If you are thinking about using the Tor browser on iOS to protect your privacy online, there are many important things to consider. Even though this is one of the best ways to ensure digital anonymity, it is not perfect so before you connect, make sure you know what to expect.
For beginners, if you need to browse the dark web with the highest possible level of security and privacy, you will need to use Tor in combination with a virtual private network. While Tor Browser does a lot to maintain your anonymity, some online threats can be avoided by using a VPN service.
Tor Browser is the most protected way to browse the web. This browser disperses the online traffic at a plethora of networks, making it impossible to pinpoint the source of the data packets. Tor browser provides various ways to spoof your online identity and change your IP. In this blog, TechNinjaPro will discuss how to use the Tor browser on iOS.
What Is Tor Browser?
Tor is an open-source internet browser that helps you stay anonymous online. At first, it operated as a normal internet browser. But beneath the surface, there is much going on. Tor randomly directs all your internet traffic through a network of servers worldwide, wrapping it in various layers of encryption to keep it safe from prying eyes.
You can think of encryption like the layers of an Onion; in fact, Tor stands for ” The Onion Router.” Its network can be accessed through the Tor browser, which lets you keep your activity, online identity, and location hidden as you surf the web with some caveats. If you wonder how to use Tor browser on iOS, it will be good to know that it is relatively simple. All you need to do is download and install the Tor Browser for your OS and then use it like any other internet browser. Do not download Tor browser from any other source than the official Tor website.
Note: Tor Browser does not have an iOS version, but its developers encourage iOS users to try Onion Browser, which works efficiently in a bit different way.
You will have to wait for the software to download and then save and install it on your iOS device to get Tor Browser. This process is like installing any other browser, so it should not present any problems. Once installed, just open the internet browser and wait to connect to the internet network.
However, Tor’s security cannot protect against every threat. To maximize your security and privacy and fully protect yourself from malicious attacks, you will need a reliable virtual private network. TechNinjaPro’s recommendation is PureVPN because it is super fast and has its own Onion website in the Tor network. If you need to use Tor Browser with a VPN service, there are many added steps to get started, which TechNinjaPro will explain below.
How To Use Tor to Browse the dark Web Anonymously
The dark web is a secret part of the web where you can access data anonymously. Tor lets users browse the dark web, including websites created specifically for it. For example, The CIA and the New York Times have an Onion version of their website that you can access through the Tor Browser.
The dark web is usually a haven for illegal activities and shady transactions. While there is much more than that, the fact that nothing is tracked does make it simple for those with bad intentions to take advantage of unaware users. Other than exercising common sense, the perfect way to protect your information from these risks is by using Tor Browse with a VPN service.
To find the website you are looking for and avoid falling into a scam, you will have to do some research. Google does not index the onion website, but you can find their directories online. Make sure that you double-check each website link before visiting it and then recheck it. Once you have identified and verified the URLs of the website you need to visit, using Tor to access the dark web is pretty easy. Think of it like any other internet browser but remember to keep yourself secure and never volunteer information that might compromise your internet privacy and security.
Is Tor Browser a Virtual Private Network?
No, Tor is not a virtual private network. Firstly, the primary purpose of Tor Browser is to maintain anonymity, while the key purpose of a VPN service is to protect privacy. Those two things might sound similar, but they are not the same. Even though both VPNs and Tor Browser are tools to maximize your internet security, they accomplish this in different ways.
When you use a virtual private network, all your information is protected with end-to-end encryption. It is then directed through a secure channel to a remote server, which connects you to the website you are trying to visit. If you are using a VPN service in combination with Tor, this means that not even your internet service provider can see that you are on the Tor Browser’s network. This is incredibly crucial, especially in countries with strict internet censorship. While Tor itself is not illegal, you could flag it for suspicious activity if someone discovers that you are using it.
Tor Browser operates on a completely different system from a VPN and uniquely protects your privacy.
How Does Tor Browser Work on iOS?
Tor Browser uses several complex ways to protect your information. First, the data is wrapped in added layers of encryption. This is routed through a random relay layer and encrypted again, and the process is repeated across a decentralized network of nodes. Each time your information passes through one of the network nodes, an added layer of encryption is removed to expose the location of the next relay. When you reach the exit node, the last layer of added encryption is removed, and your information is sent to its ultimate destination.
Each relay decrypts your data to reveal the location of previous and next relays, every path is randomly generated, and none of the network relays are recorded. Tor Browser also deletes your internet browsing history and cookies for you after each session, making it impossible for your internet activity to be traced back to you. There are still few points of vulnerability in the system, but you can cover many of them by using a VPN service and Tor Browser.
