*Updated for 2018
I still can’t believe it when people tell me that they don’t use a VPN.
It’s sad, because they’re missing out on so much content.
I’ve been using the NordVPN android app on both my Nexus smartphone and on a couple of my streaming devices. Not only does it help keep me secure when I’m mobile and on an insecure network, but it defeats most of the content restrictions that I’ve come across. You can check out my full NordVPN review here.
When the big media companies restrict access to what content you can see based on where you live, it is called geoblocking. If you haven’t already guessed – I hate it.
NordVPN has quickly became one of my favourite VPN’s, so I wanted to give a quick tutorial on how to install the NordVPN Android app. If your device has access to the Google Play Store, you should be able to install this on most of your devices without any issues.
However, if you can’t install it through the Google Play Store, you may have to sideload it manually. I’ve written an easy-to-follow guide on how to sideload android apps, if you can’t get it to install using the instructions below.
How to install the NordVPN Android App
This tutorial will give you a simple walkthrough on how to get up and running with NordVPN quickly. The installation from the Google Play Store is very straightforward, and shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.
All of the screenshots that follow were taken from one of my testing TV boxes.
1. Download the app from the Google Play Store
You can start the download process from the Google Play Store on your TV box or smartphone. Personally, I like to initiate it from my PC using the website since it lets me easily install it on multiple devices at the same time. It’s a small time saver and it helps ensure that all of you devices are protected in one shot.
The easiest way to find the app is if you search for “NordVPN.”
You can also find some apps and “reviews” made by other people trying to capitalize on the name, so be careful when you search. As long as the Developer is listed as “NordVPN”, you should be safe. In the picture above, the developer is listed right under the app title “NordVPN – Fast Secure VPN” and above the “E- Everyone” rating.
Once you click to install the app, you’ll be notified what permissions the app is going to ask for. These can change often as new features are added to the app. In this case, the app is asking for permissions to access your in-app purchases (for the subscription device), your photos/media/files and your Wi-Fi connection information.
Once you accept the permissions request the app will begin installing.
The app only takes a few seconds to install, depending on the speed of your connection.
However, you’re not done yet. There’s one extra bit of configuration that needs to be done.
2. Tour the App
Like many apps, the NordVPN Android app runs you through a little tour on the first time you open it.
The tour runs you through the basics of how to connect to a particular country’s severs and how to find the fastest server available. It’s also going to tell you a little about the SmartPlay feature which help in getting around some of the major streaming services geoblocking efforts.
The tour probably won’t tell you anything that you won’t stumble on to on your own, but it’s a nice way to get yourself familiar with the interface.
3. Configure the app and log in to your account
In the upper left hand corner of the app screen, you’ll see the familiar three vertical lines, or ‘hotdog’ icon, which will get you to the sidebar settings screen. Here’s where you’ll log in to your existing NordVPN account, or create your account if haven’t done so previously.
If you haven’t set up your account already, I recommend doing so online though your web browser using this link. You can usually get a better deal through your web browser than you can through the app itself.
You’ll either be clicking on the “I already have an account” link or the big, green “Sign Up” button to continue.
Once you sign in to your account for the first time, there will be an additional configuration file that the NordVPN Android app will install on your device. Since there are several hundred possible servers that you can choose from and they are constantly being updated, the file is always a separate download.
In my case, this file was just under 3 MB, so it only took a few seconds to install.
Once that’s done, you may get an additional security warning, depending on what version of the Android OS you have running on your device.
In my case, I got two separate warnings. The first warning was an additional permission request, allowing NordVPN to control the OpenVPN for Android service. Click the box that says “I trust this application” and then OK to continue.
The second warning was actually allowing NordVPN to establish a VPN connection. In most of the newer versions of Android, a key-shaped icon will appear on your notifications bar whenever the VPN has established a secure connection.
Click OK to continue.
Choose your server and connect
After you’ve logged in and accepted the permissions requests, you’re taken to the soon-to-be-familiar server map view. Both the NordVPN Android app and the Windows apps have the same interface, so if you switch back and forth like I do, you’ll be able to get around easily.
You can scroll around a map of the world much like you do in Google Maps and choose which country you would like to connect to.
By default, the app will start at whatever country you’re located in at the moment. Remember, you can also use NordVPN to create a secure connection, not just to get around any geoblocking restrictions.
No matter what country you choose, if you select it directly from the map view, it will automatically choose the server with the least number of people connected to it in that particular country. This is the quickest and simplest way to connect to a different location.
Once you get the “Connected” message, your device will appear to be in that country to any outside, prying eyes. This not only lets you bypass most company’s online content restrictions, but it gives you the added security of masking your internet connection and personal information.
If you haven’t already done so, I recommend you sign up for NordVPN and start getting access to content anywhere in the world.