Google is about to give iPhone owners a privacy and security headache as it prepares to shut down another key service

Google One VPN on iPhone
(Image credit: Google/Future)

Using a VPN is a great way to keep your data private, bypass region locks, and more. And there is no shortage of iPhone VPN options for people to choose from. But one that people might already have is going away, and it might come as no surprise to you that the company ending its VPN service is none other than Google — the company that just can't stop ending support for services.

The service in this instance is the Google One VPN, one that Google only launched back in October 2020. The VPN feature was part of the wider Google ONe subscription and while prices originally started as high as $9.99 per month for the Gone Premium plan, just $1.99 per month is currently required to be able to use the VPN component. But that won't be the case for long.

Google has started to warn customers that it will start to discontinue the VPN functionality later this year. While those who own a Google Pixel Android phone will continue to enjoy VPN access as part of that device's list of features, everyone else who pays for Google One will lose out.

Nobody used it

The news was first shared by Android Authority with Google sending notifications that also detailed other changes, including the removal of free shipping on print orders via Google Photos.

"With a focus on providing the most in-demand features and benefits, we're discontinuing free shipping for select print orders from Google Photos (in Canada, the UK, US, and EU) starting on May 15 and VPN by Google One later this year," the alert reads. "As a Pixel user, you'll continue to enjoy being able to access VPN from Google through Pixel settings if you have Pixel 7 or newer models."

Google of course has a history of doing away with features and services that people seemed to really enjoy using. Google RSS is one example that many still refuse to forgive Google for taking away, but in this instance, it seems that the move might actually have merit.

According to 9to5Google, the reason that the One VPN feature is being removed is pretty simple — nobody ever actually used it. In a statement to the outlet Google reportedly said the company was “discontinuing the VPN feature as [it] found people simply weren’t using it.” As a result, the decision means that the team will be able to "refocus" and “support more in-demand features with Google One.”

Notably, Google announced that Google One reached the 100 million-user milestone earlier this year, so it begs the question of just how many people really were using the VPN feature for this decision to have been made.

Regardless, iPhone and Mac owners who now need to find a new VPN shouldn't have too many problems, the market is huge with some great alternatives. However, if you already pay for Google One each month and made use of the included VPN, you'll now need to look at finding an alternative and adding a subscription to your collection as a result.

While Apple doesn't offer a VPN itself, iCloud Private Relay can offer some of the same functionality. Part of the iCloud Plus subscription, the feature ensures that websites and services cannot see your actual IP address, reducing the chance for them to track you across the internet and between sessions.

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Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

  • Just_Me_D
    If nobody ever used it then how will it be troublesome to iPhone owners?
  • Xijah
    Just_Me_D said:
    If nobody ever used it then how will it be troublesome to iPhone owners?
    I was thinking the same thing 😂
  • Annie_M
    When I initially read this post, I made sure that my bottle of aspirin was handy, but then I realized nothing in the article applied to us, so I happily put the aspirin away! 🤣
  • Ledsteplin
    This is the 2nd iMore article I've looked at today. I think the writers need help. Just saying.
  • Wotchered
    I have never even heard of It till now !
  • DragelinaEt
    Just_Me_D said:
    If nobody ever used it then how will it be troublesome to iPhone owners?
    key service :ROFLMAO: