If you've already installed one of the best VPNs, or are thinking of getting one – good for you, digital life just got more secure. But with all the intelligent ducking and diving your connection will be doing to keep you anonymous and secure, you may notice that your Android device is chewing through more battery. So, naturally, the question as to whether you should leave your Android VPN connected all the time is going to come up.
Battery life versus digital life security. Is it that simple? Not really. There are lots of uses for a VPN and there are also lots of different VPNs and phones. A combination of these three factors will help you decide how to use your VPN on your Android device.
What is your Android VPN for?
This question is a good place to start. If your VPN is on your device just so you can get around geo-restrictions to stream video content, for example, then you only need to use it then. You can easily fire up your VPN, set a location, and watch your favorite shows and movies. Then, when you're done, you can turn off your VPN again allowing your phone to get back to more efficient power use.
It's also worth turning only your VPN on when you need to use it if you are using a free VPN solution as this will help you get the most out of your limited data cap which is a common restriction of free services.
If your VPN is there to keep you secure and anonymous then you're likely going to want to leave it on as much as possible. There are lots of apps on your phone which will be sending data in and out in the background and this could compromise your anonymity if your VPN is off. By leaving the VPN running, you can keep that data anonymized and encrypted.
If you're using a VPN on Android for banking or money transfers using the likes of PayPal then you'll need to be careful as they can lock you out if a VPN is detected. This can be avoided by using a server that is close to your location. In these cases, again, you can connect to the VPN for the banking or money transfer and then turn it off again when you're all done.
How to save battery using an Android VPN
Just because your VPN is running doesn't mean you have to lose battery. Since the VPN will only really be working as a battery-intensive app while data is going in and out, cutting down on this data transfer can help. This can also help you save on data costs.
Using your device settings, you can limit the amount of background access that apps have, either generally or on an individual app basis. This will ensure that you save battery and data overall, but also keep your VPN workload to a minimum too.
This is a great way to keep your VPN up and running, so you're always secure, but without chomping through battery.
What is the best VPN for Android?
Our overall favourite VPN is ExpressVPN but there are other great options like NordVPN and Surfshark which offer lots of options to help keep you secure without compromising battery life on your Android device. Check out our best VPN deals as well to help you save on your new subscription.
We test and review VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. For example:
1. Accessing a service from another country (subject to the terms and conditions of that service).
2. Protecting your online security and strengthening your online privacy when abroad.
We do not support or condone the illegal or malicious use of VPN services. Consuming pirated content that is paid-for is neither endorsed nor approved by Future Publishing.
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.