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We just launched Smart Protocol for Android!

Posted on May 6th, 2020 by in Service Updates.

An illustration of the Smart Protocol feature for Android.

 

Smart Protocol works automatically to make sure you can stay connected to ProtonVPN, even when someone is trying to block your access. It’s one of those features that makes your life easier without you noticing. And today we’re excited to bring this feature to Android.

To take advantage of it, all you have to do is make sure you’re running the latest version of the Android app.

If you don’t have the app yet, you can download ProtonVPN for Android here.

Here’s what Smart Protocol does

The typical use case for this is when you’re at work, at your university, or somewhere where you don’t control your network and the network administrator wants to restrict your access to the Internet. They may try to block ProtonVPN (and other VPNs) by blocking the transmission protocol you’re using.

Smart Protocol attempts to bypass this kind of censorship by automatically trying to connect through different VPN protocols if the default protocol is blocked.

Before, you would have had to manually switch protocols. Now you can just connect normally, and the app handles everything. Smart Protocol is enabled by default in the app.

How Smart Protocol works

VPNs send encrypted data packets over the Internet, protecting your activity from surveillance and masking your true location. In order to “talk” with other computers, VPNs use standard protocols that govern the way the packets are sent and received via ports on ProtonVPN servers. 

Each protocol uses a different port and can also use backup ports. Those ports are essentially a choke point that can be closed off. A network owner can block access to those ports to restrict your access to the Internet to a connection they can monitor.

While many VPN services only support one protocol per app — usually IKEv2 for mobile and OpenVPN for desktop — our Android app supports both. OpenVPN is based on two different transport protocols called User Datagram Protocol (UDP) and Transmission Control Protocol (TCP).

Some protocols are faster and more stable than others. By default, we use the fastest and most stable first. If that one is blocked, Smart Protocol Selection will automatically try the next one.

Some ports are more difficult to block because they handle a large amount of all Internet traffic. A network administrator can’t block these ports without making the network fairly useless.

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

What else you should know

Tech savvy users can also choose protocols manually. Just go into the Android app settings, disable Smart Protocol, and set your protocol to IKEv2, OpenVPN UDP or OpenVPN TCP. Simply go to Settings in the Android app and  tap the switch next to “Smart Protocol” to disable it. Once Smart Protocol is disabled, you can select your desired VPN protocol. 

If you have a PC, you can also use Smart Protocol for Windows. The feature is coming to more platforms soon.

We believe the Internet should be uncensored. Open access to information is a bedrock of democratic society, and our mission is to create online tools that make digital freedom possible. Our work is only possible because of the support of our community — thank you.

Stay tuned for more updates from Proton by following our social media channels below and checking out our blog.

Twitter | Facebook | Reddit | Instagram

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

Ben Wolford is a writer at Proton. A journalist for many years, Ben joined Proton to help lead the fight for data privacy.

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27 comments

  1. David

    This means we have to install the VPN program in the work computer? And what happens if the administrator has blocked installation of programs?

  2. Ben Wolford

    Yes, to use ProtonVPN, you would have to install it on your device.

  3. Alton

    Thanx for sharing this app with the the rest of us a top shelf product

  4. Jan

    Hi, I try to connect with your VPN and i have take an adres in Holland I cann’t make connection with my NPO app.
    It says “no services for your recent country….
    How can I avoid this devestating annoncement.
    Is there a other selection made??
    Thanx in advance,
    Jan

  5. Daniel Johnson-O’Mara

    Protonmail is a service to which I have migrated all the people and entities that are important to me.
    Thanks for your VPN! Really well running product.
    Thanks for your work!

  6. Brendon Brathwaite

    “Smart” is definitely the right word to use, it covers and secures all my messages also, as well as screens my notifications. This VPN is the best, I made no regrets downloading it to both my laptop and my android device.

  7. Anthony

    the team is doing great and this is one more tool to help people avoid lock outs

  8. Glendon Rich

    When will ProtonVPN be available for iPhone as
    a search engine even as it is set up for email use
    at present on iPhone?…

  9. Chris

    Yes proton is the best. I use the email and VPN. There are some things that are your business and no-one else’s be it banking or whatever. Thank you Proton.😁

  10. Paul

    Great news!
    Is Smart Protocol also available for iOS and MacOS?
    Will it be?
    Thanks.

  11. JrA

    Dropped my subscription because this VPN sucks. It would regularly block various email accounts and benign apps. Tech support was useless and basically said it shouldn’t block anything. Wrong!! Wasn’t going to pay for a Pro account just to get nonsense tech support and blocking email and apps.

  12. Laszlo Tihanyi

    Many thanks to you, I’m very grateful to be able to use Proton VPN and Proton Mail

  13. Romi Saputra

    The best VPN in this planet, thank you so much for company

  14. Jeremejev

    Greetings!
    Its good to see A.Lollipop works with OpenVpn.
    Till this day i used Ikev2 but now i think OpenVpn Udp.Do you suggest this changing?
    The A.lollipop is 6 years old and the hardver is 4 years old.

  15. Prot

    This feature is actually disconnecting the VPN and doesn’t notify that you aren’t connected. This needs to be fixed immediately.

  16. Sunny

    When will be this app available in pakistan?

  17. Santa Claus

    Best vpn ever.
    I use it every day to communicate with my elves and prepare Christmas orders.
    Keep it up.

    Thank you very much.

  18. Raj

    Just donated! Thanks man! Keep working we will get you going.

  19. Chanson

    Does this Smart Protocol work at the level of the app? Certain apps connect to servers that also filter and either block VPN protocols, especially UDP based protocols. Does Smart Protocol also automatically select the VPN protocol that best avoids that censorship and filtering? And will it select the VPN protocol to avoid that app-server filtering of VPN protocols in the iOS version of Smart Protocol?

  20. Chanson

    I understand the business decision that has iOS bringing up the rear in geeting this new feature, though, in the U.S, iOS devices have circa 61% market share and a slightly more than 50% market share in the U.K. So I look forward to this useful feature arrivng soon on Apple’s iOS devices so that their users can fully exploit the new OpenVPN UDP and TCP protocols that ProtonVPN recently brought to iOS in version 2.0.

  21. Kaelan

    Any time line when this feature will be coming to iOS?

  22. Alan

    Best VPN Ever, thank you for everything you are doing for all of us <3

    I hope you will add soon some other Features like Stealth [So obsfproxy3 or something else] etc. Thanks for everything, you are just amazing.

  23. PM user

    Thanks for such a wonderful update. I keep switching between work and home and it was a hazzle. Hope this gets ironed out with this update.
    Also , your India servers are very very slow. I have reported a lot of times. Can you please check what’s wrong with those servers?.
    Also , india is a large country like USA. Can you please have servers in South India ? There are metro cities like Bengaluru (IT hub of india) and Chennai(second largest IT hub). It will be helpful to welcome new india users as well since speeds are honestly bad in Mumbai,pune servers.

    Thank you.

  24. Marko

    Thank you from ❤️ for everything you are doing for all of us. One of the world’s greatest companies.
    Greetings from Serbia 😊

  25. Richie Koch

    Hello Marko,
    Thank you for your kind words and for your support. We’re happy you’re a member of the Proton community!
    Cheers

  26. Flora Daniel

    Thanks a lot Protonmail/ ProtonVPN. You’re really amazing , responsible and fair. Keep up the very good work.

  27. Richie Koch

    Thank you Flora! We will not stop until everyone has access to an Internet that respects their privacy and freedom. Cheers.

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