How to Hide Your IP Address on Android: 3 Easy Solutions

An IP address is a unique string of digits that represents your specific device, and it can be used to track your online activities. If you are concerned about privacy or if you want to improve your security, then hiding your IP address is an important step in improving your overall digital protection.

It is particularly important to hide your IP address from your phone, as it holds a huge amount of information about yourself and your location as well as your online activities. Android is by far the most popular mobile operating system in the world, so knowing how to hide your IP address on this OS is an immensely valuable skill. Read on for an in-depth tutorial on how to hide your IP address on Android.

How Android Users Are Assigned An IP Address

Whenever your phone connects to an online network, it is automatically assigned an IP address. This is a string of numerical characters which is used to uniquely identify your device’s connection to the internet, as well as to alert websites of where you are physically located in the world. With this information, ISPs and websites (along with other third parties) can effectively track your activity online, as well as your geographical movements. Scary stuff, right? Luckily, a large degree of anonymity can be retained by simply masking your real IP address with that of a VPN’s proxy server.

Why Android Users May Want To Hide Their IP Address

There are many reasons that Android users might want to hide their IP address, such as the following:

Protect Your Privacy

When you leave your actual IP address exposed, any site that you visit can record your IP address and keep records of your activity on that site. This means that there exists a record of all of the sites that you visit and all of your online activities, which are linked by your IP. Your ISP or the government can easily use your IP address to keep tabs on you, even when you try to use a site anonymously. Hiding your IP address makes it much harder for your online activities to be tracked.

Download in Safety

If you are going to participate in file sharing, then you absolutely need to take steps to protect yourself. This is especially important if you use torrent files, as when you download using these files, you expose your IP address while others download from you. This means that it is very easy for your downloading activities to be tracked. By hiding your IP address, you throw down a virtual smoke bomb that makes it impossible for third-parties to see what you’re downloading, or even that you’re downloading anything in the first place.

Improve Your Security

When your IP address is public, it can be used to target you for cyber attacks. For example, a DDoS attack occurs when a person wants to knock your device off the internet. This type of attack, called a distributed denial of service attack, works by co-ordinating various machines from around the world to send huge packets of data to the same IP address – in this case, your IP address – to overwhelm the server you are connected to and thus knock you offline. You can protect yourself against DDoS attacks, as well as other cyber attacks such as phishing and vishing, by hiding your IP address so that malicious actors cannot target you.

Bypass Regional Restrictions and Censorship

One way that IP addresses are used by websites is to restrict the access to content based on the location of the user. For example, sites like the BBC iPlayer can only be used to watch video within the UK. When you try to visit the iPlayer website, the site reads your IP address and works out your location. If your location is within the UK, you are allowed to watch the videos, but if your location is elsewhere then the videos will not play. This means that if you want to want region locked content like the BBC from outside the UK on your Android device, then you will need to hide your IP address.

How To Hide Your IP Address On Android

The best way to hide your IP address on Android is to use a virtual private network. A VPN works by installing an app on your Android device, and this app then encrypts all of the data that your device sends over the internet before it leaves your device. This encrypted data passes through your internet connection as usual, though no one else can access the data or read it. The data is then sent to a server located elsewhere in the location of your choosing, and at the server it is decrypted and sent on to its original destination. When the data leaves this server, it is assigned a new IP address which corresponds to the location of the server rather than your actual location.

This process means that your real IP address is masked behind the new address assigned to you by the server. If you are based in one location – such as Germany, for example – you can connect to a server in another location – such as the UK – and your German IP address will be hidden behind a UK IP address. Then, when you visit a website, you will appear to be browsing from the UK and you can access UK content like the BBC iPlayer. This also means that your real IP address will be kept safe and private.

Using A VPN App On Android

The particular app that you will use to connect to your VPN server on Android depends on the VPN provider that you choose. However, the general principals of these apps are all the same. When you open a VPN app for Android, you will not yet be connected to the VPN. First you need to find the list of servers that are available in the VPN app. Often this will be on a separate tab in the form of an alphabetical list, or there may be a map showing locations of available servers.

