Tor Phone

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A Tor Phone refers to the concept of a smartphone that routes internet connections through the Tor network. The first Tor Phone was a prototype smartphone released in 2016 by The Tor Project, which gave users the ability to route internet connections through Tor for anonymity. Work on Tor Phone was launched in 2014,[1] and a "Tor-enabled Android phone prototype" was announced in 2016.[2] The project was led by Mike Perry, Tor Browser lead developer.[3]


Tor Phone refers to a smartphone set to route internet connections through Tor network, for example using the Orbot application and Android VPN settings,[4] although according to developer Mike Perry in 2016, Android's VPN APIs were not secure and could leak data at boot, which affects Orbot too.[5] The prototype Tor Phone was based on CopperheadOS, which added additional security features.[6][7][8][9] Another option is to use Torbrowser on smartphones.[10][11][12] Follow-on project, GrapheneOS continues supporting usage of Orbot (Tor) VPN and Torbrowser on Android-based phones.[13][14]


The number of Tor users on phones is unknown. As of 2016 there were about 2 million daily Tor users, total, including all devices and methods.[15]

In 2018 Louis Adam of ZDNet France discussed new official support of Tor Project for Tor services on Android phones, including Tor Browser and Orbot.[10]

John Corpuz of Toms Guide listed Tor Browser (Desktop and Android), and Onion Browser (iOS) as two of 16 "best ad blockers in 2021".[16]

Related projects[edit]

In January 2015 David Briggs and Nick Spriggs began an unsuccessful Indiegogo campaign to make the BOSS phone, an Android-based phone with "rooted Tor encryption" to anonymize and privatize internet browsing.[17][18]

In 2014 Blackphone from Silent Circle was sold as an Android-based phone with applications and services to provide more secure messaging, VPN and cloud storage.[19] In 2014 the Boeing Black phone was advertised as a more secure Android-based phone, with dual-Sim for using public and government networks.[20][21]

In 2014 a mobile version of TAILS operating system was announced.[22][23]

In 2012 the Ninja phone, an HTC One V phone running Android 4.0.3, was developed to demonstrate using an independent GSM phone network at DefCon. The network was operated from The Ninja Tel van, with official looking logo, a GSM base station; a 12-foot antenna; networking and Web app servers parked in a large room at Defcon.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Perry, Mike (April 2, 2014). "Mission Impossible: Hardening Android for Security and Privacy | Tor Blog". Retrieved 2021-02-14.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ Perry, Mike (November 16, 2016). "Mission Improbable: Hardening Android for Security And Privacy | Tor Blog". Retrieved 2021-02-14.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ "Tor Project: Core People". 2016-11-14. Archived from the original on 2016-11-14. Retrieved 2021-02-14.
  4. ^ "Tor Mobile | Tor Project | Support". Retrieved 2021-02-14.
  5. ^ "How to anonymize all of your apps on Android". The Daily Dot. 2014-10-08. Retrieved 2021-02-14.
  6. ^ Sabarinath (2016-11-26). "Tor Phone — Super Private And Secure Version Of Android By Tor Project". TechLog360. Retrieved 2021-02-14.
  7. ^ "The Tor Phone prototype: a truly private smartphone?". Naked Security. 2016-11-29. Retrieved 2021-02-14.
  8. ^ Staff, Ars (2016-11-22). "Tor phone is antidote to Google "hostility" over Android, says developer". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2021-02-14.
  9. ^ "Tor Phone Is The "Super-secure Version Of Android", Developed By Tor Project". Fossbytes. 2016-11-25. Retrieved 2021-02-14.
  10. ^ a b "Tor fait peau neuve sur Android". ZDNet France (in French). Retrieved 2021-02-14.
  11. ^ "How to: Use Tor for Android". Surveillance Self-Defense. 2020-03-11. Retrieved 2021-02-18.
  12. ^ Whitney, Lance (May 9, 2019). "How to use the Tor browser on an Android device". TechRepublic. Retrieved 2021-02-18.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. ^ "FAQ | GrapheneOS". Retrieved 2021-02-18.
  14. ^ "Usage | GrapheneOS". Retrieved 2021-02-18.
  15. ^ "Traffic Studies Reveal Complex Picture of Tor's Role on 'Dark Web'". eWEEK. Retrieved 2021-02-14.
  16. ^ Corpuz, John. "The best ad blockers in 2021". Tom's Guide. Retrieved 2021-07-04.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. ^ Matyszczyk, Chris. "BOSS phone, a handset so secure that Sony execs should use it?". CNET. Retrieved 2021-02-14.
  18. ^ Dormehl, Luke (2015-01-12). "Can This Giant Tor Phone Finally Protect Against Hackers?". Fast Company. Retrieved 2021-02-14.
  19. ^ Rosenblatt, Seth. "No black art to the Blackphone's quest for smartphone privacy". CNET. Retrieved 2021-02-14.
  20. ^ "Boeing: Boeing Black Smartphone". 2014-02-28. Archived from the original on 2014-02-28. Retrieved 2021-02-14.
  21. ^ "Boeing Black Smartphone Product Card" (PDF). 2014-02-28. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2014-02-28. Retrieved 2021-02-14.
  22. ^ "Tor is building an anonymous smartphone OS". The Daily Dot. 2014-02-27. Retrieved 2021-07-04.
  23. ^ "All the details on Tor's new mobile OS". The Daily Dot. 2014-03-03. Retrieved 2021-07-04.
  24. ^ Mills, Elinor. "Hackers build private 'Ninja Tel' phone network at Defcon". CNET. Retrieved 2021-02-14.

External links[edit]