iOS location services subverts benefit of VPN

I use VyprVPN on an iPad so that I can watch rugby on BT Sport (to which I subscribe in the UK) when I am travelling abroad. This has worked splendidly for the past six months, but the latest BT Sport app now requires that ‘location services’ are switched on before it lets me stream video. Hey presto, even though I am connected through a UK VPN, BT can now see that I an abroad and so blocks access to the video. Can anyone think of a way around this outrageous infringement of my liberty!!

Hello John,

I understand you are experiencing some issues with accessing geo-locked service while connected to VyprVPN.

From what I have gathered about the BT Sport app, it appears it requires you to keep your GPS on, which is the likely cause of the problem. If that is the case, there may not be anything we can do to get around this problem, as it is built into the app itself.

Sites that offer media content that is geo-locked to a certain region may fail to load, stating you are outside of the service area, for many reasons even while connected to a server in that country. While many of our customers do use our service to access sites like these, please note we cannot offer any guarantee that these sites will work due to many different variables.

Please try the following steps to see if you are able to access the service in question:

  1. Log out of all Google accounts on the machine. Google caches IP addresses, which may reveal your actual location.
  2. Disable all location services in your browser and any location services on your machine or device (GPS, etc…).
  3. Clear your browser’s cookies, cache, and temp files.
  4. Disconnect and reconnect to the selected VyprVPN server location to obtain a new IP address.
  5. Change your device’s time zone to the provider’s service area and adjust the time to local time .
  6. If you are connected to a wifi network and have access to the router, rename your Wifi network name (SSID), appending “_nomap” at the end (no quotes). This will opt your network out of Google’s geolocation services. You will need to reconnect your device to the new network in order to regain internet access.

If the website still states you are not in the service area, it is possible that they are using an outdated IP database or they are blocking known VPN IP ranges. You will need to contact the service provider for further assistance.

Carlos
Golden Frog Support

Jailbreak your ipad, if you are on a jailbreakable ios version. If not, wait til a jailbreak for it gets released (it will happen, despite the naysayers). If you’re worried about the dangers of jailbreaking, ie permanent device loss, there are 100% safeguards against it, if you do the reading. A good place to find out about it is reddit.com/r/jailbreak, it’s a positive non illegal jailbreak community, with guides and helpful types. With a jailbroken device, faking your GPS location is one of the most common and easiest things to do.

I have a similar problem with my iPod Touch device (with iOS 10). I am a vyprvpn pro user and my location is set to London, UK. However, the built-in weather app accurately picks up my actual location instead of the VPN server’s location. iPod Touch devices do not have GPS, so location services go through the device’s internet connection. Does that mean that the VPN service only works for selected apps only (eg safari)? How do I know that an app is “protected” by VPN or not?

Hello @Z_Fuki ,

If an app is using your GPS location, it may show your actual physical location because GPS doesn’t use the VPN tunnel. Other aspects of the app such as normal internet requests like pulling up web resources (http) would go through the VPN tunnel.

That being said, depending on the app and how it functions, your location may be given away if it is taking your GPS location information and sending that over your internet connection (the VPN tunnel.) In a case like this, the VPN traffic itself is still encrypted, but you may not be able to use the service as intended. A streaming app that blocks connections from certain locations for example would not work properly if the app has access to GPS data.

So, simply put, your internet traffic is still protected by VyprVPN’s encryption, but in many situations your location information may be compromised due to the way GPS functions.

As mentioned in my previous post, disabling location services on the device can prevent this, but if an app relies on those services then it won’t function correctly.

Thanks carlosz for your answer; however, I’m afraid you misunderstood my problem. iPod Touch devices do NOT have GPS. Therefore, all location information requests are sent through the internet (via wifi connection). So if VyprVPN tunnels all internet connection from the device then all apps should recognize the VPN server’s location and not the actual, true location.

Hello @Z_Fuki,

The VyprVPN tunnel itself only handles encryption, it doesn’t do anything regarding your location beyond changing your public IP address to reflect the server location you connected to. So this means your location can still be “leaked” depending on how the app you are using operates.

To clarify, location services aren’t necessarily limited to just GPS. It can be gleaned from other vectors such as cellular towers, Your Wi-Fi network, Bluetooth, as well as the things mentioned in my post above. Apple has a good support article here that details how you can disable location services globally or for individual apps:

Your internet connection itself is encrypted, so it is protected in that sense.

That is, if I correctly understood that the VPN will work correctly in another country if I turn off my GPS and other applications that determine geo-location?

Hello,

While users do use our VPN service to geolocate themselves to a specific location, please note we cannot offer any guarantee even with GPS services disabled. This is due to many variables that can occur over a VPN connection.

Regards,
Wes
Customer Support