This article only applies to the old version of Opal (on iOS 15 or prior). Here’s why you should upgrade to iOS 16 and experience the new Opal.
The core functionality of Opal's app is to disconnect distracting apps. In order to do this, Opal uses Apple's Local VPN technology, which you need to give permissions for. There is no other way to do this on iPhone (Apple limitations).
We take privacy very seriously. Unlike most apps, we make sure private browsing data never leaves your device. Whenever possible, we will keep your data on your phone (client) and never store your data on our servers.
Read more: What do you do with my data?
What is a VPN?
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is essentially a middle man between your personal device and the internet. The best way to understand a VPN is to look at the flow of internet traffic.
Typically, requests made by your device are routed directly to the internet by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). With a VPN however, the traffic comes from the VPN, rather than your personal device and so your true IP address remains hidden to the public internet.
Implementing the middleman has several potential advantages, and so VPNs can offer a multitude of applications like security and privacy. For Opal it's Digital Wellbeing: The goal of Opal's VPN, is to block internet traffic that is considered "Distracting" while an Opal session is active.