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What is TunnelBear and how does it work?TunnelBear is the world’s easiest to use consumer VPN (virtual private network) that securely “tunnels” your internet connection to locations around the world. TunnelBear can be used to protect your privacy, to bypass internet censorship, and to experience the internet as people in other countries experience it. For more information, see here.
What devices will TunnelBear work on?You can use TunnelBear on Windows (desktop/laptop), macOS, Android and iOS devices. We also have a browser extension for both Chrome and Opera browsers. We do provide limited support for Linux systems, but only for paid users. See more information about Linux setup here. For more info on required operating system versions for all applications, check out our downloads page.
You cannot use TunnelBear on your Kindle/eReader, Windows mobile devices, Apple/Android TV, gaming systems, or by manually configuring your modem/router.
How many devices can I use?While you can install TunnelBear on as many devices as you'd like, you can only connect up to 5 devices to TunnelBear at a single time, with a Paid subscription.
Where can I tunnel to and from? (server list)You can tunnel from just about anywhere in the world, as long as you are connected to a network. You can tunnel to any of our server locations (the countries chosen in the app), listed here. Please note that the Australian tunnel is only available to paid users due to the high costs of hosting our servers in Australia.
Does TunnelBear keep logs?
Can I torrent with TunnelBear?No. While we are looking into ways that we can provide a completely unrestricted browsing experience, unfortunately TunnelBear does not currently support the use of BitTorrent.
Although we realize that BitTorrent can be used for totally legal purposes, due to a high volume of complaints from content providers, TunnelBear was put in the unfortunate position of making a choice between two options:
The first option (which most VPN providers choose) is to begin logging user activity. TunnelBear is very strongly against monitoring and tracking user activity as most of our customers use TunnelBear explicitly to browse online privately. As such, this was not a viable option for us.
The second option (which TunnelBear has chosen) is to disable BitTorrent ports. While we philosophically dislike blocking anything, we prefer this option as opposed to being forced to collect information about our users.
What kind of encryption does TunnelBear use?See here for up-to-date information on our encryption and security.
How much data do free users get?Free users start off with 500MB per month. Your data renews at the beginning of each calendar month. Data that is not used in the previous month does not roll over to the next month. You can see how much data you’ve used within the TunnelBear application, or when you log into your account.
If you would like unlimited tunneling for you Bear, check out our pricing here.
Accounts & Payments
How do I upgrade to an unlimited plan?
To get your very own unlimited TunnelBear, press the gold "upgrade" button located within the app! Alternatively, head over to your account and hit the “upgrade” button on our website.
How do I delete my account?You can delete your account at any time here. However, you may only delete your account if you have no active subscriptions on your account and you don't have any unlimited tunneling time left. If you have an active subscription and you'd still like to delete your account, get in touch with our support bears and they'll help you out.
How much does TunnelBear cost?TunnelBear is free for users who only want to tunnel 500MB or less per month. However, to secure all your devices with a bear and get access to unlimited data, we suggest upgrading with one of our paid plans. You can view our pricing here.
Why can't I verify my email?Check your spam folder! If you're still not seeing the verification email, try adding email@example.com to your webmail contacts. This should allow our emails to bypass your email provider’s spam filters. Once you've done this, try re-sending the email. If you still don't receive it, get in touch with our support bears to verify your email manually.
How do I change my password?You can reset your password here.
How do I change my email?For most users, you can simply log into your account and select “change email” under the account settings tab. If you are currently paying via PayPal, you cannot change your email while your subscription is active. Get in touch with our support bears if you have an active PayPal subscription and need to change your email.
How do I change my payment information?If you paid with your credit card, log into your account and select the “Subscriptions” tab. Click “Update Payment Details.”
If you paid via PayPal, the Google Play store, or the iOS App store, you need to change your payment details with those specific payment providers. For instructions on how to update payment details with one of those providers, please select the following: Paypal, Apple, Google Play
How do I change my subscription type?
If you’re currently paying monthly from your credit card, you can upgrade to a yearly subscription by logging into your account and selecting the “Subscriptions” tab. Click “Change or cancel my subscription” and follow the prompts. Your payment will be prorated, so you are essentially refunded any unused tunneling time, from your monthly subscription.
If you paid via Android or iOS and would like to change your subscription type, contact our friendly Support Bears for assistance.
How do I cancel my subscription?If you paid with your credit card, log into your account and select the "Subscriptions" tab. Click "Cancel" and run through the steps. You should receive a confirmation email when the cancellation has been processed.
If you have an iOS subscription, see this article for instructions on how to cancel. If you have a Google Play subscription, check out this article instead.
How do I print my invoice/receipt?Log into your account and select the “Billing History” tab. Click “Print” beside whichever invoice or receipt you’d like to print. Please note that if you paid through the Google PlayStore or iOS Appstore you will need to get your receipt from those payment processors, not from our website.
