Receive Message with VPN

Is there any difference when receiving messages (e.g Whatsapp/email/News notification) when I use VPN on my mobile phone?

VPN is used to hide the IP address and the Internet behavior away from ISP monitoring. Therefore, if I use VPN, would I enjoy these VPN benefits when receiving messages. (e.g ISP will no longer able to know, there is a Whatsapp message that I received on 02:55 or receive a email on 04:32 etc)

*I am asking “Receive msg”, not “Send msg”

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I don’t think there is any difference, just the path your message traverses would change and that would depend on your setup (Android or iPhone? If Android, Play Services or not)?

With Android with Play Services, I think generally your messaging app server tells Google <I don’t remember the name> that there is a new message and that tells your app to contact the server to fetch it with that as Google Play Services keeps connection to Google for all apps to use.

Without Play Services, every app keeps their own idle connection to the messaging app server and get notifications directly. I don’t think they adjust their behaviour based on whether you are using a VPN or not.

Please correct me if I am saying anything funny/wrong/inaccurate and please do tell me what that Google thing is, I have GCM in my head, but not what it unabbreviates to.

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As explained here, you have the “VPN” case:

You are “directly” connected to a server of the VPN provider via your ISP. The ISP sees that you are connected to the VPN provider, and the servers on the internet see the IP address of the VPN server you use. However, the VPN provider sees both sides (= they know your real address, and they see to which servers on the internet you connect). Plus, the VPN provider may see cleartext traffic that is sent from/to your network. The ISP can’t see cleartext traffic in this case, because it is encrypted between your network and the VPN provider.

Depending on the implementation of the VPN software, your real IP address may be leaked somehow, or your ISP may still see that you connect to WhatsApp (e.g., when you use their DNS servers).


Thereby it’s necessary for always-on VPN? because you don’t know when will receive msg and suffer from the ISP monitoring.

Some apps (like Whatsapp) do geolocation tracking with other means so just heads up. Some apps see what wifi/bluetooth connections are nearby especially if they have access to the wifi aspect of the phone. If the wifi/bluetooth hotspots they see are known to Facebook or Google (like if Google/Android users or Facebook users are connected), they know where you are approximately despite your VPN.

Some apps can also probably see the cell site your phone is connected to.