Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets have become an integral part of our daily lives. We use them for almost everything – communicating with friends and family, shopping online, banking, entertainment, and more.
While mobile devices provide a lot of convenience, they also pose risks to our privacy and security if adequate precautions are not taken. Every app and website you use on your mobile device collects data about your activity and tracks your behavior to profile you. Much of this data collection happens without your knowledge or consent.
Using the right privacy-focused mobile browser can help safeguard your personal information and browsing history from prying eyes. In this comprehensive guide, we will look at the 9 best private browsers for iOS and Android that you can use to protect your privacy.
Why Use a Private Mobile Browser?
Here are some key reasons why you should use a private browser on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device:
1. Prevent Tracking of Your Browsing Activity
Most standard mobile browsers allow third-party trackers to monitor your online activity across websites to build a profile about your interests and behavior. Private browsers block or limit trackers to prevent this type of invasive tracking.
2. Stop Data Collection by Websites
Many websites capture your personal data like email address, name, and location through forms, cookies, and other means without your consent. A private browser gives you control over what data websites can collect about you.
3. Hide Your Browsing History
Standard browsers record information about sites you visit, searches you perform, videos you watch and more. Private browsers either don‘t save any browsing history or let you easily delete it.
4. Avoid Filter Bubbles
When browsers use your browsing history and interests to personalize search results and recommendations, you get trapped in a "filter bubble" and don‘t see an objective view of information. Private browsers show unbiased search and website results.
5. Encrypt Your Web Traffic
Some private browsers encrypt your web traffic to prevent ISPs and snoopers on public Wi-Fi networks from seeing which websites you visit and data you transmit or receive.
6. Prevent Price Discrimination
Retailers sometimes show different prices to customers based on their browsing history and perceived interests. Private browsers prevent this kind of price discrimination.
7. Avoid Getting Profiled and Targeted
Your online activity is used to classify you into demographic segments and interest groups so advertisers can show you targeted promotions. Private browsers limit profiling and behavioral targeting.
8. Keep Your Browsing Truly Private
You can use a private browser to visit websites that you don‘t want others who use your device to know about like looking for a gift for your spouse or researching health conditions privately.
9 Best Private Browsers for iOS and Android
Based on privacy features, usability, and additional protections provided, we have compiled this list of the top 9 private browsers for iPhones, iPads, and Android devices:
1. Firefox Focus (iOS, Android)
Firefox Focus is a free and open source private browser developed by Mozilla that is available for both iOS and Android. It is designed from the ground up to provide robust privacy protection.
Some key features include:
- Blocks many common web trackers automatically
- Erases browsing history, cookies, and site data when you close the app
- Provides search suggestions without tracking your queries
- HTTPS Everywhere support to force HTTPS encryption whenever sites support it
- Easy private browsing mode with one tap
- No advertisements shown
Firefox Focus provides a simple one-tap private browsing experience and defaults to strong privacy settings while allowing you to easily access any website.
iOS Download: Firefox Focus iOS App
Android Download: Firefox Focus Android App
2. Onion Browser (iOS)
Onion Browser is a free iOS browser that routes your web traffic through the Tor network to enhance privacy. Some key features include:
- Hides your IP address and location
- Encrypts traffic end-to-end to keep your browsing activity private
- Forbids trackers and analytics scripts from running
- Allows access to onion sites on the Tor network
- Forces HTTPS and disables insecure connections
- Clears history and cookies on exiting the app
As one of the few Tor browsers available on iOS, Onion Browser provides an extra layer of protection against network surveillance and traffic analysis.
iOS Download: Onion Browser iOS App
3. DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser (iOS, Android)
DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser is the mobile browser offered by the privacy-focused DuckDuckGo search engine. Features include:
- Blocks hidden trackers that follow you around the web
- Encryption of connections to DuckDuckGo‘s search engine
- Forced HTTPS encryption for websites that support it
- Privacy grade rating for websites
- Fire Button to instantly clear history, cookies, and tabs
DuckDuckGo Browser provides robust tracker blocking and a clean instant-clearing private browsing experience.
