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How to change the IP address of an Android phone or device

IP address

On the Internet, your IP address is similar to a postal address. It uniquely identifies where you are so that information can be sent to you. Your IP address can change depending on what network you're using to connect. You can also change it, within certain limitations, if desired.

To change your IP address on an Android device, follow these instructions.

  • The basics.
  • Change the local IP address of your Android device.
  • Change the public IP address of your Android device.
  • Change your device's IP address on a mobile network.

Before reading any of the below information, you need to be aware of some network basics.

  • Realize there are two types of IP (Internet Protocol) addresses. Know the difference between a static IP address and a dynamic IP address . See each link for additional information about these terms.
  • When on the Internet , it's up to your ISP (Internet service provider) to assign and give you your network address seen by the Internet. When on a LAN (local area network) or WAN (wide area network), the home or corporate router assigns the IP addresses.
  • If you're planning on designating or using a static IP address, be aware of how IP address ranges are handled and be familiar with the netmask . See each of these links for additional information.

Change the local IP address of your Android device

Your local IP address is tied to your computer's wireless network . By default, a home router uses DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) to assign an IP address to each device that connects to your network. Each IP address assigned by your router uses NAT (network address translation) to translate the internal network IP to the ISP assigned IP address.

You can change your Android local IP address by connecting your router and adjusting the router settings for your Android device. For example, you can assign a static IP to your Android device, choose the option to re-assign the address, or remove the device and be assigned a new address.

  • How to adjust the settings of a home router.

Some routers may re-assign your Android device a new IP address if rebooted. If you don't want to adjust your router settings, try unplugging the power to the router for a few minutes and then plug the power back into the router.

These steps only change the IP address of your Android device on your local network. Steps for changing your public IP address (external to your local network) are mentioned below.

Change the public IP address of your Android device

Before proceeding, it's good to know your device's public IP to verify its changes. You can do this by doing a Google search on "What's my IP address?" The result is your public IP.

To change the public IP address requires that the IP address assigned by your ISP changes. Although not always possible, suggestions on how to change your routers public IP address in the link below. If these steps do not help, you can hide your IP address behind a VPN by following the steps in the following section.

  • How do I change my IP address?

Hide your public IP address behind a VPN

A VPN (virtual private network) allows any device including an Android device to hide behind one of the VPN's IP address. In other words, connecting to a website or anything on the Internet, your IP is the VPN IP address and not your public IP address. To install a VPN on your Android device, follow the steps below.

  • Visit the Google Play Store and download the free app called PureVPN.
  • After you install the app, open it , and sign up for an account .

You can use your Facebook or Google account to sign into PureVPN.

  • Once you've verified your account, open PureVPN and click the green Quick connect button in the center of the screen.

Quick connect button in PureVPN.

  • Once you've connected, your public IP address is changed.

To change your public IP address again, disconnect and reconnect to PureVPN.

Change your device's IP address on a mobile network

There is no need to change your devices IP address on a mobile network because mobile networks use DHCP to assign IP addresses, so they change frequently as is. However, if you're also concerned about assigned mobile network IP addresses, choose to connect to the Internet using a VPN app, as mentioned in the above suggestions.

Related information

  • How to determine the IP address of a computer or website.
  • How to find the physical location of an IP address.
  • How to fix an IP conflict.
  • See the IP definition for further information about this term and related links.
  • Network and network card help and support.

Simple, Useful Tricks on Google Products

How To Change IP Address on Android (Local and Public)

how to change ip mobile data

The IP address is used to identify you on the internet, and there can be many reasons why you may want to change your identity on the internet. Whether you want to access blocked content , set up a server, or avoid penalties from websites and forums, changing your IP address is the way to go. As compared to desktop, the steps to change IP address on Android is very different. Especially because Android supports mobile network connection as well.

No worries though, in this guide I’ll show you multiple ways to change IP address on Android. I will separately show how to change both local and public IP address along with an explanation of what each type of IP address is used for.

Note: Before following the below instructions to change IP address, make sure you know your current IP address so you could confirm later that it has been changed. For precise instructions, follow my guide on how to find IP address on Android .

How to change local IP address on Android

The local IP address is assigned by your network router to each device that is connected to it. The router uses it to identify connected devices and exchange information accordingly. If you are interested in providing custom IP addresses to each connected device while setting up a server or app, then follow the below instructions to change local IP address on Android:

1. Go to “Settings” and tap on “WiFi” option.

2. Here tap and hold on the network you are connected to and select “Manage network settings” from the menu that pops up.

3. Now tap on “Show advanced options” and select “Static” under the “IP settings” option.

how to change ip mobile data

4. Now just enter a custom IP address (range provided below) under the “IP address” section and hit “Save” to change the IP address.

how to change ip mobile data

If you don’t already know the new IP address that you want to enter, then you can pick one from the ranges given below:

  • From to
  • From to
  • From to

For example, you can enter or and the address will be accepted. Just make sure that the IP address lies in the above-provided ranges.

Alternatively, you can also use an IP address changer app for Android that will let you enter required IP address in its interface to switch to it easily. For this purpose, IP CHANGE is a good IP changer app.

Note: The above instructions are only applicable to a WiFi connection, mobile data local IP address can’t be changed on the primary device.

How to change public IP address on Android

Every web page or service on the internet uses your public IP address to identify you and then offer information. If you want to change your identity on the internet or need to access blocked content, then you need to change your public IP address.

Unfortunately, public IP address is in full control of your internet service provider. If your ISP uses dynamic IP address (most do), then it should be easy to change IP address. Otherwise, you’ll have to depend on a VPN to mask your IP address. Below are some ways to change public IP address on Android.

Change public IP address on a WiFi network

For WiFi networks, simply restarting your router is all you may need to change public IP address. If your ISP assigns dynamic IP addresses, then whenever you will restart your router it will fetch a new IP address from a pool of IP addresses. Just turn off your router and wait for 2-5 minutes. Turn it back on and check if the IP address is changed or not . It may not work every time, so you should at least try this twice.

how to change ip mobile data

Change public IP address on a mobile network

If you are using mobile data, then the IP address provided by your carrier can also be changed. To do so, turn on Airplane mode from the notification panel (swipe down from top) and wait for 1-2 minutes. Now turn it off and the IP address should be changed. Alternatively, you can also use this IP address changer app called IP Changer that basically does the same thing but also keeps a history of IP addresses.

how to change ip mobile data

Contact your internet service provider

If the above doesn’t help, then you can also contact your ISP and ask them to change your IP address. This step is usually necessary when your ISP is using a static IP address.

Use a VPN to change IP address on Android

If nothing works, then a VPN is a sure shot way to change your IP address on Android. Best of all, a VPN will even let you pick an IP address available in a different country, basically allowing you to spoof your location as well. All you need to do is install a VPN app and press the connect button. Once connected, whether you are using WiFi or mobile data, your public IP address will be changed to the one provided by the VPN app.

There are many VPN apps available for Android , but if you particularly want a free one then Turbo VPN is a great choice. It offers unlimited data for free with a very fast browsing speed.

If Turbo VPN doesn’t work for you, then Opera browser built-in VPN  and TunnelBear are also great choices. Although, if you don’t want ads and are strict about privacy, then I will recommend you to go for a paid VPN service. The free VPN services usually keep a record of your activity for advertising purposes. However, for accessing restricted content, free VPNs do a perfect job of changing your IP address.

To conclude

It’s really easy to change local IP address on your Android phone, but for public IP address, it’s better to go for a VPN service. Do share with us in the comments why you were looking to change IP address on your Android phone.

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how to change ip mobile data

Karrar Haider

For over 9 years, Karrar has been writing about everything Google and Windows with a strict focus on improving security and finding ways to get more out of our devices.

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i tried chnaging my ip adres it was saved but internet didint work only the wifi was connected

I’m trying to use a USA international number I purchased from primo as my Whatsapp number but Whatsapp keep saying that the number cannot be called that I should try in an hour time. I’ve not been able to register the number as my Whatsapp number here in Nigeria.

hey, I have just read out your article and found very helpful in changing the IP address…just keep working

Wow! This trick is straightforward. I read this post and understood it within minutes. Thank You for such informative posts.

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How to Change the IP Address on Your Android

Tired of a random Android IP? Here's how you can make your IP static

how to change ip mobile data

  • University of Maine
  • Switching from iOS

What to Know

  • In Windows search bar , enter cmd . In Command Prompt , enter ipconfig/all . Mac: cmd + space  > terminal. Ping for IP address. 
  • On Android: Settings > Network & internet > Wi-Fi . Press connected Wi-Fi > Modify network > Advanced options > Static .
  • Configure network settings with Gateway IP and DNS address found in Command Prompt , and with IP address found during Ping .

This article explains how to switch your Android (9.0 and up) to a static IP address on your network. The directions below should apply in general, no matter who made your Android device: Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc.

Find a Network IP for Your Android

Before you can set up your Android with a static IP, you'll need to find an available IP address on your network. You can do this from any computer that's connected to your home network.

On a Windows PC:

Click the Start menu .

Type cmd and click on the Command Prompt desktop app .

In the command prompt window, type the command ipconfig/all and press Enter .

What Your Results Mean

You'll see lots of information in the results, but you only need to be concerned with a few items.

  • Default Gateway : This is the IP address of your home router and is typically the lowest IP address on the network. In the example above, this IP address is
  • IPv4 Address : This is the IP address of the device from which you've run the command. In the example above, this IP address is
  • DNS Servers : These are the servers your internet service provider (ISP) uses to look up domain names when you browse the internet.

Find a Free IP Address

You can find a free IP address on your network by typing a ping command starting from the router IP and working your way up.

If you see a response with ping time, it means there's a device on the network with that IP address. If the response reads " Destination host unreachable ," it means that IP address is available.

To perform the same ipconfig and ping commands on a Mac, open the terminal by pressing cmd + space and typing "terminal". In the Mac terminal, you can issue the same commands as described above.

Change the IP Address on Your Android

Now that you know what IP you can set your phone to, it's time to switch your phone from DHCP to a static IP.

Open Settings , under Network & internet, tap on Wi-Fi .

Press and hold on the connected Wi-Fi network. You'll see a menu pop-up. Tap Modify network .

Depending on your device's Android implementation, you may have to "Forget" the connected network before the press-and-hold trick will work. As an added step moving forward, re-enter the network password alongside the IP address changes.

You'll see the password change screen for that network. Tap Advanced options , and scroll down to the IP settings section. Tap DHCP and change the setting to Static .

Manually Configure Your Android's Network Settings

Once you've changed the IP Setting to Static, a form will appear that will allow you to manually configure all of your Android's network settings , including your Android's IP.

Since your IP will be static, you'll need to manually configure the rest of the network settings in this form as well.

  • IP Address : The available IP address you discovered using the Ping command.
  • Gateway : Enter the default Gateway IP address you recorded above.
  • DNS 1 and DNS 2 : Type the IP addresses of the DNS servers you recorded above.

You can leave any other fields in this form set as default. When you're done changing the IP settings, tap Save .

Your Android will reconnect to your home network with its new IP. Now you can configure any software you're using to connect to your Android using its new, static IP address.

Your Android phone will retain this static IP even after a reboot. If you want to undo the static IP and set your Android back to DHCP, just follow the steps above, but in the Advanced Options menu, set the IP Settings option back to DHCP.

Why Change the IP Address on Your Android?

Changing your IP address on your Android is simple. There is a buried setting in your Android device that lets you switch from a dynamic IP (DHCP) to a static one.

However, there are several things you should do beforehand to make sure that you're choosing an available static IP address on your network.

There are plenty of important reasons you may need to set a static IP on your phone that doesn't change.

A few of the most common reasons include:

  • Running a mobile web server
  • Sharing mobile files with FTP server software
  • Using your phone as a Wi-Fi camera
  • Running a mobile media server on your phone

All of these uses require your mobile phone to have a fixed IP that you can easily configure in 3rd party software running on your computer or any other device on your network.

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How to change the IP address on an Android phone or tablet using a 'static' address

  • To change the IP address on your Android device, you'll first need to find an available IP address on your network.
  • Once you've found an available IP address, you can change your Android's IP address by changing your Wi-Fi settings.
  • You'll need to give your Android device a "Static" IP address, and then enter the new IP address.

If you want to host a server using your Android device, you'll need to change your Android's IP address to a static IP. Here's how to do it.

How to find an available IP address for your Android

You need to use a Windows computer to find an available IP address before you can change your Android's IP.

1. On a Windows computer, click on the Start menu and type cmd to make the Command Prompt appear. Click on the Command Prompt once it is visible.

2. In the Command Prompt, type the following command and then press Enter:


3. Look for the information called "Default Gateway," "IPv4 Address," and "DNS Servers." The Default Gateway is your network's IP address, while the IPv4 Address is the IP address of the computer you're typing commands from. The DNS Servers are two servers related to your internet service provider and internet usage.

4. To find an available IP address, type the "ping" command followed by the next sequential IP address following your Default Gateway. For example, if your Default Gateway is the next sequential IP address would be Using this example, your ping command should look like this:

Press the Enter key when you are finished. 

5. If any IP address appears with the text "Destination host unreachable," that IP address is available. If you don't see any IP addresses showing "Destination host unreachable," repeat the ping command with the next sequential IP address, i.e. and so on, until you find an available IP.

Once you've found an available IP address, you can change your Android device's IP address.

How to change the IP address on your Android device

1. Open your Android device's Wi-Fi settings. If you're not sure where to find it, open the Settings app, then tap on "Network & Internet," then tap on "Wi-Fi."

2. If you're already connected to the Wi-Fi network you want to use, tap and hold on the name of that network. When "Modify network" appears, tap on it. If this option doesn't appear initially, tap on the Wi-Fi network, tap "Forget network," and try the step one more time.

3. Tap "Advanced settings."

4. Use your finger or stylus to scroll down to IP Settings. Tap on "DCHP" and then tap "Static" in the drop-down menu that appears.

5. In their respective fields, type the available IP address that you discovered, your Default Gateway, and the two DNS servers. You can change the other settings as well, or leave them in their default states. When you're done, tap "Save."

how to change ip mobile data

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Shu's Techs

4 Ways How To Change IP Address On Android

  • Post author:
  • Post last modified: April 11, 2023
  • Reading time: 21 mins read

Changing IP Addresses on Android can be done for simple reasons like configuring your internet settings, and for other reasons like changing your location.

Configuring your internet is done when you have issues browsing on your phone. When you set the right IP Address, you will be back online in no time.

Changing your location is done for many reasons. For me, I change my IP address to play games that are only allowed in certain regions or countries.

People also change their locations by changing their IP in order to access websites that are blocked in their country.

This article could become a list of reasons why people change their location via IP Addresses but that’s not why you’re here.

In today’s article, I will be showing you how to change your IP Address in different ways. If you’re a beginner, you’re going to find it easy. I like making my tutorials easy to follow.

Videos and pictures are going to be provided in this tutorial.

We’re going to cover:

  • How to change Mobile Data IP Address
  • How to change WiFi IP Address
  • How to change IP Address with a VPN (change your location)
  • How to change IP Address without a VPN (also change location)

So, you can choose any of the methods you’re interested in by clicking from the list, or by checking from the Table of Contents below, let’s begin.

How to Change Your Mobile Data IP Address on Android

Although changing mobile data IP address isn’t as popular as it used to be, the wrong IP address may be one of the reasons why your phone isn’t browsing when you’re using your mobile data (not WiFi).

In most cases, your Internet Service Provider has a default IP address that should be used so you can browse. You can always check their official website for it and write it down somewhere. Just in case.

Just do a simple Google search like “ [name of your network provider] default ip address ” to find it.

So to change the IP address of your mobile data, first thing you need to do is head over to the list of apps on your phone and then tap “ Settings ”.

1. settings icon

This will take you to a new screen with a lot of options. Different phones have different interfaces, but they usually label all options the same.

At the top of the list on my phone is “ Network and Internet ”, yours may be in the middle or at the bottom of the list, just look for any option with “Internet” or “Network” and tap it.

2. network and internet settings

Next, tap “ Mobile Network ”. Like the previous step, you may have to go through your list of options to find it.

3. mobile network

Now, the new screen depends on the kind of phone you use. I use a Dual SIM phone so I have 2 tabs at the top.

“9mobile” and “MTN”. If your phone only supports one SIM, you’re not going to have 2 tabs. If you also have 2 SIM cards on your phone, just choose the network you’re interested in configuring.

You should know the Network to configure after getting the IP address to use from their official website.

For this tutorial, I’m going to select “9mobile” and then I’m going to tap “ Access Point Names ”.

4. choose the network sim card

The new interface you’re going to see has the list of internet configurations on your phone. So don’t worry if you’re a bit confused, just tap the first one you see.

6. select the profile

This is the final stage. The list of options you see are different options to configure your internet connection. We’re only going to focus on two, Proxy and Port .

