How the Fi virtual private network protects your online activity

The Fi virtual private network (VPN) increases your protection from third-party monitoring. With the VPN, you can:
  • Stream, browse, and download on an encrypted, private connection
  • Shield against hackers on unsecure networks (like public Wi-Fi)
  • Prevent websites from using your IP address to track your location
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How the Fi VPN works

While you’re online, your browser and your apps frequently communicate sensitive information. Some websites and apps use outdated or weak encryption, or no encryption.

While info is in transit, hackers and third parties can intercept or modify unsecured info. This can put your privacy and security at risk.

When you use the Fi VPN, your online activity has increased protection from hackers and other third parties. The Fi VPN increases protection for your online activity. It:

  • Uses a one-time token so that your online activity isn’t tied to your Google account or phone number.
  • Encrypts your online activity between your phone and Fi’s VPN servers.
  • Hides your IP address.
How we protect your data

Google Fi doesn’t tie your online activity to who you are

Your VPN session is established with a one-time token that’s not linked to your Google Account or your phone number. When you turn on the VPN, Google Fi confirms with one of our servers that you’re a valid user.

The server sends back a one-time token, which has no information about you. The server just verifies if you can use the VPN. With this token, the VPN establishes a connection with our VPN server. Our VPN servers make sure that the token is valid, which allows you to use the VPN.

Because the server we use to make sure that you’re a valid user is separate from our VPN servers, our VPN servers only know if you can use the VPN. Our VPN servers can’t tell who you are.

Your online traffic travels through a strongly encrypted tunnel

Your online activity is encrypted between your phone and our VPN servers. Encryption keeps your data safe in transit, which means third parties and hackers can't see your data before your traffic reaches our VPN servers.

Your real IP address is hidden

Once your traffic reaches our VPN servers, we replace your real IP address with a Google server IP address that is not connected or linked to your Google account. This changes your IP-based location to that of the Google server instead of your real location. This prevents your IP address from being used to track your location when you go to websites. Google Fi retains traffic metadata, like connection speed, without your IP address for 14 days, but Google Fi doesn’t retain your online activity.

Tip: Your browser may have cookies that could be used to personalize your website experience. To prevent cookie-based tracking, you can clear your cookies.

Google Fi prevents abuse while you maintain your privacy

Google Fi may take actions to prevent abuse over the VPN, but we do so in a way that still maintains your privacy. Because we don’t tie your Google Account to your VPN connection, we can’t tie this traffic back to who you are.

With or without a VPN, Google Fi doesn’t sell your personal information to anyone.

You’re in control

Turn the Fi VPN on or off

Important: Your phone must use Android 8.1 or higher.

Check if your phone is designed for Fi or compatible with Fi.

If you’re on a phone that’s designed for Fi:

  1. Open the Google Fi app .
  2. Scroll to “Phone settings.”
  3. Tap Privacy & security.
  4. Turn Protect your online activity on or off.
  5. When the status bar shows , you're connected.

If you’re on a phone that’s compatible with Fi:

  1. Open the Google Fi app Fi.
  2. Scroll to “Phone settings.”
  3. Tap Privacy & security.
  4. Turn Protect your online activity on or off.
  5. On the dialog that pops up, tap Got it and then OK.
  6. When the status bar shows , you're connected.

Important: Your iPhone must use iOS 12 or higher.

If you're on an iPhone:

  1. Open the Google Fi app Fi.
  2. Scroll to “Phone settings.”
  3. Tap Privacy & security.
  4. Turn on or off Protect your online activity.
  5. In the pop-up, tap Got it and then Allow.
  6. Enter your device passcode or fingerprint.
  7. When the status bar shows , you're connected.

Most apps connect through the VPN, but some might not so they can work as intended (for example, smart home device apps). You can manage this setting in the Fi app. Please note that apps critical to Fi service are always exempt from the VPN. See what’s exempt.

VPNs use mobile data for encryption and network optimizations. To make sure that you don’t lose connectivity, when your Wi-Fi connection is unusable, the VPN will move you to a cell network. If you're in the middle of a download, it might keep downloading over mobile data. To go back to Wi-Fi, try moving closer to your router or access point, or pick a different network. 

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