Looking through your phone settings, you notice a strange acronym ‘VPN’. You click on it, and it’s empty. ‘What does it mean?’ You wonder. Simply put, a VPN keeps the personal information stored on your phone or tablet out of the reach of hackers. In this article, we’ll help you understand what is “VPN” on your Phone or Tablet and why you need it on your device.
What is a VPN on my phone or tablet?
The acronym ‘VPN’ that you see on your phone or tablet stands for Virtual Private Network. When you use your phone or iPad to browse the internet, you leave a trail of personal information including usernames, passwords, credit card details, bank details, addresses and more.
There’s more: did you know that anyone who is looking can actually see all this information? If you use public WI-FI, there is an even greater risk of someone snooping and stealing your confidential information.
That’s right. Anyone from hackers, the hotspot owner at your favorite coffee shop, to your internet service provider (ISP) can spy on your online activities and use your information without your permission.
This is where a VPN comes in. This is basically software that makes your online traffic unreadable to any prying eyes. Normally, your traffic passes through the servers of an ISP or hotspot owner who, as we’ve mentioned, can snoop on your activities online.
When you install a VPN, it channels your traffic to its own secure servers away from the eyes of ISPs and hotspot gatekeepers. This way, you’ll finally be anonymous online and no one will be able to spy on you while you are browsing on your phone or tablet.
VPN companies provide lite apps that you can install on your Android device or iPhone. If you have not installed an app, you will not see anything when you click on the VPN acronym under your phone or tablet settings.
This is what it looks like (on a smartphone):
Once you install the app, you will see the brand icon of your chosen provider.
All you’d need to do next is to choose a server in your desired country and click connect to start surfing the internet privately and securely. If you have no specific server you would like to connect to, your provider will connect you to the best one for your location.
Be careful, this is NOT the app of your VPN provider. This is just an overview of the different VPNs you have installed on your smartphone or tablet. Each provider has its own software.
Why you should install a VPN on your phone or tablet
Now, we assume that you’ve understood why you see VPN on your smartphone and what it’s doing there, in your settings. It’s about time to tell you why you really need one.
Think of the many times you have used your phone or tablet to connect to a public WI-FI network whether at the airport, coffee shop, park, or at school. As much as we all love free WI-FI, the open nature of these networks makes them a prime target for hackers.
Every time you connect to a WI-FI network without a VPN, you face a real risk of becoming a victim of identity theft, malware attack, phishing, or other types of hacker attacks.
A VPN makes it difficult for anyone who intercepts the network to access your personal information. If online security is a concern, a good VPN service can be your best defense against cyber threats, especially if you regularly connect to public WI-FI.
Other than that, these services can hide your geographical location by masking your real IP address. An IP address is simply a string of numbers assigned to every device that is connected to the internet. The address varies by location.
You can easily find out your IP address by typing, “what is my IP address’’ on your phone’s Google search function.
“Why would I want to hide my IP address?” You might ask. Good question. There are several perks to obfuscating your real IP address. First, it adds an extra layer of security to your online activities so hackers cannot track your actual location.
Additionally, when you hide your real location, you can access location-sensitive content on sites such as Hulu, HBO, and Netflix, especially if you are outside the USA. You’d also be able to access restricted sites such as Facebook in countries that impose internet censorship, for example, China.
Lastly, hiding your IP address stops websites from spying on your online activities and targeting you with unwanted advertisements.
What’s a good VPN for your iPhone?
VPN services are not all the same.
You might come across some that claim to be free but do not be in a rush to install these free apps. The problem with free providers is that they make money by collecting your data and selling it to advertisers. This is the very thing they are supposed to be protecting you from!
On the other hand, the benefits of a premium service far outweigh the costs. These services have advanced encryption technology to keep your online traffic tightly private and safe from would-be intruders.
Importantly, these providers do not store your online data. What this means is if by chance someone succeeded in hacking the provider’s servers, this person would not have any data to steal in the first place.
Not too sure about committing to a VPN provider? We totally understand and that’s why we recommend going with a provider that lets you try their service risk-free. For example, ExpressVPN is one of the most reliable providers and right now, you can start with a free VPN for iPhone and enjoy their 30-day money-back guarantee.
The ExpressVPN app is lightweight and boasts fast connections so it will not slow down your internet speeds. It also comes with standard security features such as DNS leak protection, kill switch, and military-grade encryption to keep your online mobile activities completely private and secure from hackers and spies.