Opera has launched a free virtual private network (VPN) app for iOS. Named Opera VPN, the app allows iPhone and iPad users to bypass content locks by generating an IP from outside of their browsing location.

Opera VPN allows users to simulate a 'virtual location' from another region. Doing so allows users to hide their real location and access online content that might otherwise be restricted in their area. As an additional feature, the app removes ad-tracking cookies and comes with a built-in ad-blocker.

At present, users can simulate an IP from the US, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and Singapore, with Opera planning to bring support to more regions in future. The company also plans to release an Android version of Opera VPN at a later date.

The mobile app comes off the back of Opera's browser VPN, which the company launched in February. While it doesn't offer users full anonymity, Opera is the first mainstream browser to offer such privacy tools as a built-in feature.

Opera's VPN is powered by SurfEasy, a Canada-based web security firm purchased by Opera in 2015. SurfEasy president Chris Houston said: "Every day, millions of people, from students to working people, find that social-media sites like Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook are blocked when they surf on their campus or workplace Wi-Fi.

"The same goes for video-streaming sites. With the new Opera VPN app, we help people to break down the barriers of the web and enjoy the internet like it should be."

The price of privacy

Opera's VPN app is currently unlimited and ad-free, however Houston said that the company would "likely introduce advertising into the application in the future." He also revealed that the app would collect anonymous data from users, which would be passed on to third parties in order to fund the service.

Despite this, Houston said the company would not use use the data in a may that would make users' personal browsing habits identifiable. "It's important to understand that this is not data about what you do with your phone, but rather this is data about how a large group of people use their phones," he said.

"We recognise that this service may not be right for everyone... However, we believe that there's a large number of people that would prefer a free VPN and are comfortable with the value exchange we're offering."