How Google Fi protects your online activity on Google Fi Wi-Fi

To give Unlimited users coverage in more places, Google Fi partners with select high-quality Wi-Fi hotspot providers. Learn about Google Fi Wi-Fi.

How Google Fi Wi-Fi works

  • If you’re eligible, your device automatically connects to hotspots in the Google Fi Wi-Fi network when available. In your network settings, these hotspots appear as “Google Fi Wi-Fi.”
  • The Fi virtual private network (VPN) secures these connections. Fi takes other technical steps, like using rotated identifiers, to protect your privacy in addition to protections already offered by Android Wi-Fi.
  • Fi regularly checks the quality of Google Fi Wi-Fi. We only use the network if the connection is high quality.

How we protect your data

VPN protection

To use Google Fi Wi-Fi, you need to use the Fi VPN. 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 by:

  • Using a one-time token so that your online activity isn’t tied to your Google account or phone number
  • Encrypting your online activity between your phone and Fi’s VPN servers
  • Hiding your IP address

Your online activity is encrypted between your phone and our VPN servers. Encryption keeps your data safe in transit, which means third parties can't see your data before your traffic reaches our VPN servers. Wi-Fi providers may still see broader traffic information, like the amount of data you use or the length of time you connect.

Learn more about the Fi VPN.

Rotated identifiers

Hotspot providers and nearby Wi-Fi sniffers can see certain identifiers used by the underlying standard Wi-Fi network protocols. Sniffers are devices that monitor Wi-Fi traffic to gain network insights, like the number of devices connected to an access point.

To limit bad actors’ ability to track the physical movement of devices associated with these identifiers (refer to table below), Fi takes technical steps like rotating identifiers. These identifiers are pseudonymous. This means that they can’t directly identify you without first getting combined with another data set that’s not provided by Google Fi.

For example, without first getting paired with more information, like a photo, the 00:3e:e1:c4:5d:df Media Access Control (MAC) address can’t identify you. Wi-Fi providers don’t have direct access to other data sets and are under a legal agreement not to identify users outside of the identifiers provided.

The identifiers are:

Identifier

Use

Rotation frequency

Encrypted user ID included in the Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP-TLS)

To make sure you’re a Google Fi subscriber and can use the hotspot

Rotates at least once every 12 hours

Media Access Control address (MAC)

Required for the Wi-Fi access point to send internet traffic to your device

  • Pixel devices: Randomized and rotated every 12 hours
  • Non-Pixel devices: Randomized but not rotated. Technical limitations on non-Pixel devices mean we can’t regularly rotate this identifier

Internet Protocol version 6 address (IPv6)

Required for the Wi-Fi access point to send internet traffic to your device

Rotated every 24 hours 

However, if you stay connected to the same Wi-Fi access point for more than 24 hours these can last up to 7 days

Important: No other identifiers or personally identifiable information is shared with our providers. Nearby Wi-Fi sniffers also can’t see the other identifiers or personally identifiable information. 

Legal agreements

Google Fi has legal agreements with each Wi-Fi hotspot provider. These agreements require hotspot providers to protect the already limited amount of personal information they can see. This means Wi-Fi hotspot providers can’t sell your data or use your data for advertising.

You’re in control

If you want to stop a connection to a Google Fi Wi-Fi hotspot, or avoid connection to the hotspot when your device comes in range of an eligible hotspot, you have these options:

When one of your other saved networks, like your home Wi-Fi network, is nearby and available, Google Fi Wi-Fi never automatically connects.

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