Using a VPN for mobile internet

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GerryL
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Using a VPN for mobile internet

Post by GerryL » Sun Aug 06, 2017 2:39 pm

This is a question for people who have experience using VPN apps/software.

The Background: I’m getting ready to travel to France next month. I’ll be bringing an unlocked iPhone (5c) and a wifi-only iPad Mini. After much research I have ordered a SIM for the iPhone from LeFrenchMobile. It should arrive in the next week or so. I have bought a pre-paid talk and data package for the SIM. I don’t expect to have to use the phone data a lot. Mostly for getting around: maps and touring apps.

I also explored VPNs, figuring that I will want to use public wifi (and hotel wifi) and may need to do some financial transactions to buy tickets, etc., something I rarely do on my iPad or iPhone if I am away from my secure home network. I installed and am trying out VPN Unlimited from a company called Keep Solid.

My phone service is from Consumer Cellular. My monthly plan includes 200Mb data, a limit I only reach when I am traveling – sometimes. Billed from beginning of month to the end.

Surprise. Surprise. !!!
So, I wake up the morning after launching the VPN on my phone and ipad. I am greeted by a message from CC alerting me that I have used up all my data for the month and they have moved me up to the next level – 500Mb. I immediately suspected that the VPN was at fault – running and pinging the VPN server even when the phone was not in use -- and logged out. (I have since taken the app off the phone, just to be safe.) A few hours later I got another alert from CC warning me that I had already used more than half of the 500Mb limit. I figured that those extra Mb were due to the reporting time lag. That evening I was able to call CC and get confirmation about that.

I have sent a message to Keep Solid / VPN customer support asking for guidance about how to use their VPN tool on a cell phone – something that I didn’t find in any of the online documentation. (They have been good about quickly answering my basic questions. They have forwarded the question to their tech support people.)

The Question: Does anybody here have experience using their cell phone with a VPN service? Any guidance you can provide? Just leave it off the phone?

Quickfoot
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Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:03 pm

Re: Using a VPN for mobile internet

Post by Quickfoot » Sun Aug 06, 2017 2:49 pm

First you don't need an app to do VPN in IOS devices, support is built in so you can just use Apple's VPN support and avoid the third party app.

Second IOS will show you what is using your bandwidth (as long as the app is still installed) and you can restrict mobile data usage by application, go to Settings & Cellular. In general if you are traveling internationally just turn off mobile data and turn it on ONLY when you need it. Google Maps (available on IOS) will let you download maps to your device over wifi which eliminates needing mobile data for that.

Before I switched to Verizon's unlimited data plan I turned off mobile data for nearly everything except Safari and my email client, you absolutely do NOT want Facebook or Instagram having access to mobile data as they are both bandwidth hogs (Instagram in particular).

Beck49
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Re: Using a VPN for mobile internet

Post by Beck49 » Sun Aug 06, 2017 3:13 pm

I faced the same problem when traveling. Just back from 3 weeks in Europe, but consider this a problem when using most public wifi when traveling. I have used Cloak for several years. Essentially I just get if for a few weeks, or maybe a month if I'm gone longer. Very inexpensive for peace of mind, and easy to use.

Here is a review you might find helpful. Good luck.

http://thesweetsetup.com/apps/best-vpn- ... -ios-os-x/

keaton
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Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2015 5:24 pm

Re: Using a VPN for mobile internet

Post by keaton » Sun Aug 06, 2017 3:24 pm

Personally, I run t-mobile internationally and maybe run cloak once in a while if I was on public wifi. If I don't have t-mobile, I just find the best SIM card deal when I fly into the country.

blueman457
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Re: Using a VPN for mobile internet

Post by blueman457 » Sun Aug 06, 2017 3:44 pm

I use a VPN with my iPhone when connecting to public wifi site. I haven't noticed any data consumption issues when using it domestically or abroad. I use TunnelBear which works pretty well (500mb free monthly) and is designed for the non-techie.

Blue Man

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VictoriaF
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Re: Using a VPN for mobile internet

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Aug 07, 2017 5:03 am

I don't use any electronics when I am traveling but frequently wish I could. Finding a trustworthy VPN provider is one of my concerns. Even if I pay $60/year I can't be sure that I'm not dealing with crooks.

In the future, I may try using TOR. From what I understand, it will be slow and bulky over WiFi, but I am willing to give up convenience for security.

Has anyone had experience using TOR over WiFi?

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

takeshi
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Re: Using a VPN for mobile internet

Post by takeshi » Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:23 am

GerryL wrote:The Question: Does anybody here have experience using their cell phone with a VPN service? Any guidance you can provide? Just leave it off the phone?
We do. We use the same VPN that we use on our laptops. However, we don't have such a tiny data plan. We use a fair amount of data and have 8GB per month that we share (2 phones and a tablet) along with some bonus data thrown in each month.

As stated above, IOS will tell you what's using your data. You'll want to verify that it is the VPN and not just concidental with something else.
Additionally, you can toggle cellular data on and off (for the entire device or on a per app basis -- or both) as needed.
VictoriaF wrote:Finding a trustworthy VPN provider is one of my concerns. Even if I pay $60/year I can't be sure that I'm not dealing with crooks.
There are resources out there such as That One Privacy Site.
VictoriaF wrote:In the future, I may try using TOR. From what I understand, it will be slow and bulky over WiFi
So you normally used a wired connection? Or did you mean to say cellular?

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VictoriaF
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Re: Using a VPN for mobile internet

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:52 am

takeshi wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:Finding a trustworthy VPN provider is one of my concerns. Even if I pay $60/year I can't be sure that I'm not dealing with crooks.
There are resources out there such as That One Privacy Site.
VictoriaF wrote:In the future, I may try using TOR. From what I understand, it will be slow and bulky over WiFi
So you normally used a wired connection? Or did you mean to say cellular?
At home I don't use a VPN and connect directly through my ISP. Currently, I travel without any electronics. I am contemplating using a smartphone for my future international travel but don't want to connect directly through WiFi. Using a VPN on a smartphone is a common recommendation. However, I don't want to configure a VPN server at my home and I don't know which VPN providers I could trust. I will take a look at the That One Privacy Site. But putting TOR on a smartphone seems to solve my issues at the expense of speed, which is OK for me.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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Hayden
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Re: Using a VPN for mobile internet

Post by Hayden » Mon Aug 07, 2017 11:17 am

I've been using Private Internet Access VPN for years. I just bought a pixel and it appears to have a built in VPN, so I guess I'll use that going forward. I figure Google already knows all my private info, so dropping PIA will give me one fewer company with access to my info.

PIA let me chose what location I was in, so when I was traveling outside the country, iI set it to appear that I was in Seattle. Does anyone know how Google's built in VPN works, specifically, where do I appear to be?

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