Most good VPNs cost money to use. There are a few services with decent free tiers, but they’re always limited in some way. One way to try to beat the system is to use a modified app. On Android this sort of thing is called a “modded APK”. “Modded” is short for “modified” and “APK” is the file extensions for Android apps. Some users, fed up with paying for VPN services have modified and released a version of the ExpressVPN app. These modifications remove the hardware check that the application performs to stop users from wiping the app’s data and signing up for multiple free trials.
Note: ExpressVPN has recently changed its tier system and replaced the 7-day free trial with a 30-day money-back guarantee. As such you may not be able to start a free trial even with the modified app. For more consistent results, try using another VPN provider that does offer a free trial or tier.
To use the modified app, you must first install it on your phone, this requires a technique called “sideloading”, as the modified app is not available in the Google Play Store.
Tip: Sideloading is a technique where an app is downloaded and installed on to a device via an alternative method than standard trusted app stores.
To sideload the app you need to enable the permission for the app you’re downloading to “Install unknown apps”. To do this you must open the Settings app and go to Settings > Apps & notifications > Advanced > Special app access > Install unknown apps > Chrome. If you’re using a different browser or app to download the modded APK, select that app from the “Install unknown apps” page instead of “Chrome”. Once on the app’s permission page, tap the “Allow from this source” slider to allow the app to download and install other apps.
Tip: On some phones, the setting may instead be in Settings > Apps > Chrome > Install unknown apps.
Tip: Using this function exposes you to potential security risks. Please be careful when using it and don’t install just anything you come across as you may be putting yourself at risk for mal- or spyware.
Once you’ve enabled the permission, browse to a link for the modded app you want to install and download it. You can find the ExpressVPN Mod app available for download here although other sources are available. Once the app finishes downloading, tap the downloaded file, and follow the installation instructions to install the app.
Once ExpressVPN Mod is installed, sign up for a free trial account and use it for the trial period. Once the trial period is over, you can re-register for a new free trial by clearing the application data. To wipe the app’s application data, open the Settings app then browse to Settings > Storage > Other apps > Express VPN.
Tip: Make sure you specifically select the modded app and not the real app if you also have that installed.
Once in the app’s storage settings tap “Clear data” and then confirm you want to wipe the app’s data by clicking “Delete”.
Tip: On some phones, the setting may instead be in Settings > Apps > ExpressVPN > Storage.
Once you’ve cleared the app’s data, you can then sign up for a new free trial and use it as before.