One of the most useful things about VPN is that it encrypts a device’s entire internet connection, which is great for ensuring privacy. However, because VPN does slow down an internet connection (which may already be quite slow if accessing the internet over a mobile data connection), this can be a real pain when doing things such as streaming YouTube videos or listening to Spotify (and we are unlikely to worry too much about the NSA spying in on our music tastes!)
Well, it seems that hidden deep within the guts of the shiny new Android 5.0 Lollipop is a very funky feature – the ability to whitelist individual apps when using VPN, so that traffic from that app is not routed through the VPN tunnel. This is not available through the standard VPN settings app, but must be implemented by third party VPN clients.
As present, the only such client to take advantage of this new feature is the newest beta release of open source OpenVPN for Android by Arne Schwabe (an excellent app by the way). Those wanting to test it out before it hits the Play Store need to join Arne Schwabe’s Google+ group and sign-up for beta testing.
Unfortunately, here in the UK our trusty Nexus 7 2013 has yet to receive an OTA Lollipop update, but as soon as this arrives we will put the app through its paces.
Android Police also notes that,
‘For developers looking to implement the new functionality, it is accessed through the VpnService.Builder API. There are two methods which are used to either create a whitelist or a blacklist of apps: addAllowedApplication and addDisallowedApplication. Hit the documentation for further details.’