Should You Use the Free VPN on iPhone?

Vineet Maheshwari

When it comes to protecting your online privacy and security on your iPhone, using a VPN is one of the best steps you can take. A VPN encrypts your internet traffic and routes it through a remote server, hiding your real IP address and location. This makes it much harder for websites, advertisers, hackers, and even your own internet service provider to track your online activities.

However, not all VPNs are the same – especially when it comes to free VPN services and apps. While using a free VPN on your iPhone may be tempting, there are several important factors to consider before entrusting your data to one of these providers.

The Risks of Free iPhone VPNs

Lack of Privacy

The biggest issue with many free VPN services is that they undermine the very reason to use a VPN in the first place – privacy. Running a VPN service costs money for server maintenance, bandwidth, development, and support. So how do free VPN providers cover their costs? Often by collecting and selling user data to advertisers and analytics companies.

Some free VPNs have even been caught injecting ads and tracking cookies into users’ browsing sessions. Others install root certificates on your device which allow them to monitor your encrypted communications. Essentially, you’re trading tracking by your ISP for tracking by your VPN provider.

Poor Security

Free VPNs also tend to have weaker security compared to premium services. Many use outdated or insecure encryption protocols, have poorly configured servers, and suffer from IP and DNS leaks which expose your real location. Some popular free iPhones VPNs have even been hacked due to negligent security practices, putting millions of users’ data at risk.

Performance and Reliability Issues

Another major downside of free VPNs is that they typically have a much smaller server network, slower speeds, limited bandwidth, and more downtime than paid services. You’ll often be stuck with overcrowded servers in only a few locations. Connections may frequently drop and certain services like streaming or torrenting may be blocked. Some free providers even intentionally throttle your speeds in hopes you’ll upgrade to a paid plan.

Questionable Business Practices

Finally, many free VPNs engage in shady or even outright malicious business practices. Some bombard you with popup ads, hide important terms in the fine print, or make it difficult to delete your account and data. Others sneak in unexpected charges or trick you into signing up for recurring subscriptions. In the worst cases, free VPNs can infect your iPhone with malware or steal your bandwidth for use in botnets and spam campaigns.

When Are Free iPhone VPNs Okay to Use?

This isn’t to say that all free VPNs are bad or that you should never use one. If you only need a VPN occasionally for light web browsing or to quickly unblock a website, then a limited free plan from a reputable provider may be sufficient. For example, Proton VPN and Windscribe offer free iOS apps with no ads, speed limits, or bandwidth caps – just fewer server locations and features compared to their paid versions.

However, these are exceptions rather than the norm. For most users, especially those who want reliable privacy and security for daily use, a paid VPN is still the best choice. Spending a few dollars per month is a small price for the peace of mind of knowing your VPN provider isn’t profiting off your data or compromising your safety.

How to Choose the Best VPN for Your iPhone

Whether free or paid, make sure to do your research before installing any VPN on your iPhone. Look for services with:

  • Trustworthy privacy policies and no-log guarantees
  • Strong encryption and the latest VPN protocols
  • Plenty of fast servers in the locations you need
  • User-friendly iOS apps and responsive customer support
  • Extra features like ad blocking and split tunneling
  • Transparent business practices and third-party audits

For reliability, I would suggest using paid VPNs like Surfshark or ExpressVPN. You can click here to learn more about how they work and what they offer, and promotional offers.

The Bottom Line

Using a free VPN on your iPhone can be risky when it comes to privacy and security. Many free providers profit from user data, have poor performance and lack important features. While limited free plans from reputable services are usable for occasional browsing, a premium VPN is still the best way to stay safe online. By paying a small subscription fee, you can avoid the hidden costs and dangers of free VPNs while enjoying faster speeds, better reliability, and peace of mind. Always do your due diligence before trusting any VPN with your iPhone data.

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Vineet Maheshwari is a passionate blogger and relationship oriented digital marketing consultant with over 10 years of experience in SEO, PPC management, web analytics, domain investing, affiliate marketing and digital strategy. He has helped high tech brands connect with customers in an engaging manner, thereby ensuring that high quality leads are generated over time.
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