Where can I download the latest version of TunnelBear?Head over to our downloads page to grab the latest version of the TunnelBear app or browser extension.
How do I resolve connection issues?Running into an un'bear'able connection issue? No worries, we'll do our best to make sure that TunnelBear is working properly for you.
First, if you are able to connect to a tunnel within the application, head over to bearsmyip to confirm if you are connected properly. If the location displayed matches the one selected in TunnelBear, then you should be good to go. Additionally, please make sure to check out our Twitter page to see if we are doing any scheduled maintenance.
If there is no down time being reported on Twitter, and you aren't able to confirm a successful connection at bearsmyip, try to turn TunnelBear off, reboot your device, and then reconnect with TunnelBear. Oftentimes, simply restarting things can fix most issues.
If the problems persist, before reaching out to our Support Bears, we always advise running through some of the basic troubleshooting steps first:
Browser Extension Troubleshooting
Ensure that other applications aren't interfering
Check to make sure that you aren't running any other VPN services; they can potentially interfere with your ability to connect. Additionally, if you are running any third party security applications, try temporarily disabling them to see if they are interfering.
Test another network
Try connecting to TunnelBear on another network to see if you can connect. This can let you know if the issue might possibly lie with the router or network you are using.
Re-install the application
Uninstall TunnelBear (as you would normally uninstall any application), reboot your device, and then head here to grab the latest version of the app.
Turn on TCP Override
If your connection seems slow or unstable, TCP Override may result in better performance. This feature is located in your TunnelBear preferences, under the general tab. If you already have TCP Override on, try turning it off to see what impact it has on your connection.
Ensure that the TunnelBear browser extension is off
Make sure that you are not running the TunnelBear browser extension at the same time as the TunnelBear application, they can potentially interfere with one another.
Try turning on GhostBear
If you are connecting from a country with strict censorship, we recommend to give GhostBear a try. You can locate this feature in your TunnelBear preferences, under the security tab. GhostBear makes it harder for the VPN connection to be detected and blocked. Please be aware, GhostBear should only be enabled in cases of censorship; otherwise we advise to keep this feature off.
Reinstall the VPN profile
1. First, make sure that TunnelBear is OFF
2. Click on the menu button (three horizontal lines) in the top left corner of the TunnelBear app
3. Click on Reinstall Profile
4. You will be given the option to 'Choose a way to tunnel'
5. Follow the prompts
Ensure that your device isn't jailbroken
Customizing your device's operating system can change important system settings. These changes can sometimes prevent TunnelBear from working correctly. We recommend using a non-jailbroken device to prevent such issues.
Make sure your device isn't running custom/rooted firmware
Customizing your device's operating system can change important system settings. These changes can sometimes prevent TunnelBear from working correctly. We recommend using a stock ROM to prevent such issues.
Disable any third party apps
If you are running any third party battery or memory saving applications, try disabling them to see if they might be interfering with your connection.
Try turning on GhostBear
As with Windows and Mac, if you are connecting from a country with strict censorship, we recommend to give GhostBear a try (located in the TunnelBear preferences). GhostBear makes it harder for the VPN connection to be detected and blocked. Please be aware, GhostBear should only be enabled in cases of censorship; otherwise, we advise to keep this feature off.
Browser Extension Troubleshooting
Disable any third party extensions
Make sure other extensions, especially ones that provide a similar function to TunnelBear, are disabled while trying to connect. The TunnelBear browser extension is designed to detect if a conflicting extension is present. However if you discover that a specific extension is causing an issues with TunnelBear, please let us know.
Clear your browser's cache and cookies
1. For instructions on how to clear your cache/cookies in the Chrome browser, head here.
2. For instructions on how to clear your cache/cookies in the Opera browser, head here.
Ensure that your browser allows cookies
The TunnelBear extension uses a standard cookie to ensure that you are authenticated throughout both the extension and website. Please make sure that your browser is not configured to delete cookies automatically when exiting the browser. Additionally, please ensure that any third party cleaner/privacy extensions are not set to automatically remove browser cookies. Lastly, ensure that cookies are enabled in the browser settings.
1. For more details on how to manage cookies in the Chrome browser, head here.
2. For more details on how to manage cookies in the Opera browser, head here.
Make sure that the TunnelBear desktop application is off
Please make sure that you aren't running the TunnelBear application while the TunnelBear browser extension is already on. Only one is designed to be connected at a time.
Why is my Bear slow?When TunnelBear is ON, your data has to pass through our encrypted servers before it can access the content you wish to ‘bear’owse, and deliver it back to you. It’s common for there to be a small amount of speed loss in the process. That said, there are several reasons why you might be experiencing more significant speed loss when using TunnelBear.
