Tor Project releases first alpha of Android mobile browser

After yesterday the Tor Project released Tor Browser v8, today, the organization had another surprise in store for its loyal fanbase —an Android mobile browser.

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The Tor Project, the organization behind the Tor network and the Tor Browser, launched today its first ever mobile browser with the release of the Tor Browser for Android.

The Tor Browser for Android app is available through the official Google Play Store and is currently considered an alpha release, meaning some bugs should be expected.

This first official version of Tor Browser on Android will replace Orfox, another Android browser that featured support for navigating the web via the Tor network and its Onion protocol.

Orfox was, until recently, developed by the Guardian Project, but has been retired today after the Tor Project's official announcement.

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The Tor Project is now calling on its dedicated fanbase to help test the Android version.

For the alpha versions of the Tor Browser for Android, users will also need to install Orbot, a mobile proxy application that will help the Android browser connect to the Tor network. For future releases, the Tor Project says this won't be necessary.

According to a list of features released by the Tor Project today, the Tor Browser for Android comes equipped with:

  • Tracker Blocker -- Tor Browser isolates each website users visit so third-party trackers and ads can't follow them. Any cookies automatically clear when users are done browsing.
  • Fingerprinting Protection -- Tor Browser for Android makes it difficult for users to be fingerprinted based on their browser and device information.
  • No ISP Blocks -- Users are free to access any sites, even those blocked by local ISPs.
  • Connections Through the Tor Network -- All anyone monitoring a user's network connection and browsing habits can see is that the user is accessing the Tor network or accessing sites through IPs belonging to the Tor network.
  • Multi-Layered Encryption -- All traffic that passes through the Tor network is encrypted with the help of the Onion protocol.

The Tor Project didn't say if it was planning on developing an iOS version, but in the meantime, continued to recommend that iOS users use Mike Taggs' Onion Browser app.

The release of the Android version of the Tor Browser comes a day after the Tor Project released a major update to its desktop version.

Yesterday, the Tor Project released Tor Browser v8, which updated the Tor Browser's underlying codebase to the Firefox Quantum codebase that Mozilla launched in November 2017 with Firefox 57, and which has received rave reviews for its small memory footprint and speedier page loads.