Most IP addresses look like, the number of zeros before each point can be different. You can also see different numbers besides zeros.

Example of an IP Address is

Next, the Port number. An example of a Port number is 8080.

You should have gotten the official numbers from your ISP’s official website.

Now tap “ Proxy ” input the number and then tap “OK”.

7. proxy

Next tap “ Port ” input the number and tap “OK”.

9. port

Tap the options menu at the top right, and then tap “ SAVE ”

11. options icon

Finally, tap “OK”.

13. tap ok

If you followed the steps right, you would have successfully changed the IP Address of your mobile data.

How to Change WiFi IP Address on Android

In my Every Proxy Tutorial , I showed you how to share your internet connection or VPN from your Android phone to a PC or another Android phone.

For this to be possible, you’ll have to change the IP address of your WiFi connection to what the Every Proxy app specifies.

This is the second part of the article, and I’m going to show you how to change your WiFi IP settings for any reason you want.

First make sure you’re connected to a WiFi network and then go to your phone’s Settings and look for Internet and Network.

1. settings icon 1

Next, tap the “WiFi” label you see.

3. wifi label

At this point, you’ll be seeing the WiFi network you’re currently connected to, you can long press it to see the “ Edit ” option, or just tap the “ Gear ” icon like in my case.

4. wifi gear icon

Not all interfaces are the same on all phones. On my phone, I have my edit option as a pencil icon at the top right of my phone.

If yours isn’t there, go back and long press the name of the WiFi network you’re connected to, to see the Edit option.

If you have a pencil icon, tap it.

5. wifi edit icon

Now you will get a new list of options, first tap “ Advanced Options ” then scroll down to find the Proxy option, under it, you should get a “ None ”.

6. advanced options

Now, tap “ None ” and then select “ Manual ”.

8. Manual

Scroll down a bit till you find the areas where you can input your IP and Port. You’ll probably see a third option labelled “ Bypass Proxy For ”, you don’t need to worry about it.

9. wifi proxy list

You probably know what to do next, where you see the “ Proxy Hostname ” is where you should type in your Proxy address and where you see “ Proxy Port ” is where you should type in the Port Number.

When you’re done, tap the “SAVE” button.

10. tap save

That’s how you change the IP Address of the WiFi network you’re connected to on your Android phone.

How to Change Your Android Phone’s IP Address with a VPN

Now, with VPNs you will be able to change your IP address without going through all the steps above, as long as you have an internet connection and can install apps on your phone.

The way VPNs work is, they create a Virtual IP address for your device. The IP addresses hide your actual location. You don’t have to change your location if you don’t want to.

If you’re interested in knowing more about how VPNs work, here is an article I found online that you can read.

There are a lot of VPN apps on the Play Store. I have used a lot of them in the past and I am currently using Thunder VPN .

The reason why I like using it right now is because I can specify the apps that can be connected to the VPN network.

Now, install the app and open it, and then tap the icon at the top right that looks like a ligtening bolt to choose the country you want your IP address to be from. In this example, I’ll be using a German server.

1. thunder icon vpn

The app will immediately connect to the server of that country. At this point, your IP address is now of the country you selected.

3. connected

You can check your IP Address by a quick “what is my IP address” search on Google.

If you want a detailed way of how to use the Thunder VPN app, just let me know and I’ll create a detailed article on the topic.

Whenever you’re done with the VPN, just tap the now red “Connected” button at the bottom and your IP address will go back to your ISP’s IP. Thereby showing your real location online.

How to Change Your IP Address without a VPN

Without a VPN app, you won’t be able to change the IP Address of your entire device, you can only change it with the browser you use.

So, if you’re always using your Chrome browser, your IP Address is only going to be changed on the Chrome browser.

All other apps on your phone will retain the normal IP you have from your ISP.

Changing your IP Address without a VPN involves using an online Proxy Server.

There are a lot of free and premium proxy servers online. The one we’re going to be using for this example is

It is free and has a lot of servers you can choose from.

Open your browser and head over to , next tap the first option, this will list all the servers available. You can select anyone you want.

1. select server

After selecting your server, go to the next option and type in the website you want to visit, next tap “GO”.

3. type in the web address

You’ll have to wait for a few seconds for the website to take you to the website you want.

Using an online proxy server is a way of bypassing the need to install a VPN app on your phone.

Some of you may have phones that don’t have room for more apps.

Your IP Address can either limit your online experience or give you full access to different aspects of the online world.

With the wrong IP address, you may not be able to even get online.

If you use a VPN, you will be able to try out online activities that are only meant for people from a particular part of the world.

Changing your IP address on Android is now very easy that beginners are going to be able to do from time to time.

If you enjoyed the article, you can check out more tutorials I have covered on my website. Also, subscribe to my YouTube Channel , I regularly put helpful videos from time to time.

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  • Get started with Android
  • Network & connection settings

Manage advanced network settings on your Android phone

You can change network settings like automatic connections, metered access, proxy settings, and more.

  • Some of these steps work only on Android 12 and up. Learn how to check your Android version .
  • Some of these steps require you to touch the screen.
  • Connect your phone or tablet to Wi-Fi.
  • Open your device's Settings app.

And then

  • If you still can't find it, get help from your device manufacturer .
  • Tap the Wi-Fi network you're connected to.

When to use metered Wi-Fi

  • Scroll down to "Wi-Fi MAC address."

Devices that have Android 10 and above have another MAC address. To find it:

  • Turn on Wi-Fi.

and then

  • If you can't find it, search for "MAC address." If you still can't find it, get help from your device manufacturer .

how to change ip mobile data

  • Scroll down to "Randomized MAC address."

Important: By default, your device uses Private DNS with all networks that can use Private DNS. We recommend keeping Private DNS turned on.

To turn Private DNS on or off, or change its settings:

  • Private DNS provider hostname
  • Tap  Save .
  • Open your phone’s Settings app.
  • If you can't find it, search for the setting you want to change. If you still can't find it, get help from your device manufacturer .
  • At the bottom, tap Network preferences .
  • Turn on Wi-Fi automatically: Have Wi-Fi automatically turn on near saved networks. Learn about saved networks .
  • Open network notification: Get a notification when automatic connection to high-quality open networks isn't available.
  • Install certificates: Digital certificates can identify your phone. Learn about certificates .
  • Wi-Fi Direct: Let your phone connect without a network with other devices that can use Wi-Fi Direct.

If you use an older version of Android, you can also choose from:

  • WPS Push Button: Turn on Wi-Fi protected setup (WPS) for a WPS-capable network.
  • WPS Pin Entry: Enter the Wi-Fi protected setup (WPS) personal identification number (PIN).

Related resources

  • Connect to Wi-Fi networks
  • Tether with Wi-Fi hotspot

Need more help?

Try these next steps:.

Learn how to use your Android device and get the most out of Google. Get step-by-step guides and instructional videos on how to set up your phone, customize your settings, and use apps.

  • VPN & Privacy
  • How to Change your IP address

How to change your IP address safely and easily in 2024

change IP Address

In today’s interconnected world, understanding how to change IP addresses can be valuable. Whether you want to protect your online privacy, bypass geographic restrictions, or troubleshoot network issues, modifying your IP address gives you greater control over your internet experience.

Many people find the process of changing their IP address intimidating or confusing, asking questions like “What is an IP address?”, “Why would I want to change it?”, and most importantly, “How can I change it without breaking anything?”.

With our years of experience in the field, we can help demystify the concept of an IP address and provide you with clear, concise instructions on how to change them.

How to change IP address with a VPN

Changing your IP address with a VPN is simple. Just follow these instructions:

  • Subscribe to a secure VPN that is capable of changing IP addresses. We recommend NordVPN .
  • Download the VPN onto your device and install it.
  • Connect to a server in the location of your choice. This will be when your IP changes. The server location will determine your new IP, for example, connecting to a server in the USA will provide you with an American IP address .
  • Begin browsing as normal. Changing IP will allow you to access geo-restricted content on streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu.

All you need to do is install a secure VPN, connect to a server and your IP address will change. It’s that easy! But, we do offer more information on the process below.

What are the best VPNs to change your IP address?

  • NordVPN : The best VPN to change your IP address . Fast servers in 59 countries. Apps for all popular devices. Many advanced features. No-logging policy. Bypass content restrictions on Netflix US, iPlayer, and many more. TIP In our testing we found that the cheapest NordVPN plan (Standard) works perfectly for changing your IP.
  • Surfshark : Best budget VPN to change your IP. Allows an unlimited number of connections. Great for families. Apps for all popular devices. Built-in adblocking and malware filtering. 30-day money-back guarantee.
  • ExpressVPN : A superb all-rounder. Fast speeds thanks to its Lightway protocol. Servers in 94 countries. Works with around two-dozen Netflix regions and reliable with most other streaming platforms.
  • CyberGhost : Best way to change your IP for beginners. Over 7000 fast servers in 89+ countries. Fast Wireguard connections. Apps for all devices. Easy to use apps with fewer advanced settings.
  • IPVanish : A fast US VPN with a proprietary network. Lots of advanced security features. No logs policy. Works with Netflix US. Apps for all platforms.
  • PrivateVPN : Perfect for IP changing while torrenting. Kill-switch and obfuscation features. Robust AES encryption. Great speeds. Servers in 63+ countries.
  • AtlasVPN : Excellent option for changing your IP. Works with most streaming services, like iPlayer, Hulu, Netflix, and more. Servers in 30+ countries. Includes malware filtering.


NordVPN is offering a fully-featured risk-free 30-day trial if you sign up at this page . You can use the VPN rated #1 for changing your IP address without limits or restrictions for a month—great if you want to bypass censorship or geo-restrictions.

There are no hidden terms—just contact support within 30 days if you decide NordVPN isn't right for you and you'll get a full refund. Start your NordVPN trial here .

Why would I need to change my IP address?

Many online services are geo-restricted, which means they are not available outside of their country of origin. The only way to access those services from abroad is to connect to a VPN server in that location. This gives you a valid IP address and causes the website or online service to become available again.

If you travel abroad on vacation, services from back home, such as internet banking or streaming services, will be geo-restricted. As a result, you will need to use a VPN to get an IP address in your home country.

Finally, a VPN can help you get around government, ISP, or local network restrictions. By connecting to a VPN, you can get an IP address in a country where locally censored content is still available. Thanks to the privacy provided by the VPN, you can access those usually censored services without being tracked.

Best VPNs for changing your IP – Our hands-on review

We’ve compared the most important features for the top VPNs here. Prefer to read the in-depth reviews? Start with NordVPN – our #1 choice for changing your IP address .

How to find your current IP address

When you use a VPN it changes your IP address, and you can easily use a tool like to check that the VPN has correctly altered your IP address. The nice thing about IP checking tools is that they not only show your IP address but also the geographical location of that IP address.

This means that if you live in France and connect to a VPN server in New York, the IP address tool will clearly show your location as New York, making it pretty obvious that the VPN is working properly to alter your IP address location.

Of course, if a VPN is working properly, you should also see no DNS leaks or WebRTC leaks in the test results. You can find out more about these types of leaks, and how to check for them, in our detailed guide. So follow the link to find out more.

If you are interested in knowing what your home IP address is (perhaps because you want to share it with a trusted third party, or simply because you want to know your home IP address for interest’s sake) you can find it by using the same tool you use to check that a VPN is working.

You can follow the steps below to find out your home IP address:

  • Make sure you aren’t connected to a VPN or any other location spoofing application (browser extension proxy, Tor, etc).
  • Head over to our IP address checking tool in your browser
  • Make a note of your IP address (it is the string of numbers that appears next to the words Your IP address: )

Now that you know your IP address, you can easily use it to double-check that a VPN is working properly when you connect to its servers. When connected to a VPN, you should not be able to see your real IP address in any of the results. Instead, you should detect an IP address for the remote location.

How to change your public IP address

Here are a few ways to change your public IP address(es):

1. Connect to a VPN to change your IP address

Short for Virtual Private Network, a VPN encrypts your internet connection and routes it through a server in a location of your choosing. Websites, online services, and other devices on the web will only see the VPN server’s IP address and not your real IP address.

VPNs are useful for torrenting, unblocking region-locked content like that from Netflix and BBC iPlayer, and bypassing censorship at schools, in offices, and in countries like China.

Most VPNs can easily hide your IPv4 address, but many VPNs can leak your IP address through various security vulnerabilities. Furthermore, not all VPNs hide your IPv6 address. Choose a VPN that either disables IPv6 or can prevent IPv6 leaks by default.

If you’re not sure how to set up a VPN just follow the simple steps outlined earlier in this article.

2. Use a proxy server to change your IP address

Proxies work similarly to VPNs but with far less versatility and security. Your internet connection goes through a middleman server so that websites and other online resources see the proxy server’s IP address and not your own. Unlike VPNs, proxies often lack encryption, only affect certain apps, and can leak your IP address through other means.

A few different types of proxies can be used to change your IP address:

  • HTTP/S proxies – Usually either browser extensions or special websites that work like a browser within your browser. They only change the IP address on data sent to and from your browser, but do not affect other apps or even DNS traffic. If encryption is included, these are sometimes called SSL proxies.
  • SOCKS proxies – General purpose proxy servers that can be configured for specific apps including most web browsers. SOCKS5 , the latest version, includes support for encryption.
  • SSH proxies – SSH proxies forward internet traffic from apps like your web browser through a Secure Shell ( SSH ) connection to a server, so your IP address is changed to that of the server. Although encryption is included, SSH is not a particularly fast protocol, and many websites and apps might not function properly when connected.

3. Use Tor to change your IP address for free

Tor , short for T he O nion R outer, is a volunteer-run anonymity network. The easiest way to get started with Tor is to download and install the Tor Browser, a barebones web browser that routes all web traffic through the Tor network. Tor encrypts your connection several times and then sends data through multiple nodes—servers operated by volunteer Tor supporters. Each node strips away one layer of encryption, and the sequence of nodes used changes every time you access a different website. This makes it nearly impossible to trace Tor traffic back to the source.

Websites will see the IP address of the last node in the chain, called the Exit Node.

Tor is free, but has its drawbacks. It’s relatively slow and only really suited for basic web browsing. Tor’s anonymity means it is often associated with illicit activity and the dark web, so even though it’s not illegal, using it might draw unwanted attention from your ISP and possibly even law enforcement. Those entities can’t see what you do while connected to Tor, but they can see that you are connected to Tor nodes.

4. Change IP addresses by unplugging your modem

You might be able to get a new IP address by unplugging your internet modem, waiting a few minutes, and then plugging it back in again. When this happens, you release your existing IP address so that your ISP can recycle it. When you reconnect, your ISP assigns you a new IP address.

This method isn’t guaranteed to work because your ISP might just give you the same IP address again. The longer you leave your modem unplugged, however, the higher the chance your IP address changes. If unplugging for a few minutes doesn’t get the job done, consider leaving it unplugged overnight.

Your ISP must use dynamic IP addresses in order for this to work. Most do.

5. Ask your ISP to change your IP address

Another option is to ask your Internet Service Provider (ISP) for a new IP address. Every ISP has different policies about how they handle such requests, so responses may vary. At minimum, you’ll need your account information and current IP address on hand.

Most ISPs use dynamic IP address systems, meaning IP addresses occasionally change and get recycled as devices connect and disconnect from the internet. With that in mind, note that your new IP address might not stay the same forever.

In some cases, you can request a static IP address from your ISP, though this might require paying an extra fee and/or going through an application process. Once provided with a static IP address , you can enter it into your device’s network settings. Static IP addresses never change unless you manually change them.

6. Change networks to get a different IP address

This might seem obvious, but you can get a different IP address by disconnecting from whatever network you’re currently connected to and connecting to a different one. You can switch to a different wifi network, for example, or switch from wifi to a mobile data connection if you’re on a smartphone.

Remember that public and open wifi hotspots are often prime hunting grounds for hackers. Try to stick with a wifi network that requires a password and is encrypted with WPA2.

How to change your private IP address

If you’re connected to a wifi router, then you probably share a public IP address with all the other devices connected to the same network. Each device, however, has its own private, or local IP address.

Changing your local IP address won’t really affect how your device communicates with other devices and servers over the internet, but there might be instances in which you need a different private IP address. These include troubleshooting a malfunctioning router or configuring how local devices, such as printers and IoT devices , function on your home network.

Renew your local IP address

If you’re connected to wifi or some other type of local network, you can change your private IP address from the router admin panel or from the device itself. I’ll show you how to do it on Windows and MacOS.

Here’s how to renew your IP address on Windows:

  • Search for the Command Prompt and right click it to Run as administrator
  • Enter ipconfig /release
  • Enter ipconfig /renew

You should now see a new local IP address.

