How to browse anonymously with Firefox
Like all the most modern online browsing programs, Mozilla Firefox also provides a feature to browse the Internet without leaving a trace of your activities. Before explaining how to use it, however, let me clarify a fundamental aspect of the matter. With the expression surf anonymouslyat least two different scenarios can be understood: the first, the most commonly used one, consists of using a “private” session of the browser which, immediately after closing, automatically deletes the browsing history, cookies, temporary files relating to the sites visits and similar items from the memory of the device used; the second, slightly more complex, consists in painstakingly hiding one’s activity even from the same web servers visited or, even, from one’s service provider, using the anti-tracking mechanisms included in the browser together with online security systems such as Tor .
The theme of this guide will be, in fact, both to explain to you how to surf anonymously with Firefox without leaving any traces operated on the computer, smartphone or tablet used, and to show you how to disguise your work online through the Tor network, thus avoiding releasing valuable information to websites or to the Internet provider itself. In the latter case, however, you will have to pay particular attention not to log in to platforms related to you , such as emails, ecommerce sites, social networks and so on, as you could be unmasked with relative ease. That said, there is nothing left for me to do but wish you a good read.
- How to browse anonymously with Firefox without leaving traces on your device
- From PC
- From smartphones and tablets
- How to browse anonymously with Firefox online
- Other ways to surf anonymously with Firefox
How to browse anonymously with Firefox without leaving traces on your device
Let’s start this guide by seeing, together, how to activate a Firefox anonymous browsing window or panel on PCs, smartphones and tablets. In this regard, I remind you that all the files relating to the browsing activity carried out through the aforementioned window (and the tabs opened within it) will be temporarily stored on the device and deleted when the last anonymous browsing screen is closed , or when the device is restarted; the downloads made during anonymous browsing, on the other hand, will remain stored in the chosen save folder and will have to be deleted manually.
To open an anonymous Firefox window on your computer , all you have to do is start the browser , click on the ☰ button located at the top right and select the item New anonymous window from the menu that appears; alternatively, you can get the same result by pressing.
To close an anonymous browsing window, simply click on the X located in the upper right corner of the screen, on Windows, or in the upper left corner, on Mac. The anonymous browsing tabs are distinguished from the ” normal ”due to the presence of a mask symbol in the upper right corner of the window.
By default, Firefox extensions are denied permission to work in anonymous windows; to change this behavior, click on the ☰ button of the browser, select the item Extensions and themes from the menu that appears and click on the name of the extension to be authorized during anonymous browsing; later, locate the Operation in anonymous windows box and put the check mark next to the item Allow . By doing so, the extensions will be able to access your online activities even in anonymous windows, which could pose a risk to the privacy of the same: take this into account.
If needed, you can have Firefox delete cookies and website data every time it is closed, even during “normal” browsing sessions; this setting, however, will not affect the history, saved forms / passwords and other information not explicitly indicated.
To enable it, open the Firefox menu by clicking on the ☰ button and, after selecting the Settings item , click on the wording Privacy and security (or on the padlock symbol ) visible in the left sidebar. Finally, locate the item Delete cookies and website data when Firefox is closed and put the check mark in the corresponding box.
From smartphones and tablets
As for Firefox for smartphones and tablets , it is possible to open an anonymous session by tapping on the tab counter (located to the left of the menu button), then on the tab depicting a mask and, later, on the (+ Anonymous) button (on Android ) or [+] (on iPhone and iPad). To stop private browsing, carry out the same procedure seen a little while ago and touch the button (X) corresponding to the open tabs. On Android, you can also quickly open an anonymous browsing panel from the browser home screen, by tapping on the mask symbol located at the top right.
As for the Firefox add -ons for Android (they are not available on iPhone and iPad), the same rule already seen for computers applies: by default, they are disabled during anonymous sessions, but they can be enabled manually by changing their respective settings (taking into account that, by doing so, the extensions will be able to access the online activity carried out anonymously).
