Google One VPN now on iPhone: Do you need it?

Google has finally made good on a promise it made back in 2020 to offer its Google One VPN service to iPhones. As with the Android version, Google One members on Premium plans (2TB or higher, from $10/month) will be able to access the internet privacy service though the Google One app on iOS. Up to five family members can enjoy the service for the one monthly subscription fee, which certainly helps to make the overall value proposition of Google One more appealing. Although the service is still only available in 18 countries now, Google says it plans on expanding to additional markets soon.

Some Apple aficionados might be wondering why they should be interested in the Google One VPN when they already have iCloud Private Relay available to them on their iPhones. The answer to that is that iCloud Private Relay only works with Safari. As a fully-fledged VPN service, the Google One VPN extends its encrypted connection across all of the data that your iPhone sends over the internet and regardless of your browser preference. This is a significant advantage, particularly if you prefer other browsers on your iPhone and want to restrict the ability of third-parties to track your internet activity.

Google extolls the virtues of its own VPN

While some iPhone users may be wary of using Google's services, Google promises that "we will never use the VPN connection to track, log or sell your online activity." Although it says "minimum logging is performed to ensure quality of service", it adds that "your network traffic or IP associated with the VPN is never logged."

Google also highlights that it has open-sourced its VPN architecture and has also conducted a third-party audit of its system, that should help to further assure users Google is only employing VPN best practices as a provider. If that doesn't convince you, Google adds that it has achieved full certification from the Internet of Secure Things Alliance (ioXt), passing all of its eight security principles.

For the uninitiated, VPN (or similar services like iCloud Private Relay) are widely recommended by Internet security experts as it encrypts the data between your computer and the internet while also re-routing your connection to protect your IP (Internet Protocol) address so that your device remains anonymous. As Google advertises, it enables users to browse, stream and download content with a secure and private connection.

It also protects against eavesdropping by would-be hackers when browsing on unsecured public Wi-Fi networks. Of course, there are plenty of alternatives to the Google One VPN, but if you already use the Google One service, having access to a high-quality VPN at no additional cost to your existing subscription is a bonus.