Why it matters: If you’re a fan of the anonymity that the Tor browser provides, here’s some good news: an alpha version of the first official Tor mobile browser app has just launched.
The Tor Project—the organization behind the Tor network and the Tor browser—has released “the world’s strongest tool for privacy and freedom online” as an application on the Google Play Store. You can also download the .APK straight from the experimental release section of the Tor Project’s website. It is still in an alpha stage, so don’t expect it to work flawlessly just yet.
For those who don’t know, The Onion Router works by redirecting traffic through decentralized relays to cover your tracks, allowing users to stay anonymous while online. With mobile devices now more popular than desktops when it comes to accessing the internet, an official Tor app makes sense.
There are other Tor-enabled mobile browsers available, including the Tor Project-endorsed Orfox, which is built on the same source code as the Tor browser—itself built upon Firefox. But that app will be sunset by next year to make way for the stable Tor Browser for Android.
If you want to try out the Alpha version of the new app, you’ll need to install the mobile proxy application Orbot. The Tor Projects hopes that this additional step won’t be required in the final stable release.
In addition to connecting through the Tor network, some of the features found in the Tor browser app include a tracker blocker that prevents third-party trackers and ads from following people, fingerprint resistance that makes it difficult to identify users by browser and device information, multi-layered encryption, and the ability to access sites blocked by ISPs.
There’s still no word on an official iOS version, though the Tor Project recommends Mike Taggs' Onion Browser. If you want to check out the recently updated Tor Browser 8.0 for desktop, download it here.