What is a VPN? How does Covenant Eyes use them on cell phones?

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. Traditionally, it is a third-party program that connects to the internet on your behalf. Instead of connecting directly to the internet, the VPN adds, encrypts, or interprets data before connecting to the internet.

We wanted to provide device-wide coverage. So, we created a patented “Tunneled Monitoring Service” which works similar to the behavior of a traditional VPN. However, unlike a traditional VPN, we do not force you to go through our servers to get online and our service does not add a layer of encryption to your internet activity.

Because our apps for iPhone®, iPad® and Android™ phones and tablets do mimic some of the functions of a traditional VPN, the mobile device will act like a VPN is in use. Your device will automatically display its VPN icon when Covenant Eyes is installed. (Examples of the VPN icon are displayed below.) The VPN icon is an embedded notification that tells a traditional VPN user he is still connected. On the majority of mobile devices, the VPN icon cannot be turned off.

Compatibility information

  • Android phones and tablets will not run multiple VPNs at the same time.
  • An iPhone will not run multiple VPNs at the same time.
  • An iPad will not run multiple VPNs at the same time.
  • That means a traditional VPN and our VPN-like app will not run at the same time.
  • It is not uncommon for compatibility issues to occur when trying to use a VPN and an MDM (mobile device manager) at the same time.

Screen Accountability™

  • Android – If the member is using Filtering, the VPN icon will appear. If the member is not using the Filtering service, the VPN icon will not appear.
  • iPhone/iPad – The VPN letters should always be visible in the status bar at the top of the screen. However, an iPhone X and above, will display the letters in the Control Center, not the status bar.

Screenshots of the VPN



Please note: If your Apple ID is China-based, you will not have access to the Covenant Eyes app. China considers apps with a VPN to be illegal and Apple has removed apps with a VPN from their Chinese App Store.