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Getting to know your Bear

Setup Guides

  • Android Setup Guide

    In this tutorial, we show you how to set up TunnelBear for your Android device on 8.1+ or newer. TunnelBear is compatible with most Android phones and tablets. 

    Download the TunnelBear app

    First, you have to download the TunnelBear app from the Google Play Store.

    Open the Play Store by tapping the Play Store icon on your Android.

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    Search for TunnelBear.

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    To download the TunnelBear app, tap the Install button in the top right.

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    To open the TunnelBear app when it’s finished downloading, tap the Open button.

     

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    Create a TunnelBear Account

    Tap “Create a free account” if you haven’t already signed up for TunnelBear. 

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    Enter your email address and create a strong password then skip to Verify Your Email.

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    Log In with an Existing Account

    If you have already signed up, tap “Log in" under "Have an account?"

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    Enter the account email and password you used at signup.

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    Verify Your Email

    After creating your account, check your email for a verification from TunnelBear and tap “Verify my account”. If you already have a verified account, you can skip to Get Connected.

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    In the TunnelBear app, tap “Get tunneling” to bring you to the map.

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    Get Connected

    To access the countries list, tap the country bar arrow in the bottom of the screen.

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    Select the country you would like to connect through.

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    You need to select “OK” when TunnelBear asks for permission to add VPN configurations.

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    Note: TunnelBear doesn't actually monitor your network traffic. This message is a standard warning from Android letting you know VPNs might monitor your network traffic, but TunnelBear will NEVER do this. For more information about why you can trust TunnelBear, visit this help article.

    You’re all set and ready to tunnel.

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    Your Bear is excited to help keep your internet connection secure, but if you have any questions about TunnelBear, our friendly Support Bears are always available.

    Happy tunneling!

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  • Windows Setup Guide

    In this guide, we’ll show you how to set up TunnelBear for your Windows computer.

    Download the TunnelBear app

    First, you'll have to download the TunnelBear app from our website.

    Go to tunnelbear.com/download and wait until the download finishes.

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    Open your Downloads folder, double click on the TunnelBear-Installer file.

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    When prompted “Where do you want your Bear?”, click on the Install button.

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    Wait until the installation is complete.

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    Create a TunnelBear account

    Click “Create a Free Account” if you haven’t already signed up for TunnelBear. 

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    Enter your email address and create a strong password then skip to Verify Your Email.

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    Log In with an Existing Account

    Click “Log in" under "Already have an account?" if you've already signed up.

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    Enter the account email and password you used at signup.

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    Read the Quick Guide by clicking on the “Next” button or click on “Skip” to continue.

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    Verify Your Email

    If you just signed up, check your email for a verification from TunnelBear and click “Verify my account”. If you already have an account, you can skip to Get Connected.

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    In the TunnelBear app, click “OK, verified” to bring you to the map.

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    Get Connected

    Click the arrow next to the tunnel name (in this example, "Fastest") to display the country list.

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    Click the country you'd like to connect through.

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    You’re all set and ready to tunnel.

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    Your Bear is excited to help keep your internet connection secure, but if you have any questions about TunnelBear, our friendly Support Bears are always available.

    Happy tunneling!

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  • iOS Setup Guide

    In this guide, we’ll show you how to set up TunnelBear for iPhones and iPads running iOS 12 or newer.

    Download the TunnelBear app

    First, you'll have to download the TunnelBear app from the App Store. Open the App Store by tapping the App Store icon on your iPhone/iPad.

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    Search for TunnelBear.

     

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    Tap the install/download button in the top right to download the TunnelBear app.

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    Tap the TunnelBear app when it’s finished downloading.

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    Create a TunnelBear Account

    Tap “Create a Free Account” if you haven’t already signed up for TunnelBear. 

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    Enter your email address and create a strong password. Then, skip to Install the VPN Profile.

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    Log In with an Existing Account

    Tap “I Already Have an Account” if you've already signed up.

