I’m on record here a tiring (for others) number of times sharing my opinion that consumer VPNs provide little, if any, privacy or security benefit, almost certainly not enough to offset the risks incurred by using them. I have no problem (for example) with doing my online banking over a public, unsecured wireless network. If an activity isn’t safe to do over the Internet without a VPN, it’s not safe to do with one either. People serious about collecting information about you won’t even blink at your use of a VPN; it’s almost completely irrelevant to them.
Context: I work in security, and I don’t use any VPN service other than the one that my workplace requires me to use in order to do certain kinds of things.
(My opinion is an informed one, but it’s still just an opinion and it’s not one that all people in the field agree with, but of the people I know and collaborate with, the majority dislike consumer VPNs)
That’s a good reason in my book. I’ve got an ISP driven by money and seemingly nothing else, because it isn’t service. Why should I put my faith in them to not harvest our data and sell it, when they have the legal right to do so? I don’t want to be monetized by them. Hence, a VPN. The battery draw is obviously increased but it doesn’t seem huge on a Mac in my experience. Using one on mobile is worse in that regard, plus you can have problems with connections changing often. Using a DNS service is a good middle ground on mobile to avoid ISP and trackers but save battery.
Apple’s Private Relay solves some of these issues, but possibly isn’t available outside the US. It’s also not compatible with Pi-hole. Another option is using the Brave Browser, where you can select regular-, private- or Tor-based browser windows.
Of course if one is doing nefarious things on .onion sites, all bets are off.
I have a VPN setup up on all my devices to my home router (via wireguard)
This is not so much to protect me from snooping (since iOS does not protect from that anyway even with VPN) but more so I can access all my self-hosted services.
I do use NordVPN when I’m travelling sometimes, but that’s on my macbook running Linux, my iphone just runs the on-demand wireguard vpn.
Even if I don’t primary use it for security, I do not agree with some that not using a vpn is as secure on public wifi. I see plenty of open connections and passwords fly by on my pineapple when I do security awareness sessions. For power users I’d say we have options to take appropriate measures, but “normies” would struggle. I think a VPN does have added security benefit in general.
I agree with this 100%. I would never use any public WiFi without a VPN also.
Back in the early 2000s, I was stung while using public WiFi. Someone hacked my Gmail account. This was the reason I started using a VPN.
These days, I rarely use any form of public WiFi unless I have no choice; I tether my phone or iPad when possible. We are blessed nowadays with unlimited data, which means no more worries when using cellular.