What we know about Verizon’s Safe Wi-Fi VPN

Nadin Bhatt
Nadin Bhatt | Writer
Last updated: January 5, 2021
verizon vpn
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Huge corporations are now waking up to the financial potential of Virtual Private Networks. Along with the arrival of Google’s Outline VPN back in 2018, Verizon has also launched its own privacy software. True, it doesn’t have the most imaginative name – Safe Wi-Fi VPN. But could this be the accessible, trustworthy VPN everyday users have been looking for?

Let’s learn more about where Safe Wi-Fi VPN stands in the online security world.

The story behind Verizon’s Safe Wi-Fi VPN

safe wi-fi vpn

With more people working remotely, Verizon’s business clients started to demand tools to make remote working safer. With the danger of phishing and general data leakages rising, the communications giant saw a huge opening and tasked its labs to come up with a lightweight VPN targeted at professionals and mobile users.

Verizon launched their privacy client in July 2018, as a tool aimed exclusively at existing Verizon customers. It was also designed purely for use with Android and iOS devices, excluding a bunch of remote workers that use a laptop on a daily basis. Having in mind that Safe Wi-Fi VPN has been around for over a year now, it’s fair to ask whether Verizon has succeeded.

Verizon’s Safe Wi-Fi VPN features

Verizon's VPN pros and cons

Safe Wi-Fi has some interesting and useful features:

  • Easy-to-use app
  • Available to most Verizon Wireless customers. This includes the new Verizon Plan, Mix and match unlimited, The Just Kids plan, most MORE Everything, Nationwide, Mobile broadband, and International plans and features.
  • Not available for MORE Everything 250 MB and non-nationwide plans, prepaid, business, and corporate accounts, and devices with PTT enabled.
  • 128-bit AES encryption
  • Unknown protocol
  • 10 simultaneous connections. This would be enough for many small businesses, such as realtors, where staff are often away from the office and have to rely on public connections.
  • 30-day free trial
  • No-logs policy
  • Servers. There’s no count and no location list – Verizon only states that McAffee manages them.

Naturally, this leaves many questions to seasoned VPN users when it comes to security, privacy, and performance of Safe Wi-Fi. That’s why it’s crucial to point out what this quirky service (still) lacks:

  • No way to choose your server or its location
  • No way to choose your encryption or protocol
  • No kill switch

While the lacking list is much shorter, these elements are key for any decent, not to say good VPN tool. And if that wasn’t enough, there are certain privacy concerns we’ll discuss in the next chapter.

Verizon’s Safe Wi-Fi VPN privacy concerns

To start, we have a situation where the ISP in Verizon is offering a VPN of its own, which should also shield the user from the ISP. Even though Verizon claims a no-logs policy, let’s not forget that this same company was unmasked as routinely collecting user data on behalf of the NSA.

Furthermore, the first version of their VPN privacy policy included the phrase “We may use Personal Data for which we have a legitimate interest, such as direct marketing, individual or market research, anti-fraud protection, or any other purpose disclosed to you at the time you provide Personal Data or with your consent.” It seems that this service was never intended to be logs-free.

Finally, when it comes to blocking ad tracking, in early October 2018, Verizon removed the ability to block tracking ads from the VPN. That was one of the main features initially marketed by Verizon. The company didn’t offer much explanation for this move, but it seems like they were pressured into removing the adblocker by app marketplaces which rely on ads to sell their products.

Safe Wi-Fi VPN price

If Verizon’s Safe Wi-Fi was a free service, we could forgive some of its glaring issues. Unfortunately, the price is $3.99/month, which is around the cheaper end of the scale for high-quality VPNs. Sadly, Safe Wi-Fi is not a high-quality VPN by any means.

Safe Wi-Fi app ratings

You can begin your VPN subscription easily using the My Verizon app, via desktops or smartphones, and the app itself can be downloaded from Google Play and the App Store. Unfortunately, what you’ll see in any of these stores put another nail into the Safe Wi-Fi coffin.

Safe Wi-Fi on Google Play

Verizon's Safe Wi-Fi Android app ratings

Safe Wi-Fi on the App Store

Verizon's Safe Wi-Fi iOS app ratings

The Android version, downloaded 100,000+ times only, has a rating of 3.2, while Apple users report an appalling 2.3 stars. Reading the comments doesn’t give much hope either. And if that wasn’t enough, the last version update was in November 2018, which probably marks the time when Verizon’s brass lost all faith in their creation.

The future of Verizon’s Safe Wi-Fi

As the name suggests, Safe Wi-Fi VPN was pitched to people using unsafe wi-fi networks, not to home users. And it seems to target people who spend a lot of time working in public places. At least 3.9 million US staff work from home every day, including freelancers and students. So it’s a big market.

The problem is that many people in that demographic are tech-savvy and know about VPNs, online ads, and ISP tracking. Given the flaws described above, it’s unlikely that many new customers will flock to Verizon’s VPN any time soon.

Our advice? Ditch Verizon VPN right now and choose from the best Android VPNs or the best iOS VPNs instead. There’s no benefit in using this paid, untrustworthy service.

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  1. Cora Banks

    It sounds interesting but somehow I find it hard to trust big companies like Verizon when it comes to privacy et cybersecurity. The same for Google Outline VPN, Google is not know for being privacy friendly. Verizon’s VPN seems the same to me.

  2. Ynske Breedveld

    With the launch of Google’s Outline VPN, competitors are definitely going to have a hard time meeting up to the expectations of the end users. The tech giant has not left any avenue untouched and will soon take over this market of VPNs as well.

    1. avatar
      Nadin Bhatt Author

      Well, we’re still to have an in-depth analysis of that one. Nonetheless, there are people who are uncomfortable using the search giant for pretty much everything: search, email, browsing with Chrome. Using it as well for VPN might give them pause. But again, we’ll see how well their VPN holds up over time. Thanks for reading!

  3. Laura

    Thanks for this elaborate review, I’m currently researching new VPNs so this was really helpful, want to share my two-cents about Surfshark. The release of Safe wi-fi VPN was really rocky, but I tend to give second chances for development team, it’s nearly impossible to release bug-free software and the sooner you find them the better. Surfshark is another story, the release was solid, they keep implementing new features, adding servers etc. I was annoyed it lacks Linux client, but was able to set it up manually, then there were no problems. Successfully bypassed geo-restrictions. I will try out Safe wi-fi VPN on y iPhone though for comparison reasons.

    1. avatar
      Nadin Bhatt Author

      Yup, Surfshark is definitely better for us than Verizon in this regard! Thanks for reading 🙂

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