Should I leave my Android VPN app on at all times?

person using an android VPN app
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While VPNs have been a fixture on home or office computers for some years now (helping users stay safe online and access region-specific sites), their massive spurt in popularity means that they're just as handy to have on mobile devices, too.

Pretty much all of the best-known providers give users the option to secure their phones and tablets with a dedicated Android VPN app. But, once installed, is it really necessary to have the app running at all times? Read on to discover if there’s ever a good time to switch it off.

  • See also: our dedicated list of the best working Netflix VPN

 What do VPN apps do?

There are many benefits of having a mobile VPN app on your Android device. But the main two can probably be narrowed down to internet security and enabling you to circumnavigate geographical restrictions on websites and streaming services. 

A VPN encrypts the traffic originating from your device and redirects it through a third-party server, creating a break in the chain which makes it difficult to trace the origin of the data you’ve sent. It also protects you from hackers who might be trying to steal your personal information, such as your credit card or banking details. This is particularly useful when you log on to an unsecured public Wi-Fi network or 4G - something you may do frequently with your Android device, especially whilst abroad. 

A VPN also comes in useful when you want to work around any geographical restrictions put in place by streaming sites like Netflix. By masking your IP address and making it appear as if you are accessing content from a non-restricted region, a solid streaming VPN can enable you to watch content from anywhere in the world.  

Time to switch off?

If you are using a secure internet connection and not attempting to stream restricted content then you really don’t need to be running your VPN. And there are some good reasons to switch it off.

For example, VPNs can slow down the speed at which you are able to download content from the internet. This can be an issue particularly if you are gaming or attempting to download a large file to your device.

In addition, having a VPN running in the background can seriously diminish the battery level of your device. If you are away from a charger for an extended period of time, it’s definitely a good idea to switch off your VPN. 

Should I leave my Android VPN app on at all times?

Virtual private network apps are very handy for Android users and the number of great VPN uses run on and on. Not only do they make it safer to browse the internet with your device, but they enable you to watch geographically-restricted content on the go - regardless of your physical location.

But these apps do have an effect on the speed and battery life of your device, so only turn your VPN on when you really think you need it. 

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Kieron Allen

Kieron is a freelance science and technology journalist with more than a decade of experience writing for magazines in print and online. Today, his focus is on cybersecurity, blockchain, and emerging tech.