Here’s how to renew your IP address on Mac:

  • Click the Apple menu and open System Preferences
  • Select Network
  • Highlight the network that you’re connected to in the left pane
  • Click Advanced…
  • Select the TCP/IP tab
  • Click Renew DHCP Lease

You Mac should now be assigned a new local IP address.

The process for changing local IP addresses on the router varies depending on your router manufacturer and firmware. You can usually access your router’s admin dashboard by opening a web browser and entering or in the address bar.

How do I change my IP address on my mobile device?

Changing your IP address is easy on a mobile phone or tablet device. All you need is a VPN. In this guide, we have recommended the best VPNs for changing your IP address. Our recommendations have servers located globally, to let you get an IP address wherever you need it. To change your IP address on a mobile device, follow the steps below:

  • Sign up for the VPN by following the link in this guide ( we recommend NordVPN )
  • Install the VPN app for Android or iOS onto your device. You can find it in your regular app store.
  • Launch the VPN app and login using your credentials.
  • Choose a VPN server from the list and click connect .
  • Your IP address will change as soon as the VPN connection is established.

Static vs Dynamic IPs: What’s the difference?

There are different types of IP addresses, and this can be complicated for beginners. Below, we explain the difference between a dynamic and a dedicated IP address.

Dynamic IP addresses

Each time you connect to the internet or reboot your router, a dynamic IP address changes – in other words, they’re temporary IP addresses. Dynamic IPs are common for home users due to their cost-effectiveness. However, if you perform tasks like hosting a website, it’s best to opt for a passive IP address for stability,

Static IP addresses

In contrast, Static IPs never change, regardless of how often you disconnect from the web. These are best suited to activities that require an IP address that doesn’t change, such as online gaming. Static IPs are a popular option for business users, but unlike dynamic IPs, they come at an added cost. One of the drawbacks of static IPs is their security risks, making it easier for cybercriminals to attack networks thanks to the constant IP address.

Choosing between a static IP or dynamic IP address will depend on your needs. If you’re browsing the web, scrolling socials, and streaming Netflix, a dynamic IP will do. A static IP is the way to go if you’re a hardcore gamer or host a web server.

Your ISP always knows your IP address

No matter what methods you use to change or hide an IP address, the internet service provider always knows public IP addresses. This is inevitable because in order to connect to the internet at all, your ISP must assign you an IP address, and it must know what that IP address is in order to transmit communication and data from the internet to your device.

So even if you used one of the above methods to mask your IP address from websites, services, and other devices on the internet, your ISP is an exception that can see behind the mask.

Even if your ISP can identify you by your IP address, however, you can hide your online activity through encryption. A VPN or Tor will encrypt all data before it ever leaves your device, so even though your ISP can see that you are communicating, it cannot see the contents of those communications.

If you need an easy way to change your IP address to that of a different ISP, try switching between wifi and your smartphone’s mobile data connection. Chances are, your phone carrier and home internet use different ISPs.

How to Change IP address: FAQs

Why does changing my ip address catch captcha requests.

Changing your IP address may result in you catching CAPTCHA requests. The reason for this is because the IP address in question is likely shared with many other users. From the perspective of an online service such as Google , it sees an unusually high number of requests from the same IP address. It then attempts to verify you’re human (as opposed to a bot!) by presenting you with CAPTCHAs.

Will a free VPN change my IP address?

Technically yes, you can change your IP address with a free VPN. There are, however, a few things about these services that make them less than ideal. For instance, free providers usually have very low monthly bandwidth limits and more users than their networks can support. This means that you may not be able to use the VPN as much as you like, and you’ll have to put up with slow speeds when you do get connected.

One of the main functions of a VPN is to keep you safe online. Unfortunately, free providers tend to forget this, with plenty falsely claiming to follow no-logs policies or overhyping the effectiveness of their security features. Why take a chance when your privacy is at stake? We’d recommend choosing a reputable no-logs provider instead of just using whatever is free.

Is it illegal to change my IP address?

No, it’s not illegal to change your IP address. Indeed, you can legally use a VPN in almost any country in the world without having to worry about breaking any laws. However, some online activities are still illegal regardless of whether you’ve used a VPN to change your IP. This includes torrenting copyrighted material or, in some countries, accessing betting websites .

Will a VPN ever expose my real IP address?

The short answer is no. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) provides an encrypted tunnel between your device and the internet, shielding your real IP address from anyone trying to track you online. The data passing through this tunnel is highly secured with strong encryption algorithms, making it nearly impossible for someone to determine which server or network you are connected to or even know who you are. However, there are a few situations when your real IP address can still be exposed:

  • If a malicious actor takes control of the VPN server and gains access to its logs.
  • If the VPN service provider stores information that includes IP addresses (although many reputable VPNs do not store any logs at all).
  • If a website or service you connect to uses an IP address checker to detect your true identity.

In all these scenarios, it is important to remember that a VPN does provide additional security and privacy by masking your real location and the IP address from websites and services you visit. However, for the utmost security and anonymity, it is recommended that you also use other privacy tools such as browser extensions, secure browsers, and encrypted messaging apps in addition to a VPN. With this multi-layered approach to online security, you can rest assured knowing that your real identity will remain hidden no matter what situation arises.

Do I need a dedicated IP address?

You can use a shared IP address, but they tend to come with more risk. A dedicated or static IP address is recommended but there are only a handful of VPNs with dedicated IP addresses. Having a unique IP address can help to protect you from specific threats, such as a Brute Force attack , but it’s worth noting that it isn’t foolproof. You will also need to ensure you follow good online security practices, including strong passwords, two-factor authentication, and not accessing suspicious websites.

Can I get a new IP address from my ISP?

It’s possible to get a new IP address with some ISPs. However, it really depends on the ISP in question. If you find that your ISP don’t accept your request, you could try some of the other options as listed in this post (such as unplugging your router). Of course, the best way to change your IP address while enjoying additional security and privacy-related benefits is to use a VPN.

Can I choose which location my new IP address is in?

A VPN allows you to choose the location of the server to which you connect. The best VPNs offer servers in dozens of countries around the world. Once you connect to one of these servers, you’ll be assigned an IP address to match that location. For example, if you connect to a server in Australia, you’ll be given an Australian IP address . It’s that simple! So yes, you can choose the location your new IP address is in.

What should I do if my IP address isn't changing with my VPN?

When you connect to a VPN server, your IP address should change to be in the location you selected. A VPN is designed to encrypt your data and route it to the remote service location, and as long as it is working correctly, your IP address should always update to the corresponding location.

Unfortunately, some VPNs are broken. They do not properly conceal your home IP address from the websites you visit, and/or they fail to conceal your DNS requests from your ISP. These problems are called “leaks” and VPNs that suffer from leaks are completely failing to:

  • Provide you with online privacy
  • Conceal your IP address from the websites you visit

If you want to know whether your VPN is changing your IP address, we recommend that you use an online IP address-checking tool . The IP address and DNS request results should show as the location of the VPN server (not your real location).

If for any reason you see a local IP anywhere on the IP leak test’s website, then it is likely that your VPN is failing to properly hide your home IP address. That means that the VPN is either no good (you need a new one), or you need to update your VPN software to make sure it is up to date and working correctly.

Remember that it is important to use a reliable VPN like the ones recommended on this page, and to periodically check for IP leaks using an online IP address-checking tool to ensure your VPN is working correctly on your device.

Will resetting my router change my IP address?

When you restart your router your ISP assigns you a new dynamic IP address. However, if your IP address is static, rebooting your router will retain that IP address.

2 Comments Leave a comment

I used Express VPN, but my subscription just ended and I’m thinking of switching to Nord, because it’s cheaper ATM. By the way, you state that there’s a 2 year deal for Nord with 66% off. When I opened the link you provided it redirected me to a 3 year deal with 75% off. Don’t get me wrong, that’s great, but please fix your links, because they are misleading.

I read lots of your articles.I find them very educational.Please tell me am I correct to sense that you are somewhat bias towards “ExpressVpn”? Thereis one line I disagree as it is not my experience with the 2 VPN providers I have tried out.(Express & Nord)

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PRIVACY ALERT: Websites you visit can find out who you are

The following information is available to any site you visit:

Your IP Address:

Your Location:

Your Internet Provider:

This information can be used to target ads and monitor your internet usage.

Using a VPN will hide these details and protect your privacy.

We recommend using NordVPN - #1 of 76 VPNs in our tests. It offers outstanding privacy features and is currently available at a discounted rate.

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Allconnect is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. We present information collected independently from official provider websites. We regularly update the site in an effort to keep this information up-to-date and accurate at all times. The offers that appear on this site are from companies from which receives compensation. This compensation may impact how, where and in what order products appear. does not include every service provider available. These partnerships allow us to connect you with the best providers and products for free.

  • Resource Center

How to change your IP address

Camryn Smith

Aug 29, 2023 — 3 min read

There are several ways to change your IP address, like by switching networks or resetting your equipment. Learn how to change your IP address and why you’d want to.

how to change ip mobile data

Accessing the internet involves a series of private and public connections between networks and devices.

And in a world with more than FOUR BILLION internet users, that’s a lot of connections.

How do the wires keep from getting crossed, so to speak? The secret to an organized global network is the IP address.

Changing yours can help you do everything from troubleshooting your home Wi-Fi to letting you stream your favorite shows while you’re on holiday.

What is an IP address? 

Your IP address is the unique set of numbers that identifies your devices as they communicate across networks. IP addresses are essential for getting online and transmitting data. 

You may want to change your IP address for several reasons, whether technical or personal. We’ll go over a few different ways you can manually or automatically change your IP address. 

Reasons to change your IP address

There may be some instances where you’ll want to change your IP address. The reasons for this include:

  • Access content online that is otherwise restricted in your physical location (for example, accessing Netflix’s U.S. library while on a trip abroad)
  • You can’t connect to Wi-Fi and you don’t know why
  • Prevent tracking and leave no digital footprint
  • Avoid throttling from your internet service provider (ISP)
  • Encrypt data for increased security and data protection
  • Bypass firewalls
  • Fix an incorrectly configured IP address
  • Use a router that provides unusable IP addresses
  • Two devices on your network share the same IP address

How to change your IP address automatically

These are some simple ways to change your IP address automatically:

Switch networks. The simplest way to change the IP address of your device is to switch to a different network. For example, if you’re browsing on your home Wi-Fi connection on your smartphone, you can turn the Wi-Fi setting off and use mobile data. This will change the IP address because a different one is assigned for each network connection.

Reset your modem/router. When you reset your modem/router , this will also reset the IP address. Simply unplug the modem/router for at least 30 seconds, plug it back in, and connect as you normally would.

Connect via Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN will keep your public IP address private and signal to the network that you’re connecting via a different location, thus changing your IP address. This happens through an encrypted tunnel, and your ISP won’t even be able to see your activity. Check out options like TunnelBear , ExpressVPN and NordVPN .

Use a proxy server. Change the proxy settings in your web browser settings so that it automatically configures. The Web Proxy (HTTP) setting is good for basic web browsing, though you might need more specific settings depending on your needs.

How to change your IP address manually

Resetting your IP address manually generally involves entering a chosen IP address into the settings on your device. Here are a few different ways you can navigate to your network IP settings on different devices:

Windows 10:

  • Make sure you’re working from an administrator account and click start
  • Navigate to the control panel
  • Click network connection
  • Scroll down to find IP settings and click edit
  • Select manual
  • Type in your new IP address
  • Navigate to system preferences
  • Click configure IPv4
  • Select manually
  • Go to settings
  • Select Wi-Fi
  • Select network
  • Select IPv4 address
  • Click configure IP

Benefits of changing your IP address

Security: Changing your IP address can secure your online privacy by protecting you from website tracking and hackers. 

Troubleshooting: Sometimes routers assign devices the wrong IP address, so changing it can help you solve this problem. 

Access content while abroad: If you want to access certain content from a country while abroad, changing your IP address can help you navigate regional content blocks. 

The bottom line

There are lots of reasons why you’d want to change your IP address. Before you do, understand the type of IP address you’re changing and the easiest way to do it.

And if you’re looking to change your IP address to fix a connectivity issue, learn how to properly set up your internet and fix a broken connection .

You can find your private IP address through your device’s system settings. For a Mac, click the Apple logo in the top left corner of your screen, then select system preferences > network. Choose your connection and you’ll see your IP below the status section.

For a Windows device, select Start > Settings > Network & Internet > Properties. 

Finding your public IP address is even simpler. You can type “what is my IP address into your search engine,” and it will show you the result. 

Yes, you are allowed to change your IP address. 

Yes, to change your IP address through a VPN, open your VPN app, select the server location you want to connect to and you’re all set. 

Robin Layton

Written by:

Editor, Broadband Content

Camryn Smith

Associate Writer

  • Featured What is my IP address and why does it matter? Taylor Gadsden — 4 min read
  • Featured How to find your router IP address Allconnect — 5 min read
  • Featured What does “IP address conflict” mean and how can you resolve it? Virginia Brown — 4 min read

Friday, February 16, 2024

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Tuesday, February 13, 2024

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How To Change Your IP Address

Whether to gain more privacy or access certain content, you can change your device’s IP address using the methods in this guide

Aliza Vigderman

What Is An IP Address?

Where to find your ip address, pros and cons of changing addresses.

Even though you may be in cyberspace, you’re still in a specific, virtual location defined by your IP address. But for those who want to stay private, get around government restrictions, and the like, changing your IP address is a simple first step. In this article, we’ll tell you how to change your IP address, step-by-step, along with providing you with more information about the types of IP addresses, the pros and cons of changing them, and more. Get your invisibility cloak ready because we’re about to go private or as private as you can be online.

See the exact steps to changing your IP address on an iPhone, Android, Mac and Windows computer. Also, learn why you would want to change your IP address in the first place.

» Do You Know: How to find the IP address on your iPhone

Pro Tip: Changing your IP address can help you get around website restrictions and censorship, but some apps and services use GPS location. If you’re having trouble changing your GPS location, read our Surfshark review . You’ll appreciate its GPS override feature.

Easily Change Your IP Address with a VPN

Whatever your reasons are for changing your IP address, whether to stream certain content or to gain privacy, using a VPN is one of the most secure ways to do so. A VPN cloaks your real IP address with its own server IP address, and it encrypts your browsing traffic so that no one else sees what you’re doing online. Change your IP address with a single mouse click with these VPNs that we tested ourselves:

how to change ip mobile data

Besides using a VPN to change your IP address, which we’ll discuss further below how to do, there are a few other ways to change your IP address.

One of the most straightforward ways is to adjust your device’s settings. This, however, only works if your network has an available address to which you can change your current IP address. In addition, your new IP address will still be tied to your local network, and thus, it can be geo-tracked to your approximate location just like the old one.

Still, it’s worth a shot, right? Here are more detailed instructions for how to change your IP address manually on different types of devices.

How to Change Your IP Address on Mac Manually

  • Go to System Settings...
  • Click Network.
  • Click Wi-Fi.
  • Click Details...
  • Click TCP/IP.
  • Under Configure IPv4, change the drop down to Manually.
  • Type in your IP address.

Manually changing your IP address on a Mac

How to Change Your IP Address on Windows 11 Manually

  • Click on the Start Menu.
  • Navigate to Control Panel.
  • Click Network and Sharing Center.
  • Click Change Adapter Settings.
  • Where it says Wi-Fi or Local Area Connection, right click.
  • Click Properties.
  • Select TCP/IPv4/ Internet Protocol Version 4.
  • Click Use The Following IP Address.
  • Type in the IP address and then click Ok.

Change IP Address on Windows

How to Change Your IP Address on Android Manually

  • Go to your Android Settings.
  • Navigate to Wireless & Networks.
  • Click on your Wi-Fi network.
  • Click Modify Network.
  • Select Advanced Options.
  • Change the IP address.

Changing Your IP - On Android, Scroll to IP address to see your IP address.

How to Change Your IP Address on iOS Manually

  • Go to your iOS device’s Settings.
  • Click the network that you are connected to.
  • Under IPv4 Address, tap Configure IP.
  • Click on Manual.
  • Enter your IP address.

Changing your IP address on iOS

How to Change Your IP Address on Router Manually

  • Turn off your router.
  • Turn it back on a day later.
  • Go to your administrative interface and reconnect to your ISP.

After turning the device back on, you can check your routers IP address to see if it changed. If you want your device to pick a new IP address for you automatically, here’s what to do.

How to Change Your IP Address on Mac Automatically

  • Go to your Mac’s System Settings app.
  • Select ‘Details…’ under the Network Connection.
  • Click Renew DHCP Lease.
  • To confirm, click Apply.

Automatically changing your IP address on a Mac

How to Change Your IP Address on Windows Automatically

  • Enter your Administrator Account.
  • Click Start.
  • Click Settings
  • Go to Network & internet.
  • Click Location Area Connection.
  • Click Wi-Fi or Ethernet.
  • Select Manage known networks.
  • Click your network
  • Click Edit next to IP assignment.
  • Select Automatic and then save 1

Automatically changing your IP address on Windows

How to Change Your IP Address on Android Automatically

  • Click Settings.
  • Select Connections.
  • Select the network you’re on currently.
  • Click Advanced.
  • Select either DHCP or Static.

