Orfox Paved the Way for Tor Browser on Android

Mobile browsing has increasingly become the primary way many people go online. In 2014, Tor Browser was used by millions of people on their desktop computers, but there was not yet a way to use Tor on a mobile device. We have long recognized the need for protecting people's rights to privacy and freedom online, including on mobile devices, but as a small nonprofit organization, we were not yet ready to meet that demand. That's when our friends at Guardian Project began exploring the possibility of providing Tor Browser on Android themselves. Their answer was Orfox.
 
Orfox was first released 23 September 2015. Over the next three years, Orfox continously improved and became a popular way for people to browse the internet with more privacy than standard browsers, and Orfox was crucial for helping people circumvent censorship and access blocked sites and critical resources. It was installed over 14 million times, and maintained over 1 million active users.
 
In late 2017, we began working on our own Tor Browser for Android. Because of Orfox's success, the development path for us was clearer and more in reach. We were able to build upon Guardian Project's work and bring a browser with the full protections of Tor Browser to Android. We released the alpha version of Tor Browser for Android in September 2018 and launched the stable version this May. 
 
After nearly a year since we released the alpha version of Tor Browser on Android, the time for sunsetting Orfox has come. 
Orfox to Tor Browser

 

If you still have Orfox installed on your device, Guardian Project will be releasing one final update to Orfox that will direct you to download Tor Browser. 
 
We are grateful to the work of our friends at Guardian Project and members of our community, including Amogh and Nathan (n8fr8), who helped pave the way for Tor Browser on Android. Please join us in wishing Orfox a fond farewell.

 

It's against Apple's terms and conditions. Browsers aren't allowed on the app store unless they're reskinned versions of Safari.

Apple is also fairly aggressively opposed to sideloading software. The ecosystem is probably too locked down for an iOS port to make sense.

Anon

September 03, 2019

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Is it possible to have a button/way to make a "new circuit" for a certain website (like in Tor Browser/Button for desktop) ?

Anon

September 03, 2019

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Please add ability to import/export bookmarks; simple UTF-8 formatted text, HTML or XML file would be great!

Anon

September 03, 2019

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That brand new app doesn't simply start, crashes immediately and Orfox now just doesn't let you use it, forces downloading you that new piece of shit. Thank you, now I'm unable to use tor at all.

I'm having the same problem as Fck. I installed the app yesterday but it crashes as soon as I try to open it. I've tried reinstalling it, uninstalling Orfox, restarting my phone and lots of other things too. Nothing I do seems to make a difference. I click the icon, looks like the app begins to startup (purple screen appears for less than a second, and then the app immediately closes. How soon can we expect this issue to be corrected?

Anon

September 04, 2019

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One question: does Orbot still have some use? I know it was necessary to browse through Orfox, but I don't know if it still works to configure settings on Tor Browser, in other apps, or if it was sunset too...

"Orbot will continue to be developed by the Guardian Project. Orfox however will no longer be developed, and Orfox users should migrate to Tor Browser."

Find (Ctrl+F on Win/Linux) the text "orbot" on all pages of comments under these posts:
https://blog.torproject.org/new-release-tor-browser-85
https://blog.torproject.org/new-release-tor-browser-851
https://blog.torproject.org/new-release-tor-browser-90a1

Yes, I use Orbot's "transparent proxying" feature to add onion routing to several other apps.

It seems to me that Tor Browser for Android does not go through Orbot but instead creates it's own onion circuits.

Since I don't need to have 2 separate instances of onion routing working on my phone at all times, I have chosen to just keep using Orfox instead of the new Tor Browser for Android.

It's really bad form to intentionally break Free Software, and limit users' choices. That kind of thing is to be expected from proprietary software, but that's why we don't use it.

Anon

September 04, 2019

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Yes, as per the other comment, the new app doesn't work. It crashes immediately. Previous version Tor (available on Google Play) worked fine. Problem seems to be 3 Sept update.