iOS Download: DuckDuckGo iOS App
Android Download: DuckDuckGo Android App
4. Brave Browser (iOS, Android)
Brave Browser is another privacy-focused mobile browser that blocks trackers and ads. Key features:
- Blocks third-party ads and tracking cookies
- HTTPS Everywhere support
- Private tabs with Tor for anonymous browsing
- Built-in adblocker and anti-phishing protection
- Rewards users with Basic Attention Token (BAT) for viewing privacy-respecting Brave ads
Brave aims to provide privacy along with an ad-supported monetization model that respects user privacy.
iOS Download: Brave iOS App
Android Download: Brave Android App
5. Firefox Browser (iOS, Android)
Firefox Browser by Mozilla has robust anti-tracking features and provides greater privacy than Chrome or Safari. Some privacy features:
- Blocks cross-site trackers like cookies, fingerprints, and cryptominers
- Encrypted DNS requests using Trusted Recursive Resolver
- Intelligent Tracking Protection blocks known trackers
- Easy private browsing mode
- No history or data retention in private browsing windows
Firefox Browser gives you control over cookies and trackers while providing sync across devices.
iOS Download: Firefox iOS App
Android Download: Firefox Android App
6. Tor Browser (Android)
Tor Browser for Android allows mobile access to the Tor anonymizing network. Features:
- Hides your IP address and location
- Encrypted traffic routing through the Tor network
- Blocks trackers and avoids surveillance
- Access to .onion sites in the Tor network
- No browsing history stored
- Onion routing for additional privacy
Tor Browser provides the highest level of privacy by using multi-hop routing of traffic via random nodes in the Tor network.
Android Download: Tor Browser Android App
7. Epic Privacy Browser (Android)
Epic Privacy Browser offers robust privacy protection on Android. Key features:
- Built-in VPN for encrypted and anonymous traffic routing
- Ad blocking blocks ads and tracking scripts
- Privacy rating for websites to see how much they track
- Secure incognito browsing with no history or cookie retention
- HTTPS everywhere forces sites to use encryption
- Tracker and cookie blocking
Epic Privacy Browser combines a VPN, adblocker, and private browsing to protect you on Android.
Android Download: Epic Privacy Browser
8. Kiwi Browser (Android)
Kiwi Browser for Android is based on Chromium but enhanced with privacy features. It provides:
- Ad blocking and removal of advertising trackers
- Night mode for easier night browsing
- Chrome extension support for more privacy add-ons
- Bottom address bar for easy one-handed use
- Biometric authentication for secure access
- Secure incognito mode with no traces left on device
Kiwi Browser brings Chrome-style browsing to Android with boosted privacy.
Android Download: Kiwi Browser
9. SnowHaze Privacy Browser (iOS)
SnowHaze is a full-featured private browser focused on privacy and security on iOS. It provides:
- Built-in adblocker, tracker blocker, and anti-phishing filtering
- Private search with anonymous Instant Answers
- Secure VPN tunnel with 256-bit AES encryption
- Onion routing via Tor network integration
- Biometric authentication with FaceID or TouchID
- No logging of browsing data and history
SnowHaze gives iOS users a suite of tools to take control of their privacy.
iOS Download: SnowHaze iOS App
Privacy Tips for Mobile Browsers
Beyond just using a private browser, here are some tips to further lock down your privacy on iOS and Android devices:
- Use a reputable VPN app to encrypt traffic outside the browser
- Enable encryption DNS like DNS over HTTPS for private DNS queries
- Disable location services for browsers you don‘t fully trust
- Toggle off analytics and crash reporting in device settings
- Set browsers to always clear cookies and data on exit
- Use browser extensions and add-ons that enhance privacy
- Disable web Bluetooth, NFC, and other features prone to tracking
- Use anonymous logins and multi-account containers to isolate sessions
With the right combination of a private browser, privacy tools, and smart settings, you can take control over your personal data and online security on mobile.
The Bottom Line
Your mobile browser provides a window into your online behavior and interests. By switching to one of these private mobile browser options, you can better protect your privacy and personal information from trackers, advertisers, and other third parties.
Private mobile browsers empower you to access the web more anonymously, stop invasive data collection in its tracks, take control over your web history, encrypt your browsing activity, and keep your information away from prying eyes.