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Firefox for Android just got an important privacy feature: How it could benefit you

If you value your privacy, you should switch from Chrome as your default Android browser to Firefox. Here's why.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
Reviewed by Min Shin
Firefox logo on phone lying on a laptop keyboard
Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Over the years, Firefox has always been the browser I turn to when I need a heightened level of security on the desktop. Although it might not bring the levels of security and anonymity found in Tor Browser, it doesn't suffer network slowdowns, which Tor often falls prey to, and it certainly isn't as insecure as Chrome.

One of the features that helps make Firefox more secure than other browsers is called Total Cookie Protection. This feature was added to the open-source browser some time ago and has done a bang-up job of keeping me protected against cookies.

Also: Here's the best way to ensure your privacy with a web browser

What is Total Cookie Protection? Essentially it creates what Mozilla calls a "cookie jar" for every website you visit. When you go to a website that includes third-party content which would normally inject a cookie into your browser, Firefox confines that cookie to that website's cookie jar. By doing this, no website's cookie can interact with another, ergo preventing cookies from reading other cookies from other sites. This helps to greatly reduce the amount of information a company is capable of collecting from you. And that, my friends, is a good thing.

Also: Best browsers for privacy

Total Cookie Protection is enabled by default on the Firefox desktop browser. You can disable it from within Settings > Privacy & Security > Custom, but I would not suggest doing so as this feature does a great job of protecting against cross-site tracking and information collection.

No one should allow such tracking via their desktop web browser and now you don't have to worry about it on your mobile device because Mozilla has added Total Cookie Protection to the Android version of its browser.

Also: What is Firefox Nightly and should you be using it?

Take that, Google.

If you've ever needed a reason to migrate away from the Chrome browser on Android, you now have it. With the addition of Total Cookie Protection on the Android version of Firefox, you can finally enjoy the same level of protection you do on the desktop. 

Even better, like on the desktop, Total Cookie Protection is enabled by default on the Android version of Firefox. The only thing you need to do is install the open-source web browser on your device. Since this is done from the Google Play Store, not only is it simple, it's also safe.

Also: This might be my new favorite web browser

If you already have Firefox installed on your device, you should immediately go to the Google Play Store and check to see if there's an update for the browser. You want to make sure you're using at least version 111.0. 

How to locate the version of Firefox on your device

1. Open Firefox

The first thing to do is open the Firefox web browser on your Android device.

2. Open Settings

Tap the three-dot menu button at the bottom right corner of your browser. 

If the button isn't on the bottom right corner, it might be on the top right corner (depending on how you have Firefox configured). From the popup menu, tap Settings.

The Firefox popup menu on Android 13.

Accessing the Firefox settings page in Android 13.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

3. Check the version number

Scroll to the very bottom of the Settings page and tap About Firefox. In the resulting page, you should see the version number. If it's less than version 111.0, Total Cookie Protection isn't there, so you'll need to upgrade as soon as possible.

The About Firefox page in Android 13.

If you have version 111.0 or greater, you have Total Cookie Protection.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Even if you don't pay any attention to such things, it's important that you understand cross-site cookie protection is actually important. If you value your privacy and security, I would strongly recommend you switch from Chrome as your default Android browser to Firefox. 

Also: What are Firefox Container Tabs and how do you use them? 

Total Cookie Protection is serious about keeping you safe from third parties using (and abusing) information about you via your mobile web browser.

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