Tor, short for The Onion Router, is a free and open-source technology that enables users to browse the internet safely and anonymously by directing traffic through a worldwide overlay network.
Both computers and smartphones can connect to Tor. The best way to access Tor from your smartphone is through Orbot, the project’s official app. So how does it protect your privacy?
What Is Orbot? How Does It Work?
Available on both Android and iOS, Orbot is a very simple and lightweight app that does what it is supposed to without much hassle. After installing the app, you just tap the onion button (i.e. the start button) and that’s it: you’re connected to Tor.
But there’s much more to this app than meets the eye. Orbot’s strongest feature is the VPN Mode, which can be described as a device-wide function, because it allows the user to authorize any app to access the Tor network.
And because Orbot connects to Tor and encrypts all traffic, it is a great privacy tool that will not just increase your overall security, but also help bypass censorship and geographic restrictions.
Orbot does come with one significant downside: it is much slower than a regular VPN. This is due to the nature of the technology itself, which relies on routing traffic through multiple relays, so there is nothing you can do to make browsing via Tor faster.
It’s also important to note that Orbot is not a VPN app per se, but works in a very similar way—it even lets you choose between different server locations.
Use Orbot to Protect Your Privacy
It may not be perfect, but Orbot is an essential privacy tool, because it obscures your information and makes it incredibly difficult for others to track you and monitor your internet activity.
You don’t have to use it for everyday web browsing, but it’s certainly an app everyone should have on their smartphone. There are several other free apps that can significantly boost your device’s security, so make sure you check them out too.