After working on the alpha version of Tor browser, which was launched in Android’s Play Store on September 6, 2018, the first stable version (8.5) of the privacy focussed browser has been launched on Android.
Development of the Tor browser for PC was started in 2008 by the Massachusetts-based The Tor Project, a non-profit. It aims to increase the level of privacy of every netizen by helping users avoid ISPs and website trackers from intruding into their internet traffic and masking the sites visited.
Now the browser has finally transitioned to Android smartphones, which are increasingly becoming the preferred medium of surfing the internet — especially in developing nations. Tor browser is not available for iOS due to restrictions but those looking for the Tor experience can try Onion browser developed by Mike Tigas aided by the Guardian Project.
Tor browser for Android brings cosmetic and feature changes such as the refreshed icon and accessible security settings, which are available on Tor browser across platforms. The browser isn’t going to replace Orbot, which will continue to be developed independently. However, the development of Orfox is being halted and its users will have to migrate to the Tor browser.
Most notably, the security slider tool that was hidden behind the Torbutton menu is now available right on the toolbar to make it easy for users to judge the level of security a website offers.
“Since we released the first alpha version in September, we’ve been hard at work making sure we can provide the protections users are already enjoying on desktop to the Android platform,” The Tor Project stated.
The company has also mentioned that there are a few “feature gaps between desktop and Android Tor browser” but they remain confident that this does not hamper the level of protection on Android.
“Mobile browsing is increasing around the world, and in some parts, it is commonly the only way people access the internet. In these same areas, there is often heavy surveillance and censorship online, so we made it a priority to reach these users.”
The Tor Browser 8.5 update has created issues with the saved logins and passwords on the browser. The company is working on a fix. Another known issue is accessibility support for Windows that also has some bugs, which will be patched soon in an 8.5 point release, and bug reports about WebGL related fingerprinting that will also be patched in the point release.