You might find yourself in a situation where you need to turn off your VPN — but that’s a risky move for your privacy and cybersecurity. When you disconnect from your VPN for any reason your IP address, identity, and sensitive data are up for grabs.
Your ISP, the government, advertisers, and cybercriminals want access to your information online, but a secure VPN stops prying eyes from intercepting your data. Keep that in mind when you decide whether to turn off your VPN — we recommend you always keep it on.
Still, read on to learn how to turn off a VPN service on iOS and Android devices, as well as macOS and Windows computers. You’ll also learn about important features to enhance your privacy and security online.
Pro Tip: Not all VPNs are built the same. You need a VPN with tough encryption and an ironclad No Logs policy if you want to access content securely and anonymously. CyberGhost VPN uses military-grade 256-bit AES encryption to stop outsiders from seeing what you do online. We’re even headquartered in privacy-friendly Romania, so we don’t keep track of your data or session information.
What Happens When You Turn Your VPN off?
As soon as you disconnect from your VPN, your data is no longer encrypted and your IP address is visible to anyone. Your IP address shows your location, so you’ll immediately reveal where you’re connecting from. If you’ve been using a VPN for privacy and security, turning it off reverses all the protections you had in place.
Your ISP can monitor all your activities, and may share your information with advertisers. Say hello to annoying targeted ads again! ISPs often keep tabs on you to apply site prioritization and throttle your connection to reserve bandwidth for paid affiliates. Since your ISP can see the sites you’re visiting when you’re not using your VPN, you may notice slower speeds from content-based throttling.
If you use your VPN to access content on restrictive networks like at school, work, or abroad, disconnecting means you won’t be able to unblock some websites or access your streaming subscriptions anymore. Still, you may end up choosing to turn your VPN off at some point.
When Should I Turn Off My VPN?
The appropriate time to turn off your VPN depends on how you use it, and whether the benefits of turning it off outweigh the risks. You already know the implications of turning off your VPN, so consider whether it’s absolutely necessary.
You might want to learn how to turn off a VPN service in situations like these:
- 🛑 You need to set up an internet connection for the first time
- 🛑 Your workplace doesn’t allow VPNs
- 🛑 You only use a VPN to unblock content and aren’t concerned about keeping it on for privacy and security
- 🛑 You visit a country like China that doesn’t allow VPN use
- 🛑 Your VPN slows your internet, because you’re using a free VPN or one that doesn’t have the infrastructure to handle your activity without speed loss
- 🛑 You need to troubleshoot a problem with your network
Remember that turning off your VPN exposes your IP address and internet activity. All you’ve invested in maintaining your digital privacy could be lost.
Pro Tip: If you want to know how to turn off a VPN service because it’s slowing your speeds, you simply need a fast and secure VPN. Install CyberGhost VPN and enjoy our massive network of optimized servers. Stream, game, browse, and download with the fastest speeds on the market. You can even customize your VPN protocols so you never have to choose between your security and speed.
Do I Need a VPN at Home?
You need a VPN at home to protect your data and maintain your privacy. Now that the Internet of Things (IoT) has changed the way we manage our living spaces, we have even more reasons to protect our digital security.
Smart homes make life easier in many ways. For example, your smart home learns when you’re typically home so you’ll save on energy bills and have a comfortable temperature when you’re there. However, the more you interconnect your devices and integrate the IoT into your life, the higher the stakes are when it comes to cybercrime and data breaches.
Imagine leaving your door unlocked while you’re sleeping. While that doesn’t mean someone will definitely break in, you increase your risk of burglary because you haven’t protected that entry point. The same thing applies to an unprotected connection. A reliable VPN tightens your home’s security by preventing third-party snooping and data sharing from your devices.
How to Turn Your VPN off on Any Device
We recommend you keep your VPN on at all times. However, if you want to learn how to disable a VPN service, here’s how to do it on all your devices.
How to Turn Off a VPN on iPhone
There are two ways to disable an active VPN on your iPhone or iOS device. Both methods take only a few taps to disconnect.
1️⃣ Disconnect using your iOS device’s settings:
The first method of turning your VPN off is though your iOS Settings. Here are the steps:
- Navigate to Settings from your home screen.
- Tap General
- Select VPN & Device Management
- Tap on VPN
- Tap the toggle switch to change your VPN’s status to Off/Not Connected.
