no-log policy, but the company is headquartered in Canada, which is a part of the Five Eyes intelligence coalition, so it may be forced to share whatever data it has on you with government agencies. That includes things like the amount of data you use every month, as well as the timestamps for your activity.
- Kill switch
- Double hop SHA512 encryption
- 10GB free data
- No-log policy
- Based in Canada and may be forced to share your data with government agencies
Download Windscribe VPN from the App Store (Free, paid plans start at $9 per month)
3. Hide.me VPN
Another free VPN app for iPhone that I’d recommend you to check out is Hide.me VPN. Hide Me offers a lot of impressive features even in its free tier that make it a pretty solid choice for the best free VPN app. Unlike some other free VPNs, Hide.me doesn’t show any ads to you even in the free tier. You get to choose between 5 different locations, and Hide.me has a strict no-logs policy to ensure your privacy.
It also comes with features like split-tunnelling, AES-256 encryption, as well as support for multiple VPN protocols including IKEv2, OpenVPN, SoftEther, and SSTP. In the free tier of the service, you get 10GB bandwidth per month, which is pretty good. However, you can subscribe to the paid plans to get even more features such as fixed IP, dynamic port forwarding, and more, along with unlimited bandwidth.
- Kill switch support
- 10GB free bandwidth
- no logs
- Free plan only offers 1 simultaneous connection
- Doesn’t work with Netflix
Download Hide.me VPN from the App Store (Free, paid plans start at $3 per month — billed annually)
TunnelBear is a very well known VPN app. The TunnelBear app for iOS will allow you to connect to a VPN, and browse securely from a number of locations. You can choose to let the app decide on the best location to VPN from, or you can select the location that you want. In the free plan, TunnelBear offers 500 MB of data per month, which may be quite low but it could be sufficient if you aren’t a heavy user. Moreover, the app provides AES-256 bit encryption and has strong servers in more than 22 countries including the US, UK, Cana, France, and more. In a nutshell, should you want to go for a simple and secure free VPN for your iOS device, TunnelBear can be a strong contender for your needs.
- Pretty neat user-interface
- Provides essential safeguard for personal data
- AES-256 bit encryption
- Offers only 500 MB of data per month in the freemium version
- Servers available only in around 22 countries
Download from the App Store (Free, $4.99/month)
5. Hotspot Shield
Hotspot Shield is another iOS VPN app that has received high ratings in the App Store. The app asks you to sign up (or sign in) when you first launch it. You can skip it if you want to use it without creating an account. Apart from offering one of the fastest VPN servers, the app has support for more than 70 locations. Even on the protection front, Hotspot Shield is up to the mark due largely to the military-grade encrypted traffic between the servers and the connected device. What’s more, it’s integrated with 1Password, which is one of the best password managers, to help you manage your passwords with ease and also keep them away from the prying eyes. But keep in mind, Hotspot Shield’s free version doesn’t have much to offer. So, you will need to subscribe to the pro version (one-year plan: $7.99/month) to use all the features without any restrictions.
- Military-grade encrypted traffic
- Integrated with 1Password
- Has one of the fastest VPN servers
- Not as easy-to-use
- Design language could be a little better
Download from the App Store (Free, $7.99/month – billed annually)
6. VPN by SurfEasy
One of the highest-rated apps on the App Store – VPN by SurfEasy is definitely a good VPN app. By default, the app chooses the most optimum server location to route your traffic through, but if you want, you can change the location to a country that you prefer. Thanks to the reliable no-log policy along with the A-256 bank-grade security, your personal information stays safeguarded. Plus, it provides a handy tracker blocking algorithm that keeps cookies (used by data trackers) at bay so that you can browse the web with the needed security. Add to that the WiFi hotspot protection as well as the support for more than 28 countries and SurfEasy turn into a pretty good VPN that can fit into most people’s needs. But keep in mind, the freemium version of this VPN app has several limitations and you will need to upgrade to the premium ($1.99/month) offering to unlock all the features.
- Fast connection
- Reliable no-log policy
- WiFi hotspot protection
- A-256 bank-grade security
- Feels less responsive at times
- Automatically disconnects from the network sometimes
Download from the App Store (Free, $1.99/month)
Betternet is a very minimally designed, and easy to use VPN app, with highly positive ratings on the App Store. The freemium version of the app is limited and features ads, which you can get rid of using the in-app purchases ($35.99/year). It encrypts your entire data to keep it protected from data trackers. And with the trusted no-log policy, you shouldn’t worry about your sensitive information being misused.