Decide which server that you want to connect to, based on the following factors:

  • Firstly, consider the country of the server. If you want to access region locked content, then you need to select a server in the region where you want to access the content from. Alternatively, if you do not need to access region locked content, then you should choose a server that is nearby to your actual location for the best possible speeds.
  • Secondly, look at the ping and load of the servers. The ping is an indicator of how fast the server is responding to messages sent to it, so you want a server with a low ping so that it will respond quickly and you can get a fast connection. The load indicates how many users are currently using the server, so you want a server with a low load so that you are not sharing limited resources with too many other people.

Once you have selected the server that will best meet your needs, click on the name of the server and you should see a message indicating that you are being connected to that server (it should only take a few seconds for the connection to be made). Once the connection is made, you will see an indicator on the app that the VPN is running, usually in the form of a green light or icon. You will also see a key symbol in your Android status bar to show that you are connected to a VPN.

Now your IP address is hidden, and most VPN apps will show you your new IP address if you navigate to the home screen. This means you can now browse the internet sagely and privately from your Android device.

Recommended VPNs For Android

There is a massive selection of VPNs available for various devices, so to help you choose which VPN provider is right for you we have compiled a list of our top VPNs for Android, based on the following criteria:

  1. Software support for Android and other operating systems, so that you can install your VPN and use it to protect your Windows, Mac, and iOS devices as well as your Android device.
  2. Excellent security to keep your data safe and private, such as the use of strong 256-bit encryption and a no logging policy so that your online activities will never be recorded.
  3. Fast connections so that using your VPN doesn’t slow down your browsing or downloading too much.
  4. Many servers available so that you can easily find a server in the location that you need, and that doesn’t have a high load on it.

Considering these factors, here are the VPNs that we recommend for Android:

1. ExpressVPN – Best Mobile VPN

ExpressVPN is a top-recommended VPN not only for Android, but across most major platforms. This is largely due to its foolproof user interface, which places simplicity front and center while backing it up with considerable security provisions. All you’ll see on your android device when you fire the app up is a simple green “on” button, which automatically connects you to the nearest server. Of course, you can take a look under the hood and manually select one of their 2000+ servers located in 94 countries to dial in your VPN experience.

Underlying this streamlined user experience is unbreakable 256-bit AES encryption, and a no-nonsense logging policy which guarantees never to track your traffic online. Extra features include a built-in speed test and the option to launch the app upon starting your Android, ensuring that you’re never without VPN protection. Your subscription extends protection to your other devices as well, including Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Linux, and more.

Read our full ExpressVPN review here.

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2. NordVPN – Advanced Options Galore

NordVPN is an exceptional provider among the greater VPN market largely due to its massive offering of servers. To date, their network numbers 4827 nodes across 62 countries, which on its own is an almost ludicrously large amount. However, where NordVPN truly shines is with its array of specialty servers which are optimised for a variety of tasks, such as P2P, anti-DDoS, onion over VPN, double VPN encryption and more. Whatever you may want to do online, NordVPN will help you do it in the utmost security without compromising on performance.

Speaking of which, NordVPN offers some of the fastest connection speeds on the market. This is especially useful for those Android devices with gorgeous full-HD displays that are so often used as mobile streaming centres. And yes, NordVPN does work with Netflix and Hulu! You just have to spoof your IP address in the country where you want access, kick back, and enjoy your streams. If you have trouble connecting, NordVPN has graciously provided troubleshooting guides on their website and is directly available via their customer service.

The Android app makes it easy to select your preferred server with an attractive map interface. Backing this exceptional utility is industry-standard 256-bit AES encryption, and one of the most comprehensive no-logging policies you’ll find anywhere. The icing on the cake? NordVPN offers dedicated IP addresses, so you can hide your location without getting caught in the same dragnet as the shared IPs offered by most VPNs. Your subscription will cover your other devices as well, including Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS, Chrome OS and even Windows Phone.

