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VPN FOR IPHONE: 5 paid + 5 free services (2020)

Last updated: May 28 2020 By Dean Chester

Over more than 10 years of testing VPN services on various platforms, I have gained a lot of experience about when, why, and which VPNs are better to use and why. In this review-comparison, I will try to give you the most up-to-date information about VPN work on Apple mobile gadgets.

What is the difference between iPhone and other smartphones? First of all, it is an optimized protected architecture, thanks to which the device works clearly and quickly, and it is extremely difficult to access the information stored on it.

Why, then, if Apple products are well-protected, will millions of users download and install VPNs?

The answer is not related to the iPhone itself. A modern user spends more and more time on the Internet, searching websites, using instant messengers and other apps, streaming videos, etc.

 There are three main reasons for using VPN on iPhone:

  1. Masking your location (IP address spoofing)
  2. Protection of transmitted and received data
  3. Bypassing geo-restrictions and various types of blocks, including censorship on the Internet.

Read on and you will find out how VPN works on Apple iPhone and which services have passed the tests on this platform better than others.

 
The five best VPNs for iOS
  1. ExpressVPN: Service that can be called the “Premium” VPN. Very high speed, stability, a high level of information security (including diskless servers), trouble-free access to Netflix and much more.
  2. NordVPN: One of the biggest providers that has more than 5700 servers. Support the most advanced WireGuard protocol, diskless servers, collaboration with VerSprite, streaming support and more.
  3. NordVPN: Ideal for beginners. The best combination of low price and powerful functionality. It works even in China. 7-day trial period.
  4. Mullvad: Another VPN with WireGuard. It differs from NordVPN in that it doesn’t have advanced functionality.
  5. CyberGhost VPN: The largest service. Special servers for streaming, access to any of almost 6,000 servers in 89 countries.
 
The five free VPNs for iOS
  1. ProtonVPN: 3 countries for free, unlimited traffic with a limited speed. Powerful paid version.
  2. Windscribe: 10GB per month, 3 countries. It is possible to use without registration (up to 2GB per month). Limited speed.
  3. hide.me: 4 countries, 10GB per month, no registration needed. Protocol Selection, Kill Switch.
  4. Touch VPN: Only the server in NL is free, an abundance of advertising, but unlimited volume of traffic.
  5. TurboVPN: 3 days for free, no registration needed. A lot of advertising. Functionality and possibilities are minimal.
  • Recommendation. Virtual Private Network (VPN) directly affects the speed of the Internet. The main difference between paid and free services is in speed. If you are not sure that the selected service will work well on your iPhone, then use the services that have a free trial period (read on) or refund the money within 30-45 days (all the presented VPNs have such an opportunity). Free services are convenient only for single or rare use cases. They do not support Netflix streaming and other video services, have a poor choice of countries and other disadvantages.

What should a VPN App for iPhone be?

First of all, let's figure out what affects the work of VPN on a smartphone, especially on the iPhone. Some of the points listed may seem insignificant, but the overall result pretty much depends on each of them.

Factors affecting the comfort and safety of a VPN user:

  • Effect on connection speed
  • CPU load
  • Impact on battery life
  • Connection stability (how often the loss of connection with the VPN server occurs)
  • Connect / Reconnect Time
  • Security settings (especially in difficult conditions - with a weak cellular Internet signal, movements between access points, etc.)

The most basic is the effect on the data transfer rate. You are unlikely to use the service with which you have to wait for each page to load, or if you need to switch between different locations 2-3 times in order to find a more stable connection.

Also, support for all popular resources will not be out of place. For example, weak VPNs can create problems when accessing Gmail and most services don’t support entertainment sites with geo-restrictions. Therefore, you need to the protected connection turn on and off, depending on the goals.

Perfectly, use a VPN app that runs in the background without loading the processor and battery, doesn’t limit the speed, is able to reconnect itself and open access to any site.

In the next chapter, you will meet the main players in the VPN market and choose the most suitable iPhone app that meets the most stringent requirements for yourself.

Best VPN App for iOS Based on 2020 Test Results

More than 40 providers were investigated by me, and ExpressVPN received the most points. In addition to maximum versatility and powerful technical infrastructure, it provides the best speed with incredible stability of the connection.

NordVPN almost doesn’t lag behind. In April, the provider activated support for the most advanced WireGuard protocol. This allows it to be maximally adapted for mobile devices.

Read on and you will learn more about the pros and cons of these and other great VPN services. Each of them has its own characteristics, which may be needed precisely in your case.

Comparison of the main characteristics of VPN services that are in demand for iPhone

Service Ranking
(out of 10)
Speed, Mbps Country
selection
Battery life
(out of 10)
Netflix Price
(monthly)
ExpressVPN 10 >100 94 10 + $6.67-12.95
NordVPN 10 >60 59 10 + $3.49-11.95
Surfshark 10 >50 61 9 + $1.99-11.95
Mullvad 9 60-80 36 10 + €5
CyberGhost VPN 9 40-70 89 9 +    $2.75-12.99  

ExpressVPN

 Main benefits

  • High speed
  • High stability
  • Locations in 94 countries
  • Netflix and Hulu Support

Overview

One of the fastest VPN services that support iOS is ExpressVPN. But not only that makes it  the # 1 on our list. The most valuable thing about this provider is stability combined with extensive capabilities, the use of diskless services for maximum privacy and its secure offshore jurisdiction.

The technical infrastructure of the provider is the second largest in terms of the number of supported countries (94).

iOS apps successfully passed all security tests.

 
ExpressVPN
Extra 20% discount plus 3 months for free
 

Provider’s Features

  • Speed of ​​over 150 Mbps
  • Netflix support for any region
  • Block bypassing
  • Confirmed high security
  • Premium quality app

It is worth noting that ExpressVPN is also the winner in VPNs ratings for Windows, Android, routers and other platforms. The service allows you to connect up to 5 devices at once.

Price

The table lists the ExpressVPN tariff plans

  1 month 6 months 1 year
Price (monthly) $12.95 $9.99 $6.67
Money-back guarantee 30 30 30

 The functionality on iOS or other platforms doesn’t depend on the duration of the subscription.

Conclusion

  • ExpressVPN is great for fast and secure internet access
  • Suitable for any purpose
  • Strong streaming support
  • All platforms support
  • Privacy policy and diskless servers guarantee complete confidentiality
 
ExpressVPN
Secure VPN emphasizing iPhone security
 

Read also:

ExpressVPN app for iOS


NordVPN

Main advantages

  • 5800+ servers
  • Confirmed security
  • Powerful WireGuard protocol
  • Netflix and Hulu support
 
NordVPN
Convenient app and access to 5700+ servers with relevant app.
 

Price

The table lists NordVPN’s tariff plans

  1 month 1 year 2 year 3 year
Price (monthly) $11.95 $6.99 $4.99 $3.49
Money-back guarantee 30 30 30 30

The functionality on iOS or other platforms doesn’t depend on the duration of the subscription.

Conclusion

  • NordVPN offers a powerful multi-functional app
  • Support of the best WireGuard protocol
  • Balanced price
  • Streaming support
  • Passed security tests on all platforms.

I use NordVPN for work and for personal purposes on different devices, including the iPhone. I like its technical characteristics, suitable for critical tasks and entertainment.

 
NordVPN Preview
The Most Popular VPN Service According to Google Trends
 

Read also:

NordVPN app for iOS


Surfshark

Main advantages

  • Low price
  • NoBorders (Obfuscation)
  • Kill switch
  • Static IP, MultiHop (double VPN)

Overview

If it is important for you to save money, then I recommend the third service - Surfshark. This is also a powerful VPN with a number of useful features that extend the classic functionality of VPN apps. At the same time, it is the only one on our list that has a price below $2 per month.

  • Professional app
  • Connection to static IP
  • More than 15 pairs of servers for MultiHop connection (double protection)
  • Works in countries where VPNs are blocked
  • There are servers with low speed
  • Has a low price only for a 2-year subscription.

I want to note the growing popularity of the provider. A year ago, few people knew about it. Today, Surfshark has many regular users, which is evident by the number of positive reviews on Reddit.

 
Surfshark Preview
Start using Surfshark (from $ 1.99 per month)
 

Price

The table lists Surfshark VPN plans

  1 month 1 year 2 years
Price (monthly) $11.95 $5.99 $1.99
Money-back guarantee 30 30 30

Functionality on iPhone or other platforms doesn’t depend on the duration of the subscription.

Conclusion

  • Surfshark is a great alternative to more expensive services.
  • The app has features to increase privacy.
  • Netflix support.
  • Unlimited number of devices per subscription.
 
Surfshark Preview
Surfshark supports all platforms and does not have a limit on the devices used.
 

Read also

Surfshark app for iOS


Mullvad

Main advantages

  • WireGuard support
  • No email needed to sign up
  • Confirmed security

Overview

 Mullvad differs from other VPN providers in that it has the most anonymous registration and in that the price doesn’t depend on the duration of the subscription due to the fact that the accounts do not have a regular identifier (e-mail).

The iOS app has just recently been introduced. It has functionality focused on maximum speed and connection protection. At the same time, due to the use of WireGuard, the processor load is reduced, due to which the use of VPN practically does not affect the battery life of the smartphone.

Small disadvantages include a smaller choice of countries than competitors (36 against 59-94 for services from the top 3) and only iOS 13 and higher support.

Price

 The table shows the only one Mullvad tariff plan

  1 month
Price (monthly) €5
Money-back guarantee 30

With a sign up you get a unique number to make payment and which is used as a login

Conclusion

  • Mullvad is a great solution if you need to be completely anonymous
  • Good security
  • WireGuard Support
  • Good price for 1-month subscription

Read also:

Mullvad app for iOS

CyberGhost VPN

Main advantages

  • Over 6400 servers in 90 countries
  • Netflix support

Overview

Today, CyberGhost VPN is the largest VPN service. Its undeniable advantage is that it belongs to a company that owns three large VPNs at once: CyberGhost VPN, Private Internet Access and ZenMate. There is no reliable information that all three services are integrated into one network, but my research showed a significant intersection of CyberGhost VPN’s and ZenMate’s addresses. This means that the whole system is balanced and the load is distributed evenly. And this is the basis of good speed and stability of the connection.

