AdGuard cannot create a local VPN

Anon27

New Member
Hi,
I'm trying to set up a 7-day trial run (now 6-day trial run, and I haven't even started using it yet…) of AdGuard for Android to try to see if it's worth buying a licence for. I've run into technical difficulties that have been reported in this forum on at least two (possibly more) separate occasions since 2019, but the customary solution (switching to the nightly channel) is somehow not working for me. I've reported the problem to technical support via the app channel, but the e-mail confirming they received my message and assigning me a ticket also said that they're experiencing an extreme shortage of technical support resources right now and consequently prioritising payment-related tickets over technical difficulty-related ones, so I've decided to copy what I wrote to them here to hopefully double the odds that someone can help me in time before the trial period expires on the 12th of April. If no one does, I won't be able to test drive this app and I refuse to buy it blindly — reviews in this forum seem to imply that the app either simply takes to your device (in which case it is great) or it simply doesn't (in which case it is trash and I've yet to see a post explaining how to successfully untrash it), so I'm not paying money for a licence without knowing beforehand whether the app will take to my device or not.

Attempting to enable protection, after having thoroughly configured AdGuard for Android for a free 7-day trial (will buy a licence if trial is successful… very happy I hadn't bought one beforehand right now). AdGuard consistently fails to enable protection, claiming that it couldn't create a local VPN and arguing that it is possible that VPN is not supported by my firmware (which is obviously not the case, as I've had Blokada for as long as I've had this firmware and it uses the same "local VPN" access as AdGuard for Android… though it can't be that Blokada is interfering with AdGuard either, as I always disable Blokada before attempting to enable AdGuard). A brief consultation with the AdGuard for Android users' forum came up with an apparent solution — switching from the "Release" channel to the "Nightly" channel and updating the software. While this switch updated me from version 3.6.7 (which I'm assuming was the last stable release version) to version 4.0.74 (nightly 33), I fear the bug persists. Uninstalling the software and reinstalling it (which downdated me back to 3.6.7 and seems to have made AdGuard forget my e-mail address, even though it seemingly didn't forget my trial licence key) also did not solve the problem.
My device is a Samsung Galaxy A51, and my OS is Android 10. AdGuard for Android versions 3.6.7 ("Release" channel) and 4.0.74 ("Nightly" channel) both presented the same issue: certificate is properly installed and app is properly configured, but AdGuard cannot create a local VPN connection (even though Blokada 5.20.2 does it just fine, so it can't be that VPN isn't supported by my firmware) and won't function without one (as my device is not rooted — I'm told Samsung boobytraps their Android 9+ devices so that even attempting to root will brick the camera forever, which is a risk I'm not willing to take no matter how much I want to). Please help.

PS: I'm still waiting for someone to tell me why Avast Mobile Security refuses to install AdGuard for Android on my other device, which is also a Samsung Galaxy A51 with OS Android 10, because it has detected "suspicious app activity!" on it, even though the same Avast Mobile Security (both are free package, up to date as per Google Play and running on the latest virus definitions) on this device (identical model, identical OS) does not detect any suspicious app activity on AdGuard and has successfully installed it now three times in a roll (original 3.6.7, update to 4.0.74 nightly, then 3.6.7 again after uninstalling).
 

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Man in the Moon

New Member
Abstente, por ahora, de Enraizar tus dos Samsung Galaxy A51.

Tienes dos problemas diferentes aunque estén relacionados entre sí:

1. Por un lado, comunicas que, siendo idénticos los dos dispositivos que tienes, en uno de ellos has podido instalar y usar AdGuard AdBlocker mientras que en el otro no encuentras la manera de lograr el mismo resultado.

2. Por otro lado, comunicas que el problema del dispositivo en el que no consigues hace funcionar a AdGuard AdBlocker se debe a que éste no halla el modo de instalar su sistema de VPN Local.

Sobre el primer caso:

Si no he malentendido tu comunicado y en uno de los dos dispositivos idénticos has tenido éxito con la instalación y uso de AdGuard AdBlocker, haz una minuciosa observación "de forense" sobre el estado del dispositivo en el que AdGuard funciona. Y ponte después en la tarea de hacer una réplica perfecta de dicho dispositivo "bueno" en el otro dispositivo "malo" dónde AdGuard, aún siendo "idénticos" ambos, no funciona.

Sobre el segundo caso:

Tal y como está el dispositivo que parece no admitir el establecimiento de VPN Local, prueba a configurar y establecer un Proxy Manual. En tu dispositivo "malo" puede hacerse. No es necesario que esté Enraizado. Y si el Proxy Manual pita (funciona), habrá que pensar en otras cosas... Como, por ejemplo, acudir al primer caso y CLONAR el dispositivo que sí ha funcionado.





