In this day and age your personal data is worth more than gold. The result is that virtually everyone is trying to collect your information. As smartphones and other mobile devices have allowed us to extend our digital lives to any place at any time, we need to be hyper-aware of data collection practices.
Fortunately, there are a number of privacy-focused browsers that can help protect your sensitive data when using your Android and iPhone. Here we’ve put together a list of our favorites.
It probably tells you something about a browser when it’s extremely popular yet has no presence on the Play Store. Bromite is a privacy-focused Chromium fork that offers a very similar experience to Google Chrome, albeit without all the tracking and fluff that makes Chrome so reviled among privacy-oriented users.
Bromite’s adblocker uses the same filters as Ublock Origin, so you’re going to be pretty well-covered on the intrusive ads front. The good thing is that Bromite doesn’t require too much tinkering to set your privacy up properly, and while it’s perhaps lacking in more advanced features, it does use sandboxing, which is a huge boon for privacy buffs.
Bromite isn’t available on the Play Store, so you’ll have to head over to GitHub and download the latest version under “Releases.”
- Removes click-tracking
- Customizable adblock filters
2. Firefox Focus
It’s fair to say that Mozilla’s Firefox Focus focuses on privacy. Firefox Focus automatically deletes all of your browsing history, passwords and cookies as soon as you close your session. In addition, Focus also blocks ads and stops trackers.
Firefox Focus is only 7MB, which is pretty light as far as browsers are concerned. Unfortunately, this smaller size comes at the expense of basic features that we’ve come to expect from our browsers. The biggest omission is a proper tab system.
If you’re used to flicking between multiple tabs, you’ll want to look elsewhere. Furthermore, while Firefox Focus helps protect your data and keep websites from prying eyes, Mozilla itself does collect user data, though you can opt out of it in the Settings.
- Automatically blocks most common web trackers
- One click deletes browsing history
- Mozilla still collects telemetry data
The “IN” in InBrowser stands for “incognito.” Most modern browsers have an incognito or privacy mode that can be toggled on manually. InBrowser automatically launches in privacy mode and remains incognito during your entire browsing session.
InBrowser’s privacy works pretty well, as evidenced by the fact that many websites won’t even recognize that you’re accessing the site from a mobile device. While that’s pretty impressive, it does have the potential to annoy, so keep that in mind.
In addition, InBrowser also automatically deletes your browsing history and any cookies collected the moment you exit the app. Furthermore, InBrowser has the Onion Router support via OrBot, allowing you to browse anonymously through the TOR network.
- Browser through TOR network
- Doesn’t save data
- Agent cloaking (trick sites into thinking you’re on different platform)
Many privacy-focused browsers boast of their ability to stop trackers, and Ghostery is no exception. The big difference between Ghostery and the others is that Ghostery allows you to see who is tracking your data. Additionally, it allows users to block or unblock those trackers individually or in bulk.
Ghostery also features a powerful built-in ad blocker that can potentially speed up webpage load times. Furthermore, it also has integrated phishing protection to prevent fraudulent websites from stealing your account information and passwords. Finally, Ghostery promises not to collect any user data unless you volunteer to provide it.
- Tracker visibility so that you see which sites are tracking you and how
- Powerful adblocker
- Doesn’t collect data
Aloha provides privacy and security through an integrated VPN that can mask your IP address and provide you with anonymous browsing. The VPN is super-simple to use and can be turned on and off with a single tap. In addition, it is completely free and totally unlimited, meaning it does not impose any data caps.
One of the more interesting features of Aloha is the ability to “lock” tabs. Users can open new browser tabs and lock them down via a passcode or fingerprint. This prevents anyone other than you from accessing the tab.
- Lock tabs via passcode
- Integrated VPN
- No logging or sharing of user data
To further tighten up your phone browsing, see how to uninstall bloatware and system apps without rooting. If you’re new to Android, then you should also learn how to organize your contacts on your phone.