Issues with sync and auto-updates; possibly not working perfectly with VPN and workaround proposal

I have used /e/OS for a couple of months as daily phone. I also use Mullvad VPN with their app. I sync photos to the Murena Cloud. I have noticed that photos are not always uploaded. Sometimes it seems that a restart of the phone helps. I have seen similar issue with auto-updates of apps from AppLounge. And sometimes I need to manually refresh downloads of pods in AntennaPod app. My issues are vague and not certain. Nor the reason. But after some consideration I thought if it could caused by any sw conflict in relation to VPN.

The Mullvad VPN client has settings under Advanced for “Split tunneling”. I have now tried for a few days to exclude /e/ Drive, App Lounge and AntennaPod from the VPN tunnel. My feeling is that my issues are gone now. I cannot proof anything or tell for certain. Of course I prefer to keep all traffic within the VPN tunnel. But my solution might be a work around for time being to handle this issue.

Regain your privacy! Adopt /e/ the unGoogled mobile OS and online servicesphone

1 Like

I’m not too deep in the literature on this, but this is working as expected? your workaround is the real solution.

If you setup a VPN, android treats it as “metered” by default. While your wifi is treated unmetered, the vpn could use the parallel mobile data connection when it is unavailable and slurp up your traffic allowance. Using the split option, the Apps see the unmetered wifi directly and do their sync schpiel.

I could be wrong if the code somehow can handle the connection-inheritance situation, as said I didn’t read to deep into ConnectivityManager.

VPNs can be set unmetered (some do this deliberately, see example), but this exposes you to the traffic risk when outside your wifi.

1 Like

Those few days after I started to use Split tunneling, the solution seems to work well.

Interesting that Android may treat VPN as metered. I am somewhat lost in all places for settings how I have configured metered - or maybe metered settings is not visible because I have for time being the mobile data turned off completely.

Another observation in this failure analysis is that e-mail, contacts and calender has synced all the time via VPN to Murena cloud.

In your last link, to Google Fi, the person had set " have manually set my home Wifi network as “unmetered” but the issue still persists." But I do not really find where I can set that at all to give it a try. But he was on Android 11 while I have Android 10.

I wonder if there can be somewhere in settings that can make those particular apps/services (or all) I now split out from VPN to see VPN itself as unmetered when I am on Wifi to find out if that helps.

I don’t think those apps check if the connection is metered, their data usage is negligible

the docs say, if the VPN app sets its own connection setMetered(false), the vpn-connection will inherit the meteredness from its underlying network (so it really can handle inheritance). If Mullvad does this actively and you see no sync, then the only available network available to the vpn could be marked metered for whatever reasons.

Thanks. I have raised a question to Mullvad if they have any response to above discussion.