Does VPN Use More Battery and Drain Your Phone Faster?

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If you depend on your Android or iOS phone, battery life is likely one of your top concerns. Even as smartphones get larger and more efficient batteries, battery consumption is still an issue. Most of us still do everything we can to get through the day or at least from charger to charger without our phone dying. As the capacity of batteries increase, bigger displays and more power-hungry apps continue to affect battery life and drain the battery on our devices. 

Another top concern for Android and iOS users is security. One of the best ways to keep your information secure when using your phone is using a VPN. But does VPN have an impact on battery consumption? If so, why? Exactly how much will using a VPN affect battery life? Finally, how can you save battery life while using a VPN?

Does VPN Drain the Battery on Your Phone?

Yes, it does. Exactly how much depends on several factors. Using a VPN on your Android or iOS device can consume anywhere between 5% and 15% more battery than without. Remember that any app running on your phone will impact battery consumption, especially apps that run continuously in the background. 

Why Does VPN Drain Battery?

  • Encryption – All of the data sent to your VPN is encrypted, and all the data returned must be decrypted. Both encryption and decryption take processing power, which uses battery. Also, keep in mind that the higher and more secure the encryption level, the more the battery consumption. The OpenVPN protocol with AES-256 bit encryption is virtually unbreakable but uses the most processing power.
  • Non-Optimized CPUs – Certain iOS devices support hardware-accelerated AES encryption. This not only speeds up the process but is less of a battery drain since it avoids the less efficient method of encrypting on the main CPU. Devices without this feature may see reduced battery life.
  • Background Use – Even when you are not sending and receiving data, some VPNs remain active. The app maintains an active connection with the VPN server, so it is ready when you need it. This requires power from not only your CPU but also the mobile radio chip in your phone. These two things taken together can affect battery life on your Android or iOS device.
  • Poor Signal Strength – Even without an active VPN connection, a low signal from your WiFi or mobile network tower can burn the battery. Your device will crank up the power to communicate with the weak signal. This can be even worse with a VPN. Since most VPNs work to keep the connection active, higher power use will continue even when you aren’t using data.

How Much Battery Does VPN Use?

You can expect your battery usage to increase by 5-15% when using a VPN on your phone. There are different ways how VPN use affects battery consumption. Your results will vary by the phone, the service you use, and your proximity to WiFi or a mobile tower. If you are using a weaker encryption standard, have a phone with hardware acceleration for encryption, have constant access to a strong data signal, and have the right VPN, your battery consumption could be on the low side of that range. There are also some ways to reduce how a VPN will affect battery life. 

How to save battery with a VPN 

  • Don’t Use VPN All the Time – The easiest way to save battery life while using a VPN on your iOS or Android device is simply turning it off when you aren’t using it. There are two levels to this. First, you could simply turn off the VPN when you aren’t using the phone. That would keep it from running in the background to keep the connection open. Second, you could opt to turn it off when you are on a trusted network and don’t mind your ISP knowing what you are doing.
  • Install a VPN On a Router – While using your phone at home or at your office, you can keep the VPN off on your device yet still enjoy the same level of privacy and protection. Simply install the VPN on your router. This will protect not just your phone but also all your other devices. Whenever you can connect to your own router, you can turn off the VPN on your phone. Just be sure to turn it back on when you need to use your mobile data.
  • Check Your VPN Settings – The VPN you currently have may have a battery saver mode or other power saving options. Before turning them on, be sure you know what they do, so you are sure your connection is secure when you need it.
  • Use a VPN With Low Battery Consumption – Not all VPNs are created equal, especially when it comes to battery life. As VPNs have become more popular for mobile users, developers are looking for the best ways to reduce the power demand. If keeping your phone battery charged is critical to you, check potential VPNs for new features like battery savers and different modes for different connections.

Best VPN for Battery Lifetime

Here are some VPNs that are battery-effective on iOS and Android devices:

Rank

VPN Service

Rating

Price

Website

1

NordVPN

$3.49 - $11.95

2

ExpressVPN

$6.67 - $12.95

3

Surfshark

$2.49 - $11.95

4

Private Internet Access

$2.69 - $9.95

5

PureVPN

$0.99 - $10.95

Conclusion

VPN apps do not drain more battery than any other app. They usually increase battery usage from 5% to 15% on your phone. The consumption depends on the phone type, signal strength, encryption use and the device performance. One way you could save up some battery is to use a VPN that is optimized for your phone, or install a VPN on a router.


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