Fake "VPN update is recommended" Ads - How to remove

There are warnings that say “VPN update is recommended” targeting iOS users. These alerts are actually fake ads for potentially unwanted applications. Don’t be alarmed when you see such ads – just close them.

If the “VPN update is recommended” ads show up regularly, there might be a problem. You might regularly visit websites that display unsafe ads, or your device might have an adware problem.

About “VPN update is recommended” warnings:

Threat type Adware,


Problems with “VPN update is recommended” Fake warning threatening browser display issues if you don’t install the recommended app,

inaccurately advertised app features.

Apps promoted by the ad VPN and ad blocker by an unknown developer.
How to deal with “VPN update is recommended” ads Ignore the warning and close the page,

block malicious sites and ads,

protect your device with anti-malware apps (Combo Cleaner, Malwarebytes, others).

Problems with the “VPN update is recommended” alerts

Ads disguised as warnings

“VPN update is recommended” is a fake alert that targets iPhone users. Made to look like a warning about Chrome being unable to display webpages, it’s actually an advertisement for potentially unwanted apps. If your phone screen starts displaying such an alert, close the page immediately.

The “VPN update is recommended” warning is not real or accurate and so it should be ignored. The page looks kind of like an iPhone lock screen with a clock in the middle. It’s common for deceptive websites to pretend to be device alerts (Your personal data has been stolen!).

On the foreground, there’s text that says “VPN update is recommended” and asks you to install a “recommended free VPN app” to avoid browser display problems.

The “VPN update is recommended” page looks the same regardless of whether you use a VPN service on your phone or if your VPN app has all the latest updates. It doesn’t know or care about what’s running on your device.

The alert also says that your web browser might fail to display webpages correctly if you don’t install the VPN app that it’s pushing. This doesn’t sound convincing – people who have no VPNs use the web with no issues.

Once the “VPN update is recommended” alert shows up, you just need to click anywhere on the page to be brought to the App Store.

"VPN update is recommended" on a fake iPhone home screen.

Potentially unwanted apps

The apps that “VPN update is recommended” promotes might be different depending on your location, language, or time. In my case, the “VPN update is recommended” pop-up recommended Harbor VPN by Neomikr, OOO. An app that offers an ad blocker and a VPN.

It looks good at first. Great ratings and dozens of absurdly positive 5-star reviews all written in identical bubbly ultra-positive tone, highlighting that the app is very easy to use and the subscription fee is very affordable.

Oh yeah, when the “VPN update is recommended” ad said “Please install the recommended free VPN app to solve a potential problem”, it didn’t actually mean “free”. The cost is the same as some mainstream VPNs – $13 per month, certainly not insignificant.

By the way, Harbor VPN promises to block ads, but if you read its privacy policy, it talks about third-party ads being displayed by Harbor VPN. And it talks about analyzing your preferences to show you relevant special offers (ads). Funny, coming from an ad blocker.

How to deal with the “VPN update is recommended” pop-ups

Ignore these fake ads. Don’t pay attention to their warnings. They have nothing valuable to say. Close the page (locked browser issues) and continue browsing normally.

The “VPN update is recommended” alert itself is not dangerous, so if you click on it, don’t panic. Just don’t install the apps that the ad offers. These apps might not be malicious, but they’re likely unnecessary and unhelpful.

If you do want to use an ad blocker and a VPN, use apps that are known to be reliable. Always check mainstream websites for reviews. Avoid applications by unknown developers. There have been apps on the App Store that collected payments but didn’t provide their promised features (these apps are called fleeceware).

Using ad blockers and anti-malware apps can help you stay safe online. They can block deceptive ads like the “VPN update is recommended” alert. In fact, it might be helpful to scan your device with anti-malware apps, such as Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes. If you see low-quality ads often, it’s good to check your device for possible infections.

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