Read our full NordVPN review here.

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3. CyberGhost – Easy To Use

CyberGhost focuses on ease of use, making it ideal for new users who do not have a lot of experience with VPNs. Towards this end, the Android app has a simple graphical interface which makes it dead simple to use. However, this simplicity doesn’t come at a cost to security, as CyberGhost boasts the incredible 256-bit AES encryption along with a strict no logging policy. What’s more, there are over  2200 servers available in 60 countries to choose from, giving you a truly unlimited internet.

Perhaps most importantly to Android users seeking to hide their IP addresses is the option for a dedicated IP address. This is especially useful since many VPN blocking efforts such as those deployed by Netflix target the shared IP addresses which most VPNs offer. Having your own unique, masked IP address opens up a world of possibility. Regardless of where or how you choose to connect, CyberGhost promises fast and reliable connections across its entire network.

CyberGhost’s incredible protection is available across multiple platforms in addition to your Android device, including iOS, Windows, and Mac OS.

Read our full CyberGhost review here.

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Conclusion

Android users may want to hide their IP address for a variety of reasons, such as improving digital security and protecting from DDoS and other attacks, getting around regional restrictions to access the internet more freely, to download files more safely, and to protect their privacy. All of this can be achieved through the use of a VPN which allows you to mask your real address behind an IP address assigned by the VPN server. We have recommended a number of VPNs which provide dedicated software for Android devices.

Have you tried any of these VPNs for Android? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.

Read How to Hide Your IP Address on Android: 3 Easy Solutions by Georgina Jones on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How To Change When Messages Expire On Snapchat

Snapchat is an app built on the whole concept of missing out if you don’t engage it immediately. If you don’t see a message within a limited time frame, it’s gone. All your friends will be talking about it and you’ll be out of the loop. It’s either a limited time frame or the one-view policy that chat messages have. Snapchat is changing things a bit with chat messages. Users now have the option to allow the messages to have a one-time view limit or to allow the message to be viewed multiple times for 24 hours. Here’s how you can choose when messages expire on Snapchat.

Expire Message On Snapchat

This is a new feature available on both iOS and Android. This deals with the private chat messages that are exchanged between users. This is set on a per-person basis which means that you can allow some friends to view a message only once while allowing others to view it as many times as you want for 24 hours.

Open Snapchat and tap the chat button at the bottom left of your screen. Select a conversation from the list of conversations or start a new thread with a contact. Tap the hamburger icon at the top left and and on the chat settings screen, tap the Delete Chats option.

A menu will open with two options; After Viewing, and 24 hours after viewing. By default, the expiry for all conversations is set to After Viewing. The 24 hour option has to be changed manually.

The 24 hour viewing period for a message starts after it has been viewed once. If a message hasn’t been viewed, you can always delete it. It’s not like posting to your story. Anything you post to your story expires 24 hours after you post it regardless of who has, and who hasn’t seen it. With chat messages, an unread message will not start the 24 hour countdown. Once a user views the message that you’ve sent, the 24 hour period will begin counting down.

The messages expire individually which means each message sent within a conversation thread will have its own expiry time based on when it was first seen. If you sent a message at 8 in the morning and another message at 8 in the evening, assuming they were both viewed immediately after being sent, they will have different expiry times. If both messages were viewed at the same time though, they will have the same expiry time, give or take a few seconds.

When you change the message expiry time, your contact is alerted to the change.

Read How To Change When Messages Expire On Snapchat by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How To Set Up Android Development Tools On Linux

Increasingly, Android app development on Linux is growing. The main reason behind this is that the Linux platform makes it super easy to get a full developer workstation going (compared to other platforms.) Development is one of Linux’s strong suits, so naturally, setting up Android development tools on Linux is easy.

