Privacy Browser

Privacy Browser is an open source Android web browser focused on user privacy. It is released under the GPLv3+ license. The source code is available from git.stoutner.com.

The standard version is available on F-Droid, Google Play, XDA Labs, and the Amazon Appstore. The free version has all the features of the standard version with the addition of a banner ad across the bottom of the screen. It is available on Google Play, XDA Labs, and the Amazon Appstore.

Privacy Browser has two primary goals.

  1. Minimize the amount of information that is sent to the internet.
  2. Minimize the amount of information that is stored on the device.

Most browsers silently give websites massive amounts of information that allows them to track you and compromise your privacy. Websites and ad networks use technologies like JavaScript, cookies, DOM storage, user agents, and many other things to uniquely identify each user and track them between visits and across the web.

In contrast, privacy sensitive features are disabled by default in Privacy Browser. If one of these technologies is required for a website to function correctly, the user may choose to turn it on for just that visit. Or, they can use domain settings to automatically turn on certain features when entering a specific website and turn them off again when leaving.

Privacy Browser currently uses Android’s built-in WebView to render web pages. As such, it works best when the latest version of WebView is installed. In the 4.x series, Privacy Browser will switch to a forked version of Android’s WebView called Privacy WebView that will allow for advanced privacy features.

Warning: Android KitKat (version 4.4.x, API 19) ships an older version of OpenSSL, which is susceptible to MITM (Man In The Middle) attacks when browsing websites that use outdated protocols and cipher suites.

The Git repository can be cloned by running the following command:

git clone git://git.stoutner.com/git/PrivacyBrowser.git

There is also an Android.mk repository for integrating Privacy Browser into ROMs.

Privacy Browser development can be followed at https://fosstodon.org/@privacybrowser.

87 replies on “Privacy Browser”

Many android browsers allow for a standard/wide viewport choice. See Habit, Atlas and Naked browsers as examples. I have a personal website with personal bookmarks that works best with a standard viewport. Also, the ability to turn off style sheets can be of use, as the seattletimes.com website won’t allow browsing if javascript is turned off. Turning off the style sheets does the trick, however. Further, having the Home and Clear and Exit icons right at the top of the left hand drop-down menu would improve convenience, IMO. Your browser is very good, and I am glad I discovered it. Keep up the good work. You have achieved something worthwhile.

Hello!
Features needed:
1. Spoof system language.
2. Spoof timezone.
3. Random canvas in certain user defined timeframe.
4. Add random browser fingerprint noise (like in FF exetnsions).
5. Original platform/real android ver still can be detected by some sites checkers.

Im ready to donate $100 if you will make iprovements.

The place to make feature requests is at https://redmine.stoutner.com. I believe most or all of these are already covered by existing feature requests. I recommend you take a look at those requests targeting the 4.x release.

Lots of people here asking for improvements… and I don’t necessarily disagree with them. People are only asking for improvements because this browser is the best privacy respecting browser on Android and they want to help make it the best Android browser period.

To people asking for improvements: know that Privacy Browser is open source (anybody can add code improvements or hire a programmer to make improvements.) And know that Stoutner doesn’t make money from this project (donations are rare in open source world.) Please just keep this in mind. People constantly asking for improvements can be discouraging to open source (unpaid) devs. But really, people asking for stuff means they like the browser and they care (they just can’t help due to lacking programming skills like me.) But I encourage people to donate… don’t asking for features and say you’ll donate for them; donate first to show you appreciate the browser so far (this is my opinion anyways.)

I just wanted to say thank you for maintaining this browser for as long as you have and hopefully you can continue to do so. I would donate money to you, but I don’t have money :/

If you made a silly app with ADs in it… I would use that silly app vigorously 😀

Actually for my uses, this browser is perfect. I wish the tabs were easier to cycle through when you have many open (like Firefox Focus, but Focus doesn’t let you delete individual tabs and it tracks you even after you opt-out.) Anyways: tabs (UI) that’s just nitpicking, plus UI work is hard and subjective. P.B. (Privacy Browser) has Tor/proxy integration, AD/tracker blocking, User-Agent spoofing, Java disable, etc… there’s a lot of functionality if you learn how to use it all. Even has bookmarks now, which is helpful.

So even though I cannot donate (not now anyways.) I can still say thank you for your work and let you know that I use P.B. everyday and it’s important to me.

I may release a custom privacy focused ROM in the future (that depends on how my attempts at refining it go.) If I do, I’ll add P.B. as the default browser (along with Bromite System WebView.) I’m aiming for a privacy focused ROM (mostly for OnePlus devices, as they can be bootloader unlocked.) No Google apps… so I need to get MicroG fully functional with location and all that. Anyways, I’m getting off topic lol.

Just a simple Thank You post typed in my signature word-wasting style lol.

Dude you have got to add fingerprinting protection. Like the Canvas Defender add on for firefox. This could be the best browser there is if youd just add this and also allow the logged connections on a site to be interactive. Sorta like uMatrix but your own design. This browser is so fast and minimal permissions. Desperately need fingerprinting protection my man.

