VPN disconnects on sleep

Discussion in 'iOS 9' started by steve23094, Mar 2, 2016.

  1. steve23094 macrumors 68000

    steve23094

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    #1
    I have just purchased a PIA VPN subscription and installed their app on my WiFi only iPad running iOS 9.2.1.

    Every time my iPad goes to sleep I lose my VPN connection. I contacted PIA support and they blamed it on Apple and say it's a feature of iOS. They said notifications and push emails etc will continue to come through on an unsecured connection. But that defeats the purpose surely? I'm frustrated that PIA's support articles or sales literature doesn't mention this anywhere.

    I found a thread on the Apple forums that says this is a problem that has been going on for years, Apple's implementation is designed to prevent battery drain. But digging around the internet and searching the forums here there is very little mention of it. I assume this would be a massively publicised problem so I'm wondering if what PIA told me is true, or is there an effective work around?
     
  2. LewisChapman macrumors 6502a

    LewisChapman

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2015
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    PIA are correct on this - since iOS7 (I think), VPN is disconnected after a couple moments of sleep. The only way around this is to install PIA's app which will keep it connected. The issue with this however is the app is sluggish and if you drop VPN connection you lose your internet connection - which is a positive for some.

    If you have a configured iPhone you can use a workaround to stay connected however it comes with it's own caveats.

    To reiterate - PIA are correct on this, it's another case of Apple being awkward.
     
  3. steve23094, Mar 2, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2016

    steve23094 thread starter macrumors 68000

    steve23094

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    #3
    You say the PIA app will keep the connection. I have the app and it doesn't, every time my iPad sleeps I have to open the app, disconnect the VPN and reconnect it. Have I got some sort of solvable fault?

    I read the article you linked. It says 'Thankfully, iOS 8 will now stay connected to VPNs even when the screen is off — but that’s not the same as an always-on VPN that protects application data from ever being sent over normal cellular data and Wi-Fi connections'. I'm not quite comprehending that statement, does it mean the setup they describe doesn't actually work?

    EDIT: You can probably ignore the last paragraph. I don't think PIA uses IKEv2.
     
  4. LewisChapman macrumors 6502a

    LewisChapman

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2015
    Location:
    UK
    #4
    Why do you disconnect the VPN in the PIA app after sleep?
     
  5. steve23094, Mar 2, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2016

    steve23094 thread starter macrumors 68000

    steve23094

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    #5
    Because at the point of waking up from sleep my internet access is dead and the only way to get it running again is to disconnect and reconnect the VPN from the PIA app.
     
  6. LewisChapman macrumors 6502a

    LewisChapman

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2015
    Location:
    UK
    #6
    Thats the kill-switch within the app working correctly however if you read the reviews on the App store, a current issue exists with the reconnection.

    Hopefully when the issue is resolved you will have a solution. Until that happens, as much as I am aware, there is no other way to have an always-on connection other than supervising the iPhone with configurator.

    Good choice on the VPN provider by the way - I have recently enrolled in a subscription with them and think apart from our common issue, the service provided is excellent. I am running a script on my MacBook Pro which auto-reconnects the connection and it works excellently.
     
  7. steve23094 thread starter macrumors 68000

    steve23094

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    #7
    I'm afraid I don't have your faith in it ever being fixed then. The app is still on version 1.0 and it was released in May '15, more than enough time for an update.

    I'm not overawed so far.

    1. The OS X app is ugly and looks nothing like a native app. There is a thread on their forums where a user has even gone to the effort and designed one for them, this was a long time ago.

    2. The menu bar icon is grey and blurry. Retina displays came out in 2012, they have had four years to update it and it really needs an option to be in colour to clearly show the connection status. The same thread I mention above includes this point.

    3. There is no way to minimise the always on top app once it has been opened except exiting the whole thing and losing your VPN connection. I understand why you might always want it on top but you should definitely be able to minimise it.

    4. I'm dealing with support now over a problem that the OS X app is ignoring my Region settings.

    5. The original point I had issue with over iOS sleeping is not mentioned in their support articles or advertising, it really should be.

    You might consider these just minor niggles, but to me a company that doesn't polish their products gives an indication that other aspects of the business are not run well either. These issues should have been cleaned up a long time ago, I'm all for giving a chance but they have had long enough.

    I'm satisfied with the speed. On OS X I haven't had a dropped connection, I'm only one day in though.

    This is my first VPN company so I have nothing to compare PIA against.
     
  8. LewisChapman macrumors 6502a

    LewisChapman

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2015
    Location:
    UK
    #8
    Vote with your money, my experience with PIA has personally been positive probably because I don't use either of their clients. Native all the way even at the cost of openVPN.
     
  9. steve23094, Mar 3, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2016

    steve23094 thread starter macrumors 68000

    steve23094

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    #9
    Hmm. Yes, because my problems seem to stem from the clients I have been considering other options like OpenVPN. Any tips or pitfalls to watch out for?
     
  10. steve23094 thread starter macrumors 68000

    steve23094

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    #10
    I just wanted to post a follow up to my original message for the benefit of anybody else that is having similar problems and stumbles across this thread.

    Previously the PIA iOS app would disconnect an absolute minimum of a dozen times a day (probably nearer over twenty) and does not handle switching from WiFi to cellular, it's totally unfit for purpose. I have since been using the OpenVPN Connect app and it's like night and day. It will still occasionally disconnect but uptimes are typically around 48 hours and it persists through the iDevice sleeping. It's inexplicable to me why PIA cannot design an app with the same reliability.

    To use OpenVPN Connect install the app on your iDevice. On your iDevice navigate to the page https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/pages/openvpn-ios and select which server you want to connect to, download the file to your iDevice and select "Open in "OpenVPN". Switch it on from within the app and you're all done.

    Just one further comment about PIA. I had occasion to contact their support department about a different matter and they were worse than totally useless. When my sub is up I will be taking my business elsewhere.
     

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