Using VPN on Android devices

There are good reasons to use a VPN not only on your PC, but also on your Android smartphone or tablet. We will show you what you need to consider.

Many people use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) on their PC to protect their privacy. A VPN hides your IP address behind that of a VPN node. If this is in another country, a website that you are now calling will give the impression that you are in that third country. This protects part of your privacy and can also allow access to content that you cannot reach from Germany (geo-blocking). Conversely, when you travel with a VPN, you can access content that is accessible from Germany but not from your current destination. In addition, all network traffic between your mobile device and the VPN node is encrypted and thus protected from inquisitive third parties. It is important to have a safe phone when you travel, read more at!

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The use of a VPN on a smartphone or tablet can therefore make sense, especially when travelling. This starts with public WLAN hotspots whose operators (and their trustworthiness) you cannot assess. This also applies to the WLAN in the hotel. In addition, there may be a perpetrator near you who operates a WLAN hotspot with his notebook and pretends with a suitably chosen name that it is the network of the hotel, airport or café in which you are currently sitting. If you connect your device to this dubious WLAN unsuspectingly, the perpetrator could pick up confidential information such as login data, redirect you to fraudulent websites or accuse you of harmful downloads. When you use a VPN, it sees only the noise of an encrypted stream of data that it can’t handle.

With a VPN, you can also connect to your home network or your employer’s or customer’s LAN on the go without exposing confidential data to third party access. Using a WLAN hotspot can save you the high roaming fees that can be incurred for data-intensive applications over the mobile network in the country of travel. A VPN offers additional protection for your privacy.

  1. If you don’t want to miss the current episode of your favourite series on holiday, select a server location in Germany in the VPN app to access the media libraries of German TV stations. The media libraries are usually only freely accessible from Germany, but only from Austria and Switzerland. And you can also access streaming services such as Netflix USA or BBC iPlayer via VPN at home with the tablet.
  2. For online banking on mobile devices, it is regularly recommended that you prefer to use the mobile network. With a VPN, you can also use the WLAN in your hotel. You can also set up a server location in Germany so that your bank doesn’t even have the idea that unauthorized persons are accessing your account from abroad and are therefore denied access.
  3. To ensure that the camouflage of your actual location also works, you should at least switch off the positioning services (GPS & Co) of your Android device during VPN use. Otherwise, apps that have access to the positioning functions can determine where you are despite VPN and report this to the servers to which the apps connect.

VPN Configuration

Compared to the VPN clients for Windows, many VPN apps for Android offer far fewer setting options. This makes the setup clearer and easier, but on the other hand limits your options. However, it’s important to get a little involved with the settings, especially when you’re traveling.

NordVPN: Configuration

Familiarize yourself with the operation and configuration of your VPN app before you leave. When setting up the VPN app, pay attention to what happens if you get out of reach of the WLAN hotspot unnoticed. Otherwise, the encrypted VPN connection may be interrupted and you may surf the mobile network unprotected. To prevent this, many VPN apps have an “Internet Kill Switch”, which is often, but not always, activated by default. The kill switch prevents any Internet data traffic if the VPN connection is interrupted.

For NordVPN, activate both options under “Automatic connection” instead, i.e. “When using WLAN” and “When using mobile networks”. As a result, the VPN connection is automatically re-established when switching between both networks. If required, you can also specify a server location to which the connection is to be established. This could be a location in Germany, for example. You can adjust this setting at any time or establish a connection to another location in between. You can put your WLAN at home and/or at your workstation on the exception list. In this case, no VPN connection will be established for Internet access via these access points.

If you use the Blokada advertising blocker on your Android device, you cannot use a VPN provider of your choice. Blokada takes the only VPN interface in Android for itself to block all connections to ad networks. As a way out, Blokada now offers its own VPN service, which is still under construction. If you want to use NordVPN or another VPN provider, you first have to temporarily deactivate Blokada to enable the VPN interface.

A VPN can therefore also be useful on a smartphone or tablet. In our VPN market overview, we have compiled a lot of information on several providers for you so that you can find the VPN service that suits you best.