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    Enter the account email and password you used at signup.

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    Install the VPN Profile

    Tap “Accept and Continue” to open the permission window for TunnelBear to add a VPN profile.

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    TunnelBear will not work properly unless you tap “Allow” when TunnelBear asks for permission to add VPN configurations.

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    Note: This is a standard warning from iOS since VPNs have the ability to monitor your activity. TunnelBear will NEVER do this. For more information on why you can trust TunnelBear, visit this help article.

    Enter your device passcode to verify the new settings.

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    Verify Your Email

    If you just signed up, check your email for a verification from TunnelBear and tap “Verify my account”. If you already have an account, you can skip to Get Connected.

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    In the TunnelBear app, tap, “Yes, verified” to bring you to the map.

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    Get Connected

    Tap country bar arrow in the bottom right corner of the screen to access the countries list.

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    Tap the country you'd like to connect through.

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    You’re all set and ready to tunnel.

    Your Bear is excited to help keep your internet connection secure, but if you have any questions about TunnelBear, our friendly Support Bears are always available.

    Happy tunneling!

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  • MacOS Setup Guide

    In this guide, we’ll show you how to set up TunnelBear for your MacOS computer running 10.12 or newer.

    Download the TunnelBear app

    First, you'll have to download the TunnelBear app from our website. Go to tunnelbear.com/download and wait until the download finishes.

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    Open your Downloads folder and double click on TunnelBear.zip file to extract the TunnelBear installation file.

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    Double click on the TunnelBear installation file to begin installation.

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    Click on  “Open” to open the installation window.

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    Click on  “Move to Applications Folder” to save TunnelBear on your Applications Folder. Check the box “Don’t ask again” for future installations.

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    Click on "Install" to install the helper tool, which is necessary for your Bear to connect to our servers. For more information on the helper tool, check out this article.

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    Enter your computer's administrator password to allow the helper tool to install (Note: This is the same password you use to unlock your computer or install new programs, not your TunnelBear password). The User Name should be filled out by default.

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    Create a TunnelBear account

    Create a Free Account if you haven’t already signed up for TunnelBear.

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    Enter your email address and create a strong password, click "Create" and then skip to Verify Your Email.

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    Log In with an Existing Account

    Click "Log in" under "Already have an account?" if you've already signed up.

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    Enter the account email and password you used at signup.

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    Read the Quick Guide by clicking on the “Next” button or click on “Skip” to continue.

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    Verify Your Email

    If you just signed up, check your email for a verification from TunnelBear and click “Verify my account”. If you already have an account, you can skip to Get Connected.

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    In the TunnelBear app, click “Ok, verified!” to bring you to the map.

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    Get Connected

    Click the arrow next to the tunnel name (in this example, "Fastest") to display the country list.

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    Click the country you'd like to connect through.

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    You’re all set and ready to tunnel.

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    Your Bear is excited to help keep your internet connection secure, but if you have any questions about TunnelBear, our friendly Support Bears are always available.

    Happy tunneling!

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  • Chrome Extension Setup Guide

    In this guide, we’ll show you how to set up TunnelBear for your Chrome Browser. The TunnelBear extension will ensure that all traffic from your browser is kept private and secure.

    Download the TunnelBear app

    First, you'll have to download the TunnelBear extension from our website.

    Visit our website https://www.tunnelbear.com/apps/browser, then click the ‘Chrome’ button at the bottom of the page.

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    Click the ‘Add to Chrome’ button on the top right corner of the Chrome Web Store website.

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    Click on “Add extension” to grant permission for TunnelBear to add the extension.

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    Note: This is a standard warning from Chrome. TunnelBear will never make changes to your browser settings outside of those necessary to set up the VPN connection. For more information on why you can trust TunnelBear, visit this help article.

    Once the extension is successfully installed, a prompt will appear confirming that “TunnelBear VPN has been added to Chrome”.