If you don’t already have a new IP address or you don’t want one the automatic address from your device, then you can connect to a Virtual Private Network or VPN. VPNs will replace your IP address and encrypt all of your web activity. You may get the same IP address every time you connect (static), or a different one each time (dynamic). Some VPNs also offer dedicated IP addresses, if you want to be the only one with that address.

How to Change Your IP Address with a VPN

  • Download the VPN app .
  • Create an account.
  • Click Connect.

Connecting with Ivacy VPN

To learn more, read about the best VPN for every occasion or our comprehensive VPN guide .

A sister to VPNs is proxy servers , intermediary devices that hide IP addresses. 2 Here’s how to connect to a proxy server on your Mac, Windows, Android or iOS device.

How to Connect to Proxy Server on Mac

  • Open Safari, Macs’ default browser.
  • Under the Proxies section, click Change Settings.
  • Update the Settings with the information that the network administrator provided.

Proxy Settings on a Mac

How to Connect to Proxy Server on Windows

  • Open your Settings.
  • Click Network & internet.
  • Click Proxy.
  • Click Set up under the automatic or manual section.
  • Enter your proxy information.
  • Click Save.

Proxy settings on Windows

How to Connect to Proxy Server on Android

  • Tap Settings.
  • Tap Connections.
  • Tap Settings next to the network name.
  • Tap View More.
  • Tap Proxy, then select Manual.
  • Enter your proxy port and hostname.

Proxy Settings on Android

How to Connect to Proxy Server on iOS

  • Enter your phone or tablet’s Settings.
  • Click on the “I” button next to the network you are using.
  • Click HTTP Proxy.
  • Click Manual.
  • Change the setting from Off to Manual.
  • Enter in the Server and Port information needed.
  • Save your information.

Proxy Settings on iOS

Tor is a secure browser that, along with hiding your IP address, will also prevent tracking and targeted ads. Once you’re off a website, its cookies will clear as will your browsing history . Both your IP address and your web activity will be encrypted not once, not twice but three times. 3 Just download the browser from Tor’s website to hide your IP address when browsing online!

Tor link lists using the using the TorWeb App

Of course, some people may not be totally clear on what an IP address actually is; no shame here! An IP address, which standards for an internet protocol address, is a device’s identifying number associated with a specific computer or network of computers. Basically, IP addresses let computers send and receive information, but they can also be used to track the physical locations of users, 4 a nightmare for those concerned with privacy. And according to our VPN usage research , that accounts for 40 percent of VPN-users.

» How To: Get a US IP Address

NordVPN on Desktop and Mobile

Types of IP Addresses

Not all IP addresses are created equal! Rather, they can be divided into a few different categories, some of which have certain advantages over others.

  • Public : Each and every internet-connected device has a public IP address, distributed by the Internet Service Providers vis-à-vis the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. What, you haven’t heard of ICANN? Nevertheless, these public IP addresses are searchable on the web, which is why we can find our printer simply by Googling its IP address .
  • Private/ local : In contrast to public IP addresses, private IP addresses aren’t searchable on the web. Rather, they’re numbers that routers assign the devices on their networks so that they can communicate with each other.
  • Dynamic : Dynamic IP addresses, as we mentioned before, are any type of IP address that change every time you connect, usually through a VPN. This makes users hard to track online, as their literal address keeps changing.
  • Static : Static means that the IP addresses do not change. With VPNs, static IP addresses are usually shared with thousands of users in order to obscure their identities. However, some websites block these shared IP addresses, which necessitates users getting dedicated IP addresses. What a convenient transition!
  • Dedicated : Dedicated IP addresses are assigned to only one user rather than being shared by several. They usually cost a different fee on top of the regular VPN subscription.

Changing Your IP - On Windows, Turn on IPv4 and fill out the fields IP address, Subnet prefix length, and Gateway. Hit Save when you're done

  • IPv4 : Internet Protocol version 4 is used by 99 percent of networks, but since it can only store 4.3 billion addresses, it’s being replaced by IPv6, which we’ll get to in a second. Unlike IPv6, IPv4 addresses are four one bite numbers separated by dots like 555.555.1.1.
  • IPv6 : While they’re only used by less than 1 percent of networks, IPv6 has its advantages over IPv4, namely that it can provide an infinite number of addresses. It also allows for larger payloads and is compatible with a greater number of mobile networks. Although they’re starting small, eventually, IPv6 will replace IPv4. 5

» Further Reading: Dynamic vs Static IP Address

Feeling lost in the sauce? Finding your IP address isn’t that complicated, even if you’re not a tech expert like us.

Your private information

My ip address.


Status: Unprotected

My IP Information

Internet provider: Google LLC

City: Dublin

Region/ State: County Dublin

Browser name: Chrome Mobile

Browser version: 121.0

Device brand:

Device type: smartphone

Latitude: 53.34044

Longitude: -6.23615

Postal code: D04 K858

Where to Find Your IP Address on Mac

  • Enter your Mac’s System Settings.
  • Select Network.
  • Select your Wi-Fi network.
  • Click Details…
  • You’ll see your IP internal address listed.

IP address location on a Mac

Where to Find Your IP Address on Windows

  • Enter your TaskBar.
  • Click on Settings.
  • Select your network.
  • Click Wi-Fi Properties.
  • Look under IPv4 Address.

IP address location on Windows 11

Where to Find Your IP Address on Android

  • Enter your phone’s Settings.
  • Click About.
  • Click Status.
  • Look at the IP Address.

IP Address on Android

Where to Find Your IP Address on iOS

  • Click on the “i” button next to Network.

Changing Your IP - Proxy Settings on iPhone

Of course, there’s always the debate of whether or not to change your IP address in the first place. While the angel on your shoulder tells you it’s a great way to increase your privacy and access other country’s servers, the devil tells you that it could be costly, that some websites won’t work and that your ISP will still be able to see your address. There’s truth to both of these sides, so we recommend making your decisions on a case-by-case basis. That being said, we broke down the main reasons why you should and shouldn’t change your IP address.

» How To: Get a UK IP Address

Why You Should Change Your IP Address

  • Avoid tracking : If you’ve ever searched for anything related to consumerism, then you probably already notice how your searches seem to follow you around the internet like you owe them money. This sort of tracking is made possible by cookies, which some antivirus software can disable.
  • Bypass government restrictions : Governments like China greatly restrict internet usage in their country, so if you want to bypass firewalls, changing your IP address is a must.
  • Access international servers : Maybe you simply want to see what’s on Netflix Canada from your apartment in California. By changing your IP address to a Canadian one, you can trick the streaming giant into showing you a whole lot of new content.

FYI: Not all VPNs are compatible with Netflix. To find one that’s right for you, read our review of the best VPNs for Netflix .

  • Gain privacy : Maybe you’re an activist, a journalist, or anyone else handling sensitive information, or maybe you just don’t want your Internet Service Provider to track your every move. If that’s the case, changing your IP address is a step in the right direction in terms of privacy.
  • Increase security : Most people think nothing of joining public Wi-Fi networks (and depending on your settings, this may even happen automatically). However, using public Wi-Fi opens up a slew of security risks, with hacking at the forefront. But by hiding your real IP address, you greatly lower your risk of hackings .

Why You Shouldn’t Change Your IP Address

  • Some websites won’t work : Some websites, like the aforementioned Netflix, won’t work with certain VPNs or proxies. So while they may be able to bypass government restrictions, that doesn’t stop individual websites from blocking certain IP addresses.
  • Not always legal : Depending on where you are, VPNs may not be legal ; they’re banned in China, Belarus, Iran and a few other countries, so keep that in mind before you connect.
  • May slow down connection : Any added encryption will slow down your browsing speeds, although the exact slowdowns will differ from service to service. Still, if you’re performing tasks that require a lot of bandwidth like streaming video or video chatting, you might experience some frustrating lag.
  • VPN may log data : Again, depending on the service, your VPN company may be logging the very information you want to hide, like your IP address and web traffic. Our advice? Always read the VPN’s privacy policy, which we cover in our individual VPN reviews, and talk about it extensively on our best no-logging VPNs page.
  • Could cost money : Not all VPNs are free (except of course, the ones that are; check out the best free VPNs to see what we’re talking about). Still, free VPNs typically have limits on time, data, or servers, so if you want full coverage, you might have to pony up some dough.
  • ISP’s will still be able to see IP : Even with a new IP address, your Internet Service Provider will be able to see it, so you’re never truly “private” when you’re online.

» Learn more: All about ISP Throttling

Overall, we’re of the faith that changing your IP address is a necessity at times, and we love that there’s more than one way to do it. We hope we answered all of your questions about changing your IP address, but if we didn’t, read on.

Being public digital security experts, we’re constantly inundated with a number of questions surrounding changing your IP address. Here are those questions, with, you guessed it, answers.

You can change your IP address in your device settings or by using the Tor browser, a VPN or a proxy server.

Changing your IP address may or may not be legal; it depends on how you do it and where you’re located. For example, using a VPN to change your IP address is legal in the U.S but illegal in China.

Your IP address may show a different city if you’re connected to a VPN or proxy server with servers in that city. That may be the closest server to you, or simply the one that allows for the lowest bandwidth usage.

Resetting your router may or may not change your IP address, depending on how long you wait before you turn it back on. We recommend waiting for about a day in order to get a new IP address.

Microsoft. (2020). How to change the IP address of a network adapter .

SmartProxy. (2020). How to Change Your IP Address Right Now .

Tor Project. (2020). Browse Privately. Explore Freely .

Investopedia. (2020). IP Address .

Linksys. (2020). Differences between IPv4 and IPv6 .

Affiliate links on Android Authority may earn us a commission. Learn more.

How to change your IP address

You can think of an IP address like a postal address, just for locations on the internet and your home network — it’s how you’re identified, which lets devices know where to route data packets. Your internet IP is specifically known as a “public” address, whereas devices on your home network have “local” or “private” IPs so they can talk to each other.

There’s usually no need to change an IP address, whether public or local. But if the need arises, here’s how you can change addresses on Android, iPhone, Mac, and Windows devices.


Public IPs can be changed in several ways, such as a VPN, the Tor network, or (in some cases) rebooting your modem. You can also change the local IPs of devices on your network, the exact methods depending on the device in question.


How to change your public IP address on Windows or Mac

How to change your ip address on android, how to change your ip address on an iphone, how to change your local ip address on windows, how to change your local ip address on a mac, why change your ip.

NETGEAR Nighthawk Cable Modem CM1200

There are a few ways to change your public IP, some more reliable than others.

  • Reboot your modem by unplugging it, waiting a few minutes, then plugging it back in. Ideally this should release your IP and secure you a new one when you reconnect. There’s no guarantee however — not every ISP (internet service provider) uses dynamic IP assignment, and you may just get your old IP back, regardless. If you’re determined to use this method, you may want to wait a few hours before reconnecting to improve your chances.
  • Request a new IP from your ISP. You’ll have to research how your ISP handles those requests, and if it uses dynamic IPs, a new IP might not stick forever. Some ISPs offer the option of a static (permanent) IP, but you may have to pay for the privilege.
  • Connect to a VPN (virtual private network) . VPNs offer middleman servers that not only disguise your real IP, but  improve security and let you get around geoblocking by businesses and governments. Most VPNs require a subscription fee however, and in a sense, your personal IP never really changes — it’s just that outside parties can’t see it unless they bypass the VPN’s security.
  • Connect to an HTTP/S, SOCKS, or SSH proxy . Much like a VPN, a proxy forwards traffic through a separate server, and it’s that server that the internet sees as your public IP. This is can be an extremely technical option, and if you use HTTP/S, only your web browser will gain the benefits.
  • Connect to the Tor network , which is free and run by volunteers. This option is limited to web traffic, and funnels your data through multiple servers, each of which adds a layer of security. You can think of it as a bulletproof VPN, and for that reason it’s a favorite of both political dissidents and criminals. It’s best avoided by casual users, not just because of that focus on the web but because it slows speeds considerably.

Google Pixel 7 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra cameras close up

For your public IP in Android, you’ll need to use indirect options like a VPN, but you do have direct control over your device’s local IP. Note that instructions may vary since there are different forks of Android, but here’s a sample flow:

  • Open Settings and navigate to Network and Internet .
  • Find your currently connected Wi-Fi network, then tap and hold on its name.
  • Choose Modify Network .
  • Tap Advanced Options  and select a static IP .
  • You should be prompted to enter a main IP address, a gateway address, and one or more DNS servers.

Be aware that you can’t enter whatever numbers you like in these fields and expect them to work. For your main address, you’ll need to ping IPs on your local network and discover an open one, and you really shouldn’t change gateway or DNS addresses. You’ll want to poll your Wi-Fi network to discover what your existing gateway and DNS addresses are, say by using the ipconfig/all command in the Windows Command Prompt. The ping command can also be used there, starting from one digit higher than your gateway. Macs have an equivalent to the Command Prompt called Terminal.

iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro Max cameras

As with Android, you have to change an iPhone or iPad’s public IP through tools like VPNs, but there are built-in options for changing local IP.

  • Open the Settings app and select Wi-Fi .
  • Hit the info (i) button next to your currently active network.
  • Scroll down to the IPv4 Address section and tap Configure IP .
  • Select Manual , and enter the new address data. You’ll need to use the network discovery instructions in the Android section above to figure out which info to use.

windows 11 wallpaper generic

There are actually a few ways to do this, but the easiest is through the Settings app. In Windows 11:

  • Open Settings, then click on Network and internet .
  • Click Wi-Fi.
  • Select your active Wi-Fi network.
  • Next to IP assignment , click Edit .
  • Choose Manual and toggle on IPv4 .
  • As needed, specify your main IP address, subnet mask, gateway, and preferred DNS. As explained in our Android instructions, you’ll want to use network discovery tools to learn which IPs to use.

WWDC 2022 macOS Ventura Stage Manager

Using macOS Ventura:

  • Click the Apple menu, then System Settings .
  • Click Network in the sidebar.
  • Select the Wi-Fi connection you’re using, then Details .
  • Click TCP/IP .
  • Click Configure IPv4 and choose Manually .
  • Enter IP address data as needed. You’ll need to use Terminal commands to learn which IP addresses are open on your network.

There are a few reasons. Using Tor, a VPN, or a proxy can mask your digital identity, mitigating threats like hackers, ad tracking, or government surveillance. And as mentioned, those options can also be a way around geoblocking by both governments and corporations — Netflix for example limits catalog access based on the country your public IP belongs to.

You might also change your public IP to visit previously restricted websites, say if an authoritarian government doesn’t want you to learn about past or ongoing atrocities.

Otherwise, the only common reason to change IPs is as a troubleshooting step. Mostly this applies when once device is trying to connect to another and failing. Try other steps first, if they’re available, since you could potentially break a connection without solving the real problem.

A standard IP address is a string of four numbers separated by periods, each ranging in value from 0 to 255. Your router, for instance, will typically have an address like 192.168.x.1, where the X will be a single-digit value.

Internet Protocol. It’s fundamental to how the internet works, to the point that that the IPv4 system has been around since the early 1980s, long before the public had access. The internet is slowly migrating towards IPv6.


How to Change IP Address on Android (5 Options)

July 20, 2020.

Want to learn how to change IP address on Android devices, but don’t know where to start?

No problem - we’ll show you five easy methods to do this. Also, we’ll take a look at when you might want to change your IP address too.

Here’s How to Change IP Address on Android

Overall, you have five ways to do it:

1. Use Mobile Data or Switch Networks

This is by far the easiest way to change your IP address. It only takes a few seconds, and you don’t need any extra tools.

If you’re currently connected to a WiFi network, you basically have two options:

  • Disconnect from it, and turn on your mobile data. Your mobile provider will assign you a new IP address.
  • Connect to a different WiFi network. When you do that, the network will automatically assign your device a new IP address.

2. Use a VPN

A VPN is an online service that encrypts your Internet traffic and hides your IP address. By “hide it,” we mean it stops other websites from seeing it. Here’s how:

  • You first run a VPN app, and use it to connect to a VPN server.
  • The app and the server negotiate and establish a secure connection (called an encrypted tunnel).
  • When you visit a website, your connection requests will go to it through the VPN server.
  • So, the app sends your requests to the VPN server. Then, the server forwards them to the website on your behalf, acting like a “middleman.”
  • Because the website sees the request coming from the VPN server and not your Android device, it will only see the server’s IP address. So your device’s IP address is effectively “hidden.”

Still having trouble understanding how it all works? No problem - here’s an image that should help a lot:

And using a VPN on Android is very simple. Commercial providers offer user-friendly apps. You just need to download them from the Google Play store, install and run them, and connect to a VPN server with a few taps.