Anon

September 04, 2019

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Hi

I've read the comments regarding issues on later versions of android as I'm having the same immediate crash problem, but I can't find anything definitive on the likely timing for an update, can you maybe add a new post acknowledging the issue and giving an approximate eta on an update?

Meanwhile, how about asking orfox to reactivate in the meantime so we can still access tor on our android devices?

Thanks, appreciate your time and efforts :)

> I can't find anything definitive on the likely timing for an update
> an approximate eta on an update?

Patches for major bugs like this are released when the patch is ready. Most free/open-source projects don't arrange scheduled release days for major bug patches; they just go straight to work on troubleshooting and then fixing it. If you can program or narrow down the cause, you can help them release it sooner for everyone. If not, let them work. Impatience without constructiveness only makes work take longer. There is already more than enough acknowledging of the issue in the pages of comments in the last several blog posts.

> how about asking orfox to reactivate in the meantime so we can still access tor on our android devices?

I'm not sure if that's a good idea. It could create other problems as the transition rolls out.

Anon

September 04, 2019

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Tor Browser crashes quickly and cannot be used at all.
Is the alternative way to connect Orbot to Firefox?

Anon

September 04, 2019

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Same issue for me. Forced to install Tor browser, aftewards the Orfox browser no longer working.

Then, Tor browser crashes on Galaxy S10 on start of app...every time.

So, I am frustrated as well, as now, have no secure browser option.

You really should leave Orfox available till your "stable" build is working for everyone. Since I see this issue posted on already, it's obviously not a new issue. Poor planning here people....

Anon

September 04, 2019

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The only problem with releasing non-functional replacement software, is that the people who rely on you are now more vulnerable than ever. You should NOT have removed OrFox and OrBot.

Orbot is not related to the crashes and is not being discontinued. Tor Browser 8.5.5 (the piece forked from the new Firefox ESR version) is related to the crashes, and Orfox is being discontinued. Yes, it doesn't change the problem.

Anon

September 05, 2019

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Can any of you tell me how can i recover my bookmarks from orfox? Now on my phone it vad chaged name into RIP orfox and every time i want to open it it redirects me to downloading the new tor browser... but i need my bookmarks since not all of them were backed up.

Anon

September 05, 2019

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I dont understand, why did they erase Orfox? it worked me out better than tor browser in android, but it make me delete all tor project apps of my cellphone included ONNI Probe

Anon

September 06, 2019

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Hi, I appreciate that you put effort into new developments. However, Tor Browser for Android is hopelessly crashing right on start, each and every time. I have the latest version; just verified right now that it is the latest. Where can I download the previous Orfox that has no redirect to the dysfunctional Tor Browser? PLEASE. PLEASE. PLEASE. I badly need it!

Anon

September 06, 2019

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Hey folks, I found it! Here you can download the previous version of Orfox. It is the one that was working well and does not have yet the redirect to the always crashing Tor Browser:
Go to:
https://github.com/guardianproject/Orfox/releases
The most recent release (that has the redirect) is on top. Select the one below.
There tap on the little triangle before "assets"
There you get right on top of the list of the four assets the apk file.
Download.
Open.
It installs
And it works.
(I guess this procedure needs the option enabled that your android accepts apk'skfrom outside the playstore. I have it enabled. It is somewhere in the long long list of android options, maybe even in the developer options. if you google a bit you will find out, I don't remember the details, did it so long ago)

Anon

September 06, 2019

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I add that after you successfully installed the old well-working Orfox app, you need to de-activate auto-update in the playstore. Otherwise the dysfunctional new Orfox (containing nothing but the redirect to the dysfunctional TorBrowser) will be re-installed again and your good old Orfox is gone again.

Anon

September 07, 2019

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Crashes and disappears on first launch after install on my Galaxy S7 using Android 8. I still have Orbot (and OrfoxRIP) installed and running. Could that be a complicating factor? Do I need to uninstall Orbot/Fox first before using Tor browser? I am a great fan of Tor browser on my desktop PC. Good luck with this excellent project.