That said, it’s noteworthy that Betternet does log the domain names of websites you visit, although this data is anonymized so it can’t be traced back to you. The VPN app also uses your IP address to approximate your location, although Betternet claims that it doesn’t log your IP addresses at all. Apart from that, the app has servers in many countries and works pretty well in automatically connecting to the fastest VPN server so that you can browse with the desired speed. Overall, Betternet is, as far as VPN apps go, the easiest to use VPN app that you can get on the App Store.
- Encrypts your entire data
- Automatically connects to the fastest VPN server
- Trusted no-log policy
- The freemium version is quite basic
Download from the App Store (Free, $35.99/year or $11.99/month)
8. VPN in Touch
Another VPN app for the iPhone that you can try, is called VPN in Touch. While it may not be feature-rich, it’s up to the task when it comes to providing the needed protection to your data. One of my favorite features of this app is the data compression algorithm which can be very helpful for the folks who always look for ways to cut down data usage other than simply enabling low data mode on iPhone. Furthermore, it also has a reliable ad blocker that ensures you can browse the web smoothly without being entangled into ads. Though this VPN app is available for free, you will have to dole out some bucks ($29.99/year) to access all the goodies without any limitations. Overall, VPN in Touch is one of the most reliable VPN apps for iOS and is definitely worth a try.
- Provides the needed protection to your data
- Good data compression algorithm
- Integrated ad blocker
- The interface looks outdated
- May not appeal to those who look for a more personalized experience
Download from the App Store (Free, $29.99/year – data usage based plans available)
9. Ultra VPN
Ultra VPN, previously known as HexaTech, is an easy to use VPN app, that gets the job done. You don’t need to register prior to using the service, and connecting to the VPN server is fast, and straightforward, with just a tap of a button. By default, the app (like many others) connects you to a VPN server based on optimum performance. It lets you connect up to 5 devices at once so that you can browse the web securely on any of your devices. And with the military-grade encryption to boot, it’s second to none when it comes to defending your sensitive information against trackers. Do note that Ultra VPN doesn’t offer a full-fledged free plan. So, if you want to use this VPN app without any boundaries, you will need to shell out $12.99/month.
- Connects you to a VPN server based on optimum performance
- Connect up to 5 devices at once
- Unlimited bandwidth and connection up-time for premium members
- Doesn’t offer a full-fledged free plan
- At $12.99/month, the premium offering is a tad too expensive
Download from the App Store (Free, $12.99/month – cheaper plans available)
10. Daily VPN
This one is the sort of VPN app that can suit most people’s tastes due largely to the flexibility it offers. First and foremost, the app has a pretty good freemium variant unlike many other rivals in the market. And second, it lets you surf the web anonymously without eating into plenty of bandwidth. As far as the global network is concerned, it’s at par with more than 100 servers across over 20 countries.
Similar to other apps on this list of best VPN apps for iPhone, Daily VPN also uses 256-bit encryption to secure your data. It can also be used to unblock content over YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and all the best streaming services. On top of all. if you ever find the free version not meeting your demands, you can upgrade to the pro version ($12.99/month) to unlock more servers and even remove ads.
Daily VPN does log your IP address, but obfuscates and anonymizes it immediately. What’s more, the company only keeps your IP address in its logs while you’re connected to the VPN. The logs are deleted when you end your session. Even though Daily VPN doesn’t associate your IP address with your activity online, it’s still not as good as some of the top VPN apps on this list, such as Proton VPN which has a strict no-log policy.
- Pretty good freemium variant
- More than 100 servers across over 20 countries
- The app freezes at times due to ads in free version
- Stores IP addresses while you’re connected
Download from the App Store (Free, $69.99/year – cheaper plans available)
Bonus: Use Cloudflare 188.8.131.52 DNS
Cloudflare’s 184.108.40.206 free DNS service that’s free for anyone to use. While this isn’t exactly a VPN app, the 220.127.116.11 DNS app (iOS/Android) uses a VPN to route your search traffic to Cloudflare’s free 18.104.22.168 DNS. The company promises that it will never store your personal information on its servers and that it won’t sell your data to third parties. Plus, there’s no registration required to use their free DNS, and unlike most VPN services that have monthly usage limits, Cloudflare’s service is completely free for unlimited usage. You can check out our article on how to set up Cloudflare’s 22.214.171.124 DNS in case you don’t want to use the app. Also, if you’re not a fan of Cloudflare, you can check out some of the top Cloudflare alternatives as well.
Use These iPhone VPN Apps to Secure Your Online Privacy
While using VPN apps usually slows down the speed with which you can access the web, it’s still advisable to use VPN services (the good ones), especially when you’re browsing on a public network. VPNs can also let you access geo-locked content, that you would otherwise not be able to access. There are a lot of advantages to using a VPN server to browse the internet. So, if you’re even remotely conscious about your privacy online, you should definitely consider using a VPN app for your iPhone.