Refrain, for now, from Rooting your two Samsung Galaxy A51s.

You have two different problems although they are related to each other:

1. On the one hand, you communicate that, being the two identical devices you have, on one of them you have been able to install and use AdGuard AdBlocker while on the other you cannot find a way to achieve the same result.

2. On the other hand, you report that the device issue where you can't get AdGuard AdBlocker to work is due to AdGuard AdBlocker not finding a way to install its Local VPN system.

About the first case:

If I have not misunderstood your statement, and on one of the two identical devices you have successfully installed and used AdGuard AdBlocker, please make a careful "forensic" observation on the state of the device on which AdGuard works. And then get down to the task of making a perfect replica of said "good" device on the other "bad" device where AdGuard, even though both are "identical", does not work.

About the second case:

As it is the device that does not seem to support the establishment of Local VPN, try to configure and establish a Manual Proxy. On your "bad" device it can be done. You don't need to be Rooted. And if the Manual Proxy beeps (it works), we will have to think about other things... Like, for example, going to the first case and CLONING the device that has worked.
 

Anon27

New Member
First of all, thank you for taking the time to actually respond to my threads. Your help is much appreciated.

Regarding problem #1 (device with dark mode = off), it's not that I couldn't find a way to install AdGuard — I could do it by bypassing Avast if I wanted to, I just trust Avast more than I trust AdGuard. As I damn well should: it occurred to me a few minutes ago to simply transfer the `adguard.apk` file that did not trigger a "suspicious app activity" flag on Avast at device #2 over to device #1 via Bluetooth, and voilà, AdGuard installed, no suspicious app activity. Which only raises further questions: is it possible that my connection to https://adguard.com/en/welcome.html on device #1 had been intercepted by some sort of man-in-the-middle attack and that the `adguard.apk` that triggered the suspicious activity flag was in fact a phony (even though I downloaded it from the same page several times over, sometimes refreshing the page first, and not only did the page look identical on both devices, the address at my browser's URL bar was also identical)?

Regarding problem #2, it was originally restricted to device #2 (dark mode = on), but, after I successfully installed AdGuard on device #1 (dark mode = off), it is now a problem common to both devices — on neither of them AdGuard 3.6.7 (nor, at least on device #2, AdGuard 4.0.74) can establish a local VPN connection, even though Blokada 5.20.2 can establish a local VPN connection just fine on both devices. Thus, I believe it's not the devices that can't establish a local VPN connection, it's the AdGuard app.
 

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Anon27

New Member
In case anyone is having this same problem, user @Chinaski1 at Github suggested following these instructions: https://kb.adguard.com/en/android/solving-problems/restricted-profile#solutions

Please note that I cannot vouch for whether these instructions will solve the problem, as they came too late for me and, since my free trial period concluded with 0 ads blocked, 0 trackers blocked, 0 threats blocked and 0KB of data saved (if there were an option to rate this app, I'd give it 0 stars out of 5 and leave a particularly bad review criticising their decision to make free trial licences last only 7 days instead of 30 despite their terrible costumer support service), I was forced to conclude that AdGuard is not worth paying money for (Blokada Libre may be a simple DNS filter, but it actually does what it claims to do, while AdGuard promises all sorts of features but delivers none — plus Blokada Libre is 100% free and open source, and it has decent costumer support, at least so in comparison to AdGuard) and uninstall the app. If anyone having the same problem tries these instructions, please post here and at Github whether they actually work.

PS: I want to opt out of receiving junk mail from AdGuard, but I'm afraid of logging into the https://adguard.com/en/welcome.html website because of that other problem I mentioned. How can I tell if this website is legit? Is there another way to opt out?
 
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Anon27

New Member
UPDATE:

After being provided with a new free trial license, I attempted the solution aforementioned and found it completely useless. AdGuard continues to be completely non-functional to me. Unless someone can tell me what is the secret to making this app do anything at all on a non-rooted phone, my advice to anyone reading this is: do not install AdGuard for Android unless you have root access, it is completely useless and not worth a plugged penny.
 

Anon27

New Member
UPDATE: SOLUTION FOUND

@maxikuzmin from AdGuard's GitHub page successfully identified the problem — AdGuard cannot create a local VPN profile if your Android device already has a pre-existing VPN profile with "always on" privileges

@PrintableCharacter from the Blokada Community Forum provided a simple solution, which no one in the AdGuard GitHub page could think of:

(1) Go to the Android Settings > Connections > More connection settings > VPN
(2) Make sure the option "always on" is switched off on every pre-existing VPN profile

Et voilà, protection can now be enabled successfully. C'est le secret qui a tous échapé!