Doing so is very simple: first, tap the Firefox button (⋮) , select the Add-ons item from the menu that appears, tap the name of the extension you are interested in and move the lever corresponding to the Run item from OFF to ON in anonymous browsing .
How to browse anonymously with Firefox online
If you intend to browse in total anonymity even online and not only without leaving traces on the device you are operating from, I can only recommend you to download Tor Browser , a modified version of the Firefox browser that includes a series of tools necessary to maintain the anonymity on the Net, including an extension to browse anonymously with Firefox using the Tor network , or the onion router : if you had never heard of it, it is a particular “onion” system (hence the term onion) that by “bouncing” the data from one server to another, it eliminates the traces (and the IP address ) of the original computer.
Tor Browser offers a good level of anonymity on the net but, to get the best possible result, you should avoid logging into sites, portals or accounts in general that can be traced back to you during anonymous browsing sessions: you could be unmasked if the data from the various providers were crossed, for some reason. Do not forget!
To download Tor Browser on your computer, connected to this website , click on the Download Tor Browser button and then on the icon of the operating system in use on your computer, so as to start downloading the most suitable file. Once you have downloaded the program installation file, open it and follow the procedure best suited to your operating system.
- Windows : click on the OK button to confirm the use of the Italian language and finish the setup by pressing the Install and Close buttons . The software should start by itself but if that doesn’t happen you can use the icon that has been added to the Start menu in the meantime.
- macOS : use the transfer window that appears on the screen to drag the Tor Browser icon to the Mac Applications folder . Then, click on the icon you just copied and click on the Open item twice in a row, in order to overcome Apple’s restrictions on non-certified developers.
Once the browser is open, click on the Connect button and wait a few moments for the connection to the Tor network to be established. Following this operation, you should be able to browse anonymously immediately: to be sure, connect to this web page and take a look at the message that appears on the screen. If you see a message similar to Congratulations, this browser is configured to use Tor it means that everything went well.
If you are in a country or geographical area subject to censorship, or if you need to start browsing via a proxy, do this: immediately after opening Firefox, click on the Tor network settings button and follow the procedure that is proposed to you, to specify the proxy or the type of bridge to use to overcome the restrictions imposed by your service provider.
To restart the connection to the Tor network and change your IP address, click on the broom symbol located at the top right; to access the quick privacy and security settings, click on the shield icon instead . For more information on how Tor Browser works, I refer you to reading the specific guide I have dedicated to the topic.
To download Tor browser on Android smartphones and tablets , you need to open the reference store of your device, search for the name of the app using the appropriate function and press the Install and Open buttons to download and then start it. If the app is not present, you can download the APK package directly from its official website : if you do not know how to complete the manual installation of an APK file on your device , refer to the guide linked above, in which you I explained how to proceed.
After opening the browser, tap the Connect button to establish the connection to the Tor network; again, if you need to configure access from a censorship zone or from an ISP that requires the use of a proxy, tap the gear wheel symbol located at the top right and tap the Configure box bridge , to adjust the necessary settings. More info here .
Other ways to surf anonymously with Firefox
The integration between Firefox’s security and privacy features and those offered by the Tor network should be sufficient to be able to browse with relative peace of mind in a totally anonymous way, but there are other alternative methods that offer equally satisfactory results.
One of the best known and most secure involves the use of VPNs , or virtual private networks : if you had never heard of them, it is a connection system based on tunneling, which allows you to hide your activity on the Net from your supplier. of services and to disguise their geographical position. For best results, VPNs should be used during Firefox ‘s private browsing sessions .
For more information on how VPNs work, you can refer to the specific guide available on my site. If, on the other hand, you want to take action immediately, you can immediately download and install one of the numerous VPN programs available on the Net: among the best and most reliable software in the category, we recommend NordVPN (which I told you more about here ) and Surfshark (which I told you about here ).