Should I Use a VPN on My Phone?
Many of us use a VPN connection when browsing on our laptops and computers, and the security benefits of this software are well understood. A VPN — or virtual private network — can play an integral role in protecting your online activities from prying eyes and encrypting the personal information that is shared over the internet.
Despite this, VPN usage on mobile devices is far less common. This is somewhat surprising, due to the masses of personal information that is exposed whilst we browse on our phones — often using unsecure, public wi-fi networks.
Which begs the question — should I use a VPN on my mobile device? Read on to find out!
Those who have not come across the term before may be wondering, what is a VPN connection? A VPN creates a private network from a public internet connection. In doing this, a VPN will mask your IP address and prevent prying eyes — be it your internet service provider, government bodies or cybercriminals — from accessing your location and private information.
A VPN connection creates an encrypted tunnel between you and a server, which can be located anywhere in the world. Besides offering increased security, a VPN can allow you to bypass geo-blocking to access streaming services in other countries and in some cases, will increase your internet connection speed.
You may connect to a VPN through your device, a router or a mobile application.
Mobile VPN apps
Whilst some smartphones come equipped with VPN functionality, others may require you to download an app in order to enjoy the security benefits.
Many internet security providers have turned to developing mobile VPN apps to ensure the privacy of their customers across all settings. If you are looking for a security provider, check first to see if they offer this functionality.
If you search ‘VPN’ in the App or GooglePlay store, you will likely be bombarded with free options. It is wise to avoid these. Free VPNs may seem too good to be true — because they are. Free VPN providers have been known to slow your connection down, sell your data onto third parties and are unlikely to have your best interests at heart. Many free VPN smartphone apps are little more than mobile scams, trying to steal private information from their customers.
What to look for in a VPN
You may be wondering how to tell a quality VPN app from one that is more likely to do you harm than good. There are several telltale signs you should be looking out for before signing up to a VPN provider:
- A wide variety of server locations: The more locations, the more geographic options you have and the less likely that your connection will be slowed by excess users.
- Kill switch: A VPN kill switch continually monitors the quality of your connection and instantly severs your internet access should your connection drop out. Doing so prevents your IP address and personal information from being revealed.
- No log policy: A no log policy means that your VPN provider does not track and store your search history. Many less legitimate (often free) VPN providers do in fact keep your personal data and sell it onto third parties, who can target you with unwanted advertisements and spam.
- Customer support: As with any product you are investing in, you want to make sure that your VPN provider offers good customer support. A lack of contact information (including email address and live chat functionality) suggests that the provider may not care too much about the quality of their product.
Many of us spend the whole day with a smartphone in our hands — browsing, texting, streaming and working. Considering the amount of personal information we store and share on these devices, it makes sense to safeguard yourself with a VPN mobile app, for security and peace of mind.
Author Bio: Bridget
Bridget is a writer and editor, currently living in Melbourne. She is a copywriter for Newpath Web and loves working with words of all shapes and sizes. When not playing around with punctuation and grammar, she enjoys travelling and curating her Spotify playlists.