2️⃣ Disconnect using your VPN app:
The VPN app is the second way to disable your VPN on iPhones and iOS devices. VPN apps look different in design, however, here are the basic steps to turn off the service from within the app:
- Launch the VPN app
- Toggle the off/disconnect switch, or in CyberGhost’s app interface, simply touch the power button icon.
Pro tip: Depending on the app design, the toggle switch or button that controls connecting or disconnecting may be located in different positions.
How to Turn Off a VPN Service on Android Devices
Disabling your VPN service from an Android device doesn’t vary much from iOS. Like with iPhones and iOS devices, there are two ways to proceed.
1️⃣ Disconnect using your Android device’s settings:
You can disconnect the VPN on your Android device in Settings using the following steps:
- Access your Settings from your home page.
- Click Network & Internet or Connection & Sharing. The wording may differ depending on the particular Android device.
- Click on VPN
- Tap on the toggle switch to turn off the VPN.
2️⃣ Disconnect on Android devices using your VPN app:
You can also disconnect from your VPN on Android devices through the VPN app. Depending on the app design, the features may be in different locations, but the process involves these steps:
- Open the VPN app
- Tap the toggle switch or power button to disconnect. It’s usually a bold feature marked On/Off or Connect/Disconnect.
How to Turn a VPN off on Windows 10, 8, 7, and More
There are multiple ways to turn off VPN on computer and laptop Windows OS machines. The steps may vary slightly depending on your Windows version, but the basic process will be:
- Navigate to Settings from the Windows icon.
- Click on Network & Internet
- Click on VPN
- Select the VPN service you want to turn off.
- Select Disconnect
We’ll use Windows 10 as a case study to show the multiple ways you can disable your VPN in Windows OS.
1️⃣ Disable the VPN using View Network Connections:
Here are the steps:
- Search for View Network Connections in the search bar next to the Windows 10 icon and click on it.
- Under View Network Connections, you’ll find all the connections you use on the internet.
- Right-click on the particular VPN you want to turn off and select Disable.
2️⃣ Disable the VPN via Network & Internet settings:
This method lets you disconnect your VPN service temporarily or permanently. Here are the steps:
- Go to Settings from your Windows icon or via the search bar.
- Select Network & Internet
- Select VPN
- Click on the VPN you want to disconnect.
- Select Disconnect
3️⃣ Turn your VPN off in Windows 10 via the VPN client:
Follow the steps below:
- Click on the System Tray (the upward arrow on the taskbar).
- Right-click on the VPN client’s icon
- Click Exit or any other wording your VPN client uses to indicate turning off
Bonus Tip: If you share an internet connection or device with others, you can prevent them from using your VPN connection. Simply follow these steps:
- Click the Windows 10 icon and open the Run dialogue box (you can just type Run into the search bar).
- Type gpedit.msc in the box and follow the run path below Configuration\Administrative Templates\Network\Network Connections\Prohibit access to the New Connection Wizard.
- Double-click on Prohibit access to the New Connection Wizard.
- Click Enable Radio Button.
- Select Apply and Ok.
How to Turn Off a VPN on Your MacOS Computer
Disabling your VPN on a macOS machine is similar to the process in iOS. You can disconnect through the app or your device’s System Preferences.
1️⃣ To disconnect your VPN using your System Preferences, follow the steps below:
- Click the Apple icon
- Select System Preferences
- Select Network
- Select the VPN service you want to disable.
- Click Disconnect
2️⃣ To disable your VPN within the app, follow these steps:
- Open the VPN app.
- Click on the toggle switch or power icon to disconnect.
- You can also click on the VPN icon on the bar across the top of your screen.
- Select Disconnect from the drop-down menu.
How to Turn Off a VPN on Your Router
Routers and their dedicated apps have slight variations in design. However, the essential functions and features remain the same.
You can disable your router’s VPN service through the app settings:
- Go to app Settings.
- Tap the toggle switch or power button to turn off the VPN
Also, resetting your router disconnects the VPN from all connected devices.
Bonus Tip: Some VPNs like CyberGhost offer split tunneling or other ways to manage what traffic you send through your VPN versus through your regular connection. Splitting your traffic could be an alternative to completely disconnecting from your VPN. That way some of your data will stay completely protected.