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    Create a TunnelBear Account

    Enter your email address and create a strong password, then click “Create Account” if you haven’t already signed up for TunnelBear.

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    You will see a confirmation to start ‘Bear-owsing’, then skip to Get Connected.

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    Log In with an Existing Account

    Click “Use an existing account” if you've already signed up.

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    Enter the account email and password you used at signup.

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    Get Connected

    Click the arrow next to the tunnel name (in this example, "United States") to access the countries list.

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    Click the country you'd like to connect through.

     

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    Click the toggle switch into the ON position and you’re all set and ready to tunnel.

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    Your Bear is excited to help keep your internet connection secure, but if you have any questions about TunnelBear, our friendly Support Bears are always available.

    Happy tunneling!

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  • Firefox Extension Setup Guide

    In this guide, we’ll show you how to set up TunnelBear for your Firefox Browser. The TunnelBear extension will ensure that all traffic from your browser is kept private and secure.

    Download the TunnelBear app

    First, you'll have to download the TunnelBear extension from our website.

    Visit our website https://www.tunnelbear.com/apps/browser, then click the Firefox button at the bottom of the page.

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    Click the ‘Add to Firefox’ button at the top right corner of the Firefox Web Store website.

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    Click on “Add” to grant permission for TunnelBear to add the extension.

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    Note: This is a standard warning from Firefox. TunnelBear will never make changes to your browser settings outside of those necessary to set up the VPN connection. For more information on why you can trust TunnelBear, visit this help article.

    Once the extension is successfully installed, a prompt will appear confirming that “TunnelBear VPN has been added to Firefox''. Enable “Allow this extension to run in Private Windows” if required, and click on the blue “Okay, Got it” button.

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    Create a TunnelBear Account

    Enter your email address and create a strong password, then click “Create Account” if you haven’t already signed up for TunnelBear.

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    You will see a confirmation to start ‘Bear-owsing’, then skip to Get Connected.

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    Log In with an Existing Account

    Click “Use an existing account” if you've already signed up.

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    Enter the account email and password you used at signup.

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    Get Connected

    Click the arrow next to the tunnel name (in this example, "United States") to access the countries list.

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    Click the country you'd like to connect through.

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    Click the toggle switch into the ON position and you’re all set and ready to tunnel.

    map3.png

    Your Bear is excited to help keep your internet connection secure, but if you have any questions about TunnelBear, our friendly Support Bears are always available.

    Happy tunneling!

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FAQ

  • Does TunnelBear provide manual configuration for the VPN connection?

    TunnelBear does not currently provide manual configuration for the VPN connection. The connection has to be made from within the TunnelBear application or browser extension on one of our supported platforms/devices. You can find a list of currently supported devices by heading to this help article.

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  • Can I use TunnelBear on my router?

    TunnelBear does not currently offer router support as we do not support manual configuration for the VPN connection. The connection has to be made from within the TunnelBear application or browser extension on one of our supported platforms/devices. You can find a list of currently supported devices by checking out this help article.

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  • Why do I receive a CAPTCHA when using TunnelBear?

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    What is a CAPTCHA?

    CAPTCHA stands for "Completely Automated Public Turing Test to tell Computers and Humans Apart". These tests are used to make sure a user is a human and not a bot.

    Why do I receive a CAPTCHA when using TunnelBear?

    You might receive CAPTCHA prompts when using VPN services such as TunnelBear.

    This happens because the website you are attempting to access is detecting that too many requests or searches are coming from a singular IP address. In order to help keep your browsing more private and secure, our IPs are shared among many users so that no particular IP address is ever tied to one individual. As a result, many users may make a request to a service from the same IP address, hence why the service may require a CAPTCHA to be completed.

    You can try connecting to our US tunnel to see if it helps, as we do have more servers available, and it's less likely that websites will flag the IPs for a CAPTCHA check. You can also try reconnecting the TunnelBear app to be granted a new IP address.

    If that doesn't help, unfortunately you will need to complete the CAPTCHA in order to continue using TunnelBear to access these services.

