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How To Safely Turn Off a VPN on Any Device

Virtual private networks (VPNs) have become a must-have tool for protecting your online privacy and security. By encrypting your internet traffic and masking your real IP address, a VPN allows you to browse anonymously, access blocked content, and secure your devices when on public WiFi.

But every now and then, you may encounter situations where temporarily disabling your VPN is necessary. Turning off a VPN is quick and simple on any device, but it does come with potential downsides.

This comprehensive guide will cover everything you need to know about safely turning off a VPN on all major platforms.

How VPNs Work to Protect Your Data

Before jumping into turning off a VPN, let’s do a quick refresher on how a VPN actually works its magic:

  • Encryption – A VPN uses advanced encryption protocols like AES-256 to scramble your internet traffic so that no one can see what you‘re accessing online, not even your internet service provider. This prevents spying and hacking.

  • New IP Address – By connecting through a VPN server, you‘re assigned a different IP address that masks your true location. This allows you to bypass geo-restrictions and censorship.

  • Secure Tunnel – Your traffic is routed through an encrypted tunnel between your device and the VPN server, keeping your online activities private on public networks.

  • No Logging Policy – Trusted VPN providers operate a strict no-logging policy so none of your activity is tracked or stored long term.

Without a VPN enabled, these protections disappear – allowing your traffic to be monitored, your location to be revealed, and your identity to be exposed.

Why You Might Want to Disable Your VPN

Given how integral VPNs are for online privacy, why would anyone turn them off?

Here are a few common reasons you may need to temporarily disable your VPN connection:

  • Troubleshooting Connectivity Issues – If you‘re experiencing network problems, turning off your VPN helps identify whether the VPN is the culprit.

  • Accessing Local Network Resources – Certain local devices like printers and file shares may not be accessible over a VPN connection.

  • Using Services that Block VPNs – Some banks, payment apps, video streaming platforms, and websites prevent access from known VPN IP ranges.

  • Improving Speed – You can sometimes boost network performance by disabling VPN encryption which adds overhead.

  • Conserving Battery Life – Keeping a VPN running in the background constantly can drain battery life on mobile devices.

According to a 2021 survey from Statista, 29% of VPN users reported turning off their VPN to access blocked services and content.

However, it‘s strongly advised to only turn off your VPN temporarily when in a safe, trusted environment. Public WiFi networks are extremely high-risk and demands keeping your VPN turned on.

How to Quickly Disable a VPN on Any Device

Modern VPN services make connecting and disconnecting a breeze across all platforms – whether you use Windows, Mac, iPhone, or Android.

Here‘s a simple walkthrough for toggling your VPN off on major operating systems:

Windows 10

  1. Click Start Menu
  2. Select Settings > Network & Internet > VPN
  3. Click on your VPN connection
  4. Select "Disconnect" to toggle off the VPN


  1. Click the Apple logo > System Preferences
  2. Select Network > VPN
  3. Choose your VPN and click the "Disconnect" button

iPhone and iPad

  1. Go to Settings > General
  2. Tap "VPN & Device Management"
  3. Tap the slider next to your VPN so it turns gray/off


  1. Open Settings > Network & internet > Advanced > VPN
  2. Tap the switch next to your VPN to toggle off

Once disabled, you can follow the same steps to quickly turn your VPN back on again. The process takes just seconds!

How to Fully Uninstall a VPN

If you want to completely remove a VPN instead of just disconnecting, you‘ll have to delete both the VPN app and its associated connection profiles.

Here are the steps to fully uninstall a VPN on each device:


  1. Uninstall the VPN app from Control Panel
  2. Delete the VPN network adapter
  3. Remove any related TAP adapter drivers


  1. Drag the VPN app to the Trash
  2. Go to System Preferences > Profiles to remove VPN profiles


  1. Delete the VPN app from the home screen
  2. Go to Settings > General > Profiles to delete profiles


  1. Uninstall the VPN app
  2. Go to Settings > Network & Internet > VPN to remove profiles

Once uninstalled, you‘ll have to redownload the VPN app and set up your account from scratch again if you choose to reinstall.

How to Check If Your VPN Is Working

Want to validate whether your VPN is actually active or not? Here‘s a quick test:

  1. Visit
  2. Note down your IP address with the VPN disabled
  3. Re-enable your VPN and refresh the page
  4. If the IP address changes, your VPN is working properly!

You can also check for a VPN icon in your system tray or menu bar to confirm your connection status.

FAQs About Disabling VPNs

Is it safe to turn off my VPN on public WiFi?

No, it‘s highly risky to disable your VPN on any unsecured public network. Keep it running at all times when away from home.

How does turning off a VPN affect speed?

Disabling VPN encryption will remove overhead and likely improve speeds. But always prioritize privacy over speed.

What‘s the kill switch and should I use it?

A kill switch blocks internet access if the VPN disconnects unexpectedly. It prevents accidental exposure of your IP, so it‘s recommended.

Can I get in trouble for illegally streaming with a VPN?

Potentially yes, but disabling your VPN to stream defeats the purpose of a VPN. Choose a quality VPN that works with all major streaming sites instead.

What happens if I forget to turn my VPN back on?

Your IP and traffic will remain exposed until you remember to reconnect. Enable kill switch and auto-connect features as a safety net.

In Summary: How to Safely Disable a VPN

While VPNs provide immense value for online privacy, there are some cases where temporarily turning them off is useful for troubleshooting, speed, or access issues.

Here are best practices to safely disable a VPN:

  • Only turn off your VPN on trusted home/work networks, never public WiFi.

  • Quickly re-enable your VPN immediately after finishing your intended task with it disabled. Never leave it off for extended periods.

  • Use your VPN provider‘s app shortcuts to toggle your VPN off and on again easily.

  • Enable the "kill switch" setting which blocks internet if the VPN disconnects unexpectedly.

  • Consider setting your VPN to auto-connect on startup for added convenience and protection.

  • Confirm your VPN status using the IP address test mentioned above.

While disconnecting your VPN should only be temporary, you can also fully uninstall VPN apps and profiles if desired. Just know you‘ll lose all configurations and need to reinstall if opting to remove entirely.

Your VPN is one of the best tools for securing devices and safeguarding online privacy. Keep it enabled as much as possible, and only disable temporarily when absolutely essential.


Streamr Go

StreamrGo is always about privacy, specifically protecting your privacy online by increasing security and better standard privacy practices.