Can’t use it until you add fingerprinting protection like Canvas Defender for FF. And have a uMatrix like panel. Once you at least add FP protection your browser will be by far the best.

See the reply to the previous comment for some information about canvas fingerprinting. Making the requests activity interactive will also require Privacy WebView, which will be added in the 4.x series. I have added a feature requests to track development of this feature. https://redmine.stoutner.com/issues/405.

Hi is it possible to add an all black theme for nav bar and settings on amoled displays?

Thanks for the great browser..all the others are garbage.

There is a dark theme that can be enabled in the settings. This changes the color of all of Privacy Browser’s controls, but leaves the web pages with their natural colors. There is a separate night mode that adjusts the colors of the web pages.

AMOLED black is completely black to conserve as much battery as possible, a grey dark mode needs to power every grey pixel.

It’s the only thing missing from an otherwise perfect browser.

The new download manager doesn’t work for my phone (Sony Xperia X Compact with Android 8.0.0). I’m able to choose a destination folder, but the downloaded file has no file extension. Renaming it manually while using the download manager doesn’t work either.

It is hiding under Layout in the Options Menu. It is a little hard to find, but I haven’t been able to think of a better place to put it.

Hi, thanks for your work.
I’m trying to use it as my daily browser since it supports tab.
I do have a question : I don’t get which settings I should allow on trusted websites to keep my logins active?
Cheers,
Guillaume

Bookmarks are available by swiping from the right edge of the screen. There are instructions for using bookmarks in the Guide included with Privacy Browser, but it isn’t always apparent to people where to find them.

The browser seems to have some problems with sideways scrollable pictures. The scrolling ist VERY slow, only a few pixels per finger swipe. Changing the user agent doesn’t solve this.

Are there any plans to add hide-ad or element picker? (like present in Ublock-origin)

Reading articles without using an element picker is difficult. Either they require JavaScript to dismiss (disabled by default or annoying if you clear data frequently). When enabled–night mode– then sticky elements like navigation bar among other follow the page taking precious screen space.

Also could there be an option to hide the android’s status bar? I prefer reading articles full screen.

The design and the amount of user controls are awesome! Keep that up!

I have created a feature request to modify page elements via blocklists. This will require Privacy WebView in the 4.x series. https://redmine.stoutner.com/issues/442
Based on what happens with Google’s addition of a night mode to WebView, it may be possible for me to remove the current requirement for JavaScript to be enabled for night mode before the 4.x series. https://redmine.stoutner.com/issues/193
There is already an option to enable full screen mode by double tapping. It can be found in the settings.

Please add build in switcher to use i2p. Currently you application has option to switch to Tor via Orbot. It will be so useful if you add option for i2p.

Would be great to be able to configure TLS stack – disable 0rtt, session tickets, session IDs, specific ciphers/tls versions, some info on HSTS – is HSTS info collected for all sites browsed or not – like SiteSecurityServiceState.txt in Firefox.

Also having more granularity on 3p-block to block even subdomains e.g. so requests to subdomain.example.com are considered 3p from example.com or http://www.example.com. Being able to whitelist (when have 3p-block enabled)/blacklist specific requests and types of requests (e.g. css,images,script,inline-script,wss,xhr,csp,frames,etc (im sure im not being exhaustive), and customize/disable certain headers – e.g. accept header, accept encoding header, disable X-Requested-With and especially be able to disable Referrer Headers…

Equally being able to intercept api calls by specific scripts on a given page, and to be able to exhaustively disable specific JS APIs would be awesome (but i know a massive job)…canvas fingerprinting protection, etc…dom iddb,websockets, webrtc, etc…

I know some of these are probably impossible until Privacy Webview is finished, but would be great if some of these options were available (especially the ublock origin style request white/blacklisting and the referer control).

Cool project and much nicer than fennec/fenix otherwise!

Would it be possible to move the address and tab bar at the bottom? It would be much easier to browse with one hand…

How can I display images on a web page, for example 1597.ch/charts.htm? I’ve tried everything… Thank you for a great browser. FYI, I’m using LineageOS 16, with micro (a Google free phone)

Interestingly, some of the charts do not display with HTTPS (likely because the website is trying to embed HTTP content into a HTTPS website, which Privacy Browser does not allow). More charts display for http://1597.ch/charts.htm.

Thank you for the reply. Here is the info:

Build: lineage_klte-userdebug 8.1.0 OPM7.181205.001 f487a080c4 dev-keys
WebView Version: 71.0.3578.99

Enabled:
java script
first & third party cookies
Dom storage
all list disabled
WebViewDefault

John,

You are using a really old version of Webview. You should try updating it and seeing if that fixes the problem. The current version is 75.0.3770.143.

You should also make sure you are using http://1597.ch/charts.htm instead of the HTTPS version as mentioned above. Because the website is coded incorrectly, only half the charts will display on HTTPS.

If that doesn’t work you should file a bug report at redmine.stoutner.com and include screenshots of the webpage not loading images as well as About > Version.