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  • What operating systems (OS) does TunnelBear require?

    The TunnelBear app is compatible with the following operating systems:

    Windows:
    - Windows 7, Service Pack 1
    - Windows 8.1
    - Windows 10, Anniversary Edition

    Our TunnelBear app for Windows also requires .NET Framework version 4.7.2. If you're not sure which version you have, you can grab the most recent version here.

    MacOS:

    - 10.12+ (Sierra)
    - 11.0+ (Big Sur)

    Android:

    - Android 5+ (Lollipop)

    iOS:

    - iOS 11+

    Browsers:

    - Chrome 22+
    - Firefox 58+

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  • What does TunnelBear do? What is a VPN?

    TunnelBear is the world’s easiest to use VPN (Virtual Private Network) for both consumers and teams.

    A VPN (Virtual Private Network) creates a private network for you to use by encrypting your connection, even when you're using a public network. To learn more about how VPN works, check out our handy guide.

    TunnelBear works by allowing you to connect through an encrypted tunnel to locations around the world. When connected, your real IP address remains hidden and you're able to browse the web as though you're physically located in the country you're connected to. 

    TunnelBear can be used to protect you and your privacy, hide your real IP address, bypass internet censorship, and experience the internet as people in other countries experience it. 

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  • How do I install TunnelBear?

    To install TunnelBear on a macOS or Windows computer, head to our website to download the app. Then, follow the prompts to get your new Bear installed.

    On iOS or Android devices, you can download and install TunnelBear from the respective app stores on your device. For iOS, you can download it here. For Android, grab the app here.

    If you're using TunnelBear on iOS, there's one more step. You'll have to install a VPN profile. Don't worry, your Bear will handle the technical stuff. Simply attempt to connect by pressing the ON switch and follow the prompts to install the VPN profile.

    If you're looking for a lighter version of TunnelBear, we have browser extensions available for Chrome, Firefox and Opera. You can download them from our website and add them to your browser. If you're already running the desktop app, you do not also need the browser extension.

    If you run into any issues getting TunnelBear installed on your device, our friendly Support Bears can help out. Just get in touch.

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Privacy and Security

  • Why should I trust TunnelBear?

    You can trust TunnelBear for a few reasons. The first is that we make 100% of our revenue from paid subscriptions. We do give a little bit of data away for free, but our hope is that you'll fall in love and give your Bear a forever home! Often, free VPN services will collect your personal/usage data and sell it to third parties in order to make money. TunnelBear will NEVER do this. TunnelBear has a fierce no-logging policy. At no point, and under no circumstances will TunnelBear log or sell your personal/usage data.

    In addition to our no-logging commitment, we also have a great privacy policy. Unlike many other VPN's, our privacy policy outlines how we run a trustworthy, free and paid VPN service by collecting the minimum amount of information possible necessary to provide you with a reliable service on our secure private network. We don’t require your name, we offer anonymous payment services, we don't collect your IP address and we avoid collecting other personal information via our analytics tools, all of which allow you to have more control over your personal information.

    Finally, all of our applications are independently code audited to ensure they are consistently in line with the highest standards of security. We’re actually so confident we’re doing everything we can to protect you that we’ve recently published these results here.

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  • Does TunnelBear keep logs?

    No! TunnelBear does not keep logs. This means we do not collect any information regarding what you 'bear'owse while connected to our secure and private VPN.

    See our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service for a detailed breakdown of how we go above and beyond to protect your privacy. You can also take a look at our blog for even more information on how we secure and encrypt your internet connection with our strong VPN. There, you'll also find our Security Audits.

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  • What kind of encryption does TunnelBear use?

    TunnelBear is a strong and private VPN built using a variety of secure and reliable encryption protocols. See here for up-to-date information on our encryption and security. You can also check out our blog for up to date Security Audits and other interesting content.

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  • 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's secure VPN service 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 - you're already secure when you connect to our encrypted tunnels.

