How To Turn Off a VPN

Exactly how to turn off a VPN isn’t always immediately clear. If you’re facing slow internet speeds, accessing local content, or troubleshooting connectivity issues, switching off your VPN may help.

In this guide, we’ll provide easy-to-follow steps for deactivating your VPN on Windows, MacOS, iOS, or Android so you can quickly, safely, and easily turn off your VPN.

Key Takeaways

  • Your VPN routes your traffic through a server, helping to keep your location and identity private.
  • Turning off a VPN may sometimes be necessary to improve speed or access local services.
  • Your device will usually display a symbol in the system tray or status bar whenever you’re connected to a VPN.
  • Disabling a VPN exposes your real IP address and stops your data being encrypted, but it’s generally safe on a secure network.
  • Disabling a VPN can be done easily on any device in just a few steps.

How Do VPNs Work?

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a service that encrypts your internet connection and routes it through a server in a selected location. It masks your IP address, helping to protect your privacy and allowing you to bypass geographic restrictions.

VPNs are widely used for securing data, especially when using public WiFi networks and accessing region-locked content.

How Do I Know If I’m Using a VPN?

Determining if you’re using a VPN can be as simple as checking the system tray or status bar on your device for a VPN icon. Most VPN services will display an explicit notification when you’re connected.

You can also visit a website like WhatIsMyIPAddress.com, which will show your current IP address and location. If the information listed doesn’t match your actual location, you’re likely using a VPN.

WhatsMyIPAddress.com site
WhatsMyIPAddress.com site

When Should You Turn Off a VPN? When Is It Safe?

You might consider turning off your VPN if it significantly impacts your internet speed or if you’re trying to access services that block VPN use, such as certain streaming platforms and banking apps.

It’s safe to turn off your VPN when you’re using a secure, private WiFi connection. However, without a VPN, your online activities will be visible to your Internet Service Provider (ISP), and you’ll potentially be vulnerable to cyber threats.

How To Turn Off a VPN on Windows

To temporarily disable a VPN on Windows, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the network icon in the system tray in the bottom-right corner of your screen
  2. Select “Network & Internet Settings
  3. In the “Network & Internet” section, click on “VPN” in the left sidebar
  4. You’ll see a list of VPN connections – click on the active VPN connection you want to disable
  5. Click on the “Disconnect” button

If you want to remove the VPN permanently:

  1. Follow steps 1 to 4 above to reach the list of VPN connections
  2. Click on the VPN profile you want to delete
  3. Select “Remove” and confirm when prompted
  4. If you’ve installed a VPN application, uninstall it by going to “Settings” > “Apps,” then find the VPN app to uninstall it
Windows 10 VPN administration page
Windows VPN settings

How To Turn Off a VPN on macOS

To temporarily turn off a VPN on MacOS:

  1. Click on the Apple menu and choose “System Preferences
  2. Select “Network
  3. Choose “VPN
  4. Click on the “Disconnect” button

To permanently disable a VPN on MacOS:

  1. Repeat steps 1 to 3 above to select the VPN service
  2. Click the “-” (minus) button at the bottom of the list to remove the VPN configuration
  3. If a VPN application is installed, drag the application from the “Applications” folder to “Trash
  4. Empty the Trash folder to complete the uninstallation process
MacOS settings page
MacOS system settings

How To Turn Off a VPN on iOS (iPhone and iPad)

To temporarily turn off a VPN on an iOS device:

  1. Open “Settings
  2. Tap on the “VPN” toggle near the top of the list to disconnect
  3. Your VPN will now be off until you turn it back on in the same way

To permanently disable a VPN on iOS:

  1. Go to “Settings” and select “General
  2. Scroll down and tap on “VPN
  3. Tap on the “i” icon next to the VPN you want to remove
  4. Tap on “Delete VPN” at the bottom of the VPN settings page
  5. Confirm to remove the VPN profile
Deleting a VPN on iOS
iOS VPN settings

How To Turn Off a VPN on Android (Samsung, Xiaomi, and Others)

To temporarily disable a VPN on an Android device:

  1. Pull down the notification shade from the top of your screen
  2. Tap on the VPN notification
  3. Click on “Disconnect” to turn off the VPN
How To Turn Off a VPN on Android
Android VPN settings

To permanently remove a VPN on Android:

  1. Open “Settings” and go to “Connections” or “Network & Internet
  2. Tap on “VPN
  3. Tap on the gear icon next to the VPN profile you want to delete
  4. Choose “Delete VPN” and confirm your choice
  5. If you have a VPN app installed, go to “Settings” > “Apps” > select the VPN app > tap “Uninstall

Summary – How to Turn a VPN Off

It’s important to know how to turn off a VPN, whether temporarily to address connectivity issues or as a permanent change for your online security setup.

If you consider adjusting your VPN usage, though, remember to explore your options and compare VPN providers to find the best app for your needs. If one provider is slowing down your connection, you might get better results from other services – and features like split tunneling may help optimize your traffic load.

VPN Deactivation FAQs

What happens if I turn off my VPN?

Can VPNs be blocked?

Related How To’s

Related Terms

Richard Sutherland

Richard brings more than two decades of computer science, business operations, and full-stack development experience to Techopedia. A Computer Science graduate and former Samsung IT support manager, Richard has taught courses in Java, PHP and Perl, and created code for the public and private sectors. A prolific B2B and B2C tech writer, Richard has worked for Samsung, TechRadar Pro, and more.