Apple should offer their own VPN service to iOS and Mac users for security and privacy

“Virtual Private Network, or VPN for short, isn’t a new technology but it has been coming up more and more in security conversations lately,” Greg Barbosa writes for 9to5Mac.

“Using a VPN on a public wireless network allows the user to hide their network activity from prying eyes. Regardless if you have something to hide or not, having your banking and social media information open for all to see is just bad security practice. While it’s recommended to use one whenever possible, the trouble with VPNs starts almost as soon as one decides to use it,” Barbosa writes. “How does one even begin to find a recommended VPN option?”

“With data centers spanning all over the globe and already providing free (although arguably low) iCloud storage, Apple could enable a simple VPN as another one of their services,” Barbosa writes. “If Apple doesn’t want to get into building out another service into their product line, they could at least look into simplifying the App Store experience. With hundreds of apps in the App Store all pushing various VPN services, Apple could help to highlight a few trusted companies.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yes, this is a great idea! Such a move would strongly reinforce the message that the company wants to deliver: Apple is laser-ocused on user privacy and security.

Currently, we use TunnelBear’s VPN service (especially while using public Wi-Fi) which lets you choose from servers located around the world in 20+ countries. TunnelBear offers unlimited data for $49.99 billed yearly which is less than $4.17/month. TunnelBear explicitly states, “No logging. TunnelBear does NOT log any activity of users connected to our service. Period.”

SEE ALSO:
Protecting against possible ISP snooping by using a VPN and https – April 3, 2017
Privacy 101: Why you need a VPN – March 31, 2017
Why Congress’s rejection of proposed FCC data rules will not affect your privacy in the slightest – March 31, 2017
Congress to US citizens: Online privacy isn’t dead, those who want it will just have to pay for it – March 30, 2017
U.S. Congress sends repeal of FCC broadband privacy rules to President Trump for signature – March 29, 2017
Congress votes to repeal FCC Internet privacy rules – March 28, 2017
U.S. Senate votes to overturn Internet privacy rules – March 23, 2017

31 Comments

    1. It depends How speed works with VPN is this. Imagine points A, B, and C as follows:

      A: your machine
      B: VPN server
      C: everything else

      The bandwidth and latency of your own network between points A and B will have an impact on overall performance, and the same for the network between B and C which is not controlled by you but by the VPN provider and their ISP. The slower of the two will be your top speed (although you technically factor in both RTT since the data really is looping through the full path).

      So, for most consumer-grade VPN services, yes, it will be slower because they go with ridiculously cheap ISP services themselves, but if you’re connecting with dial-up, then no matter what you’re doing you’re going to still be getting dial-up speeds no matter what. However, it is entirely possible for every point involved to use higher end devices/ISPs/etc for a super fast experience on VPN.

      Most corporations use their own private VPN for their employees outside of a main office. You can also setup your own VPN within your own home (although this would defeat the purpose of hiding from your ISP since your home VPN would route through your same ISP).

    2. VPN can cause problems with services like Netflix, however, many world travelers love VPN’s to get their home base cable channels etc etc…..

      I’m sure the tech fixes are out there somewhere …

      1. The reason VPN can give you trouble with these services is because these sites filter IP’s and enable certain content only for certain countries. Some VPN’s are run outside your own country (not the ones I would use, personally, because they too can also intercept everything you’re doing. You have to really really trust your VPN provider far more than you trust your ISP, especially if they’re foreign companies not held to the same legal standards). Your IP will appear to be the VPN’s IP when you access sites.

    3. Yes. The amount varies with the speed of your pipe and the equipment maintaining the encrypted channel. Nevertheless, I agree with Steve jack. I think it’s a great idea.

      1. If Apple respected user privacy and had the ability to integrate VPN within Safari then Apple would. But it’s obvious this hasn’t happened because:
        1. Apple lacks the talent to design their own VPN.
        2. Apple really can’t stop itself from collecting user’s personal data
        3. All of the above.

        1. Actually Apple has had a pretty solid VPN for its employees since at least the mid-90s, when the Internet was still mostly in universities and the military. I’m not sure where you get your information but I’d suggest that it’s a mite off-base. (Get it? Off-base? Military? Never mind.)

          Please post a link to bank up your opinion about Apple collecting user data. In particular, I’d love to see a way that Apple is collecting data above and beyond what, say, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook are doing. Seriously, that would be fascinating.

          1. Oh, just Apple employees? That’s funny if it weren’t so sad and pathetic. Imagine, Apple’s rock solid VPN, impenetrable, just for a select chosen few. Never for all Mac users. Never for the masses. No, that wouldn’t be right.