Android Development Tools On Linux

Android Studio is Google’s complete development suite for creating software on the Android platform. It comes with dozens of tools, emulation setup, and code to work with.

Note: Before attempting to install this software, please install Java. Failing to install Java will make Android Studio unusable.

Install Java

Getting Java for Linux differs, depending on the operating system you’re using. Generally, most Linux distributions have excellent support for OpenJDK. It’s an open implementation of the Java tools. It’s best to go this route, and most developers won’t notice the difference. Follow the instructions below to get Java working on your distribution.

Note: aside from OpenJDK, you may need to install other dependencies to run Android Studio on your Linux PC. For more information, check out the official guide page for Linux.

Ubuntu

Ubuntu users have easy access to OpenJDK. As of Ubuntu version 18.04, OpenJDK 11 is available. To install it, open up a terminal and use the Apt package management tool to get it going.

sudo apt install openjdk-11-jdk

Need more than just the standard OpenJDK 11 package? Check out these other packages.

Debian

Debian is a Linux distribution that focuses primarily on solid, stable software. It is because of this, the absolute latest version of OpenJDK is hard to get ahold of (version 11). Still, it is possible to get version 8, which is functional.

Note: if you absolutely have to have version 11, consider upgrading Debian from “Stable” to “Testing,” or at the very least using backports.

sudo apt-get install openjdk-8-jdk

Alternatively, install all Java JDK 10 stuff into Debian with:

sudo apt-get install openjdk-8-*

Arch Linux

Arch Linux is bleeding edge Linux, so there’s no issue getting a fairly current version of OpenJDK working correctly. Unfortunately, despite how recent Arch is, there’s currently no builds of version 11. Still, users have access to OpenJDK 10, which is fairly new.

To install the software, open up a terminal and use the Pacman packaging tool to get it running.

sudo pacman -S jdk10-openjdk

Fedora

Fedora Linux has version 10 of OpenJDK, which should be enough to run and develop on Android Studio. To install it, use the DNF package management tool in the terminal.

sudo dnf install java-openjdk -y

OpenSUSE

Depending on what version of OpenSUSE you use, your packages are either very new or very old. For this reason, getting one version of OpenJDK working across all versions of SUSE is a bit tricky.

To get OpenJDK working, head over to the download page for OpenSUSE. On the download page, select the version of OpenJDK you’d like, then click the “install” button to start the installation process.

Generic Linux

Many Linux distributions (even the obscure ones) use OpenJDK because it’s safe to include in software repositories. As a result, installing OpenJDK is incredibly easy. To get it working open up a terminal and search your package manager for “OpenJDK”. Alternatively, download it from the official website.

Download Android Studio

Unfortunately, Android Studio doesn’t have a downloadable binary package. Instead, users looking to use the development suite on Linux will need to download a compressed archive file.

Head over to the official download page and click on the Linux download link. Read through the EULA and check the box to accept the agreement to start the download. When the download finishes, open up a terminal window and use the Unzip tool extract Android Studio.

cd ~/Downloads

unzip android-studio-ide-*-linux.zip

Using the CD command, move the terminal into the bin subfolder.

cd android-studio/bin

Install Android Studio

Start the Android Studio installation tool with:

./studio.sh

In the Android Studio Wizard, select the “Standard” option. When the Android Studio Wizard finishes the installation process, click the “Start a new Android Studio” option to begin development.

Android Command-line Tools

Aside from Android Studio, there are other important development tools for Linux that you may want to install. Specifically, command-line tools that allow users to interact with devices on Linux. Thankfully, installing these command-line tools isn’t as tedious as Android Studio.

To get the Android command-line tools working on Linux, follow the instructions below that match your Linux OS.

Ubuntu

sudo apt install android-tools

Debian

sudo apt-get install android-tools

Arch Linux

sudo pacman -S android-tools

Fedora

sudo dnf install android-tools -y

OpenSUSE

sudo zypper install android-tools

Generic Linux

Need the Android command-line tools but can’t find them in your Linux distribution’s software repository? Google has a standalone download for those that need it. Head over to the official download page, and scroll down to “command line” to get it.

