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Orbot: Tor for Android for Android

By The Tor Project Free Editors' Rating

Key Details of Orbot: Tor for Android

  • Enhance your privacy, break through firewalls, and communicate more safely
  • Last updated on 11/14/19
  • There have been 1 update within the past 6 months
  • The current version has 0 flag(s) on VirusTotal badge_icon

Editors' Review

shelbybrown Jun 17, 2016

Orbot is the official Android app for the Tor Project, whose free Tor network of Internet servers around the world can anonymize and encrypt your activities on the Web, preventing your Internet service provider or other people from snooping on you. It is designed to be used in conjunction with Orfox, a modified version of the Mozilla Firefox browser.

Pros

Free: Orbot comes with no fees, no ads, no pledge drives. Tor relies on donations from individual users and sponsorships from groups like the National Science Foundation and the State Department (like the Internet itself, Tor was created as a US government project).

Encrypted traffic: Tor uses multiple layers of encryption, scrambling the data you're sending back and forth. Theoretically, the network could be compromised to track where you're located, but it would still be very difficult for someone to piece together your activity.

Open-source: Anyone can inspect Orbot's code or use it to build their own version. That openness adds a degree of trust.

Set it and forget it: Once started, Orbot will run quietly in the background, even restarting itself if you restart your Android device. This makes it easier to use for people who are not technically inclined.

Lots of options: If you live in a country with restricted Internet access, Orbot has a wide variety of settings to customize its behavior, such as the ability to specify which parts of the Tor network to connect to or avoid. However, some settings require root access to your device, which may not be possible, depending on which device you have.

Keeps you in the loop: When Orbot's running, you can check it to see its status in plain English, and it'll and usually indicate what you need to do if a problem arises. If you lose your connection to the Tor network, the icon in the status bar at the top of the screen will change to let you know.

Cons

Tor usage is detectable: Some services, like Netflix, will not let you connect if they detect that you are coming from a Tor exit node. If you enable bridge mode in Orbot to add a server between the exit node and Netflix, this will impact download performance, possibly bringing speeds too low to stream a video or engage in other high-bandwidth activities.

Not speedy: Tor is build around privacy rather than convenience. The global network of volunteer Tor nodes has both superhighways and one-lane dirt roads, and you can't choose which one you get. Your path through the network is deliberately randomized to help protect you from outside snooping, and the cost of that is a reduction in speed.

Adding apps is tricky: You can manually include apps (besides Orfox) to be routed through Tor. Tap the sliders icon in the upper right-hand corner, scroll down to Select Apps, and tap it to get an alphabetical list. However, check boxes next to many of the apps on our device seemed to disappear and reappear, such as those next to Google Hangouts, Drive, Maps, Photos, and Sheets.

Bottom Line

The Orbot app has some quirks, and Tor network speed is not as reliable or as fast as a high-quality VPN service (see our recommended VPNs). But the privacy advantages and ease of use greatly outshine any individual downsides.

Full Specifications

What's new in version 16.1.2-RC-2-tor-0.4.1.5-rc

  • fixes for Bridge support
  • updated to tor 0.4.1.5

General

Release November 14, 2019
Date Added November 14, 2019
Version 16.1.2-RC-2-tor-0.4.1.5-rc

Operating Systems

Operating Systems Android
Additional Requirements None

Popularity

Total Downloads 28,485
Downloads Last Week 4
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Developer's Description

Orbot is a free proxy app that empowers other apps to use the internet more securely. Orbot uses Tor to encrypt your Internet traffic and then hides it by bouncing through a series of computers around the world. Tor is free software and an open network that helps you defend against a form of network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security known as traffic analysis.

*** Android 4.0 and lower, you can download older versions from https://guardianproject.info/releases/ or through the FDroid.org open app store at https://f-droid.org. The last release with KitKat and older support is: https://guardianproject.info/releases/Orbot-v14.1.4-UpToKitKat-nonPIE.apk ***

*** SAMSUNG GALAXY USERS ***

On some devices, aSamsung app is listening on the same network port that Orbot needs. Download 'SockStat' from Google Play. Look for the app on port 9050. Force stop and disable that app. You can also try to change Orbot's "Tor SOCKS" setting under the Debug section to 9051 or AUTO. You can see the fix in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yK-nK4F67_g

*****

Orbot is the only app that creates a truly private internet connection. As the New York Times writes, "when a communication arrives from Tor, you can never know where or whom it's from." Tor won the 2012 Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Pioneer Award.

ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTES: Orbot is the safest way to use the Internet on Android. Period. Orbot bounces your encrypted traffic several times through computers around the world, instead of connecting you directly like VPNs and proxies. This process takes a little longer, but the strongest privacy and identity protection available is worth the wait.

PRIVATE WEB SURFING: Use with Orfox, the most anonymous way to access any website, even if it's normally blocked, monitored, or on the hidden web. Get Orfox: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=info.guardianproject.orfox

PRIVACY FOR APPS: Any installed app can use Tor through Orbot's built-in VPN

PRIVACY FOR EVERYONE: Tor can help you confidentially research a competitor, get around someone blocking your favorite site, or circumvent a firewall to watch sports at work.

PRIVACY MADE EASY: Check out our fun, interactive walkthrough: https://guardianproject.info/howto/browsefreely

IT'S OFFICIAL: This is the official version of the Tor onion routing service for Android.

***We Love Feedback***

ABOUT US: Guardian Project is a group of developers that make secure mobile apps and open-source code for a better tomorrow.

OPEN-SOURCE: Orbot is free software. Take a look at our source code, or join the community to make it better: https://gitweb.torproject.org/orbot.git or https://github.com/n8fr8/orbot

MESSAGE US: Are we missing your favorite feature? Found an annoying bug? We'd love to hear from you! Send us an email: support@guardianproject.info

***Disclaimer***

The Guardian Project makes apps that are designed to protect your security and anonymity. The protocols that we use are widely regarded as the state of the art in security technology. While we are constantly upgrading our software to combat the latest threats and eliminate bugs, no technology is 100% foolproof. For maximum security and anonymity users must utilize best practices to keep themselves safe.