  1. I would warn newbies to VPNs of one thing- check your financial accounts online so they do not lock you out.

    Many financial institutions track your IP address and if they see unusual activity (all of a sudden you are logging in from Seattle instead of Boston, for example), some will put a clamp on your accounts until they sort things out. Some Banks will send you a simple message to verify that it was you while others will suspend your account first and ask questions later.

  2. A problem is that there are many companies offering VPN services in the App Store. What happens to them? Apple would need to offer a very basic service so as to allow these developers a way to differentiate their products from Apple’s with more features, and possibly, more speed.

    Despite what I’m reading here, the fact is that VPNs do slow things down more than a bit, because of the process used. That can’t be avoided. Whether it’s a problem for people depends on what they’re doing. If all they’re doing is web browsing, and other things that don’t require much bandwidth, then they’re fine. But if they expect to be watching a movie, it could be a problem.

    1. Apple has a long history of competing with its developer community — especially on core services. The only way that I believe it would be a problem for developers would be if Apple were to roll an Apple VPM service into the various Apple OSes themselves. Then you’d get into a similar situation as Microsoft did when they integrated Internet Explorer into the Windows OS.

      But if Apple were to keep “AppleVPN” as a separate service that is optimized for Apple’s OSes, I don’t see a problem.

  3. Better yet buy sprint and t-mobile offer unlimited data on laptops, desktops iPhones, and ipads using your icloud account for 80 dollars a month for up to 4 devices.

  4. This might be a good idea. VPNs do slow things done, sometimes dramatically, however it is been my experience that the Apple system updates for iPhone, ipad,and mac have been by FAR the fastest of anything I’ve ever updated. These sometimes are large files. If Apple could leverage their existing infrastructure it might actually be really fast.

    However, the real solution it this is for us, as customers of ISPs, websites, on line vendors, and operation system vendors, to INSIST on privacy and secure operating systems. Those looking to the government to pass laws to “protect us” will be sadly disappointed.

    1. I agree with your first paragraph, but the second one contains some muddled logic: you say that people should demand what they want from companies, but not demand what they want from their elected officials? That doesn’t make sense. Any corporation that exists does so because of specific laws that make such “fictional” “people” possible. In other words, a corporation (as opposed to a sole proprietorship or partnership) can only exist and act as it does because someone passed a law. Thus, legally putting restrictions on the activities of corporations makes perfect sense, and the government that made their creation possible is the entity that should do so.
      I will agree with your final sentence to a certain extent: I think the two major parties have been very disappointing, but the solution is not to just give up and cede control of government to the rich and powerful, but to take action to make it serve the people again. So, expecting to be disappointed can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

      1. I think you’re about right, Krioni, but as far as I can tell, every government politician is very rich and fairly powerful. Liberals and conservatives. Filthy rich, all of them. I just wish they’d get me a little bit dirty… rofl… Not really. I don’t have a problem with filthy rich people. It’s just about always been the rich and powerful who are in government. And a few who are in private sector, but government people are and have always been rich. Check out how D.C. housing and income levels compare to rest of America, except maybe Hollywood and San Francisco area. Make money boys, make all you can. Just be nice, be good people.

  5. “Apple should do a VPN for macOS, iOS, tvOS, and watchOS users.”

    This may be the best suggestion for a new service from Apple that I have heard in a very, very long time. Apple could have such a service run through any and/or all of its data centers. You could pick which data center you wished to use, or you could have that data center picked on a random basis further hiding your traffic.

    Apple should definitely do this as soon as humanly possible.

  6. This is a BRILLIANT idea! Wow! Yes, Apple could market that to me, absolutely. Especially if they could design a VPN that would NOT slow things down.

    I’m sure I read it here somewhere, but there was a good review of what you have to put up with if you want to run a VPN. Slower speeds, sites that won’t load, and a pretty buggy internet experience. That’s the price the average user has to be willing to pay for privacy now. But if Apple could figure that out, allow us to authorize ourselves appropriately with a few dozen sites that are important to us (like banking, financial, government, travel, or sites where being ID’ed is important), this could be an epic victory for privacy.

    It seems troubling to me that the most opaque Administration ever to hold office in America, wanted everyone ELSE to have dramatically less privacy than the royal family.

    This is in alignment with Apple’s corporate culture and could make consumers happy on both sides of the aisle. 🙂

  7. “It seems troubling to me that the most opaque Administration ever to hold office in America, wanted everyone ELSE to have dramatically less privacy than the royal family.”

    When you don’t don’t even remotely understand the issues, it’s smarter to refrain from commenting.

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