Read How To Set Up Android Development Tools On Linux by Derrik Diener on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How To Make Group Calls On Whatsapp

Whatsapp has a new feature; group calls. It works with both video and voice calls. You can call up to four people in one group call. The group call feature isn’t the most obvious so you might still be wondering if it’s rolled out to everyone yet or not. It has and if you know where to look, you can make group calls on Whatsapp right now.

Update the app on your phone before you try a Whatsapp call. Since your recipients will only be answering the call and not initiating the group call, they don’t necessarily need to be running the latest version of the app.

Group Calls On Whatsapp

Open a conversation thread or, go to the Call tab. From the Call tab, select a contact you want to call. If you’re in a chat thread, tap the call button. You can choose either a video or audio call.

When the call is in progress, look at the top right corner and you will see a greyed out option for adding a second person to the call. Wait until the person you called answers, and then the add person button will be active. Tap it and select a contact from your contacts list to add the second, third, and fourth person.

The limit is four people so where Whatsapp is following Instagram and Snapchat’s trajectory in terms of feature development it’s not exactly competing with the two apps. Instagram and Snapchat have group calls for more social communication and where Whatsapp is a social app it’s not exactly in the same category. Whatsapp is best grouped with apps like Facebook Messenger and that makes the four people in a group call a reasonable limit.

It goes without saying that in a group call, everyone can see everyone though when you’re adding a second person to a call, they may not necessarily be told they’re being invited to a group call so give them a heads up before you make it.

Whatsapp is one of the most popular messaging apps on both iOS and Android. Since it’s highly unlikely that Facetime will ever make it to Android, this feature is pretty great if the call quality turns out to be good. Four is a reasonably good number of people for a group call so it will meet most needs. More importantly, you can answer calls from the web and desktop version which means you can call people on their computers too.

Read How To Make Group Calls On Whatsapp by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How To Turn Off Instagram Live Notifications

iOS and Android both allow users to enable, or disable notifications from an app, at will. For each app, there’s a dedicated On/Off switch that allows users to enable or disable notifications for apps selectively. While you can disable notifications for some apps, and enable them for others you never have the option to choose which notifications an app can send you. For example, if you’ve enabled notifications for a game on your phone then you get every single notification from it including new challenges, friend requests, expiring offers, etc. Instagram is no different however, the app is unique in that it gives you an incredible amount of control over which activities you get a notification for and that’s why you can turn off Instagram Live notifications.

Instagram Live Notifications

Open the Instagram app on your iPhone or Android phone. Tap the profile tab, and on the profile tab tap the gear button. This will take you to Instagram’s settings. On the Settings screen, scroll down to the Notifications section, and tap on Push Notifications. You will find this screen is particularly long and with a customization option for every type of Instagram activity. Scroll down to the Live Videos section. Select the ‘Off’ option to turn off Instagram live notifications.

Once you’ve turned this option off, only the notifications that tell you an account you follow is live will be disabled. Every other notification that you’ve enabled will continue to arrive on your device.

While you’re at it, you can go through the rest of the options on this screen and disable every single Instagram alert that annoys you. These settings are device specific so if you use Instagram on more than one device, you will need to change your settings on each one.

There appears to be one shortcoming with this; you cannot selectively subscribe to Instagram live notifications for certain accounts. If you turn off story notifications, you still have the option to enable a story or post alert for select accounts. This same option isn’t available for Instagram live videos. You can try subscribing to post notifications for an account and maybe they will include a notification for when the account goes live but that’s highly unlikely.

One thing is worth appreciating here and that’s how much control Instagram gives its users over their notifications. You’d be hard pressed to find any app that gives as much control. Even if you’re an Android phone user with a rooted phone, you can’t get this level of control over your notifications from a single app.

Read How To Turn Off Instagram Live Notifications by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter