How Does VPN Usage Impact Battery Drain During YouTube, Idle, and Audio Activities? NordVPN Examines

We all have heard that using VPN (virtual private network) drains our phone battery more quickly. But have you ever wondered how much battery it actually drains and how? NordVPN ran three types of tests to find out how battery drain its juice while VPN is on works. They did an idle battery test for 5 hours, a test with audio stream for 2.5 hours and a test with video stream for 1 hour. The test was first done with VPN off and second time the mobile phones were connected to German servers using OpenVPN TCP, OpenVPN UDP and NordLynx. The test was repeated three times, on Wifi as well as 4G network. Two Android smartphones (Google Pixel 6 running Android 13, and Samsung Galaxy 22 running Android 14 OS) and a Lenovo Notepad (Lenovo ThinkPad L14 G2, Windows 11 Pro) were used for the tests.

To start the test, the devices were first charged fully. After that, they were placed idly for 5 hours. Three times with Wifi on and three times with 4G network on. Soon it was found that the 4G network drained the battery 10 times faster than the Wifi network. Google Pixel 6’s battery drained more on 4G network while Samsung Galaxy S22’s battery was consumed more on Wifi network. The battery drained less when the VPN was off.

After the first test, an audio stream test was done for 2.5 hours on these smartphones with their batteries full. When NordLynx and OpenVPN UDP were turned on the smartphones, the smartphones showed less battery drainage than the time when these two VPNs were off. OpenVPN TCP showed 2.09% faster battery drainage when the VPN was on as compared to when the VPN was off. Google’s Pixel’s battery drained faster with VPN turned on when it was connected to a 4G network.

The video streaming test was done by playing a YouTube video for one hour. Again, the same initial steps were repeated. Samsung Galaxy S22 with Wifi and no VPN drained 6.09% battery while the same smartphones with Wifi and OpenVPN TCP drained 6.38% battery. This was the largest difference that was seen. The 4G network drained 9% battery while battery was drained at 6% by Wifi. The test couldn’t be run on Lenovo ThinkPad L14 G2 because it doesn’t support 4G.

Now the question arises if the VPN drains your computer battery the same way? This test was done on Lenovo ThinkPad L14 G2 with Wifi. First, the notepad was placed idle for 2 hours with Wifi on. Then a Youtube video was played on it for 1 hour and for 2 hours, writing on Google Docs was tested. The test showed that the battery drainage while the notepad was idle and when the YouTube was playing were almost the same. After that, VPN was tested while browsing or writing on Google Docs on the Lenovo Notepad. The battery drainage results with the VPN on were the worst.

Every VPN slows your connection and drains your battery some way or another. But some VPNs do it more than others. Only the best VPNs do not consume much of your battery. It is best that whenever you use a VPN, try to use Wifi connection instead of a 4G network. You can also set up a VPN on your router and can also do split tunneling on your VPN for the apps that require VPN usage on your smartphones.

Read next: How We Can Save The Environment by Extending The Smartphone Lifetime

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