How to install and use WireGuard on Android – Recommended options

How to install and use WireGuard on Android – Recommended options

Using WireGuard on Android gets easier each day. There are several options to set up the new VPN protocol on your Android devices and plenty of VPN apps that fully integrate WireGuard. In a matter of minutes and with a few clicks, you may start using WireGuard.

WireGuard Android setup [Summary]

There are two options to get started with WireGuard on Android. My advice is to take a look at both of them and then decide which way to go.

  • Option 1: Download and configure the WireGuard VPN app for Android.
    • Step 1: Install the official WireGuard client app.
    • Step 2: Import the configuration or create a new tunnel.
    • Step 3: Activate the WireGuard connection.
  • Option 2: Subscribe to a VPN provider that offers access to WireGuard. Download the Android app, enable the WireGuard protocol (if needed), and connect.

As your goal is to use WireGuard on Android devices, I suggest you also read our article on using a VPN on Android. `You will find out how VPN works on Android, what are the advantages of using a VPN, and what VPN services we recommend.

The WireGuard protocol and why it is a great choice for Android

WireGuard (a registered trademark of Jason A. Donenfeld) is a new VPN protocol that is praised for its simplicity and speed. Initially developed for Linux, it is now available for all major operating systems (Linux, Windows, macOS, iOS, Android).

WireGuard stands out with several important features:

  • It is open-source and, consequently, free.
  • WireGuard is really fast. Our tests show that WireGuard is faster than OpenVPN.
  • It uses high-level encryption.
  • The project codebase is about 4,000 lines, much less than other similar VPN protocols (OpenVPN, IPSec, etc.).
  • It is integrated into the Linux kernel.

WireGuard is well suited for mobile devices, generally speaking for devices with less computing power. It was designed to use fewer resources, and thus, as a consequence, it saves battery life. Additionally, WireGuard offers great roaming support, and it accommodates hassle-free switch from WiFi to mobile data.

To conclude, the WireGuard protocol is a great choice for Android, and you should consider using it as your main protocol for encrypting your data.

How to install WireGuard on Android

You may use WireGuard on Android either by installing the WireGuard VPN app or using a VPN app provided by a VPN service that implements the WireGuard protocol.

Use the WireGuard VPN client for Android

Before starting the WireGuard setup, make sure you have access to the VPN server’s authentication credentials. You may set up your own WireGuard server, get access from a network administrator, or from a VPN provider.

The WireGuard server connection data can be:

  • contained in a configuration file that contains all necessary info (server IP, private/public keys, various settings);
  • encoded in a QR code generated based on a config file (it can be generated using the qrencode library);
  • the server name or IP address, and the other connection properties.

The WireGuard config file contains all the information necessary for setting up the encrypted connection:

  • PrivateKey – the private key of the user;
  • Address – the internal IPs (IPv4 and/or IPv6);
  • DNS – the DNS address(es) or IP(s) (IPv4 and/or IPv6);
  • PublicKey – the public key of the server;
  • AllowedIPs – list of addresses that get routed to the peer;
  • Endpoint – the name or the IP address of the WireGuard VPN server and the communication port.

Here it is how a WireGuard config looks like:

[Interface]
PrivateKey = 6EP+8PVo57wONjvOD9LM/V/Ttdr+2XyGz2FzQrdY23s=
Address = 172.18.80.148/32, fd00:0000:1337:cafe:1111:1111:15e7:e4c0/128
DNS = 46.227.67.134, 192.165.9.158

[Peer]
PublicKey = r83LIc0W2F8s3dY9x5y17Yz8wTAQJc7giW1t5eSmeXc=
AllowedIPs = 0.0.0.0/0, ::/0
Endpoint = vpn44.prd.vienna.ovpn.com:9929

To set up the WireGuard connection on Android proceed as follows:

  1. Open Google Play Store and search for WireGuard.How to set up WireGuard on Android - Search Google Play Store
  2. Download and open the app.
  3. Next, tap on the “+” sign. How to set up WireGuard on Android - Add new button
  4. Select the way you want to get started with the WireGuard setup. Get started with a new WireGuard connection on Android
  5. Import from file or archive – You may import a WireGuard configuration file provided by a VPN service or administrator. You may get the config file by email or by downloading it from a server. Simply find the file on your Android device and import the WireGuard connection settings.
  6. Scan from QR code – Import the configuration information stored into a QR code:
    • Open the page that contains the WireGuard QR code on your computer. You may get one from several VPN providers (e.g., OVPN), or you may generate it yourself (as mentioned above).Scan the WireGuard config code (OVPN)
    • Point your device to the QR code on the computer screen.
    • Choose a name for the new WireGuard connection.Import tunnel from QR code - Tunnel name
    • The WireGuard client app will read and import the config data.
  7. Create from scratch – If you know the necessary connection info, you may manually create the connection. Fill in the required info for initiating the connection. WireGuard on Android - Create from scratch
  8. You are now ready to activate the WireGuard connection. Tap the toggle button next to the name of the connection. You will see a warning message. Click OK.WireGuard on Android - Enable VPN conenction
  9. You will see the connection status on the top of the screen.Connected to the WireGuard VPN server
  10. To disconnect, open the WireGuard app and turn off the connection or go to Settings > Connections > More connection settings > VPN and tap on the active VPN connection. You will need to confirm that you want to Disconnect.Disconnect from the WireGuard VPN server

Install an Android VPN app that offers access to WireGuard

This is the simplest approach if you are interested in getting started quickly. There is no configuration needed as VPN client apps automatically set up the VPN tunnel.

  1. Find a WireGuard VPN provider and subscribe to the service. We recommend the followings VPNs for Android:
  2. Download the VPN provider’s app from the Google Play Store.
  3. Enable the WireGuard protocol.
  4. Connect to VPN with WireGuard.
How to use WireGuard on Android with the Surfshark app

WireGuard on Android FAQs

Is WireGuard better the OpenVPN on Android?

Both protocols provide excellent security and performance. Several tests show that WireGuard might be faster than OpenVPN. However, there is still not enough data to draw any conclusions regarding the better protocol for Android devices.

Is the WireGuard client app for Android free?

Yes, the WireGuard official client application is free to use. However, you need a WireGuard VPN server to connect to, which may be provided by a paid service.

Summary

WireGuard is a great VPN protocol, and it works smoothly on Android as well as on iOS and on Windows. You may either install a VPN app from a top VPN provider that implements WireGuard or proceed to set up the official WireGuard client app, a more manual approach.

This is the end of our tutorial on how to get started with WireGuard on Android. Did you like it? If so, subscribe to our newsletter! We will let you know when we publish new articles, and you will make a Transylvanian baby-bat 🦇happy.

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