Android users have long been able to connect to the Tor network using Orbot, and browse using Orfox.
The Tor Project that is is primarily responsible for maintaining software for the Tor anonymity network, has created another browser that shares the privacy and security benefits of Tor. Called the 'Tor Browser for Android', the app is meant to simplify and be the preferred way to connect to Tor on users' phone.
This browser, is the official Tor Browser on mobile, as stated by The Tor Project on its Google Play page:
The Tor Browser for Android is based on Firefox version 60. Initial features include:
- Tracker blockers: Isolating websites so users cannot be followed by third-party trackers and ads. Cookies are also cleared when users finished browsing.
- Defending against surveillance: Preventing anyone watching users' connection to know what websites they visit.
- Resist fingerprinting: Making all Tor users look the same, making them difficult to be fingerprinted based on browser and device information.
- Multi-layered encryption: Traffic is relayed and encrypted three times as it passes through the Tor network.
At the moment of announcement, the browser is announced in alpha, which means that the work is not done yet. There are still bugs to be squashed, like issues with web fonts and troubles rendering some pages. It also misses some features.
The browser still requires the Orbot proxy app to open users' access to the Tor network. But later developments focus on including this functionality inside the browser itself.
Tor is free software for enabling anonymous communication. Originally stood for 'The Onion Router', Tor allows access to encrypted nodes around the world to protect privacy and preserve anonymity.
It does this by directing users' internet traffic through worldwide volunteers of overlay networks consisting thousands of relays.
Connecting to Tor allows users to conceal their location and usage from anyone conducting network surveillance and traffic analysis. This makes it extremely difficult for anyone to trace users internet activities that include: website visits, online posts, instant messages and other forms of communications.
As for the Tor Browser for Android, when the app's final stable version is ready, users are no longer required to have separate app to connect to the proxy network. When that time happens, The Tor Project plans to end support for Orbot, and users will have a privacy-focused browser just a tap away from their phone.