Every individual who owns a smartphone or a tablet device have their own reasons for doing so, and will more often than not utilize a certain set of features on a more regular basis than others. From a personal point of view, and surely something that is echoed by many more people, I happen to extensively use my iPhone for web browsing more often than not using Apple’s Mobile Safari.
It is no secret that a lot of users prefer to go about their web browsing experience in private, something that is relatively easy to do in modern browsers on desktop-based computers. However, when using the default mobile browser on iOS, the ability to surf the web privately isn’t exactly a seamless experience, and although Mobile Safari does have private browsing features, it doesn’t exactly offer the peace of mind which advanced users crave. Mike Tagas, an iOS developer, has recognized this oversight by Apple and developed the Onion Browser and released it onto the App Store which allows a total private and anonymous browsing experience.
The features and benefits of such a browsing based applications speak for themselves, but it essentially exists to protect users personal data by using Tor proxy servers to mask things like the users real IP address. The Onion Browser is touted as providing the following key features:
- All internet access is tunneled over the Tor onion router network.
- Visited websites through the browser never get to see the user’s real IP address.
- The connection is encrypted before it leaves the device, which provides excellent protection against snooping by internet service providers or those who may share the same wireless connection.
- Tunnel bypasses restrictive firewalls: you can access the entire Internet from behind ISPs or corporate connections, or when inside countries that practice online censorship.
- The Onion Browser has built in user agent faking that hides the fact that the device is an iPhone.
- The ability to block IP address and clear cookies, history and the cache with one touch of a button.
As you can see, the Onion Browser for iOS seems to have best aspects of private browsing covered and certainly acts as a worthwhile replacement to Mobile Safari for those who need a little more anonymity on the internet. The browser basically works by tunneling all traffic through a Tor sever, blocking the outgoing IP address and encrypting all information in the first instance.
The Onion Browser is available on the App Store for $0.99 and is not officially affiliated with the Tor project, but a small portion of the sales will be given to the Tor Project as well as the EFF. The app is a universal for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, requiring iOS 5 or above.
Download Onion Browser for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch [iTunes Link]
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