Android + AlwaysOn = waning sentiments re: tailscale

I am out of my home country and trying to rely on Tailscale has been incredibly frustrating, and moreover, disappointing. It’s rare for me to have such positive regard for software, or at least was.

I am posting here because there are already a number of issues about this on GitHub and I’m leaving open the possibility that somehow my Lineage ROM is exacerbating things, but I don’t think so.

It seems that a casual reboot (or at least this morning, taking a new Lineage Nightly) will leave my phone in a pretty awful state. I need “Always On” to be enabled, and I need to deny non-VPN connections because Every Tech Co is insidious and daring to send traffic from a foreign IP can trigger all sorts of headaches.

However, an hour after taking off this morning, I realize that Android is telling me “Always On VPN is disconnected”. And indeed, Tailscale is disconnected and once again, won’t reconnect until I go in and disable “Block non-VPN connections”.

(EDIT: I actually had to disable the VPN in Android entirely, force kill Tailscale and then re-open it and finally it connected)

I’m not an Android guy, but presumably there is a way for the Tailscale app to still be able to connect to directory and establish a connection without me needing to toggle these options off, and then back on, whenever I’m rebooting.

For all of my other “delightful” experiences using Tailscale, this is pretty crushing. I’d kind of like to understand if all VPN apps in Android work this way or what, because user discussion of this goes back over a year on GitHub, to my surprise.

Separately, I’m finding I’m having to reboot my NixOS exit nodes every so often or else all traffic through the exit node stops. I haven’t had a chance to look into this yet, but would love any tips ahead of time.