It’s as simple as that.

Plus, because VPNs use powerful encryption, you’ll be safe from WiFi eavesdropping, fake hotspots, and bandwidth throttling (when your ISP intentionally slows down your speeds).

If you’re not sure which VPN to use, we recommend trying ExpressVPN or NordVPN . They offer fast servers, secure connections, and no-log policies (so they don’t store your real IP address). Plus they’re leak-proof too, so no need to worry about your IP address being exposed while connected to them.

3. Use a Proxy

A proxy is an online service that works similar to a VPN. Its servers also act as middlemen between you and the web to hide your IP address.

However, unlike a VPN, a proxy won’t offer powerful encryption. Some of them don’t offer any encryption at all, in fact. So your traffic is open to cyber attacks and eavesdropping.

If you want to learn how to change your IP address on Android for privacy reasons, that’s a pretty big problem. Plus, if the proxy is configured to keep logs, it will know what your real IP address is.

4. Use Tor 

Tor stands for the The Onion Router, and it’s a privacy network that’s accessed through the Tor browser . You just install and access the web through it, and you’ll visit websites through the browser.

The network is run by volunteers and is designed to route your traffic through different servers. It will bounce through at least three of them, meaning it gets encrypted and decrypted multiple times.

Since your connections will be routed through those servers, your IP address will be hidden too. Any site you visit will only see the address of the Tor exit node (the server you traffic exits through).

If you plan on using Tor, just remember there are some drawbacks:

  • You’ll get pretty bad speeds since there are way more users ( over two million ) than there are servers ( around 6,000 ). The multiple layers of encryption also don’t help.
  • Tor previously had an issue that caused it to leak user IP addresses .
  • Tor can sometimes leak your IP address when you try to open certain files that bypass proxy settings (like PDFs files).

5. Set IP Settings to Static

We saved this method for last because it’s less convenient than the previous four options. Also, it’s not as efficient because it won’t change all your IP addresses’ digits, just the last two of them.

How to change IP address on your Android phone through IP settings:might sound complicated, but don’t worry - we’ll make it simple for you.

To do that, you have to head to your network’s advanced settings. To get there, you need to head to Settings > Connections > Wi-Fi.

Now, tap the cog icon next to the network you’re connected to (it’s to the left of it).

Now tap Advanced right at the bottom, tap IP settings, and switch from DHCP to Static.

To protect our tester’s privacy, we removed his IP and DNS addresses (except DNS 2 which is Google Public DNS). But to change your IP address manually you just need to edit the last two digits or last digit of your address.

So let’s say your gateway’s IP address is and your Android phone’s IP address is You’d need to change “100.110” or just “110” from your IP address to different numbers between this range: 0 and 255. 

So you could use something like as your device’s IP address.

When Should You Change Your IP Address on Android?

Now that you know how to change IP address on Android phones, let’s take a look at some use cases. According to our research, you should do this when you want to:

Unblock Online Content

Can’t visit a site because it’s not available in your area?

Changing your IP address might fix that.

Here’s why - websites often use geo-restrictions to block connections from specific countries. They know what your geo-location is because your IP address reveals it. And any site can see your IP address when you connect to it because it’s in your requests.

Why do websites do that? Reasons vary a lot, but it’s usually because they need to comply with laws or respect copyright agreements and licensing rights.

So you’d need to change your IP address to the address of a specific country. For example, if you wanted to watch shows on the US Netflix library, but you’re from Canada, you’d need a US IP address.

Unfortunately, you can’t manually do that. You’ll need to use a VPN (ideal solution), a proxy, or Tor.

Bypass Firewalls

Dealing with firewalls at work or school? Your government uses them to censor online sites?

You definitely need to change your IP address then. It’s the only way you can circumvent firewalls.

Here’s the thing - firewall restrictions work based on IP addresses. You use them to identify your devices on a network, and firewalls control inbound and outbound network traffic. So if network admins use firewalls, their restrictions will be linked to your IP address.

If you get a new IP address, though, those restrictions no longer apply to you. How could they? You’ll be using a different network to access the web, after all.

At school or work, it’s usually enough to use mobile data instead of the workplace/school’s network.

When dealing with censorship, though, you’ll definitely need a VPN. Proxies and Tor are good options too, but not as reliable.

Protect Your Privacy

If you want to stop websites from tracking you, learning how to change IP address on Android devices is a must. Otherwise, they can continue associating your IP address with your behavior to create customer and advertising profiles based on that info.

Similarly, advertisers can track it too. They do it to analyze your web browsing and online behavior to spam you with creepy personalized ads.

For this job, we can only recommend using a VPN. Besides masking your IP address, it also encrypts your traffic. That stops your ISP (and anyone else) from seeing your web browsing, so they can’t share that data with advertisers anymore.

Get Better Prices

Online merchants often display different prices based on your geo-location. They often do it for profit, but - sometimes - they also need to do it because they have to pay higher import taxes and shipping costs for some countries.

Since your IP address reveals your geo-location, you might be able to bypass online price discrimination by changing your IP address. Ideally, you should use an address from countries that have a lower cost of living.

VPNs and proxies are both great in this case. Tor works too but the slow speeds will eventually get annoying.

Know Other Ways How to Change IP Address on Android?

Go ahead and tell us about them in the comments. If they’re good enough, we might include them in the article.

Similarly, if you know other good reasons to hide your IP address on Android, please let us know.

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How-To Geek

How to change your ip address.

Need to fix networking issues? Changing your IP address should help.

Quick Links

Why would you want to change your ip address, static vs. dynamic ips: should you get a static address instead, key takeaways.

The simplest way to change your IP address is to power off your router, wait at least 10 seconds, then power it back on. If that doesn't fix your problem, you may want to set a static IP address instead.

Changing your IP address is a simple fix for a number of networking issues. However, there's more than one way to cook that particular egg. So let's go over your options for getting a new IP address, and why you'd choose one over the other.

Your  IP address is a set of numbers that works both as a way to locate you in the real world as well as serves as your digital address. When you connect to the internet, for example, your internet service provider or ISP will assign you an IP that will reveal to the sites you visit where you're connecting from---it's why sites will usually change language when you're accessing them from abroad.

Changing your network IP will make you appear like you're somewhere else, great for circumventing censorship blocks or even changing your Netflix library to that of another country. However, that's not possible without using outside help, so to speak. You'll usually have to use a third-party program to alter your IP that way, and it only works while that program is active.

There are a few ways to temporarily change your IP like this, we discuss them at length in our article on how to hide your IP address . In most cases, your best bet is to use a virtual private network (VPN) to fake your IP and thus make it appear that you're somewhere else. It's pretty cool, and easy to do.

However, it's not just your internet connection that broadcasts an IP address: each device you own also has its own, unique IP. This is so each device can properly communicate with both the network and each other.

If there's a problem with your network's IP or that of a specific device, they may not connect properly or have some other issues. A VPN won't fix these problems, at least not for the long-term; the only way to get rid of these issues is to permanently change your IP address. Luckily, this isn't that hard to do.

The first way to fix any issues is to change your network's IP. This is a lot easier than you may think thanks to something called the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol . DHCP is a protocol---a set of rules that governs how machines "talk" to each other---which can change the IP address associated on the fly, hence "dynamic."

To do so, all you really need to do is turn your router off, wait 10 seconds, and turn it on again . (Simply resetting usually doesn't work, but it depends very much on the router.) Once the router is fully on and working again, you should have a new IP address.

You can, of course, check to make sure. To do so, before you switch off the router, find your IP address either by asking your favorite search engine what it is or using a tool like . Write down the IP, switch your router on and off, and then check again.

However, the above fix is a short-term one that mainly only works if you have a simple issue, like if your router suddenly starts acting up. If you have permanent networking issues with your devices, you may have to throw out DHCP altogether and instead set up a static IP address, one that doesn't change.

Related: How to Set Static IP Addresses on Your Eero Router

Setting a static IP address will hopefully get rid of any networking issues, or at least narrow down the list of possible causes for why your devices aren't talking to each other. That said, there are a few different ways to tackle this issue.

First off, you could reach out to your ISP and simply ask them to change your IP address. You'll probably have to explain what the issue is and walk through a few steps with them---this really depends on your ISP---but if the tech is worth their salt, they'll take care of it for you.

Manually Set a Static IP Address

However, that may not be necessary: there are plenty of ways you can track down and fix any issues yourself, starting with changing your router's IP to static. We have a full tutorial on how to set a static IP on your router , and this should hopefully change any issues you have on the network level.

That said, it could be your laptop or desktop causing the issues. In that case, you could try setting a static IP on your Windows computer ---or, if you prefer, using the Windows command prompt . Members of Team Penguin can check out this tutorial on how to set a static IP in Ubuntu . It's also worth noting that  iPhones have a built-in function for changing IPs and setting static ones too .

Whichever route you end up taking, with a few minutes of work your networking issues should be a thing of the past.

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form .

What is a VPN and why do you need one? All your virtual private network questions answered


Whether you work from a traditional office, home office, your iPhone , or on the road, a VPN is one of the best ways to protect yourself from data breaches on the internet, especially when using public Wi-Fi networks. 

Also:  The best VPN services of 2024: Expert tested and reviewed

But how effective are VPNs, and what's the best VPN for you? What are the downsides to using a VPN? Our VPN guide will answer all your VPN-related questions -- including a few you probably haven't thought to ask.

What is a VPN?

VPN is an acronym for Virtual Private Network. 

The purpose  of a VPN  is to provide you with security and privacy as you communicate over the internet.

Here's the problem with the internet: it's inherently insecure. When the internet was first designed, the priority was to be able to send packets (chunks of data) as reliably as possible. Networking across the country and the world was relatively new, and nodes often went down. Most of the internet's core protocols (communication methods) were designed to route around failure rather than secure data.

Also: The best mobile VPNs of 2024

The applications you're accustomed to using, such as email, web, messaging, and Facebook, are all built on top of that  Internet Protocol  (IP) core. While some standards have developed, not all internet apps are secure. Many still send their information without any security or privacy protection whatsoever.

This leaves any internet user vulnerable to criminals who might steal your banking or credit card information, governments who might want to eavesdrop on their citizens, and other internet users who might want to spy on you for a whole range of nefarious reasons.

A VPN creates a private tunnel over the open internet. The idea is that everything you send is encapsulated in this private communications channel and encrypted so -- even if your packets are intercepted -- they can't be deciphered.  VPNs are powerful and important tools to protect yourself and your data , but they have limitations.

How does a VPN work?

Let's start with the basic idea of internet communication. Suppose you're at your desk and you want to access a website like ZDNET. To do this, your computer initiates a request by sending some packets. If you're in an office, those packets often travel through switches and routers on your LAN before they are transferred to the public internet through a router.

Once on the public internet, those packets travel through a bunch of computers. A separate request is made to a series of name servers to translate the DNS name to an IP address. That information is sent back to your browser, which then sends the request again through many computers on the public internet. Eventually, it reaches the ZDNET infrastructure, which also routes those packets, grabs a web page (which is a bunch of separate elements), and sends all that back to you.

Also: The best VPN for streaming in 2024

Each internet request usually results in a whole series of communication events between multiple points. The way a VPN works is by encrypting those packets at the originating point, often hiding the data and the information about your originating IP address. The VPN software on your end then sends those packets to the VPN server at some destination point, decrypting that information.

One of the most important issues in understanding the limits of VPNs is understanding where the endpoint of the VPN server resides. We'll talk about that next.

What are the two main types of VPNs?

Most of us are familiar with the concept of a LAN, a local area network. That's the private network inside one physical location -- be it a home, a corporate building, or a campus. But many businesses don't run out of one location. They have branch offices, departments, and divisions that are geographically dispersed.

In many cases, each of these offices also has LANs. But how do the LANs connect? For some very specialized solutions, companies lease private lines to connect the offices. That can be very expensive. Instead, most companies opt to connect separated private LANs over the public internet geographically. To protect their data, they set up VPNs between offices, encrypting the data as it traverses the public internet.

Also: How to check if your VPN is working (and what to do if your VPN won't connect)

This is a corporate or enterprise VPN, and it's characterized by the same organization controlling both endpoints of the VPN. If your company controls the originating point (say a sales office) and the endpoint (like a VPN server at your corporate HQ), you can be assured ( unless there's a bug ) that your data is securely transmitted.

The second type of VPN is a consumer VPN. This is for those of you who compute in hotels or at coffee shops and connect to web applications like social networks, email, banks, or shopping sites. Consumer VPN services help ensure that those communications are protected.

What does a consumer VPN service do?

A consumer VPN service is, fundamentally, a  software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering . The VPN service provides a secure tunnel between your computing device (whether laptop, phone, or tablet) and the provider's data center.

This feature is important to understand. Consumer VPN services protect your transmission from your location to their location, not from your location to the destination application you're using. If you think about it, this approach makes sense -- a consumer VPN service is operated by a completely different company than, for example, Facebook or your bank.

Also: The best VPN services for iPhone and iPad in 2024

The VPN service gives you an app that you run on your local device, which encrypts your data, and it travels in its encrypted form through a tunnel to the VPN service provider's infrastructure. At that point, the data is decrypted and sent on its way.

Two things happen here. First, if you're using an https connection, your data is encrypted by your browser and then by your VPN app. Your data is decrypted only once at the VPN data center, leaving the original encryption provided by the browser intact. That encrypted data then goes on to the destination application, such as your bank.

The second thing that happens is that the web application you're talking to does not get to see your IP address. Instead, it sees an IP address owned by the VPN service. This approach allows you some level of anonymous networking. This IP spoofing is also used to trick applications into thinking you're located in a different region or even a different country than you are located in. There are reasons (both illegal and legal) to do this. We'll discuss that in a bit.

When should I use a VPN?

We've already discussed the use of a VPN when connecting offices. Any time you have two LANs that need to link over the public internet, you should consider using VPN technology or an equivalent method of enterprise protection. In this case, the VPN software will probably run in a router, a server, or a dedicated VPN server hardware appliance.

We talked about two use cases above for consumer VPN services: protecting your data and spoofing your location. We'll talk more about location spoofing later, so let's focus on data protection for now.

Also: The best travel VPNs of 2024

When you're away from home or the office, and you connect to the internet, you'll most often be doing so via Wi-Fi provided by your hotel or the restaurant, library, or coffee shop you're working out of at that moment. Sometimes, Wi-Fi has a password. Other times, it will be completely open. In either case, you have no idea who else is accessing that network. Therefore, you have no idea who might be snooping on your internet traffic, browsing history, or online activity.

I recommend always using a VPN when using someone else's Wi-Fi network. Here's a good rule of thumb: if you're away from the office or home, and you're using someone else's Wi-Fi (even that of a family member or a friend, because you never know if they've been compromised), use a VPN. It's particularly important if you're accessing a service that has personally identifying information. Remember, a lot goes on behind the scenes, and you never really know if one or more of your apps are authenticating in the background and putting your information at risk.

Another reason you might choose to use a VPN is if you have something to hide, which isn't just about folks doing things they shouldn't do. Sometimes people really need to hide information. Take, for example, the person who is worried an employer might discriminate against them because of their sexual orientation or medical condition. Another example is a person who needs to go online, but is concerned about revealing location information to a person in their life who might be a threat.

And then, of course, there are those people in restrictive countries who need to hide their activity merely to gain access to the internet without potentially grave penalties.

Are the free VPN services any good?

There are some good  free VPN services , but  I avoid all free VPNs .

Why? It costs a lot to provide the infrastructure to operate a VPN service, from the network pipes to the servers. That infrastructure has to be paid for somehow. If user fees do not pay for it, advertising, data gathering, or some nastier reason are likely taking up the slack.

Here's another reason not to use a free service, and this one is a lot scarier.  Malware providers and criminal organizations have set up free VPN services  that not only don't protect you but actively harvest personal data, and either use it or sell it to the highest bidder. Instead of being protected, you're being plundered.

What's the best way to choose a VPN service?

To be fair, not all paid VPN services are legitimate, either. It's important to be careful about which you choose. We've put together  an always up-to-date directory  of quality VPN providers. Some are better than others (and that's reflected in their ratings), but all are legitimate companies that provide quality service.

Also: 3 security gadgets I never leave home without

Beyond our directory, it's always good practice to Google a company or product name and read the user reviews. If you see a huge number of old complaints or new complaints suddenly start showing up, it might be that there's been a change of management or policies. When I'm looking for a service, I always base my decision partially on professional reviews and partially based on the tone of user reviews.

Finally, be sure to choose a service with the capabilities  that meet your needs . You may need one or more features only provided by certain services. So, think through your needs as you make a decision.

Can a VPN guarantee my privacy?

Oh,  heck no . A VPN can help ensure you're not snooped on when connecting between your computer and a website. But the website itself is quite capable of some serious privacy violations. For example, a VPN can't protect you against a website setting a tracking cookie that will tell other websites about you. A VPN can't protect you against a website recording information about products you're interested in. A VPN can't protect you against a website that sells your email address to list brokers. Yada, yada, yada.

Also: The best VPN deals right now

A  VPN does help protect you  in the situations we've discussed in previous sections. But don't expect a VPN to be a magical privacy shield that will keep everything you do private and confidential. There are many, many ways your privacy can be compromised, and a  VPN will be of only partial help .

Will VPN software slow down my computer?

That would be a definite maybe. Back in the day, the process of encrypting and decrypting packets would take a toll on CPU performance. Most current CPUs are now fast enough that most crypto algorithms can run without much of an impact on processor performance.

Also: The best cheap VPNs of 2024

However, network performance is another thing entirely. First, keep in mind that if you're using a VPN, you're probably using it at a public location. That public Wi-Fi service is likely to range in performance somewhere between "meh" and unusable. So, just the fact that you're remotely working on a mediocre network will reduce performance. But then, if you connect to a VPN in a different country, the connection between countries is also likely to degrade network performance. Server locations matter.

My rule of thumb is to use a domestic VPN and connect to servers as close to my location as possible. That said, I have had good nights and bad nights getting online. On a recent trip, I found most hotel networks become unusable after about 9pm. My theory is that many of the guests are watching Netflix at that time, completely clogging the hotels' pipes.

Do VPN service providers limit usage and how?

Some do. Some don't.  Look at that directory I mentioned earlier  because that's one of the factors where a service might lose some points.

Some VPN services will limit the total amount of data you can send and receive, either in one connection session or over a month. Other VPN services will limit the speed of the data, effectively sharing less of their pipe with you than might be optimal. That could slow your browsing experience to a crawl or completely prevent you from watching videos through streaming services.

Also:  Five easy steps to keep your smartphone safe from hackers

Usually, it's the free services that throttle your usage in these ways. Some paid services will offer a trial, where you can transmit up to a certain data cap before being asked to sign up as a paying customer. That's actually pretty cool because it gives you a chance to try out the performance of their service before paying, but it also gives the vendor a chance to make money necessary to operate the service.

Many VPN services claim that they'll provide you with unlimited data transmission if you pay their fee and won't throttle your speeds. Generally, this is true, but I'll give you my standard "unlimited bandwidth" warning: it's been my experience that when a vendor says something is "unlimited," it's almost always limited. Somewhere, there will be a note in the fine print or terms of service that allows the vendor to limit you in some way. It pays to read those agreements.

How private are VPNs? Do they log everything I do?

In our  VPN directory , we tracked two types of logging. The first is whether providers log traffic, DNS requests, and IP addresses. This is pretty nasty stuff. If a VPN service logs this, they would have the information you might choose to hide, like sites you visit, locations where you are, and possibly even information you might be sending.

Also: 7 hacking tools that look harmless but can do real damage

Although the use of these services will still protect you from Wi-Fi spies in your hotel or restaurant, I can't recommend signing up for any service that does DNS, traffic, or IP logging. There are better, more private options.

The second type of logging is more benign. VPN services that log bandwidth usage and connection timestamp data usually do so either to tune their own systems or manage any abuse of their services.

I have less of a concern with services that just monitor bandwidth usage, as long as they don't store any specifics. That said, we gave top marks to those services that don't do any logging. When I choose a VPN service, those are the services I pick for my use.

Is it legal to use a VPN?

That depends. VPN use is legal in most countries, but, according to  VPN provider CyberGhost , VPN use is illegal in the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, China, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia,  and Russia . Vladimir Putin has recently banned VPN use in Russia. Also, be aware that the so-called  proxy server alternative to VPNs  is also illegal in many countries, which consider any form of IP spoofing to be illegal, not just those services labeled as VPN.

Also:  The best security keys you can buy

Restrictions vary, as do penalties.  China allows certain approved VPNs . In the  UAE, if you use a VPN, you could go to jail or be fined a minimum of more than the equivalent of $100,000.

Definitely research these laws before you visit a country. Many travelers mistakenly believe that just because they're not citizens, and all they're doing is linking back to a corporate system, they should be able to have unrestricted use of VPN software. This is a mistake.

The bottom line is to check the laws of the country you're in before connecting. It's also a good idea to check with your VPN provider, both for insight into whether it knows if there are issues, and whether it'll support connectivity from the country you're visiting.

Do I need to use a VPN if my hotel has a wired internet connection?

Yes. It is almost totally unlikely that each room is on a dedicated subnet, so that means packets are traveling across a network shared by other guests. In addition, you never know whether someone in the front office has set up a packet sniffer for the express purpose of mining guest information.

So, yes, use a VPN, even if there's a hard-wired connection to the wall.

Will a VPN service help me connect securely to my office network?

If you're trying to connect to your on-premises corporate network, you'll most likely be assigned a VPN application by your IT department. This will allow you to establish a point-to-point connection between your local device and a server owned and operated by your company.

Also:  6 simple cybersecurity rules to live by  

But, if your company is cloud-based, and you're connecting to SaaS applications like Salesforce or Google, you should probably use a VPN service since you're not actually connecting to your company but instead to a public cloud application.

If your IT department does not specifically identify a VPN service you should use for accessing their public cloud applications, definitely look at our  VPN directory  and choose one of the higher-rated service providers.

Can I get away with a VPN app, or do I need to bring my own router/bridge/dongle?

Let's talk about what happens when you use a VPN app on your computer or mobile device. Any VPN app will require an existing network connection to be able to connect to the VPN service provider. This approach means that even if you set your VPN app to automatically launch when your device boots, there will be a period when your computer is connected to the internet directly, not through your VPN.

Also:  9 top mobile security threats and how you can avoid them

Some background services can send information across that initial, unsecured connection before the VPN loads. To be fair, the risk is relatively minor for most usage profiles. If you're establishing a connection automatically to your corporate server, you will want to check with your IT team about how they want you to set things up.

If you are interested in an added level of protection, there are intriguing gadgets called  Tiny Hardware Firewalls . These devices range from about $30 to $70 and connect via a network port or a USB slot to your laptop. They make the initial network connection, so your computer's communication is always blocked before it calls out to the internet.

Should I use a VPN on my phone or tablet?

Both Android and iOS come with basic VPN capabilities to allow you to connect to your corporate networks securely. Your IT organization will generally advise you when you should use this feature, but as we've discussed, when away from your home or office, and especially if you're using an open, public Wi-Fi connection, you should.

If you're connecting to web applications, like email or Facebook, you should consider using a VPN service -- particularly if you're connecting via an open Wi-Fi network. Most good VPN services offer both iOS and Android clients.

Do I need a VPN if I'm connecting my phone via LTE?

That depends. Once again, your corporate IT department will let you know their policy for connection directly to their corporate network. Usually, you'll use the VPN client built into your device's operating system for that purpose.

However, the connection also depends on how much you trust your carrier, where you're located in the world, and how secure you want to be. The carriers (net neutrality notwithstanding) can generally be relied upon to provide a secure connection from your phone to their network in the US.

That said, it is possible to compromise wireless phone services with a  man-in-the-middle attack . This situation occurs when a malevolent actor places a device designed to confuse your phone, and cause your phone to connect to what it thinks is the phone network, but is, in fact, a device designed for spying.

Outside the US, the requirement for a VPN depends on what country you're in. If you are really concerned about security, simply avoid bringing any devices into a foreign nation that you intend to use after your trip. Those devices can be compromised in the country or during customs inspections.

Likewise, if you're connecting via a nation's local carrier, that carrier may be intercepting your traffic, particularly if you're a non-native of that nation. In that situation, if you must connect back to applications and services at home, using a VPN is quite literally the least you can do. Also, keep in mind that if you use your phone's hotspot to connect your computer to the internet, you'll want to use a VPN on your computer as well.

Finally, as we covered earlier in this guide, it's worth reminding you that some countries consider VPN use illegal. If you're planning on traveling, be sure to research local laws exhaustively.

What happens if a VPN connection fails while I'm on a remote connection?

A lot depends on what VPN you're using, how it's set up, and where you're connecting. That said, let's look at the most likely scenario.

Recall that when you're online and connected to an internet application through a VPN, a few things are happening. Your data from your computer to the VPN service is encrypted by the VPN. Your data from the VPN service to the internet application may or may not be encrypted via https, but the VPN service does not encrypt it. And your IP address is spoofed. The online application sees the IP address of the VPN service, not of your laptop.

Also:  How to find and remove spyware from your phone

When a VPN connection drops, you might just lose your connection. But because the internet is very good at routing around failures, what is more likely to happen is your computer will reconnect to the internet application, simply bypassing the VPN service. That means that -- on failure -- your local IP address may "leak out" and be logged by the internet application, and your data may be open to local Wi-Fi hackers at your hotel or wherever you're doing your computing.

There is a reasonably robust solution to that problem, and that's next.

What does a VPN kill switch do?

Put simply, a VPN kill switch kills your internet connection if it detects that your VPN's connection has failed. There are generally two types of VPN kill switches.

The first runs in the VPN client app on your computer, so if the VPN connection fails while the VPN client app is running, that VPN client app can turn off the computer or mobile device's internet connection. However, if your VPN connection has failed because the VPN client app itself crashed, then the kill switch may not work, and your IP and data may leak onto the internet.

Also: 8 habits of highly secure remote workers

The second type of VPN kill switch is at the operating system level. These switches are usually driver-level systems that run whether or not the VPN application is running. As such, they provide a bit more protection for your surfing activities.

Given that so many  VPN products we reviewed in our directory  support a kill switch, we recommend choosing a client with this feature. There may be a slight annoyance if you lose your connection, but that's more than made up for in the added security.

What do all those protocol names mean and which one should I choose?

If you've been shopping for a VPN service, you've undoubtedly come across a bunch of names like SSL, OpenVPN, SSTP, L2TP/IPSec, PPP, PPTP, IKEv2/IPSec, SOCKS5, and more. These are all communication protocols. They are, essentially, the name of the method by which your communication is encrypted and packaged for tunneling to the VPN provider.

Also:   How to stay safe on public Wi-Fi: 5 tips you need to know

There is a lot of debate  among security purists  about which VPN protocol is better. Some protocols (like PPP and its tunneling variant, PPTP) are old and compromised. Others, like SSTP, are proprietary to one company or another.

My recommendation -- and the protocol I most often choose to use -- is OpenVPN. OpenVPN is a non-proprietary, open-source implementation of a VPN communication layer protocol. It's well-understood, well-regarded, generally quite secure, and robust. Also, it has the benefit of communicating over port 443, which is the standard port for https communication, which means almost all firewalls will allow OpenVPN traffic -- and most won't even be able to detect that a VPN is being used.

Yes, there are certainly other protocol choices, even some that might be more appropriate than OpenVPN in certain situations. But if that's the case, either you've already made that decision, or your IT organization has specified a specific protocol you should use. However, as a default, if you're not sure what to look for, look for OpenVPN.

What does it mean when a VPN service talks about simultaneous connections?

The term "simultaneous connections" generally refers to the number of devices that can be connected to the VPN service and that can talk to the internet at once. For example, when I was driving across the country and working in my hotel room at night, I often had both my MacBook Pro and iPad connected to the internet.

Also:   The best password managers to help you easily maintain all your logins

I used the MacBook Pro for writing, keeping the iPad open to do searches and find supporting information. Both of these were connected to the internet at one time. This was possible because the VPN service I was using allowed up to three connections to open at once.

This form of connectivity is also a good way to provide support for more than one family member on a single subscription. Generally, there's no good reason for a VPN provider to allow less than two or three connections. If your provider only allows one, find another vendor. We gave extra points in our  VPN directory  to those vendors who allowed three or more connections.

When should I choose either dynamic or static IP?

Every device connected to the public internet is assigned an IP address. It's like a phone number for each device. To be able to connect to the internet, each device needs such an address.

The term "dynamic IP address" means that when a device connects to the internet, it's given an IP address taken from a pool of available addresses. While it's possible to get the same IP address on multiple connections, generally, each time you connect, you'll get a different address.

Also: Why you'll need a VPN for the Vision Pro (and other XR headsets)

If you want to hide your address from the web applications you're connecting to, you'll want a VPN service that provides dynamic IP addresses. In our directory,  we list the number of IP addresses each service offers . By using a service with more available IP addresses, the chances of you getting a repeated IP are quite small.

There are some minor disadvantages to using a dynamic IP. If someone who previously had the IP address you've been assigned did something nefarious on a service you use, the IP address might be banned. Usually, VPN providers are cautious about checking their IP addresses against blacklists, so the chances of this being a problem for you are slim.

By contrast, a static IP address is an address that's assigned to you and only you. Most often, this is needed if you're running a server. Usually, static IP addresses are used in corporate situations and are generally not practical for general remote access, like from a hotel or coffee shop.

Unless you have a specific application that you know needs a static IP, you'll want to be assigned a new dynamic IP address for each VPN session you initiate.

What does it mean when a VPN service talks about server switching?

As we mentioned in the previous section, you're usually assigned a dynamic IP address from a pool of addresses when you connect to a VPN service. But where are those addresses located? They're attached to servers located, usually, throughout the world.

Most VPN services allow you to connect to server locations in many different countries. In our VPN directory,  we list both the number of servers the service maintains and the number of countries . By default, you'll usually be assigned a server located in your home country. Still, if you want to obfuscate your location, you may want to connect to a server located in a different country.

Also: The best VPN routers of 2024

Server switching is a feature -- offered by most VPN service providers -- that allows you to change what region or country you're going to connect to. Most providers allow you to switch as often as you'd like (although you usually have to disconnect, then change your configuration, and reconnect). This may be useful if you're trying to hide your location or if you're running into some communications glitches on the server you're currently using.

Can I use a VPN to spoof my location or country of origin?

Because the VPN server you're connected to presents  its IP address  to whatever web application you're using, by choosing a server located in a different country, you can represent your connection as if you're in a different country. This may be illegal in certain regions, so use caution when doing this. 

In my testing, some VPN providers could successfully hide their originating country or the fact that they were VPNs, but others could not. You'll probably want to do some testing. Of the services where I did testing,  NordVPN  and  Hotspot Shield  could successfully hide their VPN origins, while  StrongVPN  and  CyberGhost  could not.

Can I use a VPN to watch a blacked-out program or video?

Sometimes it is possible to watch a blacked-out sporting event or other show, although we certainly can't advise you to do so. Spoofing your location to bypass broadcast restrictions may get you in hot water.

Also: What is the dark web? Here's everything to know before you access it

Also, do be aware that some broadcasters have developed increasingly sophisticated methods to determine whether the IP address you represent is the IP address where you're located. The VPN may be able to protect your original IP address from being seen. Still, there are characteristics of proxy communications (like a slightly longer time to transfer packets) that can be used to identify users who are trying to bypass watching restrictions.

Is it true that a VPN is completely unhackable?

No. No. Did I mention... no.  Nothing is unhackable . As evidence...

In January 2018, Cisco Systems (a very highly respected maker of internet communications hardware)  revealed that a critical bug was found  in its ASA (Adaptive Security Appliance) software that could allow hackers to execute code remotely.

This is a bug in enterprise-level VPN systems used by corporations, so it's severe. Fortunately, responsible IT administrators can patch their systems to fix the bug. However, the incident goes to show how no system can be truly deemed absolutely secure.

Another example was a  bug in Hotspot Shield , a popular VPN service. This bug allowed a hacker to expose private information, including originating IP. Hotspot Shield issued an update, which gives us an excuse to remind you that you should always install updates, especially on your VPN client software.

Who are the key players?

We've done in-depth reviews of the following VPN services. If you're considering a VPN, you might want to read these articles first:

NordVPN review: Sincere about security and privacy

StrongVPN Review: A clear and easy-to-use VPN ideal for coffee shop use

Hotspot Shield review: Here's a VPN that actually lives up to its hype

CyberGhost VPN review: More than just VPN, an all-in-one security kit

IPVanish review: VPN delivers a wealth of options and browsing controls

While there are a tremendous number of VPN vendors out there, we think the following are some of the best:

  • NordVPN : 30-day refund, lots of simultaneous connections 
  • ExpressVPN : Detailed FAQ, good refund policy, Bitcoin
  • IPVanish VPN : Keeps no log files and has support for Kodi
  • PureVPN : Large network, strong technically, good performance 
  • Surfshark : Unlimited device support, whitelisting feature
  • Norton Secure VPN : Company is trustworthy and accountable
  • StrongVPN : Excellent infrastructure, decent price performance 
  • Private Internet Access : Lowest yearly price, most servers
  • CyberGhost : Supports Kodi, good Linux and router support

You can follow my day-to-day project updates on social media. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz , on Facebook at , on Instagram at , and on YouTube at .

