Is it Time to Switch to DuckDuckGo as Your Android Browser?
DuckDuckGo has been of one the best privacy-focused search engines for desktop users for many years. But did you know that the company also makes a mobile browser app?
Today, we’re going to look at whether it is time to make the switch to the DuckDuckGo browser on your Android device. We’ll introduce you to the app’s features, along with some of the pros and cons of making the jump.
Keep reading to learn more.
DuckDuckGo vs. Regular Browsers
Look, we get it. Switching away from your browser of choice isn’t easy. You know where to find all the settings and features, you’ve got your bookmarks saved, your browsing history is recorded so you can easily find sites you visited previously, and so on.
But all that ease comes at a cost, especially if you’re using Chrome or one of the other popular mainstream browsers.
The amount of data that your browser collects about your internet usage is frightening; your location, your device, your search history, your interests, and the types of ads that you click on are all logged to the nth degree.
And no, using Incognito Mode does not help. Contrary to popular belief, using Incognito Mode will only delete the information related to your browsing session from your computer. Google (in the case of Chrome) will still log all the usual data.
That is where DuckDuckGo comes in. It doesn’t store any browsing data, doesn’t log your personal information, doesn’t let trackers follow you around the web, and more. And importantly, although you will still see ads (unless you are using an ad-blocker), those ads are not targeted.
After all, targeted ads are the main reason that Google et al are so keen to collect your browsing data in the first place.
The Best Features of the DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser on Android
If you are looking for a privacy-focused Android browser, DuckDuckGo is far from being your only option.
However, there are some features in the app that help it to stand out and mean it should be near the top of your list.
1. Tracker Blocking
On most mainstream browsers, websites are allowed to track you by default. This is in the best interest of all the parties—except you! DuckDuckGo is different, the feature is turned off, meaning there is no way for sites to follow you around the web. Take that, Zuckerberg.
2. Fire Button
As you browse, it is common for personal data to build up in your browser. Cookies, your browsing history, open tabs, and various other bits of info are used by the browser to make your experience as smooth as possible.
DuckDuckGo is no different. While the data is not sent to DuckDuckGo itself, the browser does need to collect and store some of that information to make the app (and the internet itself) functional.
However, while most browsers will make you dig deep into the settings to get rid of such data when you’re done, DuckDuckGo lets you wipe it all away in a single click via the Fire Button. Just tap the button in the upper-right and then select Clear All Tabs and Data in the popup window.
3. Privacy Grades
It’s a well-known fact that some sites are better than others when it comes to privacy. Social media sites, for example, are a real minefield that privacy-conscious users need to approach with extreme caution. At the other end of the scale, sites from companies that are involved in the privacy industry (such as VPNs and anti-virus suites) tend to be a lot more secure.
But that leaves a whole lot of middle ground. So, how do you know which sites are safe and which are not?
DuckDuckGo makes it easy to tell by providing each site with a privacy grade (between A and F). You can see the grade on the left side of the address bar, and tapping it lets you access each site’s individual report so you can tell how DuckDuckGo made its decision.
4. Global Privacy Control (GPC)
Most users are now familiar with the cookie banner that pops up on almost every website you visit. But did you know that you have legal opt-out rights for a whole lot more than just cookies? It is just not always obvious how or where to find the setting. And who has the time to go digging for that on every site they visit?
DuckDuckGo automates the entire process for you. It will tell websites not to sell or share your personal information using the existing legal frameworks.
Are There Any Downsides to DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser?
Yes, after all, no app is perfect.
Perhaps the most annoying aspect of using the DuckDuckGo browser on Android is the lack of a like-for-like desktop app. A lot of people value a unified experience across their devices, but with DuckDuckGo, that is not an option.
Of course, you can still use the DuckDuckGo search engine via another privacy-focused desktop browser, but that’s not going to help when it comes to syncing your bookmarks and other data.
There is a Chrome extension called DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials and in theory, it offers many of the same features as the mobile browser (including searching via DuckDuckGo’s engine, freedom from online tracking, enforced encryption, and the global privacy control).
But it’s not as sleek as a standalone DuckDuckGo browser would be, and some people have complained about bugs and flaws during use.
How to Get DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser
The DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser for Android can be downloaded through the Play Store, just like any other regular Android app. It is entirely free to download and is available worldwide.
Importantly, the app has an impressively small footprint on your device resources. Anyone who has used Chrome on Android knows that the browser is not exactly resource-friendly. DuckDuckGo is the opposite. As such, it is a perfect solution if you are using an older or low-power budget handset. The only requirement for installation is that you are using Android 5.0 or above.
Download: DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser (Free)
Switch to DuckDuckGo Today
Ultimately, if you value your online privacy (you should), value nimble and lightweight apps (you should), and are looking to move away from the monolithic Google ecosystem (you should), then DuckDuckGo on Android is a no brainer.
At the very least, we recommend that you give it a shot. In the worst case, you can switch back to your existing browser in a flash; nothing is lost.
Want to use Android without Google? Here’s a full guide to going Google-free on your Android device to regain privacy control.
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