Common Causes of Speed Loss
Your physical location matters. The farther away you are from the tunnel you are trying to use, the farther your data has to travel. For example; if you live in Australia, connect to a US Tunnel, and access content in Japan, then your Bear has a fair amount of digging to do! Try tunneling to a country closer to where you are located to see if your connection speed improves at all.
Some ISPs may try to throttle or slow encrypted traffic coming from your network. If possible, we recommend trying TunnelBear out on another network to see if your speeds improve.
Additional VPN services
We don't recommend running more than one VPN service at a time. Installing software from other VPN providers can alter or conflict with TunnelBear’s optimal settings. Try removing or completely disabling similar software before using TunnelBear.
Other third party apps
To optimize your tunneling experience, please make sure that other apps that typically transfer large amounts of data over the network connection are disabled (ie: cloud backup/file syncing services, background updates). Additionally, try disabling any third party security apps you might have installed (just temporarily), to ensure that they aren’t interfering with TunnelBear.
Still experiencing speed problems? Then we recommend to specifically try some of the following steps - they might get things moving more quickly for you.
Try switching to another network
As mentioned, ISPs are a common cause of speed issues. If you are using a portable computer or mobile device, try switching to another wifi or mobile network to see if it helps. If you are using a desktop computer, try switching from a wifi connection to a wired connection (or vice-versa).
Try switching to another tunnel
Sometimes, it may be that the tunnel location you’ve chosen in the app has received a sudden influx in traffic. We automatically add new servers in most locations in response to high demand, and TunnelBear should connect you to the best performing server based on the country you’ve chosen, though it sometimes takes a few minutes for our network to catch up to the sudden increase in traffic. While we adjust, try switching to another tunnel to see if your speeds improve.
If available, try our Auto Tunnel feature. Auto Tunnel will connect you to the fastest tunnel available, based off of all servers across the TunnelBear network.
Enable TCP Override (Windows, Mac)
If your ISP is throttling VPN connections, or you are connecting via an unreliable network, TCP Override might help. TCP Override will force the TunnelBear app to use a slower but more reliable protocol which may result in better performance on a choppy connection. This feature is located in your TunnelBear preferences within the app. If you don’t see any improvement, then we recommend disabling this feature.
Try toggling GhostBear (Windows, Mac, Android)
GhostBear is designed to make TunnelBear even more resistant to internet censorship by scrambling your VPN traffic, so that it is harder for your ISP or Government to detect and block the VPN connection. You can locate this feature in your TunnelBear preferences in the app. While GhostBear is a good indicator of whether your ISP is throttling or blocking your connection, it can also slow things down a bit. If you are already able to connect to TunnelBear without using this feature or it does not immediately improve your connection speed, we recommend keeping GhostBear OFF.
Does TunnelBear protect against DNS leaks?Yes. A DNS leak is a privacy and anonymity threat that can allow your ISP to see and monitor your online activity even when you have a VPN tunnel established.
The TunnelBear client automatically ensures that all traffic from your computer, including DNS, is sent through the VPN tunnel as soon as it is established. Our servers handle all DNS requests. There are no additional steps required to “enable” DNS leak protection.
When you connect to TunnelBear and go on dnsleaktest.com (or a similar service/website), you'll only see one IP address reported back to you in the results. This IP address should match the IP address of the VPN server you're currently connected to. To make sure, head over to bearsmyip.com and compare the results shown there with that of the DNS leak test. If the IPs match, then your DNS is not leaking.
Take a look at our blog post which goes into more detail about DNS and how TunnelBear handles it!
Does TunnelBear work with tethering?Yes, but TunnelBear needs to be active on each device that you want to keep encrypted. The technical explanation is that VPN protocols and tethering operate on different network layers. Even if you have TunnelBear active on your primary device (iPhone/Android), the data from the tethered device will go outside the tunnel and NOT be secured.
For example: Let's say you have phone and a computer and you want to browse securely on both. You’ll need to put TunnelBear on both the computer and the phone. If you put TunnelBear only on the phone, the data from your tethered computer will not go through the phones tunnel.
We recommend that you install and connect to TunnelBear on each device you want TunnelBear to protect. You can download the latest version of TunnelBear for any supported device here.
Why does TunnelBear want me to install a helper tool on macOS?The helper tool is part of the TunnelBear application. It helps your Bear create a stable connection to our secure servers! When you’re not using TunnelBear, the helper tool also ensures all of your internet settings are returned back to normal.
You’ll be required to enter your computer’s administrator password to allow TunnelBear to install the helper tool. Please be aware, this is different from your TunnelBear account password (it should be the password you use to log on to your computer). Please make sure to select "Install Helper" when prompted.
