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(Pocket-lint) - You may have heard that the new Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro will get VPN by Google One and may be wondering what that's all about. Previously exclusive to those subscribed to Google One's 2TB or higher plans, all you'll need now is one of Google's latest phones. Here is everything you need to know about the mobile VPN service, including how it works and how to turn it on your phone. It works on both Android and iOS devices, if you subscribe to Google One.

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What is VPN by Google One?

VPN by Google One is a mobile VPN service. It's accessible from the Google One app on Android or iOS.

It's an extra layer of protection that allows you to encrypt your online activity - no matter the app or browser you're using. You can browse, stream, and download content with a secure and private connection and won't have to worry about hackers on unsecured networks (like public Wi-Fi) intercepting your sensitive information. Google said the VPN by Google One is"backed by its "best in class network architecture" and has published loads of information detailing how its VPN service works and can ensure you can always have a fast, secured internet connection across your apps and services.

How does Google One's VPN service work?

Google has actually published an entire VPN by Google One whitepaper detailing the specifics of how its VPN service works. We recommend reading that if you want the nitty gritty.

But the TL;DR version is: On your device, when you use your web browser and apps, they can communicate your information online.

For instance, your online activity can be accessed by your network provider, and the sites that you visit might track you based on your IP address Google notes that some sites and apps use outdated, weak, or use no encryption at all. That means, while in transit, your unsecured data can be intercepted or modified by hackers, which, obviously, opens you up to privacy and security risks.

But if you enable a VPN, your online data is protected, as it travels through a strongly encrypted tunnel. The VPN by Google One tunnel is operated by Google and maintained through its "secure global servers". Again, read Google's whitepaper for the details about how its servers are secure. Google said it will never use the VPN connection to track, log, or sell your browsing activity. The company promises that its systems have "advanced security built in" that ensures no one uses the VPN to tie your online activity to your identity. Google made its client libraries open sourced and noted that its end-to-end systems have been independently audited.

Anyway, to allow websites to show the right content for your region, the VPN by Google One will assign you an IP address based on your current country. But websites can't use this IP address to determine your precise location.

Do you need a Google One subscription to use its VPN?

Yes, although Google recently announced that its VPN will be free to all Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro users later this year. Currently, the VPN is available to those who subscribe to the 2TB (or higher) Google One plan in select countries. The 2TB plan is $9.99 per month in the US. For more about Google One, what it is, and how much it costs, see our separate guide.

How to turn on VPN by Google One

Turning on VPN by Google One takes one tap from the Google One app. 

  1. Open the Google One app on your Android or iOS device.
  2. Make sure you're logged into your Google account.
  3. At the bottom of the Google One app, tap Benefits.
  4. Find the VPN benefit and tap View Details.
  5. Turn on Enable VPN.

For extra security, you can set up your phone to only use the internet when the VPN is on. If your VPN is disconnected, internet access is blocked until the VPN reconnects.

  1. Open the Google One app.
  2. At the bottom, tap Benefits.
  3. Find the VPN benefit and tap View details.
  4. Tap Manage VPN Settings.
  5. Turn on Block internet if VPN disconnects.
    • If your device restarts, the VPN tries to automatically reconnect.
    • Before it reconnects, your internet connection isn't blocked or protected.
    • Once the VPN reconnects, you'll see a key at the top of your screen.

You can disable this setting at any time in your VPN settings.

Need more help? See Google's support page for VPN by Google One.

How to add VPN by Google One to your quick settings

You can add VPN by Google to your Android device's quick settings for even easier access.

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  1. From the top of your screen, swipe down twice.
  2. At the bottom left, tap Edit.
  3. Touch and hold the VPN by Google One option.
  4. Then drag the setting to where you want it
    • To add a setting, drag it up from "Hold and drag to add tiles."
    • To remove a setting, drag it down to "Drag here to remove."

Which devices can use Google One's VPN?

VPN by Google One is available in the Google One app for Android and iOS devices.

Where is Google One's VPN is available?

The VPN by Google One is available in select countries/regions: Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UK, and US. If you have the VPN by Google One turned on and your home country or region is supported, the VPN service will still work when you travel internationally.

Writing by Maggie Tillman.
Sections Google Apps