(obs: funny how the folks at the Blokada forum cracked the problem in 4h, while the guys at AdGuard couldn't crack it in 48 days…)
 
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Man in the Moon

New Member
~ Bueno, amigo, me alegra mucho que hayas encontrado una solución para tu problema.

Well, friend, I am very glad that you have found a solution for your problem.

~ Sin embargo, te ruego que no seas injusto con la gente de AdGuard AdBlocker (no pertenezco al equipo) por no haber comprendido y solucionado tu caso de inmediato: te han concedido otra licencia de prueba...

However, please, I beg you do not be unfair to the AdGuard AdBlocker people (I am not part of the team) for not understanding and solving your case immediately: they have granted you another trial license...

~ Espero que comprendas que, hasta para mí, sin ser una autoridad en la materia, resulta algo bochornoso el no haber sabido identificar tu problema desde el primer momento.

I hope you understand that, even for me, without being an authority on the matter, it is somewhat embarrassing not to have been able to identify your problem from the first moment.

~ De verdad, amigo, estoy convencido de que si cualquiera hubiera comprendido a raíz de tus explicaciones que tenías en marcha otras VPN, también te habríamos ofrecido la solución al instante.

Really, friend, I am convinced that if anyone had understood as a result of your explanations that you had other VPNs running, we would also have offered you the solution instantly.

~ Como un simple usuario más de AdGuard AdBlocker, te doy la bienvenida a ésta maravillosa aplicación que, a mi modesto y no condicionao entender, está logrando ser la Referencia Maestra del género.

As a simple user of AdGuard AdBlocker, I welcome you to this wonderful application that, in my humble and unconditional opinion, is becoming the Master Reference of the genre.

~ ¡BIENVENIDO!


;););)

¡WELCOME!

;););)
 

Anon27

New Member
I mentioned I had Blokada from the start. I can't be the first person to try to install AdGuard after having already installed another service that Android recognises as an always on VPN. @maxikuzmin instantly recognised the problem when I recorded a video of it, so it was clearly obvious what the problem was to anyone who bothered to look at my screenshots. It probably happens all the time. I'm not blaming you, mind you; you've tried your best, even though you're not paid to. I'm blaming the guys at the AdGuard GitHub, who are devs or tech support and should have instantly recognised what the issue was. And @maxikuzmin gave me false information, that the problem could only be solved by uninstalling Blokada because "Android only supports one local VPN at the time"; when I said that at the Blokada forum, @PrintableCharacter made me look like an idiot and showed me a screenshot of a single device with four separate local VPN profiles at the time (e.g. firewalls also use this exploit). The solution was so simple it took me less than a minute to implement, once I knew what it was. We're both "simple [end] users", we're not obliged to know that sort of stuff, but the devs and tech support people are obliged to know it, and I find it ridiculous that it took them 48 days to identify the problem, only to provide a wrong solution for it. If this happened with Blokada, I would have had been provided with a simple and effective solution in less than a day — and Blokada is not even a company, it's a volunteer workgroup that struggles to make the ends meet. The total number of devs + techies they have can be counted on the fingers. That their tech support is infinitely superior to AdGuard's is ridiculous and speaks volumes of how little AdGuard as a company cares about its end users.

And no one's even tried to explain why, when I tried downloading AdGuard directly from the website on my other phone, Avast recognised it as a malicious program, prevented me from installing it, and told me to delete it. Several times over, downloaded independently from the same site on the same device. Yet, when I downloaded it from the same site on this phone instead, it installed immediately — and, when I sent the installation file from this phone to the other phone via Bluetooth, it also installed immediately, with no problem identified by Avast.

EDIT: Thank you for the warm welcome. I'm sorry I'm venting my frustration on you. You don't deserve that, you've been nothing but great to me. It's just that I'm very disappointed with AdGuard's consumer service — so much so I'm seriously considering whether I want to buy a paid license after all. If there's a problem, and a lot of people here complain about there being problems, I'll be essentially on my own to fix it. Blokada does less than AdGuard, but I rarely have a problem with it, and whenever I do, their consumer service is impeccable.
 
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Man in the Moon

New Member


~ No te preocupes, amigo. Por lo que a mí respecta, tu comprensible estado de frustración no me ofendió. Espero que encuentres mucha utilidad en las capacidades de AdGuard AdBlocker.

:):):)

Do not worry, friend. As far as I'm concerned, your understandable state of frustration didn't offend me. I hope you will find much use in the capabilities of AdGuard AdBlocker.

:):):)
 
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