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If you’re an Android user and you don’t like the idea of your phone or apps giving away your geolocation information around the clock, using a VPN is a good idea. Will a virtual private network totally quash all your privacy worries while you’re using a mobile device? Definitely not. But the best Android VPN can offer you whole-device protection so your internet service provider can’t view your app usage or browsing activity, Google can’t see your geolocation, and your other apps’ owners won’t know what you’re doing outside of their app. And that kind of protection is enough to prevent you from being low-hanging fruit in an era of constant surveillance and rapidly increasing data breaches.
Android-specific VPN downloads have accounted for about 75% of the mobile VPN surge over the past few years, according to the most recent trend reports. More than 480 million mobile VPN apps were downloaded around the globe in just 12 months between 2019 and 2020, according to research firm Top10VPN. That’s 54% more than the year before. Although free VPN services accounted for 84% of all mobile VPN downloads, we strongly recommend you avoid using a free Android VPN and instead go with a trusted paid VPN that’s among one of our recommended providers. It isn’t about promoting premium services; it’s about safety. In the murky world of VPNs, you really do get what you pay for.
If you’re on a budget and trying to save money or you simply need a temporary VPN on your Android device, we suggest you test-drive one of our recommended VPN providers with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Though it isn’t the same as a permanently free VPN, most premium VPN providers are more than willing to offer you a sample of their goods to prove their service is worthy of a long-haul subscription.
Check out the best Android VPN options we’ve tested. While CNET’s directory of the best VPN services ranks these apps and others by how well they held up during the testing and evaluation process, this list of the best Android VPNs specifically focuses on the mobile offerings of each VPN service provider. CNET regularly tests and evaluates new VPN apps — so be sure to check back here to get up to speed as new contenders emerge.