How do I uninstall TunnelBear?Uninstalling TunnelBear from your device should be an easy process. Please take a look at the links below for instructions on how to uninstall the app. Please note; we advise that you do not use 3rd party uninstaller tools to complete the uninstallation, these tools can sometimes cause some unintended problems.
Also, it’s important to note that uninstalling your app doesn’t cancel a paid subscription. If you have a paid subscription, you need to cancel it separately for the payments to stop. Instructions for cancelling can be found here.
For instructions on how to delete TunnelBear from your Windows device, please check out this article.
Mac OS X
For detailed instructions on how to uninstall apps on your Mac computer from Apple, see this article.
To delete TunnelBear on your iPhone or iPad, simply press and hold down the TunnelBear application until all of your apps begin to wiggle. A small “x” should appear in the top left corner of the apps that can be deleted from your device. Tap the “x” on the TunnelBear app to delete it.
For instructions on how to delete TunnelBear from your Android device, please see check out this article.
Browser Extension (Chrome/Opera)
1. For instructions on how to manage and delete your Chrome extensions, head here.
2. For instructions on how to manage and delete Opera extensions, head here.
What's the difference between the browser extension and the desktop applications?TunnelBear for Chrome/Opera is a light-weight browser extension that secures your browser traffic and helps you browse privately, as if you're in another location. The browser extension only encrypts your traffic for that particular browser, unlike the TunnelBear computer and mobile apps which encrypts all traffic from the device (including apps and services outside of the web browser).
For maximum privacy, we recommend using the TunnelBear application for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. However, if you spend all of your time in the browser, and ease-of-use is your priority, then the TunnelBear browser extension should more than meet your needs.
I can't check the 'I trust this application' checkbox!If you have certain third party apps downloaded; such as screen filters, battery savers, or launching apps; they may interfere with your ability to select the 'I trust this application' checkbox. Some of these apps include Twilight, Rotation Manager, Dodol Launcher, and Juice Defender. Turning these applications off briefly will allow you to select this checkbox. Once that is done, you can turn those apps back on, and TunnelBear should function properly.
Why can't I access the content I want with TunnelBear?TunnelBear's core service has always been to help you stay private and secure online. That said, certain websites or providers will try to block users that appear to be using a VPN from accessing their content. Our Bears always dig their hardest to get around these restrictions, however we're not able to guarantee access to every site or app you might want to use. However, there are a few tips we can suggest to help your Bear put their best paw forward in these situations!
Make sure you are connected properly
While TunnelBear is ON and connected to a tunnel, head over to bearsmyip to confirm if you are connected properly. If the location shown matches the one you chose in the TunnelBear app, then you should be good to go. If you're not connected properly, check out this article for help with connection issues.
Try switching TunnelBear OFF and back ON again
It is possible that a couple of our IP addresses are inevitably blocked by a specific website or service. We recommend to try toggling TunnelBear OFF and back ON again, or selecting another tunnel location, in order to get a different IP address.
Clear your browser’s cache and cookies
It's possible that your cache/cookies might have some old location information stored in them that the website/service is able to pick up. Try clearing your cache/cookies to see if that sorts out the issue. For instructions on how to clear your cache/cookies, select the relevant browser: Chrome, Firefox, Safari (on Mac), Safari (on iOS), Internet Explorer, and Opera
Disable browser tracking
Some websites will ask for access to your real location in order to bring you more relevant information. Most mainstream browsers provide location tracking in order to approximate your exact location regardless of IP address. Try disabling these services in your browser. To disable browser tracking, please select the browser you use: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera
Access content while browsing privately
Bypass location tracking on a temporary basis by opening the desired content in an Incognito or Private Browsing window. This means that any locally stored data (such as your cache or cookies) won't be able to be accessed by the content provider. For instructions on how to browse privately with your browser, please check out the following: Chrome, Firefox, Safari (on Mac), Safari (on iOS), Internet Explorer, and Opera
Disable location services on your device
Location services will allow location-based apps and websites to use information from cellular, Wi-Fi, and Global Positioning System (GPS) networks to determine your approximate location. You can disable location services as follows:
1. For Windows take a look at this article.
2. For Mac OS X take a look at this article.
3. For iOS take a look at this article.
4. For Android take a look at this article.
iOS and Android Troubleshooting
If you're trying to use a mobile app (other than your web browser) that has content only available to people in certain regions or countries, we recommend to try the following for both iOS and Android devices.
Turn TunnelBear OFF
Log out of the app you’re having issues with
Force close the app (instructions here)
Turn TunnelBear ON
Launch the other app and try again
Turn TunnelBear ON
Return to your home screen
Tap the ‘App Drawer' shortcut on your home screen (the button that brings up all of your apps)
Select 'Settings', then select 'Applications'
Locate the app you’re having problems with
Select 'Clear data & cache'
Launch the other app and try again