What is VPN Split Tunneling?
Split tunneling is a VPN feature that lets you route some of your device or app traffic through your secure VPN tunnel, and some through your regular internet connection. In essence, split tunneling divides your traffic in two.
If your VPN has split tunneling you may be able to avoid turning off your VPN in certain situations. For example, some streaming platforms require you to connect without a VPN. Split tunneling allows you to enjoy streaming while encrypting and hiding the rest of your connection.
CyberGhost VPN’s Android app offers split-tunneling, so you can easily direct your traffic to go inside or outside its secure network.
For most devices, CyberGhost VPN lets you create Smart Rules via the app to manage which traffic you send through your regular connection. Like split tunneling, this is a great way to maintain your privacy and security — even if you need to disable your VPN for a specific activity or website.
Pro Tip: Split tunneling can save you from exposing all your traffic. Choose a VPN like CyberGhost with split tunneling for Android and Smart Rules for other connections to get ultimate privacy and security. Even if you have to route part of your connection on the open web, you still won’t be completely exposed.
What is a VPN Kill Switch?
A VPN Kill Switch adds another layer of protection for your data. It stops your device from sending and receiving information if your VPN connection ever drops. Your VPN connection could be interrupted for lots of reasons, including an unstable internet connection at home, router or firewall settings, and more.
Without a VPN Kill Switch, any disruption to your VPN connection means third parties can see your IP address and what you’re doing online. A Kill Switch ensures your identity is always protected. Cybercriminals love an easy target, so if you’re using public Wi-Fi, you absolutely have to use a VPN that has a Kill Switch.
Choose CyberGhost and Always Keep your VPN On
CyberGhost VPN offers the best features for keeping your sensitive information safe, like 256-bit AES encryption and our strict No Logs policy. Take advantage of our 45-day money-back guarantee to discover how easy it can be to protect yourself online.
If your anonymity is important to you, keeping CyberGhost or another premium VPN on ensures that snoopers — including your ISP, advertisers, government agencies, and cybercriminals — won’t get to your data.
Some scenarios may tempt or even require you to turn off your VPN. However, disabling your VPN may compromise your identity and any sensitive data you’ve been protecting. Before turning off your VPN, always consider if the reason is worth risking your digital privacy and security.
Here at CyberGhost, we recommend you always keep your VPN on to avoid exposing your connection. If you must disconnect, try our split tunneling or Smart Rules features to keep as much of your information protected as you can. Disconnecting your VPN can be less harmful when you take this kind of security precaution.
How do I Disable a VPN?
You can disable a VPN through your device settings or your VPN app. The exact steps depend on what device and VPN you’re using, though the processes are normally similar.
Disabling your VPN using the app is often the simplest way, assuming your VPN has a user-friendly interface. In most cases, you’ll see an on/off or connect/disconnect toggle switch. CyberGhost has a large power button icon you can tap to connect or disconnect from the VPN.
However, we recommend that you keep your VPN on to protect your privacy online.
What happens if I turn off my VPN?
Turning off your VPN reveals your IP address, identity, and data to interested parties, including snoopers and cybercrooks. You’ll also lose secure access to your favorite content on certain networks.
We recommend you always keep your VPN on and only disconnect if absolutely necessary. If you need to disable your VPN for some reason, CyberGhost offers split tunneling and Smart Rules for multiple operating systems. That way you can choose to route some of your traffic through the encrypted VPN tunnel and some through your regular connection.
What happens to my data when my VPN is turned off?
When you turn off your VPN, your data is no longer encrypted. Your ISP, government, malicious hackers, and other third parties can track your online behavior.
If your VPN is off, connecting to public Wi-Fi is a terrible idea. Third parties, including cybercriminals, can harvest your personal data, like credit card details or any information that can be sold to advertisers. CyberGhost VPN uses robust encryption to hide your connection and safeguard your data. Test all our features with a 45-day money-back guarantee.
When should I keep my VPN on?
We recommend you always keep your VPN on. If you do need to route some of your traffic outside your VPN, you can still use CyberGhost VPN. Our split tunneling or Smart Rules features can keep some of your data encrypted even if you have to send some through your regular connection. Feel free to contact our 24/7 Customer Support team to see if we can help before you disconnect.