Can I use iOS 6+ VPN-On-Demand with OpenVPN?


Yes. VPN-On-Demand (VoD) is a new technology introduced by Apple in iOS 6 that allows a VPN profile to specify the conditions under which it will automatically connect. In addition, using a VoD profile on iOS 7 allows OpenVPN to be connected and disconnected using the iOS Settings App under the VPN tab (although note that on iOS 8 and higher, ordinary OpenVPN profiles can be connected using the Settings App, as long as they don’t require credential entry). OpenVPN on iOS fully supports VoD, with the following features:

OpenVPN VoD profiles can be created using the iPhone Configuration utility. Unfortunately, the process is a bit cumbersome at the moment because the directives of the OpenVPN profile must be manually entered as key/value pairs into the iPhone Configuration utility UI.

For now, to create a VoD profile, open the iPhone Configuration utility (these directions were tested with version 3.5 on a Mac tethered to an iPad running iOS 6.0.1), go to the File menu, and select “New Configuration Profile”.

Next, edit the newly created Configuration Profile. Click on General in the left pane and fill out the fields such as Name, Identifier, Organization, etc. Click on VPN in the left pane and a “Configure VPN” dialog box should appear in the main window. Click the “Configure” button. Fill out the VPN settings as described below:

In addition, parameters normally given in the OpenVPN client configuration file may instead be defined using key/value pairs in the Custom Data section:

Once the VoD profile has been defined, you have two options for exporting it to an iOS device:

When an iOS device receives a VoD profile (via Mail attachment, Safari download, or pushed by the iPhone Configuration utility), it will raise a dialog box to facilitate import of the profile. After import, the profile will be visible in the Settings App under General / Profiles. It will also be visible as a profile in the OpenVPN app. Note that the profile must be the currently-enabled VPN profile in order for the VoD functionality to work.