First of all thank you very much for this browser, it is near perfect for me.
One little question though:
Would it be possible to add support for Android Autofill? There are some pages I have to login regularly and I would like to use a password manager (keepass DX) for this. Firefox focus/klar is able to use the android autofill feature, but it lacks so many great things from this browser, so PrivacyBrowser supporting autofill would be really awesome.

I’m glad you enjoy using Privacy Browser. It is not doing anything on purpose to prevent autofill from working. If you are having a problem you should submit a bug report at redmine.stoutner.com.

first of all: insane project, great work (why canvas on this site?)
important:
please check about the fact that the android system selected country language get submitted which is an insane privacy killer when ur phone isnt using english language.
i used the browser with tor and received all the time country specific output of duckduckgo in my native language.

Hello. There is a bug: in Startpage’s “anonymous view”, when scrolling downwards, the page is not scrolled down, but refreshed. Sometimes after switching the tab, it becomes normal. This problem also appears on some other webpages.
In addition, what about adding a “report bugs” option in the browser?

Proxy options? It would be nice instead of defaulting to Tor http proxy, perhaps an option to set a proxy/socks5 port. This way, it is possible to use ShadowSocks, and other socks proxies. Thank you.

Hi Soren. I downloaded Privacy Browser from fdroid. i have android 6 phone. It loads twitter’s and youtube’s desktop version, not the mobile one.

Thank you for your answer. One think that bothers me about Privacy Browser is that it is too sensitive to touch. Finger’s micro movement causes movement. Do you consider address that issue? Maybe increase treshold or something?

Privacy Browser doesn’t have any control over the screen sensitivity. That is handled at the OS level. On all my devices, the screen sensitivity while using Privacy Browser is the same as other apps. Perhaps there is some problem that is specific to your device?

If you would like to file a bug report at redmine.stoutner.com I would be happy to help you troubleshoot it. Please include an example URL with a problem and probably a video demonstrating the issue. Also, please include a screenshot of About > Version from the app.

You appreciate your privacy? You don’t want to be tracked all over the web? Then the Privacy Browser should be your choice. Actually, there are even more efficient ways to protect your privacy than this. But these options demand some expertise – you almost have to become an expert of counterintelligence. Privacy Browser on the other hand ist really easy to use and offers pretty decent privacy for the rest of us.

Feature request : Search Bookmarks
https://riot.im/app/#/home
This website is saying that:

Sorry, your browser is not able to run Riot.
Riot uses many advanced browser features, some of which are not available or experimental in your current browser.
Please install THESE BROWSERS for the best experience.
With your current browser, the look and feel of the application may be completely incorrect, and some or all features may not function. If you want to try it anyway you can continue, but you are on your own in terms of any issues you may encounter!

I have checked every option that Privacy Browser have!

Thank you so much for this app, I’ve been using it primarily for over a year now, but after switching to a palm pvg100, the app won’t launch at all. I’m suspecting it’s because of the small screen, as the rest of the specs are pretty average. If at all possible, could you please tweak it to work on my phone?

Hi Soren,
Spectacular app but, there is a way to edit the the images of the links saved after I click on “Page -> Add to Home screen”? Because sometimes it creates very small icons of the link.

That would be a good idea, but, unfortunately, because of the way Android is built, there is no way for an app to edit a shortcut icon after it is created. This is because the shortcut icon doesn’t belong to the app, even though on newer versions of Android the OS adds a small version of the app icon as a graphic to the shortcut so that users can see which app created it. In fact, Privacy Browser doesn’t create the icon at all. Rather, it makes a request to the OS to create an icon, along with a graphic, the name, and the desired intent. What the OS does with that information has varied over time on Android. For example, current versions of Android modify the supplied graphic before creating the icon.

On my device, Brave icons look basically like those created by Privacy Browser. However, if you have a different experience on your device, I would recommend you open a bug report on https://redmine.stoutner.com and attach a screenshot. Note that the favicon presented by the website sometimes changes based on the user agent, so if they look different you might try changing your user agent before creating the home screen icon.

#Enhancement
When close tab clear cache ,too
When the tab is closed, clean the cache immediately.
Thank you

Clearing the cache is part of Clear and Exit, which runs automatically every time the last tab is closed. Running it destroys the cache from all tabs.

However, for those who don’t mind that, there is a setting called Incognito Mode, which clears the cache and the history every time a page finishing loading. Note that forward and back don’t work when Incognito Mode is enabled, and back closes the tab or the app if there is only one tab.

Samsung Galaxy A7’s sleep mode has just killed my browsing session after several days of inactivity. 🙁 Version 3.2 (version code 46)

Sorry if I’m kind of new to this I have tried to make an educated question does it use Chrome web store extensions because some of those are extremely handy or is that defeating the purpose of privacy someone could you answer ????

thank you???

Privacy Browser does not support extensions and never will. Even though there are some good ones, overwhelmingly browser extension systems are used to abuse the privacy of users, and as far as I can see it is impossible to build an extension system that doesn’t do that. I discuss this a bit at https://www.stoutner.com/privacy-browser/core-privacy-principles/, where I explain that the browser should not be an OS or a general computing platform (those types of things should allow installation of extensions or other programs).

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