Best browsers for privacy

Some web browsers are better than others at protecting your personal information. We’ll help you understand how to find the best protection online.

Why is private browsing important?

With cybercriminals a factor of life these days, protecting your personal information online has become an issue not to be ignored. For instance, did you know that browsing the internet on a public WiFi signal exposes your search history, transactions and other personal information to hidden third parties?

The privacy of your online data is paramount and it’s better to understand how internet service providers, government agencies, websites, advertisers, or even other civilians on your WiFi network, could access your information.

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Beyond private browsing

Most of our favoured internet browsers have a ‘private browsing’ or an ‘incognito mode’ which may or may or not be familiar to you. Beyond those privacy features, there is more to know about data collection, cookies and other aspects. We’ll explain how these work to protect us.

What makes a browser private?

When using a private browser, your temporary browsing data – search history, search records and cookies – are not retained by the browser. This keeps your internet sessions private from other users of the same device or computer.

Some private browsing modes also offer the facility to erase files you’ve downloaded or bookmarked and some provide tracking protection and can help conceal your location. Browsers vary in the level of privacy features they have and how they safeguard your data. We’ll rate the popular ones on both.

Is incognito mode private?

While undoubtedly offering benefits, private browsing and incognito modes don’t fully protect your online privacy, offer total anonymity or comprehensive data security. However, there are times when private browsing is a must for your online privacy, such as when…

  • When you’re using a public computer. If you’re in a library or in a hotel and are using one of their machines, it goes without saying that you should use private browsing to protect any passwords and prevent other users from seeing your search history.
  • If you’re using multiple email accounts. No need to log out from one to get into another when in private browsing mode.
  • Buying a present. Cover your tracks in style by going private and you share a laptop.
  • Browsing a delicate issue. If you want to keep a health concern secret or you’re embarrassed about the site you are about to visit, just go incognito.

The nine best browsers for privacy and security

There’re a number of different internet browsers available for you to use, some of which are more adept at certain functions than others. We have detailed the functionality and prowess of these nine browsers below to help you make the right browser choice for your online privacy needs.

Best mobile browser for privacy

Many of the browsers we’ve looked at already will have mobile versions for use on iOS or Android devices. There are also some specialist options you might like to have a look at:

  1. Brave – a super all round browser for both desk top and mobile environments.
  2. Bromite – A secure Chromium-based browser which is available for Android 4.4. and above.
  3. Firefox Focus – A privacy-enriched version of Firefox for mobile users (Android and iOS).

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