Fix the Orbot VPN not working issue in a few steps

Diana Serban
by Diana Serban
VPN Expert & Privacy Advocate
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Affiliate Disclosure
  • Before smartphones, people relied on Tor Browser to securely surf online on their PC.
  • Orbot is an open-source Android application, developed by Tor, that acts as a proxy and has a built-in VPN feature.
  • Even if most of the users are happy with the app, some of them complain that sometimes Orbot VPN is not working properly.
  • To fix this issue, you can set your phone’s date and time correctly, clear the storage data in Orbot app, disable other VPNs on your phone, and other tricks that you will find below.

Orbot is a free VPN that protects your personal information from intrusion, interception, and monitoring, by encrypting your data for total anonymity. Unfortunately, some users claim that their Orbot VPN is not working.

While smartphones have become more indispensable than ever in everyday life, allowing you to hold the Internet at the tips of your fingers, there are still some questions when it comes to data protection.

Conducting transactions, doing banking, and paying bills on your phone can leave you vulnerable to cyber-attacks and the use of a VPN is a reliable measure that helps you fight that.

Before smartphones, people relied on Tor Browser to securely surf online on their PC. The same developers from Tor also provide an app designed for Android users.

Best known as an open-source Android application, Orbot acts as a proxy, so you can enjoy online access without being blocked or monitored by your mobile service provider.

No matter the reason behind these issues, in this short guide we offer some solutions that might help you.

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What can I do if Orbot VPN is not working?

1. Restart your smartphone

This is the first thing you should do when an app is unresponsive, as it will enable you to troubleshoot the issue instantly.

Sometimes the operating system or apps like VPNs won’t open, respond or work properly, crash unexpectedly, so restarting your Android device can help you.

To restart your smartphone, press its power button for a few seconds, select the Restart/Power down option, then turn on the device.

Android smartphone shows restart

Once your Android system loads its features, try launching the Orbot app again to see if the problem persists.

If it still does, proceed with the next steps.

2. Check your phone’s Internet connection

If your Orbot VPN is not working, make sure to check if your Wi-Fi or mobile data connection is properly working.

  1. Tap on the Settings icon from your Android device.
  2. Tap on the Connections option from the list.
  3. Click on Wi-Fi.
Android device shows Wi-Fi connection
  1. Check if your Wi-Fi is connected.
Android shows Wi-Fi is connected

Once you see that the internet connection is up and running, try opening the VPN again and see if you still have problems with it.

3. Update your phone’s system

It is no wonder that many Android and iOS users don’t update their devices to the latest available software version as frequently as they should.

However, you have to remember that updating your smartphone operating system helps you address security issues and also improves the overall performance of your device.

If you’re having problems with your VPN, updating your device may fix them, so follow these steps:

  1. Tap on the Settings icon on your Android smartphone.
  2. Tap on the Software update option from the list.
Android shows software update option
  1. Choose if you want to manually or automatically update the software.
Android shows manually or automatically software updates

4. Set your phone’s date and time correctly

If you are unable to log into your VPN app, or it crashes, chances are that your phone has an incorrect date or time.

Make sure to check whether the region and time zone set in your Orbot account match the ones on your smartphone.

Remember that apps need an accurate clock to work properly (a few minutes are not such a big issue, but a few hours are problematic).

To configure the date and time on your phone, follow the next steps:

  1. Tap on the Settings icon on your Android smartphone.
  2. Tap on the General management option from the list.
Android shows general management option
  1. In General management list, tap on Date and time option.
Android shows date and time settings
  1. In Date and time tap on Automatic date and time option.
Android shows automatic date and time option
  1. Set the date, time and time zone from Automatic date and time.
Android shows set date, time and select time zone

5. Force stop the app

The easiest way to fix an app that stops working on your Android smartphone is to simply force stop it and open it again.

To do this, follow the steps below:

  1. Tap on the Settings option on your Android smartphone.
  2. Scroll down in Settings to find Apps in the list.
Android settings shows apps
  1. Tap on Apps.
Android apps settings
  1. Search for Orbot in the Apps list and tap on it.
Android shows Orbot App search
  1. In Orbot App info screen, tap on the Force stop button.
Android shows force stop Orbot

6. Clear storage data in Orbot app

When your Orbot VPN fails to start or even stops working, the cached data might be too large, so you should consider clearing it.

Clearing the storage data usually helps if the app is buggy and leaves you exposed to security threats. In such a scenario, it makes sense to follow the steps below:

  1. Follow the steps from the previous solution until you get to Orbot app from your Android smartphone.
  2. Tap on Storage in the App info screen.
Android app info shows Orbot storage
  1. Tap on Clear data in Storage screen.
Android shows clear data Orbot

7. Update the Orbot app

Sometimes, you may find that the apps that you installed on your phone freeze or crash unexpectedly, and you should consider updating them.

App updates add new features, fix issues in the current version and improve user experience.

You will see that the latest app versions work fine and you might not have any lost connection or other issues, so checking the Orbot app for the latest version is the best you can do.

To update the Orbot app, follow these steps:

  1. Open Google play on your smartphone and search for Orbot: Tor for Android app.
  2. Once on Orbot screen, tap on the Update button.
Android shows update Orbot

8. Reinstall the Orbot app

Apps malfunctioning is often caused by damage to the apps themselves, but with a few troubleshooting guidelines, you can fix them immediately.

If none of the solutions above work, try reinstalling the app. To do that, check the following steps:

  1. Clear the Orbot app cache by following the steps from solution no. 6.
  2. Follow the steps from solution no. 5, until you get to the App info screen and tap on the Uninstall button.
Android shows uninstall Orbot
  1. After uninstalling the app from your device, reinstall Orbot: Tor for Android from Google Play store.

9. Disable other VPNs on your phone

Android system doesn’t allow more than one active VPN at a time.

If your smartphone is already connected to a VPN, make sure to disconnect other VPNs before trying to connect to Orbot.

On Android 7 and later, there is a feature called Always-on VPN. If this option is enabled for another VPN installed on your smartphone, Orbot’s connection will be blocked.

To fix this problem, disable the Always-on VPN option, by following these steps:

  1. Open your phone’s Settings.
  2. Tap on More connections.
Android shows more connections
  1. Tap on VPN in the More connections screen.
Android shows more connections VPN
  1. Long press on a VPN name on the list and tap on the Edit option.
Android shows edit VPN
  1. Disable Always-on VPN for all the VPNs except Orbot.
Android shows always-on VPN option

10. Connect to another network

If Orbot VPN is still not working, try switching to a hotspot or mobile data.

  1. Tap on the Settings icon on another Android smartphone.
  2. Tap on Mobile Hotspot option from the Settings screen. You will see a notification that will pop-up on your screen. Tap on the notification to set up Mobile Hotspot.
Android shows mobile hotspot
Android shows set up mobile hotspot notification
  1. Enter the password provided by Mobile Hotspot and follow the instructions on the screen.
Android shows mobile hotspot setup

11. Contact your Internet Service Provider

If following the steps above didn’t solve your problem, contacting your Internet Service Provider might help you find out which router settings block your Orbot VPN connection.

Conclusion

Once you check the solutions that we have detailed in this troubleshooting guide, you should be able to fix your problem.

Maybe you have to update, uninstall or even force force stop your Orbot VPN to make it work properly.

At times, connectivity issues on your phone or a postponed system update can cause the app to become unresponsive or slow down.

Regardless of the reason, apps that freeze become a seriously frustrating tech issue, but thankfully there are some ways to make them work again.

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