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What is a Kill Switch and how does it work?

Updated

Kill switch is a technique that helps you prevent unprotected access to the internet, where your traffic doesn't go through the VPN.

There are two key differences in the Kill Switch functionality in our NordVPN applications:

  • The PC version of the Kill Switch, found in our Windows and Mac (OpenVPN version) applications, terminates the applications you specify if the VPN connection suddenly disconnects, preventing those applications from sending unprotected traffic to the internet.
  • The Mobile version of the Kill Switch, used in our Android and iOS apps (as well as the IKEv2 version of the Mac app), disables system-wide internet access if the VPN connection suddenly disconnects - that way it protects all apps, without terminating them. It will also try to reconnect you to the last server you were connected to.

How to enable the Kill Switch

Windows

You can switch it on and add applications to it in the settings of the NordVPN application. Our Windows tutorial shows it in step 21 of the NordVPN application section:
https://support.nordvpn.com/hc/en-us/articles/115001210645

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Mac OS X

On the OpenVPN version of the app, you can switch it on and add applications to it in the left-side user menu of the NordVPN application. Our Mac OS X tutorial shows it in step 9:
https://support.nordvpn.com/hc/en-us/articles/115003841029

The IKEv2 version of our app can use the Kill Switch by enabling "Connect on Demand" in the advanced settings of the app, also found in the left-side menu.

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iOS

You can switch it on in the Account information and Settings menu of the NordVPN app. Our iOS tutorial shows how to do that in steps 12-13:
https://support.nordvpn.com/hc/en-us/articles/207618485

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Android

The Kill Switch can be enabled on any device that has Android version 7.0 or higher. To enable it, go to system Settings > More (in the Wireless and networks section) > VPN, tap the cog icon next to NordVPN, and switch on "Always-on VPN".

Note: this is an Android 7.0+ feature - if you experience any issues with it, feel free to inform our Support Staff here:
https://nordvpn.com/contact-us/

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