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OpenVPN is now in beta on iOS

Posted on January 28th, 2020 by in Service Updates.

An illustration of the OpenVPN beta for the ProtonVPN iOS app.

 

UPDATE May 7, 2020: OpenVPN is no longer in beta on our iOS app. It is now available to the public. Learn more about the launch of OpenVPN for iOS.

We’re happy to announce that ProtonVPN iOS users can now enjoy the freedom to choose between two protocols, with the launch of OpenVPN in beta. By adding OpenVPN support to our iOS app, ProtonVPN is making it more difficult for anyone to block or censor your VPN connection. 

Most VPN apps only support one VPN protocol: for smartphone users, you get IKEv2, and desktop users get OpenVPN. However, this makes it more difficult to work around an unstable WiFi connection or a network provider that is blocking a specific VPN protocol. If you are a member of the ProtonVPN Beta Program, you can now tap into this flexibility for your iPhone or iPad. (OpenVPN has already been in beta for ProtonVPN Android users.) 

Keep reading to find out why you might want to take advantage of this feature and how to use it.

Benefits of OpenVPN for iOS

A VPN protocol is just a set of instructions on how to establish a VPN connection, and each protocol does it slightly differently. These differences can affect performance, with some VPN protocols establishing faster connections and others maintaining more stable connections. With IKEv2/IPSec and OpenVPN to choose from, the ProtonVPN iOS app is more flexible and adaptable. Which one is correct for you will depend on your particular situation. 

The default VPN protocol for the iOS app is IKEv2/IPSec because it’s faster. That means IKEv2/IPSec is ideal for streaming videos, playing video games, and anything else where lagging can ruin the experience. 

However, IKEv2 makes it easier for network administrators and WiFi providers to block your VPN from connecting because it only runs on the User Datagram Protocol (UDP), which can be blocked without affecting other types of Internet traffic. 

That’s where OpenVPN comes in. OpenVPN supports both UDP and the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). TCP is much more difficult to block because it can use the same port as conventionally encrypted Internet traffic. 

Learn more: What’s the difference between UDP and TCP?

The ProtonVPN Beta Program

If you would like to be one of the first users to try OpenVPN on our iOS app, then sign up for our Beta Program. Becoming a member means you get early access to any new features we develop. 

Anyone with a ProtonVPN account can participate in the iOS beta. Just click the following button to register:

iOS beta

Please note that we only have 10,000 beta positions available at any one time, so we occasionally remove inactive beta users.

We welcome and appreciate any feedback you might have about the OpenVPN beta update! You can contact the Support team through our support form (recommended) or by emailing us at support@protonvpn.com. We take user feedback seriously, and your comments and suggestions are critical to further improving the app.

How to use OpenVPN in ProtonVPN iOS

Once you have installed the beta version on your device, you can switch from IKEv2/IPSec to OpenVPN in the app by navigating to the Settings screen, which you can do by tapping the Settings button at the bottom right.

Once you are on the Setting screen, tap the Protocol field, which is under Security Options.

This will let you choose whether you would like to use IKEv2 or OpenVPN. (Again, IKEv2 is the default.) If you choose OpenVPN, you will then be presented with your choice of transmission protocol, either UDP or TCP. If you think your current WiFi network is blocking VPNs, we recommend you use TCP.

You will need to give ProtonVPN permission to run new VPN profiles on our device. After you’ve switched protocols, the next time you attempt to connect to a server, tap Allow to grant permission for OpenVPN.

The addition of OpenVPN to the iOS app is an important step toward making our VPN more resistant to censorship and keeping information on the Internet freely accessible for everyone. We plan to add further anti-censorship capabilities throughout 2020. Thank you for your continued support.

Best Regards,
The ProtonVPN Team

You can follow us on social media to stay up to date on the latest ProtonVPN releases:

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To get a free ProtonMail encrypted email account, visit: protonmail.com

Prior to joining Proton, Richie spent several years working on tech solutions in the developing world. He joined the Proton team to advance the rights of online privacy and freedom.

Post Comment

10 comments

  1. Orlando Smith

    As more ISP and websites block UDP, OpenVPN TCP is becoming critical. And no I cannot put TESTFLIGHT on my computing devices to run beta OpenVPN, because TESTFLIGHT’s privacy agreement is unacceptable. And I would not trust that type of software on my computing devices in any event.

  2. Unknown

    My cell carrier started blocking VPNs in the fall, but with this, using the openvpn standard and UDP… magic, it works again. Thanks for keeping the app for iOS in active development.

  3. Trevor

    Any ETA on when WireGuard support might enter beta?

  4. Roxana Zega

    Hi Trevor,

    We are strong supporters of WireGuard, and we are eagerly awaiting the date when it will be ready for wide deployment.
    Unfortunately, given the current state of software support, it would require a lot of effort to make WireGuard available on all our apps (instead of just offering limited support on Linux). For this reason, and because Wireguard is currently UDP-only and therefore easy for censors to block, it hasn’t been a top priority for us.

    We may come back to this in the second half of this year. However, we are prioritizing TCP-based solutions to better bypass state censorship systems.

    Thanks

  5. Anonymous

    Wouldn’t using TCP block VoIP calls?

  6. Blaise

    I while how do I get a redeem code for test flight
    Code for the beta version

  7. Orlando Smith

    Thank you!

  8. Richie Koch

    You’re welcome!

  9. Samia

    May I ask, what futher anti-censorship capabilities are you palning to add throughout 2020??
    Thanks

  10. Remi

    Great news. First the auditing, now towards open vpn for ios. Nice going.

    Did you manage solve the problems the auditing revealed? Can you elaborate pls.

    Love hear your answers on the following:
    ProtonVPN does not currently support remote port forwarding, which may impact some applications. Especially Peer-to-Peer applications like Torrent clients.
    WireGuard is an experimental protocol with theoretically better security and higher reliability, although it is not currently recommended for production use. Where does Protonvpn stand on this?
    SoftEther connects to obfuscated VPN servers because it uses Ethernet over HTTPS to conceal the fact that it is a VPN tool. This makes it ideal for people who are living or traveling to countries where VPNs are illegal or only approved by the government. What can you tell us about this?

    Good luck!

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