    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 our website and compare the results shown there with that of the DNS leak test. If the IPs match, then your DNS is not leaking.

    Also, take a look at our blog post which goes into more detail about DNS and how TunnelBear handles it! 

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Features

  • Fastest Tunnel: Have the quickest connection possible

    Fastest Tunnel determines which tunnel is best for you by connecting you to the location that is closest to you. This means that your data travels the shortest distance possible, ensuring that you get the best possible speed results. This feature is available on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices. To use this feature, select 'Fastest' from the drop down list of countries.

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                                                     iOS                                                                                                                          Windows

     

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  • TCP Override: Triumph over choppy or unstable connections

    TCP Override is an advanced setting available on our macOS and Windows desktop apps. It forces TunnelBear to use a slightly slower, but more reliable tunneling protocol (TCP instead of UDP). Using TCP Override should result in better performance on an unreliable connection.

    When to use TCP Override

    Does your connection appear ‘broken’ a few minutes after enabling TunnelBear, or is streaming slow and choppy? It may be that your ISP (internet service provider) is throttling or even blocking UDP traffic. Or, it could be that your ISP might be experiencing some technical difficulties. In either case, TCP Override can potentially help!

    Troubleshooting issues with TCP Override

    If you find that TCP Override decreases the performance of your Bear, then it’s likely that you don’t need it. In this case, we recommend that you disable the feature. We also advise that you check out the following help articles if you are having a connection issue, or if your are having any speed issues.

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    Enabling TCP Override on Windows

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    Enabling TCP Override on MacOS

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  • VigilantBear: Strengthen privacy while connecting and reconnecting

    VigilantBear is designed to keep your location and data private in the brief seconds while TunnelBear is reconnecting. If TunnelBear loses connection for some reason (ie: you move between WiFi networks, or you’re out of network range briefly), it’s designed to automatically reconnect as soon as it detects the internet again. VigilantBear protects you in these brief seconds while TunnelBear is reconnecting.

    Currently the VigilantBear feature is available on Windows, macOS, and Android. This feature is only available on Android devices running Lollipop (5.0) or later. For more details on how to use the VigilantBear feature, see our blog post.

    Troubleshooting issues with VigilantBear

    You won't be able to enable VigilantBear if your computer is running a custom proxy. Sometimes software similar to TunnelBear can be responsible for making these types of changes. Please ensure that all other third party security apps or VPN services are disabled before trying again.

    IMPORTANT: On some networks, a custom proxy may be required to access the internet (without TunnelBear), so please check with your network administrator or ISP before disabling or changing any custom proxy settings if you’re not sure where they came from!

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    Windows

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    MacOS

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  • GhostBear: Fight censorship on restrictive networks

    GhostBear makes your encrypted data less detectable to governments, businesses, and ISPs. It does this by making VPN traffic less detectable on your network, making it harder to block. GhostBear is currently available on our Windows, macOS, and Android apps. GhostBear is not available for iOS due to restrictions in the way iOS is designed.


    When to use GhostBear

    If you’re already able to connect to TunnelBear without enabling GhostBear, you should NOT enable GhostBear. Using GhostBear when it's not needed can make your connection slower or cause it to not work at all. Leaving GhostBear off doesn’t make you less secure. You’ll still be protected by the latest and greatest encryption technologies

    If you’re not able to connect to TunnelBear or find that your bear can’t maintain a connection normally, we recommend that you try enabling GhostBear. If you don't notice any improvement, please make sure to turn GhostBear back off before reaching out to our friendly Support Bears.


    How to enable GhostBear

    If you're using GhostBear on Windows or macOS, enter your TunnelBear preferences by selecting the Gear icon within the app (located on the left side of the app for Windows, and the top right corner for Mac). Select "Settings" and then check off GhostBear.

    If you want to use GhostBear on Android, click on the "Menu" icon in the top left corner (the three horizontal stripes). Then select "Options" and check off the GhostBear box.

