If you use IPVanish VPN on your Fire TV or Android TV streaming device, an important new feature just launched – the IPVanish VPN status indicator. This on-screen dot gives you an at-a-glance view of your VPN status, alerting you anytime your privacy protection drops.
In this expanded guide, I‘ll provide an in-depth look at this useful status indicator. You‘ll learn:
- Exactly how the IPVanish VPN status indicator works to enhance your privacy
- Step-by-step instructions to enable it on both Fire TV and Android TV devices
- How to customize the indicator dot to your preferences
- Limitations of this feature and why a full VPN kill switch is still important
- How IPVanish compares to other top VPNs on key privacy protections
- Answers to common questions on getting the most protection from your VPN
Let‘s start with an overview of what this new status indicator does and why it matters for cord cutters using IPVanish.
What is the IPVanish VPN Status Indicator and Why is it Important?
A recent study found that 92% of Americans lack confidence their data is private when using public WiFi. And with good reason – your internet traffic on unsecured networks can easily be snooped on by hackers or even your own internet service provider.
This is where a trusted virtual private network (VPN) becomes essential. A VPN encrypts all your activity and hides your IP address. But what happens if your VPN suddenly disconnects or fails while streaming?
Without warning, your IP and traffic are exposed and visible again online. This is where the new IPVanish VPN status indicator comes in. It displays an on-screen dot alerting you anytime your VPN protection drops.
Knowing your privacy is compromised in real-time allows you to immediately reconnect the VPN tunnel. This prevents your sensitive online activity and IP address from being publicly viewable.
Enabling the IPVanish VPN Status Indicator on Your Devices
Here are the step-by-step instructions to get the status indicator working on both Fire TV and Android TV platforms:
Fire TV Setup
- Connect your Fire TV to your computer with ADB debugging enabled.
- Open a command prompt or terminal window and enter:
pm grant com.ixolit.ipvanish android.permission.SYSTEM_ALERT_WINDOW
- Launch the IPVanish app and go to Settings > VPN Status Indicator
- Toggle on VPN Status Indicator and customize options like transparency.
Android TV Setup
- In the IPVanish app, go to Settings > VPN Status Indicator
- Tap "Open Settings"
- Enable "Allow display over other apps" for the IPVanish app
- Return to IPVanish Settings and turn on "VPN Status Indicator"
Here‘s a handy comparison table outlining the steps for each device:
|Device||Step 1||Step 2||Step 3||Step 4|
|Fire TV||Connect ADB||Enter pm grant command||Open IPVanish app||Enable status indicator|
|Android TV||Open IPVanish settings||Tap "Open Settings"||Allow display over apps||Enable status indicator|
Once you have the VPN status dot enabled, let‘s look at how to customize it.
Customizing the VPN Status Indicator to Your Preferences
A key advantage of the IPVanish status indicator is the ability to tweak its appearance and behavior:
Transparency – Lower opacity settings make the indicator less distracting when streaming. I recommend starting with 50% transparency.
Hide on Connect – Enable this to hide the dot when your VPN is active. It will only display as a warning if the VPN disconnects.
Position – On Android TV, you can move the dot to any corner of the screen. I suggest an out-of-the-way spot.
Color – Right now, it‘s grey on Fire and Android TV. Hopefully IPVanish makes it green/red in the future for clarity.
Here are some example indicator configurations:
|Minimally distracting||50% transparency, hide on connect, top corner|
|Maximum visibility||100% opacity, never hide, centered|
I recommend starting minimal and increasing visibility as needed. Remember – the dot is most useful when it‘s telling you your VPN protection dropped.
Why the Status Indicator Isn‘t a Replacement for a VPN Kill Switch
While extremely helpful, the IPVanish status indicator isn‘t a substitute for a true VPN kill switch. A kill switch cuts off all internet access if your VPN disconnects, keeping you safe.
The indicator can only alert you of the dropped connection – it doesn‘t block your IP and traffic from leaking. Surfshark is the only VPN I‘m aware of that offers a fully-functional VPN kill switch on Fire TV devices.
Still, the IPVanish status dot is a big improvement over having zero visibility. Without it, your only clue is the tiny VPN icon buried in notifications. This easy-to-miss indicator leads to extended privacy leaks.
How Does IPVanish Compare to Other Top VPNs?
When it comes to privacy and streaming, these VPNs consistently rise to the top:
|Kill Switch||No||Yes||Yes (Fire TV)|
Surfshark is the only option currently offering both a VPN kill switch on Fire TV and speedy performance. ExpressVPN has the fastest speeds but no status indicator.
For the ultimate in privacy, I suggest Surfshark or ExpressVPN. IPVanish is a good mid-range option with helpful extras like the status indicator.
Answering Common VPN and IPVanish Status Indicator Questions
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions on getting the most protection from your VPN:
Should I enable the IPVanish status indicator?
Yes, it provides helpful visibility into when your VPN protection drops unexpectedly. This allows you to reconnect quickly.
Does it work outside the IPVanish app?
Yes! The status dot displays over any app on your device.
Can I use a VPN on public WiFi?
Absolutely, connecting a VPN is vital when using unsecured public networks to keep your data safe from prying eyes.
Is a VPN necessary on my home WiFi?
While less critical, a VPN still protects you from privacy leaks with your ISP and secures access to geo-blocked content.
Which VPN is best for Fire TV devices?
Based on kill switch reliability, fast speeds, and streaming performance, I recommend Surfshark and ExpressVPN as top options.
Is the IPVanish status indicator available on all Fire TV models?
Unfortunately not, it requires Fire OS 7 which is only on newer Fire TV models like the Stick 4K Max. Check your device OS before updating.
Hopefully these tips help provide clarity on the new IPVanish status indicator and how it improves your privacy. Let‘s wrap up with some closing thoughts.
Final Thoughts on the IPVanish VPN Status Indicator
While not a true replacement for a VPN kill switch, IPVanish‘s new status indicator gives you vastly improved visibility into your current VPN protection status. Knowing instantly when your privacy is compromised is a huge advantage for security.
I applaud IPVanish for adding this innovative feature to enhance users‘ privacy across all Fire TV and Android TV streaming devices. It‘s a welcome addition, especially given the lack of a true kill switch.
My hope is this expanded guide provided helpful context on what the status indicator means for your security. Be sure to customize the dot for minimal distractions. And consider a VPN like Surfshark or ExpressVPN if you need maximum privacy protections like a reliable kill switch.
Let me know if you have any other questions! I‘m always happy to help explain new VPN features and how you can stream safely and privately.