The app features for the iPhone is classic: available location and protocol selection, app settings.

Price

 The service has a simple pricing policy and one tariff plan

  1 month 1 year 2 years 3 year
Price (monthly) $12.99 $5.99 $3.69 $2.75
Money-back guarantee - 45 45 45

Functionality on iPhone or other platforms doesn’t depend on the duration of the subscription.

Conclusion

  • CyberGhost VPN has a record number of servers with the ability to access each of them.
  • Active development of the owner company Kape Technologies.
  • Basic functionality.

Read also:

CyberGhost VPN app for iOS

Free VPN for iPhone - is it real?

At first glance, it may seem that many free VPN apps have been created for iOS, especially if you turn to the Apple App Store. However, upon closer inspection, it turns out that the vast majority of the so-called “Free VPNs” are just paid services of dubious quality with a free trial period.

But, fortunately, there is an opportunity to use the service without cheating. The easiest and most effective way is to choose a regular paid VPN with a free plan.

Read on to find a truly free service with unlimited time of use.

Warning: All free VPNs have significant drawbacks. For iPhone, this is a low speed, too limited choice of countries and, as a rule, a monthly traffic limit. Free services are more suitable for rare or one-time use.

Free ProtonVPN

Main advantages

  • Unlimited-traffic free plan
  • The ability to switch to a high-quality paid version
  • Trial of the “Pro” version with transition to a free plan

Overview

 ProtonVPN is the undeniable leader among the VPN services providing free access. Its main advantage is the lack of traffic limits at a decent speed (about 4-7 Mbps).

 The service is also convenient in that it provides a fully functional trial period for 7 days with a really powerful Pro subscription. Moreover, after its completion, there is no need to pay money. You can continue to use the free version with restrictions.

This is a unique offer and I haven’t seen analogs of it.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
  • Acceptable speed
  • 7-day free full-featured trial
  • Powerful paid version
  • Does not keep logs
  • Torrenting and streaming aren’t supported in free trial
  • 3 countries

Free Windscribe

Main advantages

  • 10GB per month for free
  • Great paid version
  • Advanced features

Overview

 Windscribe is a great alternative to ProtonVPN in case you don't need to use a VPN constantly. It even has a number of advantages. The main one is “invisible” protocols support, which can be useful in cases if you need to hide the fact of using a virtual private network from the Internet provider.

In addition, it is possible to use the application without registration at all. However, in this case, the 10 GB traffic limit is reduced to 2 GB per month.

Windscribe also has a powerful paid version that allows you to access servers for streaming in more than 50 countries (only 3 for free).

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
  • Acceptable speed
  • Convenient app
  • Does not keep logs
  • Monthly traffic limit
  • 3 countries
  • Shows many locations and special servers that aren’t available for free

Free hide.me

Main advantages

  • 10 GB per month
  • Protocol selection

Overview

In 2020, hide.me increased the limit of free traffic from 2 to 10GB. At the same time, it is inferior to Windscribe in functionality and quality of the paid version.

The application is quite suitable for use on the iPhone, it provides data protection and IP address masking.

Among the shortcomings, I want to highlight connection failures, unstable speed, and the need for registration.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
  • Does not keep logs
  • Increased traffic limit
  • Connection failures
  • Low-level paid version
  • Registration needed

Touch VPN

Main advantages

  • No traffic limit
  • Lack of settings
  • One VPN location

Overview

TouchVPN is different in that it doesn’t have registration while using the free version. However, at the same time, the user has no choice of countries. You can only connect to a server in the Netherlands. There are also no protocol settings and no connection settings at all. This can be a problem if your ISP restricts UDP connections. The speed is unstable and sometimes drops to almost zero.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
  • No registration needed
  • Unlimited traffic
  • No choice of locations
  • No connection settings

TurboVPN

Main advantages

  • One location
  • Many ads
  • Low speed

Overview

Turbo VPN is similar to the previous service in that it has no settings and provides access to only one location, but as a benefit it has an incredible amount of built-in advertising it displays with every action: connecting, disconnecting, downloading the app, and with each action in general.

In this case, the speed leaves much to be desired.

The app has a built-in “secure” browser. It seemed to me that the only reason for this is to show ads.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
  • Unlimited traffic
  • Low speed
  • No server selection
  • Many ads
  • Minimalistic functionality

Read also:

CoolTechZone - Chief Editor
Dean Chester
Cybersecurity and online privacy expert and researcher. He's been published on OpenVPN, EC-Council Blog, DevSecOps, AT-T Business, SAP Community, etc. Dean has been testing VPNs for 8 years.

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