Mobile and smartphone penetration rates in the UK have continued to increase incrementally in recent times, from 88.71% in 2019 to more than 92% at the end of 2022.
When using your mobile device, however, you’re more likely to access public Wi-Fi connections, which are often unsecured and place your personal data and web traffic at risk of interception.
You can counter this threat by installing a VPN client on your device. But what exactly is a VPN, and do you really need one to secure your smartphone and data while on the move? Let’s get into it!
OK – What is a VPN?
A VPN describes a ‘virtual private network’, while it can be installed on mobile and desktop devices to create an encrypted tunnel through which your web traffic and Internet data is routed.
This virtual tunnel directly connects your chosen device to a remote server that belongs to the VPN provider, which may operate such servers in locations across the globe. The VPN’s encryption will conceal your data and present it in a scrambled format, making it indecipherable to third parties who may be active on a public or private network.
The use of remote and global server locations also helps to protect you against malicious malware attacks and the threat of doxing. This is because they’re used to mask your IP address and the physical location of your device, tricking retailers, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and even streaming platforms into thinking that you’re elsewhere in the world.
In addition to enhancing network security and optimising your privacy when online, a VPN can be used to access geo-restricted content through streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu. For example, you may be able to connect to a client’s remote server in the US, unlocking Netflix’s North American content library wherever you are in the world.
What are the Benefits of Using a VPN on Your Smartphone?
Now that you know how a VPN client works, it’s important to look at how these features translate into benefits as a mobile user. Here are some of the exact advantages to keep in mind:
#1. Introducing Critical Network Security
As we’ve touched on, you’re likely to spend a significant amount of time as a mobile user connected to unsecured public networks.
This puts the data included on your phone and mobile web traffic at risk, but dowloading a Surfshark VPN and installation can create a much-needed layer of network security.
To provide some context, hackers and cyber thieves will often establish rogue but familiar sounding access points at coffee shops and public libraries. You may then be tempted to connect to these, exposing your data to nefarious individuals who may well intercept it and potentially monetise this in several different ways.
Even if you connect to a reputable public network, other individuals (including network managers) can view and track your web activity. So, installing a reliable and paid VPN enables you to safeguard your data and maintain privacy when surfing online, creating significant peace of mind for mobile Internet users across the board.
#2. Maintain Location Privacy at all Times
For those of you who are particularly concerned about your security online, you should definitely consider installing a VPN client on your smartphone.
This will certainly guarantee location privacy, as a VPN will enable you to connect with your choice of remote server in various locations around the world.
Of course, not all VPN clients are created equal, as each one offers a variable number of server locations that you’re able to connect with. So, you’ll need to compare available VPNs and determine which one offers the best value, based in part on either the number of server locations that are accessible or the regions that you’d like to connect to.
Once you’re connected to a remote server, your physical location is impossible to discover, while the best paid VPN services refrain from storing logs on your web traffic and activity. This creates an additional level of privacy and security, especially when you’re on the move or travelling from one jurisdiction to another.
#3. Unblock Geo-Restricted Content When Travelling
Netflix undoubtedly blazed a trail for others to follow when it comes to streaming digital content, changing viewership habits beyond all recognition in the process. Over time, a growing number of people have begun to stream movies and TV shows on their smartphones, with 51% claiming this process is simple, reliable and enjoyable as recently as 2020.
This percentage continues to rise year-on-year too, while even more of you are likely to stream content on your smartphone when travelling.
When you install a VPN on your mobile device, however, you can access a much broader range of programs, including geo-restricted content and libraries from across the globe. In the case of Netflix, for example, different licensing agreements mean that each country has access to a variable library of content (outside of original programming), with the US and UK home to the biggest selection of titles.
So, a VPN lets you connect to a remote server in the US and access the platform’s full range of content. Also, if you’re enjoying a TV series in the UK and find this inaccessible when you head overseas, you can connect to a UK server location and resume watching as though you’re still at home!
With a VPN, your identity and IP address are safe, so if you upset someone by accident, they can’t find out where you are.
If you don’t use a VPN, four bad things could happen: your data could be stolen, you could be hacked, the government could spy on you, or your internet speed could slow down.
Google doesn’t block VPN traffic, but if we use free VPNs with IP addresses from hosting services, they will. Since so many people use that single IP address to get to Google, this could lead to a DOS attack, so Google checks by giving a captcha.
Connect to a VPN server in the country from which you wish to browse Google Play, Open the Play Store app, click on a menu, Go to Account, and Scroll down to Country and profiles.