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How To Change Location on YouTube TV

I f you subscribe to YouTube TV, chances are you have already selected a Home Area for your subscription. This area determines the local networks you can watch, which includes news, weather, and sports.

The problem? When you travel outside your Home Area, YouTube TV detects your new location and hides the channels not available in that location – even if they’re available in your Home Area. Fortunately, there are workarounds, from changing your Home Area to hiding your real location with a VPN. Let’s dive in to see how you can access YouTube TV from other locations, in the United States and beyond.

Other Simple Ways To Change Location on YouTube TV

VPNs are great; besides YouTube TV, they let you change your Netflix region to access more movie libraries, access Hulu outside the U.S., and use dozens of online services that are not actually available in your area. That said, the best VPNs we’ve tested all cost money.

Before getting yourself a VPN subscription, you may be able to change location on YouTube TV by changing your profile’s Home Area. This simple method is free, but there’s a limit to how often you can change your Home Area.

Read on below how to change your Home Area, but if you’ve already reached the limit, scroll further down to the VPN section to find out how to change location using a VPN instead.

How To Update Your Current Playback Area

As opposed to your Home Area, your Current Playback Area is your current location, as determined by your device’s location beacons (GPS, IP address, etc.). You can update your Current Playback Area as many times as you want, but bear in mind that you’d have to be in the location you’re saying you’re in when you do that. Also note that while you’ll be able to access channels in your current area, the record functionality is reserved for your Home Area only, plus you’ll lose access to your Home Area programming until you get back home.

How To Update Your Current Playback Area on a TV

You can change your current playback area on a smart TV, but keep your phone handy as you’ll need it to verify your location.

  • Open the YouTube TV app on your TV.
  • Click on your profile picture.
  • Click “Settings.”
  • Click “Area.”
  • In the “Current Playback Area”, click “Update”.
  • On your phone, go to
  • Click “Update Location” to allow the YouTube TV to use your device’s location, which will update your current playback area.

How To Update Your Current Playback Area on a Mobile Device or Web Browser

You can also update your current YouTube TV location using a computer or mobile device. You can use either the YouTube TV app or a browser.

  • Open YouTube TV.
  • Next to “Current Playback Area,” click “Update.”

Unlike changing your Home Area or Current Playback Area, which both require you to be in the new location physically, using a VPN could let you change your YouTube TV location without actually being there. We say “could” because it’s not always guaranteed to work; YouTube is constantly updating its algorithm to block out exactly that use of VPNs. Take a look at our top YouTube TV VPNs for a list of VPNs that are most likely to work.

VPNs can change a device’s location by changing its IP address , or more accurately, hiding the real IP address behind a new one provided by the VPN server. As we saw earlier, however, YouTube TV bases its location detection on more than just the IP address location. It also uses GPS coordinates a.k.a. your device’s location service. Unfortunately, not many VPNs can change your GPS location.

If you need an Android VPN , we recommend Surfshark, which you can learn more about in our Surfshark review . Surfshark has a feature that will change your phone’s GPS location data, not just your IP address. That means it’s your best bet for setting up an Android VPN to change your YouTube TV location. Think of it like a one-two punch: Change your IP address, then your GPS location.

Note: Surfshark’s GPS-changing feature only works on Android devices.

For Mac users, there are tons of great Mac VPNs that make it easy to set up a VPN on Macs . Mac doesn’t like users to change locations, so VPNs are definitely the best workaround for changing Mac locations .

How to Set Up and Use A VPN

While VPNs sound complicated to use, they’re actually pretty simple. All you need is a subscription to a VPN service and the VPN app.

  • Buy a VPN subscription. We suggest going for a VPN free trial to test out whether the specific VPN service works with YouTube TV.
  • Log-in to your web dashboard.
  • Go to the Downloads page and download the VPN app for your device.
  • Install, and then sign-in.
  • Choose a location. Some VPNs provide servers in specific states.
  • Connect and start watching.

Once again, most VPNs won’t change your GPS location. That means you can’t use them to change your Home Area or Current Playback Area, as doing either requires that you provide YouTube TV access to your GPS coordinates.

So when should you use a VPN? One thing we’ve tried is to access our Home Area while traveling to keep access to our favorite local channels and the ability to record.

Browser Extensions

VPNs also have browser extensions, which is certainly an option if you watch YouTube TV mainly on your computer’s browser. For example, there are really good VPNs for Chrome , the $4.99 per month Mozilla VPN for Firefox , and the free Opera VPN. Here’s how to use the last one:

  • Open Opera.
  • Go to Settings by clicking Alt and P.
  • Click “Features.”
  • Click “VPN.”
  • Toggle on “Enable VPN.”
  • Switch to the server of your choice. 2

Aside from VPNs, there are other browser extensions that can help you change your YouTube TV location. For example, there’s the Manual Geolocation extension for Chrome, which lets you override the HTML geolocation in Chrome. Essentially, you’ll set which location your browser broadcasts to YouTube TV. There’s a similar extension called Location Guard for Firefox.

Home Area 101

Now, let’s get into detail about Home Areas. When we first signed up for YouTube TV, Google asked us for our ZIP code, which determined our Home Area. Then, we confirmed this location through our iPhone’s device location permissions.

This location determined the local affiliate networks we could see, but when we traveled, we couldn’t watch these networks. Instead, we saw the local networks of the place we were in physically, and we couldn’t record anything. That’s when we started changing our YouTube TV locations.

Restrictions on Changing Home Areas

Unfortunately, you can’t change your Home Area as many times as you want. You can only change it twice a year, and you must physically be in your Home Area to change it. If you travel frequently and don’t use YouTube TV at least once in three months in your Home Area, you may stop getting your local networks. 3 So, in the case of your Home Area, it’s true that if you don’t use it, you lose it.

IP Addresses vs. GPS Locations

In all of our talk about changing locations, whether it’s changing locations on a PC or changing locations on an iPhone , we say a lot about IP addresses and GPS, but what do these terms really mean?

First of all, you should know that both IP addresses and GPS locations are types of information that can tell someone your location. There are differences between the two, of course.

GPS (Global Positioning System) locations are more exact. They can pinpoint your precise coordinates using satellites that orbit the earth. That’s why it’s harder to spoof your GPS location.

On the other hand, IP addresses are network identifiers. Every internet-connected device gets a unique IP address, which is a numeric string that serves as the device’s mailing address on the web. Identifying a user’s location isn’t the main use of IP addresses, but since IP addresses are tied to an approximate location (down to the city level) and because there are no special permissions required to see a user’s IP address, most online services use it to determine where a user is browsing from.

Services that use IP addresses to find out users’ location are easier to access. A simple use of a VPN, which again hides and changes your IP address, could make them think you’re browsing from a different location. One example is Netflix.

On the other hand, services that use GPS location are harder to fool. You can change your IP address all you want, but it won’t change the fact that your device’s GPS is pointing to your actual location. Only GPS location software can help you change your location.

And then there’s YouTube TV, which uses both your IP address and GPS location to determine your home and current locations. If you want to change your YouTube TV location, you’ll need software that can hide both your IP address and your GPS location.

That’s all we have for changing your location on YouTube TV, but if you’d like to watch other streamers, learn how to change your Hulu location or how to change your Netflix region . While you’re at it, check out the best VPNs for Hulu and the best VPNs for Netflix . After all, when you’re looking for something to watch, you tend to bop around different apps, so we’ve got you covered for all of the major players.

Area settings on YouTubeTV

How To Change Ip Address Android

  • How-To & Tutorials
  • Mobile Phone


Are you wondering how to change the IP address on your Android device? Well, you’ve come to the right place! With the increasing reliance on the internet for various activities, it is essential to have greater control over your online privacy and security.

Changing your IP address can provide you with several benefits, such as accessing geo-restricted content, bypassing IP blocks, enhancing anonymity, and protecting against online tracking. Whether you want to change your IP address for personal or professional reasons, this article will guide you through the process step-by-step.

So, let’s dive into the world of Android devices and discover how you can easily change your IP address to enjoy a more secure and versatile online experience!

Inside This Article

Security and privacy, server locations, connection speed, user-friendly interface, customer support, installing and setting up a vpn app on android, changing ip address settings on android, troubleshooting and tips for changing ip address on android.

When it comes to changing your IP address on an Android device, using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) can be an effective and secure method. With a VPN, you can connect to a server located in a different country, effectively masking your original IP address and providing you with a new one. But with so many VPN providers on the market, how do you choose the right one for your needs? Here are some factors to consider when selecting a VPN provider:

The primary purpose of using a VPN is to protect your online privacy and security. Therefore, it is crucial to choose a VPN provider that prioritizes these aspects. Look for VPNs that offer strong encryption protocols, such as OpenVPN or IKEv2, which ensure that your internet traffic is encrypted and secure. Additionally, check if the VPN has a strict no-log policy, meaning they do not collect or store any logs of your online activities.

Another important factor to consider is the number of server locations and countries offered by the VPN provider. The more server locations available, the more options you have for changing your IP address. Ensure that the VPN provider has servers in the countries you are interested in, especially if you need to access region-restricted content or services.

Since VPNs route your internet traffic through their servers, it can sometimes result in slower connection speeds. However, some VPN providers have optimized their networks to minimize any noticeable impact on speed. Look for VPNs that offer fast and stable connections, especially if you regularly stream videos, play online games, or download large files.

A user-friendly interface can greatly enhance your experience with the VPN. Look for VPN providers that offer intuitive and easy-to-use apps for Android devices. The app should allow you to connect or disconnect with just a few taps and provide settings and customization options that are simple to navigate.

In case you encounter any issues or have questions about the VPN service, reliable customer support is essential. Check if the VPN provider offers multiple support channels such as live chat, email, or phone. Also, look for VPNs that provide comprehensive documentation and FAQs on their website to assist you in troubleshooting common problems.

By considering these factors, you can make an informed decision when choosing a VPN provider for changing your IP address on your Android device. Remember, it’s essential to opt for a reputable VPN provider that can provide a secure and reliable connection, ensuring your privacy and allowing you to access online content freely.

Once you’ve chosen a suitable VPN provider, it’s time to install and set up the VPN app on your Android device. Follow these steps to get started:

  • Download the VPN app: Go to the Google Play Store and search for the VPN provider’s app. Once you find it, tap on the “Install” button to download and install the app on your Android device.
  • Launch the app: After the installation is complete, find the VPN app on your device and open it. You may be required to sign in to your VPN account at this stage.
  • Select a server location: The main interface of the app will display a list of server locations. Choose the desired server location from the list. Many VPN apps provide a map view to make it easier to select a server in a specific country or region.
  • Connect to the VPN: Once you’ve selected a server location, tap on the connect button to establish a connection to the VPN. The app may take a few moments to establish the connection.
  • Confirm your connection: After the connection is established, you should see a notification or a symbol indicating that you are now connected to the VPN. This means that your internet traffic is being routed through the VPN server , and your IP address has been changed.

It’s worth noting that some VPN apps offer additional features and customization options. You can explore the settings within the app to configure options such as protocols, automatic connection, and split tunneling . These features will enhance your VPN experience and give you more control over your connection.

Remember to disconnect from the VPN when you no longer need its services. You can do this by simply tapping on the disconnect button within the VPN app.

Setting up a VPN app on your Android device may vary slightly depending on the VPN provider and app you choose. However, the general steps mentioned above should guide you through the process. If you encounter any difficulties, refer to the support documentation provided by the VPN provider or contact their customer support for assistance.

Now that you have successfully installed and set up a VPN app on your Android device, you can enjoy a secure and private internet browsing experience while having the ability to change your IP address whenever you desire.

Like any other operating system, Android allows users to customize and configure their IP address settings. Whether you need to change your IP address for security reasons or to access geo-restricted content, Android offers methods to modify your IP settings. Here are the steps to change IP address settings on Android:

  • Access the IP Settings: First, go to the Settings menu on your Android device. You can usually find this by swiping down from the top of the screen and tapping on the gear icon.
  • Select Network & Internet: Within the Settings menu, look for the Network & Internet option and tap on it. This is where you can manage your network and internet settings on Android.
  • Choose Wi-Fi: Under the Network & Internet settings, you will see several options. Look for the Wi-Fi section and select it. This will take you to the Wi-Fi settings page.
  • Long-press on Your Connected Network: On the Wi-Fi settings page, you will see a list of available networks. Locate the network that you are currently connected to and long-press on it. This will bring up a menu with various options.
  • Modify Network: From the menu that appears, choose the Modify Network option. This will allow you to make changes to the network settings.
  • Change IP Settings: Within the Modify Network settings, scroll down until you find the IP settings section. By default, it is usually set to DHCP, which means that your IP address is automatically assigned. Tap on the DHCP option and select Static.
  • Enter IP Address Details: Once you have selected Static, you will see fields to enter your IP address, Gateway, Network Prefix Length, and DNS 1 and DNS 2. Consult with your network administrator or internet service provider for the correct values to enter here.
  • Save Changes: After entering the required information, tap on the Save or Apply button to save the changes. Your Android device will now use the new IP address settings.

It’s important to note that modifying IP address settings on your Android device may require advanced technical knowledge, and changes should be made with caution. It is recommended to consult with your network administrator or internet service provider if you are unsure about the correct values to enter.

Changing IP address settings on Android can be useful for various purposes, such as accessing region-restricted content, maintaining anonymity, or troubleshooting network issues. However, it’s essential to use this feature responsibly and adhere to any applicable laws and regulations.

By following these steps, you can easily modify and change IP address settings on your Android device. Remember to exercise caution and only make changes that you understand and are comfortable with. Happy IP address configuring!

Changing the IP address on your Android device can sometimes come with its own set of challenges. Here are some troubleshooting tips and helpful tips to ensure a smooth experience:

1. Check Network Connectivity

Before attempting to change your IP address, check your network connectivity. Make sure you have a stable internet connection and that you are connected to the desired Wi-Fi network or VPN server.

2. Clear Cache and Data

If you are experiencing issues with changing your IP address, try clearing the cache and data of the network-related apps on your Android device. To do this, go to Settings > Apps > [App Name] > Storage > Clear Cache/Clear Data.

3. Reboot Your Device

Restarting your Android device can often resolve connectivity issues and allow for a successful change of your IP address. Try turning off your device, waiting a few seconds, and then turning it back on.

4. Ensure Proper VPN Configuration

If you are using a VPN to change your IP address, double-check the VPN settings on your Android device. Make sure you have selected the correct VPN server location and that your VPN is properly enabled.

5. Update Your Android Device

Keeping your Android device up to date with the latest software updates can help resolve any known issues and ensure compatibility with the IP address changing methods you are using.

6. Contact Customer Support

If you have followed all the troubleshooting steps and are still unable to change your IP address on your Android device, don’t hesitate to reach out to the customer support of the VPN provider, your phone manufacturer, or your network service provider. They may be able to assist you with resolving any issues.

Tips for a Smooth IP Address Change

Here are some additional tips to keep in mind when changing your IP address on Android:

  • Choose a reliable VPN provider that offers a wide range of server locations and strong encryption.
  • Regularly update your VPN app to benefit from the latest security enhancements and bug fixes.
  • When connecting to a Wi-Fi network, ensure that it is secure and trusted to protect your data.
  • Be mindful of potential data usage limitations when using a VPN, especially if you have a limited data plan.
  • If you encounter any unusual behavior or performance issues after changing your IP address, consider disabling the IP address change and revert to your original settings.

By following these troubleshooting steps and utilizing these tips, you should be able to successfully change your IP address on your Android device and enjoy the benefits of enhanced privacy and security.

In conclusion, changing the IP address on an Android device can be a useful skill to have, whether you’re looking to protect your privacy, bypass geo-restrictions, or troubleshoot network issues. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can easily update your IP address and regain control over your internet connection.

Remember, manipulating IP addresses should be done responsibly and within legal boundaries. Always ensure you have proper authorization and follow the terms of service set by your internet service provider.

With the tips and tricks discussed in this article, you can now confidently navigate the world of IP addresses on your Android phone. Whether you’re a tech enthusiast or a casual user, having a basic understanding of how to change your IP address can come in handy in various situations.

So go ahead, get started, and explore the possibilities that a different IP address can unlock for you on your Android device!

1. Can I change the IP address on my Android device? Yes, you can change the IP address on your Android device. Android provides the option to manually configure the IP address settings on both Wi-Fi and mobile networks.

2. Why would I need to change my Android device’s IP address? There are a few reasons why you might want to change your Android device’s IP address. It can help you bypass regional restrictions, access geo-restricted content, improve network performance, enhance privacy and security, troubleshoot network issues, or connect to a specific network with a preferred IP address range.

