First Tor Browser Alpha for Android based on new Firefox is now available
Tor Browser is based on Mozilla's Firefox web browser both on the desktop and on Android. Mozilla released a redesigned version of the Firefox web browser for Android recently, and the developers of the Tor Project worked on migrating Tor Browser to the new core on Android as well.
The first version of Tor Browser for Android, based on the new Firefox web browser, is now available for testing. Bugs and issues are to be expected because of the alpha status of the release.
The Tor Browser release is based on Firefox 81 for Android, released in late September 2020. The current version of Tor Browser for Android is based on Firefox 68 ESR. The move to the new Firefox version required adjustments, a proxy audit, re-implementation of the user interfaces and other changes; it took the team four months to reach the current status.
Interested Android users may download the alpha version of the new Tor Browser from the official download page. The alpha should not be used in production environments or for important tasks, as it may have bugs and other issues.
The full changelog highlights numerous changes and improvements:
- The built-in NoScript add-on was updated to the latest version.
- Telemetry collection is disabled.
- Intermediate CA preloading is disabled.
- TLS 1.0 and 1.1 are disabled.
- DNS Leak protection implemented.
- Add-on blocklist update URL sanitized.
- Crash Reporter disabled.
- Connect screen and Network Settings screen redesigned.
- Make sure the system download manager is not used.
- "Only Private Browsing Mode" on Android.
- Default search engine changed to DuckDuckGo.
- Verify that Sentry, Adjust, LeanPlum, Google Ads ID, InstallReferrer are disabled.
- Push functionality disabled.
- Security level settings implemented.
- Disallow Cleartext traffic.
- Disable PWA
Tor Browser removes several built-in features of the Firefox web browser for Android as it is designed with privacy and security in mind. The new Firefox core improves web compatibility and performance, and Tor Browser users should benefit from these changes as well; maybe even more so as it is a heavily modded version of Firefox that is designed specifically for privacy and security purposes. Some of the issues, e.g. limited add-on support, that users have with the current Firefox Stable for Android may not matter that much to Tor Browser users.
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