How Safe Is Tor Browser?
While Tor Browser offers a higher anonymity level than a regular internet browser, it is not 100% safe. Your location will be hidden, and your internet traffic cannot be tracked, but certain people can see your internet browsing activity.
The volunteers who operate servers that your information passes through are anonymous, so you never know who is running servers behind the scenes. This is not usually a problem since each of them can see the location of the preceding and next relays except for the last ones
The last node eliminates the final layer of data encryption. It cannot access your real location or IP, but the exit node can spy on your activity if you visit an unprotected site. One way to stop this is by using a virtual private network over the Tor method.
Remember: Even on Tor, you need to be careful not to voluntarily identify yourself or your location.
What are the drawbacks of Tor Browser?
Apart from some privacy and security problems, the main drawback of Tor Browser is that it is super slow. This is a natural consequence of your information having to travel through various relays before reaching its final destination. Because of this, TechNinjaPro does not recommend using Tor Browser for downloading or streaming.
Its founders strongly discourage torrenting not only because of speed but also because it can expose your IP and compromise your security and privacy. If you need to stream or torrent while maintaining privacy, TechNinjaPro would recommend a virtual private network instead of Tor Browser.
Another drawback of using Tor Browser is that it can draw unwanted attention to you. Even though your internet service provider cannot see your online activity, it can see that you are connected to Tor Browser. This may be enough to elevate suspicion and could turn you into a target for government surveillance.
Additionally, it is essential to remember that Tor Browser is just an internet browser, and it cannot encrypt any of your activity, so if you are using other applications, you would not have any added protection. This is another reason why TechNinjaPro suggests combining Tor Browser with a VPN service to cover all your bases.
Using Tor Browser with a VPN
Both VPN services and Tor Browser can help you stay anonymous and maintain online privacy, but nothing beats using them in combination. The primary reason to do this is that adding a virtual private network can cover some of the vulnerabilities and security errors in the Tor system. For example, if you do not need your ISP to know you are using Tor Browser or do not need the entry and exit nodes to see your IP, your best bet is to use a VPN service at the same time.
There are two ways to combine Tor Browser with a VPN service, each with its advantages and disadvantages. The process you select will depend primarily on your privacy priorities.
Tor over VPN
With Tor over VPN, you connect to a virtual private network first and then access the Tor Browser through it. This is a simple way to combine both tools; you need to open Tor Browser like any other browser. For most users, it will offer more than enough privacy and security. When you use Tor over VPN, the virtual private network encrypts your information and masks your real IP, routing your internet traffic through one of its protected servers before connecting to the Tor network. This means that all your internet traffic is protected, and Tor Browser’s servers cannot access your real IP.
Another advantage of this process is that your internet service provider would not see that you are using Tor Browser since VPN services hide your internet activity from them. If your virtual private network keeps logs of your online activity, they will be able to see your IP and the fact that you are using Tor Browser. If you need to avoid this, be sure to select a reliable VPN service that has a strict no-logs policy. There is one other drawback of Tor over VPN; it does not guard you against malicious nodes, as your internet traffic is unencrypted by the time it reaches its destination.
VPN over Tor
The following process for combining Tor Browser with a VPN service is a bit more complicated. It includes connecting to the Tor network and then going through your virtual private network. To do this, you will possibly need to configure the VPN service to allow it manually. However, this method has one significant benefit: it protects users from malicious nodes. Instead of going directly from the last nodes to the final destination, your information is routed from the previous node through a reliable VPN server, so whoever is operating the node cannot see your IP or any other information.
This makes a VPN over Tor method ideal for communicating private data, and it also keeps your IP hidden from your VPN service, even if they log your online activity. But there is also a drawback: your ISP or other third parties will still be able to see that you are using Tor Browser, even though your online activity itself is hidden.
Note: Tor Browser's developers do not recommend the VPN over Tor. If you cannot make a decision on which one to use, TechNinjaPro will suggest Tor over VPN.
Best VPN for Tor Browser
There are many VPNs available in the market, and with so many options, it can be difficult to decide. That is why TechNinjaPro has done very detailed research to shortlist the top four VPN providers for Tor Browser.
To help you pick the best VPNs for Tor Browser, here is a list of the best VPNs.
Tor is a powerful and effective browser for protecting your online privacy despite its drawbacks. Combining the anonymity that Tor Browser offers with the security guaranteed by a virtual private network gives you the best of both online worlds when it comes to internet security.
To explore more VPN options for Tor, check out the list of best VPNs for Tor.