3. How can I change the IP address on my Android device? To change the IP address on your Android device, follow these steps:

  • Go to the “Settings” menu on your device.
  • Select “Network & Internet” or “Connections” (depending on your Android version).
  • Select “Wi-Fi” or “Mobile network” (depending on the network you want to modify).
  • Tap on the network you’re connected to or want to connect to.
  • Tap on “Advanced” or “Advanced options.”
  • Scroll down and look for the “IP settings” or “IP configuration” option.
  • Choose “Static” or “Manual” and enter the desired IP address, subnet mask , gateway, and DNS server information.
  • Save your settings and reboot the device if necessary.

4. Are there any risks or drawbacks to changing the IP address on my Android device? Changing the IP address on your Android device is generally safe, but there can be some potential risks and drawbacks. If you’re not familiar with IP addressing and network configuration, you may inadvertently set incorrect values and disrupt your internet connectivity. Additionally, changing your IP address might not always guarantee unrestricted access to all websites or services, as some platforms employ other measures to detect and block VPNs or proxy connections.

5. Can I change my IP address on my Android device using a VPN? Yes, using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) application is an alternative method to change your IP address on an Android device. A VPN can route your internet traffic through a different server location, effectively changing your IP address. There are several reliable VPN apps available on the Google Play Store that offer secure and convenient IP address switching options.

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What technology trends are shaping the mobility sector?

New technologies often emerge to great fanfare only to sink into obscurity or fall short of early expectations. Within the mobility sector, which is rapidly transforming thanks to the growth of electric vehicles (EVs), autonomous driving, and other innovations, pinpointing the potential winners—or even predicting the pace of change—can be particularly difficult.

While some uncertainty will always persist, it’s possible to better understand a technology’s potential by examining data on patents and research, investment levels, adoption rates, and other metrics. The McKinsey Technology Council follows this approach in an annual report (the latest published in July 2023) 1 Michael Chui, Mena Issler, Roger Roberts, and Lareina Yee, McKinsey Technology Trends Outlook 2023 , McKinsey, July 20, 2023. that examines innovations that have momentum across industries .

We have taken the council’s research a step further by conducting a data-driven analysis of 3,500 industrial companies that primarily specialize in autonomous driving, connectivity, electrification, and shared mobility (ACES). 2 The companies in our sample that did not specialize in ACES tech focused on other digital solutions, such as vehicle subscription and leasing tech. Our analysis focuses on ten of the cross-industry trends, ranging from next-generation software development to quantum computing to Web3, that the council highlighted (see sidebar “Ten transformative technologies in mobility”). The goal is to obtain a sector-specific view of innovation by determining how many companies in our sample are already working on products that are related to these trends or enabled by them (for instance, greater automation that requires applied-AI algorithms). 3 We determined whether a company was actively investigating or working on specific tech by analyzing corporate public filings to see if they contained any of approximately 600 keywords that are linked to different trends. We have found that about 20 percent of the businesses analyzed fall into this category, with most focusing on innovations related to applied AI.

Ten transformative technologies in mobility

The ten technology advances from the McKinsey Technology Trends Outlook 2023 report 1 Michael Chui, Mena Issler, Roger Roberts, and Lareina Yee, McKinsey Technology Trends Outlook 2023 , McKinsey, July 20, 2023. most relevant to mobility are as follows:

  • advanced connectivity , which refers to wireless and low-power networks, fifth- and sixth-generation cellular networks, Wi-Fi 6 and 7, low-Earth-orbit satellites, and other tech that support a host of digital solutions; it can improve productivity across industries
  • applied AI , which involves using models trained in machine learning to solve classification, prediction, and control problems; the models can help add or augment capabilities and offerings, automate activities, and make better decisions
  • cloud and edge computing , which allow distribution of workloads across locations, such as hyperscale and remote data centers, regional centers, and local nodes; these technologies can help improve adherence to data sovereignty regulations, autonomy over data, data transfer costs, latency, and security
  • generative AI , which can automate, augment, and accelerate work by tapping into unstructured, mixed-modality data sets to enable the creation of new content in various forms, such as code, text, and video
  • immersive-reality tech , which uses sensing tech and spatial computing to help users see the world through augmented, mixed, and virtual reality
  • industrialized machine learning , which refers to an ecosystem of software and hardware solutions that help accelerate and derisk the development, deployment, and maintenance of machine learning solutions
  • next-generation software development , which enables modern code deployment pipelines and automated code generation, testing, refactoring, and translation
  • quantum tech , which is still in relatively early development but could provide an exponential increase in computational performance for certain problems and transform communication networks by making them more secure
  • trust architectures and digital identity tools , which allow organizations to build and scale their data and digital-enabled products and services, as well as maintain the trust of their stakeholders
  • Web3 , which is a new type of decentralized internet that has open standards and protocols and simultaneously protects digital-ownership rights; its potential applications include decentralized mobility platforms on which individual users can book travel with various providers for a single trip

While the ten tech trends already have momentum, we anticipate even more disruption in the near future because more companies are beginning to focus on these areas. As that number increases, so could the amount of emerging innovative products and services that transform vehicles, provide consumers with new mobility options, and improve revenues. Within mobility companies, these innovations could enhance every step of the value chain, including engineering, life cycle services, logistics, manufacturing and production, marketing and sales, R&D, procurement, and product development. What’s more, companies that serve the automotive market, including those in cloud computing, engineering, and semiconductors, may also find new opportunities as the ten trends accelerate.

The tech trends driving change within the mobility sector

The mobility revolution is gaining speed. Scooters and shared e-bikes are now common in many cities, and a recent survey showed that 46 percent of respondents were open to replacing their private vehicles with other transportation options over the next ten years. 4 McKinsey ACES Consumer Survey, December 2022. Cars themselves are also evolving, as EVs become more sophisticated  and autonomous-driving capabilities —everything from blind spot sensors to self-driving vehicles—attract major investment.

Tech advances are propelling these changes and easing the transition to more sustainable and inclusive forms of transport. EV adoption is growing partly because of recent improvements in battery range and reliability, for instance. While multiple advances are transforming mobility, we have focused on ten of those cited in the most recent McKinsey Technology Council report 5 The McKinsey Technology Trends Outlook 2023 report discusses 15 trends, but only ten are relevant here. The other trends are bioengineering, climate tech beyond electrification and renewables, electrification and renewables, and space tech. The report also includes the future of mobility as its own trend, but the data are not based on a sector-specific analysis. :

  • advanced connectivity
  • cloud and edge computing
  • generative AI
  • immersive-reality tech
  • industrialization of machine learning
  • next-generation software development
  • quantum tech
  • trust architecture and digital-identity tools

Of the 20 percent of companies studied that are already working on products or services related to these trends, many have already secured investment to develop their solutions. These companies are in good financial health, with total funding above $200 billion, and 64 percent are working on applied-AI applications or tech enabled by applied AI, making that tech trend the leader by far (Exhibit 1).

The other tech trends in the top five are advanced connectivity , cloud and edge computing, Web3, and immersive-reality tech. The companies in our sample do not divide their investments equally, however, since some technologies are more relevant to specific ACES trends than others are (Exhibit 2). For instance, Web3 tech is most commonly involved in developing use cases with shared mobility, such as those related to building decentralized platforms. It is used much less frequently at companies that focus on autonomous driving.

Although only about 20 percent of the companies in our analysis are working on products or services related to the ten tech trends, this number could rise significantly in response to growing consumer demand for innovative products, such as enhanced, immersive infotainment systems in vehicles and mobility platforms that allow travelers to use different modes of transportation seamlessly in a single trip. Mobility companies are also under growing pressure to optimize internal operations and could pursue one or more of the new tech advances to increase efficiency and reduce costs.

Innovation by region

We have also conducted a geographic analysis to pinpoint where each tech has the most traction. In our sample, companies based in the United States are most likely to report that they are working on one or more of the top five tech trends (Exhibit 3). With applied AI, for instance, 33 percent of companies working on this tech are based in the United States. Since the enterprise database we analyzed did not contain all Chinese companies, it is possible that our analysis underestimates China’s contribution in some categories. The regions that have the most companies focusing on ACES trends and other digital solutions are likely to play a greater role than others in determining how future mobility evolves.

Applied AI and its transformative impact

After analyzing our results, we examined applied AI in more detail because it is by far the most popular tech of the ten trends we examined, and it is poised to disrupt multiple aspects of the mobility ecosystem. The prominence of applied AI within mobility is unsurprising because it enhances so many processes, enables automation, and addresses long-standing pain points. Consider a few examples that underline its current and growing benefits in mobility:

  • Engineering and R&D. Some companies use applied AI to create and control virtual worlds in which they can train the algorithms that enable autonomous driving. Among other benefits, AI algorithms can identify weaknesses inherent in current models. They can create thousands or millions of additional scenarios for use in testing—a number that would not be possible without this tech. Rather than making software updates if an autonomous vehicle (AV) does not pass a virtual test, developers can create another scenario to get more information on the problem, saving both time and money. The algorithms can test AV performance for mundane events, such as whether the vehicle stops for a pedestrian at a crosswalk, and extremely uncommon occurrences, such as a pedestrian accidentally stepping in front of the vehicle.
  • Procurement. As climate change accelerates, OEMs are using applied AI to identify environmental, social, and governance risks along the supply chain. For instance, algorithms can analyze news items about suppliers to identify potential problems, such as a history of pollution or recent scandals involving corruption, much more quickly and thoroughly than a human can. Improving sustainability might appeal to car buyers, since a recent consumer survey showed that 70 percent of respondents considered sustainable manufacturing to be an important consideration during vehicle purchase. 6 McKinsey Center for Future Mobility Global COVID-19 Automotive and Mobility Consumer Survey, June 2021. In the future, AI may also help companies forecast risks more accurately and proactively suggest improvements, such as using more sustainable resources.
  • Manufacturing. By using vision cameras, lidar, and radar in combination with applied AI, OEMs have improved quality control during manufacturing. For instance, one leading automotive manufacturer is leveraging AI-controlled robots to handle individual vehicle processing while maintaining rigorous quality standards. In the surface inspection phase, an advanced system uses specialized tech that projects black-and-white patterns onto the vehicle’s surface. This technique allows cameras to scan and identify even the most minor variations in reflective paintwork. The tech has been so successful for the manufacturer that lead times have decreased without any change in quality.
  • Marketing and sales. Companies can use applied AI to identify customers who are at risk of being lost to a competitor and then create incentives to increase their satisfaction, potentially reducing churn and decreasing costs. Beyond customer retention, companies hope to use the tech to improve customer experience and increase their customers’ loyalty to their specific products and brands.
  • Life cycle services. OEMs that incorporate applied AI into vehicles’ onboard systems can analyze consumers’ infotainment preferences and then make personalized recommendations. Additionally, a consumer survey has revealed that about 40 percent of respondents are very interested in personalized, real-time recommendations from navigation systems that are familiar with their driving patterns. 7 McKinsey ACES Consumer Survey, December 2022.

We expect investment in applied AI to rise because OEMs are increasingly interested in automation—a shift that relies on the AI algorithms that enable automated processes. In a McKinsey survey, respondents expected spending on automation  to account for more than 30 percent of their companies’ capital expenditures over the next five years, up from 22 percent for the previous five years. 8 “ Unlocking the industrial potential of robotics and automation ,” McKinsey, January 6, 2023. About 8 percent of respondents in the automotive sector stated that a five-year investment in automation would total more than $500 million. AI-enabled automation could improve the workplace by bridging increasing labor gaps and taking on some of the least desirable tasks (for instance, by having physical robots complement human labor).

Would you like to learn more about the McKinsey Center for Future Mobility ?

Beyond automation, companies are increasingly using applied AI to improve other areas of operations. For instance, some OEMs are enhancing R&D by using digital twins—a virtual representation of a product—to improve manufacturing processes.

Enabling the growth of applied AI

While OEMs and other mobility stakeholders are committed to innovation, applied-AI implementation often poses challenges . This problem arises across industries. McKinsey research shows that 90 percent of companies have launched a digital transformation, but the resulting revenue benefits have been about one-third of the expected amount. 9 “ Three new mandates for capturing a digital transformation’s full value ,” McKinsey, June 15, 2022.

About the McKinsey Center for Future Mobility

These insights were developed by the McKinsey Center for Future Mobility (MCFM). Since 2011, MCFM has worked with stakeholders across the mobility ecosystem by providing independent and integrated evidence about possible future-mobility scenarios. With our unique, bottom-up modeling approach, our insights enable an end-to-end analytics journey through the future of mobility—from consumer needs to a modal mix across urban and rural areas, sales, value pools, and life cycle sustainability. Contact us if you are interested in getting full access to our market insights via the McKinsey Mobility Insights Portal.

Within mobility, companies could potentially capture much greater revenues from applied AI if they could overcome the implementation hurdles and capitalize on the tech megatrends. Such improvement would require that OEMs and mobility stakeholders fundamentally rewire how they operate  by undertaking a broad and integrated set of changes that involve strategy, organization, risk management, talent, tech, data, and the best processes for adopting and scaling new tech:

  • Strategy. Achieving successful AI and digital transformations demands a strategic, top-down approach. C-suite leaders must unite around a shared vision and commitments aligned with the transformation’s ambition. Instead of pursuing individual use cases, decision makers should focus on high-value business domains, such as the complete customer journey. Within each domain, they can then identify the best use cases and solutions to pursue. For best results, companies should quantify value through operational KPIs and set clear priorities during implementation.
  • Organization. Innovation requires strong project management , but results from a McKinsey survey show that 75 percent of business leaders have not yet adopted best practices. 10 Chandra Gnanasambandam, Martin Harrysson, Jeremy Schneider, and Rikki Singh, “ What separates top product managers from the rest of the pack ,” McKinsey, January 20, 2023. (Tech companies are an exception, since they tend to embed project management capabilities into their operating models.) What’s more, many companies struggle with collaboration among their business, operations, and tech functions, which can slow progress for new products and services. To overcome such problems and improve organizational capabilities, companies should consider establishing distributed, empowered product teams led by a product owner. These teams would have access to all essential data and tech, including software development tools. Thus, they would be likely to develop effective, cross-functional solutions that truly consider business interests.
  • Risk management. To enhance AI capabilities, companies should reconsider and amplify risk management from project inception rather than wait until the rollout to do so. If agile teams identify risks early, they can quickly develop solutions before problems escalate and threaten development. Proactive risk management is especially vital when working on emerging tech because challenges might unexpectedly materialize. With solid risk management, companies can minimize costs and potentially avoid missteps that could damage their reputations.
  • Talent. Organizations must prioritize tech talent by building internal capabilities and implementing targeted, tech-specific hiring plans. As they think about talent priorities, companies should focus on essential skills, rather than roles, and then identify capability gaps. Some companies might fill these gaps by training current employees, while others might look externally for the right talent. To enhance retention, companies should develop a compelling employee experience that covers everything from available incentives to career paths.
  • Tech. Organizational changes can enhance digital innovation. Relying on multiple, distributed teams rather than a central function will expedite progress and improve the quality of any solution. A move to distributed teams will require increased reliance on automation for all steps, including quality checks and testing. It will also require the creation of self-service environments (for instance, portals that allow developers to access a company’s approved applications, collaboration tools, and data).
  • Data. At most companies, digital teams spend a lot of time compiling and harmonizing data. To enhance the customer experience and reduce unit costs, all digital teams must have access to data in near real time. To make that feasible, companies should create data products, which are ready-to-use data sets easily accessible by employees. Their IT architecture should easily deliver these data from where they are stored to all relevant teams. For data oversight, companies will benefit from a federated governance model in which a data management office creates policies and provides general support while business units and functions manage some routine tasks, such as the creation of data products. Close collaboration among the chief information officer and chief data officer is also essential on data-related initiatives.
  • Adoption and scalability. All too often, companies focus on developing solutions and give less attention to ensuring their widespread adoption. To avoid this trap, businesses should create new engagement models, incentives, and performance metrics to encourage the steady uptake and use of applied AI. Scaling innovation is another frequent pain point because expectations may vary by end user, market, and plant location. A few changes can help avoid duplication of effort and rework, however. Companies that focus on “assetization”—creating solutions that can be reused in any group without changes—may have an advantage when scaling. For instance, they could write code in blocks that are easily reused and create data products suitable for all locations.

As more mobility companies begin to pursue innovations related to the ten discussed tech trends, disruption will be inevitable and the stakes will become higher. Every business within the industry, including traditional OEMs, must understand which innovations have momentum and which leading-edge technologies are best for their vehicles and other products. Even companies in other industries, such as semiconductors, should take heed of tech trends within mobility because they could affect revenues from the automotive sector, which often includes some of their most important customers. Those companies that become aware of the most important trends now may gain an early advantage as the market evolves.

Ani Kelkar is a partner in McKinsey’s Boston office, Timo Möller is a partner in the Cologne office, and Felix Ziegler is a consultant in the New York office.

This article was edited by Eileen Hannigan, a senior editor in the Boston office.

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