Protect 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

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. 

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.

Get notifications when Fi VPN isn't available on iPhone

When your VPN (virtual private network) isn't available on your iPhone, you can get a notification. Your VPN may not be available if:

  • Your Wi-Fi or current network blocks VPNs. To fix this problem, connect to a different network.
  • Our servers experience issues. Once we fix the problem, the VPN restarts.

Important: You’ll always get a notification when you are in a location that does not allow VPN usage.

  1. On your iPhone, open the Fi app. 
  2. Scroll to “phone settings.” 
  3. Tap Privacy and Security > Show details > Manage advanced settings.  
  4. Turn on VPN downtime alerts.
Where the VPN is available
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • Faroe Islands
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • UK
  • US
  • US Minor Outlying Islands
  • Virgin Islands

If Fi VPN is not available in your location, you will get a notification.

Force apps to connect through the VPN

By default, most apps will connect through the VPN, but some might not so they can work as intended (for example, smart home device apps). If you choose, you can require apps to connect through the VPN and manually make exceptions (this may be necessary for certain smart home devices to work).

  1. Open the Google Fi app .
  2. Scroll to “Phone settings.”
  3. Tap Privacy & security and then Show details and then Manage advanced settings.
  4. Turn off Exceptions allowed.
  5. To select the app that won’t use the VPN, tap Add an exception.
    • Apps can choose when to send traffic outside the VPN. If you make an exception, that app always sends traffic outside the VPN.

Additionally, the following types of apps and connections will always be exempt from the VPN:

  • Apps that are critical for providing reliable Fi service 
  • Traffic over your local network, such as your device's connection to your smart home devices, is not handled by the VPN.
  • Traffic over networks that are not Wi-Fi or cell
  • Your tethered devices.
  • Anything you do while your phone is in Airplane mode.
  • Some Google services and apps installed by your device manufacturer have system privileges that can bypass VPNs, such as Android or Apple notifications to your device.
  • Your work profile on Android devices. VPN is only active for your primary profile.
  • Custom DNS lookups are not currently supported. This includes both external and local DNS lookups, such as Google Wi-Fi's On.Here functionality.
Important: With or without a VPN, an app can see what you do on that app. Make sure you trust an app before you download it.

Related resources

How the Fi virtual private network protects your online activity

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