Google Fi's VPN is exiting beta and coming to iPhone

Phone activating Google Fi service on wooden background

Today, Google announced some privacy improvements to its Fi cellular service. While its VPN was introduced over two years ago in late 2018, it's apparently been in beta this whole time. After making an array of performance improvements, Google says that the VPN is coming out of beta on Android.

Animated demo of turning on VPN in Google Fi

Also, the VPN is expanding, as it's coming to iPhone. All Google Fi subscribers using an iPhone will start seeing the VPN this spring.

If you're unfamiliar with VPNs, it stands for virtual private network, and if there's one thing that you need to know about it, it's that it boosts your security and privacy. It gives you an encrypted connection, so even if you're on a network that isn't secure, Google is offering you a layer of protection. It also means that sites can't track your location because they can't see your actual IP address. Lots of VPNs tend to make compromises when it comes to speed, but that's exactly what Google claims to have improved.

And the fact that it's coming to iPhones is a big deal. iOS is an area that Google has struggled to bring to feature parity with Android on its Fi network. In fact, originally called Project Fi, it didn't even support iPhones at all (officially) until late November 2018, two weeks after the service's VPN was announced. Even then, iPhones didn't support some key features like carrier switching; presumably, that's not as big of a deal now since Google Fi ran off of T-Mobile's, Sprint's, and U.S. Cellular's networks, and the former two companies have merged into one.

The other thing that the Mountain View firm is announcing today is a new privacy and security hub, which is coming to the Fi app on Android devices. It's meant to help you learn about the privacy and security features that you'll find on Google Fi, and you can manage those features, such as the VPN. Other features touted, which aren't new to today's announcement, include blocking spam calls, of which Google says that it blocks tens of thousands per day, and protection from theft techniques like SIM swaps, where someone might try to reassign your phone number to a different SIM and use it to gain access to your accounts.

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