Android 8.1: WiFi + VPN = Cellular Data, ummmmmmm pic.twitter.com/StvwOBRyDt— love4taylor (@love4taylor_13) December 5, 2017
[Updated] Google fixes Android 8.1 WiFi+VPN issue, but 'unstable WiFi' problem remains
Update (May 22):
Android P to fix WiFi+VPN issues introduced by Oreo 8.1. More information here.
Update (December 22):
Following is a user shared video clip, clearly displaying the WiFi disconnection issue (at 10 seconds):
Original story below:
Google has fixed an annoying issue that was brought along by the Android 8.1 update. The problem in question prevented apps from accessing the Internet through WiFi during an active VPN connection.
Users have been complaining about the issue ever since Android 8.1 started rolling out. Finally today, Google confirmed that the problem has been resolved internally, and the fix will be made available to everyone through a future OTA update.
For those interested in knowing details, users with devices running Android 8.1 have been complaining that some of their most frequently used apps – like Google Photos – that are set to only work with WiFi, fail to recognize that the device is on WiFi when there’s an active connection to a VPN service/network.
The following screenshot clearly shows the ‘No WiFi’ error thrown by an app, despite the device being connected to a WiFi connection.
Some users further confirm that the affected apps/services see the WiFi connection as cellular data connection, meaning if their settings is tweaked to allow them to work on a mobile data connection, they start working normally.
Of course, all these issues are only when the device is connected to a VPN service – everything works as expected when the VPN connection is disabled. It’s good that Google has quickly fixed the issue, but it’ll still take some time for the fix to be made available to everyone (January security update should include it).
Unstable WiFi issue
There’s another WiFi-related problem that users with Android 8.1 devices have been heavily reporting. It’s related to the stability of WiFi connection, with complainants reporting various use-cases.
For example, some say WiFi connects and disconnects frequently, while others say it stays connected, but web pages fail to load after a set duration of time (post which everything is again back to normal until the next time the same issue happens).
Then there are others who say their device just doesn’t connect to a WiFi connection until it’s rebooted. And even after that, the connection drops after some time and the device again enters the cycle of WiFi disconnecting and connecting over and over. Some even report that the problem only happens when both WiFi and mobile data are on.
There are hundreds of reports related to this issue, spread across Google forums, Reddit, and Twitter. Most of them are Verizon customers. During our research, it came to light that removing the Verizon Privacy and Security app resolved the problem for a lot of users.
However, it’s difficult to conclude that the problem is with the app, as users say there were no such issues with Android 8.0. So there seems to be a conflict between Android 8.1 and the “Wi-Fi” security setting on Verizon.
Also, what about others? Yes, there are a lot of people who are not on Verizon and are facing the same WiFi stability issues – another point that adds weight to the possibility of issue being with Android 8.1.
Officially, Google is yet to comment on the matter. Meanwhile, if you are among those who are affected, rest assured, we are keeping a close eye on wherever the problem is being discussed.
Stay connected with us on Twitter (@PiunikaWeb) to hear about all related developments as and when they occur