Install a Private Browser for Android
Edited by Jay, Maria Quinney
Most mobile Android browsers allow users to surf the web without storing any additional data such as cookies, history, and cached files. In Google Chrome, for example, one needs only switch to incognito mode to accomplish the above. However, this will not stop websites from tracking information about your device, browsing habits, analytics, or even search queries entered into your favorite search engines.
To block sites from tracking your such information we need to install a private browser. In this article, we will cover two of the more reliable private browsers available for Android-powered devices; Firefox Focus and Ghostery Private Browser. It should also be noted that both of these browsers have ad blocking capabilities as well.
For this article, we installed both Firefox Focus and Ghostery on a Google Pixel running Android Oreo 8.0.
- 4With the app open, navigate to a website of your choice. Once the page loads, tap the three-dot menu in the upper right corner to view how many trackers were blocked.
Ghostery Private Browser
- 6With Ghostery open, navigate to a website you frequent often. Once the page fully loads, you'll see a number inside the little ghost icon in the upper right corner of the browser.
- 8To access Ghostery's settings, tap the three-dot icon in the upper right corner, then tap the gear icon to the far right.
- 12Once in Ghost Mode things like history and cookies will not be used or stored. Also, any other data collected will be cleared once the Ghost Mode tab is closed.
Tips, Tricks and Warnings
- Remember that blocking all trackers can sometimes hinder your browsing experience because some are directly tied to essential functions on the page.
- You may need to play around with your settings a bit to get the right balance between functionality and privacy, depending on what sites you visit. Both apps allow setting preferences for individual pages, so you don't have to edit those settings each time.