Privacy respecting browsers on Android

Looking for fast, privacy focused, lightweight web browsers for casual use? Me too...

When it comes to alternatives for common apps on Android, browsers take the cake, there are a lot of good options that work and offer their own functions, as well as dozens of them which are forks with ads, or other kinds of malicious software.

Because of that, if you want to be safe on the internet, there are only a few trustworthy options: Bromite, and Fennec. Some other options are Brave or Vivaldi, but they are a bit more more controversial (still good in my opinion), so you probably would want to choose one of the first two for the maximum amount of security and control.

πŸ”’ Light yet private browsers?

However, in my experience, all of these browsers have a problem, they are too heavy for my needs, They are fine if I want to use the browser to explore the web or do online shopping, but most of the time, using an app that takes over 100 Mb just to display an article I visit through links from social media or Youtube videos, its kind of bloated.

Therefore, I started looking for lighter browsers that were better for my usage, while still providing some privacy, and decided to share them with you.

Via Browser

Since I am using a custom ROM, my device comes with Via preinstalled, a very lightweight and powerful browser, I have used it from time to time. It offers built-in ad blocking, tons of customization and features, a very minimal interface, custom scripts and a lot of other things. The only gripe I have with it is that it’s Chinese, and even though I don’t think the developer is doing anything sketchy, I would rather avoid any trouble, if you don’t mind (Like I do sometimes), it is a very good choice.

DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser

This is a good one, it is available on F-Droid, which is the link I provided, so it is open source, and quite a decent option. I love the fact that it triggers the private mode on my keyboard by default, a feature that might be available in some others, but you would have to enable it manually. It also offers a quick button to delete all of the data used in the browsing session. which is quite nice feature.

Firefox Klar / Focus

I don’t have a lot to say about this one, I have used it before, but I was unable to find it on the F-Droid repos, however, at the time of this blog, the Google Play version was last updated January 19th of 2021, so I assume its still in development. I would not really use this one, because it is a lot heavier than the rest (around 50), since its using its own engine. It offers a button to delete everything just like DDG browser, but it is not as customizable.

My current favorite, it is extremely lightweight, as customizable as Via, and more, it offers tabs (like on desktop browsers) and a lot of privacy features, it also has its own set of add-ons that you can install, a built-in reader mode, and so much more. I chose this browser because it feels super complete, while still being less than 5 Mb of download. It might totally replace Bromite or Fennec, at least for me.

Just go with what you like

Each and everyone of this browsers are nothing but one more option, and is up to you to choose, in fact, you can simply not install any of them and continue with you current one. But each of these has been used by me and they also look kinda nice :D

Home screens, from left to right, DuckDuckGo, SmartCookieWeb, Via and Focus/Klar
Home screens, from left to right, DuckDuckGo, SmartCookieWeb, Via and Focus/Klar

This is the 5th blog for the #100DaystoOffload challenge, this time it was quite hard to start, but in the end, I think it turned out right, and I hope it’s helpful for you. If you have any other browser recommendations, make sure to share them with me!

I still find it difficult to stay loyal to one browser or another, to be honest, I have only been using SCW for half a week or so, and I factory reset my phone quite often. I have been browsing less and less in favor of RSS readers. So as I said, I quite prefer these lighter, simpler options for browsing quick questions or open links. And not so much for more personal or important browsing.


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