iMessages still sending when VPN is struggling to connect

Hello, I run iOS 11.0.3 on iPhone 8+. Also run the latest Freedome app normally connecting to Melbourne, Australia. I run the VPN all the time. I've noticed that the connection drops at least a couple times a day. I usually delete the VPN profile and reconnect which sorts the problem for a while. Today I've switched IKEv2 off and will see how that goes. Interesting thing I saw today. I tried to check email using the iOS app which failed because Freedome was struggling to connect (spinning wheel). I tried to access DuckDuckGo in Safari and it failed, unreachable server. But while I was doing all that I received an iMessage (blue colour) from a contact. I was also able to send one which came up as delivered. The VPN status was still not ON at this stage. Is this normal? If mail and the browser are struggling to send/receive, why would iMessage be OK? Thanks in advance.


  • Näsäviisas
    Näsäviisas Posts: 786 Superuser

    Very interesting case.
    As explanation: iMessage is Apple's own textmailprogram. It is in your phone.
    It is not an emailapplication or browser.
    So called textmailapps does not need any kind of VPN to work. This is practise.

    About connection problems:
    Have you checked battery savings-option, is it OFF/ON?

    I don't know these IKE V1 and IKE V2-protocalls so well, but here in Community there are cases, when changing value.

    I hope that my advice are useful.

  • Thanks for replying. I understand iMessage is an inbuilt app of iOS. VPN when on captures all inbound and outbound network traffic from the device, not just third party apps such as browsers. If the VPN connection is in this "stuck" state, no apps (whether third party or part of iOS) should be able to send/receive? I may misunderstand how VPN works.

  • Näsäviisas
    Näsäviisas Posts: 786 Superuser
    I refer to the first part of this diskussion:
    Could it be troubles in traffic communications ( server unreachable, struggling connection). I mean with connections for example WI-FI, mobiledata, "phone lines" etc.

    I can send emails and use browser without Freedome VPN. No problem. But I always use Freedome.

    You can test it> Freedome > settings > OFF.
    It was new for me, that if Freedome does not work properly, then any connections from/in phone can not work.

    Freedome is not telephone operator.
    I have this kind of understanding.
    How is it in iPhone?

    Interesting case.

  • Ukko
    Ukko Posts: 3,522 Superuser



    Based on description for it:

    Maybe your experience was about SMS? As application's own abilities to use SMS-method when there is troubles with Network-connection (Internet-access).


    Also usually there is troubles that "iMessage" is not working good with VPN services ON. As example:


    I able to think that when Freedome do connection: 'previous' is disabled and establishing 'current' VPN connection. Maybe you're hit certain timeframe (while your other experience about 'not available' Internet) OR application indeed with abilities to provide alternative methods to transfer letters.


    I'm also only F-Secure user (their home solutions) and not friendly with iOS. Maybe some experienced iOS users able to create more good advices. But also possible to try F-Secure direct Support Channels (chat/phone):

    If it possible to repeat and it sounds 'strange'. For their own investigation.



  • I have no issues when Freedome is OFF. The exact scenario I describe in the original post goes like this: - the VPN symbol is visible on the top of the phone menu - then run any applications like browser but I can not access the internet - then run Freedome app and expect to see ON but instead the circle is spinning endlessly trying to establish a connection (note it does not display OFF during this time) - during this time iMessage is able to send (as proven by the Delivered status - in order to establish VPN connection I delete the VPN profile from the Freedome app and try to connect again
  • Thanks for your reply. I am definitely referring to an iMessage (blue in colour on the iOS Messages app) not SMS (green in colour on the iOS Messages app). Thanks for the link to the thread. I definitely have always ON for idle enabled since my first use of Freedome and VPN.
  • Ukko
    Ukko Posts: 3,522 Superuser

    @dumbcyber wrote:
    Thanks for your reply. I am definitely referring to an iMessage (blue in colour on the iOS Messages app) not SMS (green in colour on the iOS Messages app). Thanks for the link to the thread. I definitely have always ON for idle enabled since my first use of Freedome and VPN.



    Sorry for my previous suggestion (that maybe it was letter not over the Internet). I just not friendly with iOS platform and their applications (so it was only potential suggestion based on description for application/service). Indeed you noted that it was "blue color" from first (it was just not known for me - what it means).

    Just because wikipedia-article with words about their "Apple Push Notification Service" (I'm not sure how it works) with words like:

    It sets up a Keep-Alive connection with the Apple servers

    Maybe such notifications can be as offline-push (?!) with certain situation.


    If not -> maybe Freedome did not trigger 'ON'-status (yet) but connection was established already. Or even re-trigger try to create VPN-connection (with back to your normal mobile/Wi-Fi connection temporary).

    If it will be possible to repeat -> maybe will be possible to understand situation properly!


    Thanks! Sorry for worst English. Smiley Sad

  • Laksh
    Laksh Posts: 4,443 Former F-Secure Employee

    Hi dumbcyber,


    It may be so that Apple lets iMessage’s HTTPS protocol bypass Freedome in some situations. We use the built-in IPSec VPN functionality in iOS devices and we don’t have the possibility to affect this. We have monitored that when Freedome is turned on, iMessage communicates through the VPN with Apple, but in some cases like described iMessage might bypass VPN.

  • Thank you for replying. I assumed that once VPN was ON all traffic would be routed through VPN. I now wonder if there is other iOS apps created by Apple that can also bypass the VPN?
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