Looking for a privacy-protecting browser for your Android? There are a plethora of Web Browsers on Google Play Store, most popular one include – Google Chrome, known for its speedy browsing, Opera, for free VPN and so on. But when it comes to privacy, Firefox is the one and only option out there.
I like to have two browsers on my Android – first is chrome obviously, for regular work; and second is a customized version of Firefox. I use later one for private browsing, privacy, Adblock etc.
Why not use Google Chrome’s incognito mode for private browsing? Well, the only thing, incognito does is, not record your browsing history and that’s it. Anyone monitoring your network or your ISP can see the sites you go to. Also, the search engine like Google and Facebook can track footprints even on the private browser, by using trackers and cookies linked to your IP address.
One option is here is to use Firefox Focus, a dedicated browser for privacy from the same company Mozilla. But Firefox Focus lacks important features like tab browsing, does not support add-ons.
So, in long-term, it’s better to use a customized version of regular firefox for maximum privacy and here is how you go about it.
How to find and install add-ons?
You can access the Android add-ons from inside Firefox for Android. Tap on the menu button at the top-right corner > Tools > Add-ons > Browse all Firefox Add-ons.
10 Firefox Extension For Android
Ever needed to quickly switch between user-agent strings with one tap? Try Phony, with this extension, you can quickly change the user agent to something like iPhone in case you are using Android
This way, even if the sites are tracking you by IP address. They will have to assume, the new traffic is coming from other users on the same network.
Note: Using Phone to switch your user-agent does not guarantee privacy while browsing the Internet, as some sites might have other means to figure out what device you are using.
In general, I don’t recommend using an ad blocker, but some sites on the Internet are so bloated with ads, that there is no way you can browse them without an adblockers. Even Google is said to be planning a built-in adblocker for Chrome
Enter uBlock origin, a Firefox extension for Firefox, that can effectively block on-screen and pop-up ads while still being easy on memory and CPU usage of your Android. By default, it packs with four popular filters including – EasyList, Peter Lowe’s Ad server list etc, but if you want to add more to the list, then you can do it for the extension settings page.
Firefox has recently dropped support for background playback for YouTube. Yes, you can still play videos in the background if you turn on desktop mode, but that’s just too of much work when you have to do it for every video. And this where YouTube Background Playback comes in.
With this extension installed, you can again play any YouTube videos in the background with Firefox. No need to turn on the desktop mode every time.
If we open an incognito mode on chrome, we have the option to close it from the notification tray. But no such luck on Firefox. It’s pretty difficult to close the window on Firefox, the cross is so tiny. And well this is where three finger swipe shines.
By default this extension lets you set 4 gestures like –
- Focus the previous (left) tab with a leftward three-finger swipe
- Focus the next (right) tab with a rightward three-finger swipe
- Open a blank tab with an upward three-finger swipe
- Close the current tab with a downward three-finger swipe
If you are browsing HTTP websites, anybody can easily see what you are browsing and can even intercept your login credentials with the right software. Though, for normal browsing this is okay. But, if you are using Firefox for private browsing, then it makes sense to have https everywhere enabled.
This extension will make sure, every site that supports https load, the https version of the site only
Note: Some websites, like Amazon India, make the https part optional. This extension will make sure, the site always loads the https version. If the website doesn’t support https, then the extension won’t do anything.
When you play YouTube videos in the background on Firefox, there is no option to change Playback speed (unlike the YouTube official app)
With video speed controller installed, you’ll see a small playback option on top of the video, tap on that and you’ll see options to change the playback speed to 1.10x,1.20x or 2x. Now, you can turn off your screen and enjoy the video.
It’s a simple extension that does exactly what its name suggest; i.e. lets you download YouTube video to mp3. Yes, you can do it with an online website, but if you do it more often then this extension makes it a bit easier. Though, you only see this extension when you enable the desktop mode on Firefox Android.
It’s a simple extension that does what its name suggests i.e. it inverts the color on your screen, meaning white background becomes black and the text goes white. Thus making it easy to browse your screen at night. Exact colors are customizable.
9. Social Fixer
Facebook Android app is known for its battery draining and privacy-invasive updates. The only way to use Facebook is by going to m.facebook from the mobile browser with social fixer addon. It does it a couple of useful things like hiding sponsored post, politics etc. Turn on facebook post by recent instead of top post and don’t show posts again once you’ve read.
If you are using Facebook, just because you have to use it for work or mere presence, it’s better to browse it on Firefox with Social Fixer add-on rather than using the official app.
When you open most websites, a small file is automatically downloaded on your system. It’s called a cookie. It can store login information, site preferences, browsing history, etc. Usually, cookies are good, like the next time you open Facebook, you don’t have to log in, or related suggestion.
But sometimes, cookies are meant to track you, see your browsing pattern and build a profile of you.
We don’t want cookies in private browser, right?
So, here is what you can do, install the extension Self-Destructing Cookies and it’ll automatically detect tracking cookies and delete them all, once you close that tab.