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    Windows

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    MacOS


    Troubleshooting issues with GhostBear

    Slower connections:

    Some speed loss is expected when GhostBear is enabled. This is caused by the extra ‘scrambling’ needed to further obscure your encrypted connection. If you don't need GhostBear to connect, turn it off for higher speeds.

    GhostBear option greyed out:

    1. If TunnelBear is already connected, you won't be able to enable GhostBear. Turn TunnelBear off and try again.

    2. TunnelBear will not allow you to enable GhostBear if your computer is running a custom proxy. Sometimes third-party security programs, or alternate VPNs can be responsible for making these kinds of changes. Disable these and try connecting again.

    NOTE: On some networks, a custom proxy is required to access the internet without TunnelBear, so please double check with your network administrator or ISP before disabling or changing any custom proxy settings if you’re not sure where they came from! For more information on how to check your current proxy settings on macOS, head here.

     

    Issues with GhostBear on Windows:

    Some Windows computers may be running a program that is known to interfere with GhostBear. If you have Killer Network Services installed, you'll need to disable it in order to use GhostBear. If you're unsure whether you have the program installed, simply open your Start menu and search for Killer Control Centre.

    If you have the app installed, launch Killer Control Center and head into the Settings (gear icon on the left side). There, you'll see a toggle switch for Killer Prioritization Engine (formerly: Advanced Stream Detect). Make sure the toggle switch is in the OFF position. Then, try enabling GhostBear and connecting to TunnelBear again.

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  • Trusted Networks: Let your Bear relax on chosen WiFi networks

    The Trusted Networks feature essentially creates a list of networks that you consider "safe." When you leave one of these networks, your Bear will automatically connect in order to ensure that your 'bear'owsing is completely private and secure. This feature is currently available on Windows, macOS, iOS, and some Android devices (not available on Android 8.1+). Trusted Networks can only be used with WiFi connections.

    While it is a good idea to keep your Bear connected at all times to maintain continuous privacy and security, you may decide that there are some networks, such as your home network, that are secure enough to give your furry friend a well-deserved coffee break.


    How It Works

    1. Your Bear will automatically connect when leaving a Trusted Network and it will disconnect when you re-enter the Trusted Network. 
    2. On Windows, Mac and Android, you can still turn TunnelBear ON while on a network that is trusted, without turning off the Trusted Networks feature. This allows you maximum control over your connection. On iOS, you'll be prompted to remove the network in order to connect.
    3. Your Bear will not disconnect automatically as soon as you add a network to the Trusted Networks list. After you enable the setting, you can choose to turn the VPN off manually.

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                                              iOS                                                                               Windows

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  • SplitBear: Choose which apps to Tunnel on Android

    SplitBear gives you complete control over which apps are tunneled through TunnelBear's secure and encrypted connection. This feature is only available on Android devices running on Lollipop (5.0) or later.

    Why should I use SplitBear?

    If you are looking to use a specific app or service that you do not want to have protected by your Bear, SplitBear allows you to manage this without disconnecting from TunnelBear. Any apps that may restrict VPN access, you trust with your location/IP address, or anything that requires your local IP address to be detected, may be a service you wish to have TunnelBear bypass. All other traffic from your device will remain protected.

    How do I use SplitBear?

    To enable SplitBear, open the sidebar menu by tapping the three horizontal lines in the top left corner of the app. Select Options > SplitBear to open the feature settings. Turn on the toggle at the top of the screen in order to enable SplitBear. Below, you should see a list of all applications that you can exclude from the tunnel. From the list, select the app(s) you wish to have TunnelBear bypass and exit out of the settings. If you're already connected, TunnelBear will prompt you to apply the changes by disconnecting and reconnecting the app. This is necessary for the settings to take effect.

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    Android

    Please be aware: Any applications that SplitBear excludes from the tunnel will NOT be encrypted/tunnelled by TunnelBear. 

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